119 Replies to “Which is worse?

  1. 1
    champignon says:

    Well, the question asks us to assume that both of them are mistaken. Under that assumption, I would say that the greater error is made by the person whose position is least reasonable given the evidence. Unquestionably, that would be the young-earther.

  2. 2
    KRock says:

    The greatest error is in the one, who wrongly believes their view should even matter; when at the hands of chance, there isn’t any ultimate purpose or meaning in the first place. The naturalist ends up leaving the game, without ever knowing the score of the game. The greatest error is in the one, who wrongly believes their view should even matter; when at the hands of chance, there isn’t any ultimate purpose or meaning in the first place. The naturalist ends up leaving the game, without ever knowing the score of the game.

  3. 3
    KRock says:

    Sorry, I doubled up on my post when I was proof reading it.. Yikes…! Lol,,

  4. 4
    GilDodgen says:

    Dear Gage,

    I nominate you as the recipient of my award for distilling ultimate issues into their essence, with much insight and very few words.

    Those who believe that the world is only 6-10 thousand years old (which I don’t) don’t bother me. I care about values, just as Dennis Prager, a religious Jew, does.

    By the way, as a religious Jew, Dennis is a great defender of Christianity, although he does not agree with Christian theology.

    What really bothers me is that Darwinists have consistently denied the evidence of modern science which eviscerates the creative power of the Darwinian mechanism. Furthermore, they vilify all Darwinian critics — no matter how logical, evidential, or mathematical the criticisms might be — as enemies of science, when, in fact, it is Darwinists who are enemies of the pursuit of truth, which is what science should be all about.

    Those who wrongly believe that the world (the universe) and human beings are just accidents (stochastic products) of physics and chemistry, in contradiction to all evidence and rationality, are promoting an extremely pernicious and destructive philosophy which is self-evidently false.

    It’s called nihilism.

  5. 5
    champignon says:

    KRock,

    The greatest error is in the one, who wrongly believes their view should even matter; when at the hands of chance, there isn’t any ultimate purpose or meaning in the first place.

    That wasn’t the question.

  6. 6
    champignon says:

    Gil,

    Those who believe that the world is only 6-10 thousand years old (which I don’t) don’t bother me…What really bothers me is that Darwinists…

    That wasn’t the question.

  7. 7
    DrREC says:

    “Those who believe that the world is only 6-10 thousand years old (which I don’t) don’t bother me. I care about values..”

    Since you place values above evidence (unless you seriously believe there is support for a young earth), why should we give a damn about any of your opining on science?

    How revealing….

  8. 8

    I think Gil is saying that neither scenario has evidence to support it, but at least the YECs have a less destructive philosophy.

    Which is wrong on both counts of course:

    Evolutionary theory and the standard models regarding the age of the earth and the universe have vast amounts of evidence to support them, and are also perfectly compatible with non-nihilist philosophies.

    YEC on the other hand is directly infirmed by evidence, and requires its holders to worship a creator god who sought to prevent his creatures from acquiring a moral knowledge, then punished them and all their descendents when they disobeyed.

  9. 9
    Jon Garvey says:

    Following your logic through, Elizabeth (though it is, of course, a pastiche of what Genesis 3 teaches), experiencing punishment for taking on moral decision-making is going to make people very careful in the moral judgements they subsequently make.

    Unlike the other group, there is very little likelihood of their formulating the concept “world an accident -> morality meaningless”. That might (conceivably) lead in the long term to fairly non-destructive results like the rule of law, just political structures, moral consensus, charitable actions, personal integrity and so on.

    Conversely, the other position might even (I know it’s far fetched) lead to destructive consequences like – I don’t know, since it’s so hypothetical – justice subordinated to the interests of individual groups, state absolutism, eugenics, dysfunctional social order, or destructive personal lifestyles.

    Since the “accidental” view has only been prominent for a century or two, perhaps there hasn’t been time for any consequences, good or bad, to occur. Or perhaps there has.

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: For some explanation of why evolutionary materialism is logically incoherent and amoral (not merely neutral about/irrelevant to moral issues), cf. here and here.

    For instance, c. 1930, Haldane noted:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.” [[“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

    This challenge to evolutionary materialism is not new.

    We may read in Plato’s The Laws, Bk X, c 360 BC; 2350 years ago:

    [[The avant garde philosophers, teachers and artists c. 400 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [[i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only . . . .

    [[T]hese people would say that the Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.- [[Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT. (Cf. here for Locke’s views and sources on a very different base for grounding liberty as opposed to license and resulting anarchistic “every man does what is right in his own eyes” chaos leading to tyranny.)] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [[Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles; cf. dramatisation here], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless tyranny; here, too, Plato hints at the career of Alcibiades], and not in legal subjection to them . . .

    By comparison with these longstanding and quite sobering challenges — which are usually studiously ignored or angrily brushed aside, whatever problems Young Earth Creationists may have with geo-dating etc pale into insignificance. (And, someone above rightly alluded to the positive contributions of Bible-believing people standing in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, to the rise of modern liberty and democracy. To that, we may add, key and indeed foundational contributions to the rise of modern science.)

    So, there is a place for due proportion in response to consistent Darwinist scapegoating, stereotyping and smearing of the much despised “creationists,” for decades now, as “ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.”

    GEM of TKI

  11. 11
    Joe says:

    Well given the evidence the Hawking/ mainstream position of accident is total nonsense.

  12. 12
    Joe says:

    Elizabeth:

    Evolutionary theory and the standard models regarding the age of the earth and the universe have vast amounts of evidence to support them, and are also perfectly compatible with non-nihilist philosophies.

    Yeah if queestion-begging is evidence.

    Ya see in order to determine the age of the earth one has to know something about how it formed. And right now we can only guess.

  13. 13
    Joe says:

    Gage,

    What do you mean by “world”? Are you referring to just the earth or the universe?

    I ask because there are YECs who accept an old universe and a young Earth.

  14. 14
    tjguy says:

    Liz said: “Evolutionary theory and the standard models regarding the age of the earth and the universe have vast amounts of evidence to support them, and are also perfectly compatible with non-nihilist philosophies.”

    Liz, what non-nihilist philosophies are you referring to. Also, which of those non-nihilist philosophies do you hold to?

    Liz said: “YEC on the other hand is directly infirmed by evidence, and requires its holders to worship a creator god who sought to prevent his creatures from acquiring a moral knowledge, then punished them and all their descendents when they disobeyed.”

    Liz, I am concerned about the way you are distorting who God is.

    Let me get this straight. God, in love, carefully created a perfect place for Adam & Eve to live, provided a perfect partner for them to live with, provided all they needed, abundantly more than they needed to enjoy life there, and even entered into a relationship with them and met the needs of their hearts and still that wasn’t enough?

    Because of God’s goodness and grace, they had no unmet needs whatsoever, and in spite of that you are accusing Him of something evil?! You think He should not have tried to prevent them from sinning. You think He should have given them no moral guidance. You think He shouldn’t have tried to stop them from bringing a curse upon themselves and the world they lived in. It seems like to you, God was the one who was in the wrong here. Ma’am, I think you have bought the lie of the Evil One just like Eve did.

    It also seems you have a very negative view of worship.

    Worship is really not all that bad! Try it, you might like it! God requires worship first of all because He deserves it, but also because He loves us. We were made to worship Him. In asking for our worship, He is actually doing us a favour and seeking our good and His own good at the same time. It is a win-win situation. It is wrong for us humans to exalt ourselves, but it is right for God to require worship because He is the highest Being in existence. He rightfully deserves it. In fact, it would be morally wrong for Him not to require worship because He would be allowing sin. He would be misleading us. We don’t live in a country with a King and Queen, but it is morally right to respect those in authority over us, not because they are inherently greater than we are, but because of their position. However, God is inherently greater than we are. When you meet God, you will understand why He requires worship. The Bible says that one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. Worship gives us joy, hope, and a renewed perspective. It is a good thing, not a bad thing.

    It also seems like you think punishment is a bad thing.

    For God, punishment is not the goal. Justice is. Just as it is morally wrong for a judge to let a convicted criminal go unpunished, it would be morally wrong to allow sin to go unpunished. He warned them ahead of time.

    Theirs was more than a simple little sin like eating an apple when they shouldn’t have. The actual act of eating the fruit was a result of the sin that took place in their hearts. In order to eat the fruit, they had to choose to doubt God and His love, to rebel against Him, and to become the lord of their own lives. For Adam it was a conscious rebellion. It’s not an excuse, but Eve was deceived. However, Adam was not. He ate knowing full well he was rebelling against God.

    Like it or not, sin invites and even demands punishment, just like crime invites and demands punishment. God knew this would happen and still He created humans. But don’t misunderstand. It is not as if God enjoys punishing people. No, He would much rather have men repent and be forgiven. The cross is proof of this. Even though we were the ones in the wrong, He loved us while we were sinners going our own way. And He even sent His own Son, Jesus into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. God Himself came and took the very punishment for sin that God Himself requires of us. Why? Because He loves us. He wants to forgive us so that we can live with Him forever in heaven.

    God punishes sin because He is holy and just. This is a good thing. You wouldn’t want a God who is not holy or just. Punishing sin is the right thing to do. But He also found a way to both punish sin and forgive us – the cross where He himself suffered and died for us. You wouldn’t really want to live in a world where there was no punishment, I’m sure.

    Liz, you are purposefully looking for something to criticize God for, but your desire to criticize prevents you from seeing His love and grace. If you refuse His love, grace, and forgiveness; if you refuse the sacrifice Jesus made for your sins, you invite the punishment that Jesus came to take for you. You will have to pay the penalty for your own sins yourself. Because Liz, although God loves you, He cannot allow your sin to go unpunished forever.

  15. 15

    Liz said: “Evolutionary theory and the standard models regarding the age of the earth and the universe have vast amounts of evidence to support them, and are also perfectly compatible with non-nihilist philosophies.”

    Liz, what non-nihilist philosophies are you referring to. Also, which of those non-nihilist philosophies do you hold to?

    A philosophy that says that stuff is worth doing.

    Liz said: “YEC on the other hand is directly infirmed by evidence, and requires its holders to worship a creator god who sought to prevent his creatures from acquiring a moral knowledge, then punished them and all their descendents when they disobeyed.”

    Liz, I am concerned about the way you are distorting who God is.

    I’m not distorting how YECs interpret Genesis. It makes for unsupported science and bad theology IMO.

    Let me get this straight. God, in love, carefully created a perfect place for Adam & Eve to live, provided a perfect partner for them to live with, provided all they needed, abundantly more than they needed to enjoy life there, and even entered into a relationship with them and met the needs of their hearts and still that wasn’t enough?

    Because of God’s goodness and grace, they had no unmet needs whatsoever, and in spite of that you are accusing Him of something evil?! You think He should not have tried to prevent them from sinning. You think He should have given them no moral guidance.

    He didn’t give them moral guidance in that story. In fact, he insisted that they remain amoral (without knowledge of good and evil). He didn’t tell them to be good, he told them to obey. Those two things are not the same.

    You think He shouldn’t have tried to stop them from bringing a curse upon themselves and the world they lived in. It seems like to you, God was the one who was in the wrong here. Ma’am, I think you have bought the lie of the Evil One just like Eve did.

    Well, I don’t think the story is literally true, but if it were, then obviously he shouldn’t have cursed them. He’s supposed to be omnipotent, right? So yes, I think that story is very unflattering to God, and does paint him as rather evil. But then I don’t believe that God exists.

    It also seems you have a very negative view of worship.

    No, I have a positive view of worshiping what is worth worshipping. I think worshipping something evil is bad, though. And worshipping the idol painted as a Creator in Genesis I think is pretty bad. I wouldn’t worship a deity who forbade his creatures to acquire knowledge of the difference between right from wrong and then cursed them when they tried to find out. But, as I said, I don’t believe that deity exists anyway.

