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Does Manosphere Blogger Vox Day Really Support the Murder and Mutilation of Women?

Most women, it is fair to say, don’t want to be deprived of education; they don’t want to be considered little more than baby-making machines; and they don’t want “independent” women to be maimed or murdered.

But according to the influential manosphere blogger Vox Day, women who object to any of this just don’t know what’s good for them. In one of the most repellant manosphere rants I’ve run across yet, Vox attempts to rebut PZ Myers’ critiques of evolutionary psychology with a series of bizarre and hateful assertions about women, offering his own “scientific” rationales for keeping women down. Is this all somehow satire on his part? He certainly seems sincere.

TRIGGER WARNING for all that follows; Vox explicitly defends the maiming and murder of women.

Vox starts out by arguing that depriving women of education makes solid evolutionary sense:

[E]ducating women is strongly correlated with reducing their disposition and ability to reproduce themselves. Educating them tends to make them evolutionary dead ends. … 40% of German women with college degrees are childless. Does PZ seriously wish to claim that not reproducing is intrinsically beneficial to women?

Instead of being educated, Vox goes on to argue, girls should be married off young so they can start popping out babies:

[R]aising girls with the expectation that their purpose in life is to bear children allows them to pursue marriage at the age of their peak fertility, increase the wage rates of their prospective marital partners, and live in stable, low-crime, homogenous societies that are not demographically dying. It also grants them privileged status, as they alone are able to ensure the continued survival of the society and the species alike. Women are not needed in any profession or occupation except that of child-bearer and child-rearer, and even in the case of the latter, they are only superior, they are not absolutely required.

Next, he defends the practice of throwing acid in the face of “independent” women:

[F]emale independence is strongly correlated with a whole host of social ills. Using the utilitarian metric favored by most atheists, a few acid-burned faces is a small price to pay for lasting marriages, stable families, legitimate children, low levels of debt, strong currencies, affordable housing, homogenous populations, low levels of crime, and demographic stability. If PZ has turned against utilitarianism or the concept of the collective welfare trumping the interests of the individual, I should be fascinated to hear it.

He moves on to honor killings, arguing that they too are good for women, because

female promiscuity and divorce are strongly correlated with a whole host of social ills, from low birth and marriage rates to high levels of illegitimacy.

He offers a similar rationale for female genital mutilation, before launching into this bizarre racist attack on abortion rights:

[F]ar more women are aborted than die as a result of their pregnancies going awry. The very idea that letting a few women die is worse than killing literally millions of unborn women shows that PZ not only isn’t thinking like a scientist, he’s quite clearly not thinking rationally at all. If PZ is going to be intellectually consistent here, then he should be quite willing to support the abortion of all black fetuses, since blacks disproportionately commit murder and 17x more people could be saved by aborting black fetuses than permitting the use of abortion to save the life of a mother. 466 American women die in pregnancy every year whereas 8,012 people died at the hands of black murderers in 2010.

Vox wants “girls” – presumably teenagers — to be married off young and start popping out babies. Yet in his mind female fetuses are “unborn women.”

Despite Vox Day’s repellent ideas about women – and his proud racism – he’s an influential figure in the manosphere, mentioned approvingly and regularly cited by others who present themselves as more moderate voices. It may not be a shock that the reactionary antifeminist blogger Dalrock includes Vox in his blogroll, and cites his work with approval (see here and here for examples). But, astoundingly, he’s also regularly cited approvingly by antifeminist “relationship expert” Susan Walsh of Hooking Up Smart (see here, here, and here). And she has even written at least one guest post on Vox’s “game blog” Alpha Game.

At this point I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked by any of this.  But I still am.

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Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
9 years ago

Dan — let’s hypothetically say everyone immediately concedes that Myers attacks religion without using science — so fucking what?

VD didn’t need to justify honor killings and acid attacks to make that point (you’re attempting to do exactly that aren’t you?)

Except utilitarianism is a logical basis, so no, we’re not conceding the point (or I’m not at least). You do get that whether, say, out of wedlock birth is “morally wrong” actually cannot be scientifically proven? And that correlation is not causation?

not-at-Dan — I really need a Greek choir for correlation is not causation — I sure do end up saying it often enough.

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

I’m not. I’m just plain old Dan.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
9 years ago

katz — yeah I’m curious on that too, but no sign of He Who Can Check IPs

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

That’s the whole point is what. It wasn’t strictly necessary, but Myers chose the subject matter.

