EvolutionNews.Org: Reading comprehension skills needed.

Posted: March 26, 2008 in Atheism, Evolution, Religion
Tags: , , ,

idiot.gifIn an earlier entry, I showed how EvolutionNews.org is full of the proverbial. It is something they have a long history of as anyone familiar with them can attest to. Quote mining, full faced lies, falsehoods and what-have-you. Well, they are at it again but seemingly at an entirely new level which really makes you question their reading comprehension skills.

In a new entry over on EvolutionNews.org called Dawkins Flip-Flops on Link between Darwinism and Fascism, John West states:

According The New York Times, arch-Darwinist Richard Dawkins is now asserting that the new film Expelled perpetrates a “major outrage” because the film suggests there is a link between Darwinian ideology and ideas like Nazism.

Say what?

In 2005, Dawkins himself declared that such a link existed, responding to an Austrian interviewer that “a Darwinian State would be a Fascist state,” which is why he says he opposes trying to run a society “according to Darwinian laws”:

He then quotes the following phrase from Dawkins which goes as such:

No self respecting person would want to live in a Society that operates according to Darwinian laws. I am a passionate Darwinist, when it involves explaining the development of life. However, I am a passionate anti-Darwinist when it involves the kind of society in which we want to live. A Darwinian State would be a Fascist state.

Oh, that sounds like some pretty damning stuff there, doesn’t it? Except, of course, this is just another example of what is known as ‘Quote Mining’ (the practice of choosing one phrase and using it selectively to change its meaning). So how did John West get caught out this time? Well, made the following link in his entry to a page over on Panda’s Thumb.

The page on Panda’s Thumb? Well, this is the funny part … it specifically disproves the point that John West is poorly attempting to make. To sum up the text on the page, I’ll use the following quote from it:

That’s like saying that a Quantum Mechanical society would be an anarchy. I hope that those better versed in logic than our Intelligent Design defender, understands the difference between “A Darwinian society would be a fascist state” and “Darwinism leads to Fascism”?

It is an indeed an old and decomposing argument that Evolution leads to Facism and Nazism style behaviour. One that has been disproved and laid to rest so many time that it is not funny, why people keep trying to dig it up is beyond me. Oh, wait. It is a common practice amongst ID and Creationist groups to repeat something over and over so that people might come to believe it. If nothing else, it’s a common brainwashing technique often used on dubious things such as religious cults, interrogation sessions and so on.

Social Darwinism (which is something no moral person, Christian or Atheist, would say is agreeable) and the Theory of Evolution have nothing to do with each other, except for part of a name. Social Darwinism was actually around long before Darwin ever penned Origin of the Species, with one of it’s earliest proponents being a certain Thomas Malthus … who was a Christian Minister.

Social Darwinism and the Theory of Evolution are completely separate, the only people who seem unable to grasp this simplest of facts are ID and Creationist proponents. One is a poor joke of social policy, the other is an evidence based scientific theory. I’ll end this entry by repeating what was written on the Panda’s Thumb page, which sums up better than I could the idiocy of the link that John West keeps alluding to:

That’s like saying that a Quantum Mechanical society would be an anarchy.

 

Oh, one more little bit. EvolutionNews.org is also running a link/story about how Expelled was the #1 topic on the Blogosphere. Fine. The press release they link to is full of the same old nonsense such as:

Mathis continued, I hope PZs experience has helped him see the light. He is distraught because he could not see a movie. What if he wasnt allowed to teach on a college campus or was denied tenure? Maybe he will think twice before he starts demanding more professors be blacklisted and expelled simply because they question the adequacy of Darwin’s theory.

Yet I have yet to see one case where this has happened. All the so called examples used in the film have been shown to false. Sternberg? Been shown he lied out his ass. Crocker? Contract not renewed due to gross incompetence. Gonzalez? Tenure application denied due to very poor academic record.

This press release silliness is also covered, it seems, by The Bad Idea Blog and by PZ Myers himself.

Another first hand account of the hypocrisy in regards to Mathis and this film becomes apparent through this entry by Amanda Gefter, where it is shown that the film clearly has a religious basis while trying to deny it, that ID offers no actual answers at all and that Mathis really can not handle questions that do not come from sycophants.

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Bad says:

    John West ranks up there on the intellectual coward scale. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him seriously try to argue his accusations in an open forum in recent years: he mostly posts behind cover of commentless blogs and articles, pretty much simply ignoring criticism and debunkings.

    These guys just can’t take the heat.

  2. Nimravid says:

    You’re not the only one to notice the poor reading comprehension skills exhibited by Evolution News and Views. There was an article on the Grand Canyon’s age a few months ago and if you used their reasoning from that post in a different context you might conclude that a boy who grew one inch in the past year must be one year old.

  3. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    Clearly there is a case of quote mining here.

    Your write:
    >It is an indeed an old and decomposing argument that Evolution leads to Facism and Nazism style behaviour.

    I read the link to the article above & you left this out:

    QUOTE”What is interesting in the above comment is not that Dawkins rejects fascism, but that he apparently believes that Darwinism logically applied to government would lead to fascism. This is a far stronger claim, by the way, than the one made in the preliminary cut of Expelled that I’ve seen. The experts interviewed for the film—including historian Richard Weikart and mathematician David Berlinski—are careful to point out that there is no inevitable connection between Darwinism and what happened in Nazi Germany. But that does not cancel out the fact that Darwinian ideology provided the Nazis with one of their key justifications for sterilizing the “unfit” and killing the handicapped. Darwinism similarly provided a rationale for eugenics crusaders in America, which I write about in my recent book Darwin Day in America.”END QUOTE

    So where are the ID people claiming “Evolution leads to Facism and Nazism” & that Dawkins admits to that?
    They CLEARLY saying Dawkins admits Darwinism “applied to government would lead to fascism”.

    Maybe ID is bunk since I am only now begining to investigate their claims but you guys don’t fill me with confidence you are the best watchdogs again their alledgied “quote mining”. Especially if you do it yourselves.

    additionally

    It’s true Darwinian ideology “provided” the Nazis with one of their key justifications for sterilizing the “unfit”.
    Just as the Bible (& I say this as a Traditional Catholic) “provided” the Crusaders with a justification to slay Jews on their way to liberate the Holy Land.

    But as my Father Confessor said “Abuse doesn’t negate correct use”. Maybe if clowns like Dawkins & Hitchens would make these sophmoric conections between religious people & violence then some Theists wouldn’t be tempted to respond in kind?

    This is a wake up call to all you “Bright” types to stop using you own best worst argument & start engadging your opponents with the reason & logic you claim to believe in?

    Ya think?

    edit: should say “WOUNDN’T make these sophmoric conections between religious”.

    What can I? Grammer & spelling have never been my strong suit. But I believe my statements are valid.

    That’s enough for today.

  4. Matt says:

    Where is the quote? Gee, I guess you haven’t seen ‘Expelled’ and read other articles from the Discovery Institute where it seems to be their main argument.

    I don’t see where I did any ‘quote mining’, thankyou.

    And yes, you do need to work on your spelling and grammar.

  5. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    Well now that I am at home I can relax & take my time & use my spell check..

    Try to process son.

    You wrote:
    >don’t see where I did any ‘quote mining’, thankyou.

    I reply: You WROTE above QUOTE “It is an indeed an old and decomposing argument that Evolution leads to Facism and Nazism style behaviour. “(BTW it’s Fascism with an s and not facism. Also it’s “behavior”, there is no “u”. So maybe YOU better work on your spelling).

    Anyway the ACTUAL article from DI you link too (but conveniently don’t fully quote on your blog says QUOTE”What is interesting in the above comment is not that Dawkins rejects fascism, but that he apparently believes that DARWINISM LOGICALLY APPLIED TO GOVERNMENT would lead to fascism.”END QUOTE

    So the article you link too (i.e. Dawkins Flip-Flops on Link between Darwinism and Fascism, etc) CLEARLY is in line with WHAT Dawkins believes & has not misrepresented him at all.

    YOU cite Dawkins:
    QUOTE “That’s like saying that a Quantum Mechanical society would be an anarchy. I hope that those better versed in logic than our Intelligent Design defender, understands the difference between “A Darwinian society would be a fascist state” and “Darwinism leads to Fascism”?END QUOTE

    Note the above is YOUR citation of Dawkins not Ben Stein’s & not the DI.

    Your wrote:
    Where is the quote?

    I reply: See above:

    >Gee, I guess you haven’t seen ‘Expelled’

    I reply: Not yet, but if you did, based on your comprehension skills thus far I am filled with little confidence in you analytic abilities.

    >and read other articles from the Discovery Institute where it seems to be their main argument.

    I reply: I’m starting to read their articles & upon stumbling on your blog it took me less then a minute to identify your quoting error. My spelling & grammar may suck but I’m 40 & at the risk of blowing my own horn my reading comprehension skills are as sharp as a knife. You however need to work on them a little.

    >And yes, you do need to work on your spelling and grammar.

    I reply: Again do remember it’s Fascism not facism and it’s “behavior” not behaviour. Son it’s better to be silent & be thought a fool then to Blog without thinking and remove all doubt. Next time try thinking.

    BTW don’t feel bad I used my spell check QUITE a lot for this post. go Dr. Who!!

  6. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    BTW you should be honest & point out my original post above was actually THREE posts. Lumping it all together makes me look a little foolish. Like I can’t think. Where as keeping them separate shows they where three separate thoughts I did off the cuff. What was that you said about Ben Stein & Co using deceptive editing? Anyway this paragraph starting with BTW is a Post unto itself. I’m done. Resurrect Gallafrey!!!!!

    Moderator: Aw, such a terrible crime for me trying to make the comments list look a bit neater and cleaner, then forgetting to add a little note so as not to hurt your precious feelings. Here, have a tissue.

  7. Matt says:

    I reply: You WROTE above QUOTE “It is an indeed an old and decomposing argument that Evolution leads to Facism and Nazism style behaviour. “

    Yes, indeed I did write that and, indeed, it is true.

    (BTW it’s Fascism with an s and not facism. Also it’s “behavior”, there is no “u”. So maybe YOU better work on your spelling).

    Ooh, I made a typo with ‘facism’, what a shocker. And yes, there is a ‘u’ in behaviour. It is pretty much only the United States who can’t seem to handle proper English. Just look at the spelling of ‘donut’. Heh.

    So the article you link too (i.e. Dawkins Flip-Flops on Link between Darwinism and Fascism, etc) CLEARLY is in line with WHAT Dawkins believes & has not misrepresented him at all.

    YOU cite Dawkins:

    That’s not Dawkins. That’s John West from the Panda’s Thumb.

    Note the above is YOUR citation of Dawkins not Ben Stein’s & not the DI.

    I’m not entirely sure you’re understanding the whole point of the DI’s entry at this point in time.
    The Article stated that Dawkins stated that evolution applied to government would lead to a fascist state, which is what he said.

    The DI then tried to link that statement with the point that (and I quote) “But that does not cancel out the fact that Darwinian ideology provided the Nazis with one of their key justifications for sterilizing the “unfit” and killing the handicapped.”. They cover their asses by saying “are careful to point out that there is no inevitable connection between Darwinism and what happened in Nazi Germany.” but then do almost a backflip and say nearly the complete opposite.

    Which, of course, is utter nonsense. What they’re talking about there is Social Darwinism and Eugenics. Neither of which have anything to do with the Theory of Evolution (or Charles Darwin for that matter).

  8. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    >That’s not Dawkins. That’s John West from the Panda’s Thumb.

    I reply: My error & I made myself look foolish too. I own up to it. (But my principle is the same)

    >The Article stated that Dawkins stated that evolution applied to government would lead to a fascist state, which is what he said.

    I reply: We already went over this the article said QUOTE”Dawkin’s said…DARWINISM LOGICALLY APPLIED TO GOVERNMENT would lead to fascism.etc” Which obviously it would & clearly Dawkins doesn’t want that. He wants Darwinism to exist only in the Animal Kingdom & not human civilization.

    >The DI then tried to link that statement with the point that (and I quote) “But that does not cancel out the fact that Darwinian ideology provided the Nazis with one of their key justifications for sterilizing the “unfit” and killing the handicapped.”.

    I reply: I already explained that from before. The Bible “provided” the crusaders with the justification to kill Jews. Abuse doesn’t negate correct use. Of course Darwinian ideology provided the Nazis etc. Dawkins himself said he wouldn’t want to live in a society that was run on Darwinian ideology. Just an example of applying Darwinism to Government.

    >They cover their asses by saying “are careful to point out that there is no inevitable connection between Darwinism and what happened in Nazi Germany.” but then do almost a backflip and say nearly the complete opposite.

    I reply: You have just conceded to me the lion’s share of the argument. For you it not about what they ACTUALLY said but what YOU WANT THEM to mean. That doesn’t fool anybody. Exegete texts my lad(is that British enough for yuss?) don’t isogete them it’s bad form.

    >Which, of course, is utter nonsense. What they’re talking about there is Social Darwinism and Eugenics. Neither of which have anything to do with the Theory of Evolution (or Charles Darwin for that matter).

    I reply: It clearly has something to do with Darwin since Darwin postulated the survival of the fittest & some Atheist chuckleheads thought that would be a great way to improve the human race. Just like some Christian Chuckleheads read in their about how the High Priest turned JC over to the Romans to be killed & thought THAT gave them permission to take it out on later day Jews.

    Why the double standard?

    Find a better example from the DI website & use their ACTUAL words not you summery of what you WANT them to mean. Because son you are NOT going to convince anyone with an IQ above 3.

    Oy vey!

  9. Matt says:

    There is no double standard at all.

    The DI has stated time and again, in that very entry, that they link the Theory of Evolution with what Hitler did. Which is the whole point and where the article goes completely wrong.

    They attempt to make that link through misusing a quote of Dawkins in a specific manner, which is the definition of quote mining.

    The Theory of Evolution didn’t supply the Nazis with any sort of ideology because the concept already existed, through the ideals supported by such people as Thomas Malthus years before Darwin ever came onto the scene.

    So the DI got caught out being wrong and now you seem to be trying to apologise for them in a rather strange manner.

  10. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    >The DI has stated time and again, in that very entry, that they link the Theory of Evolution with what Hitler did. Which is the whole point and where the article goes completely wrong.

    I reply: Repeating yourself without specifically addressing my points is unconvincing. It’s called “Point weak-pound pulpit”.

    >They attempt to make that link through misusing a quote of Dawkins in a specific manner, which is the definition of quote mining.

    I reply: They CLEARLY don’t misquote Dawkins. Dawkins clearly said Darwinism should not be applied to government or it will lead to fascism. The DI people point that out & point out Dawkin’s inconsistancy in complaining about Ben Stein & DI people pointing to Hitler’s applying Darwin to his particular type of goverment which was Fascism.

    >The Theory of Evolution didn’t supply the Nazis with any sort of ideology because the concept already existed, through the ideals supported by such people as Thomas Malthus years before Darwin ever came onto the scene.

    I reply: Every standard biography of Hitler tells how he borrowed from(ie. distorted) Darwin to justify his racial beliefs. Just as the Knights of the KKK borrow from(ie. distort) the Bible to justify their racial beliefs. In case you are unaware the concept of Evolution goes back to the Greeks. Darwin applied the concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest to nature, and that’s where Hitler believed he was taking his beliefs from.

    The link is undeniable, but misuse doesn’t negate proper use. I believe the Bible to be God’s inspired word & I’m not afraid to admit that there’s a “link” between the evil KKK & the Bible. Why are you then so uncomfortable with the link between Darwinism & Hitler? You remind me of the Fundamentalist Protestant who’s uncomfortable with the fact that

    people have misused the Bible for evil & wants to downplay it & overreact by saying there’s no true connection. You in a like manner can’t bear to admit that there’s a link between them(no true Scotsman argument). You’d look much better if you just say, “Granted, there’s a link but so what? Misuse doesn’t negate proper use.”

    I think the bottom line is that Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris & they’re sycophants can dish it out but can’t take it. They will cite all these religious people who’ve committed grievious evil and say “Their religion is to blame!” & then they will come up with the most tortured double-standard arguments why Stalin’s atrocities supposedly had nothing to do with his atheism(that doesn’t even pass the laugh test).

    Those guys on South Park are extremely irreligious but they have it right. In a futuristic society where everyone is atheist they’d still manage to make divisions & commit horrible atrocities against each other. The “religion poisons everything” canard is simplistic twaddle.

    >So the DI got caught out being wrong and now you seem to be trying to apologise for them in a rather strange manner.

    I don’t apologize for them at all. I think what they’re doing is great. Here you go again reading into your opponents what you want them to mean.

    This is going back & forth, back & forth. We will never agree. So we can agree to disagree or, as I might see it, if you choose to be wrong that’s your right. But don’t think you’ll be able to do it without getting called on it.

  11. Matt says:

    I reply: Repeating yourself without specifically addressing my points is unconvincing. It’s called “Point weak-pound pulpit”.

    I’ve already given examples of where they support this claim, namely the Expelled movie. Try again.

