Intelligent Design

Killing Innocent Children: Yes or No?

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To all of our materialist friends who say that morality is subjective and determined by society:

John Davidson brings this to our attention:

A post at Get Religion caught my eye yesterday with the title, “Should Amazon tribes be allowed to kill their young? Foreign Policy editors aren’t sure.” It linked to a story in Foreign Policy magazine from April 9 about a handful of indigenous tribes in Brazil that engage in the ritual killing of infants and children—namely, those with a disability, twins, and the children of single mothers, all of whom are considered to be a bad omen—and the legal efforts underway to end the practice.

Now, our subjectivist friends have argued repeatedly that morality is determined by society.  These tribes have determined that killing innocent children is an affirmatively good thing.  I assume you agree that — for these tribes at least — killing innocent children is indeed an affirmatively good thing.  If that is not what you think, please explain why.

90 Replies to “Killing Innocent Children: Yes or No?

  1. 1
    Barry Arrington says:

    When told of a Sati (burning widow alive at her husband’s funeral) was about to take place, Charles Napier informed those involved that he would stop the sacrifice. The priests complained to him that this was a customary religious rite, and that customs of a nation should be respected. Napier replied:

    Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.

    Modern “progressives” would say Napier was wrong to stop this important cultural practice. Modern progressives are morally bankrupt idiots.

  2. 2
    aarceng says:

    Killing of innocent children should only be allowed for the mother and only during the first 9 months of the child’s life.

  3. 3
    Bob O'H says:

    I assume you agree that — for these tribes at least — killing innocent children is indeed an affirmatively good thing.

    Well, the preceding sentence was

    These tribes have determined that killing innocent children is an affirmatively good thing.

    so it is a bit of a no-brainer.

  4. 4
    News says:

    In Canada and Europe, there is now pressure to extend the practice to the killing of children and others who cannot give consent. Once the basic premise is granted, it is not stoppable and – in truth – the post-modern progressive is fine with it. Humans are morally equivalent to animals anyway, in his view.

  5. 5
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob @ 3.

    At least you are intellectually consistent. A moral monster. But consistent.

  6. 6
    eddified says:

    @Bob O’H do you also agree with the Saudis then that homosexual sex is wrong in the Saudi Arabian society, punishable by extreme measures including death? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Saudi_Arabia

  7. 7
    asauber says:

    a no-brainer

    Happens invariably for Bob O’H.

    Andrew

  8. 8
    jdk says:

    You misread Bob, Barry. Re-read 3: Bob is stating that yes indeed these tribes consider it a good thing, because that is what the article said. Bob was not stating his own view.

    Your strong antagonisms distort your thinking, sometimes, I think.

  9. 9
    Barry Arrington says:

    jdk @ 8:

    Yes, I am strongly antagonistic against people like who-am-I-to-say-the Nazis-were-objectively-wrong Bob, who are soft on the Holocaust.

    Besides you are wrong. Here is the question again. Read it carefully:

    I assume you agree that — for these tribes at least — killing innocent children is indeed an affirmatively good thing.

    Bob answered “yes.” That means that he agrees that for these tribes at least killing innocent children is indeed an affirmatively good thing.

    The question is not what the tribes think. As you said, what the tribes think was stated in the post. What would be the purpose of asking it? The question is — given what the tribes think — are they correct.

    JDK, this is all obvious to anyone who gave the post and Bob’s response half a second’s thought. But thinking is hard and half a second is a long time. I understand why you avoided it.

    Or it might be that you really believe that Bob is saying something like: “The post says the tribes think killing children is good. Therefore, I agree the tribes think killing children is good.” If that is what you are saying, you are just gobsmackingly stupid. Of course the post says what it says. Does anyone else think I was asking Bob whether he agrees that the post says what it says?

  10. 10
    Barry Arrington says:

    eddified @ 6:

    Good question.

    What say you Bob? Is killing homosexuals in Saudi Arabia a good thing? The Saudis think so. Are they objectively wrong?

  11. 11
    Barry Arrington says:

    JDK,

    Are you going to answer the question in the OP?

  12. 12
    jdk says:

    No.

  13. 13
    Barry Arrington says:

    JDK @ 12:

    “No.”

    I don’t blame you. The cognitive dissonance of holding a metaphysic that sanctions the killing of innocent little children must be overwhelming sometimes. Best to avoid thinking about it.

    Prediction: JDK will attempt to divert the discussion from what is happening right now today to his distorted and uninformed view about stories from Canaan 3,500 years ago.

  14. 14
    jdk says:

    I’m tired of these arguments, and have no interest in relating to you, given what I consider your flaws as a interlocutor.

    And I have never been a part of any discussion about Canaan 3,500 years ago: I have no idea what that remark is about.

    But maybe I’m lying about that: you never can trust a liar, can you, Barry?

  15. 15
    Barry Arrington says:

    JDK:

    I’m tired of these arguments,

    Yet, here you are. So it is my flaws that keep you from defending your position that killing children is OK as long as everyone agrees with you? OK.

  16. 16
    chris haynes says:

    Christian morality holds that it is always evil to willfully kill an innocent human being.

    But you don’t need to go to tribes in the Amazon jungle to find those who disagree. Look at the elite in America, Europe, indeed all advanced countries.

    They’ve decreed that it is okay to kill innocent and defenseless humans, and so we do. In America, its a million every year. In that ballpark.

    And genocide is back, thanks to our elite. In America, we kill 70% of our Downs syndrome population, before they can even breathe. In especially barbaric regions like Scandinavia, its over 95%. In Iceland genocide is totally successful, with all of Downs Syndrome children being killed. Wouldn’t the Fuhrer be jealous!

  17. 17
    Allan Keith says:

    Killing children in the Amazon, killing homosexuals in Saudi, aborting Down’s fetuses, doctor assisted suicide. If you guys are arguing for the existence of objective morality, why do you keep providing examples of subjectively derived moral values? Seems rather counter-productive to me.

  18. 18
    Mung says:

    I don’t know any innocent children.

  19. 19
    Mung says:

    But maybe I’m lying about that: you never can trust a liar, can you, Barry?

    You can trust them to lie.

  20. 20
    Mung says:

    Allan Keith:

    Seems rather counter-productive to me.

