Intelligent Design

Materialist MatSpirit Tucks Tail and Runs When Confronted With Incoherence of His Position

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Let’s review my recent exchange with MatSpirit:

MatSpirit quotes Dawkins:

Richard Dawkins is not just flapping his gums when he says, “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction . . .

I point out that is the same Dawkins who wrote:

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.

MatSpirit ignores the incoherence of his position and says:

but the most important [question to Barry] was, “What in the world makes you think God has good morals?

No, Mat. There is an even more basic and important question that absolutely must be answered before that question even makes sense to ask. Is your boy Dawkins correct when he says that on the materialist view, there is “no evil, no good”? After all, you are the one who brought Dawkins into the mix. Are you going to abandon him now?

You have to answer this question Mat, before I can answer yours. Because if Dawkins is correct, and there is “no good” asking if God has “good” morals is literally meaningless. The ball is in your court.

BTW, your dodge that Dawkins is referring to a fictional character won’t work.  Even if that were so, the acts attributed to fictional characters can be good or bad, as your very question demonstrates.

Prediction: MatSpirit will continue to dodge and weave.  I have yet to see a materialist change their position when confronted with the obvious fact that their assertions are internally incoherent.

55 Replies to “Materialist MatSpirit Tucks Tail and Runs When Confronted With Incoherence of His Position

  1. 1
    blip says:

    Barry, I share your grief but take heart, occasionally an a/mat sees the light. I was one. Anthony Flew was another.

    We certainly want to see it more often, but it does happen. And the joy it brings, especially to the one who turns from the death trap of materialism to the real Lord! I know it all so well!

    Keep up the great and important work of shining the light, along with KF, BA77, and so many more. Those of us who come to know the liberating truth are eternally greatful to those who help us along the way. Those are not just words. They express reality.

    ETERNALLY GRATEFUL!

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    Why not just admit that MatSpirit has a good point?

    😉

  3. 3
    john_a_designer says:

    but the most important [question to Barry] was, “What in the world makes you think God has good morals?

    What in the world would make anyone think that MatSpirit has good morals?

  4. 4
    vmahuna says:

    Anyone can create a system of morals that is internally consistent and then claim that this system is “good”. People who deviate from this system are then “bad”.

    The basic problem you (i.e., the folks who are arguing in favor of some specific moral system that aligns with some specific Christian sect) have is that it’s really just a personal preference.

    Moslems are REQUIRED, not simply encouraged, to kill EVERYONE who denies The Prophet. Jews were/are required to kill “witches” (suffer ye not a witch to live). So these killings are clearly “moral”. Christians get kinda wishy-washy on which specific bits of the Bible they choose to form their morality in any specific century (for a man to lie down with another man is an abomination before God). So things slide from “evil” over to “good” and vice versa.

    So, one can get on a high horse and declare, in very vague terms, that some system of morality is better than another. And then of course quickly demonstrate that when it comes to specifics, each case gets handled differently. A decent AI legal system would fix that, but who gets to tell the AI what is “right” and “wrong”?

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    vmahuna, one BIG difference, Moses and Mohammed are dead and buried. Yet, Jesus uniquely rose from the dead.

    In fact, you can go to the graves of all the other founders of all the other major religions of the world and find the remains of a body (caveat, the exact location of Moses’s grave is unknown),

    Burial places of founders of world religions
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B....._religions

    ,,, yet, as the Shroud of Turin stubbornly testifies, and despite many attempts to refute the Shroud’s authenticity, if you go to the tomb of Jesus you will not find the remains of a body because Jesus has risen from the dead.

    The Shroud of Turin – Evidence it is authentic
    Below is a summary of scientific and historical evidence supporting the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin as the ancient burial cloth of the historical Jesus of Nazareth.
    https://www.newgeology.us/presentation24.html

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Quantum Hologram
    https://youtu.be/F-TL4QOCiis

    Matthew 28:5-6
    The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

    Given the authenticity of the Shroud, and seeing as Jesus defeated death, I would certainly think that gives Christian morality a tremendous leg up on all the other moral claims of other religions:

    Matthew 22:37-39
    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.’

    Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity, General Relativity and Christianity
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4QDy1Soolo

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  6. 6
    blip says:

    Vmahuma, so are you trying to convince me that your belief in relativism must outweigh my certainty in Christ? Yours is like the void promise of communism: make everyone equal! Then take the reigns Myself!

    I’m glad you are at least awake when it comes to Islam. It’s bad religion. But don’t conflate good with evil and discard Jesus as a result.

    But if you want to insist mine is a personal preference then know this: so is yours. And I will take proven Jesus’s personal preference over your personal preference any day. Warning: dead end up ahead for you.

  7. 7

    The a/mats lose this argument every time. It’s checkmate… and they know it.

  8. 8
    Bob O'H says:

    blip @ 6 – I’m not sure that “proof by certainty” is a good argument to make. is the strength of your belief really stronger than the strength of belief of religious fanatics, such as members of al-Qaida, ISIS or the LRA?

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob, you state:

    “‘I’m’ not sure that “proof by certainty” is a good argument to make.”

    Please note that the first word in your sentence is “I’m”.

    You are referring to the existence of yourself as a person as the ultimate ‘certainty’ upon which to judge whether anything else can be certain about reality.

    And indeed there is a long tradition in philosophy of holding that the MOST certain thing we can know about reality is the fact that we really exist as real persons.

    Indeed, every time you yourself begin a sentence with the word “I” or “I’m” you yourself are relying on the fact that we take it as a given that you really do exist as a real person and that your perceptions about reality are reliable.

    But herein lies your insurmountable difficulty as a person who believes the reductive materialism of Darwinian evolution to be true. Reductive materialism simply has no place to ground the ‘certainty’ of the reality of the abstract, immaterial, concept of personhood that you yourself are taking for granted.

    Atheistic Materialism – Does Richard Dawkins Exist? – 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

    Moreover, if Darwinian evolution were actually true, your perceptions about reality would also be unreliable.

    The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality – April 2016
    The cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman uses evolutionary game theory to show that our perceptions of an independent reality must be illusions.
    Excerpt: “The classic argument is that those of our ancestors who saw more accurately had a competitive advantage over those who saw less accurately and thus were more likely to pass on their genes that coded for those more accurate perceptions, so after thousands of generations we can be quite confident that we’re the offspring of those who saw accurately, and so we see accurately. That sounds very plausible. But I think it is utterly false. It misunderstands the fundamental fact about evolution, which is that it’s about fitness functions — mathematical functions that describe how well a given strategy achieves the goals of survival and reproduction. The mathematical physicist Chetan Prakash proved a theorem that I devised that says: According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness. Never.”
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160421-the-evolutionary-argument-against-reality/

    Thus, if Darwinian evolution were true, nobody could ever be certain about anything he thought, much less be certain about what anyone else thought.