    Worship is really not all that bad! Try it, you might like it! God requires worship first of all because He deserves it, but also because He loves us. We were made to worship Him. In asking for our worship, He is actually doing us a favour and seeking our good and His own good at the same time. It is a win-win situation. It is wrong for us humans to exalt ourselves, but it is right for God to require worship because He is the highest Being in existence. He rightfully deserves it. In fact, it would be morally wrong for Him not to require worship because He would be allowing sin. He would be misleading us. We don’t live in a country with a King and Queen, but it is morally right to respect those in authority over us, not because they are inherently greater than we are, but because of their position. However, God is inherently greater than we are. When you meet God, you will understand why He requires worship. The Bible says that one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. Worship gives us joy, hope, and a renewed perspective. It is a good thing, not a bad thing.

    I’m not saying that there isn’t a God who is worthy of worship. I’m saying I wouldn’t worship the God of the Old testament, even if I thought he existed, which I don’t.

    It also seems like you think punishment is a bad thing.

    I think it can be a good thing if it helps people not to do the thing they were punished for, and if that thing was a bad thing. I don’t think punishing people who didn’t do the bad thing is a good thing.

    For God, punishment is not the goal. Justice is.

    That makes no sense to me. Never has. Just behaviour might be a reasonable goal, to which end punishment sometimes serves.

    Just as it is morally wrong for a judge to let a convicted criminal go unpunished, it would be morally wrong to allow sin to go unpunished. He warned them ahead of time.

    Judges sentence criminals in order to protect the public from wrong-doers, through prevention, deterrence, rehabilitation and sometimes reparation. None of those justifications are relevant to the case of the putative punitive OT god.

    Theirs was more than a simple little sin like eating an apple when they shouldn’t have. The actual act of eating the fruit was a result of the sin that took place in their hearts. In order to eat the fruit, they had to choose to doubt God and His love, to rebel against Him, and to become the lord of their own lives. For Adam it was a conscious rebellion. It’s not an excuse, but Eve was deceived. However, Adam was not. He ate knowing full well he was rebelling against God.

    How come, if he didn’t know the difference between Good and Evil? And why shouldn’t he have done, anyway? Obedience to an unjust ruler is not a virtue. How did he know that God was just? As I said, though, I don’t believe the story anyway. It’s a story. It can be interpreted in some rather wonderful ways. But as literal history or literal theology it makes no sense at all.

    Like it or not, sin invites and even demands punishment, just like crime invites and demands punishment.

    Nope. The two cases are quite different. I don’t know why people get them confused. The first makes no sense; the second makes quite a lot of sense.

    God knew this would happen and still He created humans. But don’t misunderstand. It is not as if God enjoys punishing people.

    I should hope not. In which case I have no idea why he would do it. Which is one of the many reasons I have no good reason to believe in that god, any more than I have good reasons to believe in Zeus.

    No, He would much rather have men repent and be forgiven.

    Good. In which case why punish them, unless it is more likely to make them repent? And why visit that punishment on all their descendents, whether or not they did anything wrong? Hardly an incentive to behave or repent.

    The cross is proof of this. Even though we were the ones in the wrong, He loved us while we were sinners going our own way. And He even sent His own Son, Jesus into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

    Which makes even less sense. Why not just forgive us anyway, and cut out the middle man? Let alone require the horrific human sacrifice of an innocent?

    What kind of good god is that?

    God Himself came and took the very punishment for sin that God Himself requires of us. Why? Because He loves us. He wants to forgive us so that we can live with Him forever in heaven.

    And as I said, that makes no sense. Or, perhaps, in one sense, but not in any sense that has anything to do with Adam, that I can see. I can see the argument that to persuade us that He is All-forgiving, He might demonstrate the lengths of suffering He was prepared to undergo, and still forgive.

    But to argue that this infinitely forgiving and loving God is the same as the punitive tyrant of the OT makes no sense at all to me.

    God punishes sin because He is holy and just.

    And then doesn’t. Seriously, does this make any sense to you?

    This is a good thing. You wouldn’t want a God who is not holy or just. Punishing sin is the right thing to do.

    Even if it was, which I don’t accept, he then didn’t do it. So your argument is: God thought punishment was a good thing, not because it makes us better people, or protects the innocent (as human punishment tries to do) but for some unspecified reason called “Justice”, even though it lacks the fundamental rationale of human justice systems. Then decided to punish himself instead.

    Well, even if I had any reason to think any of that was true, which I don’t, it wouldn’t lead me to think much of the deity who organised it.

    But He also found a way to both punish sin and forgive us – the cross where He himself suffered and died for us. You wouldn’t really want to live in a world where there was no punishment, I’m sure.

    No, but that’s because I think punishing the guilty serves some very important purposes. Punishing the innocent and letting the guilty off scot free makes no sense to me at all.

    Liz, you are purposefully looking for something to criticize God for, but your desire to criticize prevents you from seeing His love and grace.

    Nope. I am not criticising God. I am criticising a construct, termed “God” by some people who identify that construct with a mythical deity (or deities) featured in many of the books of the bible, particularly the OT.

    If God is Love, or God is Goodness, or if those two things mean the same thing, then I worship God. I just don’t think that God has anything (or much) to do with Genesis.

    If you refuse His love, grace, and forgiveness; if you refuse the sacrifice Jesus made for your sins, you invite the punishment that Jesus came to take for you. You will have to pay the penalty for your own sins yourself. Because Liz, although God loves you, He cannot allow your sin to go unpunished forever.

    And if that’s his attitude, then I’d rather take the punishment. I certainly wouldn’t worship such a tyrant.

    However, as I see no reason to believe that a good God would impose eternal punishment at all, let alone make escaping it contingent on believing in a cobbled-together story that makes no sense, and is actually contradicted by perfectly good evidence. I’ll just keep on trying to do the best I can, as most of us do, and when I fail, to seek forgiveness from those I have wronged and do my best to put things right again.

    And if it turns out (as I doubt) that I do have some kind of life beyond my span, if God turns out to be the guy I thought she was, cool. If not, well, that’s a bummer. At least my conscience will be clear.

  16. 16

    Yes. All science is, essentially, guesswork. However, it is informed guesswork, and each time we find we have guessed right, that gives us clues as to what our next guess should be.

  17. 17
    Joe says:

    Yup, question-begging. And if we don’t know how the earth was formed then it can’t be “informed guesswork”.

  18. 18

    Yes, it can. You forgot about data.

  19. 19
    Joe says:

    Except there isn’t any data to support the claim that the earth formed acidentally by multiple thousands of cosmic collisions.

  20. 20
    Joe says:

    Data?:

    Case in point Super-Earths give theorists a super headache: An abundance of medium-sized worlds is challenging planet-formation models-

    By now, it’s not surprising that NASA’s Kepler space telescope is turning up extrasolar planets by the bushel. Last week, at the first Kepler science conference at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, mission scientists announced that the space telescope has identified 2,326 candidate planets, nearly doubling its haul since February.

    But what has puzzled observers and theorists so far is the high proportion of planets — roughly one-third to one-half — that are bigger than Earth but smaller than Neptune. These ‘super-Earths’ are emerging as a new category of planet — and they could be the most numerous of all (see ‘Super-Earths rising’). Their very existence upsets conventional models of planetary formation and, furthermore, most of them are in tight orbits around their host star, precisely where the modellers say they shouldn’t be.

  21. 21

    Erratum: “But then I don’t believe that God exists.” Should have read: “But then I don’t believe that that god exists.”

  22. 22
    Joe says:

    For what it is worth, I hope you are right…

  23. 23

    Following your logic through, Elizabeth (though it is, of course, a pastiche of what Genesis 3 teaches), experiencing punishment for taking on moral decision-making is going to make people very careful in the moral judgements they subsequently make.

    Well, only if they link the punishment to the offence. That’s not going to work if the punishment is visited on descendents of the original offenders.

    Unlike the other group, there is very little likelihood of their formulating the concept “world an accident -> morality meaningless”. That might (conceivably) lead in the long term to fairly non-destructive results like the rule of law, just political structures, moral consensus, charitable actions, personal integrity and so on.

    It might. It might also, and does, lead to genocide, terrorism, bigotry, and torture. It runs the danger of reducing morality to “what my good book says, never mind what your good book says” rather than the development of ethical structures based on the maximising the welfare of society as a whole.

    Conversely, the other position might even (I know it’s far fetched) lead to destructive consequences like – I don’t know, since it’s so hypothetical – justice subordinated to the interests of individual groups, state absolutism, eugenics, dysfunctional social order, or destructive personal lifestyles.

    And yet it doesn’t seem to, any more (and possibly less) than religious positions do. And there is no reason why it should.

    Since the “accidental” view has only been prominent for a century or two, perhaps there hasn’t been time for any consequences, good or bad, to occur. Or perhaps there has.

    Possibly because no-one who holds the view that you characterise as “accidental” actually thinks of it as such. Nobody I know thinks that life came about “accidentally” but rather as the result of an awesome cascade of natural processes, to which we owe both the joys and the miseries of our existence. And a moral sense in are capable of desiring to maximise everyone’s joys and minimise everyone’s miseries.

  24. 24
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Liddle:

    Solar system formation is up in the air right now, with the evidence of different classes of exoplanets throwing the theories into various cocked hats.

    The medium scale planets in tight orbits just don’t fit in with the already patched solar system formation models. More from that nature article:

    Guided by the example of our own Solar System, with its distinct sets of large and small worlds, early planet-formation models were based on the notion of ‘core accretion’. Dust swirling around a star in a protoplanetary disk can aggregate into small planetesimals of rock and ice, which collide and stick together. The inner part of the disk contains too little material for these cores to grow much bigger than Earth. But farther out, they can attain ten Earth masses or more, enough to attract a vast volume of gas and become Jupiter-like.

    The detection, starting in 1995, of Jupiter-sized planets with orbits as short as a few Earth days contradicted these models. The theorists revised their models to allow these ‘hot Jupiters’ to form far from their star and then migrate in. Yet these models predicted that anything reaching super-Earth size should either become a gas giant or be swallowed by its star, creating a ‘planetary desert’ in this size range. Kepler’s discoveries wreck those predictions.

    And there are those big boys in eccentric orbits, and there is the issue of planetary expulsions, etc etc etc.

    Great observations, the theoreticians have some big catch up to do.

    GEM of TKI

  25. 25
    Gage says:

    Joe: By “the world” I meant the universe, but used that term because it is more reminiscent of the abundance of life around us. Among other things, the necessarily extreme complexity and stunning design evident in living things (there is no “simple life”) shows that our existence is intentional, not accidental.

  26. 26
    Joe says:

    OK as long as you understand there are YECs that accept an old universe- see Dr Humphreys’ “Starlight and Time”- a relativity-based Creation model.

  27. 27
    Joe says:

    Solar system formation is up in the air right now, with the evidence of different classes of exoplanets throwing the theories into various cocked hats.

    No, it was “up in the air” when they tossed it out the window. Surely it must have landed by now. 😉

  28. 28
    butifnot says:

    The caricature of YEC’s doesn’t fit. Actually materialism’s religious devotion to a certain age for the universe far exceeds the YEC, it is a first principle and no contradicting, inconsistent or missing evidence – which is legion – will ever affect it. Far more evidence is consistent with a young universe and in both cases there is no direct observation of the past! Such is forensic science and it comes with assumptions and interpretations. Ms Liddle’s tired, worn out, low brow hack at Christianity is sad. I claim that were the God of the bible here on earth for all to see we would still stiffen our necks and want to do as we see fit. Not an elephant in the room, but a whole universe in the room! Shouting of the Creator. All of us, but particularly the materialist, do not want to be accountable to a higher authority for our own actions.

  29. 29
    JDH says:

    Champignon,

    Pardon me for asking what you think is an ignorant question. What is the positive evidence that the world is just an accident of physics and chemistry? I am not asking for evidence that evolution is true, for there are many people believe that the world is not an accident of physics and chemistry, but that evolution is true. The way you stated your answer, for you to be right, there must be overwhelming evidence that the world is just an accident of P & C.

    The truth is there is not much. On the contrary, there is overwhelming evidence – fine tuning of the constants, human consciousness, the observation that many of nature’s denizens appear designed, human language, universal morality, etc. that the world has some design to it. This evidence is so overwhelming that well meaning materialists essentially admit it.

