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Friday, August 23, 2013

An atheist incoherency

Clark from Popehat observes an intrinsic contradiction:
The reason for arguing that modern western atheism is incoherent is not that it is irrational to disbelieve in God; I think that one can be entirely sane and rational and disbelieve in God (although I actually think that agnostics have beliefs that are much more consistent with pure rationality than either theists or atheists, but that's a side note).
No, the reason that modern atheists have incoherent views is that they simultaneously
  1. assert that there is nothing beyond that which is visible (i.e. they are materialists)
  2. they believe in rights, and not merely in a legal or social descriptive way, but in an absolute and prescriptive way.
This is not dissimilar from the evolutionist who firmly believes in human equality and asserts race is a myth, failing to grasp that he simply cannot rationally subscribe to both articles of faith.

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176 Comments:

Anonymous DrTorch August 23, 2013 1:28 PM  

Several atheist philosophers have pointed out the need to be amoralists, but for some reason average atheists are a bit afraid to embrace that.

It is amusing to see how hard Ayn Rand tries to bluff that she created a philosophically-consistent morality in Atlas Shrugged.

Anonymous DonReynolds August 23, 2013 1:30 PM  

Egalitarianism and evolution would only be compatible if you also insist that every creature evolves at the same rate and in the same direction, which would be impossible, unless they were all in the same place under the same environmental stimulii. Egalitarians do not allow for genetic variety or variation, yet it is necessary for evolutionary change.

Anonymous RINO August 23, 2013 1:38 PM  

It's kind of entertaining to watch in action. Back at school the cultural anthropologists/sociologists were telling kids race was a myth. They were in for quite a surprise when they got to the evolutionary based and more scientific social science classes. It got to the point where they couldn't teach students to identify the race/origin of skeletal material because that was raciss. Cognitive dissonance probably had a little to do with it as well.

Blogger Dystopic August 23, 2013 1:46 PM  

The double-think inherent in both positions, the atheist example and the evolutionist example, is staggering.

The other day, one Progressive I know asserted that Christians should not be allowed into public office or scientific positions. He based his position on the notion that Christians are irrational, as demonstrated by their believe in an invisible God. He didn't even realize the inconsistency of his own position, or that he was basically advocating the oppression of an entire religion.

Anonymous FP August 23, 2013 1:49 PM  

Clarification VD, it looks like it was Clark who wrote the post. The first bit is a quote from a commenter named Pillsy.

This is similar to the abortionette who also supports government healthcare. The right to one's uterus is sacrosanct but the government can control the rest.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet August 23, 2013 1:53 PM  

Would an atheist be able to view rights in an absolute and prescriptive way if they believed those rights were desired by the average human for themselves, even though any one person may fall short in always applying those rights? Absolute in the sense that these desires apply to all humans through biology and cognition, and prescriptive in the sense that we all want to follow them, but need a little extra nudging of someone saying, "but we shouldn't we?"

Blogger Patrick August 23, 2013 1:54 PM  

I don't find the rights bit to be very persuasive. It simply makes rhetorical sense to assign rights as coming from an authority that cannot be appealed to (God as opposed to government). Maybe such an authority (God) exists or not, but as a matter of rhetoric it serves it's purpose either way.

Anonymous Anonymous August 23, 2013 1:55 PM  

Probably being a bit pedantic, but the first statement could be clearer:

1. assert that there is nothing beyond that which is visible (i.e. they are materialists)

Obviously there are material things that aren't necessarily inherently "visible" - or perhaps not visible at all (yet).

But the example ultimately works to show the atheist incoherency.

CSHIZZLE

Anonymous Krul August 23, 2013 2:02 PM  

DrTorch - Several atheist philosophers have pointed out the need to be amoralists, but for some reason average atheists are a bit afraid to embrace that.

In my experience they aren't afraid of it, they are simply unaware. The don't think enough about their positions to ever notice any inconsistencies, even the most blatant.

This applies to atheists at all levels of intelligence and success, as the renowned Bertrand Russel demonstrated when he wrote his own "Ten Commandments" in which he "commanded" his flock (whoever that is) not to be certain of anything and not to respect authority.

FP - This is similar to the abortionette who also supports government healthcare. The right to one's uterus is sacrosanct but the government can control the rest.

Once in a conversation I asked a guy about his opinion on abortion and he replied "if you think it's wrong, don't do it" (citing a bumper sticker he liked). It woud never occur to them to apply this logic to guns, drugs, or race-based discrimination.

The Left is always eager to embrace libertarian arguments when it serves their purpose.

Anonymous Daniel August 23, 2013 2:10 PM  

Isn't the Dangerous Idea basically that, in addition to equality, rational thought is a construct, and therefore will adapt to...basically whatever one feels like thinking?

The atheist makes the same mad assertion: because all things are relative, what I say goes.

Anonymous damaged justice August 23, 2013 2:15 PM  

"We have the right to defend ourselves and our property, because of the kind of animals that we are. True law derives from this right, not from the arbitrary power of the omnipotent state."

http://jim.com/rights.html

Blogger JartStar August 23, 2013 2:15 PM  

Thanks to big bang cosmology I don’t see how a modern atheist can have a logically coherent worldview as he is forced to believe that the universe created itself from nothing.

Anonymous Phillyastro August 23, 2013 2:16 PM  

This post reminds me of speaking with my atheist friend who believes in Karma.

Anonymous Clark from Popehat August 23, 2013 2:28 PM  

Clarification VD, it looks like it was Clark who wrote the post.

Indeed, it was Clark.

Anonymous 43rd Virginia Calalry August 23, 2013 2:28 PM  

Labels: Comedy

Anonymous log August 23, 2013 2:31 PM  

The only intellectually consistent outlook for a true atheist is that we are all naught but chemically reacting sacks of mud, with all the significance thereof. That very few, apart from Jeffrey Dahmer, have embraced that outlook is a blessed consequence of there being very few true atheists.

Just like there are very few true Christians, who actually obey the commandments of the Lord they loudly proclaim - in particular this one: all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Anonymous CLK August 23, 2013 2:32 PM  

I haven't really met any real atheists .. I met people that call themselves atheists but when you talk with them it is clear that they are agnostic. Its really a difference in a belief in religion vs a belief in God -- its very easy to see how people can get disillusioned with organized religion; Christian and others .. and when they separate themselves from the religion they believe that they are now atheists but they really are not. They still care with themselves many of the good thinks learned from religion..

Every theist is at least an agnostic because the beliefs past those of the agnostic are those that depend on faith and not reason.

Anonymous Clark from Popehat August 23, 2013 2:33 PM  

It is amusing to see how hard Ayn Rand tries to bluff that she created a philosophically-consistent morality in Atlas Shrugged.

Indeed, I take Rand to task in that blog post.

Blogger Phoenician August 23, 2013 2:58 PM  

Or, of course, you're misstating the actual position of those you disagree with because you're a lying dipshit who can't deal with those positions honestly.

Anonymous εχθροι August 23, 2013 3:03 PM  

I suspect most atheists saying "...there is nothing beyond that which is visible..." are simplifying the argument. As an atheist, not only do I believe in immaterial rights, I believe in immaterial mathematics. Of course, math, like rights, depends on the existence of the material to be of any importance. 1 + 1 = 2 is useless until it applies to the real world. The right to pursuit of happiness is useless unless there are thinking individuals capable of pursuing it.

Anonymous WaterBoy August 23, 2013 3:09 PM  

Uh, oh. Somebody's not familiar with Rule #6.

Blogger IrishFarmer August 23, 2013 3:11 PM  

IMO the biggest irrationality in atheism is their weird views on science.

On the one hand they hold that science is the ultimate arbiter of truth, and that there really isn't any truth outside of science even if the truths discovered by science are provisional. They exclude philosophy as a useful tool of gaining knowledge and understanding, they think it's nothing more than "navel gazing".

On the other hand, science cannot prove itself to be true, since it is in fact philosophy which lays the foundation for science.

Therefore they simultaneously reject science while wielding it as blunt object to destroy the beliefs of others that aren't "scientific".

This may just seem like a harmless bit of mental gymnastics on their part, but it explains why science has become so flaccid ever since the post-modern(?) rejection of religion. Since there is no foundation for science, science just becomes whatever you need it to be.

This is why ideology has been rotting the institution from the inside out and why no one takes the endeavor seriously anymore.

The great irony of "science loving" atheists is that they are science's worst enemy. Nothing brings me greater joy than pointing this out to atheists who then weep and gnash their teeth in anger, because they're atheists and Everybody Knows(TM) that atheists love science.

Anonymous Krul August 23, 2013 3:13 PM  

Exopoi - As an atheist, not only do I believe in immaterial rights, I believe in immaterial mathematics.

Mathematics is pure reason, and knowledge of it comes originally from observation of natural phenomena. Do you think that human rights can be discerned through observation?

Anonymous VD August 23, 2013 3:13 PM  

Or, of course, you're misstating the actual position of those you disagree with because you're a lying dipshit who can't deal with those positions honestly.

You're projecting again, Phony. You just love the sweet taste of those ankles, don't you.

Whose position have I ever misstated? I have no need to erect strawmen.

Anonymous ArcaneRhino August 23, 2013 3:15 PM  

"Or, of course, you're misstating the actual position of those you disagree with because you're a lying dipshit who can't deal with those positions honestly."

Phoenician, please state the ACTUAL position to the misstatements. I am genuinely curious how you can support that assertion.

Anonymous Taco Dog August 23, 2013 3:19 PM  

(although I actually think that agnostics have beliefs that are much more consistent with pure rationality than either theists or atheists, but that's a side note).
 
I think if pressed, you will find that most atheists (the internet not withstanding) are actually agnostics in general, and atheists when it comes to any given religion’s claim regarding a deity. 
 
Anyway, this agnostic atheist “believes in rights”, he just doesn’t think they actually exist, like a lot of things…

Blogger Cinco August 23, 2013 3:31 PM  

"We have the right to defend ourselves and our property, because of the kind of animals that we are. True law derives from this right, not from the arbitrary power of the omnipotent state."

Lol. I forgot about those magical mammalian rights that get sprinkled on us by Gaia at the moment of our births.

Rights not afforded by God will be devoured by man, and mankind is historically a very hungry beast.

Anonymous CLK August 23, 2013 3:40 PM  

Everyone seems so quick to say what atheists think and then proceed to argue why they are wrong when in reality they are just setting up a false position and arguing against it. The spectrum of atheist beliefs (or maybe disbeliefs is a better term) such as

1. a belief in only material things
2. some sort of fetishistic belief in science etc.

"On the other hand, science cannot prove itself to be true, since it is in fact philosophy which lays the foundation for science."

I think you meant to say "religion" cannot prove itself true. There is much in science that is proven true while in religion there is nothing that has been proven true (because its faith). Science is a philosophy in and of itself but with the possibility of actual answers with proofs.

I am a man of faith and of science .. and there's no paradox there for me...

Anonymous The Deuce August 23, 2013 3:50 PM  

Even more incoherent than the atheist belief in rights is the atheist belief in reason:

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2013/08/eliminativism-without-truth-part-iii.html

Anonymous Anonymous August 23, 2013 3:53 PM  

I wonder how much they really think about it. Atheism leads to such a strange land where the thoughtful Atheist comes to understand that “rights” and “morals” are just made up arbitrary bullshit, but then when it comes time to live within that reality they just can’t manage it. They blather on about gay rights, feminism, or whatever strikes their fancy, as if it’s the most important thing in the world, while at the same time they know, sans God, it’s all just BS. Killing a gay has the same significance as crushing a rock, none.

