My Thought Experiment on Faith – Sun 1st July 07

Some time ago I was arguing about religion and the bible with a believer. The conversation ended abruptly when I proposed a thought experiment:

Me: “…so, if the bible told you to kill someone, would you?”

Eventually I received the answer: “no.”

Me: “Well you don’t believe the bible then.”

This is a problem for all theists, and if you’re a theist reading this your first mental objection will be “but the bible would never tell me to do that!” Well, we’ll come to that shortly. Let’s restate the question in more explicit terms:

“If your holy book, or god, told you to do something against your conscience, like kill an innocent person, would you?”

It doesn’t matter if you think this is purely hypothetical and would never happen. This is just a thought experiment. (Also, if you think that the question is invalid because god is necessarily good and would never command you to kill, look at the Euthyphro dilemma.)

You see, a believer has only two options: obey their god and kill an innocent person, or disobey their god. But a believer should always obey their god. Refusing to obey your god and holy book is a clear contradiction of belief.

This is the problem! If you are committed to worshipping a god, then you cannot accept the nice commands of god says but ignore his unpleasant orders. You cannot use your own morality to examine the commands of god, because you are then assuming that your sense of morality is greater than your god’s. Therefore, faith requires the suppression of your moral code. It may look wrong, feel wrong, and be wrong, but your faith demands that you must do it.

If you’re a theist reading this, you might not think I’m talking about you. But I am. You might think, ‘he’s only talking about fundamentalists or extremists who would genuinely hurt people’. Once again I want to make clear that I am talking about you! Allow me present another question:

You’ve just defeated an enemy in battle. However, in the city of the enemy you left some people alive: men, women, and children. Your army commander who represents the highest authority possible notices this and commands you to return and wipe them all out: men, women, and children. But, he adds this: if there are any young girls, who are still virgins, keep alive for yourself (for you know what).

Would you obey him?

If you’re a Christian and you answered no, may I suggest a revision of belief, because the above is exactly what Moses commanded the Israelites to do with the Midianites. This is actually recorded in the bible, but even if it wasn’t and I made it up, it wouldn’t stop the very real dilemma theists have. Theists might not believe that god wants them to kill, but some theists do. Theists might not believe that the earth was created in 6 literal days, but some theists do. But it ultimately comes down to faith and since theists are subject to their faith, that means morality comes second.

This cannot be right. And it’s obviously potentially very dangerous!

Atheists don’t have this problem! We have absolutely no belief system to reconcile our morality with. We have no god that we necessarily must obey. If taking an innocent life is wrong, then the correct moral call then is not to take it, no matter what! Even if god exists and he commands me to, I wouldn’t obey. Rape is wrong. I will not rape because I know it is wrong. It is wrong whether god says it is wrong or not. Since I have no god to serve, I am not limited in my actions. I can choose to do what I believe is right. Consider:

Premise 1: God demands total obedience.

Premise 2: Total obedience takes priority over everything else.

Premise 3 (from 1 and 2): Morality is less important than obedience.

Premise 4 (from 1 and 3): Obedience to god potentially compromises morality.

Conclusion: Theism cannot be a sound moral position.

Theists who wouldn’t go against their conscience shouldn’t be theists. If you’re a theist reading this and you agree that, even if theory, you wouldn’t obey an immoral command, then theism isn’t for you! Your morality and intelligence should not be surrendered. And since faith and religion require exactly that (on at least some level), they are inconsistent with morality. The fact that there is even potential for immoral actions proves that faith and religion cannot be valid consistent ways of living. It also means that religion cannot provide a true moral foundation.

The next time someone implies that we need religion for morality, ask them the question above.

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49 Responses to “My Thought Experiment on Faith – Sun 1st July 07”

  1. Geno Says:

    evanescent says,
    “because the above is exactly what Moses commanded the Israelites to do with the Midianites. This is actually recorded in the bible,”

    So, you must really be a Jew hater since they have foisted this story on all of us in their religious writings. And to think that the Jews still publish this today.
    But you probably wouldn’t call yourself an anti semite, would you?

    But I will ask you the same question. (since we get to make them up.)
    “If science proved that the only way to save mankind was to kill a roomful of innocent school children under the age of six, would you do it?” Remember, you can’t “weeny out” because if you didn’t obey science, you would be at fault for wiping out all of mankind.”
    See how silly your post is? Since you do not take the Jews to task for their writings, the post is nothing more than “Dawkins’ style Christian baiting.”

  2. evanescent Says:

    Hi Geno

    the first two paragraphs of your comment are meaningless sorry; I cannot see what point you’re trying or make or what you’re trying to ask me, so I’ll just ignore them.

    To address the only part of your comment that seemed to make sense: I don’t think my post was silly at all. It highlights a necessary flaw with belief systems, worship, and faith.

    To be honest, I’m a little disappointed that you didn’t actually answer the question yourself, but instead evaded it and tried to ask me one.

    So I’ll make you a deal, I’ll answer your question if you answer mine ok?

    Your question is a little dishonest because science isn’t a belief system. Science is a way of acquiring knowledge. So, what you must mean is: if it was scientifically proved that the only way to save mankind was to kill a room full of children, (I don’t think the age matters!), would I do it?

    Bear in mind that I don’t speak for all atheists, but if we are rational about this: if I chose not to kill the children, they would be destroyed anyway! So to spare them is pointless. The logical decision would be to sacrifice the children. That is common sense. Also, I don’t think it is immoral either, albeit unfair. One could argue that allowing the entire human race to die is immoral.

    So, I’m not sure what your question hoped to accomplish. I can give an honest answer, based on what is the best for the human race. I can do this because I’m an atheist. You can’t give such an answer though.

    Your morality is based on whatever your god says, and is therefore bankrupt and futile.

    So, now that I’ve answered your question, will you answer mine? Would you murder innocent people and take virgins for sex slaves or would you disobey your god?

  3. Geno Says:

    The commands of God ARE clear. He has said “thou shall not murder” and “thou shall not commit adultery.” Elsewhere in the scriptures it gives strict rules for sexual activity that precludes sex with a virgin before marriage.

    God can’t command something that is against his nature. In other words, God cannot make a round triangle (no matter how hard he tries.)

    But let me ask you this, why do you think that all those people didn’t deserve the treatment they got? Perhaps their further existence would be like my example of what was going to destroy the rest of mankind? You go way out on a limb saying you know best. (what makes you think that ANY “innocent” person was killed?) After the terror attacks in your land the other day (and if it was shown to be Al Qaida directed) would you be for the destruction of all Al Qaida members?

    Beside that, you set the premise incorrectly. Where do you get the idea that God demands total obedience? I guess that is nice to say and get the followers to cheer, but it is not the case. God is a God of reason. That is why he can tell us;
    “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. (You can look it up Isaiah 1:18)

    So, since we are people of reason, and we are told to use it with God, your first premise is 100% wrong and therefore #s2-4 are wrong and your conclusion fails as usual.

  4. tobe38 Says:

    Geno said:

    Where do you get the idea that God demands total obedience? I guess that is nice to say and get the followers to cheer, but it is not the case.

    How about here, for a start (and what do you know! It’s from the New Testament, ironically in response to your Old Testament quote.):

    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (2 Corinthians 10:5)

    So, Evanescent’s 1st premise is true, and the argument is valid and sound. Can you now answer his question?

    @ Bob

    Maybe you should read blogs that interest you and comment on them, rather than reading blogs that don’t interest you and then presuming to speak for all its readers. Believe it or not, there are many people who care.

  5. tobe38 Says:

    @ Bob,

    I care because when people choose religion instead of science (by that I broadly mean a scientif method of thinking and reasoning) then sometimes they end up crashing planes into buildings. More succintly, when people don’t reason rationally, people get hurt, and I care about people.

    Daylight Atheism’s article Why Do We Care? extends on this point.

  6. Geno Says:

    tobe38,
    Since you have told me before that you have not completed your reading of the bible, I wouldn’t expect you to understand context. Do you even know what Paul is talking about in this letter? What did you do, a word search for “obedience” and take whatever came up? Or did you turn to the Holy Word of Ebon? (read the whole letter and find the context – who he wrote to and for what purpose. What he giving direction or was he answering questions?)

    I answered Evanescent’s question by pointing out the fallacy within the question. You guys are famous for framing the questions and allowing only answers that fall therein. It is no different than me stating that the scientific method is made up of what I can smell. So prove to me gravity by smell! So, as long as you do the framing, you will win each discussion – but it was set up that way wasn’t it?

    I was watching a Richard Dawkins’s sermon on You Tube from Oct ’06 in Lynchburgh VA. He is a great one for framing the discussion so it can go only his way. He was explaining how morality “evolved” in man (by being around other people who you would have to interact with later etc.) – Now, he stated no facts and offered no evidence,(just an assertion) but he ridiculed anyone who disagreed with him. I say he could have written it in a book, put a picture of a castle on the cover and started it “Once upon a time…” and ended it with “and they all lived happily ever after.”

    As to your comment to Bob, I see nothing incompatible with science and religion. Even someone as bright as Francis Collins is able to bring the 2 together. (along with 1,000s of others).

    Also, how can people “not reason rationally when reason is defined as – (1)sound judgment; good sense. (2)to think or argue in a logical manner.

