Culture Darwinism

Richard Dawkins on Down syndrome: Immoral that such a person should live

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From world’s smartest man and biggest Darwin advocate Richard Dawkins: on baby with Down Syndrome: ‘Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world’.

Look, we can’t afford to pay Dawkins to say this stuff (it costs a ton to even talk to him) so don’t blame us.

Incidentally, my closest childhood friend was a boy with Down syndrome (Johnny, 1948-1957).

He died at a time when there was no pediatric open heart surgery for children where we lived. I dedicated one of my popular science books to him.

It is really hard for me to talk about this because I don’t understand the hatred some people have for people who have Down syndrome. If Johnny had lived …

O’Leary for News

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77 Replies to “Richard Dawkins on Down syndrome: Immoral that such a person should live

  1. 1
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Just because one opponent of Creationism is a reprehensible human being doesn’t mean that JD is right, or that current evolutionary theory is wrong. But UD seems to think that discrediting the behaviour of an evolutionary biologist casts doubt on the theory.

    Well, using the same logic, can someone please defend the behaviour of the creationists at the Westboro Babtist church? Somehow, I don’t think anyone will.

  2. 2
    DavidD says:

    A-B “Just because one opponent of Creationism is a reprehensible human being doesn’t mean that JD is right, or that current evolutionary theory is wrong. But UD seems to think that discrediting the behaviour of an evolutionary biologist casts doubt on the theory.”

    Interesting, so Richard Dawkins saying that having the Downs Syndrome child is immoral and you disagree with that, are you saying the Abortion is immoral ? And before we get to definition shell games, let me ask first, what is the definition of immoral and on what authority do you base such a definition ?

  3. 3
    Dr JDD says:

    No one would take anything Westboro baptist church as a leading authority in creation though now would they. Yet for years Dawkins has been considered the height of intelligence in the scientific community in particular a leading authority on evolutionary biology given his several popular and influential books and publications. So of course it matters when he says things like this as it shows the true extension of living out in practice the preaching of true naturalism.

    Westboro is an oddity of Christianity. Dawkins forms part of the holy trinity of Darwinism: the father being Darwin himself, Dawkins the Messiah and eons of time the holy spirit.

  4. 4
    Acartia_bogart says:

    DavidD, morality is a personal decision based on whether or not the individual wishes to live within society. It is not dictated by any god. But if you wish to follow the morality dictated by the bible, please stay away from me because I really don’t believe in killing homosexuals, adulterers or women who have sex before marriage.

    Do I believe in abortion? I guess a better question is, does any one believe in abortion? The answer is, no. But do I believe that removing a fertilized egg, or a mass of cells, is murder? Again, the answer is no. Personally, I think that there should be a time past which an abortion should not be allowed unless the woman’s life is threatened. I am not qualified to determine what this time is, but it should not be dictated by a church that believes that using the birth control pill is a sin equivalent to murder.

    I don’t know of anyone who thinks that abortion is the preferred option. But I also don’t want to go back to the days where a teenagers only choices were to seek a back alley abortion or to “go live with her aunt” for six to eight months.

  5. 5
    Acartia_bogart says:

    DrJDD: “Westboro is an oddity of Christianity.”

    Really? Have you ever read the articles and comments in LifeSiteNews about homosexuality, abortion, etc? This is a very popular site for Catholics and, in my opinion, very hateful, homophobic and bigoted.

    Before anyone jumps on me, I can honestly say that I have seen very little of this on UD, which is commendable.

  6. 6

    Acartia_bogart said:

    DavidD, morality is a personal decision …

    Just because one opponent of Creationism is a reprehensible human being…

    If whether or not it is morally wrong to abort fetuses that have Down Syndrome is a matter of “personal choice”, why would you refer to Dawkins as a “reprehensible human being”? For what, having a personal, subjective feeling in the matter?

    If all morality is a matter of personal choice, why would you point out the specific example of Westboro Baptist church, as if you expected others to hold the same view of their behavior and find it immoral? As if there is something objectively wrong about their behavior?

  7. 7
    Heartlander says:

    A-B, I must say that your comparison of Dawkins and his ilk to the Westboro Babtist church is on point. I can just imagine protesters outside a pediatric center holding up signs that read: DARWIN HATES BIRTH DEFECTS!
    Good job!

  8. 8
    Heartlander says:

    [Peter] Singer is a radical utilitarian who denies that human lives necessarily have greater value than those of animals. Indeed, along the lines of the recent “after-birth abortion” pro-infanticide conflagration, Singer believes that some human beings aren’t “persons” and thus have no right to life. He even believes that these human beings can be used instrumentally — in medical experiments, for example.
    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/03.....z3AyBT7CVt

    DARWIN HATES BIRTH DEFECTS!

  9. 9
    Jehu says:

    Dawkins has been a closeted eugenicsist for a long time. I guess in his dotage he is just coming out with it.

    Eugenics, by the way, was originally conceived of by Francis Galton, Darwin’s cousin, who credited Darwin as the inspiration for his work.

  10. 10
    Jehu says:

    Arcatia

    But if you wish to follow the morality dictated by the bible, please stay away from me because I really don’t believe in killing homosexuals, adulterers or women who have sex before marriage.

    Of course the Bible teaches no such thing. Read John chapter 8.

  11. 11
    Jehu says:

    “Though I see so much difficulty, the object seems a grand one; and you have pointed out the sole feasible, yet I fear utopian, plan of procedure in improving the human race.” Charles Darwin in a letter to his half-cousin Francis Galton, developer of Eugenics.

  12. 12
    News says:

    Acartia Bogart at 5, and generally: You won’t have seen much of that (“very hateful, homophobic and bigoted”) at UD because it is not only reprehensible but irrelevant to the purposes of the site.

    And YOU brought it up.

    The only reason for interest in Dawkins’s opinions on eugenics questions is that he is probably the best known defender of Darwin in the pop culture.

    No one would care if he were just teaching school in Idaho. Fine, but he isn’t.

  13. 13
    Mung says:

    Even Dawkins admits to the reality of persons. There’s hope after all.

  14. 14
    Mung says:

    Arcatia_bogart:

    Just because one opponent of Creationism is a reprehensible human being…

    There’s no such thing as a reprehensible human being.

    Arcatia_bogart:

    … can someone please defend the behaviour of the creationists at the Westboro Babtist church? Somehow, I don’t think anyone will.

    What’s your point? That we are being consistent?

  15. 15
    Mung says:

    Dr JDD

    Westboro is an oddity of Christianity

    Fixed it fer ya!

  16. 16
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Mung: “There’s no such thing as a reprehensible human being.”

    Really? Of course there is. I am not saying that anyone is ever born this way, but there are plenty that evolve to this state.

    I just used the Westboro freaks to be provocative, but to say that they aren’t trying to represent the Christian perspective is just a lie. I agree that they are a fringe but group, but they are inspired by religion.