    Yet, since certainty does indeed exist,, i.e. I am ‘certain’ that I am sitting here writing this at this very moment, then the reductive materialism of Darwinian evolution must necessarily be false.

    Bob, I also know that you hold yourself as being fairly proficient in mathematics, particularly in statistics. And indeed many mathematicians hold that the ultimate ‘certainty’ we can possibly have about reality is to be found in mathematics.

    But even here, in the supposedly unquestionably ‘certain’ world of mathematics, the reductive materialism of your Darwinian worldview undermines any certainty that ‘you’ think you can have in mathematics.

    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,,, 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. 
    In fact, more problematic for the materialist than the non-existence of persons is the existence of mathematics. Why? Although a committed materialist might be perfectly willing to accept that you do not really exist, he will have a harder time accepting that numbers do not exist. The trouble is that numbers — along with other mathematical entities such as classes, sets, and functions — are indispensable for modern science. And yet — here’s the rub — these “abstract objects” are not material. Thus, one cannot take science as the only sure guide to reality and at the same time discount disbelief in all immaterial realities.
    https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

    Thus Bob, not that you have ever been inclined to take advice from me or anyone else on UD, but if you ever were so inclined, I would advice you to first honestly admit that any reasonable level of ‘certainty’ can never be achieved within your own Darwinian worldview and that you must, therefore, seek some type of ‘immaterial’ worldview that can reasonably ground ‘certainty’.

    This would seem to a extremely judicious first step for you to take before you seek to ascertain whether any other worldview might be able to provide you a solid foundation for the ‘certainty’ that it is true:

    Matthew 7:24-27
    Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
    And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
    And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
    And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

    Hebrews 11:1-3
    Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval.
    By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

  10. 10
    Seversky says:

    Is MatSpirit still allowed to reply if he chooses?

  11. 11
    john_a_designer says:

    Does MatSpirit have free will? According to atheistic naturalism/materialism he doesn’t.

  12. 12
    ET says:

    vmahuna:

    Moslems are REQUIRED, not simply encouraged, to kill EVERYONE who denies The Prophet.

    Nonsense- total nonsense.

  13. 13
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    is the strength of your belief really stronger than the strength of belief of religious fanatics, such as members of al-Qaida, ISIS or the LRA?

    Or materialists? 😛

  14. 14
    StephenB says:

    Mat Spirit (from the other thread)

    You claim that God is intelligent. That means He is capable of all the above. Do you think God was good or evil when He murdered those Egyptian children?

    SB: I already answered that question @58. You promptly ignored it.

    I think that was a rotten thing to do, thoroughly evil, and I don’t see any extenuating circumstances.

    You just contradicted yourself again, even more clearly than with Barry. First, you say that evil doesn’t exist. Then you accuse God of evil behavior.

  15. 15
    Mung says:

    Seversky

    Is MatSpirit still allowed to reply if he chooses?

    His response can’t possibly be a good one, so why bother?

  16. 16
    Mung says:

    StephenB

    First, you say that evil doesn’t exist. Then you accuse God of evil behavior.

    What’s wrong with that?

  17. 17
    Florabama says:

    vmahuna @ 4, you are missing the point. All moral systems are nothing more than opinions if there is no transcendent (i.e. outside of ourselves) moral rule which can be used as a standard, and if they are all opinions, none are better than others. The question is not, are there moral systems — the question is “by what standard,” do you judge moral questions.

    It doesn’t matter if morals are wrapped in a religion. They are still judged against a transcendent standard, so when Muslims or Christians or whomever, kills in the name of (fill in the blank) we judge that “immoral” based on a standard that exists outside of ourselves and outside of whatever standard is pointed to to justify it.

    So when MatSpirit accuses God of evil, without knowing it, he has borrowed a moral system that doesn’t exist in his worldview to question the very foundation of all moral systems. In other words, he’s hopelessly inconsistent. He is using a moral standard that only exists if God exists to say that God does not exist because of the moral standard. All A-mats suffer from this problem and most do not recognize it. It was the basis of C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity.”

    https://youtu.be/l_VYCqCexow

    It’s fair game, I think, to question some of the things we read in the OT. I believe that’s why they’re there — precisely so we will question them. There are mounds of books written on the subject and I have spent a lot of time thinking about those questions as well. How could God kill “innocent” people? It’s a fair question I think, but it does require us to adopt God’s own moral standard to question God’s actions and to do so without believing God exists, reveals a huge blind spot in one’s thinking.

    As far as my own thinking on the topic, it boils down to the moral difference between God and man. God, just like man, can do whatever He pleases with His own creation. People don’t ask themselves if they’re being immoral when they put the trash out or flush the toilet (please don’t hear what I’m not saying — I’m not comparing people to trash. I’m simply saying that in terms of “property,” we don’t question what we do with our own property). If EVERYTHING was made by God, then He has every right to do with it what He pleases. He has not violated any moral law by disposing of His own property, and in that sense, people are more “His property” than the trash is ours. We didn’t make the atoms that makeup our trash — God did. Our trash belongs to God more than it belongs to us, and yet we throw it out with no moral compunction.

    There are far more ways to think of this subject than the above, but I think that is where you have to start. Every atom of every molecule of everything that exists, not only belongs to God, but it exists at the pleasure of God, and He may do with it as he pleases without being immoral, and the very fact that we can question God using a moral standard, is evidence that God in fact exists.

  18. 18

    Bizarre how these a/mats continue to act as if their chosen faith supports objective moral standards. It clearly doesn’t.

  19. 19
    asauber says:

    …and MatSpirit will return in a week or two seemingly not remembering a thing about any of these discussions.

    Andrew

  20. 20
    Seversky says:

    john_a_designer @ 11

    Does MatSpirit have free will? According to atheistic naturalism/materialism he doesn’t.

    According to the Bible, he doesn’t either. Looks like he – and we – can’t win either way.

  21. 21
    Seversky says:

    Mung @ 15

    His response can’t possibly be a good one, so why bother?

    By the same argument, it can’t be bad either. So what do we have to lose by giving it a hearing?

  22. 22
    Seversky says:

    Florabama @ 17

    So when MatSpirit accuses God of evil, without knowing it, he has borrowed a moral system that doesn’t exist in his worldview to question the very foundation of all moral systems. In other words, he’s hopelessly inconsistent. He is using a moral standard that only exists if God exists to say that God does not exist because of the moral standard. All A-mats suffer from this problem and most do not recognize it. It was the basis of C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity.”

