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Debate: Michael Egnor vs. Matt Dillahunty — now the 2nd oldest question: If God exists, why evil?

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In the debate between Christian neurosurgeon Michael Egnor and atheist broadcaster Matt Dillahunty, the question of raping a baby was bound to arise:

[Last time out] He accused Dillahunty of using science as “a crutch” for his atheism.

But now Dillahunty asks the Big One, seriously, if there is a God, why is there evil?

News, “Dillahunty asks the 2nd oldest question: If God exists, why evil?” at Mind Matters News

Matt Dillahunty: I am fine with being able to make objective assessments, but I’m not aware of any model where anyone could demonstrate that there is an objective moral law that is universal.

Michael Egnor: I’m not asking whether you think people could demonstrate it. I’m asking, do you believe that it exists? [01:17:00]

Matt Dillahunty: No. I don’t believe in things that people can’t demonstrate exist.

Michael Egnor: You don’t believe that raping a baby is objectively, morally wrong. You think it’s just a matter of opinion?

Matt Dillahunty: I’m on record, for many years now, of advocating for situational morality, situational ethics, and rejecting the notion that because a culture says so that means that it’s so. I define morality as the well-being of thinking creatures. It’s not a complete definition, it’s what I think we’ve been working towards. I think anybody who’s talking about morality is probably talking about well-being of thinking creatures and humans in particular quite often. Once you decide, hey, we’re talking about the well-being of humans, now there are physical facts within the universe that are non-subjective that determine whether or not something is in our best interest or not, like chopping off someone’s head is not good for them. It’s an objective physical fact that chopping off someone’s head is in conflict with those things that are good for them. [01:18:00]

The only objection remaining is someone could say, there’s no reason why anybody has to care about well-being. and on that grounds, yeah. You don’t have to care about well-being, just like you don’t have to care about being healthy. Health isn’t particularly well-defined either, like physical health. We’re learning more and more about it, but it’s not like there’s some objective, true standard of health. Instead, there are a model of, we would like to be healthier, and we learn facts about the universe, and so we get healthier.

Michael Egnor: I had pointed out earlier that raising the question of objective morality stimulates atheists to do an incredible tap dance. [01:19:00]

Michael Egnor: Matt, I’m asking you a simple question. Is it objectively wrong…

Matt Dillahunty: No.

Michael Egnor: Is it objectively wrong to rape a baby, or is it just a matter of opinion?

Matt Dillahunty: It’s objectively wrong if the foundation of your morality holds that it would be objectively assessed as wrong.

Michael Egnor: No, no, no, no. Is it objectively wrong? Or is it just a matter of opinion? And if it is objectively wrong, what mind does that moral principle come from? [01:19:30]

Matt Dillahunty: This gets down to, how do you define morality? If you define it as well-being, once you’ve defined morality, then you can say, is this moral? If you’re just going to say right or wrong, then I need to know what standard we’re going to be using for right or wrong. If we’re going to use mine, which is…

Michael Egnor: I didn’t ask you any of that, man. I said, is it objectively wrong to rape babies? Yes or no, Matt. It’s a one word answer. Yes or no. [01:20:00]


Takehome: Egnor argues that there is an objective moral law against such acts; Dillahunty argues, no, it is all just human judgment.

Next: Does morality really exist? Does it really come from God?


The debate to date:

  1. Debate: Former atheist neurosurgeon vs. former Christian activist. At Theology Unleashed, each gets a chance to state his case and interrogate the other. In a lively debate at Theology Unleashed, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor and broadcaster Matt Dillahunty clash over the existence of God.
  2. A neurosurgeon’s ten proofs for the existence of God. First, how did a medic, formerly an atheist, who cuts open people’s brains for a living, come to be sure there is irrefutable proof for God? In a lively debate at Theology Unleashed, Michael Egnor and Matt Dillahunty clash over “Does God exist?” Egnor starts off.
  3. Atheist Dillahunty spots fallacies in Christian Egnor’s views. “My position is that it’s unacceptable to believe something if the available evidence does not support it.” Dillahunty: We can’t conclusively disprove an unfalsifiable proposition. And that is what most “God” definitions, at least as far as I can tell, are.
  4. Egnor now tries to find out what Dillahunty actually knows… About philosophical arguments for the existence of God, as he begins a rebuttal. Atheist Dillahunty appears unable to recall the philosophical arguments for God’s existence, which poses a challenge for Egnor in rebutting him.
  5. Egnor, Dillahunty dispute the basic causes behind the universe. In a peppery exchange, Egnor argues that proofs of God’s existence follow the same logical structure as proofs in science. If the universe begins in a singularity (where Einstein’s equations break down), what lies behind it? Egnor challenges Dillahunty on that.
  6. Is Matt Dillahunty using science as a crutch for his atheism? That’s neurosurgeon Michael Egnor’s accusation in this third part of the debate, which features a continued discussion of singularities, where conventional “laws of nature” break down.
    If the “supernatural” means “outside of conventional nature,” Michael Egnor argues, science routinely accepts it, based on evidence.

You may also wish to read:

Science can and does point to God’s existence. Michael Egnor: Natural science is not at all methodologically naturalist — it routinely points to causes outside of nature. If we are to understand natural effects, we must be open to all kinds of causes, including causes that transcend nature.

and

The Divine Hiddenness argument against God’s existence = nonsense. God in Himself is immeasurably greater than we are, and He transcends all human knowledge. A God with whom we do not struggle — who is not in some substantial and painful way hidden to us — is not God but is a mere figment of our imagination.

50 Replies to “Debate: Michael Egnor vs. Matt Dillahunty — now the 2nd oldest question: If God exists, why evil?

  1. 1
    zweston says:

    Word games and gymnastics to avoid answering the question. Apparently sometimes it’s okay according to Dillahunty, but the cognitive dissonance has to be super strong in that.

  2. 2
    jerry says:

    Why evil?

    Answer: it doesn’t exist.

    First, define evil – most can’t including myself. I have been reading about it for years. (Except for one thing and only one thing)

    People love using the term but cannot define it. Usually they mean bad stuff happening to people. But so is a stubbed toe.

    Oh, we mean more serious things. Oh, evil is relative then.

    But evil is the lack of good – then what is good? The whole created universe is an example of the lack of good. That means everything is evil.

    There have been long discussions on it here.

    The result – people keep repeating the same arguments that are opinions and are not justified.

    The discussion above was about morality not evil.

    Aside: if God prevented some bad thing such as raping a child then the world would move on to some other bad things that should be prevented. Then when they were prevented, we will be down the list to stubbing toes.

  3. 3
    doubter says:

    The ancient Carthaginians (at least according to the Romans) culturally accepted and encouraged the burning alive of infants as offerings to their god. This admittedly would be at least one data point in favor of the ‘morality is culturally and socially determined’ camp. However, I think Egnor’s argument still stands since there obviously is no natural law that prevents humans from through their free will choosing to commit such abominations. The free will defense – our existence would have no meaning without the human free will to choose to do and create very many things, which has to include opposing the absolute moral law.

    Of course this still leaves the question of the great bulk of what may be termed “natural evil”, innocent suffering caused by forces of nature like earthquakes, volcanoes, disease, etc. etc. I think this is a harder nut to crack unfortunately.

  4. 4
    jerry says:

    I think this is a harder nut to crack unfortunately.

    No, very easy when outcomes are evaluated as relative.

    All bad things are relative. It gets to a point where positive things become bad things as the bad things are eliminated.

  5. 5
    Origenes on vacation says:

    Discussing morality makes sense only under the assumption that we can choose our behavior. IOWs the assumption that we are free persons.
    A materialist, like Dillahunty, cannot participate in a discussion about morality.

  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    Anyone can participate in a discussion about morality as long as they are not stomping around insisting that their morality is the only objective – and therefore true – morality, so there can be no debate.

  7. 7
    Seversky says:

    Michael Egnor: I didn’t ask you any of that, man. I said, is it objectively wrong to rape babies? Yes or no, Matt. It’s a one word answer. Yes or no. [01:20:00]

    Objection! Badgering the witness!

    More seriously, Egnor is plainly an exponent of the fallacy of the loaded question, as in “Have you stopped beating your wife!”

    If Dillahunty answers “yes” he is conceding the existence of an objective morality, if he answers “no” he concedes it is not objectively wrong – and, therefore, right – to rape babies, neither of which is MD’s position.

    This is just Egnor being boorish again.