  17. 17
    Heartlander says:

    Eugenic racism in 1925 was consensus science in the field of human evolution. By 1928 there were 376 university-level courses on eugenics, and there was widespread support from scientists and other academics at leading universities — Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, and Johns Hopkins, to name a few — as well as enthusiastic support from media and government. Eugenic science was funded lavishly by the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Harriman Railroad foundation, and the wealthy businessman J.H. Kellogg. Many national and international conferences on eugenics and human evolution were hosted at leading research institutions, including the American Museum of Natural History, and eugenic science gained the imprimatur of leading scientific organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Medical Association, and the National Research Council. Wealthy donors created the Eugenic Records Office on Long Island, later to become the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. By the 1930s, thirty-one states in the U.S. would pass compulsory sterilization laws based on mainstream eugenic science and human evolution, and eugenics would receive the explicit endorsement of the Supreme Court in 1926. By the end of the first half of the 20th century, sixty thousand Americans had been sterilized involuntarily on the basis of consensus eugenic science.
    …Racism and eugenics were the hallmarks of the theory of human evolution in the early 20th century, representing a clear consensus of evolutionary biologists as well as other scientists and leaders in higher education and government. There were a few dissenters, but such skeptics were disdained in mainstream scientific circles.
    – Michael Egnor

    To say these people were not inspired by Darwin or naturalism would be a lie. What objective morality could be used to say they are wrong? BTW, this was not a group of 20 people like fringe Westboro group – and I these people were taken seriously, unlike this small group of people you hold up as a norm for Christians.

  18. 18
    Dionisio says:

    Christianity is not about the Christians, but about Christ.

    In the late 1930s many Germans who claimed to be Christians, hence were supposed to love their neighbors as themselves, agreed to submit to the evil Nazi doctrine, which was based on the hatred towards other races, ethnic groups, nationalities, etc. Does that make Christianity wrong? Actually, it confirms what Jesus predicted about His rejection of many who will come to Him claiming to be His sheep.

    I may proclaim that I’m a NASA astronaut, but my self-proclamation does not change the fact that I am not, even though I wear NASA astronaut costumes, have pictures taken inside their facilities, etc. Basically, only NASA can certify my condition of NASA astronaut. Anyone can ask NASA if I’m one of their astronauts, their response will be obviously negative, after they stop laughing.

    Walking the walk and talking the talk.

    Jesus said that if we love Him, then we want to obey Him. He knows our motives. He sees our actions even when we are alone and no one else sees us. He knows our thoughts. BTW, true Christians love to be fully dependent on our King. That gives us true freedom from this world. Our identity is only in Him. We make mistakes and are forgiven, but the Spirit dwelling within us takes the ‘fun’ out of sinning. We rejoice when we can resist temptations that could lead us to sin. Because ultimately we want to do only things that please God and bring glory to Him.

  19. 19
    Mung says:

    God help us.

    Mung: “There’s no such thing as a reprehensible human being.”

    Arcatia_bogart: “Really? Of course there is. I am not saying that anyone is ever born this way, but there are plenty that evolve to this state.”

    Evolution now manages, somehow, to produce reprehensible human beings. Perhaps the Westboro freaks have it right after all, but are blaming the human beings themselves rather than evolution.

  20. 20
    Moose Dr says:

    Denise, I truly confirm the loveliness of most of the Down Syndrome people that I have met and come to know. Almost invariably they are loving, happy and rewarding to be around. While a Down Syndrome child can offer parents certain challenges, they offer a lot of rewards.

    That said, the real question brought up by Dawkins is in the statement, “It would be immoral to bring it into the world.” A fetus (Latin for, um, baby) is already in the world. An embryo (Greek for, um, baby) is already in the world. By all measures of how life is defined, a pre-born child is alive. By all measures it is complete, and is homo sapien.

  21. 21
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Heartlandsr,

    Ahhh, eugenics. The poster child for anti evolution. Truman dropped two nuclear bombs on large civilian populations. Maybe we should blame physics.

    Robin Williams hanged himself. Maybe we should blame gravity.

    Do you really want to open the Pandora’s box of religious caused violence? And I won’t even mention the crusades.

  22. 22
    News says:

    Moose Dr at 20: Yes, it is a verbal sleight of hand to refer to an existing child as being “brought into” the world when the child obviously already exists.

    Re people with Down syndrome: I well remember a guy (early 1980s) who visited his mother every day in a long term care home. He had Down syndrome. Born late in life, I expect.

    Anyway, I overheard a church visitor lecturing him for smoking: [Freddie], cigarettes are no good for you.

    I was rushing off somewhere but sort of also overheard [Freddie] trying to explain that he really liked cigarettes.

    Hey, life.

  23. 23
    anthropic says:

    AB 21

    Oh, I’d LOVE to compare the track record of historically Christian countries with that of atheist countries, such as revolutionary France and communist regimes!

    Whether we’re talking human rights, prosperity, technology, free speech or respect for life, it is no contest.

    That’s the problem with atheism/materialism: some people take it seriously. That means morality is up for grabs, humans have no special inherent status, and epistemological nihilism (bad for science, that).

  24. 24
    DavidD says:

    A-B
    “I don’t know of anyone who thinks that abortion is the preferred option. But I also don’t want to go back to the days where a teenagers only choices were to seek a back alley abortion or to “go live with her aunt” for six to eight months.”

    Wouldn’t it be nice however if morality were taught children from infancy up through teenage years ? But this is where the problem began, resentment over being told how to live life morally. This is why definitions on morality need to be fuzzied. Yet what if all youth were taught to abstain from sex until they were mature enough to marry ? Think of all the human emotional suffering that could be eliminated. But again, that goes against the reasons abortion was created and championed. It’s called preserving a lifestyle.

    And on the subject of Downs Syndrome children, I’ve known many families who were happy they didn’t go the abortion route. So were the Down Syndrome kids who for the most part were happy. On the other side of the Eugenics coin, what would the world have been like had Atheistic/Agnostic intellectuals such as Dawkins, Darwin, Hitler, Stalin, Mao etc never been born ? Yes I know, some other creeps would have taken their place, it would be inevitable.

  25. 25
    Mark Frank says:

    What an unthinking spiteful little article from the Independent. It tries to condemn Dawkins on the basis of a single tweet – 20 words (imagine if every post or tweet you made was inspected by the press for controversial interpretation and published if it could be made to look bad). There is a clear implication that he has something against Down syndrome kids (and indeed the OP goes to imply this even more strongly) when you can draw no such conclusion. Anyone who has a test for Down syndrome in pregnancy is essentially sharing Dawkin’s position.  There is no point in doing the test if you are not going to act on the result i.e. abort if the test is positive.
     
    The decision to abort is generally based on two beliefs
     
    A) Foetuses gradually become people and at an early stage in pregnancy have no feelings and are not people.
     
    B) If the pregnancy goes ahead the parents and above all the child will have a miserable life.
     
    The parents may be wrong about either but if they sincerely believe both then there is nothing wrong with their motives and they are not demonstrating any hatred towards Down syndrome children.
     
    As it happens I agree with  (A)  but not (B ) and I am pretty sure that Dawkin’s tweet was all about (A ) – after all that was the context for the exchange of tweets. But I am not going to judge parents who believe (B ) – I don’t have the responsibility of looking after the child for the rest of my life.

  26. 26
  27. 27
    anthropic says:

    Mark 25

    A single tweet? Really?