    In various Old Testament accounts, God is reported to have committed or instigated or endorsed or permitted acts that today people would describe as evil. That is true whether you believe in objective or subjective morality.

    If morality is an objective phenomenon then where is it recorded so that we can all access it? If there is one objective standard or morality then it is presumably accessible to all, so why do we not see all societies converging on that standard? What reason do we have to assume that this objective morality coincides with Christian doctrine? For that is what people here assuredly believe. Why not Islamic or Hindu or Buddhist or Sikh or Native American moralities? Why not a mixture of all of them?

    If morality is only what the God of Christianity decrees then how did He decide it? Was it by a metaphorical toss of the coin? I doubt that anyone believes that. If, rather, it was by a rational process then what is to prevent us as rational creatures, allegedly made in His image, from doing the same?

    Or is all this just a bid to annex the moral high ground in the name of your preferred brand of Christianity?

    As far as my own thinking on the topic, it boils down to the moral difference between God and man. God, just like man, can do whatever He pleases with His own creation.

    Human beings are not property. People should have been disabused of that notion with the abolition of slavery. Yes, a human artist can dispose of a painting, say, in any way that he, she or they see fit, including destroying it. But that is a false and pernicious analogy. A painting is not a living human being. A better analogy is that of human parents who can be said to have created their children yet we hold them responsible for their well-being and they are not allowed to kill them under virtually any circumstances and certainly not just because they are displeased with them.

    And either God is bound by the morality He dispenses to us or He is not. If He is, then He has broken at least the Sixth and Ninth Commandments according to the Old Testament. If He is not, then He is saying in effect “do as I say, not as I do” and what would you call that?

  23. 23

    “Human beings are not property.”

    Oh, really?

  24. 24
    ET says:

    Seversky:

    In various Old Testament accounts, God is reported to have committed or instigated or endorsed or permitted acts that today people would describe as evil.

    Ignorant people and who cares what they think?

    And only ignorant people say that according to the Bible we do not have free will. Enter Seversky…

  25. 25
    john_a_designer says:

    Seversky@ 20,

    Ought implies can. Therefore, it is simply irrational to talk about morality, ethics or moral obligation without free will. Indeed, it is irrational to engage in any kind of logical argument if people lack free will… How could you ever change somebody else’s mind?

    The argument I am making is not based on the Bible. It is drawn from philosophy and natural theology. It is a natural law argument.

    Here is a version of the moral argument which I think is pretty rigorous in its logic:

    Premise 1: Morality is a rational enterprise.

    Premise 2: Moral Realism is true, meaning moral facts and duties exist.

    Premise 3: The moral problems and disagreements among humans are too much for us to assume moral facts and duties are grounded in a human source of rationality.

    Premise 4: Moral facts and duties are grounded in a necessary, rational source (from 1,2,3).

    Premise 5: This source is what we call God.

    Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cp9Nl6OUEJ0

    You need to refute that argument if you are going to change my mind. (Again, what’s the point if humans don’t have free-will?)

    Pretension and posturing about your personal beliefs and opinions are not arguments.

  26. 26
    Barry Arrington says:

    Sev,

    Yes, MatSpirit is free to answer if he chooses. He has not. Perhaps you can stand in for him and respond to the OP. Admit that Dawkins’ two statements contradict each other or explain how they can both be true.

    Enlighten us, Sev. How can the God described in the Bible be evil if good and evil do not exist?

    I am always amused by A-Mats like Dawkins, helping themselves to categories that do not exist if their premises are true.

    God, if he exists, is good. There is no evidence of a good God. Therefore God does not exist.

    What’s the problem with this argument? It should be obvious. The word “good” in the argument can have no meaning other than “a chap I rather admire” if there is no transcendent moral standard. So let’s recast it using that definition: God, if he exists, would be a chap I rather admire. There is no evidence of a God who is a chap I rather admire existing. Therefore God does not exist.

    Absurd on its face, but it is advanced all the time.

  27. 27
    Florabama says:

    Seversky – “In various Old Testament accounts, God is reported to have committed or instigated or endorsed or permitted acts that today people would describe as evil. That is true whether you believe in objective or subjective morality.”
    FB — Wrong! You, Seversky, not only do exactly what you want with your own property, but you assume that as a universal human right. Why should not God be able to what he wants with his own property? You are a finite being and claim a right to use your property as you wish, but you want to deny God, who is the Supreme, Infinite Creator of all, the same right?
    Do you eat cows and chickens and other animals? I prefer mine barbequed. Do you have your home and yard sprayed to kill insects? Do you throw out stuff you don’t want any longer? Have you committed evil by any of those actions? Of course not. You have dominion over your own domain even through you didn’t create the chicken (or the egg) or the cow or the insect or the atoms that make up every one of your possessions, but God did, and God has dominion over every nano-particle of the universe. So how is it that you presume to have a right to do what you want with your own property even through you did not create it, but you deny God the right to do so?
    As far as God acting in ways deemed “evil,” you don’t have to go past Genesis 6 to see the account of God killing every man, woman, child and animal on the face of the earth except for those few on the Ark. Was that evil? It would be if you or I did it, but it’s not for God. Life is not ours to take because we didn’t create it, but if God made everything in the universe, then He owns it and may do with it as he pleases. There is never any indication in the Bible that God has committed some evil by exercising his sovereign choices over the creation that He made and owns.
    Serversky – “If morality is an objective phenomenon then where is it recorded so that we can all access it? If there is one objective standard or morality then it is presumably accessible to all, so why do we not see all societies converging on that standard? What reason do we have to assume that this objective morality coincides with Christian doctrine? For that is what people here assuredly believe. Why not Islamic or Hindu or Buddhist or Sikh or Native American moralities? Why not a mixture of all of them?”
    FB — We do see an almost universal acceptance of moral standards. That’s the point Lewis is making in “Mere Christianity.” Please listen to this when you get a chance. It’s only a few minutes. https://youtu.be/l_VYCqCexow
    There are definitely some deviations but no matter the culture, it is universally accepted that it is wrong to kill an innocent person, take things that don’t belong to you, etc. etc. Morality is universally about the same. Where did that come from? Not from evolution that favors whatever killing is required for survival.
    Seversky – “If morality is only what the God of Christianity decrees then how did He decide it? Was it by a metaphorical toss of the coin? I doubt that anyone believes that. If, rather, it was by a rational process then what is to prevent us as rational creatures, allegedly made in His image, from doing the same?”
    FB — As I said, morality is almost universally accepted. Let someone get mugged and robbed, no matter what culture, and he or she won’t get up and say, “well that felt good, thank you.” They’ll yell and scream and cry and want justice against their attacker. As to how God decided, you’ll have to ask Him that one-day. It’s above my pay grade.
    Seversky – “Or is all this just a bid to annex the moral high ground in the name of your preferred brand of Christianity?”
    FB –The fact that there exists a universal morality can be demonstrated both practically and logically which is the whole point of this thread which is discussing MatSpirit’s logical inconsistency by appealing to an objective moral standard that cannot exist without a transcendent moral standard. As soon as you do away with transcendence, you do away with objective morality. Without transcendence (above and outside of man) there is only individual opinion.
    Seversky — “Human beings are not property.”

