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Is God Immoral?

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  • Originally posted by Jichard View Post
    Not sure how that's relevant. Are you running something like Plantinga's EAAN (evolutionary argument against naturalism)?

    In any event, evolution is apart of the causal explanation for all of our psychological capacities, including the scientific reasoning, emotions, the ability to form moral beliefs, moral reasoning, and so on.
    But there is nothing but the evolutionary process. Everything we are, how we think, is a direct result of that.


    Parallel point in the case of moral beliefs. Pointing out that moral beliefs are partially caused by a naturalistic evolutionary process that's completely determined by the laws of nature [with initial conditions], does not tell me about the truth-conditions for those moral beliefs, nor does it show that those moral beliefs cannot be correct while opposing moral beliefs are incorrect.
    I agree with this, but that is not the point. The question is, if materialism is true then how do we decide which moral beliefs are correct?



    First, compatibilism regarding free will: free will is compatible with determinism. So claiming that we're "determined, completely, by the laws of nature", doesn't show that we lack free will. In fact, your quote is technically false since it's not the laws of nature that determine what we do. You'd at least have to say laws of nature + initial conditions.
    There is no free will with compatibilism unless your redefine freewill. The argument is BS whether coming from you, or Dan Dennett or a Calvinist.

    Second, I don't get your use of the word "judges" here. Standards don't judge since standards aren't agents. Instead, agents may form judgments (or more precisely: beliefs), in part, by using a standard. Again, this just just be terminological discrepancy between the two of us.

    Unlike you Kant knew that there had to be judge for his system to work:

    Now this original intellectual and (as a conception of duty) moral capacity, called conscience, has this peculiarity in it, that although its business is a business of man with himself, yet he finds himself compelled by his reason to transact it as if at the command of another person. For the transaction here is the conduct of a trial (causa) before a tribunal. But that he who is accused by his conscience should be conceived as one and the same person with the judge is an absurd conception of a judicial court; for then the complainant would always lose his case. Therefore, in all duties the conscience of the man must regard another than himself as the judge of his actions, if it is to avoid self-contradiction. Now this other may be an actual or a merely ideal person which reason frames to itself. Such an idealized person (the authorized judge of conscience) must be one who knows the heart; for the tribunal is set up in the inward part of man; at the same time he must also be all-obliging, that is, must be or be conceived as a person in respect of whom all duties are to be regarded as his commands; since conscience is the inward judge of all free actions. Now, since such a moral being must at the same time possess all power (in heaven and earth), since otherwise he could not give his commands their proper effect (which the office of judge necessarily requires), and since such a moral being possessing power over all is called God, hence conscience must be conceived as the subjective principle of a responsibility for one's deeds before God; nay, this latter concept is contained (though it be only obscurely) in every moral self-consciousness.
    http://www.philosophy-index.com/kant...conscience.php
    Last edited by seer; 04-05-2015, 05:18 PM.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

    Comment


    • Originally posted by seer View Post
      But there is nothing but the evolutionary process. Everything we are, how we think, is a direct result of that.
      False. No informed naturalist thinks that "there is nothing but the evolutionary process". That's why, for example, we have a distinction in biology between phylogeny (which is largely evolutionary) and ontogeny (which is largely developmental). Evolutionary processes are not the only processes.

      I agree with this, but that is not the point. The question is, if materialism is true then how do we decide which moral beliefs are correct?
      Actually you disagree with it and it is the point. I wrote:
      "Parallel point in the case of moral beliefs. Pointing out that moral beliefs are partially caused by a naturalistic evolutionary process that's completely determined by the laws of nature [with initial conditions], does not tell me about the truth-conditions for those moral beliefs, nor does it show that those moral beliefs cannot be correct while opposing moral beliefs are incorrect."