    So? Is that objectively bad?

  21. 21
    Barry Arrington says:

    Allan Keith,

    I am certain I am not the only one who noticed that you dodged instead of answering the question in the OP. I will ask it again:

    I assume you agree that — for these tribes at least — killing innocent children is indeed an affirmatively good thing. If that is not what you think, please explain why.

  22. 22
    Allan Keith says:

    I am certain I am not the only one who noticed that you dodged instead of answering the question in the OP.

    I don’t know if killing babies of single mothers, defective babies and twins is good for the tribe. Only they can answer that.

  23. 23
    Allan Keith says:

    Mung,

    So? Is that objectively bad?

    No. But thank you for asking.

  24. 24
    Barry Arrington says:

    Allan Keith

    I don’t know if killing babies of single mothers . . . is good . . .

    Allow me to clue you in Allan. Killing a baby for no other reason than that its mother is unmarried is evil. You know that. When you say you do not, you lie.

  25. 25
    Barry Arrington says:

    Allan Keith when your metaphysical commitments drive you to tell monstrous lies (“I don’t know if murdering babies is good”), perhaps you should reexamine your metaphysics. I doubt you will.

  26. 26
    Barry Arrington says:

    Prediction: Allan Keith will deny saying what he said and proceed to try to split linguistic hairs.

  27. 27
    LarTanner says:

    Hmmm…

    Killing a baby for no other reason than that its mother is unmarried is evil.

    This seems to suggest that there are some reasons that justify killing a baby, or that there is a certain minimum number of reasons after which killing a baby is not evil.

    Please explain.

  28. 28
    Barry Arrington says:

    LarTanner.

    “This seems to suggest that there are some reasons that justify killing a baby. . . Please explain.”

    The explanation is quite simple. You misinterpreted the comment. Lar, do you have an answer for the question in the OP?

  29. 29
    LarTanner says:

    So…killing a baby is evil. Period. Full-stop. For any reason. In all times and places. No matter which intelligent agent causes the death.

    Correct?

  30. 30
    Barry Arrington says:

    LarTanner @ 29:

    That is the question we are exploring isn’t it. I notice you continue to dodge the question in the OP. Are you going to answer it?

  31. 31
    kairosfocus says:

    CH, per Guttmacher figures used by UN, the global rate is about 1 million members of living posterity in the womb killed per week. A simple growth model with a conservative let-off, makes that 800+ millions in 40+ years. That is where we are. KF

  32. 32
    Allan Keith says:

    Are there different levels of evil? Is it more evil to kill a baby than it is to kill an adult? Were the guards who held the guns in the camps more evil than the prisoners who escorted the children into the gas chambers? Were the senior Nazi officers who commanded at the camps more evil than the foot soldiers who manned the camp? Were Himmler and Hitler, who conceived of the plan and ordered that it be carried out more evil than the commandants?

  33. 33
    bb says:

    AK,

    Is it more evil to kill a baby than it is to kill an adult?

    This is purely hypothetical, so don’t take my question to mean that anyone here wishes it….but is there any acceptable reason, within any culture, for someone to kill you? As you are now. No hypothetical crimes or offenses imagined.

    edited

  34. 34
    Barry Arrington says:

    Allan Keith at 32:

    What an absurd question coming from someone who is fuzzy on whether murdering babies is evil. Yes, there are different levels of evil. Murdering babies is more evil than jay walking.

  35. 35
    bb says:

    Bob ‘Oh,

    I ask you the same question that I asked Allan Keith @ 33.

  36. 36
    Allan Keith says:

    Barry,

    Yes, there are different levels of evil. Murdering babies is more evil than jay walking.

    What an absurd answer. I asked if there are levels of evil. Do you honestly believe that jay walking is evil? Why not stick with my example. With the issue of killing children, who is more evil, the German guard in the camp, the camp commander or Hitler? Or are they equally evil?

  37. 37
    Allan Keith says:

    B.B.,

    This is purely hypothetical, so don’t take my question to mean that anyone here wishes it….but is there any acceptable reason, within any culture, for someone to kill you? As you are now. No hypothetical crimes or offenses imagined.

    Yes.

  38. 38
    bb says:

    AK,

    What reason could that be?

  39. 39
    bornagain77 says:

    Allan Keith, to more easily visualize bb’s question to you, here is a video that helps get his point across more clearly:

    Cruel Logic: (The Original Short Film)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noP4it-QLBE

    If you watched the video, is your answer to bb’s question still yes?

  40. 40
    StephenB says:

    Allan Keith:

    Are there different levels of evil? Is it more evil to kill a baby than it is to kill an adult? Were the guards who held the guns in the camps more evil than the prisoners who escorted the children into the gas chambers? Were the senior Nazi officers who commanded at the camps more evil than the foot soldiers who manned the camp? Were Himmler and Hitler, who conceived of the plan and ordered that it be carried out more evil than the commandants?”

    Because this seems like a sincere question, I will provide the answer for you. The moral issue is not simply about what one is doing. It’s also about the why.

    When the abortionist kills a fetus on purpose, he does so because he (and someone else) wants that human being dead. That act is evil. When a doctor incidentally (not purposefully) kills a baby in the process of saving the mother’s life, that act is not evil because the purpose of the act is not to kill.

    So apply the same principle to the Nazi’s. Why were they killing their victims. The obvious answer is because they wanted the victims dead. Thus, the act was evil. To answer your other question, an abortion of an unborn child is no less evil than the murder of a member of a certain ethnic group.

    Does evil come in degrees? Of course. It is obvious to any rational person that it is more evil to plan a murder and carry it out than to kill in a fit of anger, Both are evil, but the former is more evil than the other. That is why the law makes the distinction between first degree murder and second degree murder. And yes, the Nazi leaders were more evil than their followers because those in authority have a greater obligation to get it right.

    The natural moral law makes all these points clear. Do you understand better now why the subjectivist position reflects such a deep level of intellectual poverty?

  41. 41
    Allan Keith says:

    StephenB,

    And yes, the Nazi leaders were more evil than their followers because those in authority have a greater obligation to get it right.

    Thank you for responding honestly and sincerely and not saying something stupid like ‘killing babies is mor evil than jay walkers’.