  7. evanescent Says:

    Geno,

    actually it’s good that you tried to defeat me by pointing out a flaw in the argument. The argument is valid, but if one of the premises is wrong then so is the argument. However, the premise of “god demands total obedience” is true, and I cannot believe that you would disagree with that premise! The premise stands, as does the argument.

    Geno said:
    “The commands of God ARE clear. He has said “thou shall not murder” and “thou shall not commit adultery.” Elsewhere in the scriptures it gives strict rules for sexual activity that precludes sex with a virgin before marriage.”

    Yes, the commands of god are clear. It’s funny that you’ve shown clear commands here of him saying don’t kill etc, whereas I’ve shown you other parts of the bible that show him commanding murder and other atrocities like genocide.

    How did you not spot the glaring contradiction here? Or does the biblical god have D.I.D.?

    Geo said:
    “God can’t command something that is against his nature. In other words, God cannot make a round triangle (no matter how hard he tries.)”

    Yup I agree with this too. But all you’ve shown is your god contradicts himself.

    Besides, all this aside I think you’ve missed the point of the article: it doesn’t matter if YOU THINK god would never command “bad” things…it’s a thought experiment, which means that IN THEORY he could ask you to do something wrong and you would have to obey. So your morality is dubious then.

    If you say that god is necessarily good then there is a standard of goodness beyond god, in which case morality is independent of religion.

    If you say that whatever god says/does is good, then god could order murder or rape and it would be good, since he authorised it.

    Do you see the problem?

    Now, would you answer the original question please before we go any further.

  8. Geno Says:

    evanescent,
    I hope you are having a good day and that our conversation is just a small part of it. How is you weather today. It’s 9am on my part of the globe and it is about 85 degrees already (29c to you). I think it’s going to be over 100.

    Now to business. Your original question is impossible to answer a I said, I will not fall into your trap of allowing you to frame the dialog in such a narrow manner. This is what I hear when you ask your question. “Would you beat your wife to near death to show her your love, or would you let her think that you don’t love her and have her commit suicide?” Now some would call that a mental exercise, I call it nonsense.
    Now, where your argument breaks down is with the word “total”. See, if God demanded “total” obedience wouldn’t he strike down everyone everytime they didn’t do it right? The point of the entire Bible is to show you that you cannot live up to God’s standards no matter how hard you try. That is why we need a savior. (I don’t expect you to believe it – just understand what it says.) The Bible is about forgiveness (which is available to everyone throughout all time and cultures.) So if that’s the case, how can God

    God’s command is to not murder – I don’t know why you changed my words to kill. (I do believe that even in English as there is in the original Hebrew language, different words and definitions for killing and murder.) Killing is allowable (war, self defense etc.) Murder is a legal term and it involves taking the life of an innocent person, like abortion – (just thought I would throw that in.) Now, what you are doing, is placing yourself in God’s place and saying that you know motives and all actions to declare what he commanded as wrong. On what grounds do you declare these people innocent? Are you that bright? So your statement “whereas I’ve shown you other parts of the bible that show him commanding murder and other atrocities like genocide.” is completely false.
    So, there are no contradictions is God’s actions.

    Have a great day – God bless you! 😉 (just teasing!)

  9. tobe38 Says:

    @ Geno

    Since you have told me before that you have not completed your reading of the bible, I wouldn’t expect you to understand context. Do you even know what Paul is talking about in this letter? What did you do, a word search for “obedience” and take whatever came up?

    Of course I did a word search, am I supposed to feel like I’ve been rumbled? It’s called research. As far as I can tell, the quote I gave is saying we should obey Christ. Please tell me what in the context means it isn’t. And, like Evanescent, I can’t believe you are arguing this point. Are you saying that we don’t have to obey Christ?! You quote commandments from the Old Testament which you reject, following the quote from Isiah – how can you use quotes to support your argument from a text you reject? And aren’t the ten commandments evidence that God demands obedience? Or, were they just guidelines, or advice?

    Or did you turn to the Holy Word of Ebon? (read the whole letter and find the context – who he wrote to and for what purpose. What he giving direction or was he answering questions?)

    No. If you can show how the quote I gave doesn’t mean we should obey Christ, I’m all ears.

    I answered Evanescent’s question by pointing out the fallacy within the question. You guys are famous for framing the questions and allowing only answers that fall therein. It is no different than me stating that the scientific method is made up of what I can smell. So prove to me gravity by smell!

    Geno, the Bible is written in words, and our arguments are based on analysing the meaning of those words. How is this like analysing gravity with smell?

    So, as long as you do the framing, you will win each discussion – but it was set up that way wasn’t it?

    Actually, no it wasn’t. But even if it was, wouldn’t a book that was the perfect inerrant word of God be able to cope with such a challenge? Surely it would be beyond distortion by mere mortal atheists like us?

    I was watching a Richard Dawkins’s sermon on You Tube from Oct ‘06 in Lynchburgh VA. He is a great one for framing the discussion so it can go only his way. He was explaining how morality “evolved” in man (by being around other people who you would have to interact with later etc.) – Now, he stated no facts and offered no evidence,(just an assertion) but he ridiculed anyone who disagreed with him. I say he could have written it in a book, put a picture of a castle on the cover and started it “Once upon a time…” and ended it with “and they all lived happily ever after.”

    Geno, what kind of point is this? What kind of discussion or response do you expect to follow that paragraph? You’re offering your interpretation of a lecture Dawkins gave? Knowing your track record for failing to follow simple lines of reasoning, forgive me if I don’t take your word for it. You said you saw it on Youtube – link please?! This is not the first time you’ve done this, does it not enter your mind to perhaps offer sources for your arguments?

    As to your comment to Bob, I see nothing incompatible with science and religion. Even someone as bright as Francis Collins is able to bring the 2 together. (along with 1,000s of others).

    ???

    Also, how can people “not reason rationally when reason is defined as – (1)sound judgment; good sense. (2)to think or argue in a logical manner.

    Fair enough – that was a tautology. I should have phrased it better.

    I think you need to answer Evanescent’s original question before you do anything else.

  10. Geno Says:

    tobe38,
    here is your link to Dawkins. He answers the question in the first 5 min. Now when he starts to answer, insert “Once upon a time” and when he is finished, complete it with “and they all lived happily ever after.” It will all make sense as he is really telling his audience a fairy tale!

    My earlier reply to evanescent should answer some of your other questions. As to the context, I do believe you once told me “to do the research for myself” – a point I will make to you.

  11. tobe38 Says:

    @ Geno

    here is your link to Dawkins. He answers the question in the first 5 min. Now when he starts to answer, insert “Once upon a time” and when he is finished, complete it with “and they all lived happily ever after.” It will all make sense as he is really telling his audience a fairy tale!

    I’ve watched it, it seems perfectly clear to me. Rather than making sarcastic marks about fairy tales, why don’t you actually take something specific and debunk it?

    My earlier reply to evanescent should answer some of your other questions.

    No, not one of them. In fact, I’m left with even more. for example, you said:

    God’s command is to not murder – I don’t know why you changed my words to kill. (I do believe that even in English as there is in the original Hebrew language, different words and definitions for killing and murder.) Killing is allowable (war, self defense etc.)

    The 6th of the 10 Commandments is “Thou shalt not kill“, it says nothing about murder. There is a contradiction between God forbidding killing in the 10 commandments but then commanding killing, as with the Midionites. Can you explain this?

    As to the context, I do believe you once told me “to do the research for myself” – a point I will make to you.

    I told you to do your own research into evolution, because you wanted me to explain the entire theory to you, chapter and verse (for want of a better phrase!). You asked where in the Bible it says we should obey God. I gave you a quote. You can’t just say I took it out of context, you have to show how – that is your job, not mine!

  12. evanescent Says:

    Hi Geno

    the weather has been awful over here, and Wimbledon has been stop start, which is annoying since today is a rare weekday I get to watch it, but only by being off work unwell and looking after my sister who’s also unwell. You wouldn’t think it was the middle of summer!

    As for our debate, I just logged on to delete a comment of Tobe’s and post this quick reply. I might be back later to resume our debate.

    Best regards

  13. Geno Says:

    tobe38,
    You said “The 6th of the 10 Commandments is “Thou shalt not kill“, it says nothing about murder.
    Believe me on this one because you show your ignorance as to what the Bible says. Check with anyone (and yes you can use a word search) there are several different words in Hebrew for the different types of killing, just as we have in English (murder, kill, manslaughter) The British for some reason (King James Version):-) did not choose the right word. Check out any modern translation and do your word check.

    As to the context, I will give you an example from Richard Dawkins himself in Part one of the same video. Einstein said “science without religion is… and religion without science is..” Therefore Einstein believed in God. Stephen Hawking said “Science was to know the mind of God..” Hence, Stephen Hawking is a God fearing man. As you say, we are making our arguments by the words used (see, I will even use your standard.) So, were Hawking and Einstein religious men, fearing the God of the universe? Can’t I just take them at their word? Why does Dawkins go to such trouble to try to explain the context? I am just trying to get you to see that what you think to be so, may not be.

    As to Dawkins explanation about evolving morals, I know that you understand what he said, since you are already a believer. But he gave no evidence for his conclusion – he just asserted it. And do you know why? Because there is no evidence for his position – it was his religious statement.

  14. Geno Says:

    evanescent,
    I am sorry to hear that you and your sister are not feeling well. I hope it will pass quickly for both. Rest and take it easy and know that I am not offended if you don’t or can’t reply.