Part of me wants to admire the honest Atheists that don’t shy away from where it leads, but then the same people will start talking about some liberal policy (food stamps, housing assistance, whatever) as if they just forgot that none of it matters.

I always wonder how they can live with a worldview that they can’t live out with consistency and coherence.

Blogger Dystopic August 23, 2013 3:55 PM  

"Or, of course, you're misstating the actual position of those you disagree with because you're a lying dipshit who can't deal with those positions honestly."

http://www.flamewarriorsguide.com/warriorshtm/compost.htm

Enjoy.

Anonymous DrTorch August 23, 2013 3:57 PM  

CLK- Frankly you don't seem to understand either very well, IMO.

Anonymous the bandit August 23, 2013 4:04 PM  

Mathematics is pure reason, and knowledge of it comes originally from observation of natural phenomena. Do you think that human rights can be discerned through observation?

I have a friend who's a zealot, first through several forms of Christianity, with a mix of philosophy, and now atheist. He believes there can be objective morality without an authority and tries to justify it by saying it's a phenomenon observable through consistent description of societies. He likens perceiving proper morals to the way we perceive colors on the electromagnetic spectrum: the colors aren't really there, but we're tuned somehow to see them that way.

So he would say we can discern human rights through observation.

Anonymous εχθροι August 23, 2013 4:05 PM  

Krul - Do you think that human rights can be discerned through observation?

Not directly, not in the same sense as math. That's irrelevant to my point though, which was that I suspect most atheists acknowledge immaterial things exist, math being the strongest example.

Anonymous damaged justice August 23, 2013 4:07 PM  

Cinco: You might want to read the whole thing before making more foolish assumptions about the author. Or not.

Blogger JartStar August 23, 2013 4:08 PM  

CLK - The assumption of scientism for an atheist, particularly the modern (New) atheist is a safe bet. The more pertinent question is if the scientism is hard or soft.

Blogger Daniel de Freitas Castro August 23, 2013 4:08 PM  

"assert that there is nothing beyond that which is visible"

This is simply false. To require evidence in order to accept something is not to believe only in ones eyes.

Anonymous Stickwick August 23, 2013 4:09 PM  

There is much in science that is proven true ...

There is nothing in science that is proven true. Science operates on falsifiability. The best you can say is that the data are consistent with a theory, not that a theory is proven true.

Anonymous Krul August 23, 2013 4:11 PM  

Re: the bandit,

That looks like rationalization. "Can be" =/= "is".

Anonymous GreyS August 23, 2013 4:14 PM  

If VD would just stop lathering his ankles in cocoa-butter things would go a lot smoother around here.

Anonymous Anonymous August 23, 2013 4:17 PM  

So he would say we can discern human rights through observation.

LOL, who is it he is observing? Pol Pot, Genghis Khan, Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, chattel slavery…or just man’s general historic propensity to be really shitty. Seriously, LO F’n L.

Anonymous Krul August 23, 2013 4:19 PM  

Exopoi - Not directly, not in the same sense as math.

Then why do you believe in them?

That's irrelevant to my point though, which was that I suspect most atheists acknowledge immaterial things exist, math being the strongest example.

There is a difference between "atheist" and "materialist" after all. But I don't think mathematics applies in this case because mathematical concepts, like number, are ideas, which from the materialist perspective are particular electrochemical states in the brain. In other words, math is material.

Anonymous righteous gobbler August 23, 2013 4:27 PM  

What is observable is that in a Godless society it's the mighty that draw up the rules and dole out "rights" as they see fit.

Blogger TontoBubbaGoldstein August 23, 2013 4:28 PM  

(although I actually think that agnostics have beliefs that are much more consistent with pure rationality than either theists or atheists, but that's a side note).

Preach it, brotha!

Blogger IrishFarmer August 23, 2013 4:31 PM  

I think you meant to say "religion" cannot prove itself true. There is much in science that is proven true while in religion there is nothing that has been proven true (because its faith). Science is a philosophy in and of itself but with the possibility of actual answers with proofs.

No, religion cannot prove itself true. In fact, most things cannot prove themselves true, at the end of the day almost everything we take for granted as knowledge rests in some form on a philosophical foundation. The only things I can prove for sure are true is that some things are at least true, since if nothing was true it would be false to believe that nothing is true, and that my own mind exists because I experience it. Everything else is extrapolation and assumption (sometimes rational, sometimes not).

Science is applied philosophy. If there are no truths outside of science, then there is no truth to certain assumptions like, "The laws of physics are universal throughout time and space". You can't prove assumptions like that to be true using the scientific method. And it's philosophical (not scientific) assumptions like these which science requires in order to function properly.

This may seem somewhat abstract and like little more than wordplay, but it has important implications.

For instance, when atheists say that the reason the universe looks fine-tuned is because there are actually an infinite amount of universes and random chance guarantees that at least one of them would be our universe, and therefore it isn't surprising that the universe appears fine-tuned, they forget that this makes science out to be little more than guess-work where literally anything is possible and no experiment can be guaranteed to be duplicated even if carried out with exactly identical circumstances.

Atheists value their ideology more than they value science, and in most cases science is just a useful tool (and nothing more) for them to proselytize. I'm not putting words into atheists' mouths, in fact I didn't come to believe this until I had talked/argued with probably hundreds of atheists before realizing exactly where their error was.

Not all atheists are like that (NAAALT).

Anonymous the bandit August 23, 2013 4:36 PM  

That looks like rationalization.

Seriously, LO F’n L.

Yeah, he can twist reason in such knots that I don't really try anymore with him, except to occasionally stand up for some poor, maligned truth he's berating. I bring him up because he expresses his view in a way that has the trappings of careful examination and reason of incoherent assumptions that most atheists appear to not even realize they have. In other words, showing a thoughtful atheist their fundamental incoherence just sets the hamster on the wheel.

Anonymous εχθροι August 23, 2013 4:37 PM  

Krul - Then why do you believe in them?

They can be derived from moral axioms such as "Personal autonomy is inviolable." or "Reproduction is better than dying without progeny." The axioms can be debated, and the source(s) of the moral code can be debated, but I think no matter the outcome, "rights" are a natural outcome.

There is a difference between "atheist" and "materialist" after all. But I don't think mathematics applies in this case because mathematical concepts, like number, are ideas, which from the materialist perspective are particular electrochemical states in the brain. In other words, math is material.

That looks like rationalization. Mathematical concepts being represented in electrochemical states =/= "math is material".

Blogger James Dixon August 23, 2013 4:41 PM  

> I think you meant to say "religion" cannot prove itself true.

Nonsense. If God exists, he can prove his existence any time he wants to, and it's merely that he chooses not to do so.

That also holds for other religions, of course. If Odin and Thor exist, they could probably appear to us at anytime they wished and demonstrate their existence.

> There is much in science that is proven true while in religion there is nothing that has been proven true (because its faith).

Name one thing in science that has been proven true across all time and space, both now and in the future.

Then note that any attempt to do so assumes that the laws which govern our reality do not change. Which is not something that science can prove.

Blogger Dystopic August 23, 2013 4:41 PM  

"Atheists value their ideology more than they value science, and in most cases science is just a useful tool (and nothing more) for them to proselytize."

Thus atheists fall into the same trap that many folks of a religious persuasion do. For example, many atheists will attack Christianity for the Inquisition, the Crusades and a number of other historical incidents. They will attack it for the attempts to proselytize the religion. Yet they don't see Socialism's proselytizing as fundamentally similar (the Soviet Union was quite hostile to Christianity). Many atheists think they are more enlightened, that they know the Real Truth(tm) and us Christians are fools for not recognizing it... and don't realize this is no different in practice than an Imam getting up on a podium and saying Islam is perfect, and all other belief systems are garbage.

Of course, I agree that not all atheists are like that (NAAALT). But enough of them are to make make debating them on these matters a remarkably repetitious task.

Anonymous DrTorch August 23, 2013 4:42 PM  

There is nothing in science that is proven true. Science operates on falsifiability. The best you can say is that the data are consistent with a theory, not that a theory is proven true.

You tried that before, and I pointed out the existence of proof-of-principle experiments. Science does prove things.

But, when it comes to theories, the word theory tends to have a variety of meanings, including model and hypoethesis. Models don't get proven, as that's simply tautology. And yes, theories get tested and falsified, or, supported by the evidence. The latter can be considered inductive proof

There are experiments that demonstrate improved precision of a theory, and other times a theory is applied to a new system, and if it holds up, it's "proof" that the theory is robust: an insightful and effective model.

Then of course it's up to the reader to decide if deductive proofs like the Jahn-Teller theorem are science, or math.

Anonymous Krul August 23, 2013 4:45 PM  

Exopoi - They can be derived from moral axioms such as "Personal autonomy is inviolable." or "Reproduction is better than dying without progeny."

Of course the mathematical axioms come from observation of things like groups of objects and shapes of objects. But where do these moral axioms come from, and on what grounds to you claim that they apply to all of humanity? This one: "personal autonomy is inviolable" begs the question.

Mathematical concepts being represented in electrochemical states =/= "math is material".

Those electrochemical states *are* the concepts, not representations of them. The point is that concepts themselves don't have independent existence; they exist only in the mind as electrochemical states.

Blogger Revelation Means Hope August 23, 2013 4:45 PM  

It is always fun to begin the debate over rights with an atheist. Especially fun if you have an audience.

Triple the fun if you have the cojones to mock their positions and incite them to sputtering rage, getting them off topic on attacking you and your religion, or even better attacking a religion that is completely different from yours.

"Whoa man, I thought you atheists took pride in being the cool, logical Spocks of the modern world" is a good ending.

Blogger Revelation Means Hope August 23, 2013 4:51 PM  

Those who believe science proves things believe in sciencism.

Science is the exploration of one hypothesis after another. Even your basic statistics course will teach you that a particular hypothesis has failed to be proven false.

"Failed to be proven false" does not equal "proven to be true".

Blogger Ephrem Antony Gray August 23, 2013 4:58 PM  

Ah, yes, HVB dealt with a lot of this. Correspondences and the universal-in-the-particular. The incarnation, fundamentally, only works if the universal manifests in the particular. Otherwise, it would be absurd for a being as universal as God to be expressed at all, not to mention fully, in the humanity of a 1st-Century (being in this case a circular reference) Jew.

If, however, differing from Kant we assert that the universal doesn't merely exist in the subject examining the particular (in a universal subjectivity, if you will) but that the subject's observance of the universal must in some way be caused by its presence even if imperfectly, we turn the whole situation on its head. In this sense, and in a fairy-tale kind of sensibility akin to Chesterton, it is ALWAYS in the peculiar and particular which the universal asserts itself and we can have no knowledge or proof of its existence otherwise.

The idea of Jehovah as a 'tribal god' making him somehow therefore merely a superstition misunderstands the nature of human and personal knowledge and proof. Having a theory about divinity and an experience of divinity, are as different as having a hypothesis and having experimental proof. There may be different ways to demonstrate or experiment, but ultimately a theory with no proofs could be truly universal but without the particularity of such proofs it would ultimately just be ideology.

'Theory', by the way, originates in the greek 'Theoria' meaning *vision*. Let that roll around a bit.