    If God created them and God sustains them, then they are His property. You may not like it, but it is a fact.

    Seversky — “People should have been disabused of that notion with the abolition of slavery.”

    FB — Slavery was a moral outrage because it was one human presuming to own something that did not belong to him — another human — when that human had no right to do so. This is why it was condemned in the Bible and was punishable by death:

    “Kidnappers must be put to death, whether they are caught in possession of their victims or have already sold them as slaves.” Exodus 21:16 (NLT)

    But God has every right to do whatever He wishes with His creation. God is not on the same moral plane as one human is to another.

    Seversky — “Yes, a human artist can dispose of a painting, say, in any way that he, she or they see fit, including destroying it.”

    Exactly! Because it is his. He may frame it and hang it on the wall or he may throw it in the trash and has committed no evil by either choice.

    Serversky — “But that is a false and pernicious analogy.”

    FB – no its not. The analogy relates to ownership.

    Serversky — “A painting is not a living human being.”

    FB – and neither is God — and this is the heart of your confusion. Humans exist at the pleasure of God. God is omniscient. His choices are informed by infinite knowledge and eyes that see all of space and time. God is not on the same moral plane as humans.

    Serversky – “A better analogy is that of human parents who can be said to have created their children…”

    FB – Except human parents did not “create” their children in the sense that God created you and me and atoms that make up the universe. That is a euphemism. All the parents did was have sex and the miracle of reproduction, which was put there by God, happened. God did create, in the perfect sense of the word, both the parent and the child and the very DNA that made them who they are.
    “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex. Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Psalm 139:13-16 (NLT)
    Seversky — “…yet we hold them responsible for their well-being and they are not allowed to kill them under virtually any circumstances and certainly not just because they are displeased with them.”

    FB – Where have you been since 1973? We do kill them. We abort millions of innocent babies every year – mostly for sexual convenience. We are approaching 60,000,000 since 1973. Often their arms and legs are ripped off of them without anesthesia and they scream in agony before they die of their wounds, and then they are discarded like trash. People should have been disabused of that notion with the abolition of slavery, right?

    Seversky — “And either God is bound by the morality He dispenses to us or He is not.”

    He is not. We’ve already gone over why.

    Seversky “If He is, then He has broken at least the Sixth and Ninth Commandments according to the Old Testament.”

    Please tell me which commandments God has broken? He can’t steal since everything belongs to him. He can’t commit murder since He created all life and all life exists at his pleasure.

    Seversky – “If He is not, then He is saying in effect “do as I say, not as I do” and what would you call that?”

    I would call that God being God. The universe exists at his pleasure:

    “…he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” Hebrews 1:3 (ESV)

    If God decided that he was done with it all, and let the universe and everything in it collapse into nothing, why would that not be his prerogative? The fact is that God sacrificed His own son to redeem the universe. What would you call that, Seversky?

  28. 28
    Seversky says:

    Truth Will Set You Free @ 23

    “Human beings are not property.”

    Oh, really?

    You think they are? So, you would have no objection to being a slave?

  29. 29
    Seversky says:

    john_a_designer @ 25

    Ought implies can. Therefore, it is simply irrational to talk about morality, ethics or moral obligation without free will. Indeed, it is irrational to engage in any kind of logical argument if people lack free will… How could you ever change somebody else’s mind?

    Naturalism/materialism does not, in my view, preclude the possibility of free will, although it entails limits to the degree of freedom of choice we have.

    The argument I am making is not based on the Bible. It is drawn from philosophy and natural theology. It is a natural law argument.

    I regard phenomena like gravity or electromagnetism as what you could call natural laws. They are observable regularities in the structure and behavior of the Universe which we can all observe and we all see the same thing. There is no equivalent natural moral law in my view. It’s true that we observe that moral codes of some sort emerge in all human societies that we know of. But they are not all the same and they evolve or change over time. They are more likely to be social constructs or conventions.

    Premise 1: Morality is a rational enterprise.

    Is it? Are our moral principles the conclusions of a process of reasoning or are they instinctive, empathetic responses which are justified by post hoc rationalizations?

    Premise 2: Moral Realism is true, meaning moral facts and duties exist.

    They exist in the minds of the members of human societies who assent to being bound by them, either tacitly or explicitly, but does that make them a fact? For a person living alone on a desert island, moral prohibitions against theft or murder are simply irrelevant because there is nothing to steal and no one to kill. If almost all life on Earth were obliterated by an asteroid impact and an alien spaceship visited the planet sometime later, their sensors might detect the ruins of our cities and the remains of creatures that once lived there but would they detect our moral principles?

    Premise 3: The moral problems and disagreements among humans are too much for us to assume moral facts and duties are grounded in a human source of rationality.

    As far as we know, God did not publish a position paper prior to issuing the Ten Commandments, nor does He provide a detailed rationale for each of them in the Bible. They are essentially decrees which we are required to accept on their face. We have no way of knowing if they were carefully worked out in advance. All we have is our own capacities for imagination and reason, which Christians believe are God-given. It would be a waste of those “talents” not to use them as they may be all we have.

    Premise 4: Moral facts and duties are grounded in a necessary, rational source (from 1,2,3).

    That has not been shown.

    Premise 5: This source is what we call God.

    That is a possible source although, by Occam’s Razor alone, we should look first at sources that do not require us to invoke unsubstantiated entities like a god.

    Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.

    Non sequitur

  30. 30
    Seversky says:

    Barry Arrington @ 26

    Yes, MatSpirit is free to answer if he chooses. He has not. Perhaps you can stand in for him and respond to the OP. Admit that Dawkins’ two statements contradict each other or explain how they can both be true.

    Enlighten us, Sev. How can the God described in the Bible be evil if good and evil do not exist?