  15. tobe38 Says:

    @ Geno

    You said “The 6th of the 10 Commandments is “Thou shalt not kill“, it says nothing about murder.
    Believe me on this one because you show your ignorance as to what the Bible says. Check with anyone (and yes you can use a word search) there are several different words in Hebrew for the different types of killing, just as we have in English (murder, kill, manslaughter) The British for some reason (King James Version):-) did not choose the right word. Check out any modern translation and do your word check.

    I’ve browsed a few. Some modern versions say “murder”, but some, like the 21st Century King James Version say “kill“. I still think this is God doing a pretty poor job of making himself clear and understood, especially for an all powerful being.

    As to the context, I will give you an example from Richard Dawkins himself in Part one of the same video. Einstein said “science without religion is… and religion without science is..” Therefore Einstein believed in God. Stephen Hawking said “Science was to know the mind of God..” Hence, Stephen Hawking is a God fearing man. As you say, we are making our arguments by the words used (see, I will even use your standard.) So, were Hawking and Einstein religious men, fearing the God of the universe? Can’t I just take them at their word? Why does Dawkins go to such trouble to try to explain the context? I am just trying to get you to see that what you think to be so, may not be.

    Geno, you seem to have missed my point. I understand the concept of words being quoted out of context, and I am open to the possibility that ‘what I think to be so, may not be’. You don’t seem to understand that, as you are claiming my quote is offered out of context, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate exactly how this is so. What you’re basically saying is: “Your argument is wrong because the quote is out of context. Go and read it and you’ll see why”. That is not refuting an argument at all. Once again, if you can show how my quote from 2 Corinthians was out of context, I’ll be fascinated to see how.

    As to Dawkins explanation about evolving morals, I know that you understand what he said, since you are already a believer. But he gave no evidence for his conclusion – he just asserted it. And do you know why? Because there is no evidence for his position – it was his religious statement.

    Your attempts to cast atheism/evolutionism as a religion by using certain terminology are very tiring. I understood Dawkins line of reasoning because it was rational and supported by evidence. Considering he was answering a question at the end of a lecture, he didn’t have time to go into as much detail as he could, but his argument was coherent, and in perfect keeping with Darwinian models. You’ve done exactly the same thing again, even after I challenged you to pick something specific, you’ve just asserted that Dawkins presented no evidence. I’m not going to restate Dawkins’ arguments, I think he made them quite well enough. Pick something specific, debunk it and we’ll discuss it.

  16. Geno Says:

    tobe38,
    The context is this. The apostle Paul is arguing against those false teachers who have come to town behind him and had spread their own teachings, confusing the believers in Corinth along with telling them that Paul was teaching them lies. Paul taught about God’s grace for the people. The standard Christian position – God saves by his grace alone for us and we receive it by faith (faith that God himself builds in us.) The false teachers came in teaching the Law. Paul, having heard of this while he was in Macedonia is writing back to the Corinthians reminding the people what they were taught about God’s grace. They are urged to be “obedient” to this teaching and not to put themselves back under the Law of the Jews. This passage has nothing to do with “obedience to God or face his wrath.”
    Again, as I stated before, the premise breaks down with the comment “total obedience”.

    You know, if God’s command were “thou shall not kill” that would put all the termite exterminators out of business! Do you really think that there is no difference in the words kill and murder? We were given our mind, personalities and temperaments so that we could figure these things out. Long before God gave the 6th commandment He had already made provision for capital punishment. So, even if we have some trouble knowing “exactly” what God meant, we can eliminate somethings that we know that He did not mean. Again, I turn you to the Isaiah quote where God offers us a chance to come and reason with Him. We are never expected to take our belief’s blindly or to do things that go against our conscience. (not as Christians anyway – I will leave it to others to explain their own religious beliefs.)

    Back to Dawkins and his point on evolving morality – the reason he went into the depth that he did during the Q&A, was because he said that he did not take ANY time during the lecture to explain it. It wasn’t as if this was an add on – it was his whole argument (and he did spend 70 min answering questions, so he did have the time.) Your understanding of his point still leaves me in the dark as he offered no evidence. I understand the trinity when someone explains it but I am sure that you are left in the dark demanding evidence. That is all I am saying – he gave none! Therefore, he offered a fairy tale.

    As I asked evanescent earlier, how are you doing? I don’t know how much we may have in common, but I do wish to be somewhat conversational and not confrontive all the time.

  17. tobe38 Says:

    @ Geno

    The context is this. The apostle Paul is arguing against those false teachers who have come to town behind him and had spread their own teachings, confusing the believers in Corinth along with telling them that Paul was teaching them lies. Paul taught about God’s grace for the people. The standard Christian position – God saves by his grace alone for us and we receive it by faith (faith that God himself builds in us.) The false teachers came in teaching the Law. Paul, having heard of this while he was in Macedonia is writing back to the Corinthians reminding the people what they were taught about God’s grace. They are urged to be “obedient” to this teaching and not to put themselves back under the Law of the Jews. This passage has nothing to do with “obedience to God or face his wrath.”
    Again, as I stated before, the premise breaks down with the comment “total obedience”.

    Very interesting to have the background (I mean that sincerely). So, what exactly are you saying? We don’t have to obey God? We have to obey him a little bit? If so, when do we have to obey him and when do we have the option not to?

    You know, if God’s command were “thou shall not kill” that would put all the termite exterminators out of business!

    Exactly! This is the problem I have with the decalogue – they’re so vague and incomplete. It says do not kill (or murder) but it says nothing about violent assault. Or rape. Or peodophilia. The whole thing smacks of something devised by man, not God.

    Do you really think that there is no difference in the words kill and murder?

    Certainly not! But I think what God does in the OT is murder. The Midionites were not just casualties of war, there was absolutely no reason to kill them! There would have been innocent children among the dead, why would a loving god kill them?

    We were given our mind, personalities and temperaments so that we could figure these things out. Long before God gave the 6th commandment He had already made provision for capital punishment. So, even if we have some trouble knowing “exactly” what God meant, we can eliminate somethings that we know that He did not mean.

    Are you familiar with the logical fallacy “begging the question“? This is exactly what you are doing. Your argument stems from the premise that God exists, and that’s what you’re supposed to be proving.

    Again, I turn you to the Isaiah quote where God offers us a chance to come and reason with Him. We are never expected to take our belief’s blindly or to do things that go against our conscience. (not as Christians anyway – I will leave it to others to explain their own religious beliefs.

    Again, I ask how you can use quotes from a text you reject to support your arguments?

    Back to Dawkins and his point on evolving morality – the reason he went into the depth that he did during the Q&A, was because he said that he did not take ANY time during the lecture to explain it. It wasn’t as if this was an add on – it was his whole argument (and he did spend 70 min answering questions, so he did have the time.) Your understanding of his point still leaves me in the dark as he offered no evidence. I understand the trinity when someone explains it but I am sure that you are left in the dark demanding evidence. That is all I am saying – he gave none! Therefore, he offered a fairy tale.

    Quote something specific Dawkins said, that you believe was without evidence, and we’ll discuss it. Take it from the lecture, the Q & A, or wherever. That’s the last time I’m going to ask. If you dodge it again, I’ll just ignore that part of your comment.

    As I asked evanescent earlier, how are you doing? I don’t know how much we may have in common, but I do wish to be somewhat conversational and not confrontive all the time.

    Not too bad, thanks for asking. I’m a little tired because I work two jobs, a full time office one in the week and a bar job at the weekend. I did nearly 60 hours last week and didn’t get a day off, and I won’t have one this week either, so I’m feeling it a little. Sorry for the moaning.

  18. Geno Says:

    Greetings Tobe38,

    1.) You said – “Very interesting to have the background (I mean that sincerely). So, what exactly are you saying? We don’t have to obey God? We have to obey him a little bit? If so, when do we have to obey him and when do we have the option not to?”

    Of course you don’t have to obey God! Only those who choose to be a follower are required to obey. Only those who want to spend eternity with God are required to obey. The question is, obey what? Jesus answers us in the gospel of Luke (and I do appreciate this opportunity to preach to you.) Jesus is asked directly “what do I need to do to get to heaven?” Pretty simple – if there is a God we all want to know the answer to that question.

    Luke 10:25-28 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26″What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” 28″You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

    Notice that Jesus replied that we are to use our whole mind! We can reason to biblical truth. That is our command, it covers it all (the 10 commandments along with the other 603 laws in the Hebrew scriptures.) Now you can understand a little more clearly what Paul was saying when he spoke of “obedience” to Jesus.

    2.) You said “Exactly! This is the problem I have with the decalogue – they’re so vague and incomplete. It says do not kill (or murder) but it says nothing about violent assault. Or rape. Or peodophilia.”

    Again, you are going to need to trust me on this one. The Hebrew Scriptures cover all of this. I am giving you a link to the 613 Laws that God gave to govern Israel’s society. Let me know what is lacking. (don’t just read the list – read all of the verse references so you can pick up the context.) BTW, the Decalogue is just the first 10 of the 613 – so no surprise that you find them incomplete. Also, take note of the references to the whether the command is affirmative or negative.

    http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm

    3.) You said “Are you familiar with the logical fallacy “begging the question“? This is exactly what you are doing. Your argument stems from the premise that God exists, and that’s what you’re supposed to be proving.”

    Oh how familiar that sounds. It is the same when I tell the atheist that they claim they can reason to prove reason. Tobe, we all have our own presuppositions, get real. Can you show me how you can reason your way to reason without using any reason or calling on me to use reason?