Anonymous Contemplationist August 23, 2013 4:59 PM  

Hey Vox

You may be interested in this bit of faux outrage carefully planned by the femcunts to dethrone Linus Torvalds.

http://www.itwire.com/opinion-and-analysis/open-sauce/60866-female-devs-outburst-against-torvalds-was-planned

Anonymous εχθροι August 23, 2013 5:04 PM  

Krul - But where do these moral axioms come from, and on what grounds to you claim that they apply to all of humanity?

Pick something. Perhaps from God? Perhaps from observation of things like groups of people and shapes of relationship diagrams? I don't claim any particular moral axiom applies to all of humanity, because no one moral code has been proven to be infallible.

This one: "personal autonomy is inviolable" begs the question.

True, it is. I was trying to make up a couple of axioms that weren't the cliched "Don't lie, steal, or kill", but I suppose this demonstrates why I'm not a philosopher. At any rate, unless you've asked a direct question I haven't answered yet, this thread is off topic for the "incoherence" we're addressing. I'm not particularly looking to discuss the source of my personal morality.

Those electrochemical states *are* the concepts, not representations of them. The point is that concepts themselves don't have independent existence; they exist only in the mind as electrochemical states.

True in the sense that you can't physically weigh a number, or splash some calculus on yourself on date night. But if the mind thinking about the math dies, the same identical math can be once again derived by a new mind. The concepts do have independent, nonphysical existence.

Anonymous Krul August 23, 2013 5:05 PM  

River Cocytus, who's HVB?

Anonymous DrTorch August 23, 2013 5:07 PM  

Those who believe science proves things believe in sciencism.


Or they actually pay attention, and don't cling to misguided notions taught by errant philosophy professors who don't define their terms well.

Funny thing there too, since good science involves a lot of paying attention.

Anonymous Gx1080 August 23, 2013 5:10 PM  

Why so many atheists have avatars of badly-drawn cartoons?

Also, the old "rights" discussion always make atheists backpedal like crazy. Is hilarious.

Anonymous Stickwick August 23, 2013 5:11 PM  

You tried that before, and I pointed out the existence of proof-of-principle experiments. Science does prove things.

But, when it comes to theories, the word theory tends to have a variety of meanings, including model and hypoethesis. Models don't get proven, as that's simply tautology. And yes, theories get tested and falsified, or, supported by the evidence.


Yes, yes. However, the vast majority of the time, when people (particularly non-scientists) say "science proves things are true," they are referring to the latter -- they think science proves models are true. That is most definitely incorrect.

The latter can be considered inductive proof

No, it can't.

Anonymous Noah B. August 23, 2013 5:18 PM  

"This is not dissimilar from the evolutionist who firmly believes in human equality and asserts race is a myth, failing to grasp that he simply cannot rationally subscribe to both articles of faith."

Or a conservative who believes government is corrupt and inefficient, except when it comes to anything somehow related to the military or the police. In which case, assassinating people and kidnapping school buses full of children is all part of a day's work.

Anonymous Krul August 23, 2013 5:19 PM  

Exopoi - At any rate, unless you've asked a direct question I haven't answered yet, this thread is off topic for the "incoherence" we're addressing. I'm not particularly looking to discuss the source of my personal morality.

Actually it is on topic since you are an example of atheist incoherency, in that you 1) are an atheist and 2) believe in immaterial human rights for no discernable reason.

But if the mind thinking about the math dies, the same identical math can be once again derived by a new mind. The concepts do have independent, nonphysical existence.

This does not follow. Concepts are categories that refer to sets of material things. The concept "rock" is a symbol for the set of all actual rocks that have, do, will, and can exist. The concept "2" is a symbol for all groups of things with a certain quantity.

The concept in the brain is a symbol that stands for sets of material things, and by applying reason to these symbols one can discover new concepts which also apply to real sets of material things. But when you reason you aren't discovering an invisible conceptual world that governs the material, you are examining the symbols in your brain to formulate new symbols.

The fact that two different people can come up with analogous symbols to describe the same sets of materia things does not mean that the concepts themselves exist independent of human observation.

Anonymous VD August 23, 2013 5:21 PM  

They can be derived from moral axioms such as "Personal autonomy is inviolable." or "Reproduction is better than dying without progeny."

Irrelevant. Logic isn't science or evidence of material reality. God can also be derived from axioms and I doubt that you would accept that as evidence of His existence. The fact that you argue for the one while rejecting the other is evidence of your intellectual incoherence.

Just to be clear, this isn't name-calling. This is simple observation.

Anonymous Noah B. August 23, 2013 5:22 PM  

"The latter can be considered inductive proof"

induction != proof

Anonymous Blume August 23, 2013 5:23 PM  

I would like to thank you for a well reasoned argument. You have said everything I wanted to say, probably better than I could ever say it.

Blogger IrishFarmer August 23, 2013 5:44 PM  

Of course, I agree that not all atheists are like that (NAAALT). But enough of them are to make make debating them on these matters a remarkably repetitious task.

Indeed. That was a play on NAWALT (Not all women are like that) which is often trotted out when manospherians talk about hypergamy and such.

The most vocal and influential atheists are doing all the work required to ruin science, so I agree that it really doesn't matter if they aren't all like that. It's just a way of pre-emptively responding to charges of overgeneralization.

Anonymous Golf Pro August 23, 2013 5:53 PM  

I've seen it a hundred times.

A golfer lines up a but, hits it, and the ball breaks the opposite way the golfer believed it would and he declares, "that put should have broken left", as though there is some outside agency that dictates the putt must have by law broken left instead of right. What they really mean is "i believe that putt should have broken left".

The poor fell referenced in this post gets it wrong in the same way. Atheists don't believe in Natural rights as though there is some objective agency that dictates it. They simply believe X is the way things ought to be...all on their own.

You can learn a lot by playing Golf.

Blogger Dominic Saltarelli August 23, 2013 6:42 PM  

I'm tempted to say something as a resident atheist myself, but now that I know when you say 'atheist' you are actually referring to ineffectual political activists, I just don't have a dog in this fight.

Anonymous Krul August 23, 2013 6:53 PM  

OT:

Mike Rowe, host of Dirty Jobs, schools a fool.

Anonymous Godfrey August 23, 2013 7:42 PM  

Atheists demand extraordinary evidence for the existence of God, but ignore enormously abundant evidence for the extraordinary failure of the State.

They scoff at the possibility of a God in heaven, but possess an absurd blind faith in the possibility of a man-made heaven on earth.

Anonymous εχθροι August 23, 2013 7:44 PM  

Krul - Concepts are categories that refer to sets of material things.

Is there anything other than spirit that is immaterial? I admit I chose math because everyone knows it exists and because I genuinely think of it as immaterial, but the logic you're using to define it as material could possibly be used to define anything as material - reason, emotion, etc. If nothing is immaterial, then rights are also not immaterial and point 2 in the OP fails. If there is something that is by definition immaterial that theists and atheists agree exists, then point 1 fails.

Anonymous Krul August 23, 2013 7:57 PM  

Re: Exopoi,

but the logic you're using to define it as material could possibly be used to define anything as material

Not anything, only concepts. Just because concepts are material, it doesn't mean that no immaterial things exist.

The point in the OP was that atheists in general tend to have incoherent belief systems, and the evidence offered was the contradiction between materialism and belief in moral rights. You pointed out that atheists are not necessarily materialists, which is true, but it doesn't mean that their expressed beliefs are coherent.

Anonymous zen0 August 23, 2013 8:10 PM  

Vox Day offers:

Just to be clear, this isn't name-calling. This is simple observation.

Vox, Vox, Vox. Have you forgotten the folk tales?

No one wants to hear the Emperor has no clothes. There is pomp and circumstance to be served.

Listen to Spacebunny.

Smarten up.

Anonymous Anonymous August 23, 2013 8:11 PM  

It is amusing to see how hard Ayn Rand tries to bluff that she created a philosophically-consistent morality in Atlas Shrugged.

Yes, her insistence on trying to "prove" atheism as part of her philosophy is the weakest part of the book, and a distraction from her better points. I've always thought it a shame that she didn't reject her home country's atheism along with its statism. (Yes, "Rosenbaum," I know. The point stands: I'd like to read a copy of Atlas from an alternate universe where she converted to her adopted country's majority religion before she wrote it.)

Anonymous p-dawg August 23, 2013 8:23 PM  

Challenge to science-worshiping types:
Prove that science exists using the scientific method.
I'll wait.

Blogger James Dixon August 23, 2013 8:41 PM  

> I'd like to read a copy of Atlas from an alternate universe where she converted to her adopted country's majority religion before she wrote it.

It could be argued that in spite of the communists' best efforts, the Russian Orthodox Church was and still is the majority religion of Russia. So she could have simply accepted it.

Blogger Dominic Saltarelli August 23, 2013 9:14 PM  

p-dawg August 23, 2013 8:23 PM
Challenge to science-worshiping types:
Prove that science exists using the scientific method.
I'll wait.


Hypothesis: Science exists.
Observation: Subject A, blinded by science.
Conclusion: Science observed in nature. Most easily detected using the olfactory sense. Because chemicals. Not suggested to look at directly.

Anonymous zen0 August 23, 2013 9:35 PM  

Dominic Saltarelli observes:

Conclusion: Science observed in nature.

No, science observed in your head by your interface with nature.

Duh.

Blogger Kristophr August 23, 2013 9:50 PM  

p-dawg August 23, 2013 8:23 PM

Challenge to science-worshiping types:
Prove that science exists using the scientific method.
I'll wait.

Hmmm. A bit of a misunderstanding here. Look up the root meaning of the word "science".

I assume you mean "prove that the scientific method" exists? Or that existence exists?


The scientific method is a means to try to predict the results of actions in the world. Nothing more. It should not be worshiped. Anyone who does does not really understand the scientific method.

Toffler-grade Atheist believers do seem to anthropomorphize "Science!" quite a bit, and look very silly when they do so.

Yes, I am an atheist, but extra-world being like God is not something I am going to argue about. I can no more disprove God than you can prove God. Such an argument is kinda pointless on my part.

No amount of argument will have the slightest impact on faith.

Blogger Kristophr August 23, 2013 9:54 PM  

Zen0: No, science observed in your head by your interface with nature.

Ermmm ... if we go completely existential, and stop trusting our senses, then what is the point of studying the world?

The scientific method is merely a means to try to predict the results of physical actions in a repeatable fashion, and cataloging the same.

Anonymous Homeless Guy August 23, 2013 9:56 PM  

I stink, therefore I am.

Blogger Kristophr August 23, 2013 9:56 PM  

Godfrey August 23, 2013 7:42 PM: Atheists demand extraordinary evidence for the existence of God, but ignore enormously abundant evidence for the extraordinary failure of the State.

Not all atheists are libtards. Just the loud and stupid ones.

Anonymous David of One August 23, 2013 9:58 PM  

Hey Contemplationist, thanks for the OT link!

Really interesting. Especially the comments.


Anonymous zen0 August 23, 2013 10:00 PM  

Kristophr objects:

The scientific method is merely a means to try to predict the results of physical actions in a repeatable fashion, and cataloging the same.

With what will you do that,
dear Kristophr, dear Kristophr,
With what will you do that,
Dear Kristophr, with what?