    So, you agree that the degree of evil, and whether it is evil, is dependent on circumstances. Killing someone to protect yourself and your family is terrible, but it is not evil.

    But if you will permit a follow-up. Is evil also dependent on intention? If I do something with all of the best intentions, but have terrible consequences, am I evil, or just misguided? Stupid?

  42. 42
    StephenB says:

    So, you agree that the degree of evil, and whether it is evil, is dependent on circumstances. Killing someone to protect yourself and your family is terrible, but it is not evil.

    Some acts are evil depending on the circumsttances, but other acts are intreinsically evil. In anyc case, self defesne, as you say, is not evil one s- as long as the force used does not exceed what is necessary to stop the aggressor. The one who is in the act of self defense should be given much lattitude on this point since it is extremely diffcult to make that calculation in a split second.

    But if you will permit a follow-up. Is evil also dependent on intention? If I do something with all of the best intentions, but have terrible consequences, am I evil, or just misguided? Stupid?

    This problem is more complicated than it sounds. Could you have reasonably been expected to know that the consequences would be bad, and if so, was your ignorance the result of neglect. If the answers to both questions is no, which is usually the case, then it is not an evil act, even though it might produce an evil effect,

  43. 43
    harry says:

    Atheism’s subjective “morality” has significant ramifications for society. In the last 100 years militantly atheistic, leftist regimes have murdered well over 100 million innocent, unarmed people (Lenin’s Bolsheviks seized control of Russia in 1917).

    The contemporary atheistic left ferociously defends the “legal” murder of babies who are older and more viable than babies routinely cared for in hospital newborn intensive care units.

    They aggressively fight parental consent laws so they can exploit your frightened, desperate teenage daughter – even though she is a minor – convincing her that the only solution to her unplanned pregnancy is abortion – and that Mom and Dad never need to know about it. In other words, total strangers counsel your daughter to get an abortion, and often help arrange it for her, and it is just too bad for you if you consider that the murder of your grandchild. And if the abortion is botched, as sometimes happens, and your daughter loses her life, too, again – that is just too bad for you.

    The godless left thinks that they know best and that you are so incompetent that you are better off letting them run your life and the lives of your children.

    So, exactly why is the godless left so arrogant and murderous? Atheism provides no intellectual foundation for morality or for inalienable human rights. It’s all about the survival of the fittest and the superior (which the godless left believes is them, of course) and nothing more.

    For the atheist there are no inalienable, God-given rights, such as the right to life. Atheism provides no moral restrictions on the left’s behavior. The rest of us work within ethical boundaries in our pursuit of our political goals. There are no such boundaries for the atheistic left – which is exactly why they always murder their political opponents as soon as they think they can get away with it.

    Are America’s godless, militantly atheistic leftists any different from the murderous left of the the last 100 years? Not really. Their ferocious defense of “legal” baby murder is proof of that, as is their desire to disarm the public. The 2nd Amendment is all that keeps them from doing what they ALWAYS do: murder their political opponents.

    It isn’t murder to them, it’s just aggressive eugenics.

  44. 44
    Allan Keith says:

    StephenB,

    This problem is more complicated than it sounds. Could you have reasonably been expected to know that the consequences would be bad, and if so, was your ignorance the result of neglect. If the answers to both questions is no, which is usually the case, then it is not an evil act, even though it might produce an evil effect,

    I think that it is even more complicated. What if the neglect you mention was due to a deeply held belief?

    The example I have in mind is the residential school system in Canada. Just a brief background. Some indigenous people in parts of Canada were reluctant to assimilate into our society, as many thought they should. Add to this the very high infant mortality rates for many indigenous communities. Our government, thinking they were improving the lives of our indigenous people’s adopted a policy of removing children from their families and giving them to the church for their education and rearing. “Take the Indian out of the Indian” was the goal. In hindsight, we now know that we did more harm that good. But were the people who imposed these policies evil? Their decisions certainly were neglectful. But evil?

  45. 45
    StephenB says:

    AK: Yes, the story you tell is very complicated. Offhand, I can think of at least a dozen preliminary questions, the answers to which would influence my judgment. However, my uninformed instincts prompt me to agree with you. Only the most compelling reasons would justify such governmental intrusion, unless some laws of been broken or some promises had not been kept.

  46. 46
    EDTA says:

    AK @44,

    >“Take the Indian out of the Indian”…

    Shouldn’t those be “Native Canadians”??

  47. 47
    LarTanner says:

    UD Editors: LarTanner refuses to participate in good faith and is in the moderation queue.

  48. 48
    Seversky says:

    Killing Innocent Children: Yes or No?

    Killing anyone without sufficient cause is wrong but isn’t this really more of a Prime Directive-type dilemma? At what point and under what circumstances – if any – is one state or culture justified in interfering in the affairs of another? For example, suppose the Nazis had begun rounding up Jews and implementing the “Final Solution” before the Second World War broke out. Would France or the US or the UK been justified in declaring war and invading Germany on those grounds alone to put a stop to it? Or, less obviously, would the British have been justified in intervening to prevent the Native American peoples being dispossessed of their lands and forced on to reservations against their will by the US government?

  49. 49
    Latemarch says:

    AK@44, EDTA@46

    “Take the Indian out of the Indian” was the goal.

    This was the concept behind the Navajo Indian schools in New Mexico when I was growing up.
    They would have liked integrating them into the public schools (and they tried) but found it difficult because of the language barrier.
    Whether it did more harm than good is still debated. Many Navajo entered and flourished in western society…most did not and are mired in crime and welfare dependence.

  50. 50
    Allan Keith says:

    Latemarch,

    Whether it did more harm than good is still debated.

    I am not familiar with the US attempt. But in Canada, part of the problem was that the government gave the residential schools over to the church.

  51. 51
    Seversky says:

    harry @ 43

    Atheism’s subjective “morality” has significant ramifications for society. In the last 100 years militantly atheistic, leftist regimes have murdered well over 100 million innocent, unarmed people (Lenin’s Bolsheviks seized control of Russia in 1917).

    The communist regimes were avowedly atheistic but they fought and committed their atrocities in the name of their political ideologies rather then their lack of faith.