  8. 8
    doubter says:

    Jerry@4

    All bad things are relative. It gets to a point where positive things become bad things as the bad things are eliminated.

    I think the following is a better apologia, though still not particularly satisfying:

    There is the observed regularity of natural law. The basic laws of physics appear to be cleverly designed to create conditions suitable for human life and development. It can be surmised that this intricate fine-tuned design is inherently an extremely complicated series of tradeoffs and balances, allowing and fostering human existence but also inevitably allowing “natural evil” to regularly occur. In other words, the best solution to the overall “system requirements” (which include furnishing manifold opportunities for humans to experience and achieve) inherently includes natural effects that cause suffering to human beings.

    This points out that there may be logical and fundamental limitations to God’s creativity. Maybe even He can’t 100% satisfy all the requirements simultaneously. Maybe He doesn’t have complete control over nature, because that would interfere with the essential requirements for creative and fulfilling human life. After all, human achievement requires imperfection and adverse conditions to exist as a natural part of human life.

  9. 9
    Querius says:

    It seems that Matt Dillahunty is just playing at his position. Otherwise, it’s “might makes right.”

    Q: Matt give me your wallet.
    M: Why?
    Q: Because, for me, it would be situationally right for you to share your wealth.
    M: But for me, I don’t think it would be situationally right for me to be required to share my wealth with you.
    Q: But, I have no money. Situationally, I’m poor and all I have is my clothes and this loaded .45 I’m pointing at you.
    M: Oh, well in that case, I can see your point, situationally. Here you go.

    -Q

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky at 6 states “Anyone can participate in a discussion about morality,,,”

    Seversky, you are (purposely?) forgetting that, (besides your Atheistic Materialism denying the objective reality of morality), your worldview also denies the objective reality of persons, as well as denying the objective reality of the free will necessary for ‘persons’ to even be able to participate in logically coherent debates and/or discussions in the first place.

    “Science provides clear-cut answers to all of the questions on the list: there is no free will, there is no mind distinct from the brain, there is no soul, no self, no person that supposedly inhabits your body, that endures over its life span, and that might even outlast it.”
    Alex Rosenberg – The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions – pg. 147

    “that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.”
    Francis Crick – “The Astonishing Hypothesis” 1994

    The Brain: The Mystery of Consciousness – Monday, Jan. 29, 2007
    Part II THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL
    Another startling conclusion from the science of consciousness is that the intuitive feeling we have that there’s an executive “I” that sits in a control room of our brain, scanning the screens of the senses and pushing the buttons of the muscles, is an illusion.
    Steven Pinker – Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University
    http://www.academia.edu/279485.....sciousness

    “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does. Every morning’s introspectively fantasized self is a new one, remarkably similar to the one that consciousness ceased fantasizing when we fell sleep sometime the night before. Whatever purpose yesterday’s self thought it contrived to set the alarm last night, today’s newly fictionalized self is not identical to yesterday’s. It’s on its own, having to deal with the whole problem of why to bother getting out of bed all over again.,,,
    – Alex Rosenberg – Professor of Philosophy Duke University – The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

    Atheist Philosopher Thinks “We Never Have Direct Access To Our Thoughts”
    Michael Egnor – July 20, 2016
    Excerpt: Materialist theories of the mind border on the insane. If a man walks into a doctor’s office and says “I never have direct access to my thoughts and I have no first person point of view,” the man will be referred to a psychiatrist and may be involuntarily hospitalized until it is established that he is not a danger to himself or others.
    If the same guy walks into the philosophy department at Duke University, he gets tenure.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2016/07/atheist_philoso/

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession (by Coyne) that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
    https://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/the-confidence-of-jerry-coyne/?mcubz=3

    What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
    Excerpt: Barr rightly observes that scientific atheists often unwittingly assume not just metaphysical naturalism but an even more controversial philosophical position: reductive materialism, which says all that exists is or is reducible to the material constituents postulated by our most fundamental physical theories.
    As Barr points out, this implies not only that God does not exist — because God is not material — but that you do not exist. For you are not a material constituent postulated by any of our most fundamental physical theories; at best, you are an aggregate of those constituents, arranged in a particular way. Not just you, but tables, chairs, countries, countrymen, symphonies, jokes, legal contracts, moral judgments, and acts of courage or cowardice — all of these must be fully explicable in terms of those more fundamental, material constituents.
    https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

    Atheistic Materialism – Does Richard Dawkins Exist? Dr. Dennis Bonnette – video 37:51 minute mark
    Quote: “It turns out that if every part of you, down to sub-atomic parts, are still what they were when they weren’t in you, in other words every ion,,, every single atom that was in the universe, that has now become part of your living body, is still what is was originally. It hasn’t undergone what metaphysicians call a ‘substantial change’. So you aren’t Richard Dawkins. You are just carbon and neon and sulfur and oxygen and all these individual atoms still.
    You can spout a philosophy that says scientific materialism, but there aren’t any scientific materialists to pronounce it.,,, That’s why I think they find it kind of embarrassing to talk that way. Nobody wants to stand up there and say, “You know, I’m not really here”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVCnzq2yTCg&t=37m51s

    THE ILLUSION OF FREE WILL – Sam Harris – 2012
    Excerpt: “Free will is an illusion so convincing that people simply refuse to believe that we don’t have it.”
    – Jerry Coyne
    https://samharris.org/the-illusion-of-free-will/

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
    – Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

    Thus Seversky, while you rightly claimed that “Anyone can participate in a discussion about morality”, you forget that, if your materialistic worldview is actually true, there are no ‘anyones’ to participate in logically coherent debates and/or discussions in the first place. Personhood is an illusion according to your worldview!

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    Perhaps the best evidence that the atheist’s claims about personhood, a person’s free will, and morality, are illusions are patently false claims for atheists to make is the fact that it is impossible for atheists themselves to live their lives as if what they say about personhood, free will, and morality, is actually true.

    Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails – Nancy Pearcey – April 23, 2015
    Excerpt: Even materialists often admit that, in practice, it is impossible for humans to live any other way. One philosopher jokes that if people deny free will, then when ordering at a restaurant they should say, “Just bring me whatever the laws of nature have determined I will get.”
    An especially clear example is Galen Strawson, a philosopher who states with great bravado, “The impossibility of free will … can be proved with complete certainty.” Yet in an interview, Strawson admits that, in practice, no one accepts his deterministic view. “To be honest, I can’t really accept it myself,” he says. “I can’t really live with this fact from day to day. Can you, really?”,,,
    In What Science Offers the Humanities, Edward Slingerland, identifies himself as an unabashed materialist and reductionist. Slingerland argues that Darwinian materialism leads logically to the conclusion that humans are robots — that our sense of having a will or self or consciousness is an illusion. Yet, he admits, it is an illusion we find impossible to shake. No one “can help acting like and at some level really feeling that he or she is free.” We are “constitutionally incapable of experiencing ourselves and other conspecifics [humans] as robots.”
    One section in his book is even titled “We Are Robots Designed Not to Believe That We Are Robots.”,,,
    When I teach these concepts in the classroom, an example my students find especially poignant is Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT. Brooks writes that a human being is nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, “When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are machines.”
    Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: “That is not how I treat them…. I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis.” Certainly if what counts as “rational” is a materialist worldview in which humans are machines, then loving your children is irrational. It has no basis
    within Brooks’s worldview. It sticks out of his box.
    How does he reconcile such a heart-wrenching cognitive dissonance? He doesn’t. Brooks ends by saying, “I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs.” He has given up on any attempt to reconcile his theory with his experience. He has abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....95451.html

    Even Richard Dawkins himself admitted that it would be quote-unquote ‘intolerable’ for him to live as if his atheistic worldview were actually true:

    Who wrote Richard Dawkins’s new book? – October 28, 2006
    Excerpt: Dawkins: What I do know is that what it feels like to me, and I think to all of us, we don’t feel determined. We feel like blaming people for what they do or giving people the credit for what they do. We feel like admiring people for what they do.,,,
    Manzari: But do you personally see that as an inconsistency in your views?
    Dawkins: I sort of do. Yes. But it is an inconsistency that we sort of have to live with otherwise life would be intolerable.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02783.html

    In what should be needless to say, if it is impossible for you to live as if your worldview were actually true then your worldview cannot possibly reflect reality as it really is but your worldview must instead be based on a delusion.