    To justify their materialism they invoke the myth of the multiverse – the generation of many, many, universes of which ours is just one. These materialists, by raising their preposterous theory, in a sense admit that if we just rely on the observable ( what science is supposed to do ), than the design hypothesis is incontrovertible. So they must invent an infinite number of unobservable, undetectable, unfalsifiable ( i.e. unscientific ) things to preserve what is essentially an unscientific faith statement that the world is just an accident of P & C.

    So even using your criterion ( worse = least reasonable given the evidence ) my opinion is you lose. Using other criterion of worse ( e.g. worse = which position has been exploited for the most mass evil ) you lose by even more.

  30. 30
    Bydand says:

    butifnot;

    I thought one of the points, indeed a great joy, of being Christian, was to be keen to be thoroughly accountable to God for one’s own actions.

    Be that as it may, I hope one day to be introduced to some more of the legion evidence against an old earth. That which I have seen so far turns out on unbiased examination to be rather shaky, even when not downright wrong.

  31. 31
    Stu7 says:

    And that’s something that puzzles me.

    If indeed there is mounting evidence for God like an exquisitely fine-tuned universe, why would anyone want to deliberately deny it. Sure battling through the troublesome teenage years one can be forgiven but you might think pride and stubbornness would be cast aside when you reach adulthood.

    Power and control are an illusion, and that illusion can be so quickly and easily shattered.

  32. 32
    kairosfocus says:

    WARNING: Probably a sockpuppet. “DOAN’ FEED DE TROLLZ” (If you are for real, provide a serious discussion, on topic.)

  33. 33
    Cabal says:

    Yup, question-begging. And if we don’t know how the earth was formed then it can’t be “informed guesswork”.

    A mode of reasoning that may just as well be applied to other theories, as for instance Intelligent Design?

    How about “If we don’t know how it was designed, what do we know?”

  34. 34
    tragic mishap says:

    Who makes the greater error, the one who believes in something which in principle could have been observed or the one who believes in something which in principle could not have been observed?

  35. 35
    Bydand says:

    I’m not sure, Tragic.

    For myself, in any question I try, in as genuinely open-minded a manner as I can manage, to follow whatever evidence there is, pro and con.
    But I’m always ready to hear more evidence, although I have quite strict personal rules about what constitutes “evidence”.

  36. 36
    lastyearon says:

    Can you be a Jew or a Muslim and be accountable to god? Do you have to believe that Jesus is God?

  37. 37
    KRock says:

    Ya, you’re right…. But in the end, if you’re a naturalist, who really cares? YEC may be wrong on many points, but it least they’re not constructing meaning and purpose with the illusion that it matters.

  38. 38
    GilDodgen says:

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

    — William Provine

    I have great respect for Will Provine because he has been honest enough to state the inescapable logical implications of Darwinian materialistic philosophy.

    I stand by my assertion that Darwinism implies nihilism, and that it is pernicious and destructive.

    If Darwinism is false, which I am convinced it is, it has done monstrous harm to both science and the human soul.

  39. 39

    Why does Darwinism imply nihilism, Gil?

    It seems to me that you have made the dangerous mistake of allowing what you see as the implications of a scientific theory to influence your evaluations of its validity as a theory.

    That is the same kind of thinking that led the church to reject Galileo’s theory – because they didn’t like the implications of it.

    Clearly I think you are wrong on both counts, but let yourself, for a minute, suppose that Darwinian evolution is true: why would that imply nihilism? It would certainly imply that Genesis isn’t literally true, but then I don’t think you think that anyway. Why could it not, equally, imply that a Creator God was smart enough to devise a universe in which intelligent life would inevitably evolve, somewhere? Or foresee that it would (given omniscience?)

    And even if you (as I do) drop the notion of Creator God, why does that imply nihilism? We are purposeful animals, as most animals are (it’s one of the things that makes us different from vegetables). So purposelessness is not an “implication” of Darwinism – rather purposefulness is a prediction of it, or, at any rate, can be accounted for in Darwinian terms.

  40. 40
    Barb says:

    Elizabeth at 15.1: “Let yourself, for a minute, suppose that Darwinian evolution is true: why would that imply nihilism?”

    If everything is a grand cosmic accident, where is the purpose in that? There is no purpose in accidents.

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

    If there is no design (and no designer) and no purpose, then there is no moral authority. He also indiated this by his ‘no evil and no good’ comment.

    No moral grounds on which to stand=nihilism. Q.E.D.

  41. 41
    GilDodgen says:

    Dear Liz,

    Why does Darwinism imply nihilism, Gil?

    Precisely because the Darwinian mechanism, properly understood and consistently presented by Darwinists, has no goal or purpose.
    The Darwinian trinity — no-goal, no-purpose, no-foresight — is a superb example of nihilistic philosophy.

    That is the same kind of thinking that led the church to reject Galileo’s theory – because they didn’t like the implications of it.

    I didn’t reject Darwinian “theory” (random errors producing sophisticated information-processing machinery, given enough time) because of a prior religious commitment (I was once a thoroughgoing materialist and atheist), I rejected it because reason and evidence made it obvious to me that it was nonsensical.

    The fact that Darwinism has nihilistic implications is simply an anti-bonus, added to the fact that it is bogus science.

    Why could it not, equally, imply that a Creator God was smart enough to devise a universe in which intelligent life would inevitably evolve, somewhere?

    This, of course, is the standard “theistic Darwinism” argument. Unfortunately, if a Creator God was smart enough to devise a universe in which intelligent life would inevitably evolve, He must have purposed and foreseen it. The essence of Darwinian philosophy is that the entire process was unpurposed and unforseen.

    Nice try, but no cigar.

  42. 42

    Precisely because the Darwinian mechanism, properly understood and consistently presented by Darwinists, has no goal or purpose.
    The Darwinian trinity — no-goal, no-purpose, no-foresight — is a superb example of nihilistic philosophy.

    But gravity has “no-goal, no-purpose, no-foresight”. Just because some natural mechanism has “no-goal, no-purpose, no-foresight” doesn’t mean that we ourselves have “no-goal, no-purpose, no-foresight” and we clearly do have all those things, in abundance. It doesn’t even mean that there isn’t a creator God with all those things. If that God made the rain to fall, as it were, why could he not also have made living things to evolve?

    In other words both theism and atheistic purposefulness are perfectly compatible with Darwinian evolution, just as both are compatible with any other scientific theory about the way the universe works.

    This, of course, is the standard “theistic Darwinism” argument. Unfortunately, if a Creator God was smart enough to devise a universe in which intelligent life would inevitably evolve, He must have purposed and foreseen it. The essence of Darwinian philosophy is that the entire process was unpurposed and unforseen.

    There is no “Darwinian philosophy” – or at least, if there is, it has nothing to do with the theory of evolution. Absolutely nothing in the theory of evolution says that the system was not set in train by some agent with a purpose. It’s not even, as you know, a theory of how life came to be.

    You do not claim (I don’t, think, although people used to) that God maintains the planets in their courses), and theory of how the planets stay in their courses without God’s guiding hand is perfectly compatible with a theology/philosophy that says that the universe has a purpose. Why should it be any different for Darwinian theory?

    I mean, I know you don’t think much of Darwinism as a scientific theory, but what I’m saying is that even if you were to wake up tomorrow and find yourself saying “d’oh! Of course! I get it now!”, you could still keep your philosophy that the the universe, and life, and we, had a purpose.

    That’s why it’s so important to separate a scientific theory from its moral implications. The test of a scientific theory is whether it fits the data. That’s it. it doesn’t tell you how to live your life, or whether your life has purpose, or whether the universe was created with a purpose. As my favorite theologian used to say, “God” is the answer to the question “why is there anything rather than nothing?” and would be as valid for a scientific model that proposed endless multiverses and, of course Darwinian evolution, as one that proposed a world created 6,000 years ago in the space of 6 days.

    But to return to brass tacks: no, Darwinian theory doesn’t say that life has no purpose, it merely says that the process by which life evolved is not a purposeful one (just as the processes by which rain falls from the sky is not a purposeful one). It certainly doesn’t rule out an omnipotent omniscient God who creator a world in which such processes would bring forth beings capable of loving their Creator.

    It seems to me you have a very nice cigar there 🙂

  43. 43

    Darwinian theory is not the theory that “everything is a grand cosmic accident”. It is simply a theory of how, given a simple self-replicating entity, complex, well-adapted life forms could evolve.

    Just as Big Bang theory is a theory of how, given an intense concentration of matter, an entire universe could form, including the heavy elements that make life possible.

    Neither theory say anything about whether the system was created intentionally or not, they are merely our models of how the system, created or uncreated, works.

    And you’ve taken Dawkins out of context. He did not say that there is “no evil and no good”. He said they are not properties of the universe. But be that as it may, Dawkins is not the official mouthpiece of Darwinian theory. There isn’t one. And Dawkins doesn’t even always get it right.

    Lastly: atheists are not amoral.

  44. 44
    GCUGreyArea says:

    If everything is a grand cosmic accident, where is the purpose in that? There is no purpose in accidents.

    Well I would interpret ‘accident’ to mean an event that was not intended, which implies an intention – in other words if the universe is an accident then it was caused by an intentional agent, but they did not intend to cause it.

    On the other hand if there was no intentional agent to cause the accident then it isn’t an accident, it is just an event.

  45. 45
    Joe says:

    Perhaps you should talk to the mainstream scientists like hawking who says the universe is an accident…

  46. 46
    Joe says:

    How do you know gravity doesn’t have a goal, a purpose or foresight? It surely could have been designed with all of those.

    What darwinism and neo-darwinism lack are supporting evidence for tehir grand claims.

  47. 47
    Eugene S says:

    “There is no “Darwinian philosophy”…”

    Is there not?

  48. 48
    Eugene S says:

    IMHO, it is hard to take Dawkins out of context because he makes pretty general statements. My observation is that quite often militant atheism follows childhood psychological traumas. If this is the case with Dawkins, I feel sorry for him.

    “And Dawkins doesn’t even always get it right.”

    Does anybody ever do? He is a world renowned neo-Darwinist biologist and he is not getting evolution right? I can’t imagine a civil engineering professor not being able to get Hooke’s law of elasticity right.

  49. 49
    Eugene S says:

    “Lastly: atheists are not amoral.”

    This is a pretty general statement. We are scientists. A scientific approach would be to do some psychology statistics research on the strength of correlation between e.g. atheism and unhappiness, atheism and cuicide or between atheism and crime. That would be an interesting study. However, it is hard to draw an objective picture. E.g. in Russia some 90% of the population are officially Orthodox Christians but there’s only some 3% of regular church goers. I hazard a guess that people who practice religion are less likely to commit grievous sins. And that is expected.

  50. 50

    Well, have you read the context, in this case?

    And he speaks very warmly of his Anglican upbringing.

    He is a world renowned neo-Darwinist biologist and he is not getting evolution right?

    No, he’s not. He’s an ex-ethologist and publicisiser of science (that was what his Oxford chair was in: Professor for Public Understanding of Science). He hasn’t done any science for decades and he’s out of date. Evolution was never his research field anyway, AFAIK. He was a thinker rather than a researcher.

    Not that your analogy with civil engineering is applicable. There is no “best practice” guide to evolutionary theory, it’s an evolving science, and the cutting edge of it will always be controversial, as it is in all research fields. And any popularisation of a theory runs the risk of simplifying to the point of falsification. I think some of his ideas are too simple to be useful, for instance, the idea that mutations are random but natural selection isn’t. Both are highly stochastic processes. Also his emphasis on the gene as the unit-of-interest.

    But that’s beside the point really. The important point is that it is not valid to quote Dawkins and attribute those views to anyone who accepts evolutionary theory (the vast majority of scientists for instance).

  51. 51

    I accept your point.

    I should have said: amorality is not a necessary implication of atheism.

    But if you are going to hazard a guess about the proportion of people who themselves religious practitioners who commit grievous crimes versus the proportion of people who call themselves atheists who commit grievous crimes, I do suggest you compare like with like: people committed to a particular view of the world, either theistic or atheistic.

    My own guess is that neither group are especially criminal, although I know of more religious terrorists than atheist ones.

    As for people who don’t think much about it either way, I expect the proportion is higher than in either of the above groups. But I would call them neither atheist nor religious.