Sharculese
9 years ago

That’s the whole point is what. It wasn’t strictly necessary, but Myers chose the subject matter.

it actually is necessary to point out when religion is used as a feeble excuse for violence against people you don’t like. this should be obvious.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
9 years ago

Dan — let me be more specific then — let’s hypothetically say everyone immediately concedes that Myers attacks religion without using science, how does that negate the logical, philosophy based, argument Myers is making?

And how’s it negate that VD seems to regularly say shit like this and thus is not using satire but actually providing “justification” for acid attacks, honor killing, etc.

You ignored the rest of my questions and instead answered just the one where I swore, I do hope you aren’t offended by the word fuck, or you aren’t going to last long around here.

cloudiah
9 years ago

This one’s for Glenn Beck: http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3pmlxv/

Sharculese
9 years ago

dannyboy, if youre entire bone of contention is something pz originally conceded, what exactly is the crushing ‘gotcha’ you’ve manage to get yourself into a tizzy over?

Sharculese
9 years ago

also for the record, dan- are you pro or anti terrorism against women. why or why not?

Rutee Katreya
9 years ago

What Day successfully demonstrates is that Myers attacks religion from emotion and not science or logic.

No, he does no such thing. I didn’t even realize that’s what he was going for, so his communication is *terrible*. What you think he demonstrates is that, but the fact is he’s only making himself look like a fool.

Since you Pecunium and Amused both essentially concede that Myers does in fact attack religion from emotion and not science or logic,

Or you just applied the same level of reading comprehension to him as you did to them, I suppose.

The illegitimacy of emotional attacks

An assumed conclusion if ever there was one.

So even Myers himself concedes.

…Are you completely lacking in reading comprehension?

pecunium
pecunium
9 years ago

Dan: You are confused. I didn’t say he didn’t use logic, I said that it’s not a realm in which, “science” applies.

It’s an important distinction, even if you refuse to admit it exists.

And how, from that, does VD get to needing to justify dehumanising half the population, and attacking them with acid/death? That’s an appeal to emotion, at least as strong as any you see Myer’s making; futher it’s not rational; under the terms VD has proposed.

That’s the real problem. I don’t care if someone is using pathos in an argument, so long as it serves a reasonable appeal to logos. VD doesn’t manage that, and what sticks in your craw is that Myers does.

The other thing… I’m still not talking about Myers. It does’t matter if I agree with him, or I don’t. what I am concerned with is 1: the content of VD’s writing (which isn’t something ex nihilo, see the quotations above), and 2: the structure of his argument His argument is all pathos and no logos because the only places he tries to use logos he commits fallacy.

I’ll ask you the same questions I asked David Marshall:

1: What is VD’s point?

1a: How is it satire.
1b: If none of his other works are to be considered, how can we know it’s satire?

2: How does this batch of over the top points differ from his other writings? (see 1a-1b above as to why this matters, your attempt to dismiss it as irrelevant notwithstanding)

3: What about his “mocking” makes the logical failures, intellectual errors (e.g. the mis-statement of utilitarianism), etc. worth ignoring?

You say the answer to No. 1 is to show that Myers is a poor scientist.

Ok, if that’s his point it’s a meaningless one. This is an issue of ethics, not “science” (i.e. it’s not an aspect of the “hard sciences” [though anyone who thinks the majority of the, “soft” sciences have no math, etc. needs to look again). This could be expressed in symbolic logic, pathos and all. So that interpretation of the, “problem” is wrong.

So go ahead, show how this is an issue of Myers failing to use the scientific method. You may use symbolic logic if you like.

If you want to argue a new answer to No. 1, go ahead. I won’t fault you.

The other two questions stand, as written.

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

I am offended by it, but I won’t be here long anyway. I follow Vox Day’s blog and he linked here. I’m a one-timer.
Then you’re into a totally different debate, completely unrelated to VD’s point. I didn’t answer your questions because they don’t make sense. You’re not conceding the point that Myers isn’t using science to attack religion because you think he IS using philosophy?
Of course he’s not using satire. You can make a case to make a point. It doesn’t mean you believe it necessarily.

pecunium
pecunium
9 years ago

Offended by what? Us pointing out what a douchenozzle VD is?

How is it we are debating different things? We say VD has failed to make his points.

You say he has.

You aver his points are one thing, we see them as another. We’ve used VD’s words to support our position.