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    http://answersforhope.com/exis.....t-atheism/

    Verse:

    Romans 1:22-23
    Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    Just uploaded:

    Is Atheism Dead? A Conversation with Eric Metaxas – interview with Sean McDowell
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDOClTy0Xdk

  13. 13
    jerry says:

    This points out that there may be logical and fundamental limitations to God’s creativity. Maybe even He can’t 100% satisfy all the requirements simultaneously

    I maintain. Like Leibniz, that this is the best of all possible worlds.

    The Christian God could do no less. The question then becomes why is this the best of all possible worlds?

    Aside: there are lots of things we consider very undesirable, for example a terminal tumor in a small child gets to be an extreme example. I knew of such a child who died about a year after it was diagnosed and her life was painful. She was 7 when she died.

    But suppose we eliminate all such things through modern medicine, then someone will see as very bad something that no one thought twice about in the past or even in our current world.

    It will get to the point that someone with just a limited income will be seen as extremely undesirable even though that person could support themselves or a family. Because they are not rich, it will be seen as undesirable.

  14. 14
    Belfast says:

    Seversky you know less about law that you do about evolution.
    There is an objection, but it is not ‘badgering the witness’ he asks three question the last beginning with ‘If’. There are a number of objections such as asking a rolled up question.
    The question is also objectionable because it requires a a selection from only two choices 1. is it objective wrong or 2. A matter of opinion.
    The questions are NOT when not stop beating your wife type – that presupposes something yet to be established – that beating had been admitted or otherwise there was good evidence of it.
    The debate is a shambles, your man wants to debate ‘morality’ but cannot describe or define. He candidly admits his definition is unfinished, “I define morality as the well-being of thinking creatures. It’s not a complete definition.”
    Not a complete definition after years of talking about it?

  15. 15
    Eugene says:

    Jerry @2,

    “Evil” is usually what sociopaths do. They lack compassion and remorse. They are basically human predators. “Political Ponerology” by Andrew M. Lobaczewski explains this in great detail. For the 96% of humans who have conscience the acts of sociopaths are very difficult to comprehend.

    This said, I don’t know why people assume that God must necessarily be “a good guy”. We have no idea of what the purpose of our existence is. It is entirely possible that our purpose is to simulate the dynamic between the 4% sociopaths and the 96% rest of us.

  16. 16
    Origenes on vacation says:

    Manzari: But do you personally see that as an inconsistency in your views?
    Dawkins: I sort of do. Yes. But it is an inconsistency that we sort of have to live with otherwise life would be intolerable.,,,

    Dawkins is saying that the truth *I do not exist, I am a neurological illusion* is hard to live with.
    But as Descartes has taught us no one can doubt his existence. Everything one does confirms one’s existence:
    I think, therefore I am.
    I ….. (whatever), therefore I am.
    I doubt my existence, but in order to do that I must exist, therefore I exist.

    So, it is not the truth that is hard to live with, as Dawkins suggests, but rather it is intolerable to continually lie to yourself.

  17. 17
    Hanks says:

    I don’t know why people assume that God must necessarily be “a good guy”. We have no idea of what the purpose of our existence is.

    :))) Impressive logic. So God created the people that can be good( if they want to)but God Himself is bad.
    PS: Flash News:We know the reason why God created this universe and humans. He told us.

  18. 18
    jerry says:

    This said, I don’t know why people assume that God must necessarily be “a good guy”

    No! God has created the perfect world.

    Again. How could God not create the best of all possible worlds? Why would He do anything less? So what does that mean?

    People like to use the term “evil” without understanding just what they are saying. There is apparently aspects of our world that are undesirable. They call these aspects evil.

    But every aspect of our world is sub optimal so literally everything is evil. We tend to focus on the most temporarily undesirable but if they were eliminated then what remained even the seemingly positive things would then be undesirable or “evil.”

    Whether it be moral acts committed by a person with free will or physical events theoretically under the control of God, they are sub-optimal and thus technically evil.

    But are such acts/events then necessary for a meaningful world?

    Do we live in a world of perfect seemingly apparent imperfects?

  19. 19
    chuckdarwin says:

    Christian apologists keep using the term “objective morality” when they mean “absolute morality.” Use of the term “objective” to suggest that it is a God-given universal is unnecessarily confusing. The oft-used statement by apologists that “without God there can be no objective morality” is misleading. All social groups have an objective morality, i.e. a set of behavioral dos and don’ts along with consequences for not complying which everyone is expected to understand. The source of that morality can be by fiat or by agreement. The highest level of objective morality humans have developed is codified jurisprudence.
    Some apologists (including Egnor) keep referring to this as “subjective” morality because each group is different. But that is a misuse and misunderstanding of the term “subjective” which relates to solely individuals, not groups. Even more egregious is the simplistic “its just a matter of opinion” morality. That snappy phrase completely trivializes any discussion of morality.
    So, the emotionally laden, set up question “is it objectively moral to rape babies” can actually only be answered “it depends.” The term “rape” itself does not even have an absolute or universal definition and has meant different things historically. What may be defined as rape in one culture may be acceptable in another (e.g. statutory rape vis a vis childhood marriage). That, however, does not make each of those culture’s rules “subjective” or merely a “matter of opinion.” Contrary to Egnor’s set up, it is not a simple yes or no question. But then questions of morality are never simple yes or no questions.

  20. 20
    ET says:

    chuckdarwin confuses subjective morality with objective morality. A matter of opinion is what makes it subjective.

  21. 21
    bornagain77 says:

    CD at 19, The only ones who are profoundly confused about morality is Chuck Darwin and Darwinian Atheists in general.

    Morality for the atheist is not just the absence of morality, i.e. amorality, i.e. “no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference”, as Dawkins succinctly put it,,,

    “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
    – Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

    No!,,,, Morality for the atheist is not just the absence of morality, i.e. amorality, ‘pitiless indifference’, but turns out to be, (when you throw the precepts of Darwinian evolution on top of the atheist’s naturalistic worldview of ‘pitiless indifference’), a worldview that turns out to be downright ‘ANTI-Morality’.

    Alturistic behavior of any sort is simply completely antithetical to the entire framework of Darwinian evolution.

    As Charles Darwin himself stated, “let the strongest live and the weakest die.”

    “One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.”
    – Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species

    As should be obvious to everyone who is not a complete psychopath, not only is “let the strongest live and the weakest die” amoral, but it is completely ANTI-moral.

    Adolf Hilter himself echoed Charles Darwin’s words when he stated, “Nature,,, wipes out what is weak in order to give place to the strong.”

    “A stronger race will oust that which has grown weak; for the vital urge, in its ultimate form, will burst asunder all the absurd chains of this so-called humane consideration for the individual and will replace it with the humanity of Nature, which wipes out what is weak in order to give place to the strong.”
    – Adolf Hitler – Mein Kampf – pg 248

    As should be needless to say, wiping out the weak to give place to the strong is directly opposed to the Christian ethos of looking after the weak.

    Matthew 25:34-40
    “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
    “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
    “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    And as Sir Arthur Keith noted shortly after WWII, “the law of Christ is incompatible with the law of evolution as far as the law of evolution has worked hitherto. Nay, the two laws are at war with each other; the law of Christ can never prevail until the law of evolution is destroyed.”

    “for, as we have just seen, the ways of national evolution, both in the past and in the present, are cruel, brutal, ruthless, and without mercy.,,, Meantime let me say that the conclusion I have come to is this: the law of Christ is incompatible with the law of evolution as far as the law of evolution has worked hitherto. Nay, the two laws are at war with each other; the law of Christ can never prevail until the law of evolution is destroyed.”
    Sir Arthur Keith, (1866 — 1955) Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons – Evolution and Ethics (1947) p.15

    Hitler was hardly the only genocidal maniac who based his worldview on the ‘morality’ of Darwinian evolution.

    In fact all the Atheistic Tyrants of communist regimes of the 20th century based their murderous ideology on the ‘morality’ of Darwin’s theory

    Hitler, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao – quotes – Foundational Darwinian influence in their ideology – July 2020
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/michael-egnor-on-the-relationship-between-darwinism-and-totalitarianism/#comment-707831

    Atheism’s Body Count *
    It is obvious that Atheism cannot be true; for if it were, it would produce a more humane world, since it values only this life and is not swayed by the foolish beliefs of primitive superstitions and religions. However, the opposite proves to be true. Rather than providing the utopia of idealism, it has produced a body count second to none. With recent documents uncovered for the Maoist and Stalinist regimes, it now seems the high end of estimates of 250 million dead (between 1900-1987) are closer to the mark. The Stalinist Purges produced 61 million dead and Mao’s Cultural Revolution produced 70 million casualties. These murders are all upon their own people! This number does not include the countless dead in their wars of outward aggression waged in the name of the purity of atheism’s world view. China invades its peaceful, but religious neighbor, Tibet; supports N. Korea in its war against its southern neighbor and in its merciless oppression of its own people; and Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge kill up to 6 million with Chinese support. All of these actions done “in the name of the people” to create a better world.
    https://www.scholarscorner.com/atheisms-body-count-ideology-and-human-suffering/

    Moreover, not only is Darwinian morality at ‘war’ with Christian morality, but Darwinian ‘morality’ also happens to be at ‘war’ with the science itself.