    And those atheist regimes only came to power in the twentieth century. In the centuries before that, wars were fought between regimes that regarded themselves as religious. Witness the continual bloodletting between Catholic and Protestant following the Reformation, the Crusades against Islam and practically everyone persecuting the Jews at one time or another.

    The contemporary atheistic left ferociously defends the “legal” murder of babies who are older and more viable than babies routinely cared for in hospital newborn intensive care units.

    Some atheists defend abortion, although I don’t, because they see the pro-life movement as not just about preventing the killing of the unborn but also about returning women to the state of subjugation that was their lot (and still is in some cases) at the hands of all the major faiths.

    They aggressively fight parental consent laws so they can exploit your frightened, desperate teenage daughter – even though she is a minor – convincing her that the only solution to her unplanned pregnancy is abortion – and that Mom and Dad never need to know about it.

    Why do you think it was that, in past centuries, desperate girls and women who found themselves with an unwanted pregnancy risked their lives in the seedy and dangerous world of back-street abortionists? It was because they knew that if their condition were discovered, they would be shamed, shunned and exiled by the so-called Christian communities in which they lived. Not the men, mind, just the women. If they weren’t able to get an abortion they could be hidden away in “homes”, forced to carry to term and then the baby could be taken away for adoption. And whatever happened, they would be forever after regarded as “fallen women”, their chances of happy and fulfilling life ruined. And, as before, that was in the centuries before atheist regimes came to power.

    For the atheist there are no inalienable, God-given rights, such as the right to life

    Not “God-given”, no. But why do you need a god to give you those rights or tell you what is right and wrong, moral and immoral? Can’t you work such things out for yourself? How do you think your God decided them? Did He toss a coin or did He work them out rationally? If He worked them out rationally, why can’t you do the same if you’re made in His image?

  52. 52
    Latemarch says:

    AK@49

    But in Canada, part of the problem was that the government gave the residential schools over to the church.

    There were some church run schools but most of them preceded the government schools and were to the best of my knowledge voluntary not government enforced.
    The church schools did about as well as the government schools….not all that well.

    Think of it this way. It was an attempt to bring a stone age culture into the stream of western civilization. Not as easy as first imagined.

    Current government policies of welfare, support of corrupt tribal governments, and enforced lack of property rights continue to be particularly destructive to these people. Those that leave do much better (physically, socially and economically) than those that stay.

  53. 53
    Allan Keith says:

    The problem in Canada was not necessarily the church run schools. After all, we have pubkically funded catholic schools. The difference is that the residential schools were not voluntary. And, according to the church, they are all about family. But the residential schools did everything possible to alienate the native kids from their families.

  54. 54
    Latemarch says:

    AK@53

    School has not been voluntary here in the US for more than a hundred years. Children have to go to some sort of school whether private or public. Ditto for the “Indian” children on the reservation.

    Due to the far flung nature of the reservation it was impossible to bus those children daily. That meant that many of those children were in boarding schools which, whether intended or not, resulted in alienation of the children from their families.

    The boarding schools still exist but are now run by the tribe. Still problems.

  55. 55
    Bob O'H says:

    Barry @ 9 –

    Bob answered “yes.” That means that he agrees that for these tribes at least killing innocent children is indeed an affirmatively good thing.

    I was just following what you had written.

    The question is not what the tribes think. As you said, what the tribes think was stated in the post. What would be the purpose of asking it?

    Indeed. So it’s puzzling why you asked it. My guess is that you phrased the question poorly, and you meant to ask something different. But I don’t want to try to guess what you were trying to ask – I might get it wrong, and then it would be utterly confusing.

    Can you re-phrase the question, so it is not so ambiguous?

  56. 56
    Origenes says:

    Informed judgement includes intention. Bodily acts cannot be judged in isolation.

    IMHO this also goes for “killing innocent children”. Because, how do we judge parents who choose to kill their children in order to spare them from the otherwise inevitable horrors of a death camp?

    “Torturing an infant for pleasure”, as it is often phrased on this forum, is, on the other hand, completely clear, since here act and intention are given.

  57. 57
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob @ 55.

    No, I won’t play “me no speaka the English” with you.

    Everyone knew what the OP was asking. You are lying if you say you did not. I will not reward your lies.

  58. 58
    harry says:

    Seversky @ 51

    The communist regimes were avowedly atheistic but they fought and committed their atrocities in the name of their political ideologies rather then their lack of faith.

    They had a huge, irrational, blind faith in their own opinion about what was right and what was wrong. They were convinced that they had god-like knowledge of good and evil themselves (which is not a very original sin). Their self-confidence even extended to their deciding that it was “good” to kill their political opponents. Atheists are prone to this delusion because they do not believe in a divine authority higher than their own.

    In the centuries before that, wars were fought between regimes that regarded themselves as religious. Witness the continual bloodletting between Catholic and Protestant following the Reformation, the Crusades against Islam and practically everyone persecuting the Jews at one time or another.

    Modern history testifies to the fact that the murderous crimes of atheists in the last 100 years make the sum of the crimes of the religious over 2,000 years look like a petty misdemeanor. You are the naive victim of revisionist history.

    Some atheists defend abortion, although I don’t, because they see the pro-life movement as not just about preventing the killing of the unborn but also about returning women to the state of subjugation that was their lot (and still is in some cases) at the hands of all the major faiths.

    Nature has endowed many higher forms of animal life with an instinct to ferociously defend the young of their own kind. This instinct reached new heights in humanity. For a mother to deliberately and knowingly kill her own child is a violation of human nature, not freedom from subjugation. (I think most women who get abortions have been deceived by the most vicious lies and propaganda promulgated since that of the Nazi effort to dehumanize their victims in the minds of the public. There are some women who are completely aware of the humanity of the child in the womb, but most women who abort, I think, are to a large extent victims along with their child.)

    Why do you think it was that, in past centuries, desperate girls and women who found themselves with an unwanted pregnancy risked their lives in the seedy and dangerous world of back-street abortionists?

    When the SCOTUS abruptly withdrew the protection of law from the child in the womb it just allowed back-alley abortionists to set up shop on main street. See Mark Crutcher’s Lime 5 : Exploited by Choice. Here are some excerpts from its synopsis on Amazon:

    This is Mark Crutcher’s compelling 320-page expose’ of the American abortion industry. … It fully documents that women are being sexually assaulted, mutilated, and killed inside perfectly legal abortion clinics. It also shows how pro-choice groups have used raw political power to fight off regulation of the abortion clinic business.