    God can be good – or evil – like a flower can be beautiful. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It’s a subjective judgement we make about what we observe. Beauty is not held to be some objective entity nor a property of what we are looking at. It refers to our reaction to what we observe. A/mats are able to find a flower beautiful just as they are able to judge an act to be evil.

    God, if he exists, is good. There is no evidence of a good God. Therefore God does not exist.

    What’s the problem with this argument? It should be obvious. The word “good” in the argument can have no meaning other than “a chap I rather admire” if there is no transcendent moral standard. So let’s recast it using that definition: God, if he exists, would be a chap I rather admire. There is no evidence of a God who is a chap I rather admire existing. Therefore God does not exist.

    Absurd on its face, but it is advanced all the time.

    I would cast the argument slightly differently. From an a/mat perspective we would say that Christianity posits a God who has – or must have – certain properties, although they are a little vague. We don’t see any persuasive evidence that such a being has acted – and is still acting – in this Universe so we see no reason to believe in one, good or evil.

  31. 31
    Seversky says:

    Florabama @ 27

    FB — Wrong! You, Seversky, not only do exactly what you want with your own property, but you assume that as a universal human right. Why should not God be able to what he wants with his own property? You are a finite being and claim a right to use your property as you wish, but you want to deny God, who is the Supreme, Infinite Creator of all, the same right?

    The right to life in human society is presumed to take priority over the right to property where the two come into conflict. As I said before, parents are the creators of their children but that does not mean they are allowed to kill them whenever they choose. Your God may have the power to kill a human being or wipe this whole Universe out of existence but that does not mean He has the right to do so. Unless you are arguing for the principle that “might makes right”

    As far as God acting in ways deemed “evil,” you don’t have to go past Genesis 6 to see the account of God killing every man, woman, child and animal on the face of the earth except for those few on the Ark. Was that evil? It would be if you or I did it, but it’s not for God. Life is not ours to take because we didn’t create it, but if God made everything in the universe, then He owns it and may do with it as he pleases.

    If there is an objective moral code – whether God’s creation or not – then surely it must be binding on not just human beings but also any alien intelligences and, by extension, on God himself. If it wrong for us to kill each other without good reason why is it not wrong for God?

    FB — We do see an almost universal acceptance of moral standards.

    Yes, but not the same standards. What we observe is more consistent with the belief that morals are created by the societies to which they apply, rather than that there is some transcendent objective standard on which all other standards are slowly converging as they must.

  32. 32
    john_a_designer says:

    Seversky,

    Since the context of the topic being discussed here is moral theory I am referring to natural moral law. Here is a very concise definition and explanation:

    What is natural law and why is it important?

    Moral laws are based on human nature. That is, what we ought to do is based on what we are. “Thou shalt not kill,” for instance, is based on the real value of human life and the need to preserve it. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” is based on the real value of marriage and family, the value of mutual self-giving love, and children’s need for trust and stability.

    The natural law is also naturally known, by natural human reason and experience. We don’t need religious faith or supernatural divine revelation to know that we’re morally obligated to choose good and avoid evil or to know what “good” and “evil” mean… Speaking of pagans, St. Paul says that “they show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness” (Rom 2:15).

    The term “natural law” is sometimes misunderstood. “This law is called ‘natural,’ not in reference to the nature of irrational beings [that is, animals — it is not a law of biology], “but because reason, which decrees it, properly belongs to human nature”… (emphasis added)

    http://legatus.org/what-is-nat.....important/

    See also:

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/natural-law-ethics/

    The point is that just because someone doesn’t believe the Bible it doesn’t follow there are no objective moral obligations.

  33. 33
    blip says:

    ET @ 12
    Generally, I agree with your comments, but not so this time. Actually, vmahuna is more correct in his assessment of Islam than you are aware.

    This is best discussed in a separate thread, being a side topic, but give current events, it is worth noting anywhere people might listen and awaken from slumber.

    Keep a few things in mind while reading these verses:

    – Some will object there are similar verses in the Bible. But they ignore their extent was limited by geographical region, tribe, and time, whereas with Islam the order is global, towards all who disbelieve, and to the end of time. They also ignore there are no such verses in the New Testament, which nonetheless which came long before the Qur’an. Jesus changed everything. Islam clearly rejects Jesus by attempting to supplant everything He proved and accomplished. This is why they make up stories about Him not being crucified and resurrected, because with the resurrection of Jesus, Islam is pointless. They seek to demolish His work in order to usurp world power. Babel, Islam, Fascism, Communism, they all have essentially the same origin.

    – Orders to harm, kill, destroy, are to be carried out by unregenerated people united under the banner of a social, political, religious system that demands unquestioning and absolute allegiance. What is the likelihood this can lead to a just society?

    – Muhamad was a caravan raider, thief, inciter of trouble, liar, murderer, rapist, pedophile, slave owner, lustful savage, scheming self-absorbed narcissist who could not handle dissent, an idolater by placing himself as the mouthpiece of Allah and associated himself with Allah despite Islam’s prohibition against associating anything or anyone with Allah. And so much more. He’s held up as the greatest example to be emulated. Is it any wonder we have numerous murderous, vile, groups like Isis across 1400 years of history now?

    – Who are the enemies repeatedly mentioned in the Qur’an? Are they warmongers, vile people, terrorists, liars, etc.? No. Mostly, they are regular people trying to live their lives peacefully, but who would not accept Muhammad’s claims of being a prophet and bringing God’s truth. Chief among these were Jews and Christians. And for very good reasons. But Muhammad, with the power available to him in the likeminded villains with which he surrounded himself, would quickly resort to violence when persuasion did not achieve his power hungry goals. It is by such means that he and his henchmen conqured vast areas that had peacefully converted to Christianity centuries before.

    – With increased power came increased self-indulgence and cruelty.

    – The “peaceful” verses come earlier in the history of Islam, when Muhammad had no power. The evil verses come later chronologically as his power increased, which shows he was a vile man. The more power he had, the worse he became. Typical of those who are slaves to sin.

    – Nice Muslims may make a good impression of Islam but don’t define Islam, just as nasty Christians may make a bad impression of Christianity but don’t define it. Islam is defined by the Qur’an, just as Christianity is defined by Jesus.

    The Qur’an guarantees Paradise to those who “kill and are killed” for Allah (9:111)

    Muhammad said: “I have been made victorious through terror” (Bukhari 4:52.220).

    “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah and your enemies…” (8:60)

    8:55 – Surely the vilest of animals in Allah’s sight are those who disbelieve

    4:34 – Men take authority over women… As for those who are disobedient, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them.

    48:29 – Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard (ruthless) against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves

    5:51 – Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends.