Anonymous Godfrey August 23, 2013 10:08 PM  

Atheists profess to love mankind, but in reality loathe humanity.

They say they do not believe in God, but expend enormous energy hating Him.

Anonymous Godfrey August 23, 2013 10:12 PM  

@Kristophr August 23, 2013 9:56 PM
"Not all atheists are libtards. Just the loud and stupid ones."


I disagree. I can stomach a libertarian atheist. He's at least somewhat consistent. He hasn't replaced God with the State. No, his god is himself.

Blogger Dominic Saltarelli August 23, 2013 10:29 PM  

Homeless Guy August 23, 2013 9:56 PM
I stink, therefore I am.

Because chemicals.

Blogger Dominic Saltarelli August 23, 2013 10:32 PM  

zen0 August 23, 2013 9:35 PM

Dominic Saltarelli observes:

Conclusion: Science observed in nature.

No, science observed in your head by your interface with nature.

Duh.


Lol, zen0 just said verbs don't exist.

Sounds like a.... MATERIALIST!















burn the heretic

Anonymous Obvious August 23, 2013 10:51 PM  

While we're on the subject...

http://www.bibviz.com/

Anonymous zen0 August 23, 2013 10:54 PM  

Lol, zen0 just said verbs don't exist.

Ok. You win. You must be more fucked up than I am.
Kudos.


Blogger Dominic Saltarelli August 23, 2013 11:50 PM  

zen0 August 23, 2013 10:54 PM
Ok. You win. You must be more fucked up than I am.
Kudos.


For the curious regarding my last post:
1) If there are states of the universe where the statement "zen0 is sitting down" is true, then the act of "sitting" must have reality.
2) Sitting down is a verb and not a thing of material composition.
3) Verbs, then, have demonstrable reality if the universe contains states where the act is observable (e.g. "sitting down").
4) According to the Voxicon, Science is 2/3 verb (scientody and scientistry).
5) So, like.... science is pretty much a verb.
6) I like waffles.
7) Just seeing if you're paying attention.
8) Science, being a verb, has a demonstrable reality when one observes states of the universe where the act is taking place.
9) zen0 contends that observing Science is a strictly imaginary exercise, a consequence of one's interface with nature.
10) Consequently, zen0 is taking the position that verbs are not real, where actions are merely illusions resultant from interfacing with nature.
11) zen0 just said verbs don't exist.
12) Lol.

Anonymous robwbright August 24, 2013 12:00 AM  

I posted the two axioms from the original post to Facebook and pointed out the contradiction. The response from an atheist friend was amusing:

"Who asserts these statements? Materialists? Even Dawkins doesn't go this far. He has a probabilistic view point not deterministic. He states that those that are certain 100 percent either way are fanatic."

Interesting, given that Vox has previously proven (using Dawkins' own words) that Dawkins is not, in fact, an atheist, but rather an agnostic... and a liar... amongst other things.

I recommended to my atheist friend that he pick a more honest atheist than Dawkins.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 12:09 AM  

The original post wrote: **assert that there is nothing beyond that which is visible (i.e. they are materialists)**

Incorrect premise. Atheists believe in plenty of things that are not visible, inlcluding magnetic fields, gravity, and thoughts.


**they believe in rights, and not merely in a legal or social descriptive way, but in an absolute and prescriptive way.**

I'd say the concept of 'rights' is poorly understood, what 'rights' consist of, is that due to facts of human psychology (athiests do believe in thoughts), you are not likely to get other people around you to agree not to try and kill you, unless you also agree not to try to kill them. The same is true regarding other things you would prefer people not to do to you, such as steal your property. This mutual agreement is what people call 'rights'.

Athiests believe in things that are not visible, however they do not believe in things which are not provable. Human psychology is provable in a statistical way, as are 'rights' as a social agreement, in that if you take a survey, the majority of people would not agree to refrain from killing other people if those other people were trying to kill them. It would certainly be theoretically possible to have a society with no right to life, where people were constantly trying to kill one another, but very few people would agree to live in such a society, and there would be unpleasant consequences to the society of having such an arrangment.

Anonymous robwbright August 24, 2013 12:13 AM  

"you are not likely to get other people around you to agree not to try and kill you, unless you also agree not to try to kill them"

So the only reason my 75 year old neighbor hasn't killed me is that I agreed not to kill him?

And the only reason I haven't killed him is that he agreed not to kill me?

Odd - I don't recall having such a discussion with him or coming to such an agreement. Yet we both still live.

Anonymous Mudz August 24, 2013 12:16 AM  

Athiests believe in things that are not visible, however they do not believe in things which are not provable.

Prove it.

Anonymous Mudz August 24, 2013 12:20 AM  

@ Obvious

I like the part where it said a prophetic vision of a wonder in heaven was a scientific absurdity or historical inaccuracy.

I think that website takes itself far too seriously.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 12:25 AM  

CLK wrote: **I haven't really met any real atheists .. I met people that call themselves atheists but when you talk with them it is clear that they are agnostic. Its really a difference in a belief in religion vs a belief in God -- its very easy to see how people can get disillusioned with organized religion; Christian and others .. and when they separate themselves from the religion they believe that they are now atheists but they really are not. They still care with themselves many of the good thinks learned from religion.. **

I've had much the same experience with Christians who claim that they obey the bible 100%. It becomes clear when talking to them that they (fortunately a minority) are either completely amoral monsters who are self-damned, or else (the majority) are simply picking and choosing various things out of the bible that they prefer anyways, and are subsequently either lying about what they are doing, or simply ignorant of various parts of the bible.

Anonymous Mudz August 24, 2013 12:28 AM  

I can agree with the latter.

As for the former: Example, please?

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 12:30 AM  

robwbright wrote: **Odd - I don't recall having such a discussion with him or coming to such an agreement. Yet we both still live.**

Did you have a discussion with your neighbor about what language you should both speak? If not, how come you probably both automatically speak English when you happen to meet one another? How about if you do a job for your neighbor, do you have to have an explicit discussion with him that you want to be pain in US currency, rather than salt, tea leaves or giant stone wheels? If not, has your neighbor ever paid you in either of the latter three things?

Here's a hint - explicit discussion of certain obvious facts of life does not usually occur. You learned them at a very young age from your parents, and later from interaction with other people in your society.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 12:31 AM  

Mudz wrote: **As for the former: Example, please?**

I'm not sure what you are asking for an example of.

Anonymous Mudz August 24, 2013 12:33 AM  

I've had much the same experience with Christians who claim that they obey the bible 100%. It becomes clear when talking to them that they (fortunately a minority) are either completely amoral monsters who are self-damned

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 12:40 AM  

**Of course, math, like rights, depends on the existence of the material to be of any importance. 1 + 1 = 2 is useless until it applies to the real world.**

Now, that's actually a very interesting statement, as applied to our economy. You are 100% right, numbers don't really have any significance until applied to something in the real world. Which does not necessarily have to be an object, applying numbers to electrical voltage or the intensity of light is perfectly valid.

When it comes to money, though, numbers have meaning if applied to hard currency, like gold. There is a real difference between 1 oz of gold and 100 oz of gold. But there is no real difference, except faith (trained brainwashing) between a $1 bill and a $100 bill. They are both pieces of paper, the same size, and the government could just as well start printing $100 bills on the $1 press tomorrow and $10,000 bills on the $100 press, and the 'price' of everything would shortly go up 100 times in terms of the arbitrary numbers written on a piece of paper, but would still be the same in terms of oz of gold.

Anonymous Crude August 24, 2013 12:45 AM  

A large part of the problem in this discussion is that 'atheist' and 'materialist' is being conflated. You can have a materialist theist (Zeus-believers would qualify, as would many Mormons), and you can have an atheist who does not accept materialism (John C. Wright pre-conversion, Bertrand Russell, and numerous others - but they are, at the moment, and especially among the Cult of Gnu, fairly rare.) You even see in the OP link Clark going through pains to explain the issue is with materialists, not atheists. Atheists are often materialists nowadays, but they are not exclusively so.

Any atheist who says 'Atheists believe...' without serious qualification, and when saying anything other than 'God does not exist' is typically either bullshitting or ignorant of the very position they hold. Similar would apply to anyone who says that you can prove rights exist by taking a poll. In fact, any appeal to the sciences of sociology or psychology that isn't preceded with 'Okay, this is from a soft science so it's just a little more believable than phrenology, but...' deserves some laughter.

That said, the OP's right - there's no shortage of atheists who are utterly inconsistent in their beliefs and their actions, and the cognitive dissonance runs high. Luckily, nihilists don't exactly have to worry about consistency, honesty or intellectual respectability, so it all works out.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 12:56 AM  

Mudz wrote: **I've had much the same experience with Christians who claim that they obey the bible 100%. It becomes clear when talking to them that they (fortunately a minority) are either completely amoral monsters who are self-damned**.

I'd say if you are telling the truth about your own beliefs, rather than lying or being sarcastic, then you're pretty much an example of this. Have you actually read the bible, Mudz? At various points God advocates rape, murder, killing children for being unruly, killing children because their mother was a prostitute, killing women for being married and having had sex with their husbands, and infanticide. You have repeatedly said that you would do anything, no matter how personally repugnant or evil you might find it, provided 'God' told you to do that. Given all of what God told people to do in the bible, and that you would by your claim be willing to do all that, by my standards, that makes you a amoral monster.

And yes, I'd say that you're self damned. Let's suppose you're actually right, Mudz, and everything you hope for is true and that by blind obedience, by killing your pets, your children, and little babies, God will reward you by letting you into heaven. What exactly would you have gained? You'd skulk into heaven covered with the filth and blood of your crimes, like the dogs in Watchmen being rewarded by their psychotic master? Do you actually think you'd be happy living an eternity like that? That you'd have some wonderful joyful reunion with the daughter and pet you killed, and be forgiven by the babies you massacred? Do you think you'd be happy serving a master who wanted such things? I suppose a dog would. But a dog has no mind, conscience, or integrity. And if you give up your mind, conscience, or integrity, what exactly is there left of your soul that is even worth saving, or capable of happiness? And since your 'God' demands the slaughter of infants and children, what moral difference is there between what you call 'God' and what you call the 'Devil'?

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 1:07 AM  

**Of course, math, like rights, depends on the existence of the material to be of any importance. 1 + 1 = 2 is useless until it applies to the real world.**

Now, that's actually a very interesting statement, as applied to our economy. You are 100% right, numbers don't really have any significance until applied to something in the real world. Which does not necessarily have to be an object, applying numbers to electrical voltage or the intensity of light is perfectly valid.

When it comes to money, though, numbers have meaning if applied to hard currency, like gold. There is a real difference between 1 oz of gold and 100 oz of gold. But there is no real difference, except faith (trained brainwashing) between a $1 bill and a $100 bill. They are both pieces of paper, the same size, and the government could just as well start printing $100 bills on the $1 press tomorrow and $10,000 bills on the $100 press, and the 'price' of everything would shortly go up 100 times in terms of the arbitrary numbers written on a piece of paper, but would still be the same in terms of oz of gold.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 1:07 AM  

Mudz wrote: **As for the former: Example, please?**

I'm not sure what you are asking for an example of.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 1:07 AM  

robwbright wrote: **Odd - I don't recall having such a discussion with him or coming to such an agreement. Yet we both still live.**

Did you have a discussion with your neighbor about what language you should both speak? If not, how come you probably both automatically speak English when you happen to meet one another? How about if you do a job for your neighbor, do you have to have an explicit discussion with him that you want to be pain in US currency, rather than salt, tea leaves or giant stone wheels? If not, has your neighbor ever paid you in either of the latter three things?