You’ve not.

So, on balance, you’ve made nothing but appeals to either emotion or your authority.

On what basis should we treat your authority over our own? Why should we be swayed by your emotional appeals (the claim that Myers needs to use science, is an appeal to emotion. It’s saying that he’s, “not doing it right”, for no other reason than, “it’s not science”.

Since he never claimed it was, “science” but that it was ethics, that argument, still, fails on its face, just as it did when VD made the appeal to the OpEd (itself using no, “science” to show the error of Myers’ ways; it was nothing more than an appeal to the emotions [i.e. “Science is better”], in an attempt to rig the game, and so make PZ Myers grant a legitimacy which hasn’t been shown to apply to him, but I digress).

If you, and VD are seriously making that claim, it’s not just poor logic, it’s dishonest.

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

But I’m amazed that so many seem to have the impression that he supports acid attacks and honor killing. Do you also think he actually supports aborting all black fetuses?

pecunium
pecunium
9 years ago

Oh wait… were you pretending to answer Sharculese question about terrorism against women?

Because I’m offended by war. Some wars I am in favor of, some I am opposed to, but I am offended by all of them.

So if that was a reply to Sharculese, try again; this time actually answering the question.

pecunium
pecunium
9 years ago

Dan: As I said, from reading his writing over the course of the past nine years… I don’t think he supports it, but I don’t think he’d be all that against it were it legislated.

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

I was responding to someone else, not to you. Anyway, this is a mess. I’ll just say one more time, VD’s only point was that Myers doesn’t approach religion from a scientific point of view. That’s been my only point. Not whether that’s good or bad. “We cannot, though, say a priori that it is wrong because abusing and denigrating half the population [or throwing acid on women, my note] is unconscionable and vile, because that is not a scientific foundation for the conclusion. It’s an emotional one; it’s also a rational one, given the premise that we should treat all people equitably…but that premise can’t claim scientific justification.” -Myers
That’s the point. You’re all bogged down in the rhetoric, which is precisely why VD used it. I hate these online debates. I gotta stop

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

I was responding to someone’s question of whether I was offended by the use of the word fuck

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
9 years ago

“I am offended by it” — my use of fuck I assume? More so than by VD’s justifications for acid attacks and honor killings? You seriously need a priorities check if so.

“You’re not conceding the point that Myers isn’t using science to attack religion because you think he IS using philosophy?” — pretty much, yeah. Too many hours of a psych degree taught my plenty of logic, philosophy, and math and science — you’re doing science wrong if you think the ethics of anything can be empirically determined (and I’d swear this was discussed already).

“You can make a case to make a point. It doesn’t mean you believe it necessarily.” — I think we’re all familiar with the concept of playing devil’s advocate, yes. One does generally note that that is what one is doing, if that it what one is doing.

“I’m a one-timer.” — too bad, I enjoy fucking with people who get offended by the word fuck, upsetting delicate sensibilities is also making a point (particularly in this context!)

Falconer
Falconer
9 years ago

women’s suffering is equal to less (say 3/5ths) than a man’s suffering

I see what you did there.

… and then I scrolled past all those other comments, so someone else has probably caught it before me 🙁

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
9 years ago

Pecunium — he’s reply to my asking if the word fuck offends him, apparently yes, it fucking does.

PsychoDan
PsychoDan
9 years ago

“but as will be seen by the answers I provide, by asking some of them, Myers is doing little more than demonstrating the very unscientific attitude of which he is accused! It’s important to understand that one need not find these answers to be absolutely conclusive or even convincing to recognize that they are scientifically valid answers, which is to say that they can be used to generate hypotheses and then subsequently put to the scientific test, at least to the extent that social science can reasonably be considered science.”

I’m a little behind on this one, but I wanted to point out that VD’s (made up) definition of scientific validity is completely asinine. He’s worked quite a bit to obfuscate it, but all he’s actually saying is that his statements meet the incredibly rigorous requirement of being falsifiable ( and I imagine that’s not even actually true, but I don’t care enough to pick apart his statements to see). The idea that literally every falsifiable statement imaginable is worthy of serious scientific inquiry is pretty silly. I also like that he just can’t resist making that dig at social sciences, even though it seriously undermines his entire premise.