    4.) You said “Again, I ask how you can use quotes from a text you reject to support your arguments?”

    Perhaps I don’t understand you here. What texts do I reject? I don’t think I made that claim. You may have mistaken when I said I don’t accept your interpretation of a certain text to mean that I reject the text. Not the case at all.

    5.) You said “Quote something specific Dawkins said, that you believe was without evidence, and we’ll discuss it. Take it from the lecture, the Q & A, or wherever. That’s the last time I’m going to ask. If you dodge it again, I’ll just ignore that part of your comment.”

    You can ignore any comment I make. My point with Dawkins was that he ducked the issue of morality in the lecture and did not talk about it at all (he skipped the whole chapter – and I do not take issue with that, it’s his lecture and he can present it any way he wishes). However, when ask directly for an explanation of where morality came from (in his view) he only made an assertion (I listened to it 3 times) and he offered nothing as evidence (unless you think that just because Dawkins opens his mouth that is evidence enough.) I guess he could have just as well said they came from that spaghetti monster 

    5.) You said “Certainly not! But I think what God does in the OT is murder. The Midionites were not just casualties of war, there was absolutely no reason to kill them! There would have been innocent children among the dead, why would a loving god kill them?”

    A couple of things here. According to the scriptures God worked with these people for 400 years to get them to change their evil ways. These were people who were evil in there own right, sacrificing their children to false gods and other wicked stuff. As God was giving the land back to the Israelites, he was not going to let these people and their wickedness infect them. After 400 years of their rejection of God’s commands he had them destroyed. You don’t know if there were innocent people in the land. They could have all been guilty by God’s standards. (as a mere mortal, what do you think of cultures that sacrifice there children?)
    Now, I am not going to stand here and say that I don’t have problems with some of these passages. They are difficult for us to understand today in our polite society. But you ask how a God of love can allow this to happen and I will challenge you with how could a God of justice not deal with these wicked people? However it comes out, it is not enough to trash belief.

    Sorry to hear that you have to work so long and so hard. Is it to make ends meet or are you saving to buy a home or something?

    Well it’s close to bedtime for me here on my side of the globe.

  19. Geno Says:

    (I had trouble getting this to post last night – here is another attempt.)

    Greetings Tobe38,

    1.) You said – “Very interesting to have the background (I mean that sincerely). So, what exactly are you saying? We don’t have to obey God? We have to obey him a little bit? If so, when do we have to obey him and when do we have the option not to?”

    Of course you don’t have to obey God! Only those who choose to be a follower are required to obey. Only those who want to spend eternity with God are required to obey. The question is, obey what? Jesus answers us in the gospel of Luke (and I do appreciate this opportunity to preach to you.) Jesus is asked directly “what do I need to do to get to heaven?” Pretty simple – if there is a God we all want to know the answer to that question.

    Luke 10:25-28 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26″What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” 28″You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

    Notice that Jesus replied that we are to use our whole mind! We can reason to biblical truth. That is our command, it covers it all (the 10 commandments along with the other 603 laws in the Hebrew scriptures.) Now you can understand a little more clearly what Paul was saying when he spoke of “obedience” to Jesus.

    2.) You said “Exactly! This is the problem I have with the decalogue – they’re so vague and incomplete. It says do not kill (or murder) but it says nothing about violent assault. Or rape. Or peodophilia.”

    Again, you are going to need to trust me on this one. The Hebrew Scriptures cover all of this. I am giving you a link to the 613 Laws that God gave to govern Israel’s society. Let me know what is lacking. (don’t just read the list – read all of the verse references so you can pick up the context.) BTW, the Decalogue is just the first 10 of the 613 – so no surprise that you find them incomplete. Also, take note of the references to the whether the command is affirmative or negative.

    http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm

    3.) You said “Are you familiar with the logical fallacy “begging the question“? This is exactly what you are doing. Your argument stems from the premise that God exists, and that’s what you’re supposed to be proving.”

    Oh how familiar that sounds. It is the same when I tell the atheist that they claim they can reason to prove reason. Tobe, we all have our own presuppositions, get real. Can you show me how you can reason your way to reason without using any reason or calling on me to use reason?

    4.) You said “Again, I ask how you can use quotes from a text you reject to support your arguments?”

    Perhaps I don’t understand you here. What texts do I reject? I don’t think I made that claim. You may have mistaken when I said I don’t accept your interpretation of a certain text to mean that I reject the text. Not the case at all.

    5.) You said “Quote something specific Dawkins said, that you believe was without evidence, and we’ll discuss it. Take it from the lecture, the Q & A, or wherever. That’s the last time I’m going to ask. If you dodge it again, I’ll just ignore that part of your comment.”

    You can ignore any comment I make. My point with Dawkins was that he ducked the issue of morality in the lecture and did not talk about it at all (he skipped the whole chapter – and I do not take issue with that, it’s his lecture and he can present it any way he wishes). However, when ask directly for an explanation of where morality came from (in his view) he only made an assertion (I listened to it 3 times) and he offered nothing as evidence (unless you think that just because Dawkins opens his mouth that is evidence enough.) I guess he could have just as well said they came from that spaghetti monster 

    5.) You said “Certainly not! But I think what God does in the OT is murder. The Midionites were not just casualties of war, there was absolutely no reason to kill them! There would have been innocent children among the dead, why would a loving god kill them?”

    A couple of things here. According to the scriptures God worked with these people for 400 years to get them to change their evil ways. These were people who were evil in there own right, sacrificing their children to false gods and other wicked stuff. As God was giving the land back to the Israelites, he was not going to let these people and their wickedness infect them. After 400 years of their rejection of God’s commands he had them destroyed. You don’t know if there were innocent people in the land. They could have all been guilty by God’s standards. (as a mere mortal, what do you think of cultures that sacrifice there children?)
    Now, I am not going to stand here and say that I don’t have problems with some of these passages. They are difficult for us to understand today in our polite society. But you ask how a God of love can allow this to happen and I will challenge you with how could a God of justice not deal with these wicked people? However it comes out, it is not enough to trash belief.

    Sorry to hear that you have to work so long and so hard. Is it to make ends meet or are you saving to buy a home or something?

    Well it’s close to bedtime for me here on my side of the globe.

  20. tobe38 Says:

    @ Geno

    Of course you don’t have to obey God! Only those who choose to be a follower are required to obey. Only those who want to spend eternity with God are required to obey. The question is, obey what? Jesus answers us in the gospel of Luke (and I do appreciate this opportunity to preach to you.) Jesus is asked directly “what do I need to do to get to heaven?” Pretty simple – if there is a God we all want to know the answer to that question.

    Luke 10:25-28 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26″What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 28″You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

    As I understand this, you are saying we don’t have to obey Jesus unless we want to go to Heaven. Would I be right in assuming that the alternative is Hell? So, obey Jesus, if you want, it’s really up to you. If you don’t though, you’ll go to Hell. That doesn’t sound like we’re being given much of an option.

    Notice that Jesus replied that we are to use our whole mind! We can reason to biblical truth. That is our command, it covers it all (the 10 commandments along with the other 603 laws in the Hebrew scriptures.) Now you can understand a little more clearly what Paul was saying when he spoke of “obedience” to Jesus.

    Again, you are going to need to trust me on this one. The Hebrew Scriptures cover all of this. I am giving you a link to the 613 Laws that God gave to govern Israel’s society. Let me know what is lacking. (don’t just read the list – read all of the verse references so you can pick up the context.) BTW, the Decalogue is just the first 10 of the 613 – so no surprise that you find them incomplete. Also, take note of the references to the whether the command is affirmative or negative.

    Don’t take this personally, but I’m not reading all that. I have to ask, do you agree with and live by each one of these rules? For example, do you comply with all the kosher food laws? What purpose, precisely, do they serve? Why would God care if we consume milk with meat or not? The lamb is already dead – it can’t drown!

    Oh how familiar that sounds. It is the same when I tell the atheist that they claim they can reason to prove reason. Tobe, we all have our own presuppositions, get real. Can you show me how you can reason your way to reason without using any reason or calling on me to use reason?

    Yes, we all have our presuppositions and no, I can’t meet your ‘reason’ challenge. This doesn’t mean that all presuppositions are equally acceptable though. I do use reason as a presupposition, as I do the fact that I exist and that we see red the same way. But those assumptions are, well, reasonable. The presupposition of God is not, it’s an extroadinary claim. More to the point, it’s the claim we’re discussing. I’m not trying to argue the existence of ‘reason’ to you, we’re discussing the existence of God, so you can’t use “God exists” as a premise to any of your arguments, because it has to be the conclusion too, and that’s circular reasoning.

    Perhaps I don’t understand you here. What texts do I reject? I don’t think I made that claim. You may have mistaken when I said I don’t accept your interpretation of a certain text to mean that I reject the text. Not the case at all.

    We debated twice at The Blue Linchpin, here and here. Whenever you challenged me to provide Biblical support, you always demanded it be from the New Testament, implying that an Old Testament quote would not be adequate. Also, comments like the following one imply that you don’t see the OT as relevant to you as a Christian:

    Again, you show your ignorance of Biblical context. The Old Testament, which is the Hebrew Bible was written to one people – the Jews. Rules and regulations of lifestyle and relationship with God.

    Remebering that testament means covenant, the New Testament is a new covenant that God has made with a different people – the rest of the world.