  52. 52

    Well, I’m not aware of one.

    Can you point to it?

  53. 53
    Eugene S says:

    This is a really dangerous subject, Dr Liddle. I would not like to go into this because this is politics. But I can assure you answers are lying on the ground for those who want to see. In order to make claims about “religious terrorism” one should consider all pertinent facts, causes, circumstances, etc. I for one can think of Darwinists who stated that “politics is applied biology”, or atheists in power who took many lives and caused a lot of pain to people, etc. Let’s leave this aside because the facts are not particularly in favor of atheism, okay?

  54. 54
    kairosfocus says:

    ES:

    Evolutionary materialism, a worldview, has long been seen as having in it no IS that can ground OUGHT, beyond “might makes right.” This has been pointed out ever since Plato in The Laws, Bk X, 360 BC.

    If atheists who adopt evolutionary materialism wish to make moral claims with a greater force than “might and manipulation make “right” . . . ” then let them provide an IS tracing to matter, energy, space, time, chance and blind mechanical necessity, that can objectively ground OUGHT.

    Or else, they are simply seeking to use moral sentiments that simply reflect the consensus of key factions in a community at a given time.

    Which boils down to “might and manipulation make ‘right’ . . . ”

    KF

  55. 55
    Eugene S says:

    In which case, its not that hopeless with Dawkins.

  56. 56
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Since there is a new talking point in the penumbra of hostile sites, I point to the relevant F/N and remarks highlighted here.

  57. 57
    champignon says:

    Let’s leave this aside because the facts are not particularly in favor of atheism, okay?

    Christians behave no more morally than atheists, according to the Christian pollster George Barna. Link

  58. 58
    kairosfocus says:

    Collins English Dictionary:

    accident [?æks?d?nt]
    n
    1. an unforeseen event or one without an apparent cause
    2. anything that occurs unintentionally or by chance; chance; fortune I met him by accident

  59. 59
    Eugene S says:

    Well, as I said it can be really hard to come up with an objective answer. It depends who conducts the survey, who commissions it and how they decide who Christian is. E.g. I learned today that Mr Dawkins has an Anglican background so is he Anglican?

  60. 60
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Liddle,

    Pardon.

    Across the past 100 years, the actual number of atheistical terrorists — and the number of their victims — vastly exceeded the number of IslamIST ones we face today (apart from some odd cults like the LRA etc,there are no other major groups of “religious terrorists” today; and yes, religions, individuals and groups can go bad, we are dealing with specific cases). And, the nihilist amorality and radical relativism involved were a major aspect of the problem. ES, who is from Russia, knows of just what he speaks, but is being very gentle and polite.

    Please, let us not play at word games when we all know what has been going on and what is on the table. That is what over 100 million victims of said terrors would tell us if they were able to speak.

    KF

  61. 61
    vjtorley says:

    Elizabeth:

    I must say I’m surprised at your bizarre reading of Genesis 2 and 3. You write:

    I wouldn’t worship a deity who forbade his creatures to acquire knowledge of the difference between right from wrong and then cursed them when they tried to find out.

    Regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, I suggest you have a look at this article. You will find a diversity of views as to what the tree represented, and what eating of it meant. Your own theory, that it meant knowing the difference between right and wrong, makes no sense: commanding someone not to do X itself presupposes that the person to whom the command is given knows that it is wrong to break a command.

    As to the notion that Adam and Eve’s descendants were punished by the Fall: Jews certainly don’t hold that, and many Christians don’t either. Suffering the consequences of your forefather’s crime is not the same as being punished for that crime.

    Your remarks on the Incarnation and Atonement presuppose either a Satisfaction or a Penal theory of the Atonement. I think you should be aware that there are other theories, as Robin Collins explains on his Website here:

    http://home.messiah.edu/~rcoll...../Atone.htm

    Collins develops and defends his “Incarnational theory of Atonement” which fits in well with Eastern Orthodox theology, as well as the writings of Peter Abelard.

    As for Hell: surely you’re familiar with C. S. Lewis’ dictum that the gates of Hell are locked on the inside? For an interesting reflection, see here:

    http://www.discovery.org/a/507

  62. 62
    kairosfocus says:

    ES: the trick is that religious affiliation is very different from serious religious involvement, and we are looking at a situation where for decades, there has been an intense secularisation and undermining of Christian morality on all fronts. The undermining is working, and that is now being used to imply there is no difference. Sorry, a few generations back, before the impacts and erosions had taken so much effect, it was a quite different story. KF

  63. 63

    It’s not my reading, vjtorley. My reading is that it’s a myth.

    I think it’s rather powerful, as long as we don’t read it as history. As a metaphor for the fact that our freedom of action (freedom from immediacy) grants us not only the capacity to do good, but to do evil, it’s rather good.

    My big beef with literalists is that a literal reading not only makes for bad history, but worse theology.

  64. 64

    Ditto on the atonement. Abelard’s was the only one that ever made sense to me.

    Have you read Helen Waddell’s wonderful novel, Peter Abelard? That was what got me on to it (age 15!) There’s an absolutely beautiful passage near the end when Abelard and his friend Thibault hear a rabbit screaming, and find it caught in a trap:

    The rabbit stopped shrieking when they stooped over it, either from exhaustion, or in some last extremity of fear. Thibault held teeth of the trap apart, and Abelard gathered up the little creature in his hands. It lay for a moment breathing quickly, then in some blind recognition of the kindness that had met it at the last, the small head thrust and nestled against his arm, and it died.

    It was that last confiding thrust that broke Abelard’s heart. He looked down at the little draggled body, his mouth shaking. “Thibault,” he said, “do you think there is a God at all? Whatever has come to me, I earned it. But what did this one do?”

    Thibault nodded.

    “I know,” he said. “Only – I think God is in it too.”

    Abelard looked up sharply.

    “In it? Do you mean that it makes Him suffer, the way it does us?”

    Again, Thibault nodded.

    “Then why doesn’t he stop it?”

    “I don’t know,” said Thibault. “Unless – unless it’s like the Prodigal Son. I suppose the father could have kept him at home against his will. But what would have been the use? All this,” he stroked the limp body, “is because of us. But all the time God suffers. More than we do.”

    Abelard looked at him, perplexed.

    ….

    “Thibault, do you mean Calvary?”

    Thibault shook his head. “That was only a piece of it – the piece that we saw – in time. Like that.” He pointed to a fallen tree beside them, sawn through the middle. “That dark ring there, it goes up and down the whole length of the tree. But you only see it where it is cut across. That is what Christs’ life was; the bit of God that we saw. And we think God is like that, because Christ was like that, kind, and forgiving sins and healing people. We think God is like that for ever, because it happened once, with Christ. But not the pain. Not the agony at the last. We think that stopped.”

    Abelard looked at thim, the blunt nose and the wide mouth, the honest troubled eyes. He could have knelt before him.

    “Then Thibault,” he said slowly, “you think that all this,” he looked down at the little quiet body in his arms, “all the pain of the world was Christ’s cross?”

    “God’s cross,” said Thibault. “And it goes on.”

  65. 65

    Look I’m not going to trade genocides with anyone.

    Suffice it to say that religious belief is not only no guarantee against atrocities, it has frequently been the justification for atrocities.

    Atheism has, AFAIK never been the justification for any atrocity (communism =/=atheism), and to attribute the crimes of people who simply don’t care one way or the other to atheism is like attributing the crimes of all religious people to religion.

    Arguing over which form of fanaticism has clocked up the largest atrocity toll is stupid. The fact is that fanaticism leads directly to atrocities, whether that fanaticism is political or religious.

    The nearest thing I can think of to an atheist fanatic is Richard Dawkins, and as far as I know, he’s never committed a crime in his life.

  66. 66

    Evolutionary materialism, a worldview, has long been seen as having in it no IS that can ground OUGHT, beyond “might makes right.” This has been pointed out ever since Plato in The Laws, Bk X, 360 BC.

    If atheists who adopt evolutionary materialism wish to make moral claims with a greater force than “might and manipulation make “right” . . . ” then let them provide an IS tracing to matter, energy, space, time, chance and blind mechanical necessity, that can objectively ground OUGHT.

    Or else, they are simply seeking to use moral sentiments that simply reflect the consensus of key factions in a community at a given time.

    Which boils down to “might and manipulation make ‘right’ . . . ”

    KF

    No. With respect, KF you are wrong here, on many counts.

    Evolutionary theory is a scientific theory not a worldview.

    Atheism and theism are both perfectly compatible with evolutionary theory.

    Atheism is perfectly compatible with morality, and it is perfectly possible to derive an ethical system, and a moral imperative, without postulating a god or gods.

    Moreoever, I suggest that such deriviations are rather more objective than an ethical system derived from an arbitrary choice of sacred text, itself subjected to subjective cherry-picking.

  67. 67

    religious affiliation is very different from serious religious involvement

    Yes, just as atheism is very different from not having thought out it much and cared less.

  68. 68
    GilDodgen says:

    Liz,

    There is no “Darwinian philosophy”

    Of course there is, and it’s transparently obvious: Everything must be explained in purely materialistic terms — the evidence be damned.

  69. 69
    kairosfocus says:

    LYO:

    Before I forget: Theistic theology, of whatever flavour, generally acknowledges that all morally accountable people will stand and give an account before God. A key premise in that, is what have you done with the light you have had or should have had. And, as C S Lewis was fond of highlighting, by our typical and indeed all but universal behaviour when we quarrel — we expect and acknowledge conformity to standards of fairness etc, we show our instinctive consciousness of mutually being under moral governance and accountability. For all the fancy footwork speculations as to how we are not under objective moral standards, our actual behaviour betrays the truth.

    Paul of Tarsus aptly picks this up in Rom 2 & 13:

    Rm 2:1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth . . . .

    5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”[a] 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger . . . .

    14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the [Mosaic] law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

    Rm 13: 8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The [Mosaic] commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,”[a] and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

    So, we see the principles here: core morality is written in our hearts through the recognition of mutual moral worth, in the Biblical tradition, as we recognise that we are not just equal but equally made in God’s image. This is what Locke referred to when, in grounding the principles of liberty in his 2nd essay on civil Gov’t, Ch 2, he cited “the judicious [Richard] Hooker”:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [[Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [[Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80]

    In short, we all have enough candle-light to conduct our business by. This, Locke picks up in sect 5 of his Introduction to his essay on human understanding:

    Men have reason to be well satisfied with what God hath thought fit for them, since he hath given them (as St. Peter says [NB: i.e. 2 Pet 1:2 – 4]) pana pros zoen kaieusebeian, whatsoever is necessary for the conveniences of life and information of virtue; and has put within the reach of their discovery, the comfortable provision for this life, and the way that leads to a better. How short soever their knowledge may come of an universal or perfect comprehension of whatsoever is, it yet secures their great concernments [Prov 1: 1 – 7], that they have light enough to lead them to the knowledge of their Maker, and the sight of their own duties [cf Rom 1 – 2, Ac 17, etc, etc]. Men may find matter sufficient to busy their heads, and employ their hands with variety, delight, and satisfaction, if they will not boldly quarrel with their own constitution, and throw away the blessings their hands are filled with, because they are not big enough to grasp everything . . . It will be no excuse to an idle and untoward servant [Matt 24:42 – 51], who would not attend his business by candle light, to plead that he had not broad sunshine. The Candle that is set up in us [Prov 20:27] shines bright enough for all our purposes . . . If we will disbelieve everything, because we cannot certainly know all things, we shall do muchwhat as wisely as he who would not use his legs, but sit still and perish, because he had no wings to fly.

    So, now, let us zoom in on Rom 2:6 – 8:

    Rm 2:6 God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”[a] 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger . . .

    I have highlighted the principle of judgement by light, light indicated by how we expect to be treated by our fellow human beings, but ever so often fail to “reciprocate in advance,” as Hooker so aptly highlights. And of course the Golden Rule is right there at the pivot of all this — the self same that we have seen many trapped in systems that imply anything but the GR, wish to live by when they are asked, what moral pivot you would use.