Here's a hint - explicit discussion of certain obvious facts of life does not usually occur. You learned them at a very young age from your parents, and later from interaction with other people in your society.

Blogger Beau August 24, 2013 1:08 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Beau August 24, 2013 1:11 AM  

OT

"For the Son of Man is come to seek and save that which was lost." - Luke 19:10

Tonight on the lawn was ugly and disjointed. Turmoil seems to reign; then a man came and knelt asking for prayer. As we were talking so I could figure out what to pray for him, I asked Isaac if he knew God had called him. He started weeping, relating he had spent two and a half years preparing to be a pastor, but then stopped. He said he could never get back to that place of blessing. I reminded Isaac of one of the crown jewels of the Christian faith - repentance. I mentioned. "I think we all who believe know the misery of backsliding." I can't think of a Christian I know who has never wandered. I asked him, "How many times do you need to repent, what, seventy times seven?" Isaac laughed through his tears. The prayer then offered was that he'd be filled again with a hunger and thirst for righteousness and expel from his life anything that keeps him from fellowship with Jesus. As a kicker, it was added he'd be filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit found in Galatians 5. Isaac smiled. I am in awe of God.

Anonymous Crude August 24, 2013 1:11 AM  

Given all of what God told people to do in the bible, and that you would by your claim be willing to do all that, by my standards, that makes you a amoral monster.

Let's see: the standards of God, or the standards of Ann Morgan. Doesn't seem like a tough choice.

and everything you hope for is true and that by blind obedience, by killing your pets, your children, and little babies, God will reward you by letting you into heaven.

So, Ann, let's be clear: you're against euthanizing pets and abortion, correct? Because if you're not, then this entire line of criticism - while being fundamentally flawed on other grounds - fails to take off. Rather, it puts you in a situation like this:

"I, Ann Morgan, disapprove of your chosen morality. You've decided to follow the dictates of the creator of the universe, who (depending on one's theological views) is either omnipotent and omniscient or close enough to it. I find that to be morally repugnant. When *I* endorse the cracking open of infants skulls to suck out their brains with a vacuum, or the killing of dogs and cats, or infanticide in general, I do so because I think people just plain have the right to do that. Or maybe it benefits a cause I favor. But nothing so repugnant as 'doing the will of the Almighty'. If you do that, you're a dog!'

It's really not much of a contest, Ann, even on your terms. And given the fact that those were particular commands at particular times, and absolutely not general commands - thus making your whole 'God wants you to kill X and Y' factually wrong anyway - your case is further scuttled.

Now, don't you have some abortions to celebrate? Maybe they'll find a good use for infant spinal fluid, like a tasty zero-cal sugar substitute or something else Ann Morgan regards as morally licit.

Anonymous Mudz August 24, 2013 1:27 AM  

Have you actually read the bible, Mudz? At various points God advocates rape, murder, killing children for being unruly, killing children because their mother was a prostitute, killing women for being married and having had sex with their husbands, and infanticide.

God does not advocate any of those things. He has given special dispensation to do some of these at these various points to do such, but that is not 'advocacy'.

You will have to give examples of each, before I will address them specifically.

You have repeatedly said that you would do anything, no matter how personally repugnant or evil you might find it, provided 'God' told you to do that.
...
Given all of what God told people to do in the bible, and that you would by your claim be willing to do all that, by my standards, that makes you a amoral monster.


I don't think you understand what 'amoral' means. Thinking that my morality is evil is not 'amoral', you just find it objectional. What you're really critiquing is the authority from which I learn my morality.

The fact that you take your morality from your own feelings in fact means that you are in a sense amoral, but consider it a system of morality because you like some options better than others.

I have repeatedly said that I would obey God, because obeying God is not repugnant or evil. God sets the standards of morality. I would not have to like it, but I would do it because I trust God.

And yes, I'd say that you're self damned. Let's suppose you're actually right, Mudz, and everything you hope for is true and that by blind obedience, by killing your pets, your children, and little babies, God will reward you by letting you into heaven.

None of those, save for obedience, is a condition for God's approval.

What do you think he'll give you for supporting abortion?

Guess how many children, babies and pets I've actually killed? If you're thinking of a number large than 0, you're wrong. Yet you advocate the mass-slaughter of children in the womb.

It's apparent you do not understand my morality. You think that because you can't upset me by hypothesising the most extreme hypothetical examples possible, that it denotes a lack of morality.

No. The fact is, I just humour you. You're trying to insult my Christianity by hypothesising 'what if you were Jewish?' or 'what if God was the Devil?'

It's transparently silly, but it's still fun to watch you trying to play the game without any rules. I could spend all my time doing the same to you, but the fact is I really don't care about your morality all that much.

The difference between you and me, is that I listen to God. You listen to you.

Out of the two, who do you think is a better moral authority? Who do you think is the more trustworthy source?

I doubt you will, but that is really the important question which must be answered.

If you think that 'personal feelings' and 'personal authority' are superior to 'God', I would like to see you make a consistent, persuasive argument to that effect.

Anonymous Mudz August 24, 2013 1:27 AM  

You'd skulk into heaven covered with the filth and blood of your crimes, like the dogs in Watchmen being rewarded by their psychotic master?

I still think it's hilarious you're trying to be offended that I'd put down a dog according to the law when the dog has 'done nothing wrong', and at the same time accuse me of being a dog just doing what he's told, and therefore evil, and I should be put down.

And if you give up your mind, conscience, or integrity, what exactly is there left of your soul that is even worth saving, or capable of happiness?

I imagine, not much.

And since your 'God' demands the slaughter of infants and children, what moral difference is there between what you call 'God' and what you call the 'Devil'?

He doesn't. Don't be so vapid.

One's God, the other's the Devil. It's the difference between Good and Evil. They're two completely different people, and they appeal of two very different moralities.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 1:34 AM  

Crude wrote: **So, Ann, let's be clear: you're against euthanizing pets and abortion, correct?**

There's a big difference between euthanizing a pet because it's ill or injured and in severe pain, and killing because your neighbor broke in and raped it, but there's nothing physically wrong with the animal. Also, you're equating an embryo with a full term infant. That being the case, the solution to the abortion problem is simple, since they're both the same, simply remove the embryo intact from the mother and let it live on it's own. If that won't work, then they are not the same.

**"I, Ann Morgan, disapprove of your chosen morality. You've decided to follow the dictates of the creator of the universe, who (depending on one's theological views) is either omnipotent and omniscient or close enough to it.**

Either offer proof that God exists, created the universe, and is omnipotent and omniscient, or retract that statement and replace it with something along the lines of you having chosen to follow what you BELIEVE are the dictates of the creator of the universe.


** When *I* endorse the cracking open of infants skulls to suck out their brains with a vacuum, or the killing of dogs and cats, or infanticide in general, I do so because I think people just plain have the right to do that.**

First of all, you're equating embryoes with full term infants again. By that standard, they should be able to live just fine, if removed intact from the mother. Also, can I now take it that your position is that abortion early in the pregancy is not allowed, but that it is acceptable to kill an infant AFTER birth?

**And given the fact that those were particular commands at particular times, and absolutely not general commands - thus making your whole 'God wants you to kill X and Y' factually wrong anyway - your case is further scuttled.**

Au contraire, you've just scuttled your OWN case. If the commands for infantide, rape, and murder were just 'particular commands at a particular time, then how do you know the same thing isn't true of other things in the bible, such as the 10 commandments, or the condemnation of homosexuality.

Anonymous Mudz August 24, 2013 1:36 AM  

Either offer proof that God exists, created the universe, and is omnipotent and omniscient, or retract that statement and replace it with something along the lines of you having chosen to follow what you BELIEVE are the dictates of the creator of the universe.

The universe began to exist. Therefore the universe had a creator capable of creating all that is within the universe.

How's that?

Anonymous Mudz August 24, 2013 1:39 AM  

Au contraire, you've just scuttled your OWN case. If the commands for infantide, rape, and murder were just 'particular commands at a particular time, then how do you know the same thing isn't true of other things in the bible, such as the 10 commandments, or the condemnation of homosexuality.

Because it is not those particular times.

Anonymous Mudz August 24, 2013 1:40 AM  

First of all, you're equating embryoes with full term infants again. By that standard, they should be able to live just fine, if removed intact from the mother.

No, that's not the standard at all. That's just comparing their ability to survive.

If a man can survive a certain level of poison a woman can not, does that mean his life is worth more? I don't think so.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 1:45 AM  

**The universe began to exist. Therefore the universe had a creator capable of creating all that is within the universe.

How's that?**

No, sorry. It just proves that *something* was capable of creating the universe. Doesn't prove that 'something' was intelligent, any more than a bolt of lightning is intelligent, because it is capable of starting a forest fire. And even if you can prove that the 'something' is intelligent, you still haven't proven that the 'something' has the opinions that a book states it has. Someone could write a book saying that Ann Morgan loves liver sandwiches. But guess what? I hate the taste of liver.

Anonymous Crude August 24, 2013 1:46 AM  

There's a big difference between euthanizing a pet because it's ill or injured and in severe pain, and killing because your neighbor broke in and raped it, but there's nothing physically wrong with the animal. Also, you're equating an embryo with a full term infant.

No, I'm equating an embryo with a human life, because that's what it is.

That being the case, the solution to the abortion problem is simple, since they're both the same, simply remove the embryo intact from the mother and let it live on it's own. If that won't work, then they are not the same.

Alright, so the Great Deity-Substitute Ann Morgan believes it should be legal to crack open an infant's skull and suck out the brains. Yum yum, tasty!

Not exactly doing wonders for your 'I, Ann Morgan, have a morality superior to God's and you should care what I think' move here.

Either offer proof that God exists, created the universe, and is omnipotent and omniscient, or retract that statement and replace it

Slow down, angel. Remember this? "Let's suppose you're actually right, Mudz, and everything you hope for is true " I was running with the example based on your own standards. If you're suddenly changing the standards of the argument, well, that's a little thing called 'backtracking'.

And I can offer philosophical and metaphysical proofs, along with an array of evidence. You can argue 'Ah, well, ultimately I reject your proofs and you can't know with utter certainty that they work' - but the same goes for belief in the external world or the belie that the universe existed prior to last Thursday. Again, not much of a concern.

First of all, you're equating embryoes with full term infants again. By that standard, they should be able to live just fine, if removed intact from the mother.

Are you one of the Cult of Rand? You sure seem that way. And please, show me the infant that 'lives just fine' after being 'removed intact' from the mother, as opposed to starving to death or the like. Babies aren't exactly known for their unaided survival.

Come to think of it, neither are 5 years olds. Let me guess: The Great Morgan thinks they're slaughterable too?

As for the equating, all you have to do is tell me that, say... you oppose abortion at any point where the child can be removed from the womb and kept alive. Hint: do this, and technology practically ensures that you'll be as pro-life as the Pope, if not now, but in the coming years.

Also, can I now take it that your position is that abortion early in the pregancy is not allowed, but that it is acceptable to kill an infant AFTER birth?

No, that would be - apparently - the position you're talking yourself into.