    4:104 – Seek out your enemies relentlessly.

    9:12 – If you fear treachery from any of your allies, you may fairly retaliate by breaking off your treaty with them.

    Cleverly associating himself with Allah despite such prohibition:
    9:29 – Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

    9:30 – The Christians say: The Christ is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them.

    9:73 – Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home.

    8:12 – I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them

    9:123 – O you who believe! Fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness

    5:33 – The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement

    The Day of Resurrection will not arrive until the Moslems make war against the Jews and kill them, and until a Jew hiding behind a rock and tree, and the rock and tree will say: ‘Oh Moslem, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!’ (Sahih Bukhari 004.52.176)

    The Qur’an prohibits criticism 5:101-102:
    O ye who believe! Ask not questions about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble. But if ye ask about things when the Qur’an is being revealed, they will be made plain to you, Allah will forgive those: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Forbearing.

    Some people before you did ask such questions, and on that account lost their faith.

    – Truth does not prohibit criticism, only liars do.

    Speaking of lies, there are the tactics of Taqiyya and Tawriya:

    ‘The primary Quranic verse sanctioning deception with respect to non-Muslims states: “Let believers not take for friends and allies infidels instead of believers. Whoever does this shall have no relationship left with Allah – unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions.” (Quran 3:28; see also 2:173; 2:185; 4:29; 22:78; 40:28.)

    ‘Al-Tabari’s (838-923 AD) Tafsir, or Quranic exegeses, is essentially a standard reference in the entire Muslim world.

    ‘Regarding 3:28, he wrote: “If you [Muslims] are under their [infidels’] authority, fearing for yourselves, behave loyally to them, with your tongue, while harbouring inner animosity for them… Allah has forbidden believers from being friendly or on intimate terms with the infidels in place of believers – except when infidels are above them [in authority]. In such a scenario, let them act friendly towards them.”

    ‘Regarding 3:28, the Islamic scholar Ibn Kathir (1301-1373) wrote: “Whoever at any time or place fears their [infidels’] evil, may protect himself through outward show.”

    ‘As proof of this, he quotes Muhammad’s companions. Abu Darda said: “Let us smile to the face of some people while our hearts curse them.” Al-Hassan said: “Doing taqiyya is acceptable till the day of judgment [in perpetuity].”‘

    War and Peace – and Deceit – in Islam
    by Raymond Ibrahim, Pajamas Media, February 12, 2009

    Excerpt:
    ‘The bottom line is, any Muslim who closely observes Sharia law — and that is, incidentally, the definition of a Muslim, “one who submits to (the laws of) Allah” — laws that, among other bellicosities, clearly and unambiguously split the world into two perpetually warring halves — such a Muslim will always have a “divinely sanctioned” right to deceive, until “all chaos ceases, and all religion belongs to Allah” (Koran 8:39). All Muslim overtures for peace, dialogue, or even temporary truces must be seen in this light.’

    The late Osama bin Laden, in a private letter to Saudi Muslims, rhetorically asked:

    Our talks with the infidel West and our conflict with them ultimately revolve around one issue… Does Islam, or does it not, force people by the power of the sword to submit to its authority corporeally if not spiritually? Yes. There are only three choices in Islam… Either submit, or live under the suzerainty of Islam, or die.

  34. 34
    ET says:

    Hi blip- Not one thing you have posted supports what vmahuna posted.

  35. 35
    ET says:

    Seversky:

    From an a/mat perspective we would say that Christianity posits a God who has – or must have – certain properties, although they are a little vague. We don’t see any persuasive evidence that such a being has acted – and is still acting – in this Universe so we see no reason to believe in one, good or evil.

    And those same a/mats don’t have anything to explain our existence nor the existence of the universe. You are just a bunch of willfully ignorant deniers.

  36. 36
    john_a_designer says:

    Seversky’s reply @ 29 to Premise 1 of the argument I gave at 25:

    Premise 1: Morality is a rational enterprise.

    “Is it? Are our moral principles the conclusions of a process of reasoning or are they instinctive, empathetic responses which are justified by post hoc rationalizations?”

    Why are you even bothering to put forth an argument? Without rationality you have no argument. All you are doing is asking me and others to believe you because that is what you believe. Sorry for me that is a non-starter. Irrational “arguments” are not worth my time because they’re not logical arguments– they’re not even arguments.

  37. 37
    blip says:

    ET @ 34.

    Vmahuma wrote:
    Moslems are REQUIRED, not simply encouraged, to kill EVERYONE who denies The Prophet.

    He is right about that much. Read my 33 again.

    For an adventuresome experience (if you need more than armchair speculation) take a flight out to Saudi Arabia and let people there know their prophet is a false prophet. A one way ticket will do.

  38. 38
    ET says:

    blip- I have been to Saudi Arabia and have talked, at length, with a few of their Islamic Clerics. That is why I know that you and vmahuna are wrong.

  39. 39
    blip says:

    ET, what exactly did you discuss? Did you tell them to their face Muhammad is a false prophet? Not that you heard so and so say it, and you are trying to figure out why they would say that. but that you say it yourself.

    Follow it up by showing them the verses of the Qur’an and Sharia that demonstrate you are therefore an infidel worthy of death.

    I have also had friendly talks with Muslims here in the US myself and they tell me the same thing, with Taqiyya/Tawriya ever present in the background. But if I tell them their “prophet” was a fraud and their Qur’an is self-refuting, regardless of the quality of evidence provided the rage quickly goes out of control. That is, if they really abide by Islam. If they are just cultural Muslims or actually seeking the truth, that is another matter entirely. Same happens here: “I’m a Christian! And I’m pro-choice!! And sex with whomever is OK! Bible? What’s that?”

    Like I said, Muslims don’t define Islam, whether they are good or bad. The Qur’an does. And we see the results regularly across history.

    But go ahead, insist your Islamic clerics define Islam. You are already going against the Qur’an with that one. That is why the verses above prove Vmahuna right and you and your clerics wrong.

    Not that I’m surprised. There are apostates everywhere. And in one of your future Kumbaya trips to Saudi Arabia, you will learn the truth. Next time, go visit the Kaaba wearing a Jewish star, will you? Take your clerics with you!