    One chapter exposes a massive cover-up of abortion clinic disasters being carried out by an agency of the U.S. government. Other subjects include: the medical evidence of a connection between abortion and breast cancer; … the barriers faced by women injured by abortion who seek compensation in the courts and suggestions for solving these problems.

    You went on to say:

    [women] knew that if their condition were discovered, they would be shamed, shunned and exiled by the so-called Christian communities in which they lived. Not the men, mind, just the women. If they weren’t able to get an abortion they could be hidden away in “homes”, forced to carry to term and then the baby could be taken away for adoption. And whatever happened, they would be forever after regarded as “fallen women”, their chances of happy and fulfilling life ruined.

    Wherever that was true, such Christian communities were not living up to the teachings of Christ. The fix wasn’t to pretend murder was “legal” to avoid those problems. The fix was for Christians to love sinners as Christ loved them.

    … why do you need a god to give you those rights or tell you what is right and wrong, moral and immoral? Can’t you work such things out for yourself?

    Again, that isn’t a very original sin. If there is a divine authority above our own then we ought to live according to His revealed standards, not our own. If there is no divine authority, then everyone becomes an authority unto themselves, which is exactly the same as no authority whatsoever. Militant atheists have demonstrated that this approach wreaks havoc upon innocent humanity.

  59. 59
    Allan Keith says:

    Latemarch,

    School has not been voluntary here in the US for more than a hundred years.

    Sorry, I guess I wasn’t clear on my point. I just meant that Catholic school was voluntary because parents can always choose to send their kids to the secular public schools.

    In Canada, the native children were forcibly removed from their families and community and placed in a residential school that was staffed by the church. They were punished if they spoke their native language and had christian teaching shoved down their throats. This also goes against church policy with regard to conversion, but they ignored it for these children.

  60. 60
    harry says:

    Here is the corrected version of the last part of my previous post. For some reason I wasn’t allowed to edit it.

    You went on to say:

    [women] knew that if their condition were discovered, they would be shamed, shunned and exiled by the so-called Christian communities in which they lived. Not the men, mind, just the women. If they weren’t able to get an abortion they could be hidden away in “homes”, forced to carry to term and then the baby could be taken away for adoption. And whatever happened, they would be forever after regarded as “fallen women”, their chances of happy and fulfilling life ruined.

    Wherever that was true, such Christian communities were not living up to the teachings of Christ. The fix wasn’t to pretend murder was “legal” to avoid those problems. The fix was for Christians to love sinners as Christ loved them.

    … why do you need a god to give you those rights or tell you what is right and wrong, moral and immoral? Can’t you work such things out for yourself?

    Again, that isn’t a very original sin. If there is a divine authority above our own then we ought to live according to His revealed standards, not our own. If there is no divine authority, then everyone becomes an authority unto themselves, which is exactly the same as no authority whatsoever. Militant atheists have demonstrated that this approach wreaks havoc upon innocent humanity.

  61. 61
    Allan Keith says:

    Barry,

    Everyone knew what the OP was asking. You are lying if you say you did not. I will not reward your lies.

    This is the question from the OP:

    I assume you agree that — for these tribes at least — killing innocent children is indeed an affirmatively good thing.

    You clearly asked whether we thought that killing these children was good for the tribe. Not whether we thought that killing children was good.

    There are several examples of remote communities where the elderly are killed, most times with the approval of the elderly. From the perspective of modern society, this practice appears to be cruel and evil. But from the perspective of some of these communities, where food is scarce and survival requires stamina and physical exertion, expending energy on looking after the elderly puts the survival of the entire community at risk. For these communities, they believe that killing the elderly is good. For all I know, the Amazonian tribes may kill certain children for similar reasons.

    The same practice can be both good and bad, depending on perspective. From the perspective of the Nazi war effort, confiscating Jewish efforts was good because it brought funds to their treasury. From the perspective of the Jewish people, it was bad. And the fact that many countries closed their doors to Jewish refugees suggests that they did not think that the Nazi practice was bad. Or, at least, not bad enough for them to do anything about it.

  62. 62

    Since morality is subjective (and really just a delusion), an honest a/mat would not morally judge tribes that kill innocent children. The real problem is finding honest a/mats.

  63. 63
    Allan Keith says:

    twsyf,

    Since morality is subjective (and really just a delusion), an honest a/mat would not morally judge tribes that kill innocent children.

    I haven’t seen any a/mats who are morally judging these tribes. But that is irrelevant. I can morally judge anyone I want. Whether or not my moral judgment can withstand rational scrutiny is another thing. Just like anyone else’s moral judgment.

  64. 64
    LocalMinimum says:

    AK @ 63:

    Whether or not my moral judgment can withstand rational scrutiny is another thing. Just like anyone else’s moral judgment.

    It’s not even a thing, if your previous statements are to be believed. You’ve declared morality simply another source of gratification, subjective to one’s tastes. The only rationality that needs to be withstood in your model are rationalizations that better gratify others in impeding your freedom of action in self-gratification.

  65. 65
    Allan Keith says:

    LocalMinimum,

    You’ve declared morality simply another source of gratification, subjective to one’s tastes.

    No. Those are the words that you put into my mouth. But I guess doing so makes my views easier to refute.

  66. 66
    Barry Arrington says:

    Allan Keith:

    You clearly asked whether we thought that killing these children was good for the tribe.

    Not quite, but close enough. You understand the general thrust of the issue. Bob claims is is indecipherable. Maybe you can help him out.

  67. 67
    Barry Arrington says:

    Allan Keith:

    There are several examples of remote communities where the elderly are killed, most times with the approval of the elderly.

    True, but I did not know Holland counted as a remote community.

    You seem to think that because murdering old people happens, it follows that murdering old people is a good thing.

    Really, just because we can find examples of a practice being accepted in a community, that practice is therefore good?

    Let’s test that.

    For centuries the Aztecs ripped the still beating hearts from prisoners as part of their religious observances. Was that good Allan?