    For instance, if evolution by natural selection were actually the truth about how all life came to be on Earth then the only life that should be around should be extremely small organisms with the highest replication rate, and with the most ‘mutational firepower’, since only they, (since they greatly outclass multi-cellular organism in terms of ‘reproductive success’ and ‘mutational firepower’), would be fittest to survive in the dog eat dog world where blind pitiless evolution ruled and only the fittest are allowed to survive. The logic of this is nicely summed up here in this following Richard Dawkins’ video:

    Richard Dawkins interview with a ‘Darwinian’ physician goes off track – video
    Excerpt: “I am amazed, Richard, that what we call metazoans, multi-celled organisms, have actually been able to evolve, and the reason [for amazement] is that bacteria and viruses replicate so quickly — a few hours sometimes, they can reproduce themselves — that they can evolve very, very quickly. And we’re stuck with twenty years at least between generations. How is it that we resist infection when they can evolve so quickly to find ways around our defenses?”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62031.html

    In other words, since successful reproduction is all that really matters on a neo-Darwinian view of things, how can anything but successful, and highly efficient reproduction, be realistically ‘selected’ for? Darwin himself stated, “every single organic being around us may be said to be striving to the utmost to increase in numbers;”

    “every single organic being around us may be said to be striving to the utmost to increase in numbers;”
    – Charles Darwin – Origin of Species – pg. 66

    The logic behind natural selection is nicely and simply illustrated on the following graph:

    The Logic of Natural Selection – graph
    http://recticulatedgiraffe.wee.....35.jpg?308

    As you can see from the preceding graph, any other function besides successful reproduction, such as much slower sexual reproduction, sight, hearing, abstract thinking, and especially altruistic behavior (i.e. the ‘strong’ taking care of the ‘weak’), would be highly superfluous to the primary criteria of successful reproduction, and should, on a Darwinian view, be discarded, and/or ‘eaten’, by bacteria, and/or viruses, as so much excess baggage since it obviously would slow down successful reproduction.

    Yet, contrary to this central ‘anti-moral ‘survival of the fittest’ assumption of Darwinian evolution, instead of eating us, time after time we find micro-organisms helping each other, and us, in ways that have nothing to with their own ‘survival of the fittest’’ concerns.

    The following researchers, since it directly contradicted Darwinian assumptions, said that they were ‘banging our heads against the wall’ by the mutual cooperation that they had found among bacteria.

    Doubting Darwin: Algae Findings Surprise Scientists – April 28, 2014
    Excerpt: One of Charles Darwin’s hypotheses posits that closely related species will compete for food and other resources more strongly with one another than with distant relatives, because they occupy similar ecological niches. Most biologists long have accepted this to be true.
    Thus, three researchers were more than a little shaken to find that their experiments on fresh water green algae failed to support Darwin’s theory — at least in one case.
    “It was completely unexpected,” says Bradley Cardinale, associate professor in the University of Michigan’s school of natural resources & environment. “When we saw the results, we said ‘this can’t be.”‘ We sat there banging our heads against the wall. Darwin’s hypothesis has been with us for so long, how can it not be right?”
    The researchers ,,,— were so uncomfortable with their results that they spent the next several months trying to disprove their own work. But the research held up.,,,
    The scientists did not set out to disprove Darwin, but, in fact, to learn more about the genetic and ecological uniqueness of fresh water green algae so they could provide conservationists with useful data for decision-making. “We went into it assuming Darwin to be right, and expecting to come up with some real numbers for conservationists,” Cardinale says. “When we started coming up with numbers that showed he wasn’t right, we were completely baffled.”,,,
    Darwin “was obsessed with competition,” Cardinale says. “He assumed the whole world was composed of species competing with each other, but we found that one-third of the species of algae we studied actually like each other. They don’t grow as well unless you put them with another species. It may be that nature has a heck of a lot more mutualisms than we ever expected.
    “,,, Maybe Darwin’s presumption that the world may be dominated by competition is wrong.”
    http://www.livescience.com/452.....f-bts.html

    And as the following study found, “‘survival of the friendliest’ outweighs ‘survival of the fittest’ for groups of bacteria. Bacteria make space for one another and sacrifice properties if it benefits the bacterial community as a whole.”

    Friendly bacteria collaborate to survive – 10 October 2019
    Excerpt: New microbial research at the University of Copenhagen suggests that ‘survival of the friendliest’ outweighs ‘survival of the fittest’ for groups of bacteria. Bacteria make space for one another and sacrifice properties if it benefits the bacterial community as a whole. The discovery is a major step towards understanding complex bacteria interactions and the development of new treatment models for a wide range of human diseases and new green technologies.
    – per news

    Again, this is directly contrary to Charles Darwin’s central ‘anti-moral’ assumption of “let the strongest live and the weakest die.”

    “One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.”
    – Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species

    Moreover, and again directly contrary to Darwinian assumptions, we find that bacteria are also directly helping us in essential ways that have nothing to do with their own ‘survival of the fittest’ concerns.

    NIH Human Microbiome Project defines normal bacterial makeup of the body – June 13, 2012
    Excerpt: Microbes inhabit just about every part of the human body, living on the skin, in the gut, and up the nose. Sometimes they cause sickness, but most of the time, microorganisms live in harmony with their human hosts, providing vital functions essential for human survival.
    – per nit

    We are living in a bacterial world, and it’s impacting us more than previously thought – February 15, 2013
    Excerpt: We often associate bacteria with disease-causing “germs” or pathogens, and bacteria are responsible for many diseases, such as tuberculosis, bubonic plague, and MRSA infections. But bacteria do many good things, too, and the recent research underlines the fact that animal life would not be the same without them.,,,
    I am,, convinced that the number of beneficial microbes, even very necessary microbes, is much, much greater than the number of pathogens.”
    – per physorg

    In fact, directly contrary to Darwinian presuppositions, bacteria are now also known to transform the entire ecosystem of the earth for the apparent benefit of multicellular organism.

    As Paul G. Falkowski states, “Microbial life can easily live without us; we, however, cannot survive without the global catalysis and environmental transformations it provides.”

    The Microbial Engines That Drive Earth’s Biogeochemical Cycles – Paul G. Falkowski – 2008
    Excerpt: Microbial life can easily live without us; we, however, cannot survive without the global catalysis and environmental transformations it provides.
    http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/v.....8;type=pdf
    – Paul G. Falkowski is Professor Geological Sciences at Rutgers

    Likewise, contrary to popular opinion, viruses are also found to be essential to the ecosystem. As the following article states, “Viruses aren’t our enemies,” Dr. Suttle said. “Certain nasty viruses can make you sick, but it’s important to recognize that viruses and other microbes out there are absolutely integral for the ecosystem.”