      You disagreed with that insofar as you tried to use the claims that pointing out a naturalistic, evolutionary, deterministic, causal origin for moral beliefs, somehow shows those moral beliefs cannot be more correct than other moral beliefs:

      There is no free will with compatibilism unless your redefine freewill. The argument is BS whether coming from you, or Dan Dennett or a Calvinist.
      Not re-defining free will at all. The definition compatibilists use is actually fairly in line with the definition numerous laymen use, as plenty of empirical research shows. You're incorrectly assuming that free will must be defined in libertarian terms.

      Also, "compatibilism" doesn't mean the same thing when discussed in philosophy by Dennett vs. when discussed in theology by some people. Dennett is concerned with free will being compatible with causal determinism, while theologians are often concerned with free will being compatible with divine foreknowledge. Divine foreknowledge wouldn't be the same as divine foreknowledge.

      Unlike you Kant knew that there had to be judge for his system to work:



      http://www.philosophy-index.com/kant...conscience.php
      When you quote (or quote-mine) something, please make sure it's relevant to what you're responding to. Because what you just quoted (or quote-mined) is irrelevant to the following point I made:
      "Second, I don't get your use of the word "judges" here. Standards don't judge since standards aren't agents. Instead, agents may form judgments (or more precisely: beliefs), in part, by using a standard. Again, this just just be terminological discrepancy between the two of us."

      Unless you can show where in your quote it is said that standards judge. Because I see it nowhere in there.
      Last edited by Jichard; 04-05-2015, 05:19 PM.
      "Instead, we argue, it is necessary to shift the debate from the subject under consideration, instead exposing to public scrutiny the tactics they [denialists] employ and identifying them publicly for what they are."

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Jichard View Post
        False. No informed naturalist thinks that "there is nothing but the evolutionary process". That's why, for example, we have a distinction in biology between phylogeny (which is largely evolutionary) and ontogeny (which is largely developmental). Evolutionary processes are not the only processes.



        Actually you disagree with it and it is the point. I wrote:
        "Parallel point in the case of moral beliefs. Pointing out that moral beliefs are partially caused by a naturalistic evolutionary process that's completely determined by the laws of nature [with initial conditions], does not tell me about the truth-conditions for those moral beliefs, nor does it show that those moral beliefs cannot be correct while opposing moral beliefs are incorrect."

        You disagreed with that insofar as you tried to use the claims that pointing out a naturalistic, evolutionary, deterministic, causal origin for moral beliefs, somehow shows those moral beliefs cannot be more correct than other moral beliefs:
        Listen, please just get to the point. Tell me how/why one set of moral beliefs are, or could be, more correct than another.



        Not re-defining free will at all. The definition compatibilists use is actually fairly in line with the definition numerous laymen use, as plenty of empirical research shows. You're incorrectly assuming that free will must be defined in libertarian terms.
        That is false, the libertarian view has been the classic view. And it is not the layman's view.




        When you quote (or quote-mine) something, please make sure it's relevant to what you're responding to. Because what you just quoted (or quote-mined) is irrelevant to the following point I made:
        "Second, I don't get your use of the word "judges" here. Standards don't judge since standards aren't agents. Instead, agents may form judgments (or more precisely: beliefs), in part, by using a standard. Again, this just just be terminological discrepancy between the two of us."
        here.
        Right standards don't judge -moral minds do. Or rather minds create said standards. So now where do you go?
        Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

        Comment


        • Originally posted by seer View Post
          Listen, please just get to the point. Tell me how/why one set of moral beliefs are, or could be, more correct than another.
          I already did:
          Originally posted by Jichard View Post
          Parallel point in the case of moral beliefs. Pointing out that moral beliefs are partially caused by a naturalistic evolutionary process that's completely determined by the laws of nature [with initial conditions], does not tell me about the truth-conditions for those moral beliefs, nor does it show that those moral beliefs cannot be correct while opposing moral beliefs are incorrect. And objective moral properties would serve as the truth-makers for moral statements / moral beliefs, regardless of your claims regarding naturalistic causation. That would allow for some moral claims to be correct and other moral claims to be incorrect, even in a naturalistic world. You're committed to that since you conceded as much:
          And one of the points was to address some of the false claims you've been making, especially with regards to naturalistic evolution.