    ” With respect to those meanings of “human” that are relevant to the morality of abortion, any fetus is less human than an adult pig ”

    Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) March 13, 2013

  28. 28
    anthropic says:

    Note that, if Dawkins is to be taken seriously, we should have no objections to eating aborted human fetuses. After all, we eat bacon, right?

    And there should be no problem with chopping up fetuses to make products that perhaps make our skin look younger, or give us shinier hair. We use pigs as much as possible, so who could object?

    Fortunately, most materialists don’t actually live according to logic of their metaphysical position. But it is educational to have that logic spelled out by such a prominent advocate as Dawkins.

  29. 29
    DavidD says:

    JGuy – Good one. But it will be mere water off a Darwinian Duck’s back with the usual smartassism followups

    Anthropic
    ” With respect to those meanings of “human” that are relevant to the morality of abortion, any fetus is less human than an adult pig ”

    Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) March 13, 2013

    Another good one. Somewhere Eugen Fischer is jumping for joy

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EalSRgSfJmc

  30. 30
    Mark Frank says:

    #27 Anthropic
    The tweet you refer to is about abortion. Dawkin’s attitude to abortion is nothing unusual and appears to be condoned by the article itself:

    He started off his conversation with followers ethically enough, highlighting the plight of women in Ireland, where abortion is illegal, in light of the recent reports of the country’s refusal to provide a safe abortion to a suicidal rape victim.

     
    The article (and the OP) criticises him for his supposed attitude to Down syndrome people. As far as I know there is only the single tweet to support this (and this is grossly misinterpreted).

  31. 31
    Dr JDD says:

    Mark Frank you are giving far too much credit to Dawkins and as for “and this is grossly misinterpreted” regarding his views on Down’s Syndrome, this is certainly not the case. According to the article, the response Dawkins gives is to:

    “I honestly don’t know what I would do if I were pregnant with a kid with Down Syndrome. Real ethical dilemma,”

    To which Dawkins replies:

    “@InYourFaceNYer Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”

    Now if we assume that is the correct sequence of events and that is in fact the tweet that Dawkins was alluding to in his response (I have nothing to indicate it is not) it seems quite clear that Dawkins view of all Down’s Syndrome babies can indeed be generalised to:

    “It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”

    Therefore, Dawkins disagrees with allowing a Down’s Syndrome baby to be born where there is the opportunity to choose. This is not in reply to someone saying, “I cannot afford to look after a child with special needs, what would be the best thing to do if I had a Down’s baby?”, it is a generalised view of someone with no other knowledge of her circumstances, to imply that it would be ethically wrong to not abort the baby if you had a choice.

    That is an astounding response (but not too astounding if you follow the logic of naturalism) and demonstrates the value that Dawkins places on life. This is the natural extension of taking materialism at face value.

    Now when I said the above alternative scenario that Dawkins may be more understandable in replying to, I do not agree with that approach, but morality for choosing to abort that baby is more arguable than this situation (even though it is a selfish approach).

    Ask any Down’s syndrome child if they would have preferred to have been aborted and see what answer you get.

    Further you state Mark Frank:

    Anyone who has a test for Down syndrome in pregnancy is essentially sharing Dawkin’s position.

    What an absolutely ridiculous statement to make. Are you a parent Mark Frank? In my case, we were given very strong odds with our first child of having a Down’s Syndrome baby (even though we were both relatively young). This was based on the measurements and the b-HCG/AFP levels largely. The next step was to have an amniocentesis or CVS but we chose not to as there was a 1:100 chance of miscarriage with these invasive tests and we were not going to abort so why risk it?

    So you may ask, why have the test anyway (we did not for our second child but this was a debate between my wife and myself) if you are not going to do anything about it? Well I do not know if you have been faced with that sort of prospect before or not, with high risk of something like Down’s but it gave us an opportunity to think through the implications, prepare ourselves, and be prepared and not shocked if it did happen. It was a useful experience and also made me realise that shockingly >90% of babies with Down’s are aborted in the EU/UK.

    So to make the statement that anyone who has the test for Down’s is sharing Dawkins position is not only offensive, but completely one dimensional in your thinking. It’s like saying “Why find out the sex of a baby ?” Well you find out to prepare, to tell potential siblings, to help settle with the idea. Do you do anything with regards to the birth of that child based on finding out the sex? No. You “prepare” yourself.

    Sadly, most people who do test for Down’s and get a positive will terminate that child. We play God and we shroud it with our “intelligence” as science has convinced us that an unborn fetus is not a life. It is just an extension of the mother, like removing some cancerous cells from her. That is the value our society places on life, and argues that it cannot survive outside the mother so it is not yet human. Can a baby survive on its own once it is born? Of course not – it cannot feed itself, it cannot wash, clothe and take care of itself. It is 100% dependent. Anyone who has seen a 12-week scan and can still maintain that is not a human being in there is denying cold hard facts!

    O/T with regards to ID (note – theological point): The God of the Old Testament destroyed the Canaanites for despicable practices such as sacrificing their babies into the fire to their gods. These days we simply relegate life in order to do the same – but we do it out of selfishness and for our convenience. We are no better than the Canaanites in reality, it is simply dressed up in pseudo-science and pseudo-advancement of society. It is no wonder then the judgement of God is really very close, as evidenced by the prophecies being currently fulfilled about the end times around us today

  32. 32
    kairosfocus says:

    News:

    Lebensunwertes Leben

    (Life, unworthy of being lived . . . the gateway to euthanasia and worse, through the undermining of societal support for the inherent and unalienable dignity and worth of the human being.)

    Again.

    (For Plato’s warning regarding the amoral, might and manipulation make “right” implications of evolutionary materialism, cf here.)

    One of the pivotal validity tests of a worldview post Hume, is, how does it ground Morality in the face of the IS-OUGHT gap challenge. That is, it needs a foundational IS capable of bearing the weight of OUGHT.

    In the inadvertently revealing words of William B Provine at the U Tenn 1998 Darwin Day keynote:

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . .

    The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will . . .

    The persistent refusal by evolutionary materialists to squarely face this challenge over years at UD is revealing. (And BTW, if we are not responsibly free we have no basis for either reason or moral governance, with utterly chilling implications.)

    I simply note, that across centuries of debate, there has been but one serious candidate grounding IS for OUGHT. The inherently good Creator God, who is a necessary, maximally great being.

    The inescapable conviction that we are morally governed and under the force of ought is as good a reason to accept the reality of that foundational IS and to reject any worldview and socio-cultural agenda incompatible with it as any other.

    KF

    PS: This chilling, here and now callous dismissal of those deemed unworthy of life also reveals the utterly bankrupt cynicism in the attacks Dawkins et al were so gleefully making against Christian Philosopher, William Lane Craig.

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Robert Lifton on a lesson of history (and notice, revealingly, how he tries so desperately to distinguish [presumably ‘good’ . . . ] euthanasia and Nazified “euthanasia” failing to see the issue of the utter crumbling of the value of life and how one degradation can so easily lead to another at the hands of the ruthless, who are ever lurking in the shadows . . . ):

    Prior to Auschwitz and the other death camps, the Nazis established a policy of direct medical killing: that is, killing arranged within medical channels, by means of medical decisions, and carried out by doctors and their assistants. The Nazis called this program “euthanasia.” Since, for them, this term camouflaged mass murder, I have throughout this book enclosed it within quotation marks when referring to that program. The Nazis based their justification for direct medical killing on the simple concept of “ife unworthy of life” (lebensunwertes Leben). While the Nazis did not originate this concept, they carried it to its ultimate biological, racial, and “therapeutic” extreme.