    Trillions Upon Trillions of Viruses Fall From the Sky Each Day – Jim Robbins – April 13, 2018
    Excerpt: Whatever the case, viruses are the most abundant entities on the planet by far. While Dr. Suttle’s team found hundreds of millions of viruses in a square meter, they counted tens of millions of bacteria in the same space.
    Mostly thought of as infectious agents, viruses are much more than that. It’s hard to overstate the central role that viruses play in the world: They’re essential to everything from our immune system to our gut microbiome, to the ecosystems on land and sea, to climate regulation,,,. Viruses contain a vast diverse array of unknown genes — and spread them to other species.,,,
    In laboratory experiments, he has filtered viruses out of seawater but left their prey, bacteria. When that happens, plankton in the water stop growing. That’s because when preying viruses infect and take out one species of microbe — they are very specific predators — they liberate nutrients in them, such as nitrogen, that feed other species of bacteria.,,,
    Viruses help keep ecosystems in balance by changing the composition of microbial communities. As toxic algae blooms spread in the ocean, for example, they are brought to heel by a virus that attacks the algae and causes it to explode and die, ending the outbreak in as little as a day.,,,
    The beneficial effects of viruses are much less known, especially among plants. “There are huge questions in wild systems about what viruses are doing there,” said Marilyn Roossinck, who studies viral ecology in plants at Pennsylvania State University. “We have never found deleterious effects from a virus in the wild.”
    A grass found in the high-temperature soils of Yellowstone’s geothermal areas, for example, needs a fungus to grow in the extreme environment. In turn, the fungus needs a virus.,,,
    Tiny spots of virus on the plant that yields quinoa is also important for the plant’s survival. “Little spots of virus confer drought tolerance but don’t cause disease,” she said. “It changes the whole plant physiology.”
    “Viruses aren’t our enemies,” Dr. Suttle said. “Certain nasty viruses can make you sick, but it’s important to recognize that viruses and other microbes out there are absolutely integral for the ecosystem.”
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/13/science/virosphere-evolution.html

    Viruses: You’ve heard the bad; here’s the good – April 30, 2015
    Excerpt: “The word, virus, connotes morbidity and mortality, but that bad reputation is not universally deserved,” said Marilyn Roossinck, PhD, Professor of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology and Biology at the Pennsylvania State University, University Park. “Viruses, like bacteria, can be important beneficial microbes in human health and in agriculture,” she said.
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150430170750.htm

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, Charles Darwin himself offered this following ‘anti-altruism’ standard as a falsification criteria for his theory, “Natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in any one species exclusively for the good of another species”… and even stated that “If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection.”

    “Natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in any one species exclusively for the good of another species; though throughout nature one species incessantly takes advantage of, and profits by, the structure of another. But natural selection can and does often produce structures for the direct injury of other species, as we see in the fang of the adder, and in the ovipositor of the ichneumon, by which its eggs are deposited in the living bodies of other insects. If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection.”
    – Charles Darwin – Origin of Species

    And yet, directly contrary to Darwin’s claim that “Natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in any one species exclusively for the good of another species” or it would annihilate his theory, it is now known that ” “in thousands of plant species often entirely new organs have been formed for the exclusive good of more than 132,930 other species, these ‘ugly facts’ have annihilated Darwin’s theory as well as the modern versions of it.”

    Plant Galls and Evolution
    How More than Twelve Thousand1 Ugly Facts are Slaying a Beautiful Hypothesis: Darwinism2
    Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig – 7 September 2017
    Excerpt: in the case of the galls, in thousands of plant species often entirely new organs have been formed for the exclusive good of more than 132,930 other species, these ‘ugly facts’ have annihilated Darwin’s theory as well as the modern versions of it. The galls are not ‘useful to the possessor’, the plants. There is no space for these phenomena in the world of “the selfish gene” (Dawkins). Moreover, the same conclusion appears to be true for thousands of angiosperm species producing deceptive flowers (in contrast to gall formations, now for the exclusive good of the plant species) – a topic which should be carefully treated in another paper.
    http://www.weloennig.de/PlantGalls.pdf

    Moreover, to dive a little bit deeper into the molecular level, the falsification of the ‘survival of the fittest’, i.e. ‘selfish’ thinking occurs at the molecular level too.

    Richard Dawkins’ ‘selfish gene’ concept is more of less directly based on Darwin’s own ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking about competition. Yet genes are now found to be anything but selfish. Instead of being ‘selfish’, genes are now found to be exist in a holistic web of mutual interdependence and cooperation (which is the very antithesis of selfishness).

    What If (Almost) Every Gene Affects (Almost) Everything? – JUN 16, 2017
    Excerpt: If you told a modern geneticist that a complex trait—whether a physical characteristic like height or weight, or the risk of a disease like cancer or schizophrenia—was the work of just 15 genes, they’d probably laugh. It’s now thought that such traits are the work of thousands of genetic variants, working in concert. The vast majority of them have only tiny effects, but together, they can dramatically shape our bodies and our health. They’re weak individually, but powerful en masse.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/06/its-like-all-connected-man/530532/

    Theory Suggests That All Genes Affect Every Complex Trait – June 20, 2018
    Excerpt: Mutations of a single gene are behind sickle cell anemia, for instance, and mutations in another are behind cystic fibrosis.
    But unfortunately for those who like things simple, these conditions are the exceptions. The roots of many traits, from how tall you are to your susceptibility to schizophrenia, are far more tangled. In fact, they may be so complex that almost the entire genome may be involved in some way,,,
    One very early genetic mapping study in 1999 suggested that “a large number of loci (perhaps > than 15)” might contribute to autism risk, recalled Jonathan Pritchard, now a geneticist at Stanford University. “That’s a lot!” he remembered thinking when the paper came out.
    Over the years, however, what scientists might consider “a lot” in this context has quietly inflated. Last June, Pritchard and his Stanford colleagues Evan Boyle and Yang Li (now at the University of Chicago) published a paper about this in Cell that immediately sparked controversy, although it also had many people nodding in cautious agreement. The authors described what they called the “omnigenic” model of complex traits. Drawing on GWAS analyses of three diseases, they concluded that in the cell types that are relevant to a disease, it appears that not 15, not 100, but essentially all genes contribute to the condition. The authors suggested that for some traits, “multiple” loci could mean more than 100,000.
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/omnigenic-model-suggests-that-all-genes-affect-every-complex-trait-20180620/

    Gene Pleiotropy Roadblocks Evolution by Jeffrey P. Tomkins, Ph.D. – Dec. 8, 2016
    Excerpt: Before the advent of modern molecular biology, scientists defined a gene as a single unit of inheritance. If a gene was found to influence multiple externally visible traits, it was said to be pleiotropic—a term first used in 1910.2 During this early period of genetic discovery, pleiotropy was considered to be quite rare because scientists assumed most genes only possessed a single function—a simplistic idea that remained popular throughout most of the 20th century. However, as our understanding of genetics grew through DNA science, it became clear that genes operate in complex interconnected networks. Furthermore, individual genes produce multiple variants of end products with different effects through a variety of intricate mechanisms.2,3 Taken together, these discoveries show that pleiotropy is a common feature of nearly every gene.,,,
    The pleiotropy evolution problem is widely known among secular geneticists, but rarely discussed in the popular media. In this new research report, the authors state, “Many studies have provided evidence for the ability of pleiotropy to constrain gene evolution.”,,,
    “Our study provided supportive evidence that pleiotropy constraints the evolution of transcription factors (Tfs).”,,,
    The authors state, “We showed that highly pleiotropic genes are more likely to be associated with a disease phenotype.”,,,
    http://www.icr.org/article/9747

    Such ‘holistic cooperation’ between genes is, needless to say, the exact polar opposite of genes being ‘selfish’ as Dawkins had falsely envisioned. (And should, if Darwinism were a normal science instead of being basically a religion for atheists, count as another direct falsification of the theory).

    In fact on top of genes existing in a holistic web of mutual cooperation, the genetic responses of humans are also designed in a very sophisticated way so as to differentiate between hedonistic (selfish) and ‘noble’ (altruistic) moral happiness:

    Human Cells Respond in Healthy, Unhealthy Ways to Different Kinds of Happiness – July 29, 2013
    Excerpt: Human bodies recognize at the molecular level that not all happiness is created equal, responding in ways that can help or hinder physical health,,,
    The sense of well-being derived from “a noble purpose” may provide cellular health benefits, whereas “simple self-gratification” may have negative effects, despite an overall perceived sense of happiness, researchers found.,,,
    But if all happiness is created equal, and equally opposite to ill-being, then patterns of gene expression should be the same regardless of hedonic or eudaimonic well-being. Not so, found the researchers.
    Eudaimonic well-being was, indeed, associated with a significant decrease in the stress-related CTRA gene expression profile. In contrast, hedonic well-being was associated with a significant increase in the CTRA profile. Their genomics-based analyses, the authors reported, reveal the hidden costs of purely hedonic well-being.,,
    “We can make ourselves happy through simple pleasures, but those ‘empty calories’ don’t help us broaden our awareness or build our capacity in ways that benefit us physically,” she said. “At the cellular level, our bodies appear to respond better to a different kind of well-being, one based on a sense of connectedness and purpose.”
    – per science daily

    That the genetic responses of humans are designed in a very sophisticated way so as to differentiate between hedonistic (selfish) and ‘noble’ (altruistic) moral happiness is very interesting since Darwinian evolution cannot even explain the origin of a single gene and/or protein, much less can it explain how it is possible for highly integrated gene networks to produce such morally nuanced responses between hedonism and altruism.