    I reply: They CLEARLY don’t misquote Dawkins. Dawkins clearly said Darwinism should not be applied to government or it will lead to fascism. The DI people point that out & point out Dawkin’s inconsistancy in complaining about Ben Stein & DI people pointing to Hitler’s applying Darwin to his particular type of goverment which was Fascism.

    You’re not getting the point at all, are you? The point is that the Theory of Evolution has NOTHING to do with Social Darwinism or Eugenics. As Panda’s Thumb points out, it’s like trying to apply Quantum Theory to society and blaming it for anarchy.

    As that nice little Panda’s Thumb writeup also states, and seems to understand the quote better than you apparently do.. “I hope that those better versed in logic than our Intelligent Design defender, understands the difference between ”A Darwinian society would be a fascist state” and ”Darwinism leads to Fascism”?”

    And yes, at this point I must point out that I got some names mixed up in an earlier reply. John West is the writer from the DI, the Panda’s Thumb article was written by PvM.

    I reply: Every standard biography of Hitler tells how he borrowed from(ie. distorted) Darwin to justify his racial beliefs.

    Wow. That proves … absolutely nothing in the context of this little conversation of ours. And is also quite false, just like those rather silly people who try to label Hitler as an Atheist and use that to blame for his little temper tantrum across Europe. You also disprove your own point; if someone takes, distorts and uses something for ill ends then that original ideology isn’t to blame since, as you point out, it’d be like blaming Christianity for the KKK. Which is just plain silly.

    then they will come up with the most tortured double-standard arguments why Stalin’s atrocities supposedly had nothing to do with his atheism(that doesn’t even pass the laugh test).

    Your lack of logical thinking is betrayed in the above statement. Only someone who doesn’t understand the basics of what Stalin did would try to claim such … or understand Atheism for that matter. His actions were never controlled or guided by Atheism, indeed they simply could not be since Atheism is simply ‘there is no supernatural stuff/gods’. Instead, he was just a power hungry mad man … it’s as simple as that. And power hungry mad men come in all shapes and sizes, from Atheist to fundamentalist religious.

    Those guys on South Park are extremely irreligious but they have it right. In a futuristic society where everyone is atheist they’d still manage to make divisions & commit horrible atrocities against each other. The “religion poisons everything” canard is simplistic twaddle.

    That’s some nice credible evidence you’re using there. I guess I’ll have to counter by using Bugs Bunny or some such. And no one has ever claimed that all Atheists are morally perfect or incapable of doing bad things, don’t be absurd. That being said, the ideology of Atheist is never (to my knowledge) led directly to people committing bad things. Why? Because there is no directive as a part of Atheism to do so … there is no ‘spread the word’ or ‘conquer the heathens’ or anything along those lines.

    But, as mentioned, that does not mean that Atheists can not do bad things. Not at all. But trying to blame Atheism itself for it is rather silly since all men, religious or not, do bad things. Sometimes religion is to blame for it, sometimes it’s politics, sometimes it is greed. But never had it been Atheism.

  12. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    >I’ve already given examples of where they support this claim, namely the Expelled movie. Try again.

    I reply: I was defending DI specifically against your charge of quote mining & I already said I haven’t seen the movie yet. So this is a classic red herring.(BTW did you really see it? Or are you just relying on the claim of those who have?)

    >You’re not getting the point at all, are you? The point is that the Theory of Evolution has NOTHING to do with Social Darwinism or Eugenics. As Panda’s Thumb points out, it’s like trying to apply Quantum Theory to society and blaming it for anarchy.

    I reply: I get the point your not getting mine. Well we know Hitler tried to apply Darwin to politics & human eugentics. Nobody has EVER tried to apply Quantum Theory in these areas that I know of. So this is another Red Herring & false analogy.

    >As that nice little Panda’s Thumb writeup also states, and seems to understand the quote better than you apparently do.. “I hope that those better versed in logic than our Intelligent Design defender, understands the difference between ”A Darwinian society would be a fascist state” and ”Darwinism leads to Fascism”?”

    I reply: Well the Quote I provided follwing YOUR link to the DI article showed quite clearly the DI people understood it the SAME WAY.

    >And yes, at this point I must point out that I got some names mixed up in an earlier reply. John West is the writer from the DI, the Panda’s Thumb article was written by PvM.

    I reply: Excellent! You admited to a mistake. There is hope for you. I’m proud of you! But then again we Dr. Who fans are willing to own up to our mistakes just like the Doctor. (I wonder if we are ever going to see Romana in the New Series? That would rule!).

    >Wow. That proves … absolutely nothing in the context of this little conversation of ours. And is also quite false, just like those rather silly people who try to label Hitler as an Atheist and use that to blame for his little temper tantrum across Europe. You also disprove your own point; if someone takes, distorts and uses something for ill ends then that original ideology isn’t to blame since, as you point out, it’d be like blaming Christianity for the KKK. Which is just plain silly.

    I reply: ????????????????????

    >Your lack of logical thinking is betrayed in the above statement. Only someone who doesn’t understand the basics of what Stalin did would try to claim such … or understand Atheism for that matter. His actions were never controlled or guided by Atheism, indeed they simply could not be since Atheism is simply ‘there is no supernatural stuff/gods’. Instead, he was just a power hungry mad man … it’s as simple as that. And power hungry mad men come in all shapes and sizes, from Atheist to fundamentalist religious.

    I reply: So your a Fundamentalist Atheist then(Dawkins, Hitchens Harris)? Not a rational one (Russell, Paglia, Sagan). Stalin believed Religion was evil & he didn’t believe any God/Goddess/gods was/were watching him, judging him, so he following his belief Religion was evil & did whatever he could to wipe it out. I know some Ukrianian Catholic who have some rather definative views on that. When he wasn’t starving him he was burning the Churches. At least the Czar let people pray while he was oppressing them.
    Camille Paglia(Atheist Professor) said when you cast down the gods new ones must take their place. In this case it was Communism which was the new god which unlike Fascism mandates coherced dogmatic Atheism.

    >That’s some nice credible evidence you’re using there. I guess I’ll have to counter by using Bugs Bunny or some such. And no one has ever claimed that all Atheists are morally perfect or incapable of doing bad things, don’t be absurd. That being said, the ideology of Atheist is never (to my knowledge) led directly to people committing bad things. Why? Because there is no directive as a part of Atheism to do so … there is no ’spread the word’ or ‘conquer the heathens’ or anything along those lines.

    I reply: Well the South Park guys are NOT fans of the Pope or Jerry Falwell. But they have enough common sense to see the obvious. I appreaciate your turn of this phrase “the ideology of Atheist is never (to my knowledge) led directly to..etc” Socrates was the wisest man in Greece because of three words “I don’t Know”. Your getting better well done. So you don’t know? (I know) So you admit the possiblity? There is hope for you guy.

    >But, as mentioned, that does not mean that Atheists can not do bad things. Not at all. But trying to blame Atheism itself for it is rather silly since all men, religious or not, do bad things. Sometimes religion is to blame for it, sometimes it’s politics, sometimes it is greed. But never had it been Atheism.

    I reply: You contradict yourself & you are using the “No True Scotman” fallacy when you claim Atheism is never to blame for Atheists doing bad things. You can say neither religion as an Ideal or Atheism as an Ideal is to blame or you could say Both are to blame when they are less then ideal. But your claim is a clear double standard & argument from special pleading.

  13. Matt says:

    I was defending DI specifically against your charge of quote mining

    Which you haven’t successfully done yet. They used it out of context to try to link it to something which the quote doesn’t speak of.

    I get the point your not getting mine. Well we know Hitler tried to apply Darwin to politics & human eugentics.

    We know nothing of the kind. He tried to apply eugenics and social Darwinism to certain types of the populace which have NOTHING to do with the Theory of Evolution. The concepts of both of those philosophies predate Darwin by quite some years.

    So your a Fundamentalist Atheist then(Dawkins, Hitchens Harris)?

    Not at all. I just know what is the cause of certain actions and what isn’t.

    And no, Atheism can not be blamed for any wrong doing that I know of. It doesn’t instruct people to wipe out other people, oppose religions or conquer nations. It is simply a non-belief in the supernatural/deities. Nothing more at all. Often it goes hand in hand with a firm belief in the advancement that science offers but even that is not a given.
    Now people might read too much into Atheism or misunderstand it complete, like you seem to be doing, and do odd things in the name of this perverted concept of it … much like the KKK does with Christianity but that does mean Atheism is to blame (just like Christianity isn’t to blame for the KKK).

    Stalin was simply a power hungry despot and it did not matter if he was an Atheist or Deist, he would have done what he did regardless; simply in a vain bid to sate his thirst for power. There is a vast difference in performing in act in the name of something and doing an act and you just happen to be a member of some demographic.

    You also seem to be trying to tie morality to deities somehow, which is really a rather large mistake.

  14. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    >And no, Atheism can not be blamed for any wrong doing that I know of.

    I reply: Atheism has multiple definitions. Classical Atheism-denying any particular gods. I’m a Classic Atheist since I do not believe Zeus exists, YHWH OTOH….:-)
    Dogmatic Atheists-People who say there is/are no God(s). Literal- A-Theist -anyone who is not a Theist. Thus Deists & Pantheists can be Atheists. Some forms of Buddhism are atheistic since they deny the gods really exist & they deny an ultimate god. Then of course there are Materialists, Marxists, Communists, Existentialists etc. Your weird belief Atheism is just one thing makes about as much sense as claiming Religion is just one thing. It’s like saying the Hindu, Taoist, Mormon & Muslim are the same thing. Silly & anti-intellectual.

    “Anti-religious sneers are a hallmark of perpetual adolescents”-Camille Paglia(Atheist)

    Think young man. You are being a fundamentalist.

    >It doesn’t instruct people to wipe out other people, oppose religions or conquer nations.

    I reply: Tell that to the Communists whose ideology literally says NOTHING is immoral if it furthers their cause of world wide worker revolution, dictatorship of the prolateriat, the supression of the Opium of the People(religion) which will lead to Socialism then Communism. We all saw how that turned out. I have elderly Ukrianian fCatholic friends who bare the scars. Anyway Atheism as a concept doesn’t harm anyone individuals do that. But logically that also applies to Theism as a concept as well. Of course if you norrow down Theism to a particular philosophy or religion some religions may do that. OTOH Communists are Atheists. Atheism is a necessary part of Communism and dialetical materialism. Take out the Atheism it’s like having Christianity without Christ. What makes Fundamentalist Atheists so silly is they believe your weird illogical double standard.

    >It is simply a non-belief in the supernatural/deities. Nothing more at all.

    I reply: Only someone ignornant of history could make so foolish a statement. This type of fuzzy thinking is right up there with Fiat Creationists who claim the 2nd Law of Theromodynamics deny evolution. Silly & anti-intellectual.

    If you where logical you would say neither the concepts of Atheism or Theism don’t cause wars, wipe out people etc…but you seem (I hope I’m wrong) to want to hold fast to your fundamentalism.

    >Often it goes hand in hand with a firm belief in the advancement that science offers but even that is not a given.

    I reply: Theists, Deists, Pantheists, Monists etc all can be scientific. It’s not unremarkable.

    >Now people might read too much into Atheism or misunderstand it complete, like you seem to be doing, and do odd things in the name of this perverted concept of it … much like the KKK does with Christianity but that does mean Atheism is to blame (just like Christianity isn’t to blame for the KKK).

    I reply: You just contradicted what you said earlier. you said QUOTE”Sometimes religion is to blame for it, sometimes it’s politics, sometimes it is greed. But never had it been Atheism.” So which do you really believe? You said both these things & logically THEY CAN’T both be correct?

    >Stalin was simply a power hungry despot and it did not matter if he was an Atheist or Deist, he would have done what he did regardless;simply in a vain bid to sate his thirst for power.

    I reply: He was an ex-Christian turned Communist(of which Atheism is as important as Christ is to Christianity). According to Communism NOTHING is immoral if it promotes world worker revolution & of course Religion is the opium of the People that must be supressed violently if needed.

    >There is a vast difference in performing in act in the name of something and doing an act and you just happen to be a member of some demographic.

    I reply: True BUT you inconsistantly apply that to Atheism only & not to Theism & Religion which is STILL the logical fallacy of special pleading.

    >You also seem to be trying to tie morality to deities somehow, which is really a rather large mistake.

    I blame Dawkins for the crop of anti-Intellectual atheists that plods about these days. The smarter ones I dealt with when I was younger where so much better to talk too & would dismiss the likes of Dawkins like I dismiss Jimmy Swaggart. BTW Dostoyevsky says: “If God doesn’t exist, everything is permitted.”? In the practical sense that is untrue since if I shoot someone the police will still haul me away HOWEVER if there is no God clearly there is no reason to be moral unless it is in one’s self interest. The moment morality & self interest are at opposites I see no reason why in a godless universe morality should out unless it’s at my expense. Every man a Wolf to his fellow & what not.

  15. Matt says:

    Atheism has multiple definitions. Classical Atheism-denying any particular gods. I’m a Classic Atheist since I do not believe Zeus exists, YHWH OTOH…. 🙂
    Dogmatic Atheists-People who say there is/are no God(s).

    It seems that your definition of what Atheism is happens to be the weird one. Atheism is simply the non-belief in any gods or the like, no more and no less.

    Think young man. You are being a fundamentalist.

    ‘Young’. Interesting. You not only try to presume my age, you also try to presume my stance on various issues without actually knowing them.
    How interesting.

    Tell that to the Communists whose ideology literally says NOTHING is immoral if it furthers their cause of world wide worker revolution

    Wow. That’s an impressive logical leap you’re taking there. So not only does ‘Darwinism’ lead to Nazism but Atheism leads to communism. How utterly interesting.
    Is Atheism a necessary part of communism? Not all, it is entirely possible to have theistic belief as part of a communistic based society. Is communism necessary or a result of Atheism? Not at all and the notion of it is absurd and entirely without basis or foundation.

    If you where logical you would say neither the concepts of Atheism or Theism don’t cause wars, wipe out people etc…but you seem (I hope I’m wrong) to want to hold fast to your fundamentalism.

    Since you seem to be in favour of using quotes…
    “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” — Steven Weinberg, New York Times, April 20, 1999

    I have read and seen accounts of plenty of people doing great things in the name of Religion, just like I have heard of people doing horrendous things in the name of religion. I have yet to hear of an account of anyone slaughtering people and yelling out “For Atheism! For something that doesn’t exist!”

    >Often it goes hand in hand with a firm belief in the advancement that science offers but even that is not a given.

    I reply: Theists, Deists, Pantheists, Monists etc all can be scientific. It’s not unremarkable.

    You just contradicted what you said earlier. you said QUOTE”Sometimes religion is to blame for it, sometimes it’s politics, sometimes it is greed. But never had it been Atheism.” So which do you really believe? You said both these things & logically THEY CAN’T both be correct?

    You fail to comprehend and link it to the previous paragraph completely. I have not stated contradictory things at all and I stand by my claim that Atheism has not been the driving force behind any atrocity known to man. There is no active component to Atheism, there is no great cause for people to rally behind, there is no ‘Truth’ to spread to the heretical masses. It is simply unbelief, which is a simple fact that constantly seems to elude you.

    Again with Stalin and again you’re missing what motivated him completely. The man was a nutter and he was motivated solely by his meglomania.

    True BUT you inconsistantly apply that to Atheism only & not to Theism & Religion which is STILL the logical fallacy of special pleading.

    Not at all. If you take various atrocities such as the Spanish Inquisition (for the sake of example) then it was done in the name of religion and really nothing else. A hell of a lot of bad things have been done expressly in the name of religion but pretty much none have been done in the name of Atheism. And that’s the whole point you’re missing; it doesn’t matter if someone is part of some demographic or another, it matters what they do those acts in the name of.

    HOWEVER if there is no God clearly there is no reason to be moral unless it is in one’s self interest.

    Then you have clearly not done any actual research into morality and ethics and it also says a lot about your own sense of morality. That without the threat of punishment (be it god or the police) then you’d feel absolutely free to be a complete and utter sadistic bastard.
    Which pretty much makes you immoral when you think about it.

    I think you need to try just a tad harder.

  16. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    >It seems that your definition of what Atheism is happens to be the weird one. Atheism is simply the non-belief in any gods or the like, no more and no less.

    I reply: I learned this from textbooks & University Libraries. Your answer to me is simply to not answer or interact logically & to dismiss what I said. I get that from Religious Fundamentalists clearly Atheist Fundamentalist are no better.

    >‘Young’. Interesting. You not only try to presume my age, you also try to presume my stance on various issues without actually knowing them. How interesting.

    I reply: Tell me your age then. I don’t know for sure. But in my experience an older man would take acception at being called “young” & would straight up tell me his age. You haven’t so I conclude you are young. I could be wrong.

    >Wow. That’s an impressive logical leap you’re taking there. So not only does ‘Darwinism’ lead to Nazism but Atheism leads to communism. How utterly interesting. Is Atheism a necessary part of communism? Not all, it is entirely possible to have theistic belief as part of a communistic based society. Is communism necessary or a result of Atheism? Not at all and the notion of it is absurd and entirely without
    basis or foundation.