    Of the five identifiable steps by which the Nazis carried out the principle of “life unworthy of life,” coercive sterilization was the first. There followed the killing of “impaired” children in hospitals; and then the killing of “impaired” adults, mostly collected from mental hospitals, in centers especially equipped with carbon monoxide gas. This project was extended (in the same killing centers) to “impaired” inmates of concentration and extermination camps and, finally, to mass killings, mostly of Jews, in the extermination camps themselves . . .

  34. 34
    humbled says:

    “A) Foetuses gradually become people and at an early stage in pregnancy have no feelings and are not people.

    B) If the pregnancy goes ahead the parents and above all the child will have a miserable life.” – Mark Frank

    Mark, you are an ignorant sod and your thinking is downright evil. Of course babies feel in the womb. And yes they are people, human from the moment of conception. There are documented cases of babies, within a few weeks of conception, experiencing nightmares as well as “playing” with their siblings (in the case of twins etc) as well as acknowledging outside stimulus and reacting / responding to it. Your justifications will not fly here. Abortion is murder pure and simple, and incredibly painful as well.

    Some comments to educate you:

    This first one makes me sick, so much so that I feel compelled to perform the same abortion surgery on people who have abortions, those responsible, decision makers etc and all those pro-abortion lunatics. It is pure and absolute evil. It is absolutely disgraceful and if hell is a real place, there is a special place reserved in it for people like this.

    Having administered anesthesia for fetal surgery, I know that on occasion we need to administer anesthesia directly to the fetus, because even at these early gestational ages the fetus moves away from the pain of the stimulation,” stated David Birnbach, M.D., president of the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology and self-described as “pro-choice,” in testimony before the U.S. Congress.

    “At 20 weeks, the fetal brain has the full complement of brain cells present in adulthood, ready and waiting to receive pain signals from the body, and their electrical activity can be recorded by standard electroencephalography (EEG).”
    — Dr. Paul Ranalli, neurologist, University of Toronto

    An unborn baby at 20 weeks gestation “is fully capable of experiencing pain. … Without question, [abortion] is a dreadfully painful experience for any infant subjected to such a surgical procedure.”
    — Robert J. White, M.D., PhD., professor of neurosurgery, Case Western University

    Unborn babies at 20 weeks development actually feel pain more intensely than adults. This is a “uniquely vulnerable time, since the pain system is fully established, yet the higher level pain-modifying system has barely begun to develop,” according to Dr. Ranalli.

    Anyone, outside of extreme circumstances, who performs abortion, and those who defend / promote it, are absolute disgraceful, heartless human trash.

    Look at these figures and tell me there isn’t something very wrong in our world and in our thinking?

    http://www.numberofabortions.com/

    I thought like you once, I was revolted and repulsed once I discovered the truth.

    Also, your second point is also trash talk. There are many cases where parents and babies with all manner of birth defects etc live a happy, meaningful and fulfilling life.

    I suspect you are regurgitating the same rubbish you’ve read or heard elsewhere. Educate yourself on these issues, they are serious and disgusting.

  35. 35
    Mark Frank says:

    #31 Dr JDD
    On your first point. You are reading an awful lot into one tweet. We really don’t know what assumptions  Dawkins was making.  We also don’t know why he thought it was immoral to bring it into the world.
      I was wrong to say that:

    Anyone who has a test for Down syndrome in pregnancy is essentially sharing Dawkin’s position.

      Your point is a good one. One may take the test without intending to abort – although in practice people (including apparently yourselves) do not take the test because they would not be prepared to abort. Yes I am a parent and both of ours were born late in life so were high risk. In both cases we had amnio but the results were normal so we were spared the decision. My guess is we would have decided to abort but I am not sure.

  36. 36
    Heartlander says:

    A-B @ 21,
    I bring up eugenics because that is what Dawkins is suggesting… This is why I also brought up Singer because he advocates eugenics – and if man is just another animal, why not? It happened in the past and we should learn about the cost to humanity if we continue down that road. These issues are part of the topic.
    It’s not like I brought up the Westboro church for no reason – or made some asinine attempt to compare gravity and physics to Darwin’s theory – as if Newton’s Principia and Darwin’s Descent of Man have the same implications regarding; ethics, psychology, or inferior races.
    BTW, thanks for not mentioning the crusades by mentioning the crusades – brilliant!

  37. 37
    Mark Frank says:

    #34 Humbled

    Mark, you are an ignorant sod and your thinking is downright evil. Of course babies feel in the womb. And yes they are people, human from the moment of conception. There are documented cases of babies, within a few weeks of conception, experiencing nightmares as well as “playing” with their siblings (in the case of twins etc) as well as acknowledging outside stimulus and reacting / responding to it. Your justifications will not fly here. Abortion is murder pure and simple, and incredibly painful as well.

    What an outburst. I hope I am always willing to learn more about abortion but I did spend 6 months studying the ethics of stem cell research and have been rather close to a real abortion situation (I can’t give details as I use my real name). So I am not so very ignorant.

    A tip – if you genuinely want to persuade people of your case then don’t start off by calling them “ignorant sods” and threatening violence!

    Also, your second point is also trash talk. There are many cases where parents and babies with all manner of birth defects etc live a happy, meaningful and fulfilling life. I suspect you are regurgitating the same rubbish you’ve read or heard elsewhere. Educate yourself on these issues, they are serious and disgusting.

    If you read my comment you will see that I disagreed with B. Your rather low comprehension skills do not increase my faith in the examples you quote.

  38. 38

    Dawkins says:

    Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”

    It’s always interesting to me that these subjective-morality guys can’t even think or speak as if morality was really a subjective commodity as they claim.

    Under subjective morality, neither keeping a baby with Down Syndrome nor aborting would in itself be moral or immoral. Dawkins’ exhortation that “it would be immoral to bring it into the world” is patently false and hypocritical wrt his own moral worldview. Under subjective morality, it is only the person who aborts or doesn’t abort that can say whether or not it is, for them,, moral or immoral.

    Dawkins might say that keeping a Down Syndrome child would be immoral for him, but that’s clearly not what he’s saying. He’s saying it’s immoral for other people, as if he’s referring to some objective moral standard.

  39. 39
    Phinehas says:

    WJM:

    It isn’t so much that atheists like Dawkins believe that there is no God. It’s that they believe they are gods, knowing good and evil. As gods, what is subjective for them is obviously morally binding for others. Having any other God around to which they are accountable would be most inconvenient.

  40. 40
    Moose Dr says:

    re: Foetuses gradually become people and at an early stage in pregnancy have no feelings and are not people.