  68. 68
    StephenB says:

    Allan Keith

    I can morally judge anyone I want.

    If subjectivism is true, then each individual may claim his own moral code just as you claim yours. Why, then, would you presume to judge him for using the same rationale that you use to arrive at his personal moral code? You can’t say that he is objectively wrong, because you don’t believe objective right and wrong exist.

    So how could you justify passing judgment on anyone? Are you saying that they are wrong by your standards even though you have also said that they are responsible only for their standards, just as you are responsible only for yours? How do you make that work?

  69. 69
    asauber says:

    How do you make that work?

    He makes it “work” by invoking stupidity at all the critical points.

    Andrew

  70. 70
    Silver Asiatic says:

    … Brazil’s National Indian Foundation, known as Funai, which refuses to collect data on child-killing among indigenous tribes, resists even acknowledging its existence in public, and said in a 2016 press release that raising the issue at all “is in many cases an attempt to incriminate and express prejudice against indigenous peoples.”

    The murder of children is covered-up in order to prevent the expression of prejudice.

    In that moral universe, tolerance is the highest virtue. And tolerance is applied selectively. Indigenous people are permitted to kill children. But other people are not permitted that. Apparently, it is a race-based moral system.

    So, we are told what to tolerate and what not to tolerate, by people who reject the idea that there are binding moral norms or that a Supreme Arbiter of those norms even exists.

    That’s the dictatorship of relativism on display.

  71. 71
    Allan Keith says:

    StephenB,

    If subjectivism is true, then each individual may claim his own moral code just as you claim yours.

    I agree. That would be rediculous. If that were true we would end up with some people thinking that early term abortions are morally acceptable and others not. Some would claim that birth control is morally acceptable and others would claim it’s not. Some would claim that same sex marriage is morally unacceptable and others would disagree.

    Why, then, would you presume to judge him for using the same rationale that you use to arrive at his personal moral code?

    Obviously we wouldn’t be using the same rationale, otherwise we would come to an agreement.

    You can’t say that he is objectively wrong, because you don’t believe objective right and wrong exist.

    Why would I want to say that someone is objectively wrong? But I could argue that they are wrong based on objective evidence and subjective interpretation of that evidence. They may disagree, but that is life.

    So how could you justify passing judgment on anyone? Are you saying that they are wrong by your standards even though you have also said that they are responsible only for their standards, just as you are responsible only for yours? How do you make that work?

    People can be held accountable for their actions even if they don’t believe they are wrong. That is how society works.

  72. 72
    Silver Asiatic says:

    For centuries the Aztecs ripped the still beating hearts from prisoners as part of their religious observances. Was that good Allan?

    Several of the interesting answers to the question in the OP might be used to answer this one also:

    1. I can’t answer because I could be very confused about what your question actually says, I just don’t understand.
    2. You phrased that question poorly. Could you ask it again?
    3. Ritual killing was good for the Aztecs.
    4. It depends what you mean by ‘good’.
    5. I never met an atheist who wants to kill people.
    6. I have my own morality.
    7. Some people think it was evil.
    8. It could be good or bad. Nazis thought it was good to kill Jews because it brought them a lot of money.

  73. 73
    Allan Keith says:

    Barry,

    For centuries the Aztecs ripped the still beating hearts from prisoners as part of their religious observances. Was that good Allan?

    For centuries the church, for religious reasons, would not bury people who committed suicide in the church cemetery, telling family members that the suicide victim was going to hell. Was that good Barry?

  74. 74
    Allan Keith says:

    Barry,

    For centuries the Aztecs ripped the still beating hearts from prisoners as part of their religious observances. Was that good Allan?

    For centuries the church, for religious reasons, would not bury people who committed suicide in the church cemetery, telling family members that the suicide victim was going to hell. Was that good Barry?

  75. 75
    Allan Keith says:

    Wow. A double post. How did that happen? Devine intervention?

  76. 76
    Origenes says:

    Allan Keith

    Two things:

    AK: For centuries the church, for religious reasons, would not bury people who committed suicide in the church cemetery, telling family members that the suicide victim was going to hell. Was that good Barry?

    I understand why Barry asked you his question in #67 (to expose the incoherence of your position), but I do not understand the point of your question to Barry. Care to explain?

    AK: I could argue that they are wrong based on objective evidence and subjective interpretation of that evidence.

    Given that subjective morality is true, can you provide an example of “objective evidence” which should validly impact someone’s subjective morality?
    Let’s say there is a guy who subjectively holds that killing children is a good thing, what kind of “objective evidence” would you confront that person with?

  77. 77
    StephenB says:

    SB: Why, then, would you presume to judge him [another subjectivist] for using the same rationale that you use to arrive at his personal moral code?

    Allan Keith

    Obviously we wouldn’t be using the same rationale, otherwise we would come to an agreement.

    On the contrary, every subjectivist uses the same rationale, according to which *every human being is entitled to create his own individual morality based on his own subjective experience.* That is your philosophy. Since each person’s subjective experience is *unique*, each person’s moral code will be *different*. Subjectivists can be like minded on some issues, but they need not be. The number of subjective moralities is almost infinite.

    But I could argue that they are wrong based on objective evidence and subjective interpretation of that evidence. They may disagree, but that is life.

    No, you could not. According to your subjective philosophy, every other subjectivist is entitled to interpret the evidence according to *his* own private understanding of morality, which means that you cannot justify judging him based on *your* private understanding of morality. He used the same rationale that you did: He created his own morality on the basis of his own understanding and experience. If you pass judgment on him for doing that, then you pass judgment on yourself for doing the same thing.

  78. 78
    Allan Keith says:

    O,

    I understand why Barry asked you his question in #67 (to expose the incoherence of your position), but I do not understand the point of your question to Barry. Care to explain?

    Just to point out that actions done in the name of religion are not always rational.

    Given that subjective morality is true, can you provide an example of “objective evidence” which should validly impact someone’s subjective morality?

    Yes. But it is concerning to me that you can’t.

  79. 79
    LocalMinimum says:

    AK @ 65:

    No. Those are the words that you put into my mouth. But I guess doing so makes my views easier to refute.

    I was actually trying to make sense of your view. Honest mistake?

    It almost feels as if you’ve actually got nothing to say, and are hoping for a pyhrric victory in refusing to confirm it.