    I don’t need the Old Testament to get creation. The New testament is full of the creation account.

    As to your initial comment, yes, you need to show it to me in the New Testament.

    I’m now particularly wandering why you are promoting the 613 laws given to the Jews?

    A couple of things here. According to the scriptures God worked with these people for 400 years to get them to change their evil ways. These were people who were evil in there own right, sacrificing their children to false gods and other wicked stuff. As God was giving the land back to the Israelites, he was not going to let these people and their wickedness infect them. After 400 years of their rejection of God’s commands he had them destroyed. You don’t know if there were innocent people in the land. They could have all been guilty by God’s standards. (as a mere mortal, what do you think of cultures that sacrifice there children?)
    Now, I am not going to stand here and say that I don’t have problems with some of these passages. They are difficult for us to understand today in our polite society. But you ask how a God of love can allow this to happen and I will challenge you with how could a God of justice not deal with these wicked people? However it comes out, it is not enough to trash belief.

    Geno, are you listening to yourself? You are trying to justify God’s actions in slaughtering thousands of people, who he created? Justice has to be in proportion to the crime, don’t you think he went just a tad overkill? Are you seriously suggesting that every single person, without exception, deserved to die?! Some would have been just babies, what crimes could they have committed?

    In Numbers, 15:32 an old man gathers sticks on the Sabbath and is stoned to death on God’s orders. Was that justice?

    Sorry to hear that you have to work so long and so hard. Is it to make ends meet or are you saving to buy a home or something?

    I’m not exactly struggling financially, but I’m not rich either. I do have debts to pay off from uni, but more than anything, I’m just a sucker for punishment. My main job is my income, and I enjoy the bar work because it’s a much more sociable environment than an office.

  21. ES Says:

    “Jesus is asked directly “what do I need to do to get to heaven?” Pretty simple – if there is a God we all want to know the answer to that question.”

    Unfortunately, the NT gives several different, conflicting answers to that question. The one you cite is only one of the possibilities.

    As to how morality evolved Dawkins explained this in his book, The Selfish Gene. Also a recent article (not by Dawkins) touches on this: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/20/science/20moral.html?ex=1332043200&en=84f902c89c5a9173&ei=5124&partner=digg&exprod=digg

    My own layperson’s take on where morality came from is this: Mammals that live in groups tend to exhibit behavior that is conducive to the group’s survival. Why? Because those that do are more likely to live to breed. You could argue that some god instilled this behavior into the groups, I suppose. But that then leads to the question, If a god did instill this morality in the individuals, would you not expect all the individuals to have the same sense of what is right and wrong? Instead, you see great variation from time to time and place to place.

    Again, theists explain away these obvious problems by postulating that man is evil and sinful. It just really doesn’t make much sense rationally speaking.

  22. evanescent Says:

    Hi ES

    yes I agree: one of the most absurd things about Christianity is that salvation is offered time and again and yet there is not one clear concise route of how salvation can be achieved!

    As for your take on morality, I agree that it arises purely from evolutionary means, however it’s best to think of benefits from the gene’s point of view instead of the actual creatures themselves: genes share kinship and this is represented by the “survival machine” (Dawkins) manifesting qualities such as empathy and friendship.

    As I always say, evolution explains human behaviour perfectly, whereas religion just leaves us with more questions.

  23. Geno Says:

    ES,
    Wouldn’t your explanation for the evolved selfish gene lead science to making a suggestion to exterminate all people who do not act in a “morality” based fashion. The logic being that they did not evolve properly and will therefore pass down “unevolved” genes to the next generation. Let’s just breed the good evolved genes.

    But let’s look at the herd mentality and what is good. If a mugger beats an 80 yrs old woman over the head and steals her purse, hasn’t he done a good thing. He eliminated someone who was beyond the breeding period and was just using up resources. Now he has the extra resources needed so that he can breed further and support the new off spring. Now, that is something that sounds like it is in the herd’s best interest.

  24. evanescent Says:

    Hi Geno, ES doesn’t seem to be around at the moment and I am, so I’ll address your queries, although I am certain that you’ve been given explanations before.

    Geno said:
    “Wouldn’t your explanation for the evolved selfish gene lead science to making a suggestion to exterminate all people who do not act in a “morality” based fashion.”

    No. Science is just about explaining the world. Evolution is one of the best theories we’ve ever come up with to explain what life is, how it works, where it comes from, and how it behaves. This has no bearing on right or wrong, it’s simply how the world works.

    Geno said:
    “The logic being that they did not evolve properly and will therefore pass down “unevolved” genes to the next generation. Let’s just breed the good evolved genes.”

    Evolution doesn’t work that work. Genes just try to survive. We think that love and co-operation are good, and they are for the genes point of view too, but try to not attribute human opinions to unconscious genes. All genes are just as “evolved” as any other.

    Geno said:
    “But let’s look at the herd mentality and what is good. If a mugger beats an 80 yrs old woman over the head and steals her purse, hasn’t he done a good thing.”

    No. He deliberately caused unnecessary harm to another human being. This is the definition of bad.

    Geno said:
    “He eliminated someone who was beyond the breeding period and was just using up resources.”

    This is Social Darwinism and has nothing to do with evolution. Just because nature works this way doesn’t mean thinking feeling human beings should. We evolve by survival of the fittest. Fact. That’s not right or wrong, it’s just the way it is.

    But as humans, we have the ability to care and love and help people and make the world a better place, so shouldn’t we??

    Geno said:
    “Now he has the extra resources needed so that he can breed further and support the new off spring. Now, that is something that sounds like it is in the herd’s best interest.”

    Ah, but it’s not though!! Because if this sort of behaviour became COMMON it would work against the good of the herd! The herd wouldn’t be able to survive and co-exist because they’d be at each other’s throats all the time.

    Evolution would work to keep the majority of the herd co-operative and with a sense of kinship. There would be exceptions, because the “unkind” genes could always survive and make a living, but they could never become the dominant force because it would actually work against them: think about it: ‘aggressive’ vs ‘aggressive’ (or nasty if you want) kills off ‘aggressive’. Whereas ‘co-operative’ vs co-operative means that ‘co-operative’ survives.

    Nature finds equilibrium. It’s called an Evolutionary Stable System, and if you give it a little thought it makes perfect sense and explains so much.

    This took me a while to type Geno, so please read it and give it some thought and please don’t ignore it! Many thanks. Hope you’re having a good day by the way.

  25. Geno Says:

    ES,
    I watched the You Tube and it does not make sense. Does logic say that if I speak with 2 separate people about the same subject, I need to give the same answer?
    Was Jesus speaking to the same people in each of those examples? No! So why should he give the same answer?
    Each of those statements were made to show people where they stood and what was keeping them away from the truth. Mow, I know this guy on the video took great trouble to make his point, but even an “unenlightened” guy like myself can put it to rest.
    Let’s say that you run into me on the street and say “hey Geno, I want to come over to your house – how do I get in?” I say to you “knock on the door and I will let you in.”
    Now let’s say that the next day I run into Evanescent and he says “hey Geno, I want to come over to your house, how do I get in?” and I say to him, “I will leave the door open, when you get there, just walk in.”
    Hmmm, what is the correct way to get into Geno’s house? I guess Geno is just making it up or telling us a Fairy Tale on how to get into his house.
    You see, I have a different relationship with you two. ES, you are a complete stranger to me (this is the first of your posts that I have seen) and Evanescent and I are good buddies having communicated several times in the past. Therefore, you get different answers to the very same question.
    In the examples given in the video, each person or group was asking the same question with a different motive. (some were sincere and some were trying to trick Jesus). Jesus saw right through them and answered their real question. Read the actual passages and see if you can now see why each person or group asked the question? (and then it will be clear as to why they got the answer they did.)

    But in the end, there is nothing that we can do to get into heaven. Jesus had to do it all for us. At least in the Christian faith, it is not what we do, it is what Jesus has done – but i don’t expect you to accept it or agree.

    The You Tube thing was catchy, but I now know why the guy stayed anonymous! I wouldn’t want people to know who I was if my logic was that weak.

  26. Geno Says:

    evanescent,

    I will get to your post, and I do know that you spent considerable effort writing. I am in the middle of some work her in my office, but I did want you to expand on one of your statements.

    You said – “But as humans, we have the ability to care and love and help people and make the world a better place, so shouldn’t we?

    In a totally materialistic world (the Cosmos as Sagan was fond of saying) how do you arrive at “make the world a better place.”? Aren’t the Cosmos just the way that they are and we are trying to adapt? What is the foundation that you use to arrive at better?

  27. evanescent Says:

    I fail to see how the fact that the world being a purely material place, i.e.: composed of matter of energy and nothing beyond the universe being of any necessity or influence, has any bearing of how we should live our lives.

    The foundation that we use to arrive at better? Simple. That which increases net human happiness and that which decreases net human suffering, (or for that matter the happiness and suffering of any sentient being.)

    These things would be real, important, and foundational whether the universe was natural, supernatural, or composed entirely of cheese.

  28. Geno Says:

    Is my last comment stuck in your filter?

  29. Geno Says:

    (2nd try!)