And as plenty of others have mentioned, we’re talking about a question of right and wrong here (even if it’s phrased as good vs harm), and those are fundamentally non-scientific concepts. That is what Myers was saying in the earlier piece that Day quoted. Science has absolutely nothing to say on the morality of anything.

pecunium
pecunium
9 years ago

I was responding to someone’s question of whether I was offended by the use of the word fuck

Quick, to the fainting couch… I’ll get the smelling salts.


That’s the point. You’re all bogged down in the rhetoric, which is precisely why VD used it. I hate these online debates. I gotta stop

So… VD is right because he made an appeal to emotion, to prove that Myers is wrong because he made an appeal to logos, and incorporated pathos.

That’s some clever reasoning there.

And that he was so over the top (never mind that it’s consistent with other things he’s said) that no one understands him is proof of his brilliance?

The mind reels.

hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

I have a feeling a lot of things don’t make sense to Dan.

pecunium
pecunium
9 years ago

Falconer… you were the first to mention it.

(thanks, I try)

pecunium
pecunium
9 years ago

katz: He’s not VD, the level of reasonable discourse is too great. I’ve seen VD appear when he’s being talked about. He’s got his failings, but the need to sock isn’t one of them.

He figures his words are too logical, and pure and persuasive; also it lets him insult people.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
9 years ago

“I’ll just say one more time, VD’s only point was that Myers doesn’t approach religion from a scientific point of view. ”

And we’ll continue to repeat that whether something is moral or not (the basis of judging religion, generally) cannot be empirically determined. It cannot be a scientific question, ever, actually scientific questions about religion:

How many followers does [religion] have?
Are followers of [religion] more likely to do [thing] than followers of [religion]?
Do followers of [religion] see [thing] as moral or immoral? (this question assumes [religion] has a concept of morality)
Do people, in general, see [thing] as moral/ethical? What percentage? Is there a significant difference across [variable(s)]?

Questions that would get you laughed out of science: Is religion, itself, not any specific religion, moral? — It’s inherently a philosophical question.

(All words in brackets are placeholders for specific examples, eg [religion] is a placeholder for Christianity, Islam, etc)

Bostonian
9 years ago

It is pretty clear from Vox Days writings that he does support murder, acid attacks and killing black babies. He is not very good at disguising his glee.

cloudiah
9 years ago

VD in his own words:

I mean, I sure hope you don’t think throwing acid in women’s faces is actually good policy.

It depends upon the objective and the metric, obviously. If one takes utilitarian metrics and the objective of the common good of the collective seriously, one can make an excellent case, perhaps even a conclusive one, for it being good policy.

I don’t really worry much about what people who can’t follow the if/then concept think. And by much, I mean, at all. What I think you fail to understand is that these people aren’t interested in understanding me, in fact, their ability to continue to think well of themselves requires them failing to understand me.

Plus, it’s hilarious to see them keep falling into the same traps over and over, all the while genuinely convinced of their own intellectual and moral superiority.

What, he’s not convinced of his own intellectual and moral superiority? He later says he’s not a utilitarian, but that’s about as far as he backs away from supporting throwing acid in women’s faces… The part where neither he nor his supporters question the premise that throwing acid in women’s faces would be good for the common good of the collective., yeah, that’s not problematic at all.

Also, why do people like VD, Paul Elam, John the Other, and others feel the need to cultivate a community of fawning sycophants? It’s amazing how similar the commenting culture is between VD’s blog and AVfM. Most of the comments amount to “oh you’re so smart.” If one person says “you have completely demolished your opposition,” someone else will say, “Demolished? He annihilated them!”

Amused
9 years ago

In addition to what others have pointed out already, I have to say I am completely blown away by Dan’s use of words “science” and “logic” interchangeably. Clearly, Dan, you don’t understand what either of them means.

Also: If the idea that women should be treated as human beings fails because it lacks scientific support, so does the idea that men should be treated as human beings. Surely, given your steely control of emotions and your equally firm grasp of logic, you wouldn’t mind being stripped of the right to vote and having acid thrown in your face. After all, it’s not like those things affect anything other than your feelings.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
9 years ago

“If one person says “you have completely demolished your opposition,” someone else will say, “Demolished? He annihilated them!””

Sean: You are so on the team! Next week we’ve got the Crown & Anchor. We’re going to annihilate them!
The Doctor: [suddenly in Sean’s face] Annihilate? No! No violence, do you understand me? Not while I’m around, not today, not ever. I’m the Doctor. The Oncoming Storm. And you basically meant beat them in a football match, didn’t you?