          That is false, the libertarian view has been the classic view. And it is not the layman's view.
          What I wrote was:
          "Not re-defining free will at all. The definition compatibilists use is actually fairly in line with the definition numerous laymen use, as plenty of empirical research shows. You're incorrectly assuming that free will must be defined in libertarian terms."

          And that's true, not false. I can cite the empirical research, if need be.

          Right standards don't judge -moral minds do. Or rather minds create said standards. So now where do you go?
          If that's the case, then why did you write as if standards needed to be the things doing the judging:

          And why did you act like I was wrong when I wrote in response:

          Where we go from here is that neither of us talks as if standards are the things doing the judging.
          Last edited by Jichard; 04-05-2015, 06:05 PM.
          "Instead, we argue, it is necessary to shift the debate from the subject under consideration, instead exposing to public scrutiny the tactics they [denialists] employ and identifying them publicly for what they are."

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Jichard View Post
            I already did:
            And one of the points was to address some of the false claims you've been making, especially with regards to naturalistic evolution.

            Parallel point in the case of moral beliefs. Pointing out that moral beliefs are partially caused by a naturalistic evolutionary process that's completely determined by the laws of nature [with initial conditions], does not tell me about the truth-conditions for those moral beliefs, nor does it show that those moral beliefs cannot be correct while opposing moral beliefs are incorrect. And objective moral properties would serve as the truth-makers for moral statements / moral beliefs, regardless of your claims regarding naturalistic causation. That would allow for some moral claims to be correct and other moral claims to be incorrect, even in a naturalistic world. You're committed to that since you conceded as much:
            But this is no more than an assertion. You assert that some moral claims are correct and others are not - OK, how is that exactly done/known, give me a real world example and how you come to that conclusion.



            OK, so in your world there is no independent standard to judge between competing moral views. But that was Kant's point and why such an independent standard or judge was necessary. And why it relates to our discussion.
            Last edited by seer; 04-05-2015, 09:04 PM.
            Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

            Comment


            • Originally posted by seer View Post
              But this is no more than an assertion. You assert that some moral claims are correct and others are not - OK, how is that exactly done/known, give me a real world example and how you come to that conclusion.
              Seer, lets assume for the sake of argument that an objective source for morality did not exist, do you believe that in such a case we would not come up with our own moral beliefs of right and wrong, or would you then have no sense of right and wrong? If God did not exist, would you consider it wrong of someone that raped and murdered your child, or would that persons actions be okay with you? You'd want justice wouldn't you, you'd want revenge. But why would you want justice, if, being that there is no objective source of morality, you don't believe he did anything wrong? I can tell you why, it is because even if there were no objective source of morality, you would still believe in right and wrong, and you would believe that the rape and murder of your child belonged in the latter category.




              OK, so in your world there is no independent standard to judge between competing moral views. But that was Kant's point and why such an independent standard or judge was necessary. And why it relates to our discussion.
              As above, no independent standard would be needed by you in that case, and if no independent standard is needed by you in order to have a sense of right and wrong, then no independent standard is needed.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by JimL View Post
                Seer, lets assume for the sake of argument that an objective source for morality did not exist, do you believe that in such a case we would not come up with our own moral beliefs of right and wrong, or would you then have no sense of right and wrong? If God did not exist, would you consider it wrong of someone that raped and murdered your child, or would that persons actions be okay with you? You'd want justice wouldn't you, you'd want revenge. But why would you want justice, if, being that there is no objective source of morality, you don't believe he did anything wrong? I can tell you why, it is because even if there were no objective source of morality, you would still believe in right and wrong, and you would believe that the rape and murder of your child belonged in the latter category.
                Well sure, if my child was murdered or raped I would have a serious negative emotional reaction. A mother Lion would protect her young. But it would be nothing more than a biological reaction. Like heartburn.
                Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                Comment