Au contraire, you've just scuttled your OWN case. If the commands for infantide, rape, and murder were just 'particular commands at a particular time, then how do you know the same thing isn't true of other things in the bible,

Uh, context? Basic reading skills? Reasonable study? Honest to God, Ann, it's not that hard. Granted, like the solipsist you can always play the person absolutely determined not to understand what's obvious, but who cares about your act?

But really, keep this up. So far your attempt to proffer yourself as a superior judge of morality to God is failing miserably. Next time you play this game, you really shouldn't try the line of 'Well God may think you're righteous, but *I* think you're bad. Can you really live with that?' It'll keep the laughter to a minimum.

Blogger Beau August 24, 2013 1:47 AM  

Ann's ravings make a very good case for not being like Ann.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 1:48 AM  

Mudz wrote: **If the commands for infantide, rape, and murder were just 'particular commands at a particular time, then how do you know the same thing isn't true of other things in the bible, such as the 10 commandments, or the condemnation of homosexuality.

Because it is not those particular times.**

I know it isn't biblical times. But the commands to rape and kill infants were written in the same biblical times as the commands against homosexuality and the 10 commandments. So your argument is nonsensical, if some of the commands of God only applied to particular biblical times, and not to today, then why should this not be true of all the commands? Other than picking and choosing what you prefer to obey?

Anonymous Mudz August 24, 2013 1:49 AM  

No, sorry. It just proves that *something* was capable of creating the universe. Doesn't prove that 'something' was intelligent

You didn't ask that. Don't blame me because you set some very weak conditions.

you still haven't proven that the 'something' has the opinions that a book states it has.

Prove to me that you have the opinions this forum states you have, and then I'll see what I can do.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 1:51 AM  

**Are you one of the Cult of Rand? You sure seem that way. And please, show me the infant that 'lives just fine' after being 'removed intact' from the mother, as opposed to starving to death or the like. Babies aren't exactly known for their unaided survival.**

True enough. In which case, the solution to your problem is simple. Infants can be kept alive (fed, etc) by people other than the mother after birth. Since you insist on equating an embryo with an infant, than there should be no problem removing it intact from the mother, and then someone else can volunteer to keep it alive.

Anonymous Mudz August 24, 2013 1:52 AM  

I know it isn't biblical times. But the commands to rape and kill infants were written in the same biblical times as the commands against homosexuality and the 10 commandments. So your argument is nonsensical, if some of the commands of God only applied to particular biblical times, and not to today, then why should this not be true of all the commands? Other than picking and choosing what you prefer to obey?

Because it is not true of all commands. Jesus explains what he has fulfilled, wand what we is still incumbent upon us to do.

None of the Law had a time expiry. Those specific situations were specific warrants, and when the warrants expired, it defaulted back to the Law.

I cannot observe the Law, because I am not under the old Covenant, but I am under the new.

You're trying to argue an entirely vacuous proposition of 'if one thing is temporary, how come the permanent things aren't temporary too?' Because they're not. That's why.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 1:54 AM  

Mudz wrote: **Prove to me that you have the opinions this forum states you have, and then I'll see what I can do.**

In other words, you admit the possibility that Ann Morgan could be lying about her opinions, or that the real Ann Morgan is not posting here at all, or that there is no such person as Ann Morgan, but someone else is impersonating her (regardless of whether she does or does not exist) and claiming that she has certain opinions that she actually does not.

Now, why could none of these possibilities not apply to what the bible says about God's opinions?

Anonymous Mudz August 24, 2013 1:58 AM  

In other words, you admit the possibility that Ann Morgan could be lying about her opinions, or that the real Ann Morgan is not posting here at all, or that there is no such person as Ann Morgan, but someone else is impersonating her (regardless of whether she does or does not exist) and claiming that she has certain opinions that she actually does not.

Absolutely. Can you prove it to me one way or the other, or should I simply have faith?


Now, why could none of these possibilities not apply to what the bible says about God's opinions?


They do. Since when was that never a possibility? We've already argued and established this, Ann. We believe in the bible because we believe it is the most reliable and likely source, and that it is the most supportable authority. Not because our belief holds up to the rigorous standards of omniscience.

Anonymous Mudz August 24, 2013 1:59 AM  

You know, you can just hold up a sign saying 'I'd like to divert from the subject now, please' if you like. I'll humour you either way, unless I inform you otherwise.

Anonymous Mudz August 24, 2013 2:35 AM  

But the commands to rape ... infants

*facepalm*

Sometimes I underestimate even your tendencies toward the absurd and spurious. My brain kept substituting legitimate examples whenever I read something like this. Well played.

Anonymous Denver Danny August 24, 2013 3:31 AM  

Torch - You tried that before, and I pointed out the existence of proof-of-principle experiments. Science does prove things.

But, when it comes to theories, the word theory tends to have a variety of meanings, including model and hypoethesis. Models don't get proven, as that's simply tautology. And yes, theories get tested and falsified, or, supported by the evidence.

Stick - Yes, yes. However, the vast majority of the time, when people (particularly non-scientists) say "science proves things are true," they are referring to the latter -- they think science proves models are true. That is most definitely incorrect.

Torch - The latter can be considered inductive proof

Stick - No, it can't.

----

Thanks again, Ms. Stickwick for Clarity of Argument and putting things so succinctly. This, indeed. It really is about the perception of non-scientists & the fact that so very many ignorantly subscribe to scientism. You have a gift for clarifying your position in a way that is easily understandable by all. Hats off, Madam.

Anonymous JazzyB August 24, 2013 3:32 AM  

Another contradiction: Feminists want equality. But are okay with the evolutionary thing called "Survival of the prettiest". http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/23/opinion/drexler-mayer-vogue-pose/index.html?hpt=hp_c5

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 3:41 AM  

**Come to think of it, neither are 5 years olds. Let me guess: The Great Morgan thinks they're slaughterable too?**

I don't, but God does. If you've a complaint about the slaughter of 5 year olds, then you have to admit to not following the will of God 100%.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 3:45 AM  

Mudz wrote: **We believe in the bible because we believe it is the most reliable and likely source, and that it is the most supportable authority.**

Ah - at last we are starting to get somewhere. That is your belief and your opinion. Not provable fact. And, btw, unless you are the moral monster I have been describing, you don't even believe the bible 100%. However, since you are not omniscient, and you can't actually prove the bible, that makes your particular moral code no better than my own.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 3:47 AM  

Mudz wrote: **You're trying to argue an entirely vacuous proposition of 'if one thing is temporary, how come the permanent things aren't temporary too?' Because they're not. That's why.**

And WHY not? Can you point to a particular bible verse that specifically states which commands of Gods are temporary and which are permanent? Or do you simply pick and choose which parts of the bible you prefer to believe, and regard those parts as permanent, and anything you disagree with as temporary?

Anonymous Denver Danny August 24, 2013 3:50 AM  

Kristophr said - No amount of argument will have the slightest impact on faith.

Translation: Cop-out, truth by assertion....meaning, one doesn't have to defend one's own positions, cite proofs or facts, or dig too deeply into one's own arguments...

Because religion.
Because faith. (conflation)
Because faith = blind devotion.
Because blind devotion = irrationality.
Because arguing with irrational people = pointless/futile.

--Gee, you'd think in 200 yrs one would have enough time to come up with an actual refutation and/or _substantial_ argument.

/facepalm

Anonymous Denver Danny August 24, 2013 3:52 AM  

Homeless Guy at 9:56 PM

I stink, therefore I am.


Threadwinner. LMFAO.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 3:59 AM  

Mudz wrote: **You're trying to argue an entirely vacuous proposition of 'if one thing is temporary, how come the permanent things aren't temporary too?' Because they're not. That's why.**

And WHY not? Can you point to a particular bible verse that specifically states which commands of Gods are temporary and which are permanent? Or do you simply pick and choose which parts of the bible you prefer to believe, and regard those parts as permanent, and anything you disagree with as temporary?

Anonymous Denver Danny August 24, 2013 4:07 AM  

Ann Morgan - I've had much the same experience with Christians who claim that they obey the bible 100%. It becomes clear when talking to them that they (fortunately a minority) are either completely amoral monsters who are self-damned, or else (the majority) are simply picking and choosing various things out of the bible that they prefer anyways, and are subsequently either lying about what they are doing, or simply ignorant of various parts of the bible.

--Ouch. IMHO, that was a damning assessment of modern western theology in general & Protestantism in particular (but all of western theology, IMHO is cherry-picked "hellenistic", false doctrine Christianity IF one views Christianity in it's entirety, not forgetting Orthodoxy).

However, let's be real here, dear. I would hope that when you heard an Orthodox Jew, for example, declare that he follows the entire Levitical Law 100%, that he is probably being hyperbolic to make a point; he is evidencing his enthusiasm for his Faith. Do you really assert that such a person would be claiming to adhere strictly, 100%, without fail to well over 300 individual, Old Covenant Levitical Laws???

Without sin and human imperfection, indeed! whew! :-)

Anonymous log August 24, 2013 4:11 AM  

"Can you point to a particular bible verse that specifically states which commands of Gods are temporary and which are permanent?"

Context is key.

Let's try this example. God commanded Noah to build an ark. Once the ark was completed, Noah was no longer under obligation to build it.

Anonymous Crude August 24, 2013 4:19 AM  

Let's try this example. God commanded Noah to build an ark. Once the ark was completed, Noah was no longer under obligation to build it.

According to Ann, we can't know that. She reads that part of the Bible and assumes that the command is binding for all jews and Christians at all times, and clearly everyone is engaged in the most base hypocrisy if they haven't each built a big goddamn boat. Because even though it was said to Noah under a particular condition and in a framing context, unless there's a 'By the way, everyone, don't build a boat' comment in there from the Almighty she is completely confused.

Because she's going for the 'Ann Morgan can't read to save her life, and anyone who claims can must be a dirty liar' argument tactic here.

Anonymous log August 24, 2013 4:32 AM  

"No, sorry. It just proves that *something* was capable of creating the universe. Doesn't prove that 'something' was intelligent, any more than a bolt of lightning is intelligent, because it is capable of starting a forest fire."

Since the results show high improbability (granting the laws of physics could have been different) and are easily described, it proves that said "something" was intelligent. Whenever an event or a phenomenon has exhibited those two features, it has always been the result of intelligent intervention. That's why, even if we are completely ignorant of the technology used to create it, we don't look at Mount Rushmore and marvel at how wind and erosion crafted the monument.

"And even if you can prove that the 'something' is intelligent, you still haven't proven that the 'something' has the opinions that a book states it has."

There are multiple kinds of proof. Just as you cannot prove you have the opinions that you in fact do have, what we can do is observe you, listen to your words, and see if you are consistent with your stated opinions.

"However, since you are not omniscient, and you can't actually prove the bible, that makes your particular moral code no better than my own."

That is probably true for those who you were addressing. That is not true for all, unless you mean "demonstrate publicly the veracity of" when you say "prove." Even if it could be scientifically established that as a matter of historical fact there did exist a man named Jesus, who was crucified ca. 33 AD, and that his body went missing from the tomb on the third day, with subsequent reports of his sighting among those closest to him during his life, this would not establish that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God.

It also cannot be proven I had cereal for breakfast.