    Stephen Meyer (and Doug Axe) Critique Richard Dawkins’s “Mount Improbable” Illustration
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rgainpMXa8

    Moreover on top of all that, (as if that was not already completely devastating to Darwinian evolution already), if anything ever went against Charles Darwin’s claim that “Natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in any one species exclusively for the good of another species”, it is the notion that a single cell can somehow became tens of trillions of cells that cooperate “exclusively for the good of other cells” in a single organism for the singular purpose of keeping that single organism alive.

    To claim that one cell transforming into the tens of trillions cells, (of extremely cooperative, even extremely altruistic, cells that make up our ONE human body), is anything less than a miracle is either sheer arrogance and/or profound and willful ignorance. (Or perhaps a mixture of both)

    One Body – animation – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDMLq6eqEM4

    As Jay Homnick put it, “Once you allow the intellect to consider that an elaborate organism with trillions of microscopic interactive components can be an accident… you have essentially “lost your mind.”

    “It is not enough to say that design is a more likely scenario to explain a world full of well-designed things. It strikes me as urgent to insist that you not allow your mind to surrender the absolute clarity that all complex and magnificent things were made that way. Once you allow the intellect to consider that an elaborate organism with trillions of microscopic interactive components can be an accident… you have essentially “lost your mind.”
    – Jay Homnick – American Spectator – 2005

    Thus in conclusion, as far as the science itself is concerned, the ‘ANTI-morality’ inherent in Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ theory is falsified on many different levels. Indeed life itself simply would not even be possible without extensive altruistic behavior being present at the molecular level of biology.

    And thus the Christian can rest assured that we do indeed live in, as Dr. Martin Luther King put it, “a moral universe, and that there are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws.”

    “The first principle of value that we need to rediscover is this: that all reality hinges on moral foundations. In other words, that this is a moral universe, and that there are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws.”
    – Martin Luther King Jr., A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Verse:

    Matthew 22:36-40
    “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
    Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

  23. 23
    Silver Asiatic says:

    The foundation of objective moral law is truth-telling.
    Truth vs falsehood – and the moral commitment to tell the truth is at the heart of it.’
    In your conscience, you have to tell the truth to yourself – you have to accept the truth about your own actions.
    Truth is the foundation of rationality and logic also – objective, not a subjective matter of opinion.

  24. 24
    jerry says:

    Is it absolute or objective that the sun will rise tomorrow in the East? Or is it both? What is the difference?

    I know in reality that the Earth is rotating so it just appears the sun is rising.

  25. 25
    bornagain77 says:

    as to: “I know in reality that the Earth is rotating”

    Yet, as the late Stephen Hawking himself explained, ‘our observations of the heavens can be explained by assuming either the earth or the sun to be at rest.,,, the real advantage of the Copernican system is simply that the equations of motion are much simpler in the frame of reference in which the sun is at rest.’

    “So which is real, the Ptolemaic or Copernican system? Although it is not uncommon for people to say that Copernicus proved Ptolemy wrong, that is not true. As in the case of our normal view versus that of the goldfish, one can use either picture as a model of the universe, for our observations of the heavens can be explained by assuming either the earth or the sun to be at rest.
    Despite its role in philosophical debates over the nature of our universe, the real advantage of the Copernican system is simply that the equations of motion are much simpler in the frame of reference in which the sun is at rest.”
    Stephen Hawking – The Grand Design – pages 39 – 2010

    And as George Ellis, (a former close colleague of Hawking), stated, “I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations… You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds…”

    “People need to be aware that there is a range of models that could explain the observations… For instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations… You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds… What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that.”
    – George Ellis – W. Wayt Gibbs, “Profile: George F. R. Ellis,” Scientific American, October 1995, Vol. 273, No.4, p. 55

    And as Fred Hoyle, who discovered stellar nucleosynthesis, himself stated, “Today we cannot say that the Copernican theory is ‘right’ and the Ptolemaic theory ‘wrong’ in any meaningful physical sense.”

    “The relation of the two pictures [geocentrism and geokineticism] is reduced to a mere coordinate transformation and it is the main tenet of the Einstein theory that any two ways of looking at the world which are related to each other by a coordinate transformation are entirely equivalent from a physical point of view…. Today we cannot say that the Copernican theory is ‘right’ and the Ptolemaic theory ‘wrong’ in any meaningful physical sense.”
    – Hoyle, Fred. Nicolaus Copernicus. London: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd., 1973.

    And even as the man himself, Albert Einstein, stated, The two sentences: “the sun is at rest and the earth moves” or “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different CS [coordinate systems].”

    “Can we formulate physical laws so that they are valid for all CS [coordinate systems], not only those moving uniformly, but also those moving quite arbitrarily, relative to each other? […] The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS could be used with equal justification. The two sentences: “the sun is at rest and the earth moves” or “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different CS.”
    – Einstein, A. and Infeld, L. (1938) The Evolution of Physics, p.212 (p.248 in original 1938 ed.);

    There simply is no empirical reason to prefer the sun, nor any other place in the universe, as being central in the universe over and above the earth being considered central in the universe, in any model that we may choose to make for the universe.

    As Einstein himself noted,

    “One need not view the existence of such centrifugal forces as originating from the motion of K’ [the Earth]; one could just as well account for them as resulting from the average rotational effect of distant, detectable masses as evidenced in the vicinity of K’ [the Earth], whereby K’ [the Earth] is treated as being at rest.”
    –Albert Einstein, quoted in Hans Thirring, “On the Effect of Distant Rotating Masses in Einstein’s Theory of Gravitation”, Physikalische Zeitschrift 22, 29, 1921

    “If one rotates the shell *relative to the fixed stars* about an axis going through its center, a Coriolis force arises in the interior of the shell, *that is, the plane of a Foucault pendulum is dragged around*”
    –Albert Einstein, cited in “Gravitation”, Misner Thorne and Wheeler pp. 544-545.

    “We can’t feel our motion through space, nor has any physical experiment ever proved that the Earth actually is in motion.,,,
    If all the objects in space were removed save one, then no one could say whether that one remaining object was at rest or hurtling through the void at 100,000 miles per second”
    Historian Lincoln Barnett – “The Universe and Dr. Einstein” – pg 73 (contains a foreword by Albert Einstein)

    In fact, as far as empirical science itself is concerned, in the 4 dimensional spacetime of Einstein’s General Relativity, we find that each 3-Dimensional point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe,,,

    Where is the centre of the universe?:
    Excerpt: There is no centre of the universe! According to the standard theories of cosmology, the universe started with a “Big Bang” about 14 thousand million years ago and has been expanding ever since. Yet there is no centre to the expansion; it is the same everywhere. The Big Bang should not be visualized as an ordinary explosion. The universe is not expanding out from a centre into space; rather, the whole universe is expanding and it is doing so equally at all places, as far as we can tell.
    http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/.....entre.html

    ,,, and since any 3-Dimensional point can be considered central in the expanding 4-Dimensional space time of General Relativity, then, as the following articles make clear, it is now left completely open to whomever is making a model of the universe to decide for themselves what is to be the ‘still center’ of the universe.

    As the following article states, “You can designate some available chunk of matter as a reference point and use it to anchor a coordinate grid. You can, to the chagrin of Santa Barbarans, take Los Angeles as the center of the universe and define every other place with respect to it. In this framework, you can go about your business in blissful ignorance of space’s fundamental inability to demarcate locations.,,”

    How Einstein Revealed the Universe’s Strange “Nonlocality” – George Musser | Oct 20, 2015
    Excerpt: Under most circumstances, we can ignore this nonlocality. You can designate some available chunk of matter as a reference point and use it to anchor a coordinate grid. You can, to the chagrin of Santa Barbarans, take Los Angeles as the center of the universe and define every other place with respect to it. In this framework, you can go about your business in blissful ignorance of space’s fundamental inability to demarcate locations.,,
    In short, Einstein’s theory is nonlocal in a more subtle and insidious way than Newton’s theory of gravity was. Newtonian gravity acted at a distance, but at least it operated within a framework of absolute space. Einsteinian gravity has no such element of wizardry; its effects ripple through the universe at the speed of light. Yet it demolishes the framework, violating locality in what was, for Einstein, its most basic sense: the stipulation that all things have a location. General relativity confounds our intuitive picture of space as a kind of container in which material objects reside and forces us to search for an entirely new conception of place.
    http://www.scientificamerican......locality//

    So although you may know that “in reality that the Earth is rotating”, in ‘reality’ it all depends on whose model of ‘reality’ you are personally accepting as the true model of reality.