    Evanescent,
    I actually agree with you. There is right and wrong. My foundation comes from one of 2 places – God revealed it by command and/or God placed it innately within us. You however say that it evolved from molecules rubbing together over eons of time. I guess we can just let people take their pick which makes more sense. I raised my 3 kids to be moral/ethical based on revelation from me and their inward conscience and did not leave it up to herd instincts (because in high school I saw what kinds of herds they were running in.)
    1.) You said – Geno said:
    “But let’s look at the herd mentality and what is good. If a mugger beats an 80 yrs old woman over the head and steals her purse, hasn’t he done a good thing.”
    No. He deliberately caused unnecessary harm to another human being. This is the definition of bad.
    How can you say that it was unnecessary harm? It was of great necessity since the perpetrator eliminated a resource user and redirected those resources to a new generation that would further the herd. (I think that you are interjecting things you learned from the 10 commandments and the Sermon on the Mount and imposing them on an impersonal Mother Nature.)
    2.) You said – “This is Social Darwinism and has nothing to do with evolution.”
    There is no such thing as Social Darwinism. If my genes tell me to eliminate the competition for my resources, why shouldn’t I or why shouldn’t the herd do that? Have you ever read about lions and what they do? When a new male lion takes over a Pride the first thing he does is kill the remaining cubs.
    3.) You said – “Ah, but it’s not though!! Because if this sort of behaviour became COMMON it would work against the good of the herd! The herd wouldn’t be able to survive and co-exist because they’d be at each other’s throats all the time.”
    I don’t know what things are like where you live, but this is exactly what I see in the world. Has your city had a need to increase their police force lately? Mine has – why is that?
    4.) You said – “There would be exceptions, because the “unkind” genes could always survive
    I like the way you “personify” the genes as unkind. Again, I think that you borrow from theology to determine good from bad. Why aren’t they just genes, and they are all equal?
    I have a few comments on your follow up post. I will get to it later.

  30. evanescent Says:

    Geno said: ”
    I actually agree with you. There is right and wrong. My foundation comes from one of 2 places – God revealed it by command and/or God placed it innately within us.”

    So you’re saying our knowledge of good and bad comes from god? Well then, why do people disagree with your god on morality then? In fact, why do people disagree at all?

    Is something good because god says it, or is what god says always good? If whatever god says is good, then good and bad are whims of god. Why bother giving humans any morality when we aren’t allowed to judge for ourselves, and indeed, when our actions don’t make a difference to salvation anyway? If god is necessarily good, that means there is an objective “good” external to god, in which case my opinion on good is just as valid as his.

    Geno said:
    “You however say that it evolved from molecules rubbing together over eons of time. I guess we can just let people take their pick which makes more sense.”

    No, I don’t say this at all. You have been told time and again what evolution is and what it isn’t. You have been given links and long detailed explanations, yet you continue to use fabricated strawmen to weave a false dichotomy. You’re supposed to be a scientist! You should know better. This is disappointing, and also frustrating. Learn about evolution, and more importantly, listen to what people tell you about it, not what you’d like to believe.

    Geno said:
    “I raised my 3 kids to be moral/ethical based on revelation from me and their inward conscience and did not leave it up to herd instincts (because in high school I saw what kinds of herds they were running in.)”

    Good for you. I never once said herd instincts should be a guide for morality.

    I said: “No. He deliberately caused unnecessary harm to another human being. This is the definition of bad.”

    To which Geno said:
    “How can you say that it was unnecessary harm? It was of great necessity since the perpetrator eliminated a resource user and redirected those resources to a new generation that would further the herd. (I think that you are interjecting things you learned from the 10 commandments and the Sermon on the Mount and imposing them on an impersonal Mother Nature.)”

    I’ve already explained altruism and aggression from an evolutionary standpoint. The explanation is excellent and makes perfect sense. You are attempting to warp natural facts into morality: but no one else is doing this! Scientists don’t do this. Atheists don’t do this. Why are you? Is this what you think atheists believe? You are wrong.

    I said: “This is Social Darwinism and has nothing to do with evolution.”

    To which Geno said:
    “There is no such thing as Social Darwinism.”

    Yes there is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_darwinism

    Geno said:
    “If my genes tell me to eliminate the competition for my resources, why shouldn’t I or why shouldn’t the herd do that?”

    Because it would cause harm, and as a thinking being you are responsible for your actions.

    Geno said:
    “Have you ever read about lions and what they do? When a new male lion takes over a Pride the first thing he does is kill the remaining cubs.”

    Lions aren’t people, and can’t think about right and wrong. Right and wrong is what causes unnecessary harm or not. Are you really telling me the only reason you don’t hurt and kill is because god tells you not to?? If this is the case Geno I strongly suggest you never deconvert!

    I don’t need an imaginary being to tell me not to hurt people, thank you very much!

    I said: “Ah, but it’s not though!! Because if this sort of behaviour became COMMON it would work against the good of the herd! The herd wouldn’t be able to survive and co-exist because they’d be at each other’s throats all the time.”

    To which Geno said:
    “I don’t know what things are like where you live, but this is exactly what I see in the world. Has your city had a need to increase their police force lately? Mine has – why is that?”

    Because like I said, there will probably always be an element of that in society. Fortunately though, it’s the minority. Your example above is a perfect example of why we DON’T HAVE A MORAL CODE FROM GOD IN US! So either the moral code god gave us is faulty, or he hasn’t done a very good job communicating himself! Which one is it?

    I believe the majority of humans are good people, and the minority ruin it for the rest of us. Evolution explains this perfectly. Theism doesn’t.

    I said: “There would be exceptions, because the “unkind” genes could always survive.

    To which Geno said:
    “I like the way you “personify” the genes as unkind. Again, I think that you borrow from theology to determine good from bad.”

    Again, I think you repeat yourself without listening to what people write. I think you borrow from objective morality when it suits you to praise god, and ignore objective morality when it doesn’t suit you. My morality is objective and unwaivering and is based on purely natural means.

    Of course I expect you to forget all this and repeat the same thing the next time this subject comes up. ;p

    Geno said:
    “Why aren’t they just genes, and they are all equal?”

    They ARE just genes, but genes affect behaviour. Some genes produce altruistic behaviour and some don’t. It makes it EASY to speak of them in terms of their effects, but in the end they are just genes and they’re all just trying to survive.

    One way they’ve developed to survive is by existing in complex machines that pass on genes through reproduction. These machines need to get along though and co-operate, so genes for co-operation are GENERALLY selected for. We are these survival machines! And just because the genes that make us are just trying to survive, we have the real ability to control most of our behaviour.

    Now, if god doesn’t exist and you feel that makes it ok to hurt people and kill, well that’s up to you Geno. But for me, I know your god doesn’t exist and I still want to be nice to people and people to be nice to me. Why is what?

  31. Geno Says:

    1.) You said – “So you’re saying our knowledge of good and bad comes from god? Well then, why do people disagree with your god on morality then? In fact, why do people disagree at all?”

    That my friend is the entire story of the Bible – people rebelling against God – it’s that simple. But let me ask you this, are you saying that some people have bad genes and that is why they do bad things? Perhaps a little Social Darwinism is in order for the good of the herd.

    2.) You asked – “Is something good because god says it, or is what god says always good?”

    The answer is yes!

    3.) You said – “I never once said herd instincts should be a guide for morality.”

    Sorry, but that is exactly what you have been saying. That is why I take exception with you – I wasn’t taking exception with science, only your line of argument! Your whole argument was what was good for the herd was the way morality developed, evolved, you pick the word.

    4.) I could comment more but probably to no avail. Just explain to me this comment – “Because it would cause harm, and as a thinking being you are responsible for your actions.” – Who determines harm?

    Lastly, I know that my being a scientist drives you bonkers! The reason is that you have been trained to believe that you can come to only one conclusion – and that is not so.
    Like Newton, I study science to show the wonders of God’s creation – and I have a little bit of the why that is lacking on your end.

  32. evanescent Says:

    Geno said:
    “But let me ask you this, are you saying that some people have bad genes and that is why they do bad things? Perhaps a little Social Darwinism is in order for the good of the herd.”

    I’m saying that genes that can have negative effects exist, probably in all people.

    In the end behaviour comes down to two things: nature and nurture, and so free will should be framed on an understanding of responsibility based on one’s understanding and control.

    As for social Darwinism, well Geno, if you want to impose a police state and bring in capital punishment to weed out the inferior genes in society and breed a master race then, well, let’s just say you won’t be the first one to try it.

    Geno said:
    “Sorry, but that is exactly what you have been saying. That is why I take exception with you – I wasn’t taking exception with science, only your line of argument! Your whole argument was what was good for the herd was the way morality developed, evolved, you pick the word.”

    Yes, that is the way morality evolved, because it is generally beneficial for genes to co-operate. That’s where it COMES FROM. But don’t commit the is-ought fallacy. But I didn’t say that evolution and survival of the fittest is a guide for morality! I just said that’s where it came from originally.

    Geno said:
    ““Because it would cause harm, and as a thinking being you are responsible for your actions.” – Who determines harm?”

    I do. You do. Other people do. We are aware of our own feelings and most of us are aware of the feelings of others. I’m not you, but if I shoot you in the foot I have a pretty good idea it will hurt you. I think that’s wrong, so I don’t do it. Feeling creatures determine harm. And humans have empathy with other feeling creatures.

    Geno said:
    “Lastly, I know that my being a scientist drives you bonkers! The reason is that you have been trained to believe that you can come to only one conclusion – and that is not so.”