    I reply: Karl Marx the founder of Communism would STRONGLY disagree with you. Just like the Pope would srongly disagree with me if I said you could be an orthdox Catholic & deny the Deity of Christ. Your anti-intellectualism & fundamentalist are both sad & entertaining.

    >Since you seem to be in favour of using quotes…
    “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” — Steven Weinberg, New York Times, April 20, 1999

    I reply: This is mere assersion. I’m sure you believe this just as some people believe the world is only 6,000 yrs old. But defending it logically is another matter. You have not answer me logically you merely contradicted me.

    >I have read and seen accounts of plenty of people doing great things in the name of Religion, just like I have heard of people doing horredous things in the name of religion. I have yet to hear of an account of anyone slaughtering people and yelling out “For Atheism! For something that doesn’t exist!”

    I reply: Then you are deaf. I know many Ukrianians who herd the Commissars in the former USSR shout “down with religion” “down with the Opum of the people” that is the same is “For Atheism”. Besides you are making the logical mistake of
    asserting a universal negative. How do you know no Communist ever shouted “For Atheist against the Opium of the People”? How do you prove a universal negative? It’s not possible. That is logic 101.

    >You fail to comprehend and link it to the previous paragraph completely. I have not stated contradictory things at all and I stand by my claim that Atheism has not been the driving force behind any atrocity known to man. There is no active component to Atheism, there is no great cause for people to rally behind, there is no ‘Truth’ to spread to the heretical masses. It is
    simply unbelief, which is a simple fact that constantly seems to elude you.

    I reply: Now repeating youself again. You refused to interact with what I wrote logically you simply dismissed it. It’s like showing a Fiat Creationist an argument against the youngness of the Earth & having is response merely be “But the Bible
    says it was only six days so you must be wrong”. Amazing!

    >Again with Stalin and again you’re missing what motivated him completely. The man was a nutter and he was motivated solely by his meglomania.

    I reply: A simplisit analysis that is factually challenged.

    >>True BUT you inconsistantly apply that to Atheism only & not to Theism & Religion which is STILL the logical fallacy of special pleading.

    >Not at all. If you take various atrocities such as the Spanish Inquisition (for the sake of example) then it was done in the name of religion and really nothing else. A hell of a lot of bad things have been done expressly in the name of religion but pretty much none have been done in the name of Atheism. And that’s the whole point you’re missing; it doesn’t matter if someone is part of some demographic or another, it matters what they do those acts in the name of.

    I reply: Actually the Spanish Inquisition was done for political purposes since Jews who converted to Catholicism in Spain STILL politically supported the Moors over the Spainish Crown but why destroy your monosalablic simple minded argument with a
    factual appeal to objectve history? Anyway you jump to specific religions instead of regarding Theism in general but OBJECT when I do it. When I jump from general philosophical Atheism to specific Atheistic ideologys. You are inconsistant.

    >>HOWEVER if there is no God clearly there is no reason to be moral unless it is in one’s self interest.

    >Then you have clearly not done any actual research into morality and ethics and it also says a lot about your own sense of morality. That without the threat of punishment (be it god or the police) then you’d feel absolutely free to be a complete and utter sadistic bastard. Which pretty much makes you immoral when you think about it.

    I reply: Of course I’m immoral(i.e. a Sinner) All devout Christians believe that it is not a new descovery. But again you are dodging the issue. I’ve done a lot of research & I have concluded if God doesn’t exist there is no reason to be moral unless it is in one’s self interest. Of course if there is no God there is clearly no OBJECTIVE morallity just the morally we
    create. Nietzsche understood that which shows the heart of your problem. You don’t study the classical Atheists you simply follow the faddish upper class twitery of the New Atheists. It’s like following Jimmy Swaggart over Augustine. Sad really.

  17. Matt says:

    I learned this from textbooks & University Libraries.

    Such a pity you didn’t consult your nearest dictionary, then.
    a·the·ism
    Pronunciation[ey-thee-iz-uhm]
    –noun
    1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
    2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

    And yes, that is it.

    Your answer to me is simply to not answer or interact logically & to dismiss what I said. I get that from Religious Fundamentalists clearly Atheist Fundamentalist are no better.

    Rather a good thing that your rather odd opinion does not count as evidence then.

    Tell me your age then.

    Yes, because I love spreading my personal details about the internet. No. That being said, I would not be counted by many as ‘young’.

    Karl Marx the founder of Communism would STRONGLY disagree with you. Just like the Pope would srongly disagree with me if I said you could be an orthdox Catholic & deny the Deity of Christ. Your anti-intellectualism & fundamentalist are both sad & entertaining.

    Wow. Not a single rebuttal in there. What I said stands, I guess.

    This is mere assersion.

    ‘Assertion’.
    Which is all the quotes you’ve been using do.

    I’m sure you believe this just as some people believe the world is only 6,000 yrs old. But defending it logically is another matter. You have not answer me logically you merely contradicted me.

    Maybe if you offered something substantial to be refuted logically, it would help somewhat. I can only work with what I’m given and so far you’ve given me nothing but your own rather odd personal opinion.

    Then you are deaf. I know many Ukrianians who herd the Commissars in the former USSR shout “down with religion” “down with the Opum of the people” that is the same is “For Atheism”.

    Again, no it is not. They were doing what they were doing for the sake of communism, not Atheism and there is a great difference between the two. Trying to blame Atheism for this incident is like trying to blame a car battery when an automatic transmission breaks down in a car.

    Besides you are making the logical mistake of
    asserting a universal negative. How do you know no Communist ever shouted “For Atheist against the Opium of the People”? How do you prove a universal negative? It’s not possible. That is logic 101.

    Because none, to the best of my knowledge, has ever been recorded and verified. Feel free to prove me wrong, however.

    Now repeating youself again.

    Kettle. Pot. Black.

    You refused to interact with what I wrote logically you simply dismissed it.

    You made the same argument, I gave the same refutation.
    It is the way it works.

    A simplisit analysis that is factually challenged.

    ‘Simplistic’. And I suggest you go and read up on Stalin some more then.

    Actually the Spanish Inquisition was done for political purposes

    From Wikipedia (for the sake of quick referencing):
    “The Spanish Inquisition was established in 1478 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms”

    Damn, sounds like a religious reason to me.

    When I jump from general philosophical Atheism to specific Atheistic ideologys. You are inconsistant.

    Not at all, since you’re trying to compare apples and oranges when you do it. You need to learn to differentiate between circumstances and stop trying to lump different events and motivations in the one basket.

    Of course I’m immoral(i.e. a Sinner) All devout Christians believe that it is not a new descovery. But again you are dodging the issue. I’ve done a lot of research & I have concluded if God doesn’t exist there is no reason to be moral unless it is in one’s self interest.

    Then, as I said, you need to do more research. Try looking into concepts such as the Social Contract or the evolutionary nature of Morality.

    You don’t study the classical Atheists you simply follow the faddish upper class twitery of the New Atheists.

    Damn. You must be some sort of soothsayer or prophet. Now you even know when I became an Atheist.
    Which, for the record, was long before I ever heard of Dawkins. I don’t even like Sam Harris’ work, for that matter.

    It’s like following Jimmy Swaggart over Augustine. Sad really.

    And you’re trying to pass yourself off as some sort of learned intellectual when, in fact, your ignorance and steadfastness in views are blatant and obvious for anyone to see.

    You seem to pass judgement on those you encounter and automatically label those who disagree with your weak arguments as being fundamentalist even when you don’t know a thing about that person.

    For the record, I am not a fundamentalist. I am always prepared to change my mind on various subjects but people have to show evidence first. Indeed, your own stance on issues throughout this entry have actually indicated that it is you who are a fundamentalist, dismissing arguments through false application of logical fallacies and presenting really rather weak claims.

    As earlier stated, you need to try a lot harder.

  18. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    >Such a pity you didn’t consult your nearest dictionary…etc.
    I reply: Fundamentalist Christians seem to believe everything can be settled with a pithy quotation from the Bible. It seems Fundamentalist Atheists will employ the same empty method. I find it astounding simplistic.

    The Wikipedia gives a more full & therefore technically correct definition QUOTE” Atheism, as an explicit position, either affirms the nonexistence of gods[1] or rejects theism.[2] When defined more broadly, atheism is the absence of belief in deities,[3] alternatively called nontheism.[4] Although atheism is often equated with irreligion, some religious philosophies, such as secular theology and some varieties of Buddhism such as Theravada, either do not include belief in a personal god as a tenet of the religion, or actively teach nontheism.
    Well THAT is more accurate. Don’t believe me? My advice consult ANY Encyclopedia of your choice.

    >>Your answer to me is simply to not answer or interact logically & to dismiss what I said. I get that from Religious Fundamentalists clearly Atheist Fundamentalist are no better.

    >Rather a good thing that your rather odd opinion does not count as evidence then.

    I reply: perhaps. Perhaps not.

    >>Tell me your age then.

    >Yes, because I love spreading my personal details about the internet. No. That being said, I would not be counted by many as ‘young’.

    I reply: As you wish but I fail to see how mere age is the same as address, phone #, full name, Social Security #, Drivers license #, Job or Bank #. None of which I asked about, wish to know about or expect to be told. But you SOUND much younger then me so I am inclined to treat you as such.

    >>Karl Marx the founder of Communism would STRONGLY disagree with you. Just like the Pope would srongly disagree with me if I said you could be an orthdox Catholic & deny the Deity of Christ. Your anti-intellectualism & fundamentalist are both sad & entertaining.
    >Wow. Not a single rebuttal in there. What I said stands, I guess.

    I repy: So you deny Karl Mark taught Atheism & Dialectical materialism as a necessary feature of his ideology. Curious. It’s like claiming Muhammed didn’t teach monotheism was a necessary feature of Islam.

    >Maybe if you offered something substantial to be refuted logically, it would help somewhat. I can only work with what I’m given and so far you’ve given me nothing but your own rather odd personal opinion.

    I reply: I have but you don’t seem to want to cooperate.

    >Again, no it is not. They were doing what they were doing for the sake of communism, not Atheism and there is a great difference between the two. Trying to blame Atheism for this incident is like trying to blame a car battery when an automatic transmission breaks down in a car.

    I reply: That goes for blaming Theism & religion. Again your argument by special pleading & double standard.

    >Because none, to the best of my knowledge, has ever been recorded and verified. Feel free to prove me wrong, however.

    I reply: Would you believe me if I did? You’re the one who seems to think the Dictionary Alone(Sola Dictionario) is sufficient to define Atheism. Your pattern to date would suggest your response twould be “Well that was just one man,” “You heard that from a Theist.” “The statement is a forgery since no Atheist would say that.” “The person was really religious but only thought he was an Atheist” “The person was not the leader of the Party just a misguided individual who doesn’t speak for Atheism”. It seems you are channeling the sophistries of Sam Harris.

    Interesting but intellectually unmoving.

    >Kettle. Pot. Black.

    I reply: Really? I didn’t know that. Thank you for informing me.

    >You made the same argument, I gave the same refutation.
    It is the way it works.

    I reply: So far with you it’s been only one way traffic.

    > ‘Simplistic’. And I suggest you go and read up on Stalin some more then.

    I reply: You get points for spelling but that’s it.

    >From Wikipedia (for the sake of quick referencing):
    “The Spanish Inquisition was established in 1478 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms”
    Damn, sounds like a religious reason to me.

    The same article says Quote” Motives for instituting the Spanish Inquisition

    Historians differ about Ferdinand and Isabella’s motives for introducing the Inquisition into Spain. A number of possible reasons have been suggested:
    1. To establish political and religious homogeneity. The Inquisition allowed the monarchy to intervene actively in religious affairs, without the interference of the Pope. At the same time, Ferdinand and Isabella’s objective was the creation of state machinery that allowed them to maximize their control, thus one priority was to achieve religious unity to promote more centralized political authority.
    2. To weaken local political opposition to the Catholic monarchs. Strengthening centralized political authority also entailed weakening local political opposition. Resistance to the installation of the Inquisition in the Kingdom of Aragon, for example, was often couched in terms of local legal privileges (fueros).
    3. Out of fear. The Encyclopaedia Judaica of 1991 (Vol XI, p.485) states that, “It remains a fact that the Jews, either directly or through their correligionists in Africa, encouraged the Mohammedans to conquer Spain.” Whether real or imagined there was a great fear among 15th Century Spaniards that they had a Fifth column living among them.[6]
    4. To do away with the powerful converso minority. Many members of influential families such as the Santa Fés, the Santangels, the Caballerias and the Sanchezes, were prosecuted in the Kingdom of Aragon. However the King of Aragon, Ferdinand, continued to employ many conversos in his administration.
    5. Profit. The property of people found guilty by the Inquisition was confiscated. Sixtus IV openly accused the monarchs of this sin. End Quote
    .
    Sounds political to me. Other historians recognize this.

    >Not at all, since you’re trying to compare apples and oranges when you do it. You need to learn to differentiate between circumstances and stop trying to lump different events and motivations in the one basket.

    I reply: Physician heal thyself.

    >Then, as I said, you need to do more research. Try looking into concepts such as the Social Contract or the evolutionary nature of Morality.

    I reply: Why should I? Since the issue is not where morality came (it evolved? God did it? etc) from but if there is really no God why should I be moral if it’s not in my best interest?

    >Damn. You must be some sort of soothsayer or prophet. Now you even know when I became an Atheist.

    I reply: I concede that point.

    >Which, for the record, was long before I ever heard of Dawkins. I don’t even like Sam Harris’ work, for that matter.

    I reply: Well good for you on Sam Harris but Dawkins is ONLY good for explaining evolution. He is rubbish when it comes to the philosophy of religion & Atheism. He can’t get beyond his implicit logical positivism & he can’t tell the practical difference between believing in YHWH, Zeus or Santa Claus which makes his efforts as a missionary for non-belief somewhat in vain. He is doomed to preach to the choir.

    >And you’re trying to pass yourself off as some sort of learned intellectual when, in fact, your ignorance and steadfastness in views are blatant and obvious for anyone to see.

    I reply: Now who is the of soothsayer or prophet?

    >You seem to pass judgement on those you encounter and automatically label those who disagree with your weak arguments as being fundamentalist even when you don’t know a thing about that person.

    I reply: I’m actually trying to goad you into putting more effort into you responses. If you aren’t interested in discussing these things simply say so. I won’t conclude you are “afraid too” (& if I did why should you give a shit what I think? I wouldn’t).

    Maybe THAT best explains your poor proformance? Maybe you are not a Fundamentalist.

    >For the record, I am not a fundamentalist. I am always prepared to change my mind on various subjects but people have to show evidence first. Indeed, your own stance on issues throughout this entry have actually indicated that it is you who are a fundamentalist, dismissing arguments through false application of logical fallacies and presenting really rather weak claims.

    I reply: I disagree. But you are entiled to your own oppinion on me. I have already formed one on you. You are a Atheist Fundamentalist trying to pass himself off as a rational being or Not & you simply don’t really FEEL like arguing seriously with me.

    Cheers! Remember me to Gallyfrey!:-)

  19. Matt says:

    Fundamentalist Christians seem to believe everything can be settled with a pithy quotation from the Bible. It seems Fundamentalist Atheists will employ the same empty method. I find it astounding simplistic.

    That’s interesting since you yourself have been using quotes from various sources which don’t actually prove anything.

    The Wikipedia gives a more full & therefore technically correct definition…

    All of which is summed up by exactly what I said. A non-belief in gods/supernatural powers. That is all Atheism is.

    So you deny Karl Mark taught Atheism & Dialectical materialism as a necessary feature of his ideology. Curious. It’s like claiming Muhammed didn’t teach monotheism was a necessary feature of Islam.

    Marx was a proponent of Communism which included Atheistic elements but he didn’t teach Atheism by itself, not by a long shot. You seem to be trying to tie the two together when there really is nowhere a strong a link as you’re trying to make out.

    That goes for blaming Theism & religion. Again your argument by special pleading & double standard.

    Not at all and this is something you really seem to be struggling with. Just because someone is a member of a particular group/demographic does not make that group responsible for that man’s actions. However, if that man performs those actions in the name of that group and follows the ideologies of that group then the group is to blame. And that is a world of difference between what you’re trying to claim.

    Would you believe me if I did? You’re the one who seems to think the Dictionary Alone(Sola Dictionario) is sufficient to define Atheism.

    I never said that. I used a dictionary to gain one definition of Atheism and actually point out that Atheism, as understood today, is actually very simple. It is the non-belief in gods/supernatural powers as established earlier.

    Your pattern to date would suggest your response twould be “Well that was just one man,” “You heard that from a Theist.” “The statement is a forgery since no Atheist would say that.” (snip)

    That’s a wonderfully large strawman you’ve built for yourself there. Pity it doesn’t hold any weight.

    Sounds political to me. Other historians recognize this.

    Pity points 1 and 2 contain large religious elements. Try again.

    Why should I? Since the issue is not where morality came (it evolved? God did it? etc) from but if there is really no God why should I be moral if it’s not in my best interest?

    The flaw in your statement there is obvious. Simply if there is no god, as Atheists go with, then where does morality come from? You’re presupposing that god exists and morality stems from him/her/it without even researching alternative mechanisms (some of which I listed). Gee, that sure sounds like fundamentalism to me.