  26. 26
    EDTA says:

    Jerry @ 18,
    >But every aspect of our world is sub optimal so literally everything is evil.

    If evil is equated with deviation from purpose, and if our ultimate purpose comes from God, then mere imperfections are not evil. But all sin is evil by this definition. (Evil is a superset of sin, in other words.)

    This definition avoids the above problem of having to consider everything evil because it isn’t optimal in every possible sense.

  27. 27
    Querius says:

    Note that in Genesis 1, which is considered inspired and holy to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and the go-to source of morality and ethics for 54% of the people on earth, we are told that after God finished the creation, He saw that it was “very good.”

    The text doesn’t say perfect or optimal, only “very good.” The equivalent of a “B+” in the U.S. and China, a “6” in the U.K., a 2.0 in Germany, a 13.5 in France, yu in Japan, and so on.

    Now, why would that be?

    -Q

  28. 28
    Origenes on vacation says:

    Silver Asiatic:

    in your conscience, you have to tell the truth to yourself – you have to accept the truth about your own actions.

    Is consciously lying to yourself and consquently convincing yourself of the lie, even possible?

  29. 29
    jerry says:

    If evil is equated with deviation from purpose, and if our ultimate purpose comes from God, then mere imperfections are not evil.

    I haven’t a clue what you are saying.

    I said God created the best of all possible worlds. So what is evil in it?

    I also gave examples. Why is the little girl with a painful brain tumor evil? Why isn’t stubbing your toe evil?

    Remember the OP is about evil and God.

  30. 30
    chuckdarwin says:

    #27: Querius

    [W]e are told that after God finished the creation, He saw that it was “very good.”

    So what is it, the best of all possible worlds or just a very good, but not the best, possible world? Why do Christians have to parse ancient Hebrew myths to try and exonerate their God from his authorship of evil?

    And yet I sinned, O Lord my God, creator and arbiter of all natural things, but arbiter only, not creator, of sin. Confessions, Book I, Section 10

    I have looked high and low through the great Church Doctor’s works trying to find a justification for this exoneration of God. As best as I can determine, it is simply a naked claim…

  31. 31
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Origenes

    Is consciously lying to yourself and consquently convincing yourself of the lie, even possible?

    Exactly – it’s not possible.

  32. 32
    Silver Asiatic says:

    CD

    I have looked high and low through the great Church Doctor’s works trying to find a justification for this exoneration of God. As best as I can determine, it is simply a naked claim…

    The great Doctor built that statement on the teaching from St John: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
    To say that God is the cause of all our sins and moral failings is to claim that we, ourselves, have not sinned ever.
    It’s pretty rare to find someone who says that he’s not guilty of any moral fault.
    But that’s what you end up with if you think that St. Augustine was wrong about God being blamed for our sins and immoral behaviors.
    The truth is within us – we know what we have done. We can hide from it or try to forget and ignore it, but on the question “did you do that?” We know we did or didn’t.

  33. 33
    Seversky says:

    Silver Asiatic/32

    The great Doctor built that statement on the teaching from St John: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us

    If by “sin” you mean behaving in ways of which God disapproves then from whence came the capability for such offensive behavior?

    To say that God is the cause of all our sins and moral failings is to claim that we, ourselves, have not sinned ever.
    It’s pretty rare to find someone who says that he’s not guilty of any moral fault.

    Nothing happens but by His will. If we fall short of moral perfection, whose fault is that?

    Besides why was eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil such a heinous offense that it warranted casting Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden and punishing not just them but also their descendants in perpetuity.? What was wrong with about knowing about good and evil? It would have been nice to get a rationale for why it was forbidden. But, as usual, we don’t get that.

  34. 34
    jerry says:

    So what is it, the best of all possible worlds or just a very good, but not the best, possible world?

    We have no idea what constitutes the best of all possible worlds. My guess a zillion trade offs.

    Maybe producing doubt is a necessity. Faith is meaningless without doubt.

    But postulating there is evil is not a valid criticism of it.

  35. 35
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    If by “sin” you mean behaving in ways of which God disapproves then from whence came the capability for such offensive behavior?

    The capacity for good and evil were created by God as a part of the gift of human freedom – the capability to grow from ignorance to knowledge, the capability to learn how to give of oneself in love – to be humble and repent of evil actions – and ultimately to make up for the evil that other people do (as Jesus did in His redemptive act).
    So, the capability to sin came from God. The choice of sin does not come from Him – that’s on us.

    Nothing happens but by His will. If we fall short of moral perfection, whose fault is that?

    Seems like you were taught standard Protestant theology or even hard-core Calvinism. The doctrine “Nothing happens but by His will” was taken by Calvin will imagine that God is actually forcing “the elect” into heaven, and the non-elect are created to go to Hell. So, God is seen as a deterministic force (pre-determination).
    From the Catholic perspective human beings have been given the power to reject God’s will. They can commit sin and choose a path that conflicts with what God desires. This explains sin and repentance and this explains Jesus’ sacrificial death as a redeeming action for the sins of people.

    Besides why was eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil such a heinous offense that it warranted casting Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden and punishing not just them but also their descendants in perpetuity.?

    The choice of the fruit of the tree was a deliberate choice for evil. That’s the worst of what sin is.
    Since God is the fullness of Good – the most worthy of our attention, honor, love and care — then to do what God wills is to do good. To directly choose against God, is to directly choose against good – and to choose evil. It’s based on self-idolatry, where we choose our own self, instead of God who gave us life and actually suffered to give us grace and freedom. So that’s why it’s a serious sin directly against God and it carries a lot of guilt.

    What was wrong with about knowing about good and evil? It would have been nice to get a rationale for why it was forbidden. But, as usual, we don’t get that.

    First, human life is a gift from our creator. We didn’t make it ourselves – so we are recipients, and have gratitude for the gift of intelligence. Rational intelligence is the highest feature – making us “like God” because we can think of God, think of the greatest things – and our thoughts can actually change the world and change life for people around us for the better. We can pray to God and learn about infinite majesty,beauty, truth, goodness — kind of an overwhelming reality of magnificence and excellence. That’s God’s relationship with us.
    But because in order to show sincerity, commitment and true love of God – human beings were given a test of loyalty. Would we choose the greater good or the lesser good? So, the test or trial was the tree of knowledge.
    Knowing evil, is to choose a “different god” – it is to give love and attention to something unworthy.
    Knowing evil is “knowing how to sin” – it’s a corruption of the purity of soul.
    The term “knowing” also, is not merely an academic knowledge. In the biblical term, “knowing” is closer to “experiencing”. So, committing sin is “knowing evil” by actually doing it. Obviously, that damages the virtue and excellence of a human person – as all sin and evil will do.

    The test of obedience to God – avoiding the knowledge of evil, was the test for Adam and Eve. Their loyalty, gratitude, commitment, integrity was tested. That’s the test for every person – atheist, pagan, Christian, pantheist – everyone. We all have to choose good and resist evil – in this life – and that proves us.

    As for the perpetual punishment on Adam and Eve’s ancestry – that’s from the nature of parentage. As children inherit the good that parents have, they also inherit evil. In this case, the human soul was damaged by sin – the knowledge of evil was retained for all future generations. It’s like “once you commit sin you can’t just pretend that you didn’t”. So, that’s the “tendency to sin” that every human is given. That’s the evil that pervades the earth.
    But that sin can be and is remitted – by sacramental grace and also by repentance and good deeds in life. We can be gradually purified and made better through our life. Sin is the obstacle that we fight against – it does not have to be victorious and it never should be.

  36. 36
    ram says:

    Jerry: define evil

    Two related definitions: harm, suffering. And intentionally causing harm, suffering.

  37. 37
    jerry says:

    Two related definitions: harm, suffering. And intentionally causing harm, suffering.

    So a stubbed toe is evil. How about a mosquito bite?

    This is the unwanted stuff definition.

  38. 38
    ram says:

    Jerry: So a stubbed toe is evil. How about a mosquito bite?

    Yes and yes. But not as evil as raping babies.

    “Morality” pertains to the intentional causing of harm/suffering.

    If a rock falls off a cliff and hits me in the head, I will suffer evil. If someone intentionally throws a rock at my head, I will suffer evil, and the person who did it has performed evil. People who intentionally perform evil as a matter of course, are called “evil persons.”