    How do we determine when someone is a “people”? The algorithm stated here appears to be having “feelings”. First, animals have feelings. Are they therefore “people”? Second, if I am in a coma, I likely do not have feelings. Do I then abandon my “people” status until I come out? If I am in a coma, and others wish me dead, do they have the right to blow me away without committing murder because I am not a “people”? If someone wants to kill someone else, and does so by drugging him into a state of coma, then killing him, is the person now no longer guilty of murder?

    “people” = “feelings” is a very poorly considered algorithm.

  41. 41
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Heart lander, current evolutionary theory is simply a scientific, evidence based explanation of how life on earth became so diverse. It says nothing about morality, right and wrong, or ethics. Any more than nuclear physics does. Misusing evolution to justify eugenics is morally and ethically wrong. But please remember, many of the proponents for it were Christian. Misusing nuclear physics to build a bomb and drop on people is also morally and ethically wrong, but I don’t hear anyone arguing that we don’t teach nuclear phisics in school. Pharmacology is misused to produce recreational drugs. But we still teach pharmacology and nobody complains.

    All of these studies have benefited mankind, and all have also been misused. The scientists’ role is to come up with the best explanations for what we observe. It is the responsibility of society to make the best use of these explanations. Many ID proponents want to blame the explanation for how some people misuse it. There has been much violence carried out in the name of Christianity. Are the explanations described in the bible at fault? Or is it the responsibility of the people who misuse it? I think that the answer is obvious.

  42. 42
    Dionisio says:

    Moose Dr @ 40

    “people” = “feelings” is a very poorly considered algorithm.

    Their arguments are nonsense. Your examples clearly testify against them.

  43. 43
    DavidD says:

    A-B
    “Heart lander, current evolutionary theory is simply a scientific, evidence based explanation of how life on earth became so diverse. It says nothing about morality, right and wrong, or ethics.”

    Right, Dawkins says, “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.”

    A-B
    “Misusing evolution to justify eugenics is morally and ethically wrong. But please remember, many of the proponents for it were Christian.”

    Actually this is not correct, if evolution is true, then there is nothing wrong with eugenics.

    A-B
    “Misusing nuclear physics to build a bomb and drop on people is also morally and ethically wrong, but I don’t hear anyone arguing that we don’t teach nuclear phisics in school. Pharmacology is misused to produce recreational drugs. But we still teach pharmacology and nobody complains.”

    Incorrect again, if evolution is true, there is no moral basis nor authority for judging something as wrong or right. It’s simply whatever animal feeling any one human being feels about a matter.

    A-B
    “The scientists’ role is to come up with the best explanations for what we observe.”

    And the scientific consensus [those who rule the prevailing thought) say a fetus is an unviable tissue mass. This is where the religious dogma of Junk DNA and the general disrespect for the information content on the part of religiously biased atheistic scientists have molded the attitudes of a general public looking for justifications of specific lifestyles.

    Interestingly, The USDA sued Industrial Farm giant Tyson Foods for pulling a loophole stunt by injecting antibiotics into eggs and still labeling their chicken product as antibiotic free, the excuse was that they didn’t use antibiotics while the chicken was alive or living and the US government USDA stated otherwise that life begins as an embryo. Funny how that works for animals and not humans.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O973c5PUBrU

    .

  44. 44
    anthropic says:

    Mark Frank 35 & 37

    Mark, while we disagree on some big issues, I have to say that I respect your responses. You admitted to being wrong on a particular point, which is hard to do. We’re all wrong at times, but most of us are too insecure to admit it even when we realize our mistake.

    And you are correct that there was no need for the name calling. We can argue and disagree vigorously without resorting to ad hominem attacks.

  45. 45
    Dionisio says:

    Acartia_bogart @ 41

    But please remember, many of the proponents for it were Christian.

    1. …proponents for it? What does ‘it’ stands for in this case? eugenics?

    2. Can you name a few examples out of those many proponents who were Christians?

    3. How do you know they were Christians? Because they claimed to be so?

    If someone states that there is no God, that person is atheist. No doubts.
    If someone believes God exists, that person is theist, but not necessarily Christian.
    But even a person claiming to be Christian does not guarantee he/she is Christian. Christianity has to do with our true repentance and submission to Christ. Anyone surrendered to Christ can’t agree with eugenics.
    Jesus said many will come to Him claiming to be His sheep, but He will reject them. He told the Samaritan woman that we should worship God in truth and spirit. He told us to love God with all our strengths and to love our neighbors as ourselves. He said that if we love Him, then we want to obey Him. Clear message. No room for confusion.
    Germans who claimed to be Christians but supported the evil Nazi doctrine, did not give glory to God. Were they really Christians? It’s not for me to judge others. I don’t have such authority. But the core Christian message leaves no room for doubts.
    Christians may disagree on peripheral issues, eg. YEC vs. OEC. But the core doctrine is unambiguous.

  46. 46
    Heartlander says:

    A-B @41.

    From THE DESCENT OF MAN:

    CHAPTER IV
    In the next chapter I shall make some few remarks on the probable steps and means by which the several mental and moral faculties of man have been gradually evolved. That such evolution is at least possible, ought not to be denied, for we daily see these faculties developing in every infant; and we may trace a perfect gradation from the mind of an utter idiot, lower than that of an animal low in the scale, to the mind of a Newton.

    CHAPTER V
    Turning now to the social and moral faculties. In order that primeval men, or the ape-like progenitors of man, should become social, they must have acquired the same instinctive feelings, which impel other animals to live in a body; and they no doubt exhibited the same general disposition. They would have felt uneasy when separated from their comrades, for whom they would have felt some degree of love; they would have warned each other of danger, and have given mutual aid in attack or defence. All this implies some degree of sympathy, fidelity, and courage. Such social qualities, the paramount importance of which to the lower animals is disputed by no one, were no doubt acquired by the progenitors of man in a similar manner, namely, through natural selection, aided by inherited habit.

    CHAPTER V
    In the breeding of domestic animals, the elimination of those individuals, though few in number, which are in any marked manner inferior, is by no means an unimportant element towards success. This especially holds good with injurious characters which tend to reappear through reversion, such as blackness in sheep; and with mankind some of the worst dispositions, which occasionally without any assignable cause make their appearance in families, may perhaps be reversions to a savage state, from which we are not removed by very many generations. This view seems indeed recognised in the common expression that such men are the black sheep of the family.

    Skipping ahead…

    CHAPTER XXI
    The high standard of our intellectual powers and moral disposition is the greatest difficulty which presents itself, after we have been driven to this conclusion on the origin of man. But every one who admits the principle of evolution, must see that the mental powers of the higher animals, which are the same in kind with those of man, though so different in degree, are capable of advancement. Thus the interval between the mental powers of one of the higher apes and of a fish, or between those of an ant and scale-insect, is immense; yet their development does not offer any special difficulty; for with our domesticated animals, the mental faculties are certainly variable, and the variations are inherited. No one doubts that they are of the utmost importance to animals in a state of nature. Therefore the conditions are favourable for their development through natural selection. The same conclusion may be extended to man; the intellect must have been all-important to him, even at a very remote period, as enabling him to invent and use language, to make weapons, tools, traps, etc., whereby with the aid of his social habits, he long ago became the most dominant of all living creatures.