  40. 40
    john_a_designer says:

    …if God does not exist, then in a sense, our world is Auschwitz: there is no absolute right and wrong; all things are permitted. But no atheist, no agnostic, can live consistently with such a view. Nietzsche himself, who proclaimed the necessity of living beyond good and evil, broke with his mentor Richard Wagner precisely over the issue of the composer’s anti-Semitism and strident German nationalism. Similarly Sartre, writing in the aftermath of the Second World War, condemned anti-Semitism, declaring that a doctrine that leads to extermination is not merely an opinion or matter of personal taste, of equal value with its opposite. [8] In his important essay “Existentialism Is a Humanism,” Sartre struggles vainly to elude the contradiction between his denial of divinely pre-established values and his urgent desire to affirm the value of human persons. Like Russell, he could not live with the implications of his own denial of ethical absolutes. (emphasis added)

    https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/existence-nature-of-god/the-absurdity-of-life-without-god/

    Without morally binding interpersonal obligations we have no basis at all for universal human rights… Neither do we have a basis for a stable democratic form of government.

  41. 41
    ET says:

    blip, Buy a vowel. There isn’t anything in the Qur’an that supports what vmahuna posted. You clearly don’t know what you are talking about.

  42. 42
    blip says:

    ET @ 41
    I quoted over a dozen disturbing and violent verses straight out of the Qur’an exhorting Muslims to harass, subjugate, maim, crucify, kill unbelievers and all you have to say is that I don’t know what I’m talking about? And what have you offered as rational evidence? An undisclosed conversation with three nameless clerics?!

    No, I know exactly what I’m talking about. You need to learn the difference between persons and ideologies. Persons ought to be respected regardless of their position on any number of beliefs. But not so with ideologies. They have to be tested, criticized, and rejected if they are self-refuting, otherwise false, harmful, evil…

    I have known kind people who are socialists, both the internationalist (communist) kind and the nationalist (fascist) kind. I have known kind Muslims. I have known kind atheists. I have known kind capitalists. I have known kind abortionists.

    This fact does not validate any of their ideologies. Specifically, it does not validate Islam.

    Be glad there are good people of all stripes. But do not, therefore, continue to blind yourself to the evil you so desire to sweep under the rug without once providing any justification.

    Enjoy the Peace of Islam!

    Surah 5:33 – The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement.

  43. 43
    ET says:

    blip- I do not trust your source. And killing unbelievers is not the same as what vmahuna posted.

  44. 44
    kairosfocus says:

    ET, the translations cited are consistent with recognised ones. The doctrine of abrogation combined with a shift to a far more aggressive stance once M had moved to Medina. Surah 9 is last or last but one and its verses 5 and 29 are particularly well-known. These are also consistent with the history, starting with the first four Caliphs, e.g. the pact of Umar and resulting dhimmi status, which continued to be a significant issue right down to today in say Egypt. The Hadiths add to the picture and Islamic eschatology is one of global subjugation starting with the rise of a black flag army from the direction of Khorasan leading to Me conquest. Along the way Mahdi — final Caliph is to be among the army and eventually is joined by prophet Isa [an Islamic spin on Jesus]. Along the way, the Gharqad tree hadith — part of the Hamas covenant — envisions a slaughter of Jews. Global subjugation is to follow. On 9-11 itself, I first saw a map of a 100 year global subjugation projection and subsequently Swiss Financial Police captured a Muslim Brotherhood 100 year global subjugation Project. Similarly, documentation of a settlement jihad strategy was captured in Virginia and was part of the Holy Land Foundation trial documentation. Many Muslims are irenic, pretty ordinary people but we must face the implications of what the evidence reveals about motivating ideology for the more radical. KF

  45. 45
    Seversky says:

    john_a_designer @ 36

    Premise 1: Morality is a rational enterprise.

    “Is it? Are our moral principles the conclusions of a process of reasoning or are they instinctive, empathetic responses which are justified by post hoc rationalizations?”

    Why are you even bothering to put forth an argument? Without rationality you have no argument. All you are doing is asking me and others to believe you because that is what you believe. Sorry for me that is a non-starter. Irrational “arguments” are not worth my time because they’re not logical arguments– they’re not even arguments

    Actually, I was asking a question. In effect, is there any basis for our moral principles other than empathy or the Golden Rule? If we can agree that morals are based in recognition and respect for common interests then there is plenty of rational discussion to be had about how to implement them.

  46. 46
    bornagain77 says:

    The Absurdity of Life without God – William Lane Craig
    Excerpt: Kai Nielsen, an atheist philosopher who attempts to defend the viability of ethics without God, in the end admits,
    “We have not been able to show that reason requires the moral point of view, or that all really rational persons, unhoodwinked by myth or ideology, need not be individual egoists or classical amoralists. Reason doesn’t decide here. The picture I have painted for you is not a pleasant one. Reflection on it depresses me . . . . Pure practical reason, even with a good knowledge of the facts, will not take you to morality. [1]”
    Kai Nielsen, “Why Should I Be Moral?” American Philosophical Quarterly 21 (1984): 90.
    https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/existence-nature-of-god/the-absurdity-of-life-without-god/

  47. 47
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, you just implied that oughtness is inherently irrational, based on a groundless perception of equal worth of the other to the self. Thus, by manipulating the emotion of empathy and that of identification (i.e. sense of fellowship) one can create ethical principles and/or “consensus” — which is in the end appeal to the threat of dominant factions. In short, we are at ungrounded, essentially delusional senses of being under binding obligation, INCLUDING that our thought life is duty-bound to seek truth and warrant on responsible principles of reasoning. The door to anarchy thence the rebound to nihilistic, ruthless will to power imposition lies open. KF

  48. 48
    john_a_designer says:

    Seversky,

    On another thread, “As astrology goes mainstream, will Big Science start to accommodate it?”
    You made the comment:

    As I said, atheists can construct rational worldviews and moral codes. It’s just that they cannot appeal to the unquestionable authority of some deity to support them.

    I asked: “As an atheist, are you morally obligated to be honest and tell the truth?”

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/as-astrology-goes-mainstream-will-big-science-start-to-accommodate-it/#comment-661037

    My point is, why should I take anything an atheist says seriously if he isn’t obligated to tell the truth? And, how can I trust anything an atheist says if he believes there is no thing as moral truth?

    If there is no such thing as moral truth then according to anti-realist all we’re left with are just arbitrary subjective opinions. How are an atheists subjective opinions (or anyone else’s) binding on everyone else? Again, from an antirealist view, moral obligations are just delusions. That’s all they can be.

  49. 49
    Mung says:

    Seversky:

    If we can agree that morals are based in recognition and respect for common interests then there is plenty of rational discussion to be had about how to implement them.

    That won’t even pass the Nazi test. They had common interests.

  50. 50
    ET says:

    ET, the translations cited are consistent with recognised ones.

    Look I can find bastardized Bible quotes, too. I can also quote-mine the Bible.