                • Originally posted by seer View Post
                  Well sure, if my child was murdered or raped I would have a serious negative emotional reaction. A mother Lion would protect her young. But it would be nothing more than a biological reaction. Like heartburn.
                  You would have a serious emotional reaction to it because you would think it horribly wrong. There is no distinction between feeling and believing a thing to be right or wrong. If you feel it to be wrong, then you think it to be wrong.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by seer View Post
                    Well sure, if my child was murdered or raped I would have a serious negative emotional reaction. A mother Lion would protect her young. But it would be nothing more than a biological reaction. Like heartburn.
                    Yes indeed you would because nurturing one's young is an evolved instinct and of considerably more significance than heartburn. All such instincts are derivatives of self-preservation and procreation and are a consequence of natural selection. They are naturally built into us, because those instincts, which form the basis upon which we build our moral codes, were beneficial to the breeding and survival of our species as social animals. This is the origin of morality, not God.
                    Last edited by Tassman; 04-06-2015, 06:17 AM.
                    “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by JimL View Post
                      You would have a serious emotional reaction to it because you would think it horribly wrong. There is no distinction between feeling and believing a thing to be right or wrong. If you feel it to be wrong, then you think it to be wrong.
                      Well sure, but like the Lioness, I could have the same reaction without bringing the question of morality in. In other words, thinking it moral terms is not necessary.
                      Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by seer View Post
                        But this is no more than an assertion. You assert that some moral claims are correct and others are not -
                        No, I gave you a standard objectivist answer for how moral statements would be true: they are made true or false in virtue of referring to moral properties.

                        OK, how is that exactly done/known, give me a real world example and how you come to that conclusion.
                        Same thing I'd do in science for a term T.
                        1 : Gather examples of things to which T seems to primae facie applies.

                        2 : Examine what those examples have in common or similar.

                        3 : Generate conditions for the application of T from that.

                        4 : Apply those conditions to new cases.

                        This is how philosophers have been doing moral philosophy for at least 2000 years (though some place less emphasis on step 3; for example: casuists, or particularists who just opt for moral statements as being like rule-of-thumbs). And it's how people have done moral reasoning since before then. It's just a specialized instance of the same reasoning humans use for categorizing stuff in other contexts; much of it goes on automatically and unconsciously.

                        So I've already gone through this process, and arrived at welfare utilitarian / virtue ethics answer for 3. And that's straightforwardly applicable to a case. For example: suppose I want to figure out whether it's morally good to give to a charity. Given the answer to 3, I try to figure out how that action would affect the welfare of sentient life (in comparison to other viable actions I could do) and I try to figure out whether doing that action would reflect character traits like compassion.


                        Now, what did you think I was going to say: God told me?

                        OK, so in your world there is no independent standard to judge between competing moral views.
                        You just contradicted yourself:

                        You're still talking as if standards judge, even though I already explained the problem with that:
                        "Second, I don't get your use of the word "judges" here. Standards don't judge since standards aren't agents. Instead, agents may form judgments (or more precisely: beliefs), in part, by using a standard. Again, this just just be terminological discrepancy between the two of us."

                        In any event, I already noted that people can use standards to judge.

                        But that was Kant's point and why such an independent standard or judge was necessary. And why it relates to our discussion.
                        Kant never said that standards themselves judge.
                        Last edited by Jichard; 04-06-2015, 07:25 PM.
                        "Instead, we argue, it is necessary to shift the debate from the subject under consideration, instead exposing to public scrutiny the tactics they [denialists] employ and identifying them publicly for what they are."

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Jichard View Post
                          No, I gave you a standard objectivist answer for how moral statements would be true: they are made true or false in virtue of referring to moral properties.



                          Same thing I'd do in science for a term T.
                          1 : Gather examples of things to which T seems to primae facie applies.

                          2 : Examine what those examples have in common or similar.

                          3 : Generate conditions for the application of T from that.

                          4 : Apply those conditions to new cases.

