Fifth Column

Another interesting discussion here and later here. It starts from the idea that I contradict myself by “saying that disgust is worthless as a moral compass” and yet using the word “disgusting” to express strong disapprobation quite often and consistently. I argue that it’s not inconsistent because my claim is only that disgust is worthless as a guide to morals on its own, not that disgust itself is morally worthless. On the contrary – I think it’s often called for, and that’s why I resort to the word. (I had noticed that I use it fairly often, when I’m feeling particularly…outraged, vehement…disgusted.) Brandon doesn’t agree, so the discussion has continued. I think he’s underestimating the degree to which judgment and reasons influence both the triggering of disgust and the decisions and actions that flow from it; but if the discussion goes on maybe he’ll convince me otherwise.

And then there’s another discussion of Theo Hobson. It quotes from comments here – it’s fun when our comments are interesting enough to get quoted!

“”But atheism is perfectly compatible with agnosticism, may indeed be the same thing. I (still) don’t see why not being a theist necessarily proceeds from any beliefs about the cosmos. Not being a socialist or a Friedmanite doesn’t necessarily proceed from any beliefs about economics; and so on. Are you claiming that theist belief is so natural that its absence requires prior beliefs?” I would call it an epiphany were I that way inclined, but this is exactly the point – to a theist, theism is that natural that there is some horror that others cannot see their truth…Every time I see Grayling or Dawkins poke their heads above the parapets, I sit and hope that it is to people like Hobson that the papers turn to for a refutation.

And so often it is. Maybe there’s an atheist spy handing out assignments at Comment is Free. It seems oddly plausible, now that it’s been suggested…

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