    You forget, I was raised as a fundamentalist, so I was trained to believe that there was only one conclusion: god. I was also trained to have faith and not to question or doubt. Since I have de-converted I have discovered that there are many answers, but I’m only interested in facts. I’m not afraid of looking anywhere, and I would believe ANYTHING if the evidence proved it to me. I am more illuminated, cultured, and learned than I would ever have been. I feel truly lucky to have escaped theism.

    Geno said:
    “Like Newton, I study science to show the wonders of God’s creation – and I have a little bit of the why that is lacking on your end.”

    I study science to show the wonder of the universe. That is enough for me! The world and the universe is an awe-inspiring beautiful terrifying place. I could spend the rest of my life and not scratch the surface. You may think attributing it to divine fiat makes it more special, but I think it cheapens it.

    At least we agree on the wonder of nature though.

  33. tobe38 Says:

    Geno said:

    2.) You asked – “Is something good because god says it, or is what god says always good?”

    The answer is yes!

    That’s a politician’s answer, if ever I saw one. Yes? You were given two options, which one is it?!

    Are you planning on responding to my last comment?

  34. Geno Says:

    evanescent
    You said – “As for social Darwinism, well Geno, if you want to impose a police state and bring in capital punishment to weed out the inferior genes in society and breed a master race then, well, let’s just say you won’t be the first one to try it.”

    Well then, don’t tell me that my “weak” genes are causing HARM! My weak genes are doing just what weak genes do – don’t blame me, I am not responsible.
    (A bit of hyperbole! 😉

  35. Geno Says:

    tobe38,
    You said – “That’s a politician’s answer, if ever I saw one. Yes? You were given two options, which one is it?!”

    Again, I ask you why do I have to play by your rules? Why does it have to be one or the other? Why can’t it be both / and?

    As to whether I was going to reply to you previous post, the answer was no! You proved yourself to be a dishonest opponent.
    When you said that the Decalogue was unclear and then you listed items it didn’t cover, I responded that the 10 commandments were just a part of the 613 laws in the Jewish order. Reading the list you would have seen that it answered all of your questions.
    But.. you then turned around and quipped “I’m now particularly wandering why you are promoting the 613 laws given to the Jews?”

    I wasn’t promoting anything, I was giving you a direct answer to your question. Your beef with the 10 commandments was that it did not include; ” but it says nothing about violent assault. Or rape. Or pedophilia.”
    I showed you where in the Law it did address those very issues – but instead of just graciously saying “oh!, I had not read that before”, you said “but I’m not reading all that.”
    So Tobe, you are not really looking for answers.

  36. Geno Says:

    I do have a question that either of you can answer. We have spoken of the “good” genes, the “morality” genes.
    Where did the “bad” genes (the ones with the negative effects) come from? Why did they evolve, since they serve no beneficial purpose?

  37. Darren Says:

    Geno, I’d like to answer your question, but first I’d like some clarification: what sort of negative effects do you have in mind? How do you classify a “bad” gene?

    You also said:
    “Lastly, I know that my being a scientist drives you bonkers! The reason is that you have been trained to believe that you can come to only one conclusion – and that is not so.
    Like Newton, I study science to show the wonders of God’s creation – and I have a little bit of the why that is lacking on your end.”

    Is this not self-contradictory? You state that it is “not so” to come to a single conclusion, then state that you study science to “show the wonder’s of God’s creation” – i.e. search for evidence to prove a conclusion you have already made, or desperately wish to be true.

    You also said:
    “Wouldn’t your explanation for the evolved selfish gene lead science to making a suggestion to exterminate all people who do not act in a “morality” based fashion. The logic being that they did not evolve properly and will therefore pass down “unevolved” genes to the next generation. Let’s just breed the good evolved genes.”

    This is a logical non sequitur. Morality is irrelevant when it comes to survival. “Evolved” is not synonymous with “moral”, nor is “unevolved” the same as “immoral”.

  38. evanescent Says:

    Geno said:
    “Well then, don’t tell me that my “weak” genes are causing HARM! My weak genes are doing just what weak genes do – don’t blame me, I am not responsible.”

    You’re not an animal. So you if you can understand your actions and you can control them, then you are responsible.

    Geno said:
    “I do have a question that either of you can answer. We have spoken of the “good” genes, the “morality” genes.
    Where did the “bad” genes (the ones with the negative effects) come from? Why did they evolve, since they serve no beneficial purpose?”

    Genes exist because they are good at surviving in a particular environment. Genes for gills are brilliant in fish and useless in humans. But they are not “good” and “bad” genes, they’re just genes; genes ‘compete’ against other genes by being better selected to an environment.

    As a theist, you are customed to thinking teleologically and in terms of Spinoza’s final causes (no offence, it’s just the case). However this kind of thinking gets you nowhere to understand the natural world. There is no “purpose” in the world, except that which is given by thinking beings.

    Anything that allows a gene to compete and survive better will be selected for. How this gene makes lifeforms behave is irrelevant to the gene really; it has no mind. Genes have no purpose, and there is no end target in mind. Humans have evolved as social creatures so it’s generally better for us to co-operate. Genes that produce unsociable behaviour in humans do exist, because these genes can still make a living and pass their genes on, but they will never become the majority because they’re selected against because they aren’t beneficial AS A RULE for society, because such genes don’t form an Evolutionary Stable System (see above). It’s all quite simple really when you think about it.

  39. tobe38 Says:

    @ Geno

    Again, I ask you why do I have to play by your rules? Why does it have to be one or the other? Why can’t it be both / and?

    Because of a little something called logic. Either something is good because God does it, or God only does things that are good. That’s not a false dilemma, it can only be one of the two.

    As to whether I was going to reply to you previous post, the answer was no! You proved yourself to be a dishonest opponent.
    When you said that the Decalogue was unclear and then you listed items it didn’t cover, I responded that the 10 commandments were just a part of the 613 laws in the Jewish order. Reading the list you would have seen that it answered all of your questions.
    But.. you then turned around and quipped “I’m now particularly wandering why you are promoting the 613 laws given to the Jews?”

    I wasn’t promoting anything, I was giving you a direct answer to your question. Your beef with the 10 commandments was that it did not include; ” but it says nothing about violent assault. Or rape. Or pedophilia.”
    I showed you where in the Law it did address those very issues – but instead of just graciously saying “oh!, I had not read that before”, you said “but I’m not reading all that.”
    So Tobe, you are not really looking for answers.

    If there is a God, he has surely sent you to test me. I try to be patient with you, Geno, but being called a ‘dishonest opponent’ by you is a bit much to take. You constantly repeat arguments that you know have been thoroughly refuted before, whether you admit it or not. All I did was ask a question. You also ignore refutations of your arguments, instead of responding or conceding defeat. For example, in the same comment that we’re referring back to now about the 613 laws, I refuted your claim that the Bible says we don’t have to obey Jesus, your weak defence against my accusation of ‘begging the question’, your claim not to have rejected the OT in previous discussion and your unbelievable attempt to rationalise and justify God’s slaughter of thousands of people. Can I take it you concede these points?

    When you said,

    The Hebrew Scriptures cover all of this. I am giving you a link to the 613 Laws that God gave to govern Israel’s society. Let me know what is lacking.

    that implied a promotion to me. You seem to say that the 613 laws are a complete guide to morality, lacking nothing. If that’s the case, why wouldn’t you promote it?!

    And why do Christians only live by the first “10 Commandments”? In fact, if they were just meant for the Jews, why live by any of them at all?

    I’ve challenged you before to show me in the Bible where it outlaws peodophilia, and you couldn’t do it then either. I’m not wading through all that, I don’t have time. If you claim that the Bible outlaws it, give me a specific quote. By the way, saying it outlaws sex outside of marriage is not sufficient, as it states no minimum age for marriage.

    I do have a question that either of you can answer. We have spoken of the “good” genes, the “morality” genes.
    Where did the “bad” genes (the ones with the negative effects) come from? Why did they evolve, since they serve no beneficial purpose?

    Genes that have what we deem to be ‘bad’ effects can survive in a number of ways. A gene’s phenotypic effect depends on both its genetic environment, and the external environment of the organism it inhabits. A gene may be beneficial in one situation, but then become deleterious at a later point through a change of environment.

    Also, some genes for harmful conditions don’t manifest themselves until later in life, after the organism has reproduced and passed on the harmful genes.

    Harmful genes can also be carried and passed on continually if they are recessive alleles, and only become harmful when both parents pass the gene on to their offspring. I specifically remember learning that in school when I was 12.

  40. Geno Says:

    Darren,
    You would have to read through all of the previous posts. My purpose is to mock those who hold to a materialistic point of view and then want to call genes “good” or bad”. It was evanescent who first used the term “negative effects”.
    I just don’t know how some people can personify genes. Now people can personify Geno if they want.
    Also, on the morality issue, you would have to go way back. Both evanescent and Tobe38 have been pushing the Dawkins’ story of “evolved” morality. I, again, following the scientific principle have denounced such statements.

    Evanescent,
    You were the first one to bring up the good gene / bad gene discussion. In a previous post, you called them “the unkind genes”. I am the one who has stuck to the scientific premise that the genes are neutral.
    Then you said “As a theist, you are customed to thinking teleologically and in terms of Spinoza’s final causes (no offence, it’s just the case)”
    Again, this is not true – as a scientist I look for 1st causes – what the heck is a final cause??? If I remember correctly, Spinoza argued AGAINST final causes (but I’m not a philosipher – I just play one on blogs.)