  20. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    >That’s interesting since you yourself have been using quotes from various sources which don’t actually prove anything.
    I reply Your second count of point weak pound pulpit.
    >>The Wikipedia gives a more full & therefore technically correct definition…
    >All of which is summed up by exactly what I said. A non-belief in gods/supernatural powers. That is all Atheism is.
    I reply: I don’t deny that is one of the many definitions. What I have issue with is your fundamentalist claim it’s the only definition. Part of that definition is Atheism rejects theism. Which is what a Deist & Pantheist (just to cite two examples) does.
    So you deny Karl Mark taught Atheism & Dialectical materialism as a necessary feature of his ideology. Curious. It’s like claiming Muhammed didn’t teach monotheism was a necessary feature of Islam.
    >Marx was a proponent of Communism which included Atheistic elements but he didn’t teach Atheism by itself, not by a long shot. You seem to be trying to tie the two together when there really is nowhere a strong a link as you’re trying to make out.
    I reply: This is like saying Muhammed taught Islam which included monotheistic elements but didn’t teach monotheism by itself by a long shot. Your lack of logic is astounding. It’s the MAIN element. Lenin said Atheism is a material & inseparable part of Marxism. This is what the Marxists believe. This is what Stalin believed. If you doubt me go hang out with some die in the wood Marxists & float your weird idea that Atheism & materialism are not central to it. It will go over as well as me making the same ridiculous claim about Islam & Monotheism.
    They will laugh at you. Loudly & cruelly, they will laugh.
    >Not at all and this is something you really seem to be struggling with. Just because someone is a member of a particular group/demographic does not make that group responsible for that man’s actions.
    I reply: Your flaw is you ONLY apply that to Theism & Theistic groups & not to Atheism & Atheistic groups.
    >However, if that man performs those actions in the name of that group and follows the ideologies of that group then the group is to blame. And that is a world of difference between what you’re trying to claim.

    I reply: “The Program of the Communist International also states Communists fight against religion(I interject; Why because they are Buddists?)….Remember the struggle against religion is the struggle for Socialism.”. – Emilian Yarolavsky editor of PRAVDA & Chief of the Union of the Militant Godless.
    Notice that last bit. One of the founding members of the Union of the Militant Godless in the old USSR was a wage named Joseph Stalin. What you think Stalin killing all those religious people was an coincidence? He was just crazy. His hatred of religion & Militant Atheism had NOTHING to do with it? They where not called Militant Godless because they advocated Buddhism. What was that you said about no Atheist killed religious people shouting “In the name of Atheism I kill you all of you”? The Union promoted Atheism through out the USSR. Ya think they did it without persecution? They where fair & balanced like FOXNEWS or the BBC. Of course! Think again.
    Well that claim has now just been destroyed. I would Luv to see what type of weird sophistry you employ to get out of this one.
    For the source go read Time Magazine Feb 17, 1936.
    I also suggest you look up the “State Atheism” on the Wikipedia(not the most religion friendly conservative source on the net which makes it excellent to prove my poin). If Atheism ONLY leads to benign behavior & can’t be tied to persecution or oppression in anyway according to your thinking up till now please explain WHY every Atheist State to date has been a Totalitarian Regime?
    >I never said that. I used a dictionary to gain one definition of Atheism and actually point out that Atheism, as understood today, is actually very simple. It is the non-belief in gods/supernatural powers as established earlier.
    I reply: Then why did you mock the other definitions I gave? They are scholarly valid since I got them from scholarly sources. I am older than you & maybe a bit more well read. You have to ditch this Fundamentalist mentality of yours & THINK. You are not doing that. I don’t what you believe clearly you are NOT doing that.
    >That’s a wonderfully large strawman you’ve built for yourself there. Pity it doesn’t hold any weight.
    I reply: We shall see in light of the evidence I cited. You don’t argue sir you dismiss & shift the burden of proof but you don’t argue much less argue logically.

    >>Sounds political to me. Other historians recognize this.
    >Pity points 1 and 2 contain large religious elements. Try again.
    I reply: Yes they do for a POLITICAL END & from a political motivation.
    Hey you’re the one who quote mined it not me. Try reading it sometime.
    >>Why should I? Since the issue is not where morality came (it evolved? God did it? etc) from but if there is really no God why should I be moral if it’s not in my best interest?
    >?The flaw in your statement there is obvious. Simply if there is no god, as Atheists go with, then where does morality come from? You’re presupposing that god exists and morality stems from him/her/it without even researching alternative mechanisms (some of which I listed). Gee, that sure sounds like fundamentalism to me.
    I reply: No I am assuming for the sake of Argument God doesn’t exist. God doesn’t exist so why be moral if it’s not in my self interest. You are trying to deflect & shift the burden of proof. A tactic the Protestant Fundamentalist use on me all the time (“Prove Mary’s Assumption is in the Bible. No you show me where the Bible says all doctrine must be found in the Bible). You come off as desperate as them when cornered.
    Where morality comes from in a godless universe doesn’t matter. It could be a learned social contract or an evolved behavior mechanism. Who cares? That doesn’t answer the question in a godless world WHY should I be moral if it’s not in my self interest? Atheist philosopher Fredrick Nitchie had little trouble saying you don’t have to conform to any moral system that is against your self interest or desires. Why are you having such trouble?

  21. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    edit:I reply: Your flaw is you ONLY apply that to Theism & Theistic groups & not to Atheism & Atheistic groups.

    Should be the other way around.

  22. Matt says:

    I reply Your second count of point weak pound pulpit.

    Heh. You’re funny.
    So it’s fine if you do it but suddenly you cry foul if anyone else uses the same exact tactic? Heh.

    I don’t deny that is one of the many definitions. What I have issue with is your fundamentalist claim it’s the only definition. Part of that definition is Atheism rejects theism.

    That depends on a given value of ‘reject’. I’ve never seen or heard of anyone actively hunting down religious followers or organisations in the name of Atheism. Meglomania and Communism, yes. Atheism, no.

    I reply: Your flaw is you ONLY apply that to Theism & Theistic groups & not to Atheism & Atheistic groups.

    Yet again, you are not getting the point at all. You really do need to read things a lot more closely.
    It is one thing to be a member of a demographic and commit a bad act, it doesn’t mean that demographic is responsible for that act. But if you do that act in the name of that demographic and follow the ideology of that group then the group is to blame. By your apparent logic, you could blame Richard Gere’s offensive kissing (offensive to some, not me personally) at an award ceremony because he is a Buddhist. Absurd.

    “The Program of the Communist International also states Communists fight against religion

    And that has what exactly to do with Atheism? Atheism has nothing to do with fighting against religion, it is simply a nonbelief in deities and supernatural higher powers.
    You’re quickly going down that silly road which leads to KKK= Christianity country, which is once again absurd.

    please explain WHY every Atheist State to date has been a Totalitarian Regime?

    Damn. I guess pretty much the same could be turned right around. Why has pretty much every theocracy either failed miserably or resulted in a backwards nation both technologically, morally and often economically?
    In both cases, it applies false circumstances to get the end result.

    Yes they do for a POLITICAL END & from a political motivation.

    A political end to advance their religious goals. That makes it a religious matter. Try again.

    No I am assuming for the sake of Argument God doesn’t exist. God doesn’t exist so why be moral if it’s not in my self interest.

    I reply once more; if you even need to ask that question then you simply haven’t done any research into the matter and betray yourself as being ignorant.
    Social Contract, Evolutionary origins of Ethics and Morality. Try looking them up or why altruism has been seen in many different species across the planet. By your logic, these organisms (which barely have any concept of ‘self’ let alone ‘god’) would be completely immoral and never help any other organism out.

    Where morality comes from in a godless universe doesn’t matter. It could be a learned social contract or an evolved behavior mechanism. Who cares? That doesn’t answer the question in a godless world WHY should I be moral if it’s not in my self interest?

    Yes, it does. You obviously, once more, haven’t actually bothered to look into the matter. You’re arguing from a position of ignorance on this one by all indications.

  23. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    [Re-edited. Remove the previous two posts if you like neatness. I also corrected some of my grammar & spelling]

    So it’s fine if you do it but suddenly you cry foul if anyone else uses the same exact tactic? Heh.

    I reply: My points are not weak. Yours OTOH…..

    >That depends on a given value of ‘reject’. I’ve never seen or heard of anyone actively hunting down religious followers or organisations in the name of Atheism. Meglomania and
    Communism, yes. Atheism, no.

    I reply: Argument from Ignorance fallacy & Cognitive dissonance a classic case. Communists aren’t Atheists in your happy little fundamentalist atheist world. Catholics, Muslims and Jews are Theists but Communists aren’t Atheists? Amazing.

    >Yet again, you are not getting the point at all. You really do need to read things a lot more closely. It is one thing to be a member of a demographic and commit a bad act, it doesn’t mean that demographic is responsible for that act. But if you do that act in the name of that demographic and follow the ideology of that group then the group is to blame.

    I reply: So having a group called the Union of the Godless that runs around Russia spreading Atheism & persecuting those who won’t conform somehow isn’t doing something in the name of Goddlessness (i.e. Atheism)? Wow! Your like the Atheist version of that guy Jeff on Coupling. Only less coherent & slightly more ridiculous.

    >By your apparent logic, you could blame Richard Gere’s offensive kissing (offensive to some, not me personally) at an award ceremony because he is a Buddhist. Absurd.

    I reply: Yep this is a Jeff moment since I have no idea what you are talking about. What does “Richard Gere kissing people offensively” have to do with Atheistic genocide in
    the former USSR? At this point trying to argue with you rationally is futile and should give way to cruel mockery.

    >>“The Program of the Communist International also states Communists fight against religion”

    >And that has what exactly to do with Atheism? Atheism has nothing to do with fighting against religion, it is simply a nonbelief in deities and supernatural higher powers.

    I reply: Try to process. Therefore Theism has nothing to do with fighting against any non-theistic religion or philosophy, it is simply the belief in a Single God who creates & involves himself in the Universe. Theism manefests itself in different monotheistic religons. Atheism manafests itself in many philosphies- existentialism, materialism, the philosophy of Nietzsche, Christian Atheists reject the idea of a supreme being, but accept Christian teachings and moral beliefs. Known also as Death of God Theology and of course Marxism & COMMUNISM are Atheistic.

    Are you this closemind buddy? Next you gonna tell me Atheism has nothing to do with fighting against religion because of the The giggle loop!

    >You’re quickly going down that silly road which leads to KKK= Christianity country, which is once again absurd.

    I reply: You deny the proposition KKK= Christianity but you believe Theism is at fault when a member of a Theistic group does something wicked to someone else in the name of God?
    It’s this the same thing! You don’t see the contradiction?

    According to your weird non-logical principle practically applied, Christians are simply people who believe in the Deity of Christ & are Baptized. KKK people believe in the Deity of Christ & are Baptized therefore are Christians(technically this is true). Now if a KKK member in the name of Christ kills a poor black guy. Then Christianity is logically at fault. That is your principle applied. Logically & consistently.

    After all according to your weird principle QUOTE”It is one thing to be a member of a demographic and commit a bad act, it doesn’t mean that demographic is responsible for that
    act. But if you do that act in the name of that demographic and follow the ideology of that group then the group is to blame.”

    KKK members historically have professed the Deity of Christ & are Baptised therefore are Christians. They certainly follow that ideology. It’s THE ONLY good thing about them IMHO. So if your principle is correct. All Christians as a group are responsible for the death of a Black Man killed in the name of Christ by some arsehole in a white sheet.
    This would also include all the Black people who belong to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church since they agree with the KKK on the issue of the Deity of Christ. Also they agree with
    all Theists that a Single God created & interactes with the Universe.

    This makes sense to you? This logically is what you really believe? I rather prefer the The giggle loop.

    Here is a challenge for ya son. Find a Professor of Philosophy & Logic. Make sure he is an Atheist (an Agnostic at worst). Then run this nonsense you believe “Doing something in the name of the group blah blah”by him & see what he thinks.

    I predict either derisive laughter or he will shake his head and say “Lad do you have to make the rest of us Brights look foolish in front of the Bible thumpers?”.

    >Damn. I guess pretty much the same could be turned right around.

    I reply: Of course shift the burden of proof because you have no logical answer for me to your illogical principle.

    > Why has pretty much every theocracy either failed miserably or resulted in a backwards nation both technologically, morally and often economically?

    I reply: I don’t know. The question is vague. Which theocracies? Monotheistic Theocracies? Pagan Theocracies? Muslim? Jewish? Christian? (At least I had the good sense to pick ONE specific country i.e Russa & One specific Atheist ideology you OTOH could you possibly be even more vague?)

    I don’t know. But I’m not gonna make up some weird logically challenged principle to hide my ignorance.

    >In both cases, it applies false circumstances to get the end result.

    I reply: Much like your whole “But if you do that act in the name of that demographic and follow the ideology of that group then the group is to blame.” quackery up to this
    point eh?

    >A political end to advance their religious goals. That makes it a religious matter. Try again.

    I reply: Read the Article son and stop embarrassing yourself. The Jews supported the Moors against the Spanish Crown. Jewish Converts to Catholicism STILL supported the Moors against the Spanish Crown. It was political. If it was about religion then the Spanards would simply have been content to have a large number of Jews become Christians. But asI seem to recall You Brit guys and THE IRISH where originally blood enemies even before the Reformation when you where all Catholic. It was political then just as it’s political now. Same situation here.

    >I reply once more; if you even need to ask that question then you simply haven’t done any research into the matter and betray yourself as being ignorant.
    Social Contract, Evolutionary origins of Ethics and Morality. Try looking them up or why altruism has been seen in many different species across the planet. By your logic, these
    organisms (which barely have any concept of ’self’ let alone ‘god’ 😉 would be completely immoral and never help any other organism out.

    I reply: Dodging the issue doesn’t help you. Ok I concede for the sake of argument morality is an evolved and or socially conditioned phenomena. I absolutely concede it for
    the sake of argument! Now why should I choose to follow this phenomena that has evolved in the human species & or was conditioned if it at any time it goes against my interest?

    >>Where morality comes from in a godless universe doesn’t matter. It could be a learned social contract or an evolved behavior mechanism. Who cares? That doesn’t answer the question in a godless world WHY should I be moral if it’s not in my self interest?

    >Yes, it does. You obviously, once more, haven’t actually bothered to look into the matter. You’re arguing from a position of ignorance on this one by all indications.

    I reply: “You don’t know enough” is never a convincing answer. If anything it shows Projection on your part. I do know & so did Nitchie/Nietzsche. The answer is in a godless universe I DON’T HAVE to be moral if it is not in my own self interest to do so. Why should I? It’s not like I’m gonna go to Hell being bad & I can grab all the swag I can.

    It’s a good thing I believe in & Fear God. Maybe you guys should rethink evangelizing people to Atheism. Because more than one convert is going to be thinking that way.

  24. Matt says:

    My points are not weak. Yours OTOH…..

    Oh, I see. So because you think that your points are strong and you think mine are weak that hypocrisy is alright?
    That’s an … interesting point of view.

    Argument from Ignorance fallacy & Cognitive dissonance a classic case. Communists aren’t Atheists in your happy little fundamentalist atheist world. Catholics, Muslims and Jews are Theists but Communists aren’t Atheists? Amazing.

    Just because you don’t agree with something does not make it false. Yes, it is common for Communists to be Atheists but it is not a prerequisite or a vital part of the communist system. Communism can still work, for example, if members of the populace believe in some supernatural power or another. To state it another way, Atheism can be an aspect of communism but it is far from a vital one. However, Catholics can’t be Catholics unless they believe in some form of higher being, namely the judeo-christian deity … and that IS a vital component.
    It’s a difference you’re failing to see.

    So having a group called the Union of the Godless that runs around Russia spreading Atheism & persecuting those who won’t conform somehow isn’t doing something in the name of Goddlessness (i.e. Atheism)? Wow! Your like the Atheist version of that guy Jeff on Coupling. Only less coherent & slightly more ridiculous.

    Ooh, nice try but you’re misapplying logic there and once against trying to state that Communism = Atheism, while forgetting that Stalin was a meglomaniac and really rather power hungry. It is because of those aspects of his character that he did such things.

    Yep this is a Jeff moment since I have no idea what you are talking about. What does “Richard Gere kissing people offensively” have to do with Atheistic genocide in the former USSR? At this point trying to argue with you rationally is futile and should give way to cruel mockery.

    Simply using the same logical rationale you’re trying to apply to communism to what Gere did in India. Yes, the Gere example is absurd in exactly the same way your communism link is absurd. Gere upset a lot of people with that action but he certainly didn’t do it because he was a Buddhist, he did it because of his own character. Using your logic, Buddhists would be to blame for it.

    Try to process. Therefore Theism has nothing to do with fighting against any non-theistic religion or philosophy, it is simply the belief in a Single God who creates

    Not at all. One of the central doctrines of numerous branches of Christianity, for example, state that followers have to go out there and spread the word, convert the populace. Atheism has no such thing, which makes a world of difference; whereas it’s encouraged for many Christian denominations to go and convert the unbelievers (which has led to all sorts of horrible acts) … no one expects Atheists to do anything of the sort.