    See more at Evolutionary Ethics

  47. 47
    Acartia_bogart says:

    DavidS: “Incorrect again, if evolution is true, there is no moral basis nor authority for judging something as wrong or right. It’s simply whatever animal feeling any one human being feels about a matter.”

    What does evolution, or religion for that matter, have to do with morality? Neither (including god) are the source of morality. Morality is simply a set of man made rules for living together in a group. Religions have simply documented these rules in text.

    Can you even prove that morality is limited to humans? There are plenty of examples of altruism amongst animals. The larger animals in a herd will often be on the perifary of the herd, definitely not a good place for them. Dogs will often die defending their owner.

  48. 48
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Heartlander, I don’t see what point you are trying to make. These are points of conjecture on Darwin’s part. He may be correct on some and incorrect on others. Darwin may be the foundation on which modern evolutionary theory was built, but the Brody has been greatly modified. That is why the term Darwinian evolution is only ever used by biologists in the broadest sense. Yet ID uses it as an insult knowing that it doesn’t explain everything.

    By the way, in Darwin’s day, the terms ‘idiot’ and ‘moron’ were medical terms that did not hold the negative connotation that they do today. Since then we have cycled through terms such as ‘retarded’, ‘handicapped’ and ‘special’ in much the same way. How long do you think it will be before we find a term to replace ‘challenged’.
    ‘,

  49. 49
    Mung says:

    Acartia_bogart:

    Do you really want to open the Pandora’s box of religious caused violence? And I won’t even mention the crusades.

    There’s no Pandora’s box to be opened. There is no such thing as “religious caused violence.”

  50. 50
    Mark Frank says:

    #44 Anthropic

    Thanks. I also found your #28 thought provoking. Here is what it provoked!

    Note that, if Dawkins is to be taken seriously, we should have no objections to eating aborted human fetuses. After all, we eat bacon, right?
    And there should be no problem with chopping up fetuses to make products that perhaps make our skin look younger, or give us shinier hair. We use pigs as much as possible, so who could object?

    I think these examples over-simplify a complicated issue. It needs more context.  Consider a couple of more concrete examples at opposite extremes.   

    A survivor of a plane crash eats the foetus of a dead passenger because there is no other food available and without doing so he would die. This is deeply upsetting but no more immoral than the famous 1972 Andes disaster where the survivors ate the dead passengers to survive. 

    A company makes a business of paying young women for their foetuses after abortion so it can use them as part of a process for making cosmetics. This is deeply immoral because of the pressure it puts on the women and the many people who would be very upset by the idea. It is also thoroughly disturbing in the same way that the Andes flight was disturbing – but that is not what makes it immoral. It also makes me worry what else such an insensitive company might do. Yes there are problems but they are not to do with the moral claims of the foetuses.

    In both these examples I am assuming the foetus had already been aborted for other reasons.  If we are talking about aborting a foetus in order to eat it or use it in any other way then that is completing different. This is wrong but how wrong it is depends on several factors – including (but not limited to) the age of the foetus. Like many others (including I suspect Dawkins), I see a gradual progression from a meaningless bunch of cells at fertilisation through to a full human being late in pregnancy. During this time its moral claims become steadily greater than those of a pig at a similar level of development. It becomes progressively more unethical to destroy or abuse the foetus as it develops. The foetus has some moral claim even from fertilisation but it is very small.   

    On the other hand the Yuck factor of eating foetuses does not strike me as making it wrong to do so. I have a similar Yuck factor about eating meat of any kind – but I don’t think it wrong for others to do so – including my family. Some women like to cook and eat their placenta. I don’t think it is wrong – just odd.

    Fortunately, most materialists don’t actually live according to logic of their metaphysical position. But it is educational to have that logic spelled out by such a prominent advocate as Dawkins.

    This is a long-standing dispute. It is a popular misconception on this forum that the only alternative to an objective moral code enforced by a deity is a meaningless do as you please morality. This is so over-simple as to be laughable.  There are all sorts of alternatives. However, I have fought that battle too many times!

  51. 51
    Heartlander says:

    A-B @ 47

    What does evolution, or religion for that matter, have to do with morality? Neither (including god) are the source of morality. Morality is simply a set of man made rules for living together in a group. Religions have simply documented these rules in text.

    Hmmm… So man is the source of morality – and man’s behaviors and brain formed thru evolution – but evolution has nothing to do with morality – although Darwin wrote Descent to show haw man’s morality evolved. Oh, and religion is merely the documentation of man-made rules acquired via evolution…

    Fascinating stuff… Dare I say jeanyus!

  52. 52
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Mung: “There’s no Pandora’s box to be opened. There is no such thing as “religious caused violence.”

    I know that it is an argument that I can’t win. No matter how Christian a person is during their life, the moment they commit violence the other Christians rally around and claim that the person couldn’t really have been Christian because a Christian won’t commit violence. Now, isn’t that handy?

  53. 53
    DavidD says:

    Heartlander
    A-B @41.

    “From THE DESCENT OF MAN”

    Nice quotes and accurate. Even Darwin disciples and proselytes forget the underlying circumstances with which their prophet wrote these so-called holy writings to which they even to this day won’t question and ultimately try and prove. His first holy book “Origins” was inspired not because he was a scientist who stumbled upon some amazing revelation which was observed in real time, but rather his beef with God for taking his daughter from him. Then he proceeded to do the usual “there couldn’t be a designer because he wouldn’t do things this way” schtick.

    His second book like his first, was written during a time of racial conquering and Empire building. Whites were conquering darker races and thought to be superior to those sub-human races, hence the need to scientific justify the racism and bigotry. Without Darwin’s take on life, many disgusting scientific programs would never have gotten off the ground. Without that second racist book, many don’t realize that it had a more powerful impact than his first “Origins” account. Of course in their minds, all they need do is invoke “Godwin’s Law” and all is forgiven.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FmEjDaWqA4

  54. 54
    Acartia_bogart says:

    DavidD, you ascribe far too much power to a book that I and many evolutionary biologists have never read. It also must be a great talent to be able to ascertain the motives of a man who has been dead for a century.

    What creationists like yourself always neglect to mention is that Darwin himself was opposed to “social Darwinism”, which eugenics is an offshoot.

    Darwin was just a man. He proposed a theory that has been significantly modified over the years. He was correct in some things and wrong in others. In his day, there was no knowledge of DNA, RNA, genetics, etc. What makes him respected by scientists is not his theory alone. After all, it was mostly a compilation and summarization of things that were already known. It is the fact that with each new discovery, his theory survives. It has been modified to account for new discoveries (eg. Drift) but the basic concept (natural selection acting on variation) remains sound and unchallenged.

    But I give creationist credit for trying to discredit evolution by calling it a belief system. It is a unique, although stupid, tactic that only convinces those that are already convinced.

  55. 55
    Mung says:

    Arcatia_bogart:

    I know that it is an argument that I can’t win.

    It may be an argument you can’t win, but not for the reason you give.

    Arcatia_bogart:

    No matter how Christian a person is during their life, the moment they commit violence the other Christians rally around and claim that the person couldn’t really have been Christian because a Christian won’t commit violence. Now, isn’t that handy?

    You mean like when Peter cut off that guy’s ear?