    In that context, we easily enough see the principle of judgement by the light of access to the truth or the right we have or should have: what have we persistently done in light of our “reasonable” expectations of others, however stumblingly, and how have we handled our [inevitably, all too many . . . ] points of failure?

    So, the issue then is not so much, what does God do to those who have no reasonable access to relevant truth and warrant for it [e.g. that concerning Jesus of Nazareth, cf here on in context and here on for starters], but how have we responded to the truth and the right we know or should know. And, of course, that also deals with the painful but vital truths revealed by our experience of moral struggle and failure; the “bad news” that opens our hearts — if we are willing and have access — to the “good news.”

    So, your answer is that, scripturally, God is quite fair — even, generous and gracious — and knows well enough how to deal with those who have not had access to truth and have therefore not REJECTED it and chosen to instead live by evil in that regard.

    The real challenge is different: “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life . . . ”

    I take it that this tells us that God will welcome with open arms, those who have penitently and persistently struggled towards the light, however stumblingly. It is those who “are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil,” who — for excellent reason — will face Divine disappointment. (And BTW, this concept that the road to wrath is formed of self-seeking refusal to squarely face the test of life in light of what one knows or should know, defines me theologically as a “moderate inclusivist,” one of the points that was twisted by the owner of the hate site and used to attack me. But, inter alia, this view and reading means that all sorts of people of all sorts of creedal backgrounds or of no particular creedal background, who persistently join in the sincere struggle to the truth and the right — the light — that they did have access to, will be welcomed with open arms by God. BUT, LET US NOT FOOL OURSELVES, THIS HOLDS OUT NO COMFORT WHATSOEVER TO THOSE OF US WHO TURN AWAY FROM THE TRUTH AND THE RIGHT WE KNOW OR SHOULD KNOW, AS LOCKE SO APTLY HIGHLIGHTS.)

    So, let us all soberly ask ourselves and each other: based on reasonable and non self serving principles of warrant (i.e. we must show selective hyperskepticism the door), what is the truth and what is the right that we know or should — a key and searching word — know?

    I trust this is helpful.

    GEM of TKI

  70. 70
    kairosfocus says:

    Cabal,

    Pardon.

    By now, as a long time commenter at UD, you know or should know that the pivot of the inference to design is the identification of well tested, empirically reliable signs of design such as FSCO/I or the wider CSI, IC, the use of coded language and algorithms etc etc; where when we can directly independently check we consistently see that these things trace to design. I therefore must wonder at your persistent refusal to acknowledge this point, even at the level of this is what the other side argues, and has some reason, even if I in the end disagree.

    If we have good inductive warrant that there are credible signs of design, then it is at least a reasonable position to inductively hold per empirically supported inference that those signs point beyond to design as cause in cases where we do not happen to know the cause directly. Is this not, in essence the pivot of the whole project of scientific investigations of the deep past beyond direct observation?

    By contrast, when we see the number of circularities etc that are implicated in geodating schemes and the like, one has reasonable cause to suspend final judgement, acknowledging the conventional timeline as such, but noting its limitations.

    I for one have a lot more confidence in cosmological and/or stellar recontructions of the past, starting with H-ball models and the associated dynamics, with the general and specific star cluster H-R diagrams. (Cf here on if you are willing to read without jaundiced blinkers and will avoid setting up and knocking over strawmen.)

    There is such a thing as differing degrees of warrant for knowledge claims, especially when we begin to contrast the current scene with the remote and unobserved past of origins.

    KF

  71. 71
    kairosfocus says:

    Gil:

    Def’n of nihilism, Collins Engl Dict:

    nihilism [?na???l?z?m]
    n
    1. a complete denial of all established authority and institutions
    2. (Philosophy) Philosophy an extreme form of scepticism that systematically rejects all values, belief in existence, the possibility of communication, etc.
    3. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a revolutionary doctrine of destruction for its own sake
    4. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the practice or promulgation of terrorism
    [from Latin nihil nothing + -ism, on the model of German Nihilismus]

    In the Plato clip from The Laws Bk X I have so often highlighted from 2350 years ago — cf 7 above — and which is consistently ducked by those who object to our concerns about where evolutionary materialism [as imposed on science as an a priori and as extended across the culture] is leading our civilisaton, this is boiled down as follows:

    [[The avant garde philosophers, teachers and artists c. 400 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [[i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only . . . .

    [[T]hese people would say that the Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.– [[Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT. (Cf. here for Locke’s views and sources on a very different base for grounding liberty as opposed to license and resulting anarchistic “every man does what is right in his own eyes” chaos leading to tyranny.)] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [[Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles; cf. dramatisation here], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless tyranny; here, too, Plato hints at the career of Alcibiades], and not in legal subjection to them . . .

    That anticipation of Nietzsche’s nihilism is the best definition I have found.

    THOSE are the matches we are playing with.

    It also highlights exactly why we all have serious reason to be concerned about eh imposition of a priori materialism on the domain of science, the dominant cultural “knowledge” institution in our time.

    And 100 million ghosts from the past 100 years warn us on what is at stake.

    As we all know or should know.

    GEM of TKI

  72. 72
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Liddle:

    You know, or should know this, from prof Provine:

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

    [[Evolution: Free Will and Punishment and Meaning in Life, Second Annual Darwin Day Celebration Keynote Address, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, February 12, 1998 (abstract).]

    Those most certainly define a philosophical and cultural agenda, with metaphysical and ethical implications prominent in the frame of thought.

    And, maybe you don’t know this Oct 13, 1880 letter from the pen of Darwin to Karl Marx’s Son in Law:

    . . . though I am a strong advocate for free thought [–> NB: free-thought is an old synonym for skepticism, agnosticism or atheism] on all subjects, yet it appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against christianity & theism produce hardly any effect on the public; & freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men’s minds, which follows from the advance of science. It has, therefore, been always my object to avoid writing on religion, & I have confined myself to science. I may, however, have been unduly biassed by the pain which it would give some members of my family [–> NB: especially his wife, Emma], if I aided in any way direct attacks on religion . . .

    This is as plain as can be on the worldview and cultural agendas that served as a partial motive for Darwin’s scientific work, writings and advocacy.

    In short, Darwinism has ALWAYS been in material part about worldview and cultural agendas, even when it dresses up in the holy lab coat and calls itself strictly a scientific endeavour with no moral or metaphysical commitments.

    So, we need to think without blinkers on, and we have a worldview right and responsibility to look at that wider context.

    As the ghosts of 100+ million victims of those consequences also tell us.

    Yes, Darwin would have been horrified to witness the results, but that does not make those cultural and historical consequences of the dominance of the agenda just outlined go away. Regardless of how angrily dismissive names like Haeckel or Schicklegruber, or terms like Eugenics and Social Darwinism make some of the more enthusiastic advocates of Darwinism.

    Ideas have consequences, and if we are responsible and educated people we need to soberly ponder that, even when it is quite uncomfortable to do so.

    GEM of TKI

  73. 73
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Liddle, kindly cf 15.1.2.4 just above, on this.

  74. 74
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Liddle, the above is quite disappointing, as you well know what the 100+ million ghosts form the past 100 years have to say. And, again, kindly cf 15.1.2.4 just above. KF

  75. 75
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Liddle:

    Pardon that which will doubtless be painful, but I think I have reason to be insistent.

    Again, kindly tell us what the 100+ million ghosts of the past 100 years have to say, in light of the issues and implications on naturalistic Evolutionism implied by what Provine raised in his 1998 Darwin Day address, and in light of his allusion to what Darwin knew, given the letter of Darwin from 1880 that is also cited.

    Are you willing to assert that the likes of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, etc as well as the neopagan/Antichristian Schicklegruber and co had not thought through what they were putting their hands to?

    Why then did this last in his infamous 1925 book make comparisons to the attitudes of foxes to geese, and cats to mice (on the premise of a law of higher development in nature and linked a struggle for survival that leads to extinction of the inferiors . . . why does the book enfold “struggle” in its title. in that light?), in further light of say the history of Poland between 1939 September 1 and May 1945?

    What do the 3 million Jewish ghosts and 3 million (I went back and checked) predominantly Catholic ghosts in question — about half each of the Jewish and non-Jewish sides of the infamous Holocaust [leaving off the dozens of millions dead and a continent devastated in the wider war] and about 1/5 of Poland’s population as at about Aug 31, 1939 — have to say on the matter?

    KF

  76. 76
    GCUGreyArea says:

    Those most certainly define a philosophical and cultural agenda, with metaphysical and ethical implications prominent in the frame of thought.

    Yes they do, and I could quote your own words about ‘evo materialism’ at someone else and use it to claim that Darwinism was about materialism, that doesn’t mean it is true, it just means that you believe it and like to talk about it a lot.

    The fact is that biologists, paleontologists etc do not consider evolution to be a philosophical worldview because they understand that is is a scientific theory, what it describes, and where it ends. They are not evo materialists, they are scientists (and they are also Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews and atheists)

    Now I have no doubt that you will reply to this with a diatribe where you imply that I am lying, distorting, engaging in ad hom attacks and generally contributing to the destruction of society. Standard tactics for a fanatical ideologue!

    In short, Darwinism has ALWAYS been in material part about worldview and cultural agendas

    This is NOT true KF and no amount of semantic vomiting on your part will change it, it is a paranoid conspiracy fantasy that exists in your head!

  77. 77

    kf, no, I do not “know” this from Provine. Provine is entitled to his view, but although I “know” his view, I do not “know” that his view is correct.

    I think it’s a load of rubbish.

    Darwinism has ALWAYS been in material part about worldview and cultural agendas, even when it dresses up in the holy lab coat and calls itself strictly a scientific endeavour with no moral or metaphysical commitments.

    And it’s this kind of lazy language that constantly gets in the way here.

    “Darwinism” is simply a word. What does it refer to? Depends who is using it. Sure, some people use it to denote a “worldview and cultural agendas” but I’d argue that most of those who do are anti-Darwinists. In fact I know of very few people who use the word at all, unless they are anti-Darwinists. If there are indeed people who have constructed a “world vew and cultural agenda” and called it “Darwinism”, shame on them. It’s as silly as “Quantumism” would be.

    But it has absolutely nothing to do with the validity of evolutionary theory as a scientific theory, and Darwin’s evolutionary theory only has relevant to any “worldview” inasmuch as it, like most scientific theories, replaces magical thinking with a set of causal explanations. We do not condemn “Keplerism” for undoing the “worldview” that God holds the planets in their courses; why should we condemn “Darwinism” for undoing the “worldview” that God magicked us into existence? Neither view invalidates the idea that God is the ground of our being; neither view invalidates the idea that God sometimes intervenes miraculously in the world.

    If Provine thinks so, that’s his problem.

    Yes, ideas have consequences, as the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki found out in August, 1946. But that does not make Einstein wrong, any more than eugenics makes Darwin wrong.

    Not that eugenics has anything to do with Darwin anyway. People have been using artificial selection to breed plants and animals for millenia. Applying it to humans as a moral principle is despicable, but has nothing to do with Darwin.

    kf, while I respect, truly, your sincerity on this matter, I think you are profoundly mistaken. Attempting to align a scientific theory with a largely imagined “worldview”, then ascribing not only that “worldview” but the crimes of tyrants to anyone who accepts the validity of the scientific theory is divisive, and dangerous.

    It’s the kind of thinking that led to Galileo’s condemnation and the atrocity that was Giordano Bruno’s death. The enlightenment rescued us from a world in which scientific ideas were evaluated for their philosophical and religious implications to one in which they were evaluated by their fit to evidence.

    Provine and you are making the same mistake.

  78. 78

    You may find my post “disappointing” kf, but that’s your problem, not mine.

    As I said, I am not interested in trading atrocities. If atheism is used to justify atrocities, then I will condemn that use. If religion is jused to justify atrocities, then I will condemn that too.

  79. 79

    I am simply saying, kf, that Lenin et al were not justifying their acts by atheism.

    And Hitler, as you well know, was not an atheist.

    Religion, on the other hand, has been explicitly used to justify torture and genocide for millenia.

    So even if you were correct, and you are not, that communist tyrants justified their actions by atheism, it would still not entitle you to claim that atheism is more evil than religion.