    You deny the proposition KKK= Christianity but believe Theism is at fault when a member of a Theistic group does something wicked to someone else? It’s this the same thing! You don’t see the contradiction?

    There is no contradiction at all, you just seem to fail at seeing the point. The KKK has perverted the message of Christianity and certainly do not follow official Christian dogma nor (and most importantly) are they a recognised religious organisation. Unlike, for example, the Vatican which has done all sorts of nasty things over the years while proclaiming it to be holy and part of God’s will … and they’re about as official as it gets.

    Now if a KKK member in the name of Christ kills a poor black guy. Then Christianity is logically at fault. That is your principle applied. Logically & consistantly.

    Then you’re utterly failing to understanding my PoV yet again. Christianity would not be at fault at all in this particular example because the KKK member is not a Christian, is not following Christian doctrine and is clearly mentally unbalanced. Now if he wasn’t a member of the KKK and followed the doctrine of a recognised Christian denomination as a basis for killing that victim then christianity would be to blame.

    KKK members historically have professed the Deity of Christ & are Baptised therefore are Christians.

    They are not a recognised Christian denomination by any stretch so your logic is absurd. The practices of the KKK also go pretty much completely against what could be considered standard Christian doctrine.

    Dodging the issue doesn’t help you. Ok I conceed for the sake of argument morality is an evolved and or socially conditioned phenomena. I absolutely conceed it for the sake of argument! Now why should I choose to follow this phenomena that has evolved & or was conditioned if it at any time it goes against my interest?

    Because it’s part of being a living organism, to put it as simply as possible. Pretty much all living things on a macro level (even some micro) act in the general best interests in regards to survival of the species. Humans, especially, are constructed to be social creatures and acting in an immoral manner will severely limit social advantages that might otherwise occur. That’s putting it as simply as I possibly can.

    In a way being moral is related to self interest but not in the way you’re indicating. For example, you could be the last human on the planet but I severely doubt you’d start acting immorally (assuming there is no god/hell/whatever). You’d live in a way to survive but in an overall moral manner. By your argument, as an Atheist I should be acting immorally at any time when I thought I could safely get away with it … which I don’t happen to do. I am a pretty moral and ethical person without god so try to explain that.

  25. Matt says:

    I almost forgot about the Spanish Inquisition. It was started for political reasons … in part. But in at least equal parts it was also very religious in nature and has to share equal blame. It certainly could not have happened without religious components.

    “It has been said that the zealots of the Inquisition, even in their greatest cruelty, believed themselves to be justified in what they did. We are asked to accept as a fact that they were deeply religious men who honestly and sincerely believed that they were serving God in what they did. We are told that they believed Jews were destined for damnation, and that it was their duty to save them from
    that no matter what pain they inflicted on the bodies of the Jews here on Earth.”

    “The Spanish Inquisition was used for both political and religious reasons. Spain is a nation-state that was born out of religious struggle between numerous different belief systems including Catholicism, Islam, Protestantism and Judaism.”
    http://www.thenagain.info/webchron/WestEurope/SpanInqui.html

    “The Crown and the Vatican were concerned with the idea of converts following non-Christian ways of life. There was also a realization in Spain and Rome that large amounts of wealth had been looted in 1468 and 1473 along with concern that those proceeds should have gone to the government and the Church. Certain behaviors (some actual religious practices – others created by the Inquisitors) were labeled by the Church as “Judaising” and were strictly prohibited under punishment of death. “
    http://www.lilithgallery.com/library/christian/The_Spanish_Inquisition.html

    And so on. So while religion was not the only cause of the Spanish Inquisition (and I never said it was) it was certainly a major contributing factor, quite possibly the biggest one.

  26. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    >Just because you don’t agree with something does not make it false.

    I reply: One should prove their views by logic & rational anaysis. You have failed in that area. I can’t MAKE YOU agree with the obvious. You can choose to be irrational.

    >Yes, it is common for Communists to be Atheists but it is not a prerequisite or a vital part of the communist system.

    I reply: I have shown that is not the case in the USSR. You couldn’t be an Theistic Communist in the USSR anymore than you can be an Atheist Cardinal at the Vatican.

    >Communism can still work, for example, if members of the populace believe in some supernatural power or another. To state it another way, Atheism can be an aspect of
    communism but it is far from a vital one. However, Catholics can’t be Catholics unless they believe in some form of higher being, namely the judeo-christian deity … and that IS
    a vital component.

    (The above will come back to haunt you)

    I reply: Of course you can mix all sorts of beliefs it’s called Syncratism. You can even do the same with Protestantism & Catholicism(it’s called Anglicanism) There are
    Syncratist Christian denomanations that combin New Age Paganism with Christianity. So what? This is off topic. The USSR was a militant offically Atheist State. That was the
    LAW in that country. They had that law because the people in power where Atheists who believed religion was evil. You can NO MORE DISPUTE THIS rationally then I can rationally
    claim Evolution is false because of the Second Law of Thermodymamics. You are objectively
    wrong. Atheism was a vital part of their system. Religion according to their ideology was the opium of the People so in the name of Godlessness they wiped out Religious people as a threat to society. They where not bad people who happened to be Atheists. They believe there was no god & that belief in god was harmful(like you believe) & that this was the course they has to take.

    >It’s a difference you’re failing to see.

    I reply: I see it all to well you are just in denial because of your faith in your irrational blind dogma that Atheism cannot be guilty of anything evil but Theism can. It is not logical as I have shown & so far you have no logical rebuttle for me except to say “It’s Not True!” What is it you Brits say? Bullocks!

    >Ooh, nice try but you’re misapplying logic there and once against trying to state that Communism = Atheism,

    I reply: Well Soviet Communist (as well as Chinese) does equal Atheism because you would have found yourself in the Gulag if you claimed otherwise. It was the “national church” of the former USSR.

    >while forgetting that Stalin was a meglomaniac and really rather power hungry. It is because of those aspects of his character that he did such things.

    I reply: No that is just wishful thinking & special pleading and it betrays a lack of READING what Stalin himself believed. Yes he most likely was a nutjob but he was a nutjob that believed there was no God & that belief in God was harmful for humanity & nothing was immoral if it would wipe out the opium of the people so Communism would come.

    > Simply using the same logical rationale you’re trying to apply to communism to what Gere did in India. Yes, the Gere example is absurd in exactly the same way your communism link is absurd. Gere upset a lot of people with that action but he certainly didn’t do it because he was a Buddhist, he did it because of his own character. Using your logic, Buddhists would be to blame for it.

    I reply: I don’t follow Richard Gere’s carreer or his activities. So this means nothing to me. Pick another analogy this one is lost on me. As for him being a Buddhist he is not in
    charge of a political state which reconizes Buddhism as the only True religion. Unlike the Atheist Stalin who headed a State that was LEGALLY & Offically an Atheist State.

    >>Try to process. Therefore Theism has nothing to do with fighting against any non-theistic religion or philosophy, it is simply the belief in a Single God who creates

    >Not at all. One of the central doctrines of numerous branches of Christianity, for example, state that followers have to go out there and spread the word, convert the
    populace. Atheism has no such thing, which makes a world of difference; whereas it’s encouraged for many Christian denominations to go and convert the unbelievers (which has led to all sorts of horrible acts) … no one expects Atheists to do anything of the sort.

    I reply: The Flaw in your “logic” is Yes Catholicism and may other Christian groups teach you must evangelize. But the Amish DON’T Evangelize. They are Christian (Believe in the
    Trinity etc) but they an other Anabaptists dont evangalize & there are other examples. So you are lumping them in when another Christian asshole does something wicked like force some poor Jew to be baptized against his will. Jews even the Orthodox DON’T as a rule evangelize and they are theists. So when you make Asinine claims like if a Theist kills someone in the name of Theism then Theism is to blame it attacks them as well.
    BTW just because YOUR personal subjective view of Atheism(or maybe you belong to an Atheist orginization that believes this) doesn’t believe in evanglizing others to dis-
    believe in God doesn’t refute the FACT other Atheists disagree with you. Harris, Dawkins, Hitchens and the Communists (what’s left of them) DO believe it is the duty of Atheists to enlighten (aka Evangelize) the rest of us Knuckle draging “non-rational” theistic throwbacks. This is pure logic I’m giving you. You are giving me nonsense.

    >There is no contradiction at all, you just seem to fail at seeing the point. The KKK has perverted the message of Christianity

    I reply: Yes I think so according to Orthodox Catholic Standards but THEY don’t believe the Catholic Church has the authority to objectively define what is Christianity. I find
    it strange you as an Atheist deny the God of Catholicism & Christanity yet you somehow believe the Catholic Church has the authority to define what is a Christian? Or you
    believe there is an objective Christianity YOU have the authoriy to define for all the other Christians. Curious & logically inconsistant. Anyway since you reconize the
    Church’s Divine Right I can tell you as an expert in Catholic teaching YOU CAN objectively be a Christian if you believe the Trinity & and are Baptized even if you believe false
    theological (like Luther bastard Sola Fide heresy) or moral (the KKK’s bastard belief one “race” of Men is superior to another)teaching. You are a heretic but still a Christian.

    >and certainly do not follow official Christian dogma nor

    I reply: They follow enough of Christian dogma(Trinity & Baptism) to technically be consisterd Christians, Just as child murderer Joel Steinbrener is technically a Jew
    because his mother was one(according to Judaism). Even though his action are repugnate to Judaism. I have been shocked so far that you are ignorant of logic. But I am not suprised you know little about Theology. A warning Son. Challenging me on Theology is about as smart as a bible thumper with a 6th grade education challenging Dawkins on Evolution. You will lose.

    >(and most importantly) are they a recognised religious organisation.

    I reply: They are in the USA & historically they only allow white CHRISTIAN Protestant men in their group. So they are Christians even though by orthodox Catholic standards they
    are heterodox in their protestant beliefs & their Rascist beliefs. Peter has Spoken threw the Pope end of Story. You have to operate within OUR rule when discussing these matters you can’t make up your own. Get it?

    > Unlike, for example, the Vatican which has done all sorts of nasty things over the years while proclaiming it to be holy and part of God’s will … and they’re about as official as
    it gets.

    I reply: I don’t deny the Popes have sinned or the Cardinals. Jesus himself fortold there would be Shepards who would not spare the Sheep. So I am not suprised when yet again JC is 100% correct as per usual. But as for the claim of “recognised religious organisation” well recognised by whose standard? In England about a century ago the Vatican WAS NOT recognised as a legitmate Religion.

    >Then you’re utterly failing to understanding my PoV yet again.

    I reply: Yes. That is your fault. You won’t even tell me you age & you haven’t said anything coherant & your weird private “objective” vague definition of what is a Christian
    (of which you Judge the KKK wanting) goes against everything I believe. Which you no doubt haven’t bothered to learn about if for the simple reason to filicitate better
    communications.

    >Christianity would not be at fault at all in this particular example because the KKK member is not a Christian, is not following Christian doctrine and is clearly mentally
    unbalanced.

    I reply: You are using imprecise & therefore inaccurate termonology. The KKK people are technically Christians since they confess the Deity of Christ, Trinity & are Baptized.
    That is the Dogma of Trent. QUOTE”Whoever says the Baptisms of the Heretics & the Schismatics……is not a valid baptism let him be excommunicated.END QUOTE
    Sure any beliefs they hold which contradict the Church (Sola Fide, Sola Scriputa, Black people are inferior, it’s moral to murder them etc) are false perversions(& of course let
    me be clear I think there is a universe of moral difference between the mainline Protestants & the KKK). They are technically Christians. They are ALSO theists.
    You problem is your deathless irrational defense of this false proposition QUOTE”It is one thing to be a member of a demographic and commit a bad act, it doesn’t mean that
    demographic is responsible for that act. But if you do that act in the name of that demographic and follow the ideology of that group then the group is to blame.”END QUOTE

    Even if I cast away the council of Trent from my argument & confess them non-christians my argument is still valid because the KKK members are still Theists. So are the Ethiopian Orthodox Theist & therefore if the KKK kill a Black man in the name of Theism according to your weird view all the black people in the EOC are responsible too because like the KKK they are Theists.

    (Told you it would haunt you)

    That is the logical application of your view. It is just plain nuts to anyone with an IQ above Three!

    >Now if he wasn’t a member of the KKK and followed the doctrine of a recognised Christian denomination as a basis for killing that victim then christianity would be to blame.

    I reply: Recognised by WHOSE standards? I run into Baptists & Funadmentalists all the time who to my face say I’m NOT a Christian but a Romanist. So this is another great flaw in your fuzzy thinking. No object univerally accept definitional standards. You are simply makingit up as you go along.

    >They are not a recognised Christian denomination by any stretch so your logic is absurd. The practices of the KKK also go pretty much completely against what could be considered standard Christian doctrine.

    I reply: You have not produced an objective criteria to judge them by. It’s clearly nothing more then your subjective understand of a Christian merely being someone who is
    nice or just to other person. Muslims, Buddhists & even Atheists can be just & nice to others it doesn’t make them Christians. Baptism & confessing the Trinity does. You are
    using a criteria I and a Billion other Catholics don’t believe. You are using a criteria that is inconsistant with Catholic theology. Christian Heretics no matter what wicked
    evil things they believe are still Christians if they are Baptised & confess the Trinity.

    >>Dodging the issue doesn’t help you. Ok I conceed for the sake of argument morality is an evolved and or socially conditioned phenomena. I absolutely conceed it for the sake of argument! Now why should I choose to follow this phenomena that has evolved & or was conditioned if it at any time it goes against my interest?

    >Because it’s part of being a living organism, to put it as simply as possible.

    I reply: Christianity IS NOT a living organism(there you go again like that upper class twit Dawkins projecting your Materialist beliefs on us). Christianity has no DNA & it has
    no biology. It’s a living Spiritual entity.

    >Pretty much all living things on a macro level (even some micro) act in the general best interests in regards to survival of the species. Humans, especially, are constructed to be
    social creatures and acting in an immoral manner will severely limit social advantages that might otherwise occur. That’s putting it as simply as I possibly can.

    I reply: Are we back to the question of morality without God? Nietzsche & I have a simple answer to that. Why should I care about morality if it’s not in my self interest?
    Sure as long as it give me social advantages I will be moral BUT that won’t happen forever. Sooner or later an opportunity will come where I can cast away morality for
    advancement. So why shouldn’t I? It’s not like I am going to go to hell for it & if I am never caught I will not go to Jail for it. I can live with that.

    Good thing I fear God.

    >In a way being moral is related to self interest but not in the way you’re indicating.

    For example, you could be the last human on the planet but I severely doubt you’d start acting immorally (assuming there is no god/hell/whatever).

    I reply: If I stopped believing in God tommorow of course I would STILL have some left over Christian moral conditioning (like you do) but if I willed to power I could overcome it.

    >You’d live in a way to survive but in an overall moral manner. By your argument, as an Atheist I should be acting immorally at any time when I thought I could safely get away
    with it … which I don’t happen to do. I am a pretty moral and ethical person without god so try to explain that.

    I reply: You choose not too for whatever reason brings you authenticity. I would see no reason not to do whatever I want if I could get away with it. Of course I would have to
    REALLY be convinced 110% there is no God. I often wonder if your average atheist 95% doesn’t believe in God & that 5% is enough to keep him in line. that small haunting
    thought “What if I am wrong?”. Carl Sagan once said he tried to live as if there really was a God even though he was an Atheist. He even said if there was a God He thought He
    would love him. Your good because you haven’t 100% cast off God AND you choose to hold this belief that morality still binds you when clearly it doesn’t IMHO.

    Of course Christians who Dispair & or give into the sin of Presumption are just as dangerous as Atheists who follow Nietzsche to the logical extreme if they get power. I’ll talk about that in the future.

    >I almost forgot about the Spanish Inquisition. It was started for political reasons … in part. But in at least equal parts it was also very religious in nature and has to share
    equal blame. It certainly could not have happened without religious components.

    I reply: Well more specifically they used the Religious components for a political end. Also You left out this part in your zeal to Quote mine From your own source.QUOTE”The
    Catholic Church and the Pope attempted to intervene in the bloody Spanish Inquisition but were unable to wrench the extremely useful political tool from the hands of the Spanish
    rulers.”

    >“It has been said that the zealots of the Inquisition, even in their greatest cruelty, believed themselves to be justified in what they did. We are asked to accept as a fact
    that they were deeply religious men who honestly and sincerely believed that they were serving God in what they did. We are told that they believed Jews were destined for
    damnation, and that it was their duty to save them from
    that no matter what pain they inflicted on the bodies of the Jews here on Earth.”

    I reply: Still as your own source points out the Vatican lost control of it & it became a political tool for the Spanish monarchy.

    >“The Spanish Inquisition was used for both political and religious reasons. Spain is a nation-state that was born out of religious struggle between numerous different belief
    systems including Catholicism, Islam, Protestantism and Judaism.”
    http://www.thenagain.info/webchron/WestEurope/SpanInqui.html

    I reply: True but in it’s total history it only executed 3,000 to 5,000 people. When one looks at the 130 million people collectively killed by offically Atheist States(China,
    Russia, Cambodia etc) in the 20th century the Inquisition however brutal was a cake walk.