Totally off-topic, but this nonsense needs a humor injection.

VD’s grand point seems to be the tired old “atheistic morality leads to an immoral society (because god is the only constraint on what’s really moral)” — we’ve all heard it a million times Dan (and VD if he’s lurking). The failure to examine whether utilitarianism actually support acid attacks, honor killings, etc is where any GOTCHA! argument falls apart.

Falconer
Falconer
9 years ago

I was responding to someone’s question of whether I was offended by the use of the word fuck

Well, it must have stung to type that, then.

It is Corrente that has long said that their use of the F-bomb is a guarantee that the content of their blog is not government or corporate propaganda.

The same could be said of the posters here who drop the bomb.

ozymandias42
9 years ago

Of course Myers approaches religion from a scientific point of view. Hypothesis: there is a God. Evidence collected does not show that there is a God. Conclusion: no God, until further evidence is shown.

In this case, however, he was approaching it from a moral point of view. Morals can be studied scientifically (i.e. the evolution of the moral sense) but they are not themselves scientific. Science doesn’t tell you what SHOULD happen; it just tells you what IS HAPPENING. You can’t do an experiment to find out whether throwing acid on girls’ faces is morally right. (You can study whether it’s effective to reach a particular goal, but that’s completely different.)

pecunium
pecunium
9 years ago

Cloudiah: His words, in that quotation, belie the portion you bolded.

If/then. So if one can show, to the satisfaction of VD that throwing acid in women’s faces is suitably beneficial (it need not be on a purely utilitarian basis) he will support it.

Which is in keeping with my statement; he might not actively support it (in the sense that he will pursue it as a policy aim), but he’s not guaranteed to be against it, given the right sort of legislation.

Amused: Yeah, the examples people use in their hypotheticals are often telling. If this was a one off, ok, it’s just him rambling.

But it’s not a one off. The list of ills he claims are consistent across time. This is just an extreme (even for VD) remedy.

cloudiah
9 years ago

I just want to leave one more VD quote responding to a commenter (commenter in bold):

Similarly, those women who seek education might follow a much more satisfying life than just a stay at home mom, or a mom whose psyche has been damaged by oppression or sexual mutilation..

And yet, every survey shows that the more educated, more childless women today are less happy than their more “oppressed” predecessors living in a less equalitarian society 40 years ago. Answering a hypothesis with a “might” isn’t a rebuttal, it’s an alternative hypothesis. In either case, testing and observation is in order.

So VD isn’t saying he supports throwing acid in women’s faces for the collective good of society, he’s just saying it’s a hypothesis that is worth testing and observation. He’s a scientist, you see!

After that, I definitely need brain bleach. Here’s a Shiba Inu puppy live cam:
http://www.ustream.tv/sfshiba
Right now, there’s one lying on it’s back with it’s little feet twitching in the air. So cute.

cloudiah
9 years ago

@pecunium I may have introduced some confusion. In that quote I posted on the previous page, the bolded portion is someone else’s comment that VD is responding to.

ozymandias42
9 years ago

No they don’t. The best studies I know show a percentage point decline in happiness for women over the past couple decades, which could easily be attributable to things OTHER than feminism.

pecunium
pecunium
9 years ago

Every survey. He ignored one which another commenter linked to. Since he made a universal claim (hello Abnoy), a single example demolishes, no, annihilates the premise, ergo he’s wrong.

It’s a scientific fact.

Falconer
Falconer
9 years ago

The best studies I know show a percentage point decline in happiness for women over the past couple decades, which could easily be attributable to things OTHER than feminism.

Like, oh, say, all the backlash from ragemongers on the intarwebs.

I srsly tried to read Faludi’s Backlash and the sheer assholery she reports in it made me all HULK SMASH SEXIST ASSHOLES. I honestly couldn’t get through it, all the evidence she cited made me so mad.

(Not at her, you understand, but at all the assholes.)

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
9 years ago

“…living in a less equalitarian society 40 years ago” — Um…40 years ago was 1972, that’s smack in the middle of second wave feminism, VD really has no clue wtf he’s talking about.

“…which could easily be attributable to things OTHER than feminism.” — yeah I’d imagine the threat of nuclear war probably had some affect (on everyone) but I’m a bit young to really remember the cold war. That’s just to pull another possible variable out of my ass, because correlation is not causation.