Anonymous log August 24, 2013 5:10 AM  

The only thing which possibly could render a moral code superior to another is if it is the case that humans have an identity and a sociality which persists after death, and if it were the case that human behavior during life has sensible consequences which transcend death; otherwise, there is no morality to concern oneself with. If, as Jeffrey Dahmer said, when we die, that is it, there is nothing, then Ann Morgan's moral code is indisputably equivalent to Mudz's. But, then, Jeffrey Dahmer's moral code would be equivalent to Ann Morgan's. Sauce for the goose, so to speak.

The real issue is that nobody here can establish to Ann Morgan's satisfaction that they know anything about the reality of the afterlife, or of the existence of God. Near death experiences might be peremptorily dismissed as culturally-constrained neurochemical reactions leading to hallucinations in the absence of oxygen, and the Bible could easily be rejected out of hand as a book of pre-scientific fairy-tales. After all, if materialism (broadly speaking) is true, the Bible cannot possibly be an accurate retelling of history, and evolution would have to be the way everything occurred - which leads back to Dahmer's assessment of morality.

‘If a person doesn’t think there is a God to be accountable to, then—then what’s the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought anyway. I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from the slime. When we, when we died, you know, that was it, there is nothing…’ - Jeffrey Dahmer

Ann Morgan engages in intellectual laziness when she takes potshots at the believers here for being believers instead of knowers. The believers show themselves to be arrogant both in their attitudes towards unbelievers, and in their penchant for describing as factual that which they only believe.

There are those who actually do know.

Blogger Longstreet August 24, 2013 5:40 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous p-dawg August 24, 2013 6:39 AM  

"No amount of argument will have the slightest impact on faith."

Amazing! Someone actually got the point of the exercise. And no, I didn't mean "the scientific method", I meant "science", as in, scientia.

Anonymous E. PERLINE August 24, 2013 7:54 AM  

I have never heard an evolutionist say race is a myth. Since evolution covers an ever-changing variety within species, why would he?

Yes, evolutionists are materialists, not in the sense that they are money-hungry but in the sense they do not believe in ghosts, because ghosts are unreal.

Even scientists, when they lose their sense of reality, buy theories that we can go back to the past, or that black holes are an expressway through space.
When we are not materialistic we are subject to such unproved irrational thinking.

Anonymous E. PERLINE August 24, 2013 8:04 AM  

So learn to think as a materialist. The material world is exciting enough.

Blogger Beau August 24, 2013 11:28 AM  

So learn to think as a materialist. The material world is exciting enough.

Except when one is abandoned, or suicidal, or overwhelmed by guilt, or shunned, or attacked, or ashamed, or spat upon, or in deep debt, or lost, or lonely, or directionless, or fired, or under extreme stress, or dismayed, or confused, or feeling useless, or hungry, or sick, or in prison; or without love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and self-control - or facing eternity without acceptance into heaven. Except for these trifles and others like them, yes, materialism is exciting enough.

Anonymous Rip August 24, 2013 12:30 PM  

It is entirely possible to derive the concept of natural rights without the presence of a creator God. I'm not an atheist, but it is absurd to suggest that there must be a creator in order for rights to exist.

Anonymous MendoScot August 24, 2013 12:46 PM  

It is entirely possible to derive the concept of natural rights without the presence of a creator God.

Go for it, champ.

But a word of advice - take a couple of weeks to do it. After all, if you are going to change the world, you should at least have a great Powerpoint.

Anonymous Ain August 24, 2013 1:15 PM  

the bandit: "So he would say we can discern human rights through observation."

That's working out great in Africa. It doesn't sound like he's thought things through as well as he thinks he has.

Anonymous VanDerMerwe August 24, 2013 2:12 PM  

So learn to think as a materialist. The material world is exciting enough.

Can't learn because my thinking is composed entirely of movements of pre-determined electro-chemical potential differences. This also explains what I find exciting.

Anonymous Rip August 24, 2013 4:32 PM  

It's actually pretty easy, mendo. You do realize that the biblical God does not recognize them in the least, yes?

Anonymous RichardTHughes August 24, 2013 4:35 PM  

So much wrongity and strawmen in one thread. I'll start by suggesting look up the concepts you critique before critiquing.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 5:37 PM  

LOL, the resident Atheists just can’t bring themselves to actually deal with the subject of the thread.

Not that I blame them, better men than they have tried and failed.

All the handwaving is making me tired just reading it.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 7:05 PM  

Denver Danny wrote: **However, let's be real here, dear. I would hope that when you heard an Orthodox Jew, for example, declare that he follows the entire Levitical Law 100%, that he is probably being hyperbolic to make a point; he is evidencing his enthusiasm for his Faith. Do you really assert that such a person would be claiming to adhere strictly, 100%, without fail to well over 300 individual, Old Covenant Levitical Laws???**

If such a person is claiming, as sole justification for hating particular groups of people, that hating such people is dictated by Levitical law, then he had damned well better be following that law 100%. Otherwise, he is simply cherry-picking from Levitical law to support hating people that he is inclined to hate otherwise. In other words, following those aspects of Levitical law that he finds agreeable, and ignoring the rest. Which makes his 'religious' basis for his moral code really no better than humanistic moral code, as he is simply doing what he personally finds moral. And in many ways, his position is worse than a humanistic moral code, since he is trying to put a veneer of holiness on it that he has no claim to.

The way I see it the position of 'hating gays because the bible says so, but not wanting to kill infants, even though the bible says to if the infant is the child of a prostitute or of people from a country we are at war with' is no more or less or otherwise biblical than the position of 'treating people well and wanting to be charitable to the poor either because the bible says so (or just because it is the right thing to do) but not hating gays, even though the bible says so.'

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 7:09 PM  

"Since the results show high improbability (granting the laws of physics could have been different) and are easily described, it proves that said "something" was intelligent."

Umm, no. It's highly improbable that the Earth would be hit by an meteor. Nevertheless it has been, numerous times, and meteors are not intelligent. It's also highly improbably to roll 5 of the same number on 5 dice (yahtzee!), but roll the dice enough times, and that will happen, despite dice not being intelligent. Improbable events do not necessarily equate to intelligence. They may simply equate to a large enough area of space and/or a long enough period of time.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 7:18 PM  

Log wrote: **Jeffrey Dahmer said, when we die, that is it, there is nothing**

Jeffrey Dahmer had a number of logical errors going on in his head. That was one of them, for a couple of reasons. First of all, he doesn't know for sure what happens when we die. Nobody does. Secondly, even if he had been correct, the absence of an afterlife does not equate to the right to murder people in this life. Thirdly, as for his contention that since human beings are basically the chemically reacting bags of mud, therefore we have no more significance than mud, the arrangement of particles and chemicals has a great deal of significance. If he can't grasp this, then he should be made to use a rock as a pillow, since they are made of the same protons, neutrons, and electrons, then according to him, there should be no difference between the two. Then he can try drinking liquid draino instead of water for a while, for the same reason.

Blogger James Dixon August 24, 2013 7:21 PM  

> Sitting down is a verb and not a thing of material composition.

Sitting down is an action. The word "sitting" (in this context) is a verb. The two are not the same thing. :)

> It is entirely possible to derive the concept of natural rights without the presence of a creator God.

It's possible to derive the concept that certain rules of behavior result in better societies than others, and to set out to determine what those rules of behavior are. Of course, you have to have some metric by which to determine which societies are "better" to do so, and that itself is not a trivial matter.

I'm not sure it's provable, but it's reasonable to assume that these rules of behavior would be based on the nature of humanity, and might differ slightly between populations of different genetic makeup.

However, the step from noting that such rules exist and determining what they are to stating they are "rights", cannot be justified, simply because not everyone will agree with your chosen metric.

> It's actually pretty easy, mendo.

If it were that easy, it would have been done and be widely known. It isn't. Like MendoScot, said, go for it. We'll wait.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 7:31 PM  

Log wrote: **It also cannot be proven I had cereal for breakfast.**

Actually, yes, it could, assuming I set about doing so soon enough, and had no moral qualms about cutting you open to see what was in your stomach. However, it's a false analogy to compare eating cereal for breakfast to various supernatural events in the bible. There are millions of examples of people eating cereal for breakfast, so it's reasonable to assume that if you claim to have had cereal for breakfast, that's likely to be true. There are no proven examples of the various miracles in the bible, and very few ideas (more on that in a bit) on any mechanisms that would allow such miracles to occur, so until such time as we have more proof of such things, it's more reasonable to assume that they aren't actually proven.

The exception I speak of is when Jesus turned water into wine. I could do that, though not as quickly as Jesus. There actually aren't any atoms in wine which are not to be found either in the water, or the clay vessel it was in. So how I would do it, would be to pound up the clay vessel into a powdery soil, plant a grape seed, water in, and in a few years, collect grapes to make wine.

In about a hundred years, people might be able to do it much faster, by using microscopic robots to pull atoms out of the clay jar, and mix them with the water, turning it into wine within only a few seconds.

Here's my personal thought as to what should constitute a reasonable standard of proof. A reasonable standard of proof would be one that I would be willing to have accepted in court, knowing that this standard would apply both to myself if I were ever accused of a crime against my worst enemy, AND to my worst enemy, if they ever commit a crime against me. I would not be willing to accept words written in a book that say 'Ann Morgan broke into X's house and stole his jewelry' as 'evidence' against myself in court, so I can't allow such a thing to be used as 'evidence' against my enemy, either, or as sufficient 'proof' to impose my particular religious views on other human beings.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 7:33 PM  

Log wrote: **It also cannot be proven I had cereal for breakfast.**

Actually, yes, it could, assuming I set about doing so soon enough, and had no moral qualms about cutting you open to see what was in your stomach. However, it's a false analogy to compare eating cereal for breakfast to various supernatural events in the bible. There are millions of examples of people eating cereal for breakfast, so it's reasonable to assume that if you claim to have had cereal for breakfast, that's likely to be true. There are no proven examples of the various miracles in the bible, and very few ideas (more on that in a bit) on any mechanisms that would allow such miracles to occur, so until such time as we have more proof of such things, it's more reasonable to assume that they aren't actually proven.

The exception I speak of is when Jesus turned water into wine. I could do that, though not as quickly as Jesus. There actually aren't any atoms in wine which are not to be found either in the water, or the clay vessel it was in. So how I would do it, would be to pound up the clay vessel into a powdery soil, plant a grape seed, water in, and in a few years, collect grapes to make wine.

In about a hundred years, people might be able to do it much faster, by using microscopic robots to pull atoms out of the clay jar, and mix them with the water, turning it into wine within only a few seconds.

Here's my personal thought as to what should constitute a reasonable standard of proof. A reasonable standard of proof would be one that I would be willing to have accepted in court, knowing that this standard would apply both to myself if I were ever accused of a crime against my worst enemy, AND to my worst enemy, if they ever commit a crime against me. I would not be willing to accept words written in a book that say 'Ann Morgan broke into X's house and stole his jewelry' as 'evidence' against myself in court, so I can't allow such a thing to be used as 'evidence' against my enemy, either, or as sufficient 'proof' to impose my particular religious views on other human beings.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 7:34 PM  

Log wrote: **Jeffrey Dahmer said, when we die, that is it, there is nothing**

Jeffrey Dahmer had a number of logical errors going on in his head. That was one of them, for a couple of reasons. First of all, he doesn't know for sure what happens when we die. Nobody does. Secondly, even if he had been correct, the absence of an afterlife does not equate to the right to murder people in this life. Thirdly, as for his contention that since human beings are basically the chemically reacting bags of mud, therefore we have no more significance than mud, the arrangement of particles and chemicals has a great deal of significance. If he can't grasp this, then he should be made to use a rock as a pillow, since they are made of the same protons, neutrons, and electrons, then according to him, there should be no difference between the two. Then he can try drinking liquid draino instead of water for a while, for the same reason.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 7:35 PM  

"Since the results show high improbability (granting the laws of physics could have been different) and are easily described, it proves that said "something" was intelligent."