    “The Crown and the Vatican were concerned with the idea of converts following non-Christian ways of life. There was also a realization in Spain and Rome that large amounts
    of wealth had been looted in 1468 and 1473 along with concern that those proceeds shouldhave gone to the government and the Church. Certain behaviors (some actual religious practices – others created by the Inquisitors) were labeled by the Church as “Judaising”
    and were strictly prohibited under punishment of death. “
    http://www.lilithgallery.com/library/christian/The_Spanish_Inquisition.html

    I reply: Well this contradicts the souce you cite above that claims “the Pope attempted to intervene in the bloody Spanish” which is it? Was the Pope complicit or did he try to
    stop it when he realized it was getting out of Control. Who of these two are telling the Truth. Whatever money they got the Vatican clearly didn’t see any of it.

    Didn’t this whole tread start because of the Charge of quote mining? You have still learned nothing.

    >And so on. So while religion was not the only cause of the Spanish Inquisition (and I never said it was) it was certainly a major contributing factor, quite possibly the
    biggest one.

    I reply: Clearly Politics was the biggest one. The Pope cared about Jews converting to
    the Faith. The Spanards wanted all Jews, convert or not to leave. Just like the Irish hated your country’s Monarch even way back when you all belonged to the Catholic Church.

  27. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    This is fun but I am staying up too late. Oh I gotta go to work in 3 hours.zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  28. Matt says:

    One should prove their views by logic & rational anaysis. You have failed in that area. I can’t MAKE YOU agree with the obvious. You can choose to be irrational.

    Oh, I think I am very rational, thankyou. The problem seems to be that you just can’t make a convincing argument. You may not agree with me or I with you but that doesn’t make either of us irrational.

    I have shown that is not the case in the USSR. You couldn’t be an Theistic Communist in the USSR anymore than you can be an Atheist Cardinal at the Vatican.

    I disagree completely. Personal faith was still very much possible in the Communist USSR. You certainly wouldn’t get any support for such a belief and you would have had to keep such a belief low key but it was still possible as seen by the sudden emergence of previously ‘closet faith’ seen with the megalomaniacal based bans on religion were lifted.

    Which, once again, indicates you’re still missing the point entirely. The state bans on religion during the communist era of the USSR had nothing to do with Atheism; Atheism does NOT say religion should be banned, it does not say it should be eliminated. It merely states that Atheists do not believe in any sort of creator being. That is it, nothing more. Try to find some sort of Atheist (no, not communist which is rather different) doctrine which states that Atheists should go out and stomp down on religion for me.
    Only then might you have an actual point.

    The USSR was a militant offically Atheist State. That was the LAW in that country. They had that law because the people in power where Atheists who believed religion was evil.

    Even if I concede that point it proves nothing, simply because such a thing would pervert the meaning of Atheism just as the KKK perverts the meaning of Christianity, which leaves neither at blame for such actions.

    I see it all to well you are just in denial because of your faith in your irrational blind dogma that Atheism cannot be guilty of anything evil but Theism can.

    I stand by that. Anyone who tries to pass of Atheism as carrying out an evil acting is not acting as an Atheist or understands what Atheism is about; they’re doing so out of their own personal desires and character faults.
    As opposed to Church and dogma sponsored/directed atrocities. Which I suppose is one advantage of Atheism; that there is no bureaucratic governing body or any form of directing dogma to encourage such idiocy.

    It is not logical as I have shown & so far you have no logical rebuttle for me except to say “It’s Not True!” What is it you Brits say? Bullocks!

    There you are, jumping to conclusions again. I am not, nor have ever been, British. Calm down, take a deep breath.

    No that is just wishful thinking & special pleading and it betrays a lack of READING what Stalin himself believed.

    It actually doesn’t matter what Stalin believed, since while he may have held certain Atheistic values and made such values the law… well, they certainly weren’t carried out in the name of Atheism. They were done because he was nuts and wanted complete control over his little empire.

    I can’t believe people are still trying to blame Stalin’s actions on Atheism, it’s been refuted so many times. Just like Hitler, Mao and so on…

    I’ll just quote from IronChariots.org I guess, who phrase it nicely enough: Since atheism per se has no dogma, it is difficult to find a causal link between atheism and immoral behavior or the commission of atrocities. It is often much easier to find a cause rooted in some other belief held by the perpertrator. For example, the statement “Stalin ordered thousands of people executed because he was an atheist” is, on its face, a non sequitur. On the other hand, “Stalin ordered thousands of people executed because he thought they represented a threat to the establishment of communism”, while irrational and abhorrent, at least enjoys a certain internal consistency.

    In short; Atheist (unlike Theism) has no dogma, therefore there is no link.

    The Flaw in your “logic” is Yes Catholicism and may other Christian groups teach you must evangelize. But the Amish DON’T Evangelize.

    I said ‘many’ denominations, not all of them. You’re just being absurd at this point.

    I find it strange you as an Atheist deny the God of Catholicism & Christanity yet you somehow believe the Catholic Church has the authority to define what is a Christian?

    As one of the earliest Christian denominations and, IIRC, the largest Christian denominations currently around … yes, I do think that the Catholic church has some input into the subject. Do they have complete and utter say? No, of course not. But could they be indicative of what is and isn’t Christian doctrine/dogma? I’d think so.

    Afterall, there are lots of people who claim to be Christian who clearly are not. Such as the case of a little group headed by a man who referred to himself as ‘The Little Pebble’ (currently in jail). Or there are con artists like Benny Hinn who claim to be not only Christian but also speak with god. Yeah, I don’t think so.

    Yes. That is your fault.

    Right. So your complete inability to understand basic logic is my fault. Maybe I’m writing in Vietnamese by weird coincidence or something…

    Even if I cast away the council of Trent from my argument & confess them non-christians my argument is still valid because the KKK members are still Theists.

    Not at all, since then the blame would transfer from the Christian doctrine and straight to whatever you wished to label the KKK beliefs. Would theistic belief be at fault? Not of it, no.
    Try harder.

    You have not produced an objective criteria to judge them by.

    That’s because there are none, I never said that was any such set. But try going up to the average man on the street and asking if they think the KKK follow the moral lessons laid out by Jesus Christ and gauge their response. Unless you’re unlucky enough to actually ask a KKK member, I think it’s safe to say the answer would be a strong negative.

    Sometimes objective guidelines give way to good ol’ common sense, which is something you seem to be severely lacking at this particular juncture.

    Christianity IS NOT a living organism(there you go again like that upper class twit Dawkins projecting your Materialist beliefs on us). Christianity has no DNA & it has
    no biology. It’s a living Spiritual entity.

    A) You’re changing the focus of the discussion, moving from personal ethics to Christian ethics. You were using a personal pronoun before asking why “I” would choose to be moral if not out of self interest. Stick with it.
    B) This is you assuming that ethics and morality come from religion once more.

    Are we back to the question of morality without God? Nietzsche & I have a simple answer to that. Why should I care about morality if it’s not in my self interest?

    Answered already. But I’ll shoot it down even further soon enough.

    Sure as long as it give me social advantages I will be moral BUT that won’t happen forever. Sooner or later an opportunity will come where I can cast away morality for
    advancement. So why shouldn’t I?

    You seem to subscribe to Nietzsche’s argument. I do not. I hold that humanity, barring aberrations such as psychopaths, is overall interested in social cohesion and is generally a moral creature. Human history tends to play this out as even the most horrific acts were often based on good (even if in a somewhat perverted way) intentions – such as massacring other tribes – to ensure the survival of one’s own.

    If I stopped believing in God tommorow of course I would STILL have some left over Christian moral conditioning (like you do) but if I willed to power I could overcome it.

    Then you reveal yourself to be a monster and nothing more, held in check by nothing more than fear. Gee, what morality Christianity teaches then.
    You once again jump to conclusions;
    A) Presuming I had ‘Christian moral conditioning’.
    A1) Assuming, once again, that morality comes from a religion/creator being.

    This matter, of course, has been answered by others. I shall quote from one such source, to save myself time, and put this idiocy to bed:
    “Finally, there’s the sanction argument: why be good if there’s no comeuppance in the afterlife? The answer here is really one that was provided by the ancients – virtue or self-respect. We judge the moral acts of others and think well or ill of them as a result. But we also do the same of ourselves. Self-hatred is actually one of the worst psychological tortures one can suffer. An important part of mental health is having a good reputation with oneself. With our reputations with others, we can gain a good one be either actually being good, or by tricking our audience into believing we are good. But with our reputations with ourselves, the latter course involves a level of self-deception that is itself mentally unhealthy. Good deeds really are, as it turns out, their own reward.”

    I often wonder if your average atheist 95% doesn’t believe in God & that 5% is enough to keep him in line.

    That’s a silly argument at best. Do Christians have a 5% belief in Zeus or Ra and that 5% keeps them in line as opposed to anything else? No, of course not.

    When one looks at the 130 million people collectively killed by offically Atheist States(China,
    Russia, Cambodia etc) in the 20th century the Inquisition however brutal was a cake walk.

    Which of course makes several mistakes and forgets several things:
    A) Atheism wasn’t responsible
    B) Greater populations in modern times means more targets.
    C) Thanks to technology and other similar factors, humanity has (rather sadly) gotten so much better at killing each other in greater and greater numbers.

    Didn’t this whole tread start because of the Charge of quote mining? You have still learned nothing.

    And you still haven’t learned how to read things in context. You really do need to work on that. The SP originated as, stating it this way for the sake of expediency, a joint operation between the Church and State as both had a lot to gain from it. The Church got to spread it’s doctrine and force people to convert, while the State consolidated power.
    Later on, the Pope changed his mind but it was rather too late by then … sometimes things just take on a life of their own.

  29. AV says:

    Do I detect the fallacy of the undistributed middle here?

    All Communists are atheists
    Matt is an atheist
    Therefore, Matt is a Communist.

  30. AV says:

    OTOH, Matt, it is only fair to point out that:

    As one of the earliest Christian denominations and, IIRC, the largest Christian denominations currently around … yes, I do think that the Catholic church has some input into the subject. Do they have complete and utter say? No, of course not. But could they be indicative of what is and isn’t Christian doctrine/dogma? I’d think so.

    Afterall, there are lots of people who claim to be Christian who clearly are not. Such as the case of a little group headed by a man who referred to himself as ‘The Little Pebble’ (currently in jail). Or there are con artists like Benny Hinn who claim to be not only Christian but also speak with god. Yeah, I don’t think so.

    . . . is an example of the No True Scotsman fallacy.

  31. AV says:

    Then again . . .

    Nietzsche understood that which shows the heart of your problem. You don’t study the classical Atheists you simply follow the faddish upper class twitery of the New Atheists. It’s like following Jimmy Swaggart over Augustine.

    . . . is also No True Scotsman, with a twist–more than a twist–of ad hominem.

  32. AV says:

    When defined more broadly, atheism is the absence of belief in deities,

    . . . is a very sound definition of atheism.

  33. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    >Do I detect the fallacy of the undistributed middle here?

    >All Communists are atheists
    Matt is an atheist
    Therefore, Matt is a Communist.

    I reply: I don’t believe that. Never said that. It would be silly.

    Do you endorce Matt weird claim “The state bans on religion during the communist era of the USSR had nothing to do with Atheism; “?

    I’d like to know.

    BUT you pointed out a logical inconsistancy on Matt part so you have renewed my faith there really are logical & rational Atheists out there (I assume you are Atheistic could be wrong). Matt has NOT filled me with confidence in that area.

    Anyway I shall return tonight to answer some more & point out more of Matt logical problems & maybe AV can offer me better argument.

    But for now I am watching Hillary Clinton’s political career crash & burn & that is too good to miss!:-)

    Cheers!

  34. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    >. . is a very sound definition of atheism.

    No it’s just one of many VALID definitions.

  35. AV says:

    I reply: Then why did you mock the other definitions I gave? They are scholarly valid since I got them from scholarly sources. I am older than you & maybe a bit more well read.

    Appeal to authority fallacy.

  36. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    >Appeal to authority fallacy.

    Only in regards to the statement “I am older than you & maybe a bit more well read.” Otherwise you’d be saying no appeal to an expert authority is valid. Which is nonsense.

  37. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    >is also No True Scotsman, with a twist–more than a twist–of ad hominem.

    Definatly ad hominem it was what I was aiming for. Not so sure about No True Scotsmen.

  38. AV says:

    Do you endorce Matt weird claim “The state bans on religion during the communist era of the USSR had nothing to do with Atheism; “?

    Communism USSR-style might have prescribed a kind of “state atheism” or strong secularism, for obvious reasons: the materialist nature of Marxist-Leninist ideology, and the “need” to quash/repress competing dogmas to the official state dogma.

    To claim that, since Stalin-era communism was atheistic, atheism implies (or leads inexorably to) communism is to commit the fallacy of the undistributed middle. That’s all Matt was getting at, I think. Ayn Rand’s extremely anti-communist philosophy of objectivism is atheistic, for instance, but that does not mean that atheism implies anti-communism or objectivism, either.

    But for now I am watching Hillary Clinton’s political career crash & burn & that is too good to miss!

    Obama appears to be the most secular-friendly and reasonable of the frontrunners, so that sounds like good news indeed.

    No it’s just one of many VALID definitions.

    The reason it’s the best definition is that it is inclusive of the others. It is true of all atheists that they lack a belief in god (this is the weak atheist or default atheist position). It is true of some atheists that they advance as a positive knowledge claim that god(s) do not exist (this is the strong atheist position). It is true of some atheists that they are antitheists. It is not true of all atheists, however, that they are antitheists and/or strong atheists. To claim otherwise is to commit the strawman fallacy.

  39. AV says:

    Otherwise you’d be saying no appeal to an expert authority is valid. Which is nonsense.

    I agree. But I disagree that one can be an “expert” on what defines an atheist. There are no atheist popes or ayatollahs. The best we can do, I think, is try to reach some consensus on the best way to define the terms we are using. To avoid the strawman fallacy, we would also be well advised to ask individual atheists how they understand the term, rather than drawing hasty conclusions about what people believe on the strength of a label.

  40. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    So far except for a minor point which I won’t I agree with you. You have stated your view logically & straight forwardly.

    What do you think of Matt proposition” proposition QUOTE”It is one thing to be a member of a demographic and commit a bad act, it doesn’t mean that demographic is responsible for that act. But if you do that act in the name of that demographic and follow the ideology of that group then the group is to blame”.

    Claiming Theism is collectively is responsible for atrocities commited by Theist if they do so “in the name of Theism” whatever that means is silly.

    As is claiming NO ATHEISTs commit such acts in the name of unbelief or Atheism. It’s Mad. I don’t care what you believe about God it’s mad.

    Your thoughts Av?

  41. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    Edit:So far except for a minor point which I won’t GO INTO I agree with you. You have stated your view logically & straight forwardlyetc

    Sorry.

  42. AV says:

    ”It is one thing to be a member of a demographic and commit a bad act, it doesn’t mean that demographic is responsible for that act. But if you do that act in the name of that demographic and follow the ideology of that group then the group is to blame”.

    I disagree with the above statement, and in fact have recently been involved in a fruitless and circular exchange on this very question elsewhere.

    As is claiming NO ATHEISTs commit such acts in the name of unbelief or Atheism. It’s Mad. I don’t care what you believe about God it’s mad.

    You have to make a distinction between committing an act in the name of atheism per se, and committing an act in the name of atheism insofar as it is an axiom of a wider set of dogmas (e.g. communism or objectivism). I haven’t seen any evidence of the former, even if we can point to evidence of the latter, at least in the case of Stalinism.

    In any case, neither the former nor the latter is a reflection upon atheism, since atheism itself is not a set of dogmas–it is, at base, a single answer to a single question (“Do you believe in a god/gods?”)–and therefore prescribes nothing. (At least not in the sense that religions or political ideologies are prescriptive.

  43. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    >I disagree with the above statement, and in fact have recently been involved in a fruitless and circular exchange on this very question elsewhere.

    I reply: Bravo!

    >You have to make a distinction between committing an act in the name of atheism per se, and committing an act in the name of atheism insofar as it is an axiom of a wider set of dogmas (e.g. communism or objectivism).

    I reply: I agree/

    >I haven’t seen any evidence of the former, even if we can point to evidence of the latter, at least in the case of Stalinism.

    I reply: Fair enough.

    >In any case, neither the former nor the latter is a reflection upon atheism, since atheism itself is not a set of dogmas–it is, at base, a single answer to a single question (”Do you believe in a god/gods?”)–and therefore prescribes nothing. (At least not in the sense that religions or political ideologies are prescriptive.

    This is an interesting point. I would add though I believe an Atheist who might theoretically say “There is no God or Hell so I can do what I want” is a scary & dangerous individual. Someone who is Theistic who has given into despair “God hates me & will send me to Hell regardless so why be good?” or presumption “God has forgiven me & nothing I do will cause him to send me to Hell therefore why be good?”
    is equally scary.