  39. 39
    jerry says:

    Yes and yes. But not as evil as raping babies.

    So evil is relative. How evil can something get?

    I could just as easily said “So bad stuff is relative.” So how is evil different from bad stuff? Or unwanted stuff?

    I will suffer evil

    So if I have an uncomfortable chair, am I suffering evil? And if someone makes a disparaging comment about another here or anywhere, are they being evil?

    And what has all this to do with God? That’s what the OP is about.

    Aside: all this has been discussed many times before. It always ends up with the person giving up trying to rationally use the term evil. But everyone wants to use the word. It’s not the most frequent word used here because Darwin wins that. But it is up there.

  40. 40
    ram says:

    Jerry: So evil is relative.

    Harm/suffering is relative, so yes.

    How evil can something get?

    I don’t know. I don’t really want to find out.

    I could just as easily said “So bad stuff is relative.” So how is evil different from bad stuff?

    “Bad stuff” is a bit imprecise for me. Harm/suffering nails it.

    So if I have an uncomfortable chair, am I suffering evil?

    Yes, but probably not much.

    And what has all this to do with God? That’s what the OP is about.

    Whether there is a Creator or not, it doesn’t make any sense to me to define “evil” in terms not linked to harm/suffering. And as previously stated, “morality” pertains to intentions and choice of entities with the power to do evil (and good.)

    Aside: all this has been discussed many times before. It always ends up with the person giving up trying to rationally use the term evil. But everyone wants to use the word.

    I have no idea what “evil” could possibily mean outside the context of harm/suffering. Can you provide an example of something you consider “evil” that does not pertain to harm/suffering?

  41. 41
    ram says:

    Takehome: Egnor argues that there is an objective moral law against [raping babies]; Dillahunty argues, no, it is all just human judgment.

    Dillahunty wins this little debate, actually. Because Egnor is, in fact, using his human judgement without establishing why raping babies is “wrong.” No doubt that raping a baby objectively causes great harm/suffering to the baby. The real issue is why should the rapist care that he is causing the suffering.

    Making some claim, “there is an objective morality against this because the Creator doesn’t want you to harm the baby in such a manner!” hardly makes a difference to the rapist who disagrees that your putative morality is “objective.” The rapist cannot “see” this “objective morality”, so how “objective” can it be? Perhaps the rapist’s brain is defective. He cannot “see” what everyone else “sees.”

    That’s about the best Egnor is going to be able to come up with, sans ripping the curtain open and dragging Dillahunty to the foot of the Creator. But maybe what Egnor “sees” is a delusion. And around and around it goes.

    Until the Creator shows up in person, the debate will never end.

    -Ram

  42. 42
    ram says:

    Takehome: Egnor argues that there is an objective moral law against [raping babies]; Dillahunty argues, no, it is all just human judgment.

    To continue, I said Dillahunty won this argument, but only in the sense that Egnor has not established his claim of an objective morality. But Dillahunty is wrong about it being “human judgement.” Yes, Egnor is attempting to argue using reason, but his claim is not actually coming from judgement or reason, but rather from feeling, which, of course, is a subjective source, not an objective one.

    -Ram

  43. 43
    ram says:

    now the 2nd oldest question: If God exists, why evil?

    I don’t know. I’ll ask Her when I see Her.

    But my first impulse given everything I think I know is to answer: because the nature of Reality has a tension between Yin and Yang in eternal stuggle and reconfiguration for each new Game which is about balancing bliss and suffering (good and evil), and finding their equilibrium point within the current Game. At the end of the Game, it’s “ollie ollie oxen free!”, and everything resets for a New Game. Lila. It’s as good an answer as any. [Shrug]

    -Ram

  44. 44
    jerry says:

    outside the context of harm/suffering

    Everything you can point to could be described as harm/suffering for someone. When everything is theoretically an example then it is a useless definition.

    Suppose several people listed everything that they thought was evil. It would be a long list. If you could theoretically eliminate everything on that list, then people would invent things not on that list that they would consider evil.

    If God exists, why evil?

    Because It doesn’t exist. He made the best of all possible worlds.

    But there is just one thing!

  45. 45
    ram says:

    Interesting that your question, “If God exists, why evil?” can be recast as a statement:

    God exists: therefore suffering.

    Or the more complete:

    God exists: therefore bliss and suffering and everything in between.

    -Ram

  46. 46
    ram says:

    Jerry: Everything you can point to could be described as harm/suffering for someone. When everything is theoretically an example then it is a useless definition.

    Are you saying when I am enjoying noodle salad, someone is suffering? Maybe so. But I don’t understand your point. Suffering exists as a range, obviously.

    Suppose several people listed everything that they thought was [suffering.] It would be a long list.

    Okay.

    If you could theoretically eliminate everything on that list, then people would invent things not on that list that they would consider [suffering.]

    People are funny that way. But I don’t understand your point.

    If God exists, why [suffering.]

    Because [suffering] doesn’t exist. He made the best of all possible worlds.

    The way you use “evil” doesn’t really make any sense. Suffering, however, is a reality. (“Evil” is a synonym for suffering/harm/destruction, etc. It’s right there in the dictionary.) So is bliss. And everything in between.

    As for “the best of all possible worlds”, I can think of better worlds than this. I hope to live on one some day. Maybe hop around a few million of the better ones. This world is closer to a prison camp than a World of Bliss. Believe me, the Creator can do better. I believe you’re a Christian. Don’t you expect New Jerusalem to be a much nicer existence than your current world? No toil. No pain. No suffering. All Bliss All the Time. “In my Father’s house, are many rooms.” And all that.

    -Ram

  47. 47
    Querius says:

    Chuckdarwin @30,

    So what is it, the best of all possible worlds or just a very good, but not the best, possible world? Why do Christians have to parse ancient Hebrew myths to try and exonerate their God from his authorship of evil?

    This is a good question. A lot of this sort of thing had its roots in Gnosticism and philosophy. It’s not in the scriptures, but shows up in various books and doctrines and confessions and so on. There’s also a power aspect in our social life and institutions–politics, religion, and relationships that can often be abusive and evil. This is a choice people make as well.

    The scriptures indicate that humans were made “in God’s image.” Animals were not. So, what’s profoundly different in humans from regular animals?

    There are a lot of candidates, but what makes sense to me is having a deep moral and ethical dimension. We’re somehow like God on a small scale. I believe it has to do with free will to make significant choices such as rejecting self-centeredness for self-sacrifice, mercy kindness, and justice.

    The result is the freedom to choose to have a loving relationship with God or to choose to reject God for other priorities.

    Originally, humans were given a mission to rule and care for the planet in a respectful and beneficial way, which we’ve mostly chosen to reject. We see the results all around us!

    When you ask about our “trying to exonerate God from his authorship of evil,” how did you decide that some things are “evil” and by implication other things are “good”?

    I believe that God created only the potential for evil in allowing true free will, such that we’re capable of non-coerced, non-robotic love for our loving Creator. God also provided a way out for us from our failures by somehow wrapping Himself in a human body and dying on our behalf.

    While attitude is the key to success and happiness in life, it’s been suggested that perspective is the key to understanding God.

    -Q

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    Ram, one who dismisses or belittles or evades cases such as sexual assault on a baby as manifest evil, expose themselves; they do not undermine the patent force of such a moral sanity — yes, sanity — yardstick. Regrettably, nowadays, moral insanity is rife. KF

  49. 49
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus,
    Good point.

    It seems that such people are willing to belittle and evade manifest cases of evil for a reason:

    They enjoy the way they’re living and don’t want to feel guilty about it.

    I think it would be more effective if you ask a person how they would honestly react if, for example, someone raped and killed their own mother, wife, child, etc. Revenge flicks are popular for a reason.

    -Q

  50. 50
    ram says:

    KF: Ram, one who dismisses or belittles or evades cases such as sexual assault on a baby as manifest [harm/suffering], expose themselves; they do not undermine the patent force of such a moral sanity — yes, sanity — yardstick. Regrettably, nowadays, moral insanity is rife.

    My brain agrees with your sentiment. But not because there is “some force out there” called “evil.” Evil is harm/suffering, and people who intentionally cause harm/suffering to others are “evil persons”, by definition, and should be suppressed. That most people agree (but can disagree on some particulars, such as going to war), is a solid basis for society, in my opinion. Humans should not ignore their natural revulsion to the causing of harm/suffering to others.

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