Statesboro, GA, USA
Are you arguing the hoary old, "if everything is relative, then 'everything is relative' is absolute" conundrum? Still?
First, we don't have a clue doesn't mean we can't have a clue.
In simplest terms, yes. Because it still presents a problem for those who want to assert that their agnosticism is more than just a personal state of mind.
Your second sentence only illustrates my point because it is so different (in degree of ambition) from what things I've read regarding anti-foundational philosophies, and the like.
But, in pondering what you've said, I wonder, is there that much of a difference between saying "We CAN'T have a clue", and "We may have a clue, but surely never have, and probably never will"? As I've said before, one is indeed theoretically dogmatic, but the other is at least pragmatically dogmatic and achieves the same nixing effect. It is the projecting of a personally existential state of mind, onto the whole. And when it is questioned as to it's overly ambitious goal, the concession IS usually there that such a stance of certainty is not what was meant. But then come those modifying phrases, looks, and innuendos, which clearly communicate that it is more than ridiculous to not accept this universal negation as absolutely true ... at least in the real world. Same end, different method. That's why existentialists best communicated themselves in films, sharing and giving expression to their moods. If they had attempted to do so under the auspices of systematic philosophy or whatever, the contradiction would have been too obvious.
Second, the problem with absolutes isn't that there aren't any, it's that people use the idea of absolutes to promote arbitrary designations.
People use math to come up with wrong answers too, but that doesn't negate the usefulness of math. Most often even political criticisms (including some of yours I've previously read, and which I don't wholly disagree with) are based upon one or more moral objection. And these are at least argued as if the concerns were more than just arbitrary espousals, forwarded merely for the sake of a different political agenda or slant.
Killing Bin Laden is not wrong because you can't murder a murderer. That is, change the definition to suit your purpose
That is really problematic. I often mistrust such justifications too, and therefore am closer to your way of thinking about such matters, than you might think. Because I live in America doesn't mean that I necessarily support what her Governmental agents decide to do in a crisis. Regardless of whether such actions are at all justifiable (because I think at least some weight must be given the idea that God has granted rulers to have the power of their sword to protect their own) I do not think it is the best or highest way. And it is certainly not the Christian way as taught by Jesus.
Limit the proposition to a specific time and place: It is universally wrong to murder Mother Theresa when she was still alive.
It seems murder, by it's nature, would HAVE to be limited to a specific time and place. After all, how could anyone murder mother Theresa when she's dead? The principle still retains it's universality in a universe where life is the theme. Just like math itself is pure theory until you add two and two pecans to make four pecans, moral directives are meant to be "limited" by actual experience. Where is the problem here?
So, absolutes are fine. They just don't always have a lot to offer.
This is where I disagree. You posted a thread a while back which basically told us that "terrorism" is an irrational kind of action, and one which may claim to have "reasons", but which really doesn't. People kill because they want to. They kill out of hatred and internal darkness and turmoil.
If there's any truth to that, then might it also be true of those who claim to slaughter in the name of divine decree? In which case, a belief in absolutes cannot blamed for what extremists do.
In my experience, people who most believe in the binding nature of moral responsibility coming from a righteous Heavenly authority, act accordingly (even if not perfectly). Someone who fears and respects the judgement of God against murder, typically has more of an aversion to murder than someone who doesn't. A man who feels he will lose tenfold for stealing, doesn't steal as much. Likewise a man who feels certain that good behavior will be in some way rewarded, will be more likely to act in a good way rather than not.
How much of Neo-Darwinian theory (for example), might also be partially responsible for the moral slide we now see? When survival of the fittest was repeatedly taught as the highest ideal, moral obligations become no longer obligatory. Morality itself is no longer an end, but a means to an end, as easily shed as a cumbersome tail, or a third leg. Moral innovation is permitted, whether individual or corporate. And egoism doesn't really save the day, in my view.
Why does the earth exist?
Because God said so.
Why did he say so?
How did he do it?
Insofar as Deism leads in this direction (and I don't know why it should, it just seems to), I'm not satisfied.
Why does the Earth exist? What type of answer are you looking for? You are assuming one does not exist. Even the phrase "Mother Earth" hints at it. And the Bible, though not giving a full mathematical, business-like, prosaic answer, gives us answers that will appease the poet in us all. Let the child begin to learn now, and the engineer later. Suspend your disbelief and ponder the word "Creator" for a start. It contains a depth of insight that an artist and lover like yourself ought to find quite genial and satisfying. It's not an end, but a beginning.
The fact that you're not satisfied is not a bad thing. But someone who is hungry doesn't rule out the existence of food as a solution to his hunger. Gastrectomies are overrated. Maybe what you are so sure is a stone, might turn out to be bread? But at least there can be answers with a theistic view. The only consolation in your presently chosen view, is that there shouldn't have to be answers, therefore hankering after them is an irrationality that can be parted with (even if it's a bit painful, like telling a loved imaginary friend to leave for good). But I somehow doubt that that satisfies you much more than Deism.