    Cheers! I know I said I was going to answer tonight but I think you deserve an answer now.

  44. AV says:

    “There is no God or Hell so I can do what I want”

    I can only reply that atheism doesn’t prescribe this belief, either. Regardless of whether a God or Hell exists, the questions “What ought we to do/refrain from doing?” or “Why is it good to do x and bad to do y” remain to be answered. Therefore, “There is no God or Hell so I can do what I want” is a nonsequitur.

    OTOH, to answer “Why is it good to do x and bad to do y” with “Because God says so” or “Because you’ll spend eternity in a lake of fire otherwise” is to commit the red herring fallacy. It pushes the question back a level–so that it becomes “Why does God think it is good to do x and bad to do y?”–but it doesn’t really answer it.

  45. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    Just to let you know AV I’ll be think hard on this one.

  46. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    Hey AV,

    >>“There is no God or Hell so I can do what I want”

    >I can only reply that atheism doesn’t prescribe this belief, either.

    I reply: Naturally, since it is as you said, there is no Pope of Atheism to affirm it as moral doctrine or condemn it as heresy.

    > Regardless of whether a God or Hell exists, the questions “What ought we to do/refrain from doing?” or “Why is it good to do x and bad to do y” remain to be answered. Therefore, “There is no God or Hell so I can do what I want” is a nonsequitur.

    I reply: Briefly let me state the obvious this question doesn’t prove or disprove God’s existence.

    As for it being a nonsequitur I would agree in the functional pratical sense that is true. There is no God or Hell but I can’t just steal your wallet because you might be bigger than me. You might call the police etc. People might collectively discide on standards of conduct without reference to a Higher Power. But then what compels an individual to adhear to it if s/he believes it’s not in his/her best interest?

    One fundamental philosophical presuposition that must be addressed is do we believe Humans are basically reasonable or Selfish? Sometimes this is framed as are people basically good or bad? Politically Liberals tend to believe people are basically good while Conservatives tend to believe people are basically bad. Of course I am suspicious of the latter definition since my gutt often tells me it might reak of Calvinism & being Catholic I have little regard for the Calvinist view’s on original sin.

    I would add it seems to me even Atheists aren’t uniform on this matter either. It was once remarked to me by a Priest who was also a Psychologist that even thought Freud was an Atheist it seemed he believed in original sin. Nietzsche seems to fall into this catagory as well. People are basically selfish.

    >OTOH, to answer “Why is it good to do x and bad to do y” with “Because God says so” or “Because you’ll spend eternity in a lake of fire otherwise” is to commit the red herring fallacy. It pushes the question back a level–so that it becomes “Why does God think it is good to do x and bad to do y?”–but it doesn’t really answer it.

    I reply: Starting presuposition let us say God exists.

    Well if all values are relative (ie. What I think is Good might be Good for me but not for you etc. Right & Wrong are relative etc) then how can we on that basis question God’s self chosen morality? Under a values neutral system we are limited in questioning each other & judging each other. Accept by action & only if it hurts us directly.

    God is at least Our equal in this moral Relativist System so why doesn’t He get that consideration? Hence it’s kind of disengenous to complain when God strikes someone down in th OT.

    OTOH if there really is a God who is Eternal, All-Knowing, All-wise & All-understanding etc how then is He not qualified to be the Supreme Author of The Moral System?

    Of course you have to prove or maybe disprove God before you get anywhere.

    This is at least how I see it.

    Lastly I was thinking about this today. Like my Patron Saint Aquinas I often try to make up opposing arguments to my own thoughts to further test them. If I was an Atheist I would likely be of the Nietzschian type. If someone told me “There is no God therefore everything is permitted”. I would say true but even if there was a God then everything is still permitted since you have free will & might choose to not care if you burn in Hell.

    I would answer myself that unlike Reformation Protestantism Catholics believe it is a good thing to do good because one has a fear of punisment or a desire of reward. Naturally we believe doing good for it’s own sake or pure unselfish love of God is better but the former is still good. If a lesser good.

    You thoughts AV? Disagreements? Criticisms? If any? Peace!

    Cheers!

  47. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    BTW Matt

    I wrote:
    >Anyway I shall return tonight to answer some more & point out more of Matt logical problems & maybe AV can offer me better argument.

    I won’t be doing that because so far between us it has been little more than the Monty Python argument sketch,

    Yes it is! No it isn’t! Yes it is! No it isn’t! Yes it is! No it isn’t! Yes it is! No it isn’t! Yes it is! No it isn’t! Yes it is! No it isn’t!

    Naturally I blame you Matt & believe you to have Sir John Cleese role to my Michael Palin. So I hope you don’t mind this being your blog and all but I’m gonna talk to AV for a while.

    I would encourage you to read him carefully and take notes. There is a good fellow, Cheers. Nothing but love for ya guy.:-)

  48. Matt says:

    *shrugs* I’m all for free discussion. AV and I usually agree on things but not this particular subject it would seem but that is something to be celebrated and not held back in any way.

  49. AV says:

    There is no God or Hell but I can’t just steal your wallet because you might be bigger than me. You might call the police etc. People might collectively discide on standards of conduct without reference to a Higher Power. But then what compels an individual to adhear to it if s/he believes it’s not in his/her best interest?

    There are two separate questions here. One is: why is it the case that we have certain moral ideas–e.g. murder is wrong, stealing is wrong, etc.? The other I have already stated: “Why is it good to do x and bad to do y?”

    In the fields of cognitive science and psychology, research is suggesting that certain moral ideas are possibly “hardwired”–see Marc Hauser’s Moral Minds. It’s still highly speculative, of course. But the point is this: even if we find out that the idea that murder is wrong is “hardwired” into us–an evolutionary trait that has been selected for, in other words–this does not address why murder is wrong.

    More when I have the time . . .

  50. AV says:

    One fundamental philosophical presuposition that must be addressed is do we believe Humans are basically reasonable or Selfish?

    I think this may be a false dichotomy: couldn’t reason be harnessed in the service of selfishness? It would also depend upon whether by “selfish” you mean “self-interested.”

    Politically Liberals tend to believe people are basically good while Conservatives tend to believe people are basically bad.

    I think unless we specify what we mean by “good” and “bad,” it is difficult to argue that humans are basically either of these.

    I would add it seems to me even Atheists aren’t uniform on this matter either.

    Of course not. Atheists aren’t uniform on a whole range of issues. There are atheists who vote Republican. Atheists who vote Democrat. Atheists who are logical positivists. Atheists who are postmodernists. Atheists who are Keynesians. Atheists who are Hayekian liberals. And so on, and so forth.

    People are basically selfish.

    This needs to be substantiated.

    Well if all values are relative (ie. What I think is Good might be Good for me but not for you etc. Right & Wrong are relative etc) then how can we on that basis question God’s self chosen morality? Under a values neutral system we are limited in questioning each other & judging each other. Accept by action & only if it hurts us directly.

    God is at least Our equal in this moral Relativist System so why doesn’t He get that consideration? Hence it’s kind of disengenous to complain when God strikes someone down in th OT.

    OTOH if there really is a God who is Eternal, All-Knowing, All-wise & All-understanding etc how then is He not qualified to be the Supreme Author of The Moral System?

    There is another false dichotomy here: absolute morality dictated by a divine lawgiver, on the one hand, or “values-neutral” moral relativism on the other. Surely there is room for at least a third option: intersubjective morality (by analogy with the intersubjective nature of scientific inquiry), by which I mean people seeking tentative solutions to moral questions through rational dialogue and inquiry. (Actually, given that ethics is a major branch of philosophy, there may be many more options than those three.)

    Of course you have to prove or maybe disprove God before you get anywhere.

    Which is completely impractical if you want to convince anyone who doesn’t share your belief in God to accept your views on morals.

    The problem with claims about so-called “absolute” or “God-given” morals is that they are never given any justification. No explanations (other than the usual “God will punish you” ad baculums) are given for why these rules should be followed; it is only asserted that they should be followed. Saying that “murder is wrong”, no matter how often it is said, in no matter how large and bold letters, no matter to which divine authority one chooses to appeal, is not the same as explaining why it is wrong, or why we shouldn’t do it. The notion of absolute morality is therefore intellectually bankrupt. Citing divine authority in lieu of proper justification is just laziness, in my view.

    If someone told me “There is no God therefore everything is permitted”. I would say true but even if there was a God then everything is still permitted since you have free will & might choose to not care if you burn in Hell.

    There is also the Euthyphro dilemma to consider. Is “the good” good because God commands it, or does God command it because it is good? If the latter is the case, then the question “what is good?” remains to be answered. If the latter is the case, then morality is simply the product of a deity’s caprice, and we can certainly conclude that “With God, everything is permitted.”

    I would answer myself that unlike Reformation Protestantism Catholics believe it is a good thing to do good because one has a fear of punisment or a desire of reward.

    This is the appeal to consequences fallacy, and does nothing to explain why we ought to do x or refrain from doing y. “God will punish you if you murder someone” does not explain why murder is wrong, or why God thinks it’s wrong.

  51. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    Good ones! I mull these for a bit & give you an answer to the best of my ability.

  52. AV says:

    I made an error:

    If the latter is the case, then morality is simply the product of a deity’s caprice, and we can certainly conclude that “With God, everything is permitted.”

    should read:

    if the former is the case, then morality is simply the product of a deity’s caprice, and we can certainly conclude that “With God, everything is permitted.”

  53. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    AV I went over your post today in head & reasoned it out. I formed some good answers but it’s late & don’t feel like writing now. I will answer Friday night most likely sometime after Battlestar Galactica.

    Cheers Dude! (You are a dude Right?) the monker AV is not much to go on.

  54. AV says:

    This is the appeal to consequences fallacy, and does nothing to explain why we ought to do x or refrain from doing y. “God will punish you if you murder someone” does not explain why murder is wrong, or why God thinks it’s wrong.

    I should elaborate on this a bit. I think this is a fallacious appeal to consequences because the predicted consequences of doing an action in this case have nothing to do with the morality of those actions. You can see this for yourself if I put it in the following terms:

    (i) Murder is bad because God will punish you.
    (ii) Charitable actions are good because God will reward you.

    As you can see, this is just plain vanilla-flavoured nonsequitous reasoning. At best, it’s what psychologists refer to as “extrinsic motivation.” But we still don’t know why God doesn’t like murder. And we still don’t know why God likes charity.

    As an aside, I find it interesting that Jesus is famous for propounding (though not originating) the ethic of reciprocity (a.k.a. “The Golden Rule”)–“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” However problematic this ethic may be, it is about secular as you can get. Nobody needs to believe in any kind of deity in order to follow it.

  55. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    >There are two separate questions here. One is: why is it the case that we have certain moral ideas–e.g. murder is wrong, stealing is wrong, etc.? The other I have already stated: “Why is it good to do x and bad to do y?”

    I reply: Well morals either occur naturally in nature without God or they are given by God. We disagree on that. The second question I think falls into the fallacy of question begging. It assumes the categories of good & evil. If I choose to see no good beyond my own immediate desires then the second question is answered “It is good if it benefits me & I like it & it is bad if it hurts or vexes me. “ Why should I continue to conform to any moral system if it’s not in my self-interest?

    >In the fields of cognitive science and psychology, research is suggesting that certain moral ideas are possibly “hardwired”–see Marc Hauser’s Moral Minds. It’s still highly speculative, of course. But the point is this: even if we find out that the idea that murder is wrong is “hardwired” into us–an evolutionary trait that has been selected for, in other words–this does not address why murder is wrong.

    I reply: A Theistic Evolutionist or any other Theistic Christian would conclude this is evidence of “God writing his Law in Our Hearts” as it says in Holy Writ. It’s not a relevant question & as I said before when it really got heated with Matt. I still ask “Why should I conform myself to this “hardwired” morality since I can always act against it if I believe it is in my self-interest.

    >>One fundamental philosophical presuposition that must be addressed is do we believe Humans are basically reasonable or Selfish?

    >I think this may be a false dichotomy: couldn’t reason be harnessed in the service of selfishness? It would also depend upon whether by “selfish” you mean “self-interested.”

    I reply: I should take this time to define my terms better. I am using the term “reasonable” more or less as a synonym for “good” largely in the sense I perceive Atheists to be using it. (ex:It seems you might consider it reasonable for the rest of us to engage in intersubjective morality, get together with others and seek tentative solutions to moral questions through rational dialogue and inquiry. Which is fine). I am defining Selfish as a person who is willing to seek their own self interest even if it is at the expense of the self-interests or rights of others. So I don’t believe it is false dichotomy.

    >I think unless we specify what we mean by “good” and “bad,” it is difficult to argue that humans are basically either of these.

    I reply: I hope this definition works then.

    >>People are basically selfish.

    >This needs to be substantiated.

    I reply: That goes as well for the opposite thesis “People are basically reasonable” or “people are neutral”etc..

    >>Well if all values are relative (ie. What I think is Good might be Good for me but not for you etc. Right & Wrong are relative etc) then how can we on that basis question God’s self chosen morality? Under a values neutral system we are limited in questioning each other & judging each other. Accept by action & only if it hurts us directly.

    >>God is at least Our equal in this moral Relativist System so why doesn’t He get that consideration? Hence it’s kind of disengenous to complain when God strikes someone down in th OT.

    OTOH if there really is a God who is Eternal, All-Knowing, All-wise & All-understanding etc how then is He not qualified to be the Supreme Author of The Moral System?

    >There is another false dichotomy here: absolute morality dictated by a divine lawgiver, on the one hand, or “values-neutral” moral relativism on the other. Surely there is room for at least a third option: intersubjective morality (by analogy with the intersubjective nature of scientific inquiry), by which I mean people seeking tentative solutions to moral questions through rational dialogue and inquiry. (Actually, given that ethics is a major branch of philosophy, there may be many more options than those three.)

    I reply: I respectfully submit it is not a false dichotomy but I think your response might be the fallacy of begging the question. This idea of intersubjective morality (if I may use this analogy) of creating some type of secular ecumenical council or synod so that individuals may compare notes & agree on a common moral code (or however you will do it this is after all an analogy) only moves the problem up a level. It doesn’t eliminate this so called “false dichotomy”. I can still ask “Why should I conform to the standards of this intersubjective morality”? What if I don’t agree with them? Especially if I’m Selfish. Thus the values neutral relativism remains.

    >>Of course you have to prove or maybe disprove God before you get anywhere.

    >Which is completely impractical if you want to convince anyone who doesn’t share your belief in God to accept your views on morals.

    I reply: Now that I look at it let me re-phrase. You have to for the sake of argument assume the existence or non-existence of God when appropriate so you can compare the systems effectively.

    >The problem with claims about so-called “absolute” or “God-given” morals is that they are never given any justification. No explanations (other than the usual “God will punish you” ad baculums) are given for why these rules should be followed; it is only asserted that they should be followed. Saying that “murder is wrong”, no matter how often it is said, in no matter how large and bold letters, no matter to which divine authority one chooses to appeal, is not the same as explaining why it is wrong, or why we shouldn’t do it. The notion of absolute morality is therefore intellectually bankrupt. Citing divine authority in lieu of proper justification is just laziness, in my view.

    I reply: I confess not to know at this time if Catholic Theologians or Church Fathers ever gave a “justification” for God’s moral commands (also as far as I know God via the Book of Job, doesn’t have to Justify Himself to us & as a cognate I argued since He is by nature the Ultimate Perfect Expert on Everything then why not grant him the presumption of deference or presumptive authority in these matters?).

    OTOH I can argue God’s Laws are reasonable & give reasons informed by revelation why they are good.

    >There is also the Euthyphro dilemma to consider. Is “the good” good because God commands it, or does God command it because it is good? If the latter is the case, then the question “what is good?” remains to be answered. If the [Former] is the case, then morality is simply the product of a deity’s caprice, and we can certainly conclude that “With God, everything is permitted.”

    I reply: Why the false dichotomy & dilemma? Aquinas taught and Church believes God is universally defined as Perfect, His Divine Substance is Simple, without parts or passions, so therefore He IS His attributes. Thus “goodness” isn’t just a choice of God’s or part of him but it is in fact What He is. If we believe he is Beneficent then He created us for our own benefit. **

    Or to put it more simply. God is just acting according to His Nature. Thus it is no more capricious than bird flying or having the darn thing poop on you car would make the bird capricious.

    >>I would answer myself that unlike Reformation Protestantism Catholics believe it is a good thing to do good because one has a fear of punisment or a desire of reward.

    >This is the appeal to consequences fallacy, and does nothing to explain why we ought to do x or refrain from doing y. “God will punish you if you murder someone” does not explain why murder is wrong, or why God thinks it’s wrong.

    I reply: Can you guarantee the intersubjective morality committee will do any better? If there is not God then the Judeo-Christian moral system is ultimately man made. Anyway you might be committing the fallacy of argument by ignorance. You claim you don’t know the reason why God has proscribed some things & compelled others. You won’t trust God’s Moral Law because he hasn’t given you a reason for the Laws. How does that make them True or False, good or evil, reasonable or Selfish etc?
    A doctor tells you to take a specific medicine & you are no expert should you not grant him a certain level of deference & presumption of Authority? Now granted human doctors can make mistakes & medicine isn’t incomprehensible to the human mind so you wouldn’t put absolute faith in a human doctor but why doubt a Perfect Physician?