    Tobe38,
    I guess we can’t discuss anything. I always make the assumption you are asking a question because you want to know an answer. You can’t ask me a question about the Bible (the Decalogue) and not expect a Bible based answer. If you do, you are not honest.
    But here is a question for you based on one of your statements – “By the way, saying it outlaws sex outside of marriage is not sufficient, as it states no minimum age for marriage.”
    So, in your view, in nature is there a minimum age for marriage?

    Why do you use the term harmful genes and bad genes (even if you say “What we deem to be bad genes”.) That is a statement of preference and not of reality. You deem “bad” what you don’t like – but it is not “bad or harmfull” at all – it just IS.)

    Your attitude is a copycat of Richard Dawkin’s – you think that anyone who has not come to your conclusions is stupid.

  41. tobe38 Says:

    @ Geno

    I guess we can’t discuss anything. I always make the assumption you are asking a question because you want to know an answer. You can’t ask me a question about the Bible (the Decalogue) and not expect a Bible based answer. If you do, you are not honest.

    As I understand it, you are arguing that the Bible teaches us everything we need to know to be good, moral people. I disagree, and gave you an example of something that I don’t think is covered in the Bible, and invited you to prove me wrong by offering me a quote that shows that it is covered in the Bible. Can I take it you cannot offer me a reference in the Bible outlawing peodophilia?

    But here is a question for you based on one of your statements – “By the way, saying it outlaws sex outside of marriage is not sufficient, as it states no minimum age for marriage.”
    So, in your view, in nature is there a minimum age for marriage?

    No, I don’t. It’s a human concept. It’s something we come up with as a society, based on what is best, as far as we can tell, for everyone.

    Why do you use the term harmful genes and bad genes (even if you say “What we deem to be bad genes”.) That is a statement of preference and not of reality. You deem “bad” what you don’t like – but it is not “bad or harmfull” at all – it just IS.)

    Have you been reading what Evanescent and I have been saying? A gene is simply a string of DNA code. As you say, it just is. But if that string of DNA code causes the organism it inhabits to die, it is harmful, just like someone punching you in the face is harmful. If someone punched you in the face, would your view that it was harmful to you be “a statement of preference and not of reality”? No, it’s an objective statement, as it is with the gene. A gene is only good or bad in the effect that it has. We are quite entitled to call a gene that allows our lungs to absorb oxygen more efficiently ‘good’, and a gene that causes them to work less efficiently ‘bad’.

    By the way, what does that actually have to do with anything, anyway?

    Your attitude is a copycat of Richard Dawkin’s – you think that anyone who has not come to your conclusions is stupid.

    I think that’s an inaccurate view of Richard Dawkins’ attitude, and it’s certainly an inaccurate view of mine. I have the utmost respect for anyone who follows the evidence, carefully and honestly, to its natural conclusions, whatever they may be. Whether they reach the same beliefs as me, or not. You, Geno, do not fall into that category, but there’s always time to redeem yourself.

    You still haven’t responded to several refutations I have made of your arguments. I will assume you have conceded these points.

  42. Geno Says:

    Tobe38,
    As to the accuracy of my views of Richard Dawkins, may I point to this?
    “It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).” I first wrote that in a book review in the New York Times in 1989.

    I gave you the list of the Jewish laws and that should be good enough for you. An honest questioner would be rushing through to see if I was right. But let me ask you this – if a document or a civil law says that you can only have sex with your wife, does it also have to list every living thing you cannot have sex with? Does it need to spell out that you can’t have sex with your dog? Does it then need to list all breeds of dogs? Come on, for once show a little common sense. (but I assure you that it is there.)

    You said, “I will assume you have conceded these points.” Heck no. You have only refuted in your own mind. To me, you have offered opinions – and I value the fact that you have opinions.

  43. tobe38 Says:

    @ Geno

    As to the accuracy of my views of Richard Dawkins, may I point to this?
    “It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).” I first wrote that in a book review in the New York Times in 1989.

    You’ve contradicted yourself, Geno. You said that Dawkins thought anyone who reached different conclusions from him was stupid, and yet in the quote you gave he clearly lists three other possibilities.

    In all seriousness, I’m not ashamed to say that I agree with Dawkins entirely on this point. Substitute the word “gravity” for “evolution” in the quote and suddenly it doesn’t seem so harsh. The Theory of Evolution is at least as strong as the Theory of Gravity, if not more so.

    I gave you the list of the Jewish laws and that should be good enough for you. An honest questioner would be rushing through to see if I was right. But let me ask you this – if a document or a civil law says that you can only have sex with your wife, does it also have to list every living thing you cannot have sex with? Does it need to spell out that you can’t have sex with your dog? Does it then need to list all breeds of dogs? Come on, for once show a little common sense. (but I assure you that it is there.)

    I don’t trust you. If you were so sure it was there, you would quote it. You claim that the Bible outlaws peodophilia, the burden is on you to provide evidence.

    If the law says “don’t have sex outside of marriage”, and it doesn’t specify an age for marriage, then it’s saying it’s ok to have sex with an eight year old girl, as long as you’re married to her. That’s hardly outlawing peodophillia. And minimum age is not exactly a minor detail to ommit.

    You said, “I will assume you have conceded these points.” Heck no. You have only refuted in your own mind. To me, you have offered opinions – and I value the fact that you have opinions.

    Sure, I’ve got opinions and you’ve got opinion, so let’s all just pack up and go home. I have shown how your opinions are flawed and based on faulty reasoning. You either have to defend them, or do likewise with mine. I maintain my assumption that you can’t refute the points you are yet to respond to.

  44. Geno Says:

    tobe38,
    So if you now say this “In all seriousness, I’m not ashamed to say that I agree with Dawkins entirely on this point.” why did you previously say this “I think that’s an inaccurate view of Richard Dawkins’ attitude, and it’s certainly an inaccurate view of mine.”

    If this is true – “The Theory of Evolution is at least as strong as the Theory of Gravity, if not more so.” Why do we have this;

    http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=660

    and why this;
    http://www.pssiinternational.com/

    Now I know that you will go to great lengths to discredit this and other groups but you must understand that I couldn’t find any groups questioning gravity. So, perhaps it is not as sure as you would blindly think. But, regardless as to who these people are you and Dawkins both still hold that all of these people are “ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked”

    I don’t know where you are trying to go with this “then it’s saying it’s ok to have sex with an eight year old girl, as long as you’re married to her.” Are you saying that nature says that this is right or wrong? See I can point to Jesus saying
    “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” (believe me pedophilia is a great offense to a child. Can you point to evolution or “Mother Nature” saying that this is wrong? (I have got to here this one.) See in nature, science or evolution you cannot get to “should and ought” – to do so you have to jump on the theology bandwagon. (perhaps not Christianity, but you have to glob on to someone’s higher source.)

    I know you are probably down for the night. Have a good week end.

  45. Geno Says:

    tobe38,
    I wanted to say one more thing. You should know that I have not once on this blog questioned whether or not evolution is true. What I have continually questioned is how you automatically jump to “no God!” I think you try to use “science” to bolster your philosophy.

    Many of us good scientists do not see the 2 as mutually exclusive. Read Francis Collins, read some of Hugh Ross’ materials. These are straight up scientists that still conclude that there is room for the God of the Bible. (and they do not attack the people who disagree with them ala Dawkins and Hitchens)

  46. tobe38 Says:

    @ Geno

    There are a number of my points, spanning multiple comments which you continue to ignore. Once you have either responded to these points, or conceded them, I will respond to your most recent comment.

  47. Geno Says:

    tobe38,
    Sorry, I didn’t mean to back you into a corner. I will do the gracious thing and back out.

  48. evanescent Says:

    Geno said:
    “These are straight up scientists that still conclude that there is room for the God of the Bible.”

    There are very few, and I completely disagree with them. How you could accept scientific facts and ALSO think the bible is god’s word is as close to textbook cognitive dissonance and intellectual dishonesty I can think of.

    Creation? Vault in the sky? Literal flood? Flat earth? Contradictions? Sun standing still for a day (even though earth goes around the sun)? I can go on forever… the bible, scientific? No, not at all. You can be a scientist and believe in god if you want of course, but room for the god of the bible in science? No. No way.

    Geno said:
    “Sorry, I didn’t mean to back you into a corner. I will do the gracious thing and back out.”

    Your patronising sarcasm aside Geno, you’ve done no such thing, and I think you simply ignore arguments you don’t like and refuse to respond, so it would be good to see you answer Tobe instead of presenting argument after argument whilst pretending nothing has gone before.

  49. evanescent Says:

    Geno said:
    “See in nature, science or evolution you cannot get to “should and ought” – to do so you have to jump on the theology bandwagon. (perhaps not Christianity, but you have to glob on to someone’s higher source.)”

    This is unbelievable!!! Did you read anything I wrote when we spoke last?!

    I gave you the basis for morality: treat others like you want to be treated. It’s as simple as that. Morality is a problem for the theist, as I made way back in the article above. You are the one with the problem because you must obey a god that could command anything, even rape. (You know, the thought experiment that you are STILL to answer).

    Morality is independent of theology and works far better without it!

    Your assertion that atheists have to borrow from someone else’s bronze-age superstitions about an invisible friend in the sky telling us what to do (including not to pick up sticks on penalty of death) is ignorant and ludicrous.

    You have shown that you didn’t listen to anything I wrote Geno and this is disappointing, and in all fairness my friend, makes me question the point of further argumentation with you.


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