    There are many reasons why people commit atrocities. All justification is spurious. When I hear you condemn the atrocities committed by religious fanatics in the name of their god, I may take more seriously your allegation that Hitler committed genocide in the name of atheism.

  80. 80
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Liddle:

    At this point, having to deal with one of the UD penumbra of objectors who has violated confidence of correspondence, I am a little low on patience, so pardon my directness.

    You, long since, have read or should have read Plato in The Laws Bk X. That will make it crystal clear that evolutionary materialism is a longstanding worldview that used to wear the philosopher’s cloak. Nowadays, it likes to wear the scientist’s lab coat, and is often imposed as an a priori on the science.

    Listen, again, to Lewontin, understanding that on five telling witnesses, he is speaking about the dominant view in scientific circles:

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [[–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute . . .

    NOTHING can ever justify that, period. (And if you insist on trying, cf the remarks notes and links from the just above linked.)

    And, judging by the letter of Darwin to Marx’s son in law, as already cited, that was so right from the beginning of the story of Darwinism.

    So, let Philip Johnson’s rebuke stand as mine as well:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    The worldviews level imposition is not a debatable claim, it is a demonstrable fact, and a telling admission by those who I have cited and many others.

    The issue is not whether science has been ideologically corrupted by a priori evolutrionary materialism, the issue is what we will do to face this and deal with it, correcting the absurdities that flow from it.

    Not to mention, the horrendously abusive and bloody nihilism that it has enabled over the past 100 years, as those 100+ million ghosts remind us.

    GEM of TKI

  81. 81
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Liddle:

    Are you familiar with the facts, historical roots and thought-structure of Marxism Leninism and Maoism, as well as Nazism?

    Your remarks suggest not.

    I therefore ask you to try to understand what Dialectical and Historical Materialism are and what they embed as a foundational premise, and how this leads to the sort of nihilism by dominant and amoral factions that Plato warned about.

    In the case of the late and utterly unlamented herr Schicklegruber and co, kindly acquaint yourself with the story of Haeckel et al and their influence on German thought.

    Then, understand how this mixed with German militarism and Nietzschean nihilism in the rape of Belgium; as Bryan testified to as the responsible US Secretary of State 1913 – 15. (Did you ever wonder why a former pacifist Secretary of State and four time US Presidential candidate would devote his final years to fighting Darwinism, actually writing a book on “The Menace of Darwinism”?)

    Let me pause and clip his remarks on the subject from this book:

    The question in dispute is whether atheists and agnostics have a right to teach irreligion in public schools — whether teachers drawing salaries from the public treasury shall be permitted to undermine belief in God, the Bible, and Christ by teaching not scientific truth but unproven and unsupported guesses which cannot be true unless the Bible is false [[pp. 5 – 6] . . . .

    On page 180 of ”Descent of Man” (Hurst & Company, Edition 1874), Darwin says: “Our most ancient progenitors in the kingdom of the Vertebrata, at which we are able to obtain an obscure glance, apparently consisted of a group of marine animals, resembling the larvae of the existing Ascidians.” Then he suggests a line of de-scent leading to the monkey . . . His second sentence (fol-lowing the sentence quoted) turns upon the word “probably” . . . His works are full of words indicating uncertainty. The phrase “we may well suppose,” occurs over eight hundred times in his two principal works. (See Herald & Presbyter, November 22, 1914.) The eminent scientist is guess-ing . . . .

    Darwin does not use facts ; he uses conclusions drawn from similarities. He builds upon presumptions, probabilities and infer-ences, and asks the acceptance of his hypothesis “not-withstanding the fact that connecting links have not hitherto been discovered” (page 162). He advances an hypothesis which, if true, would find support on every foot of the earth’s surface, but which, as a mat-ter of fact finds support nowhere . . . .

    Science has rendered invaluable service to society; her achievements are innumerable—and the hypotheses of scientists should be considered with an open mind. Their theories should be carefully examined and their arguments fairly weighed, but the scientist cannot compel acceptance of any argument he advances, ex-cept as, judged upon its merits, it is convincing. Man is infinitely more than science; science, as well as the Sabbath, was made for man . . . [[pp. 19 – 22; emphases added.]

    Darwinism leads to a denial of God. Nietzsche carried Darwinism to its logical conclusion and it made him the most extreme of anti-Christians . . . . As the [[First World] war [[of 1914 – 1918] progressed I [[Bryan was from 1913 – 1915 the 41st US Secretary of State, under President Wilson] became more and more impressed with the conviction that the German propa-ganda rested upon a materialistic foundation. I se-cured the writings of Nietzsche and found in them a defense, made in advance, of all the cruelties and atrocities practiced by the militarists of Germany. [[It didn’t start with the Nazis!] Nietzsche tried to substitute the worship of the “Su-perman” for the worship of God. He not only re-jected the Creator, but he rejected all moral standards. He praised war and eulogized hatred because it led to war. He denounced sympathy and pity as attributes unworthy of man. He believed that the teachings of Christ made degenerates and, logical to the end, he regarded Democracy as the refuge of weaklings. He saw in man nothing but an animal and in that animal the highest virtue he recognized was “The Will to Power”—a will which should know no let or hin-drance, no restraint or limitation . . . . His philosophy, if it is worthy the name of philos-ophy, is the ripened fruit of Darwinism — and a tree is known by its fruit . . . .

    The corroding influence of Darwinism has spread as the doctrine has been increasingly accepted. In the American preface to “The Glass of Fashion” these words are to be found: “Darwinism not only justifies the sensualist at the trough and Fashion at her glass; it justifies Prussianism at the cannon’s mouth and Bol-shevism at the prison-door. If Darwinism be true, if Mind is to be driven out of the universe and accident accepted as a sufficient cause for all the majesty and glory of physical nature, then there is no crime or vio-lence, however abominable in its circumstances and however cruel in its execution, which cannot be justi-fied by success, and no triviality, no absurdity of Fash-ion which deserves a censure: more — there is no act of disinterested love and tenderness, no deed of self- sac-rifice and mercy, no aspiration after beauty and excel-lence, for which a single reason can be adduced in logic.” [[pp. 52 – 54. Emphases and explanatory parentheses added.]

    Then, understand that a certain Austrian corporal served in that area, was steeped int eh propaganda, explicitly approved of the sort of things that were done to Belgians. Then, understand that what happened when he was Fuhrer was simply the rape of Belgium writ large, with the slaughter of the Jews added in.

    Please, think again.

    GEM of TKI

  82. 82
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I strongly suggest that all who need to make acquainntance of the intellectual currents at work in Germany in the relevant era should take time to watch the Weikart lecture embedded here. There comes a point where attempted dismissive or distractive talking points are failing in the face of a duty of care to the cumulative force of evident facts such as a re presented in this lecture in summary.

  83. 83

    Are you familiar with the facts, historical roots and thought-structure of Marxism Leninism and Maoism, as well as Nazism?

    Yes. But you are still massively missing my point.

  84. 84
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: It is also evident that you have not read me with care, I have nowhere said that Hitler acted in the name of ATHEISM.

    I have been very, very careful to NOT make that elementary blunder at any point, for years. If you see others saying this of me, they are setting up a strawman.

    He acted as an evident neo-pagan, in the tradition of militarism, and in the name of the Aryan “master race” man myth championed by many, but especially by Blavatsky et al and of course by Rosenberg etc — a myth symbolised by that infamous twisted broken cross known as the swastika — through a form of dominant race social darwinism.

    It is the history of ideas dynamics and the associated undermining of sound morality driven by that toxic brew in Germany that — via a perfect political and economic storm post Versailles and in the aftermath of the hyperinflation that gave rise to desperation for a political messiah — gave rise to Hitler’s madness and demonic Antichrist destructiveness. (I take it that the poster I have highlighted is enough to finish the lies spread by Evil Bible et al that Hitler was a Christian acting out of the tenets and examples of his faith. He was — openly blasphemously — of the spirit of Antichrist, not that of Christ. Period.)

    I am indicting social darwinism and scientific racism and eugenics too, which were and are much wider than evolutionary materialism, but which were organically linked to the power of Darwinism as “science” and to the worldview ideas that it enables as agendas on the ground.

    It is this toxic brew that led to the notion that mass slaughter of peoples who were perceived as inferiors cumbering the ground to be removed to provide lebensraum, gained the persuasive power that it had in that time and place, in a climate of radical cultural and even racial relativism.

    Don’t forget the defence of war crimes on relativism offered at Nuremberg!

    So, kindly correct that misrepresentation.

    Going beyond, I am also from this angle pointing to the abundant evidence suppressed through a priori materialism imposed on science, that shows that the actual evidence points to design of the cosmos, and of C-chemistry aqueous medium life in it. It points also to design of body plans, including our own with the unique ability to use symbolic, abstract language.

    In short the science does not warrant darwinian macroevolution, but the imposition of materialism as an a priori is biassing science from being able to go where the weight of the facts points.

    That same evolutionary materialism is also logically self-refuting, as I have so often pointed out, let Haldane’s clip summarise the matter:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.” [[“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

    Further than this, as Plato has warned on what happened to Athens 2400 years ago, such evo mat leads to radical relativism, the rise of might makes right amorality and nihilism, to factions and to abuse and oppression.

    Once the power elites climate is poisoned and polarised bysuch a toxic brew, it matters but little whether as particular individual or faction are nominally atheistical, communist, nazi, statist-fascist, nanny-state, occultic-neopagan [Don’t forget the court astrologer!] or even nominally Christian — don’t forget that organisation studies show us that the ruthless with a high need for power tend to dominate in any power structure, so dangerous trends in the wider community tend strongly to be amplified in halls of power. In short, by various means, the poison will strongly tend to have its way unless the system is purged of it.

    And, that is what we need to do now in our own time and place.

    So, kindly correct your material misrepresentation of what I have said.

  85. 85

    PPS: It is also evident that you have not read me with care, I have nowhere said that Hitler acted in the name of ATHEISM.

    And nor have I said you said that. I don’t think you have read me with care, either.

    I have been consistently trying to make the simple point that many atrocities have been committed in the name of religion.

    I am not aware of atrocities that have been committed in the name of atheism although I fully accept that some political philosphies have been specifically atheistic, and certainly atrocities have been committed in the name of those political philosphies.

    Therefore, I hold to my (amended) claim that atheists are not necessarily amoral.

    I hope you agree.

    If so, we are done.

  86. 86
    Jon Garvey says:

    Elizabeth, if one were targeted by the Soviet League of Atheists would one be impressed by the distinction that one was being persecuted in the name of a political philosophy rather than in the name of atheism?

  87. 87
    Eugene S says:

    KF,

    Re 16.1.2.3.2

    I absolutely agree on this. If I wanted to write about it, I’d have written the same words. The only addition is that one of the heaviest weapons used against attempts at serious deliberations about this whole thing is derision or what I call Godwin tactics. Mock it, and you are safe from very revealing parallels being raised. I just feel on this one increasingly that I should let the dead bury their dead.

  88. 88
  89. 89

    The Godwin tactics are being used by kf and others against atheists and people who accept evolutionary theory.

    They are not responsible for the crimes of either Hitler or Stalin.

    Please stop alleging that they are.

  90. 90
    GCUGreyArea says:

    I expect the irony will be lost on you KF, but the rhetorical and political approach you are taking here is not that different that which Hitler himself took. He famously tried to lay all the ills of society at the feet of a few groups of people marked by a particular world view or belief, and proceeded to demonize them because of what he claimed those beliefs entailed and were responsible for.

    Of course the main focus of his hatred was the Jews however he was not fan of atheists or materialists and, based on what he said and wrote, he would have agreed with you on the need to stamp out atheistic world views:

    “We were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.”

    Adolf Hitler, October 24, 1933

    He would also have agreed with you that you cannot have any morality without God:

    “Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith.”

    Adolf Hitler, April 26, 1933,

    It seems you two have a few things in common! – 😉

    ——————————————–
    You see anyone can play the ‘let me paint a picture where X is associated with Hitler’ in order to engage in the gutter politics of guilt by implied association. I hope my little tongue-in-cheek example above will give you pause for thought when it comes to reflecting on your own behaviour, your attitude to others and your oft deployed tactic of demonizing whole groups of people!