    Of course I’m arguing Faith here & you don’t believe in God but the belief is clearly IMHO internally logical, reasonable & consistent. Also I’m assuming Free Will.

    >This is the appeal to consequences fallacy, and does nothing to explain why we ought to do x or refrain from doing y. “God will punish you if you murder someone” does not explain why murder is wrong, or why God thinks it’s wrong.

    I reply: I can also point out you have the same problem. How does the hypothetical intersubjectivist committee explain why we ought to not murder? Especially when the Selfish person might do so in a situation where it furthers his self interest.

    >I should elaborate on this a bit. I think this is a fallacious appeal to consequences because the predicted consequences of doing an action in this case have nothing to do with the morality of those actions. You can see this for yourself if I put it in the following terms:

    >(i) Murder is bad because God will punish you.
    (ii) Charitable actions are good because God will reward you.

    >As you can see, this is just plain vanilla-flavoured nonsequitous reasoning. At best, it’s what psychologists refer to as “extrinsic motivation.” But we still don’t know why God doesn’t like murder. And we still don’t know why God likes charity.

    I reply: Why do you like or dislike these things? That is a starting point. Also how will your hypothetical intersubjective morality group impose the morals they come up with if they don’t inflict adverse consequences on those who transgress them?

    Of course what it comes down to for me. Where the rubber meets the Road. I MIGHT get away with bucking or defying the morals set down by the intersubjective group(& if I thought the gain was worth the risk I might do it add to that mix them forbidding something I want really badly.). I COULD in theory get away with it. OTOH if the premises of Religion & God are true & I accept them in the end I won’t get away with it. Maybe in the short term I will but in the long term no I won’t get away with it. Like I said doing good out of fear is a good thing as far as it goes. You have to start somewhere.

    >As an aside, I find it interesting that Jesus is famous for propounding (though not originating) the ethic of reciprocity (a.k.a. “The Golden Rule”)–”Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” However problematic this ethic may be, it is about secular as you can get.

    I reply: Of course a Selfish person might simply say “Do unto others BEFORE they do unto you.”
    With out consequences Law is ineffective. But obeying the Law out of fear at least is a good starting point.
    It’s not a fallacy rather it is a self evident fact of life.

    >Nobody needs to believe in any kind of deity in order to follow it.

    Of course without God everything is permitted. You can follow it. But some people are going to conclude God doesn’t exist and choose differently that you in that manner.
    Keep that in mind. Not that is proves God but it is kinda funny how is works out that way. I wonder why that is? Courious.

    Anyway I’m gonna take a break from this discussion & read up on philosophy & moral theology. So far my expertise has been in the area of dogmatic theology. But there is always more to learn.

    Cheers! Good strong points. I rather enjoyed it

  56. AV says:

    I reply: Well morals either occur naturally in nature without God or they are given by God. We disagree on that.

    This requires elaboration on what you mean by “morals.” If you mean “ideas about morals”–such as, for instance, “Murder is wrong”–then these ideas might occur naturally (in the sense of being hardwired). Or they might be cultural in origin and acquired through education. The argument that if moral ideas are not inborn, then they come from a deity, is a false dichotomy.

    The second question I think falls into the fallacy of question begging. It assumes the categories of good & evil.

    Certainly much depends upon how “good” and “evil” are defined, so perhaps my question should be reworded to: “Why ought we to do x, and refrain from doing y?” The distinction I am drawing still stands, however. There is a difference between asserting what we ought to do, and substantiating it.

    A Theistic Evolutionist or any other Theistic Christian would conclude this is evidence of “God writing his Law in Our Hearts” as it says in Holy Writ.

    They would be wrong, of course: there would be no reason to infer, from the discovery that certain moral intuitions are hardwired, that a supernatural being did the hardwiring.

    I still ask “Why should I conform myself to this “hardwired” morality since I can always act against it if I believe it is in my self-interest.

    You might as well ask: why should a Catholic conform to Catholic moral teachings since he can always act against it if he believes it is in his self-interest? There is a difference between having an awareness of a set of moral ideas, and acting upon them (or against them).

    In any case, I didn’t make any claim to the effect that, if certain moral ideas are hardwired, those are the moral ideas that must be observed. To do so would be to commit the is-ought fallacy.

    I am using the term “reasonable” more or less as a synonym for “good” largely in the sense I perceive Atheists to be using it.

    Atheism neither prescribe nor proscribes the belief that “reasonable” is a synonym for “good.”

    I am defining Selfish as a person who is willing to seek their own self interest even if it is at the expense of the self-interests or rights of others.

    But why could such a person not employ reason in the pursuit of his own self-interest? Also do you think it impossible that a person’s self-interest might be promoted, at least in the longer term, by behaving altruistically?

    That goes as well for the opposite thesis “People are basically reasonable” or “people are neutral”etc..

    Of course, but if you’re going to make the claim that people are basically selfish, and you want me to accept it, you should provide supporting evidence.

    This idea of intersubjective morality (if I may use this analogy) of creating some type of secular ecumenical council or synod so that individuals may compare notes & agree on a common moral code (or however you will do it this is after all an analogy) only moves the problem up a level.

    You misunderstand me. I did say that an intersubjective approach to morality involved people seeking tentative solutions to moral problems through rational dialogue and inquiry. People (like you and me), not “ecumenical councils” or “synods.” Tentative solutions, not so-called (and they can only be so-called) “absolutes.” Rational dialogue, persuasion and inquiry, not eschatological/metaphysical blackmail and arguments by fiat.

    The intersubjective approach doesn’t guarantee, of course, that everyone will agree. My hypothesis is that this approach will have a greater likelihood of success than authoritarian scare-tactics, which depends too much on whether people recognise the authority. When that authority is a supernatural entity, the stakes are even higher. What happens when people stop believing in the supernatural law-giver? Do these people immediately indulge in murderous rampages, having never understood why they shouldn’t?

    Thus the values neutral relativism remains.

    And it’s a strawman if you are going to apply it to anyone who doesn’t have a god-belief.

    You have to for the sake of argument assume the existence or non-existence of God when appropriate so you can compare the systems effectively.

    How about this as a way of comparing the authoritarian and intersubjective/rational approaches to ethics effectively:

    “We should be allowed to keep slaves, and if you disagree with me, I’ll punch you in the face. If you agree with me, I’ll give you a million dollars.”

    That should tell you all you need to know about the intellectual bankruptcy of the authoritarian approach.

    I confess not to know at this time if Catholic Theologians or Church Fathers ever gave a “justification” for God’s moral commands

    What does it matter what they thought? Surely what matters is what you think?

    (also as far as I know God via the Book of Job, doesn’t have to Justify Himself to us & as a cognate I argued since He is by nature the Ultimate Perfect Expert on Everything then why not grant him the presumption of deference or presumptive authority in these matters?)

    How are you going to convince the person who doesn’t believe in your God? Why would you expect someone who doesn’t believe in your God to “grant him the presumption of deference or presumptive authority?”

    I can argue God’s Laws are reasonable & give reasons informed by revelation why they are good.

    Why is God’s Law regarding murder reasonable?

    God is just acting according to His Nature.

    So God is good because it is in his nature to be good. In other words, God is good because God is good. That’s a circular argument.

    Either God is the standard by which good is measured, and therefore anything that God says is good is good (so if God decides one day that murder is good, then murder is good), or there is some external standard of good against which God is being measured.

    Thus it is no more capricious than bird flying or having the darn thing poop on you car would make the bird capricious.

    That’s an unfortunate comparison. The bird can’t account for why it flies or poops on cars. Are you suggesting that God can’t account for his moral rules. He doesn’t know why we ought not to murder each other? Or, if he does know, he’s not going to tell us, and so for us it must remain, to all intents and purposes, a complete mystery?

    I reply: Can you guarantee the intersubjective morality committee will do any better?

    Yes, insofar as the intersubjective approach at least tries to find answers to and consensus on moral questions, whereas the authoritarian approach does not seem interested in this kind of inquiry.

    If there is not God then the Judeo-Christian moral system is ultimately man made.

    Of course.

    You claim you don’t know the reason why God has proscribed some things & compelled others. You won’t trust God’s Moral Law because he hasn’t given you a reason for the Laws. How does that make them True or False, good or evil, reasonable or Selfish etc?

    All I’m suggesting is that claims about morality, like any kind of claim, should be justified, argued for, and not merely asserted.

    A doctor tells you to take a specific medicine & you are no expert should you not grant him a certain level of deference & presumption of Authority? Now granted human doctors can make mistakes & medicine isn’t incomprehensible to the human mind so you wouldn’t put absolute faith in a human doctor but why doubt a Perfect Physician?

    False analogy. The existence of doctors is demonstrable; the existence of supernatural deities is not. The expertise of doctors is subject to the scrutiny of their peers; there is no such scrutiny regarding God’s knowledge. Medical knowledge is subject to change and development upon the discovery of new evidence; religious dogma and claims about “absolute” morality are not.

    Of course I’m arguing Faith here & you don’t believe in God but the belief is clearly IMHO internally logical, reasonable & consistent.

    But, given that I don’t share your belief in God, how are you going to persuade me to share your beliefs regarding morality. Also, how do you account for the fact that I am not a murderer, even though I don’t believe in God?

    How does the hypothetical intersubjectivist committee explain why we ought to not murder?

    There is no hypothetical intersubjectivist committee. That’s a strawman. Nor does the intersubjective approach pre-ordain a particular answer to the question “why ought we not murder?” The claim that an intersubjective approach to the solution of moral questions leads to some kind of absolute morality is a strawman, also. It is not a claim I ever made.

    Especially when the Selfish person might do so in a situation where it furthers his self interest.

    This selfish person might do so regardless of whether he believes in God or not. Indeed, if he believes in a God who forgives sins, he might be far more dangerous than the non-believing selfish person (since he would see no ultimate consequences for his actions).

    Also how will your hypothetical intersubjective morality group impose the morals they come up with if they don’t inflict adverse consequences on those who transgress them?

    The “hypothetical intersubjective morality group” is a strawman, as I have pointed out, so I’m not going to address it. There is a distinction to be made between (i) claiming, or having the intuition that we ought not to do x, (ii) providing a relevant (i.e. non-ad-baculum) justification for why we ought not to do x, and (iii) deciding what measures, if any, should be taken against those who do x. These are, I repeat, separate issues.

    (i) and (ii) you can sort out by yourself, if you wish, in accordance with religious dogma or any ethical system you wish to apply (e.g. virtue ethics, utilitarianism, deontological approaches, ethics of care, etc.). Given the fact that we live in societies, however, you are eventually going to bump into (iii). There is, after all, a difference between living in accordance with your own personal moral convictions–whatever their source–and wishing to see your morality imposed upon everyone else. Here, I think, you’re forced to adopt the intersubjective approach, by which I mean simply that a private level you’re obliged to employ rational argument to persuade others to share your moral beliefs, and at a public level we need the machinery of representative democracy (rational dialogue in the parliament and elsewhere in the public sphere) to help decide the extent to which morality is enshrined in public policy and in law. The alternative, to simply assert your moral beliefs, and appeal to religious dogma as justification, will leave you absolutely all at sea when you encounter those who do not share your theological presuppositions.

    OTOH if the premises of Religion & God are true & I accept them in the end I won’t get away with it.

    The notion that sins can be forgiven would seem to refute this. (Or are there sins which can never be forgiven?)

    Like I said doing good out of fear is a good thing as far as it goes.

    But how do you know that it is good? All you know is that if you don’t do it, you’re going to get your ass kicked.

    With out consequences Law is ineffective. But obeying the Law out of fear at least is a good starting point.
    It’s not a fallacy rather it is a self evident fact of life.

    It’s a nonsequitur. Obeying the law out of fear tells you nothing about whether the law is a good thing. In Nazi-occupied Holland, it was illegal to harbour Jews, and transgressors faced the death sentence. Would you call that a good law, because it would have been obeyed out of fear?

    Of course without God everything is permitted. You can follow it. But some people are going to conclude God doesn’t exist and choose differently that you in that manner.

    That wasn’t my point. I was merely observing that here is a biblical ethic that requires no belief in a deity, no belief in the supernatural of any kind, and no belief in the bible as being in any way “inspired,” in order to be observed.

  57. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    I may answer you sometime in the future. But we have generated so many tangents here. It’s a little much. They can’t all be addressed & if we keep generating tangents this will degenerate into a shouting match like it did with Matt.

    I’m open to suggestions on how tol solve this immediate dilemma?

    I have written some stuff already especially in regards to your colorful kick hank’s ass thingy & I don’t misunderstand you on your appeal to an intersubjective approach to morality rather you misunderstand what I am saying & I think your are not dealing directly with my response.

    Well stay tuned.

    Gimme a week or more. You will be here right?

  58. AV says:

    It will only degenerate into a shouting match if either or both of us start slinging ad hominems and personal abuse, and it hasn’t come to that so far.

    Nevertheless, our discussion has dragged this thread way, way, off-topic. We’re probably talking on borrowed time, and Matt may wish to direct the discussion back on topic, or bring it to a close. (I wouldn’t blame him for doing so–I have a similar policy at my blog.)

    I may make a post more directly related to our discussion at my blog, as it could probably benefit from the input of others.

    In any case, I’m curious as to how I may have misrepresented or misunderstood you. It wasn’t deliberate.

  59. Matt says:

    Carry on as you like. As I said, I am all for free discussion and (as long as it continues to be intelligent/civil) I don’t mind at all where the topic goes.

  60. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says:

    >In any case, I’m curious as to how I may have misrepresented or misunderstood you. It wasn’t deliberate.

    I reply: Early sneak preview then.

    You said
    >You misunderstand me. I did say that an intersubjective approach to morality involved people seeking tentative solutions to moral problems through rational dialogue and inquiry. People (like you and me), not “ecumenical councils” or “synods.” Tentative solutions, not so-called (and they can only be so-called) “absolutes.” Rational dialogue, persuasion and inquiry, not eschatological/metaphysical blackmail and arguments by fiat.

    I reply: I understand you all too well & my answer stands. I don’t think you have really given a third alternative to the alleged fallacy of a false dichotomy.

    >The intersubjective approach doesn’t guarantee, of course, that everyone will agree.

    I reply: Neither FYI do ecumenical councils. The Council of Trent did NOT answer the question of material sufficiency of Scripture vs part in Scripture, Part in Tradition of the content of revelation & Catholics STILL have differing opinions among themselves to this day. Call it a Council, Congress, Parlement or Coffee club I don’t really care. My point remains. You have NOT given me a true third alternative to Absolute morals Vs. Relative dichotomy. You have just moved it up a level.

    The analogy was simply that an analogy. I certainly have no belief such a group would be Infallible in matters of Faith or morals or that it is exactly like an ecumenical council.

    END

    Well that was some of the notes I made. I may stop by your blog Av. Cheers then, Cheers to you too Matt.

  61. arthurvandelay says:

    I reply: I understand you all too well & my answer stands. I don’t think you have really given a third alternative to the alleged fallacy of a false dichotomy.

    Of course I disagree. But I still don’t see where I have misunderstood you.

    You have NOT given me a true third alternative to Absolute morals Vs. Relative dichotomy. You have just moved it up a level.

    There are two ways in which absolute vs. relative morals is a false dichotomy (and the intersubjective approach is a viable third option).

    First, there are no “absolute morals”–or to put this a better way, there is no evidence that they exist. There are certainly claims about which morals are “absolute.” And we can certainly talk about generalities regarding certain moral claims, such as, for instance, the notion that murder is wrong, which seems to exist in some form in every society. These generalities might hint at a biological basis for moral intuitions (though, as I have emphasised, that tells us nothing about whether those intuitions are correct or why they should be followed). But, I repeat, there is no evidence that claims about “absolute morality,” whoever is making them–be they the Catholic Church, Muslims, Hindus, Christopher Hitchens, etc.–are true. Nor has it been demonstrated that any of these groups or individuals has the authority or the expertise to determine which morals are the “absolute” ones. Of course, a Catholic may choose to defer to Catholic teaching on absolute morality, but why should a non-Catholic or non-theist recognise the Church’s authority in this area?

    Second, what the relativist and absolutist approaches have in common is that both abandon the need to defend a position on morality with reasoned argument and evidence. Absolutists simply argue by fiat, or, if they are theists, make fallacious ad baculum appeals regarding divine rewards and punishments (sufficient evidence for the existence of which is never provided) for following a given set of rules. The relativist position (and this may be a bit of a strawman) is that all moral systems are of equal merit, and thus there is no point arguing in favour of or against any of them. The intersubjective approach, by contrast, recognises that if you’re going to make claims about morality, you need to argue for them. You need to substantiate them, in a language we all–theist and non-theist alike–can access. In fact, this is just about the only practical alternative open to you, since you’re going to have a very difficult time converting people to your religion before they accept your ideas on morals. I think Barack Obama puts the intersubjective approach very eloquently:

    Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.

    Isn’t that better than shouting at each other? 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s