    So, to what then do you appeal for your subjective choice in moral axioms? The natural Law written on your heart? A necessary consequence of fact and reason?

    Or are you invoking esoteric Darwinian wisdom, where things get better…pardon, “more fit”…by virtue of getting kicked around? Of course, if this were the case, then only the losers, the less fit, should be morally condemned; and not the winners, the proven fittest.

  80. 80
    Seversky says:

    harry @ 58

    They had a huge, irrational, blind faith in their own opinion about what was right and what was wrong. They were convinced that they had god-like knowledge of good and evil themselves (which is not a very original sin).

    That’s right. They held themselves to be in possession of some unassailable Absolute Truth which, in their minds, justified almost any act to further it. It’s that unwarranted certainty which is the danger whether it be in political ideology or religious doctrine.

    Modern history testifies to the fact that the murderous crimes of atheists in the last 100 years make the sum of the crimes of the religious over 2,000 years look like a petty misdemeanor. You are the naive victim of revisionist history.

    On the basis of a simple body count, yes.

    But consider the fact that in the twentieth century there were many more people around to kill and there were weapons available that could kill people in larger numbers more quickly. A better comparison would be based on the percentage of the existing populations killed in wars in past centuries. The Crusades, for example, were bloody enough with the relatively crude weapons of the period. Imagine what the casualty lists would have been like if the combatants had had access to modern armaments.

    One final point, according to the Bible, in the Great Flood the God of Christianity wiped out almost the entire human population of the planet, let alone all the other animals that would have been drowned. That was genocide on a scale that a Hitler or a Stalin could only have dreamed of.

    There are some women who are completely aware of the humanity of the child in the womb, but most women who abort, I think, are to a large extent victims along with their child.)

    As I have said, I am opposed to abortion on the grounds that I believe the right to life should apply to the whole of an individual’s lifespan. That said, I think women seek abortion for a variety of reasons and that simply banning it without addressing those reasons will drive those women back to back-street abortionists. There needs to be, at the least, proper sex education in schools, which should include explaining to the children that the blastocyst or embryo or fetus are all human beings albeit at a very early stage of development. There should be unrestricted access to the best methods of birth control and much better social and financial support for women in difficult circumstances. That should include better access to adoption procedures for those women who do not want to raise the child or are simply unable to raise it for various reasons. If society wants to stop abortions it needs to do a much better job of providing care and support for those women who are driven to seek one.

    Wherever that was true, such Christian communities were not living up to the teachings of Christ. The fix wasn’t to pretend murder was “legal” to avoid those problems. The fix was for Christians to love sinners as Christ loved them.

    That reference was prompted by what I read about how girls who became pregnant out of wedlock were treated in Catholic Ireland. I’m sure that the people who dealt with those girls thought they were doing their best for them, just as the people who ran the boarding or residential schools for Native American children in the US and Canada thought they were doing what was best for them. Many people today now think differently, however. How does that square with objective morality?

    Again, that isn’t a very original sin. If there is a divine authority above our own then we ought to live according to His revealed standards, not our own. If there is no divine authority, then everyone becomes an authority unto themselves, which is exactly the same as no authority whatsoever. Militant atheists have demonstrated that this approach wreaks havoc upon innocent humanity.

    And what alarms me is your assumption that this divine authority is that of a God so wise and powerful and benevolent that He is always right and utterly beyond question. I see that as no different in principle to the twentieth century dictators (and the would-be and actual twenty-first century dictators) who could be benevolent to their supporters but treat those who were perceived as opposing them with extreme cruelty and violence. I look at the various extreme right-wing factions in Christianity such as the reconstructionists and dominionists and it is not hard to imagine what would happen if they were ever to gain power. Last but not least there are the accounts in the Old Testament of how the unquestioning subservience of God’s chosen people to his divine authority wrought havoc on the other peoples of that area who were unfortunate enough to find themselves in the way.

  81. 81
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, while this is not a thread of main focus for me, I cannot but note the failure to appreciate that we as individuals and as extended tribes called people-groups or nations, are morally governed, under binding moral duties of care that have significant roles in preventing unbounded chaos where there is an avalanche of ever growing evils. But then, in our day, our whole civilisation is caught up in carrying out or enabling the single worst holocaust in history: over 40+ years, 800+ millions of living posterity in the womb have been deliberately killed, mostly for reasons of inconvenience. This is being cast as an imagined “right” to “choose.” The silence about just what is chosen and its robbing of an innocent of life, the first right, is studiously ducked. In that context, I have to see a pent up pool of suppressed blood guilt, and therefore read attempts to haul God into the dock and to drag in those who seek to serve him as accessories, as displacement and projection that therefore is a veiled self-indictment. We are in no position to point fingers as though we were without guilt, and admission of our guilt would be a first step to understanding the horror of a nation that becomes a plague of spreading chaos and evil on the earth. Ironically, Nazi Germany is a capital recent example and we know or should know the desperate measures — such as air bombardment of cities to create firestorms and bombardment of research centres or deliberately breaching dams — taken under the secret shadow that WW2 was a nuke threshold war with Germany the candidate to beat given its lead in science. The core elites would not surrender at a reasonable time, and they had subverted nationalism, wounded pride, courage, intellect and sense of honour in service to ultimate evil — ponder the pledge-song Panzerlied to understand how this was done to the sacrificial men who would man the “honourable iron graves” of the critical weapon, the panzerwaffe. And as defeat was incrementally achieved at horrific cost, the crimes were discovered or proved. Now, let us hear your unrestrained condemnation of honourable statesmen who had to make terrible, heart-lurching decisions to try to defend what they could of Christian Civilisation as one of them, Churchill, termed it. Let us hear you utterly condemn Churchill, Roosevelt, Truman, and others as leading subservient followers in genocidal slaughter. Let us hear your condemnation of the admitted devil’s bargain with a mass murdering scoundrel, Stalin. Then, let us hear your answer that would get us to a safe world not under the boot of nuke armed genocidal Nazis and Stalinists. Then, justify your moral outrage and expectation that we will understand ourselves to be under moral government of ought, bearing all sorts of duties. Then, show us how what you propose meets the bar of comparative difficulties, i/l/o the issues posed in the OP. KF

    PS: Those troubled by the many difficult issues may want to read here.