                          This is how philosophers have been doing moral philosophy for at least 2000 years (though some place less emphasis on step 3; for example: casuists, or particularists who just opt for moral statements as being like rule-of-thumbs). And it's how people have done moral reasoning since before then. It's just a specialized instance of the same reasoning humans use for categorizing stuff in other contexts.
                          But philosophers have been arguing about this for the same amount of time. For instance some are moral realists, some are anti-realists. But I wanted a real world example. Let me try this - I will give you an audience with a group of Stalinists who think they are perfectly justified in executing dissidents with a small pistol. What would you say to them, how does your moral realism make any difference?



                          You just contradicted yourself:

                          You're still talking as if standards judge, even though I already explained the problem with that:
                          "Second, I don't get your use of the word "judges" here. Standards don't judge since standards aren't agents. Instead, agents may form judgments (or more precisely: beliefs), in part, by using a standard. Again, this just just be terminological discrepancy between the two of us."

                          In any event, I already noted that people can use standards to judge.



                          Kant never said that standards themselves judge.
                          And like I explained, minds made the rule. Minds carry out the judgement if the rule is violated. But Kant did say that a judge (i.e. moral mind, actually an all knowing moral mind) was necessary for his ethical system to have any merit. Hence what is called Kant's "Moral Argument for the Existence of God."
                          Last edited by seer; 04-06-2015, 07:48 PM.
                          Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by seer View Post
                            But philosophers have been arguing about this for the same amount of time. For instance some are moral realists, some are anti-realists.
                            And...

                            But I wanted a real world example. Let me try this - I will give you an audience with a group of Stalinists who think they are perfectly justified in executing dissidents with a small pistol. What would you say to them, how does your moral realism make any difference?
                            Irrelevant.

                            First, moral realism is a position in meta-ethics, not normative ethics. So your question, would be like asking how is scientific realism relevant to Young Earth creationists? Misguided.

                            Second, just because one is unable to convince some group of X, doesn't mean much. It'd be like pointing out that I can't convince a creationist that evolution happens.

                            Third, I already answered your question.

                            Fourth, if you think disagreement among philosophers is such a big deal, then do be consistent and stop defending positions on which philosophers disagree. For example: Christianity and libertarian free will.

                            And like I explained, minds made the rule.
                            And like I said, standards don't judge. Agents do. So you're incorrect in claiming that standards judge.

                            Minds carry out the judgement if the rule is violated. But Kant did say that a judge (i.e. moral mind, actually an all knowing moral mind) was necessary for his ethical system to have any merit. Hence what is called Kant's "Moral Argument for the Existence of God."
                            False. Kant's moral argument was based on happiness and a mind bringing that about. When it came to objective moral duties and objective moral values (i.e. what actually makes actions morally right, good, etc.), that was based on practice reason and didn't depend on a deity's existence.
                            "Instead, we argue, it is necessary to shift the debate from the subject under consideration, instead exposing to public scrutiny the tactics they [denialists] employ and identifying them publicly for what they are."

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Jichard View Post
                              And...
                              And? You said that this was how philosophers have been doing moral philosophy for at least 2000 years - but they often come to different conclusion, and hold different theories. So why bring it up in the first place? It doesn't get us anywhere. They don't get us anywhere.


                              Irrelevant.

                              First, moral realism is a position in meta-ethics, not normative ethics. So your question, would be like asking how is scientific realism relevant to Young Earth creationists? Misguided.

                              Second, just because one is unable to convince some group of X, doesn't mean much. It'd be like pointing out that I can't convince a creationist that evolution happens.

                              Third, I already answered your question.

                              Fourth, if you think disagreement among philosophers is such a big deal, then do be consistent and stop defending positions on which philosophers disagree. For example: Christianity and libertarian free will.
                              So practically moral realism is useless. Thanks. As far as Christianity, I can personally point to about three dozen people who came out of self destructive or criminal lives to become good citizens, parents, friends etc... This does not make Christianity true, but there certainly is a lot more practical application or usefulness.