    The quotes provided do NOT support what vmahuna posted. Killing atheists is not the same as killing people for not recognizing Mohammed as a prophet.

  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    ET, sadly, that is not quote-mining. See for convenience, as an illustration 5 and 29 [and onward] in: https://carm.org/quran-9 (Yusuf Ali is one of the most regarded renderings.) KF

  52. 52
    john_a_designer says:

    The following is a comment of mine from an earlier thread that is worth repeating again here.

    The objectivist [or moral realist] would argue that there must be a real standard of honesty that applies universally to all members of society. Indeed, society would break down if people weren’t obligated to be honest and tell the truth. Think of government, criminal justice or commerce. When people are dishonest our basic institutions begin to break down.

    We have a number of interlocutors who show up here who proudly self-identify as moral subjectivists. How can we trust anything any of them say if they are not obligated to be honest and tell the truth? Why would they be obligated if there is no real standard of honesty?

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-is-ought-problem-is-it-a-true-dichotomy-or-a-deceptive-bluff/#comment-660736

    Our interlocutors appear to not only have a problem with honesty in the moral or ethical sense but in the intellectual sense as well. Frankly, I don’t know how we can have any kind of honest dialogue, discussion or debate unless we begin with an objective common ground standard of honesty. But how can we even start there if no such common ground standard to begin with?

  53. 53
    kairosfocus says:

    JAD, precisely. And indeed, intellectual honesty is part of the moral government of responsibly and rationally significantly free creatures such as we are. KF

  54. 54
    Seversky says:

    Mung @ 49

    If we can agree that morals are based in recognition and respect for common interests then there is plenty of rational discussion to be had about how to implement them.

    That won’t even pass the Nazi test. They had common interests.

    As I recall, the Nazis did not consult Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, ethnic Poles and Serbs, people with mental and physical disabilities, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholic clergy, political opponents or any others they considered “undesirable”. Whatever their common interests as human beings might have been was not taken into consideration.

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev,

    the fundamental problem of Nazism was that it thought in terms that implied that might and manipulation make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘knowledge,’ ‘rights and more. Thus, the evolutionarily superior aryan (and the swastika was an aryan symbol) should conduct racial hygiene and displacement of inferiors, especially slavs and jews.

    (We must never forget that the number one victim group of his was was slavs. 25+ million Russians head the list. In terms of proportions, Poland lost 5 millions from was it 20 or 25, 3 million jews — half the jewish holocaust — and 2 million other poles.)

    Let me cite a chilling text, Bk I, Ch XI of the infamous Mein Kampf:

    Any crossing of two beings not at exactly the same level produces a medium between the level of the two parents . . . Consequently, it will later succumb in the struggle against the higher level. Such mating is contrary to the will of Nature for a higher breeding of all life . . . The stronger must dominate and not blend with the weaker, thus sacrificing his own greatness. Only the born weakling can view this as cruel, but he after all is only a weak and limited man; for if this law did not prevail, any conceivable higher development of organic living beings [–> i.e. evolution] would be unthinkable.

    The consequence of this racial purity, universally valid in Nature, is not only the sharp outward delimitation of the various races, but their uniform character in themselves. The fox is always a fox, the goose a goose, the tiger a tiger, etc., and the difference can lie at most in the varying measure of force, strength, intelligence, dexterity, endurance, etc., of the individual specimens. But you will never find a fox who in his inner attitude might, for example, show humanitarian tendencies toward geese, as similarly there is no cat with a friendly inclination toward mice [–> Jewish or Polish or Russian geese and mice, take due notice] . . . .

    In the struggle for daily bread all those who are weak and sickly or less determined succumb, while the struggle of the males for the female grants the right or opportunity to propagate only to the healthiest. [That is, Darwinian sexual selection.] And struggle is always a means for improving a species’ health and power of resistance and, therefore, a cause of its higher development.

    If the process were different, all further and higher development would cease and the opposite would occur. For, since the inferior always predominates numerically over the best [NB: this is a theme in Darwin’s discussion of the Irish, the Scots and the English etc in chs 5 – 7 of Descent of Man], if both had the same possibility of preserving life and propagating, the inferior would multiply so much more rapidly that in the end the best would inevitably be driven into the background, unless a correction of this state of affairs were undertaken. Nature does just this by subjecting the weaker part to such severe living conditions that by them alone the number is limited, and by not permitting the remainder to increase promiscuously, but making a new and ruthless choice according to strength and health . . .

    This actually chillingly echoes remarks of warning by H G Wells, a student of Huxley, in his opening remarks in his highly popular 1897 novel, War of the Worlds; which put Englishmen in the position of the inferiors to be displaced by a superior race:

    No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water . . . No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us . . . . looking across space with instruments, and intelligences such as we have scarcely dreamed of, they see, at its nearest distance only 35,000,000 of miles sunward of them, a morning star of hope, our own warmer planet, green with vegetation and grey with water, with a cloudy atmosphere eloquent of fertility, with glimpses through its drifting cloud wisps of broad stretches of populous country and narrow, navy-crowded seas.

    And we men, the creatures who inhabit this earth, must be to them at least as alien and lowly as are the monkeys and lemurs to us. The intellectual side of man already admits that life is an incessant struggle for existence, and it would seem that this too is the belief of the minds upon Mars. Their world is far gone in its cooling and this world is still crowded with life, but crowded only with what they regard as inferior animals. To carry warfare sunward is, indeed, their only escape from the destruction that, generation after generation, creeps upon them.

    And before we judge of them too harshly we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as the vanished bison and the dodo, but upon its inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space of fifty years. Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit?

    In turn, this thought echoes Darwin in Descent. Let me cite Ch 6:

    Man is liable to numerous, slight, and diversified variations, which are induced by the same general causes, are governed and transmitted in accordance with the same general laws, as in the lower animals. Man has multiplied so rapidly, that he has necessarily been exposed to struggle for existence, and consequently to natural selection. He has given rise to many races, some of which differ so much from each other, that they have often been ranked by naturalists as distinct species . . . .

    At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.

    No, we need instead something that warrants regarding the other as such that his or her rights must be recognised and respected based on inherent unalienable characteristics of the human being. Also, something that grounds rights as binding moral obligations of respect to the other, starting with life.

    And, I must say, that talk of consultation runs into serious trouble when we deal with the voiceless, powerless and marginalised. We can start with the ghosts of over 800 million victims of the ongoing holocaust of living posterity in the womb over 40+ years, currently mounting at another million per week. A holocaust loudly announced as a right.

    Until we soundly address this central evil of our day, we will make no sound progress.

    KF

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