  82. 82
    Allan Keith says:

    LM,

    So, to what then do you appeal for your subjective choice in moral axioms?

    The moral values we have in our early years are undoubtedly the result of our inherent need to please our parents. Racist kids usually have racist parents. These values are often reinforced by repetition, teaching, religion and peer interactions. However, as we mature, we may start questioning some of these values and changing them based on our own experiences.

    For example, as a kid I thought that homosexuality was morally wrong and that anyone who got caught deserved the punishment they received. However, as I got older I realized that they are no different than the rest of us and deserve to find love and to have our respect, not our condemnation. So I changed from thinking homosexuality was morally wrong to thinking that those who Seek to restrict the services available to them (eg, marriage, hotel rooms, cakes, flowers) are morally wrong. I am sure that you have undergone similar shifts in your moral values.

  83. 83
    bb says:

    AK,

    For centuries the church, for religious reasons, would not bury people who committed suicide in the church cemetery, telling family members that the suicide victim was going to hell. Was that good Barry?

    You appear to believe the church did something wrong. Which is why you would would stab with a tu quoque. What was wrong with it Allan?

    edited

  84. 84
    LocalMinimum says:

    AK @ 82:

    So you appeal to natural law “written on the heart”. I, too, believe in such.

    But, you refer to it and make judgements by it as if it weren’t subject to preference or taste. You make claims about necessary, or at least superior, rational destinations when reasoning with it.

    In other words, you’re appealing to an objective morality, in some part, even if you refuse to call it such.

  85. 85
    StephenB says:

    Allan Keith

    For example, as a kid I thought that homosexuality was morally wrong and that anyone who got caught deserved the punishment they received. However, as I got older I realized that they are no different than the rest of us and *deserve* to find love and to have our respect, not our condemnation.

    Notice the first reference to an objective morality that is universally binding and the attendant concept natural rights. (***deserve respect***)

    So I changed from thinking homosexuality was morally wrong to thinking that those who Seek to restrict the services available to them (eg, marriage, hotel rooms, cakes, flowers) *are morally wrong.* I am sure that you have undergone similar shifts in your moral values

    .

    Notice the second reference to an objective morality that is universally binding and the attendant concept of natural rights (are morally wrong)

    As I wrote in my post (“JDK argues against objective morality — by assuming the truth of objective morality”) subjectivists always appeal to objective morality every time they argue for subjective morality.

  86. 86
  87. 87
    bb says:

    StephenB,

    subjectivists always appeal to objective morality every time they argue for subjective morality

    Spot on. Isn’t using that which you deny exists to support the value of its opposite an obvious of example of incoherence?

  88. 88
    StephenB says:

    bb

    Isn’t using that which you deny exists to support the value of its opposite an obvious of example of incoherence?

    Absolutely.

  89. 89
    harry says:

    Seversky @80,

    There is either a Supreme Being that brought the Universe into being, or there isn’t. Your arguments make no sense if there is, so it seems to me that I must start with demonstrating the existence of God.

    There are now several lines of scientific evidence that corroborate each other that together indicate that the natural Universe (time, space, matter and energy) had a beginning. So compelling scientific evidence can be added to Aquinas’ “five ways” of demonstrating the logical necessity of the existence of an uncreated, uncaused first cause, a “first mover,” the essence of which is “to be.” (It is telling that the writings of a primitive tribe known as the Hebrews somehow had the philosophical sophistication to identify their god as “I AM WHO AM.” Or maybe they weren’t capable of coming up with that themselves, but it was revealed to them by the true God.)

    It is very unscientific, not to mention irrational, to posit that the natural Universe popped into existence, uncaused, from nothingness (nothingness in terms of the absence of time, space, matter and energy). Everything that begins to exist has a cause for its existence. Yet from nothing, nothing comes. The only rational conclusion to this dilemma is that the natural Universe had a cause that transcends the natural, a supernatural reality – which is commonly referred to as God.

    So how do we get from this necessarily existing supernatural being to His revelation of what is moral and what is evil? How do we know that He has revealed Himself and His standard of morality to humanity? Many of the rational thinkers of the Greco-Roman world Christianity was born into – and they prided themselves on their rationality – came to believe that the already ancient Hebrew Scriptures so perfectly foretold the coming of Christ that He must have been Who He claimed to be: The incarnation of that supernatural being.

    Think about it. No other religious leader was foretold thousands of years before his arrival. The books of the Hebrew Scriptures were written by human authors separated from each other by centuries. That rules out any kind of collusion or conspiracy to deceive others. There is no natural explanation for the perfection of Christ’s fulfillment in detail of the prophecies of the ancient Hebrew Scriptures. Their human authors must have been inspired by a being Who transcends time, Who sees past and future as clearly as the present is seen. Augustine – whose immense mind had the insight to realize that time, too, began with creation of the Universe, and figured that out 1,700 years before modern science did – eventually converted to Christianity, and insisted that the New Testament was hidden in the Old and Old was revealed by the New, so perfectly had the ancient Hebrew Scriptures foretold Christ.

    So, if there is a God – and there most certainly is – and if He calls human life into being and calls it back to Himself when He is good and ready to do so, then He had every right to command His people to kill others. Keep in mind though, that at the time He did that His revelation of Himself wasn’t complete, nor was His revelation of His standards of morality. They weren’t complete until they were revealed in the person of Christ, Who commanded us to love our enemies and to turn the other cheek.

    The Old Testament morality was an incomplete revelation. While “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” was an improvement over killing everybody connected to the guy who stole your goat, it wasn’t yet “love your enemy.” You seem to be oblivious to the fact the Old Covenant morality was completed and fulfilled by Christ, the fulfillment of which was to love one another as Christ has loved us, to love our neighbor as ourselves.

  90. 90
    Silver Asiatic says:

    @89 – excellent summary.

    Christ brought a much higher standard of morality. Greater demands. To love one’s enemies. Do good to those who hate you. It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. It is not enough to avoid the physical act of adultery – but if a man looks at a woman lustfully he has committed adultery in his heart, and in that case, it would be better to tear one’s eyes out, than to sin like that and have “your whole body thrown into hell”.

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