    John 18:10

    Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus.

  56. 56
    Dionisio says:

    Acartia_bogart @ 52

    No matter how Christian a person is during their life,…

    what do you mean by that statement?

    or did you mean:?

    No matter how Christian a person is [claims to be] during their life,…

    you seem confused about some terms you like to use quite often… I would be more careful in your case.

    BTW, did you see my post # 45? Did you ignore it intentionally or just didn’t notice it? Anyway, you don’t have to comment on it, because it was written mainly for the onlookers who visit this blog without leaving any comments. 🙂

    The same applies to this comment too. 🙂

  57. 57
    Dionisio says:

    Mung @ 55

    Peter was not a Christian when he did that. Jesus had not been crucified or resurrected yet. Christianity had not been born yet. It was about to happen, but shortly after that incident you quoted.
    Actually, not long after that incident you cited, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times!
    However, the Acts of the Apostles describe quite a different Peter after being baptized with the Holy Spirit following the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.
    But still Christians can make mistakes. In the NT we see at least one occasion where Paul had to correct Peter on a quite important issue. That’s how it goes normally, Christians correcting one another, lovingly. Sometimes that’s part of the discipleship process. As Christians grow in their faith during their sanctification, errors become less frequent and relevant.
    But there are fundamental issues that a Christian should not get confused about.

  58. 58
    kairosfocus says:

    1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

    6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

    7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. [ESV]

  59. 59
    tjguy says:

    “It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”

    I wonder what personal relative changing standard of morality he used to make that moral pronouncement.

    He makes these moral pronouncements as if they have meaning for everyone, but what he forgets is that there is no such standard that applies to all.

    In reality, if there is no God, “morality” is a figment of our evolved imagination. Nothing is truly right or wrong for anyone, let alone for all people everywhere – at least in an evolutionary world.

    Nice try though, by Mr. D.!

    What it shows us is that Dawkins thinks his own personal moral values have real meaning and value. In fact, he seems to think they should be held and adhered to by all! A bit arrogant, wouldn’t you say? I mean what gives him the right to make moral pronouncements and judge others based on HIS ideas of right/wrong?!

    It shows that he can’t “practice what he preaches” and thereby exposes a big problem with his worldview.

  60. 60
    Dionisio says:

    kairosfocus @ 58

    1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

    6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

    7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. [ESV]

    Amen!

    The holy spirit dwelling within the Christians takes the (worldly)’fun’ out of sinning, hence we confess it and repent, because we only want to give glory to God.
    As we grow in our walk with Christ, many times what we consider sin is not counted as so by worldly standards. As our sanctification progresses sins should turn rare.

  61. 61
    tjguy says:

    AB says:

    But I give creationist credit for trying to discredit evolution by calling it a belief system. It is a unique, although stupid, tactic that only convinces those that are already convinced.

    Actually, it has persuasive power because it is true. Only those already indoctrinated by evolutionists and taught to view historical science as if it is as reliable as every day science have trouble seeing this.

    Now if you could remove the uncertainty by providing real experimental evidence that life can evolve from chemicals, that a single cell can actually evolve into a multicellular organism, that prokaryotes can actually transform themselves into eukaryotes, that self consciousness and mind and morality can actually evolve, etc ad nauseum, then perhaps it would be wrong to call it a belief, but I seriously doubt that will happen.

  62. 62
    anthropic says:

    Hey, Mark Frank 50.

    I think where we part company is on two points. First, the ontological status of human beings. Are we just another animal brought into being by chance processes, or something more?

    Second, is objective morality possible without an absolute source of morals?

    Note that if we are merely another type of animal, then there is no reason to be squeamish about eating fetuses. Or children — animals do stuff like all the time. That’s why ethicists such as Peter Singer openly call for the killing of infants who do not measure up to parental standards.

    And as the late Yale Law Professor Arthur Leff pointed out in his article, Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Law, without God as a source of absolute morality, we simply have no choice but to make up things on our own. We want to believe that certain things are right and others are wrong, that the law is based on morality, that our neighbor will be prohibited from doing something bad to us because it would be, well, wrong. But without an unevaluated Evaluator as a source of right and wrong, none of this is truly possible.

    As Leff puts it, any laws we make are subject to the devastating response, “Sez who?” Who are you to tell me what I can or cannot do?

    http://digitalcommons.law.yale.....fss_papers

  63. 63
    Dionisio says:

    kairosfocus @ 58

    Testing of Your Faith

    2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
    3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
    4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

    5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
    6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
    7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
    8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

    9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation,
    10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away.
    11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

    12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
    13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
    14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
    15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

    16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.
    17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
    18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

    James 1 (ESV)

  64. 64
    Dionisio says:

    kairosfocus @ 58

    Hearing and Doing the Word

    19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
    20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
    21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

    22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
    23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.
    24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
    25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

    26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
    27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

    James 1 (ESV)

  65. 65
    Heartlander says:

    A-B @54 – You stated, “But I give creationist credit for trying to discredit evolution by calling it a belief system. It is a unique, although stupid, tactic that only convinces those that are already convinced.

    Belief System
    The belief system of a person or society is the set of beliefs that they have about what is right and wrong and what is true and false.

    Please tell me how you believe that you ultimately came into being, i.e. became human, without invoking evolution. (All the atheists and agnostics that I know use evolution as their ‘belief system’)

    But I’ll go first – I came into this designed universe through a planned process from a Supreme Being who provided an objective reference for reality. (My ‘belief system’)

    BTW, my belief system provides an objective reference for – reason vs meaningless, right vs wrong, good vs evil, intelligence vs stupidity – are these real or illusions? Consider the fact that you have the ability to think abstractly about the question – why is that?

    stupid /ˈstu•pɪd/ adj
    › lacking thought or intelligence: Consider this, to remove any ‘creator’ from our very existence including the beginning of our universe is to remove any ‘thought or intelligence’ from the equation. By definition, you are ultimately left with an existence from stupidity.

  66. 66
    Dionisio says:

    kairosfocus @ 58

    Faith Without Works Is Dead

    14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
    15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,
    16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?
    17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

    18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
    19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
    20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?
    21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?
    22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;
    23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.
    24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
    25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
    26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

  67. 67
    anthropic says:

    Don’t mean to get into a theological argument here, but if we are not saved by faith alone in Christ alone, then we’ll have to delete the gospel of John and the Pauline epistles.

    We should always try to interpret scripture by other scriptures, if possible. If James is saying that salvation into heaven requires a certain level of works, this conflicts with the central message of the Gospel that the finished work of Jesus on the cross is sufficient. Nothing else.

    Of course, if we are talking salvation from the consequences of our sins, a definition used frequently in the scriptures, that’s a different matter. Or that a profession of faith is not the same thing as having actual faith. Or that faith without works is useless to help others. Or that without works, we will not get certain rewards in heaven. All these are reasonable in the light of other scriptures.

  68. 68
    Dionisio says:

    anthropic @ 67
    Agree.
    Sola Fide. Sola Scriptura. Solus Christus. Sola Gratia. Soli Deo Gloria.