  91. 91
    Eugene S says:

    Elizabeth,

    They are not responsible, of course. But neither are contemporary believers responsible for what certain people did in the name of God in the past. If you agree with this, that is fine by me.

  92. 92
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Liddle:

    First, kindly tell me who said the above to me:

    There are many reasons why people commit atrocities. All justification is spurious. When I hear you condemn the atrocities committed by religious fanatics in the name of their god, I may take more seriously your allegation that Hitler committed genocide in the name of atheism.

    A simple find search will confirm, if you forget; THAT IS WHAT I AM REPLYING TO.

    (And BTW, I have long since spoken of the sins of Christendom and the urgent need for repentance, renewal and reformation, and in the exact context of the exchanges in recent days I have spoken of the real root of abuses, oppressions etc, namely that we are finite, fallible, morally fallen, and too often ill-willed. You know or should know that I am an objector to IslamIST terrorism, abuse and oppression etc, that I have not spoken of say the Lord’s resistance Army etc with approval, and that I have never said anything about say the Crusades but that these counter-attacks to the Jihads were riddled with wrongdoing including evidently cases of mass slaughter. Similarly, you know what I have said on Christendom’s sins in general and its indulgence of slavery in particular. Your characterisation as cited is therefore improper and even slanderous by pretty direct insinuation. Please do better than this in future.)

    As to “Godwin tactics,” I am sorry, we are indeed talking about major courses of events over the past 100 – 150 years, and the lines of ideas that influenced them, on abundant historical record.

    My concern in this is not to tag all atheists or even all evolutionary materialist atheists as would be Communists or Nazis.

    As should be obvious, that is far from the truth.

    What I have pointed out over and over and over, to the point where I can see why ES is citing that particular scripture, is that there is a serious Science in Society — i.e. Science, worldviews and ethics — issue that we must frankly face, on pain of forgetting some very painful and damaging lessons of history.

    (At other times and places I have suggested a need for undergraduate Sci in Soc courses at U/grad and an ethics of science grad seminar as a compulsory part of science programmes. I always have education in mind.)

    In that context, I have taken time here and in linked materials, to warrant the point that evolutionary materialism is an ancient philosophy in the first instance, which has since Plato, been known for leading to radical relativism, amorality and nihilism.

    I have taken time to show that such evolutionary materialism has in it no worldview foundational IS that can ground OUGHT. That is why — painful though this apt description doubtless is — it is radically relativist and amoral. (I have also taken time to point out why it is inherently self-referentially incoherent, undermining the very project of confident knowledge including scientific knowledge. the Haldane clip is a useful simple example of the issue.)

    So, while Godwin’s Law is a useful rhetorical talking point, it is not particularly helpful when we do have a case where the specific lines of influence involved in what happened in the 1930’s and 40’s are at stake, and it does not help us when we have to look at the wider impact of the underlying ideas and issues that surround Darwinist thought.

    What happened under Hitler and co is 60 and more years old now. What happened under the Marxist- Leninists and Stalinists is over for at least a half-generation. It is high time that we were able to draw important lessons and learn from them.

    And so, let me repeat, I am not trying to tag people with labels, but trying — I suspect, not without some success — to get us to face the implications of the principle that ideas have consequences, consequences that can be horrendous, as well as unanticipated. In particular, science in our day is dominated by evolutionary materialism which seems to be distorting the way origins sciences work, including cosmology, origin of life and origin of body plan level macroevolution. Since origins sciences can only work by inference to best explanation, that dominance leads to damaging censorship on assessing the evidence we have in hand.

    In addition, once we look at science in society, which I take it is the underlying theme for this thread, we see that there is an issue of the inherent amorality of evolutionary materialism that has to be faced.

    So, kindly do your “find in this thread” and come back to me.

    G’day

    GEM of TKI

  93. 93

    Fair enough, kf. I must indeed have thought you were alleging that at one point.

    I am reassured that you are not.

    Let us hope that Hitler, Stalin, or, for that matter, Breivik, will receive no more attention on this site from anyone.

    And so, let me return to my original point which is that this:

    we see that there is an issue of the inherent amorality of evolutionary materialism that has to be faced.

    is utterly false. There is no “inherent amorality” in “evolutionary materialism” and so no need to face it.

  94. 94
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Liddle:

    I am sorry. The false accusation is so outrageously incendiary and unwarranted, that just walking away from it is not good enough.

    You need to explain and do something to set things right, pardon.

    KF

  95. 95
    GCUGreyArea says:

    Oh, right, her we go again 😉

    KF, I’ve seen, in my view, you slandering misrepresenting and in some cases just plain lying about plenty of others on this forum, yet I ain’t never seen you apologize for nothing.

    This looks like your usual strategy of avoiding dealing with arguments you can’t handle by stamping your feet, having childish hysterics, before getting the people you don’t agree with banned.

    I guess, moving back to my parody above, we should be glad we aren’t all in the same room and you have armed guards, otherwise I have no doubt EL and myself would be marched out into a back alley to receive bullets in the backs of out heads, whilst you invoke some atheist offense against god as justification! 🙂

  96. 96
    kairosfocus says:

    GCU:

    You are very close to calling me a liar, for which you have no warrant. The name of that particular trick is the turnabout false accusation. Stop it.

    I have been very careful to speak of systems of thought, and to identify movements with specific, well documented examples, for preference dead ones that are in the history books.

    I have highlighted and shown just why evolutionary materialism is both self referentially incoherent and has in it no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT beyond might or manipulation makes “right.” I have pointed out — citing significant sources, that this system of thought holds dominant power in origins science. I have pointed out — giving real world historical examples — the moral hazard implied.

    I have taken time to not only provide documentation but a clear visual example in reply to the tactics of Evil Bible etc that outright twist facts to try to say thatHhitler was a Christian acting out of the tenets and key examples of his faith. (That attempt itself speaks volumes about those who would stoop to such or tolerate such.)

    The retort has been to try to smear the messenger, not to face and seriously address the problem.

    In particular, in the teeth of my explicit and repeated highlighting that much of the world’s ills trace to how we are all finite, fallible, morally fallen and too often ill willed, thus in need of repentance and reconciliation with God and resulting moral transformation, you have chosen to repeat a lie. That speaks a lot and none of it good.

    I have highlighted a specific worldview that has a specific moral problem that is relevant through its domination of origins science and science education, thus the influence it has in halls of power and influence. That is a real problem. So is the history of social darwinism. So is the history of eugenics. All of which are deeply connected. None of which is equivalent to blaming all the world’s ills on adherents of said views. (I suppose you would say I blame all the world’s ills on the porn insdustry because I have traced its impacts — including my shock when I learned that it seems to have had upwards of 1/2 of the broadband Internet’s entire traffic a few years ago int eh USA, and seems to have paid for a good part of the rollout of broadband net in the USA — and have highlighted the Pink Cross Foundation as a means of getting out of its entanglements. I suppose you would say the same for when I have pointed out the dangers of militant IslamISM and its agendas. Or, when I led in exposing a destructive Christian sect int he Caribbean that preyed on College students. In any of these cases, your accusation would have been wrong.)

    What you have repeated above is a slanderous false accusation that you have had every opportunity to know was not true even before you made it, and you need to retract and apologise for it.

    If you refuse, all this says is that you are utterly irresponsible.

    This sort of behaviour speaks volumes about those who have resorted to such tactics, and none of it good.

    Please, go look in a mirror, long and hard.

    Then, think about what you have done, and what it says about you.

    Good day.

    GEM of TKI

  97. 97

    I didn’t “walk away”, kf, but I should have apologised, and I do now.

    I made three errors – one was to misunderstand you, the next was to forget that I had misunderstood you, and the third was to claim that I hadn’t.

    I had, and I apologise.

    And I am glad that you do not consider that atrocities have been committed in the name of atheism.

    However, I am still highly concerned at what you did say:

    … we see that there is an issue of the inherent amorality of evolutionary materialism that has to be faced.

    Which I find exceedingly incendiary, though I am not going to complain about it. But I will repeat that it is utterly false.

    There is no “inherent amorality of evolutionary materialism” and to suggest that there is may well have consequences. It is certainly a highly divisive claim, and in my view, quite unsupported.

  98. 98

    I have highlighted and shown just why evolutionary materialism is both self referentially incoherent and has in it no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT beyond might or manipulation makes “right.” I have pointed out — citing significant sources, that this system of thought holds dominant power in origins science. I have pointed out — giving real world historical examples — the moral hazard implied.

    You have certainly attempted to make this case, but in my view you have completely failed, on all counts. Simply repeating that you have made the argument is an inadequate response to rebuttals.

    “Evolutionary materialism” is responsible for none of the evils you attribute to it. It is simply an methodological approach to a scientific problem that has been extraordinarily successful in predicting data, and indeed has yielded life-enhancing insights in a large number of biological fields.

    It may well be the case that society is overly materialistic. I would heartily agree. But that is irrelevant to atheism and nothing to do with materialism.

    It is perfectly possible to ground ethics and morality in an atheistic framework. Simply asserting that it isn’t doesn’t make it so.

  99. 99
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Liddle:

    First, thank you for in the end being willing to apologise with regard to Nazism; but I have to note that at the point where you first admitted the wrong statements, you did simply walk away. Kindly understand, too, that there is a penumbra of what now have to be called hate sites that are circulating misrepresentations and would love to be able to use your remarks as a “credible” accusation.

    Second, however, please, Marxism-Leninism and Maoism etc DID slaughter well over 100 millions in aggregate in the name of atheism, or what is tantamount, “dialectic materialism,” etc. Evolutionary materialist atheism has some serious accounting to do for the effects it has had once it directly achieved power or how its key rationale, “scientific” materialism, influenced power circles over the past 100 or so years. And, those who advocate it in the name of science etc today, need to face its utter want of an IS that can objectively ground OUGHT; in the teeth of the quite evident commonplace fact that we do find ourselves governed by ought. For instance, try to deny that we ought not to torture innocent children for pleasure or profit.

    Nor am I incendiary — though obviously it is plainly unwelcome (GCU et al: just the opposite of “tickling itching ears with what they want to hear” which lies at the heart of Hitler’s big lie propaganda techniques . . . ) — to point out that evolutionary materialism defines reality as being matter, energy space and time unfolding across time through forces of chance and mechanical necessity. In none of that matrix is there an IS that can objectively ground OUGHT. As a direct consequence, such evolutionary materialism — as has been pointed out in various ways from Plato to Provine and beyond — is radically relativist, and sees morality as in effect a matter of subjective feelings and judgements that are at most culturally relative etc. That is, in the end on these premises, might and manipulation make ‘right,’ i.e. it is indeed amoral and wide open to nihilism. As Plato pointed out.

    I am aware this is very painful to hear and hard to accept, if one is locked into the evolutionary materialistic view. I am sorry for that — wish it were not so, but this is a painful truth that we MUST hear and respond appropriately to.

    Contrary to what you have just said, I have supported and substantiated the point, over and over, at length, here and elsewhere that you have had easy access to, both on the direct implications and on citations from Plato to Provine and Hawthorne or even Butt.

    It may be painful, but any system that boils down to implying that “might and/or manipulation makes ‘right’ . . . “ in the end denies that there is a real right beyond perceptions or feelings, and is thus amoral.

    It is a hard word, but unfortunately a well-warranted one.

    What follows is doubtless painful, but please bear up, it is an important diagnostic step.

    Evolutionary materialism, ever since Plato in the Laws, Bk X, as I have repeatedly cited, month after month, ends up in just that position. Let me draw your attention to it, once again, to show what I have been saying, and why (remember, Plato plainly had in mind the careers of Alcibiades and others of like ilk and the havoc they wreaked on Athens):

    Ath. . . . [[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [[i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only. [[In short, evolutionary materialism premised on chance plus necessity acting without intelligent guidance on primordial matter is hardly a new or a primarily “scientific” view! Notice also, the trichotomy of causal factors: (a) chance/accident, (b) mechanical necessity of nature, (c) art or intelligent design and direction.] . . . .