“This is just an extreme (even for VD) remedy.” — this is the problem with focusing on the acid attacks question PZ posed, it is extreme. Some of the other questions, and VD’s answers, are more common positions, in general society, and thus nearly impossible to take as satire — eg his suggestion that letting women die in labor is better than “killing literally millions of unborn women”. Do I think he sees female fetuses as unborn women? No, probably not. Do I think he puts more value in an unborn life than a woman’s life? Yes, that would be consistent with what little I know about him.

red_locker
9 years ago

Folks, please scroll (or click? whatever) back to This is going to sound terribly PI’s post. It’s epic.

Tulgey Logger
Tulgey Logger
9 years ago

Some of Vox Day’s older satire, no doubt:

Now, a woman doesn’t deserved to get raped simply because she is a slut. That would be tantamount to saying that all women deserve to be raped, since all women have at least a modicum of slut in them; Athol Kay even goes so far as to say that a woman’s ability to unlock and slake her inner slut within her marriage is an important aspect of a happy and successful marriage. I tend to find sluts fairly likeable, for the most part, especially those who are sluts because they enjoy riding the alpha carousel as opposed to those who are merely ideologically slutty due to their incoherent feminism. And yet, I don’t shed any more tears over a slut getting raped than I do over a gambler winding up broke. It’s not inevitable, but the odds are what they are.

He’s such a brilliant satirist of the MRM. For a minute there I thought his satire of PZ failed because he was ascribing his own racism and lack of concern for women as human beings to PZ’s utilitarianism, but now I see it is a smashing success—just not against the target we all thought.

How wrong I was!

pecunium
pecunium
9 years ago

Tulgey: That’s the sort of thing which makes me say that VD doesn’t really not mean it.

Tulgey Logger
Tulgey Logger
9 years ago

Scented. Fucking. Candles.

Fucking brilliant is right.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
9 years ago

+1 internet to This is going to sound terribly PI — for being a substantially better writer than VD

cloudiah
9 years ago

Seconding “fucking brilliant.” Katz, was that you?

pecunium
pecunium
9 years ago

What will VD think of this.

JC Penny Fathers’ Day Ad

Shaenon
9 years ago

I was responding to someone’s question of whether I was offended by the use of the word fuck

Yeah, I can see where that was more hurtful than the stuff about throwing acid in women’s faces and eugenically eliminating black people. There really needed to be a trigger warning there.

Dvärghundspossen
9 years ago

” ” @Blackbloc: We need ethics because there are countless situations where we must make up our minds about what to do, and we must find some way to live together. I’d say that’s enough to justify doing ethics. ”

I’d say that’s an empirical justification.

Observations:

We are sharing the planet with others.
Countless examples of failed ways of living together that resulted in the annihilation of one or both parties.

Hypothesis: There is some methodology by which to ensure people can live together in harmony.

More observations to demonstrate.”

Well, you’re empirical argument presupposes that killing each other is bad and living together without killing each other is good. That’s not an empirical claim, since empirics don’t deal in normative claims about “bad” and “good”. So empirics TOGETHER with some normative assumptions can justify morality, yes, but not pure empirics.

“The problem is that, strictly speaking, you’ve demonstrated a need for *politics* (in the larger sense of the term, not just electoral politics), not ethics.”

I’d say “being able to live together” include stuff that’s normally considered part of ethics; like being able to rely on each other, keeping promises etc. Such issues as those Thomas discusses on the Yes Means Yes blog about keeping abuse out of the BDSM circles are also problems that arise because we’re living together with other people who have different desires and aims from ourselves. But if you wanna call all that politics I’m not gonna argue about words.

” “And one can argue rationally about ethics even if the arguments don’t look like “X is right because SCIENCE”.

You can’t argue rationally about *anything* without empiricism. There is a limit to pure reason, i.e. the atomic axiom problem. Any discussion that does not include any form of observation of facts is mental wankery. It’s interesting, it can sometimes later be brought back into something useful if we later observe that the axioms we arbitrarily chose actually can be demonstrated to be true (see: a lot of purely theoretical math work in number theory, and so forth), but it’s wankery just the same.

Science is just one particular (institutionalized) form of empiricism.”

Well, empiricism has its limits just like rationalism. First we have the well-known problem of induction, but even if we disregard that, empiricism as a basis for ethics must deny Hume’s law.

That’s why we’re probably stuck with the reflective equilibrium approach to ethics, and I don’t consider that irrational.