    Can that faith save. This introduces the crucial issue of the relationship between faith and works. The question under scrutiny is, What kind of faith is saving faith? James’s question is rhetorical; the obvious answer is that faith without works cannot save. Faith that yields no deeds is not saving faith. The New Testament does not teach justification by the profession of faith or the claim to faith; it teaches justification by the possession of true faith.
    Reformation Study Bible provided by Ligonier Ministries

  69. 69
    Mark Frank says:

    #62 Anthropic

    I think we will have to agree to differ about the ontological status of human beings.

    As I said, I have done the metaethics argument about a thousand times on this forum and need some dramatic stimulus to undertake it again. In fact I have had the dispute so often I wrote up my opinions here (look at the bits on metaethics). The most relevant one is “Subjective does not mean trivial”.

  70. 70
    anthropic says:

    Thanks, Mark Frank. I will take a look at what you wrote. Probably in the end we will just have to agree to disagree, but that’s okay.

    Prof Leff was interesting in that he said we desperately wish for two contradictory things, absolute & knowable morality (“slavery is wrong”) and yet complete freedom to define right and wrong for ourselves. As a materialist, he thinks that there is no basis for absolute morality, and yet he too “knows” that some things are right, and some things are wrong. That’s why ethics, though real, are unspeakable.

  71. 71
    Mr. Cheese says:

    Acartia_bogart:

    Do you really want to open the Pandora’s box of religious caused violence? And I won’t even mention the crusades.

    According to the Encyclopedia of War, less than 7% of all major conflicts were caused by religion:

    http://carm.org/religion-cause-war

    And the estimated deaths caused by religious wars is about 2%:

    http://www.jonsorensen.net/201.....se-of-war/

    Non religious men who have obtained power have been far deadlier and more likely to commit mass murder.

    Pray A-B that you never have to live under an athiest ruler. Even if you don’t believe in God, those who do will be far less likely to murder you.

  72. 72
    DavidD says:

    A-B
    ” “But I give creationist credit for trying to discredit evolution by calling it a belief system. It is a unique, although stupid, tactic that only convinces those that are already convinced.”

    Astonishing. Starts off with righteous indignation for his belief actually being a non-belief then grand stands and finishes on a soap box with a faith affirmation.

    A-B
    “It has been modified to account for new discoveries (eg. Drift) but the basic concept (natural selection acting on variation) remains sound and unchallenged.”

  73. 73
    Dionisio says:

    anthropic @ 67

    We should always try to interpret scripture by other scriptures, if possible. If James is saying that…

    Agree.
    Here’s Paul, confirming what James wrote too: Christians should be lights in the world, by reflecting Christ’s own Light.

    Philippians 2 (ESV)

    12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
    13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

    14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing,
    15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
    16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
    17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.
    18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

    Commentary from the Reformation Study Bible provided by Ligonier Ministries

    2:12 Therefore.
    On the basis of Christ’s supreme example, Paul resumes his appeal. The apostle’s presence encourages the Philippians to obey, but the basic motivation is from “God who works” in them (v. 13), and their obedience will flourish in Paul’s absence as well (1:27).

    your own salvation.
    As in 1:28, this is salvation in the full, redemptive sense with particular stress on the sanctification of the believer. The sanctifying process calls for obedience to the exhortation of vv. 1–5. See 1 Cor. 6:11.

    fear and trembling.
    This is awe and reverence rather than panic and alarm. The right emotions are stirred by the presence of God (v. 13), and not by questions or doubts about eternal security.

    2:13 God who works in you.
    The use of human effort (v. 12), far from violating God’s will, is just what He commands for achieving His saving purpose (Eph. 2:8–10). Having invoked the example of Christ, Paul reassures the Philippians that they do not will and work on their own, but their wills and their actions are the very arenas where God’s own power is working (4:13; 1 Thess. 2:13).

    2:14 without grumbling or questioning.
    The Philippians must not imitate the ancient Israelites (Ex. 15:24; 16:7–9; 1 Cor. 10:10). Note also the allusion in v. 15 to Deut. 32:5. The Philippians may well have been guilty of grumbling against church leaders, as the Israelites did against Moses (v. 29; 1 Thess. 5:12, 13).

    2:15 that you may be.
    The corporate witness of a united church is in view.

    blameless and innocent . . . without blemish.
    The meanings of these terms overlap considerably. Paul describes the quality of life required of “children of God.” Such persons will “shine as lights in the world,” in marked contrast to their “crooked and twisted” contemporaries, but offering hope to them at the same time (cf. Matt. 5:14–16; Acts 2:40).

    2:16 holding fast.
    Paul is concerned with the Philippians’ own fidelity to the gospel of Jesus Christ (1:27; 2:1–5).

    the word of life.
    This refers to both the gospel and the ethical teachings founded on it (1:27; 4:8, 9).

    I may be proud.
    Paul’s pride on the “day of Christ” (1:10; cf. 1:6) will be the Philippians’ spiritual growth rather than his own (1:9–11).

    2:17 if I am to be poured out.
    Paul here refers not to his present suffering, but to the possibility that he will die as a martyr.

    drink offering.
    A libation normally of wine, not blood, that accompanied sacrifices.

    sacrificial offering of your faith.
    The Philippians’ gifts to Paul (4:10–20).

    I am glad and rejoice.
    For Paul, suffering can cause joy to flourish. It is to be the same for the Philippians (v. 18).

    Glad you brought this up, so that we could clarify it, having in mind the many onlookers who visit this site.
    Thank you.

    Rev. 22:21 🙂 🙂 🙂

  74. 74
    Barb says:

    A_B:

    Heart lander, current evolutionary theory is simply a scientific, evidence based explanation of how life on earth became so diverse. It says nothing about morality, right and wrong, or ethics.

    Allow me to introduce you to social Darwinism and eugenics. Both of these concepts have, at their core, current evolutionary theory.

  75. 75
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Barb, and the nuclear bomb has, at its core, nuclear physics. And chemical weapons have, at their core, chemistry (as do much of modern weaponry, and the Nazi gas chambers). Why is ID not opposed to all science? Could it possibly be because the others do not contradict their sacred belief system?

    Darwin, the ID anti christ, was opposed to social Darwinism.

  76. 76
    Barb says:

    A_B writes.
    “Barb, and the nuclear bomb has, at its core, nuclear physics. And chemical weapons have, at their core, chemistry (as do much of modern weaponry, and the Nazi gas chambers). Why is ID not opposed to all science?”
    Why would we be? The same science that provides us with the understanding of how our universe came into being also provides us with the knowledge to create and test nuclear weaponry.

    Your analogy fails. ID has never been opposed to science.

    “Could it possibly be because the others do not contradict their sacred belief system?”

    The Bible commands us to be peaceable with all men. We cannot drop atomic bombs on nations and claim to be at peace with all men.

    Nuclear physics does not have to be destructive; governments assigned scientists the task of creating and building nuclear weapons. That is not a science problem, it’s a political one.

    Chemistry allows for many beneficial things including therapies to treat diseases. Chemistry also allows for the introduction of mustard gas into modern warfare. Again, a political problem.

    “Darwin, the ID anti christ, was opposed to social Darwinism.”

    He can be opposed to it all he wants. His theory brought about its creation. He has to deal with that.

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