                              False. Kant's moral argument was based on happiness and a mind bringing that about. When it came to objective moral duties and objective moral values (i.e. what actually makes actions morally right, good, etc.), that was based on practice reason and didn't depend on a deity's existence.
                              Well I gave you a quote where it did. In other words how do we personally judge these issues? We can't according to Kant, again:

                              Therefore, in all duties the conscience of the man must regard another than himself as the judge of his actions, if it is to avoid self-contradiction. Now this other may be an actual or a merely ideal person which reason frames to itself. Such an idealized person (the authorized judge of conscience) must be one who knows the heart; for the tribunal is set up in the inward part of man; at the same time he must also be all-obliging, that is, must be or be conceived as a person in respect of whom all duties are to be regarded as his commands; since conscience is the inward judge of all free actions. Now, since such a moral being must at the same time possess all power (in heaven and earth), since otherwise he could not give his commands their proper effect (which the office of judge necessarily requires), and since such a moral being possessing power over all is called God, hence conscience must be conceived as the subjective principle of a responsibility for one's deeds before God; nay, this latter concept is contained (though it be only obscurely) in every moral self-consciousness.

                              BTW - I would like to hear more about "moral properties." What they are.
                              Last edited by seer; 04-09-2015, 07:43 AM.
                              Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by seer View Post
                                And? You said that this was how philosophers have been doing moral philosophy for at least 2000 years - but they often come to different conclusion, and hold different theories. So why bring it up in the first place? It doesn't get us anywhere. They don't get us anywhere.
                                That's incorrect.

                                First, you asked an epistemic question, and I gave you an epistemic: I explained how one goes about reaching moral conclusions in a justified. Pointing out that philosophers come to different conclusions does nothing to undermine that epistemic point, anymore than pointing out that scientists comes to different conclusions undermines the epistemology used in science.

                                Second, you're special pleading again. If you really thought that if different people reach different conclusions when then they use methodology X, therefore methodology X gets us nowhere and should be thrown out, then you'd stop using the methods used in theology. That is: you'd stop being Christian. Of course, you won't do that, because you're engaged in special pleading.

                                Third, you're underestimating the convergence in agreement amongst philosophers on these issues. This includes on various moral issues such as slavery, and various meta-ethical issues, such as the fallacies involved in defenses of divine command theory and individual moral subjectivism.

                                So practically moral realism is useless. Thanks.
                                That's not what I said. What you wrote is as ridiculous as saying practically Cell Theory is useless, since it doesn't tell me which actions are morally right and morally wrong. Different positions answer different questions. So just as Cell Theory isn't in the business of answering the question of which actions are morally good or morally bad, moral realism isn't in the business of answering that question. Moral realism instead answers a different set of meta-ethical questions. That doesn't mean moral realism is useless, anymore than it means Cell Theory is useless.

                                As far as Christianity, I can personally point to about three dozen people who came out of self destructive or criminal lives to become good citizens, parents, friends etc... This does not make Christianity true, but there certainly is a lot more practical application or usefulness.
                                And I can point out numerous people who became judgmental, vindictive people, after becoming Christian. And that's as irrelevant as what you wrote.

                                Now, please stop confusing meta-ethical positions like moral realism, with positions in normative ethics, like welfare utilitarianism and Kantian deontology.

                                Well I gave you a quote where it did. In other words how do we personally judge these issues? We can't according to Kant, again:
                                None of which rebuts what I actually wrote:
                                "False. Kant's moral argument was based on happiness and a mind bringing that about. When it came to objective moral duties and objective moral values (i.e. what actually makes actions morally right, good, etc.), that was based on practic[al] reason and didn't depend on a deity's existence."

                                Feel free to cite a section of Kant that actually addresses what I wrote.

                                BTW - I would like to hear more about "moral properties." What they are.
                                Properties are features has by particulars, groups of particulars, and so. Moral properties are the properties referred to by moral statements. A moral objectivist / moral realist should know this, so I take it that you aren't a moral objectivist nor a moral realist.
                                "Instead, we argue, it is necessary to shift the debate from the subject under consideration, instead exposing to public scrutiny the tactics they [denialists] employ and identifying them publicly for what they are."

                                Comment

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