Umm, no. It's highly improbable that the Earth would be hit by an meteor. Nevertheless it has been, numerous times, and meteors are not intelligent. It's also highly improbably to roll 5 of the same number on 5 dice (yahtzee!), but roll the dice enough times, and that will happen, despite dice not being intelligent. Improbable events do not necessarily equate to intelligence. They may simply equate to a large enough area of space and/or a long enough period of time.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 7:35 PM  

Denver Danny wrote: **However, let's be real here, dear. I would hope that when you heard an Orthodox Jew, for example, declare that he follows the entire Levitical Law 100%, that he is probably being hyperbolic to make a point; he is evidencing his enthusiasm for his Faith. Do you really assert that such a person would be claiming to adhere strictly, 100%, without fail to well over 300 individual, Old Covenant Levitical Laws???**

If such a person is claiming, as sole justification for hating particular groups of people, that hating such people is dictated by Levitical law, then he had damned well better be following that law 100%. Otherwise, he is simply cherry-picking from Levitical law to support hating people that he is inclined to hate otherwise. In other words, following those aspects of Levitical law that he finds agreeable, and ignoring the rest. Which makes his 'religious' basis for his moral code really no better than humanistic moral code, as he is simply doing what he personally finds moral. And in many ways, his position is worse than a humanistic moral code, since he is trying to put a veneer of holiness on it that he has no claim to.

The way I see it the position of 'hating gays because the bible says so, but not wanting to kill infants, even though the bible says to if the infant is the child of a prostitute or of people from a country we are at war with' is no more or less or otherwise biblical than the position of 'treating people well and wanting to be charitable to the poor either because the bible says so (or just because it is the right thing to do) but not hating gays, even though the bible says so.'

Anonymous CLK August 24, 2013 9:48 PM  

Drtorch says "CLK- Frankly you don't seem to understand either very well, IMO."

I would try attacking the idea.. not the man. I think we can agree that your opinion in regards to my science skills or theology knowledge are irreverent to the argument. I hate having to say this here all the time but I am pretty smart guy ,, I just have poor typing skills.

James Dixon says "nonsense. If God exists, he can prove his existence any time he wants to, and it's merely that he chooses not to do so. That also holds for other religions, of course. If Odin and Thor exist, they could probably appear to us at anytime they wished and demonstrate their existence."

Our argument is about two different things.. I am saying that religion is based an faith and existence of God has not be proven true; you are saying that nothing is impossible for God and he can do anything -- I agree with you but that's not what I said.. the fact is that God has not yet proven himself to exist in any concrete way ... now we can discuss why that is the case .. its been argued before ... in my mind on the paradox of free will, perfect knowledge and the consequences of sin but thats for another thread.

Stick say " There is nothing in science that is proven true. Science operates on falsifiability. The best you can say is that the data are consistent with a theory, not that a theory is proven true."

I thought you where a physicist ? Plenty of things in science are very well understood and have been proven "true" .. these things progress into engineering and technology and are applied everyday... I think you really want to argue about what is the meaning of true ... and if it gets to that level i am not sure what we can say to convince each other.

Ann Morgan says "I've had much the same experience with Christians who claim that they obey the bible 100%. It becomes clear when talking to them that they (fortunately a minority) are either completely amoral monsters who are self-damned, or else (the majority) are simply picking and choosing various things out of the bible that they prefer anyways, and are subsequently either lying about what they are doing, or simply ignorant of various parts of the bible."

Humans being human .. I'm sure there are some mean atheists too... no one group has a franchise stupidity. Belief in God and belief in religion are two very different things. ... All religions are flawed, but what else are we to expect as human institutions (even those divinely inspired and authorized with the keys to heaven like my RCC)... You just need to hang out with nicer Christians .. maybe some New England Lutherans or Presbyterians -- just cut your lawn and rake up you leaves in the fall and you will get along just fine. :)



Anonymous log August 24, 2013 11:38 PM  

Umm, no. It's highly improbable that the Earth would be hit by an meteor. Nevertheless it has been, numerous times, and meteors are not intelligent. It's also highly improbably to roll 5 of the same number on 5 dice (yahtzee!), but roll the dice enough times, and that will happen, despite dice not being intelligent. Improbable events do not necessarily equate to intelligence. They may simply equate to a large enough area of space and/or a long enough period of time.

Improbability coupled with algorithmic compressibility, or simplicity of description, is the hallmark of intelligent intervention. When you engage only one part of a definition, you are engaged in strawman argumentation. Also, asteroids impacting on Earth are not highly improbable. The improbability used in these calculations is 1 / 10^150 (there is empirical justification for this probability bound). If an event is less improbable than that, and also is algorithmically compressible, then it may or may not be the result of intelligent intervention. In practical matters, we set our improbability bounds much, much higher than 1 / 10^150, and conclude intelligent intervention.

Jeffrey Dahmer had a number of logical errors going on in his head. That was one of them, for a couple of reasons. First of all, he doesn't know for sure what happens when we die. Nobody does.

That is a very strong claim - that *nobody* knows for sure what happens when we die. Please provide evidence for it or retract it.

Secondly, even if he had been correct, the absence of an afterlife does not equate to the right to murder people in this life.

That's trivially true. If Dahmer was correct, there are no rights to speak of; "rights" would be a word devoid of empirical content.

Thirdly, as for his contention that since human beings are basically the chemically reacting bags of mud, therefore we have no more significance than mud, the arrangement of particles and chemicals has a great deal of significance.

Arrangements of matter have no significance; they simply exist, which is all that could be said of anything that exists.

Anonymous Anonymous August 25, 2013 2:01 AM  

**That is a very strong claim - that *nobody* knows for sure what happens when we die. Please provide evidence for it or retract it.**

Point taken. Some people MAY know what happens when you die, but I doubt Dahmer is among their number, and as of yet, they have not been able to provide proof of what they know.

Anonymous Anonymous August 25, 2013 2:05 AM  

log wrote: **That's trivially true. If Dahmer was correct, there are no rights to speak of; "rights" would be a word devoid of empirical content**

Possible, although they could still exist in the sense of a social contract, and either way, Dahmer himself would have negated his own right to life, since if he is right and there are no rights (in any sense), then he doesn't have a right to life, and if they exist in the sense of a social contract, then he has negated his right to life by violating that contract and murdering others.

Anonymous Anonymous August 25, 2013 2:10 AM  

log wrote: **Arrangements of matter have no significance; they simply exist, which is all that could be said of anything that exists.**

They have significance in terms that different arrangement of matter differ in how they function in a physical sense, and their value and use to human beings. If Dahmer claims that human beings are equivalent to mud, because we are made of the same chemicals, then take him at his word. Give him a rock to rest his head on and draino to drink, since they are made out of the same protons and electrons as pillows and water.

Anonymous log August 25, 2013 2:12 AM  

Possible, although they could still exist in the sense of a social contract....

No, Ann - if Dahmer (and yourself) is correct, "rights" do not exist, period, full stop. Neurons may react chemically one way or another to stimulus, but it doesn't make "rights" exist.

Anonymous log August 25, 2013 2:13 AM  

They have significance in terms that different arrangement of matter differ in how they function in a physical sense, and their value and use to human beings.

Neurons may react chemically one way or another to various stimuli, but it doesn't make things "significant".

Anonymous log August 25, 2013 2:31 AM  

Some people MAY know what happens when you die, but I doubt Dahmer is among their number, and as of yet, they have not been able to provide proof of what they know.

If Dahmer was right, then he would not be among their number; if he were wrong, then he would be among their number.

But here's a challenge for you, Ann. Some things are not publicly demonstrable. Firsthand knowledge cannot be transmitted to another person. Some things can only be known by doing certain things with an eye towards gaining knowledge.

Towards that end, I will cite something from that Bible which gets waved around a lot here.

John 7:16-17
My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do [God']s will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

The essence of all Christ's moral teachings is this: "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."

I am a witness that this is true - that if any will do the things Jesus taught, they can know for themselves of the existence of God, rather than merely believing; they can know for themselves of the truth of existence after death, and why God requires these moral commandments to be followed.

I cannot give you my firsthand experience; what I can do is to invite you to apply Christ's teachings in your own life. I do not allow any man to interpret the scriptures for me, and I would encourage you to do the same.

Anonymous VD August 25, 2013 5:07 AM  

although they could still exist in the sense of a social contract

There is no "social contract". Barring agreement and signature, a contract does not exist. Remember, the adjective MODIFIES the noun. In this case, as with "social justice", it nullifies it.

Anonymous E. PERLINE August 25, 2013 9:01 AM  

The atheists have been accused of condemning the mass murders of a religion but forgiving the mass murders of a state. Neither one is correct.

Murder, whether singly or en masse, is a product of anger, and anger is built into the human brain as a bug in its programming.

I know how to reprogram the brain by using a simple method, but hidebound educational systems throughout the world do not know.

Anonymous a. lurker August 25, 2013 9:57 AM  

"I've had much the same experience with Christians who claim that they obey the bible 100%."

Name 3 people who are Christians that claim they obey the Bible 100%.

I am tired of your cuntpunting. Put up or shut up. I demand evidence, per Vox's rules.

Blogger James Dixon August 25, 2013 3:18 PM  

> I am saying that religion is based an faith and existence of God has not be proven true;

That's not what you said. I quoted what you said, which was: "I think you meant to say "religion" cannot prove itself true."

I agree with your modified statement.

> Some people MAY know what happens when you die, but I doubt Dahmer is among their number,

Since Dahmer is now dead, he definitely is among their number.
> I am saying that religion is based an faith and existence of God has not be proven true;

Anonymous EpicKWJ August 26, 2013 2:23 AM  

Belief in no gods is not mutually exclusive of a desire for universal rights. What better way to have those universal inalienable rights for yourself than by ensuring everyone has them.

Anonymous Ann Morgan August 26, 2013 5:42 AM  

a. lurker wrote: **"I've had much the same experience with Christians who claim that they obey the bible 100%."

Name 3 people who are Christians that claim they obey the Bible 100%**

Mudz, for one, until he retracted. Anyone who condemns homosexuality or any consensual sex, or birth control for another, claiming that they are doing so out of obedience to the bible. They cannot make that claim unless they are obeying the bible, 100%. Either they are liars who are picking and choosing from the bible to support what they prefer to believe, or they are sociopathic monsters.

Anonymous Ann Morgan August 26, 2013 5:48 AM  

log: Regarding the possibility of Dahmer being right in his views on the afterlife. The fact that someone may be 'right' on something, does not necessarily constitute knowledge. It's possible to make a correct guess about something, but not really have knowledge about it. For instance, let's say I buy a packet of seeds, and I guess that there are 23 seeds in the packet. It's possible I might be right, there might really be 23 seeds in the packet. But I don't really have any knowledge for sure about the number of seeds, regardless of what I might claim, until I open the packet up and count them, or Xray the packet to count them, or otherwise actually get real information rather than guessing.

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