    [[Thus, they hold that t]he Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and [[they hold] that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.– [[Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT. (Cf. here for Locke’s views and sources on a very different base for grounding liberty as opposed to license and resulting anarchistic “every man does what is right in his own eyes” chaos leading to tyranny. )] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [[Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles; cf. dramatisation here], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless tyranny], and not in legal subjection to them . . .

    Evolutionary materialism has discarded the philosopher’s cloak it wore 2400 years ago, and now dons the holy lab coat but the core worldview claims are essentially the same, and the implications and consequences are essentially the same.

    Perhaps, Hawthorne explains best:

    Assume (per impossibile) that atheistic naturalism [[= evolutionary materialism] is true. Assume, furthermore, that one can’t infer an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’ [[the ‘is’ being in this context physicalist: matter-energy, space- time, chance and mechanical forces]. (Richard Dawkins and many other atheists should grant both of these assumptions.)

    Given our second assumption, there is no description of anything in the natural world from which we can infer an ‘ought’. And given our first assumption, there is nothing that exists over and above the natural world; the natural world is all that there is. It follows logically that, for any action you care to pick, there’s no description of anything in the natural world from which we can infer that one ought to refrain from performing that action.

    Add a further uncontroversial assumption: an action is permissible if and only if it’s not the case that one ought to refrain from performing that action . . . [[We see] therefore, for any action you care to pick, it’s permissible to perform that action. If you’d like, you can take this as the meat behind the slogan ‘if atheism is true, all things are permitted’.

    For example if atheism is true, every action Hitler performed was permissible. Many atheists don’t like this consequence of their worldview. But they cannot escape it and insist that they are being logical at the same time.

    Now, we all know that at least some actions are really not permissible (for example, racist actions). Since the conclusion of the argument denies this, there must be a problem somewhere in the argument. Could the argument be invalid? No. The argument has not violated a single rule of logic and all inferences were made explicit.

    Thus we are forced to deny the truth of one of the assumptions we started out with. That means we either deny atheistic naturalism or (the more intuitively appealing) principle that one can’t infer ‘ought’ from [[a material] ‘is’.

    Put in another way [please do follow the steps of thought there], the only worldviews that are morally coherent are those that have in them a foundational IS that grounds OUGHT. The best candidate for that, is the inherently good and inherently reasonable Creator God, who is such that IS and OUGHT are inseparably foundational to reality.

    This is of course exactly the view of God that lies at the heart of Judaeo-Christian Theism, and Christians ever since Peter of Galilee [cf Ac 2, c 30 AD, recorded c. 57 – 62 AD] and Paul of Tarsus [cf Ac 17, c 50 AD, recorded c 57 – 62 AD] take the resurrection of Jesus that fulfilled the prophecies of the OT scriptures and was witnessed by altogether over 500 witnesses [cf 1 Cor 15:1 – 11, c 55 AD], as the core historical warranting pivot for this view, multiplied by the reality of millions across the ages and int he world around us today who have met God in the face of the risen Christ and have been miraculously and positively blessed, healed and transformed by that encounter.

    You may disagree, but that is the record and testimony of the Christian faith for nigh on 2,000 years.

    Similarly, the problem is plainly not that I have failed to warrant the point that the evolutionary materialistic frame has in it no foundational IS that can objectively warrant OUGHT, but that you wish to dismiss it and to disregard my repeated presentation of the warrant. Indeed, in previous threads you have tried to redefine morality and ethics on subjectivism and sensibility leading to a cultural consensus, but this is simply a restatement of the radical relativism that is the pivot of the implications of having no IS that can objectively ground OUGHT. This boils down to: If I am sufficiently clever, or powerful or persuasive to get away with it, I can do as I please.

    That is a recipe for moral chaos and the very worst forms of abuse of the powerless and voiceless.

    Please, re-read Hawthorne, and tell us how you can ground an OUGHT-not that goes beyond “might and/or manipulation makes ‘right’ . . . ” on evolutionary materialist worldview premises.

    And, it is simply false and a material distortion of quite evident facts and reasoning presented to you for months now, that I have simply asserted my views. Evolutionary materialism, the relevant form of atheism, has in it no foundational IS that can objectively ground OUGHT, but we have a nigh universal consensus, that we are under moral government of OUGHT, indeed, it is patent that for instance, racism and mass murder are wrong.

    This does not merely mean that we don’t like them or that we will punish those who do them, or that we can persuade a majority — or at least a critical mass of power wielders and influencers of the powerful — to support us in disliking these things, it means that we ought not to do these things. And, sadly, the historical facts of Communism and Nazism show that a critical mass can be persuaded to support, enable and even carry out racism and/or mass murder and other forms of the most horrific abuse.

    In short, pardon the pain, but I think the time has come for a serious re-thinking.

    GEM of TKI

  100. 100
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Dr Liddle, I am of course aware that you hope to create an atheistical morality on the Golden Rule.

    The problem here is that he GR is based on OUGHT and on recognising the fundamentally equal moral worth of others so that they have RIGHTS, i.e. binding moral expectations that we ought to respect, e.g the life, liberty, innocent reputation etc of others. This is the precise reason why, in seeking to attack, oppress or destroy others, we see the commonplace tricks of dehumanisation, scapegoating and demonisation.

    For instance, are you aware that Haeckel publicly presented the idea that humans can be categorised into twelve species and four genera?

    That he had a notorious manipulative diagram — not the fraudulent embryos this time, something even more insidious — with twelve profiles, starting with the Indo-European then stepping down until the sixth step is the negro. After that come the apes and monkeys in a series designed to show an apparent progression?

    He then argued that the distance from the highest to the lowest of humans was further than that from the negro to the first ape in the series.

    Dehumanisation on “scientific” racism, in short.

    Of course, the Marxists took another route, and remember I have here the murder of my “aunt” in mind, in May 1980; through the impact of such irresponsible scapegoating propaganda during a violent election campaign and what objectively was low scale civil war with covert foreign interventions on both sides in Jamaica. This is not just abstract for me.

    The “capitalist” “big man” was blamed for the ills of society, and in the case in view, in the midst of predicted economic chaos due to unsound inflationary fiscal policy that exhausted foreign exchange reserves and created shortages that led to empty shelves, the head of the so-called Committee of Women for Progress announced publicly that there was a campaign of deliberate hoarding to cause the socialist-minded government to collapse. My “aunt” found herself on the receiving end of an incensed and ideologically polarised individual armed with an illegal gun, who took it upon himself to be judge and jury to convict her of such hoarding. BANG, he then acted as her executioner. She barely had enough time to kiss her son goodbye as she lay there on the floor of her shop, with a bullet through her heart.

    (Worst of all, rice was indeed in genuinely short supply. But the incendiary rhetoric had programmed him to hear hoarding. I will never forget the way that the same leader of that communist front organisation then blandly denied responsibility for her rhetoric.)

    Sorry, subjectivism cannot bear the weight of OUGHT, and cannot ground the Golden Rule, that we should view and treat others as of equal moral worth, so that we do to them as we would wish done to us in their place in light of legitimate rights and needs etc.

  101. 101
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: GCU, you underscore your willful irresponsibility and speaking that which is materially misleading and/or false without regard to the truth or to fairness. I have already presented the documentation and the revealing picture that show that Hitler was using his big lie propaganda technique to manipulate a nation of Christian sentiment, while being utterly, cynically and even demonically anti-christian. SHAME ON YOU.

  102. 102
    GCUGreyArea says:

    You are very close to calling me a liar, for which you have no warrant. The name of that particular trick is the turnabout false accusation. Stop it.

    Turnabout accusation – you mean the rule of engagement where you are allowed to accuse others but they are not allowed to do the same to you – yes I am familiar with it.

    KF, I have seen you say things about others that are demonstrably not true, but when corrected you don’t simply apologize for the mistake like a normal person would, instead you arrange for the target of your false claim to be disappeared from UD. The most recent example I can recall was DrBot.

    Only you know if you were lying or simply made a mistake, but the point is that most people would simply apologize for the error and move on as Elizabeth did above. You don’t do this, when you are caught in an error you have , to be quite frank, a rather childish hysterical breakdown and start claiming victim hood and demanding apologies.

    You have to try and understand how this type of attitude makes you look, to the onlooker, like a dishonest bully.

    I have already presented the documentation and the revealing picture that show that Hitler was using his big lie propaganda technique to manipulate a nation of Christian sentiment, while being utterly, cynically and even demonically anti-christian.

    No you haven’t. What you presented was a selective picture of history carefully designed to make Hitler out to be the person you want him to be – you did exactly what I did to you in my parody above, which was kind of the point I was trying to demonstrate. (Even if it were true, aren’t you a bit shocked at how those good Christians were so easily manipulated into committing atrocities in the name of God? )

    It is appallingly bad scholarship and wouldn’t cut muster with any qualified historian. It is, however, exactly the kind of tactic that the most cynical politicians and dictators use to prop up their own agendas, and pursue their own ideological goals – manipulate history, demonize others, disappear the opposition, rinse and repeat. Have a good think about that KF

    I appreciate that you may sincerely believe that Hitler was one of those evil atheists and that not true Christian could ever do ill, but I’m afraid that your belief in something does not make it true.

    TBH, KF I think I’m going to stop responding to your comments because every time I engage with you I come away feeling dirty and sullied, but I suspect you will arrange for my disappearance from UD anyway … Finally, if the god you believe in exists then I would hate to be in your shoes when your time is finally up 😉

  103. 103

    kairosfocus!!!!!!!

    First of all you take umbrage because I accuse you of saying that atrocities were committed in the name of atheism.

    I (wrongly) say that I wasn’t accusing you of that (because in fact I did).

    I then apologise for wrongly reading you, forgetting that I had done so, and saying that I had not.

    I say I am reassured that you do not, in fact, believe that atrocities were committed in the name of atheism.

    You now say, in response to me, of all people, that atrocities were committted in the name of atheism!!!!!!!

    Here are your words:

    Marxism-Leninism and Maoism etc DID slaughter well over 100 millions in aggregate in the name of atheism

    I stand by my apology for saying that I had not said something that I had, in fact said.

    But please note, that what I did in fact say turns out to be the truth (my only error was in failing to remember that I had said it – it’s certainly the impression I’ve had from your posts, and turns out to be true).

  104. 104

    OK, turns out that your original offense was at my implication that you alleged that Hitler’s atrocities were carried out in the name of atheism, and apparently you do not allege this. Rather you allege that Stalin et al’s were.

    In that case, I rephrase my original challenge:

    When I hear you condemn the atrocities committed by religious fanatics in the name of their god, I may take more seriously your allegation that Hitler Stalin et al committed genocide in the name of atheism.

    And to restate my original point:

    I am simply saying, kf, that Lenin et al were not justifying their acts by atheism.

    And Hitler, as you well know, was not an atheist.

    Religion, on the other hand, has been explicitly used to justify torture and genocide for millenia.

    So even if you were correct, and you are not, that communist tyrants justified their actions by atheism, it would still not entitle you to claim that atheism is more evil than religion.

    There are many reasons why people commit atrocities. All justification is spurious.

    I suggest that if, instead of taking umbrage at the mote that was a mis-speaking of your specific allegation (Stalin, not Hitler) you addressed the beam that is the substance of my post, we might make some progress in understanding each other.

  105. 105
    kairosfocus says:

    GCU:

    Pardon, but first understand that your pretence at moral outrage and superiority first of all underscores that the evolutionary materialism you seem to be defending has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT.

    Then, before you comment irresponsibly again kindly do some serious homework.

    I get the strong impression that you are trifling rhetorically and superficially with some big and dangerous matches, perhaps on the notion that you don’t need to learn more before dismissing what seems to alien to your ears and cuts across what you have been led to believe. (And, scapegoating me then shooting the scapegoat rhetorically is so much easier than real thought . . . )

    Here are some steps of thought, if you are serious:

    1 –> Before you further spread the slanderous and tainting inference that Hitler “really” was a Christian, acting out of Christian teachings and/or examples, as Evil Bible et al push, kindly work your way through this visual expose of his blasphemous — and I mean this quite literally — presentation of himself as a political messiah. Notice too how the leading theologians and outstanding pastors — Barth, Boenhoffer and Niemoller are the top tier of this — exposed his German Christian initiative as based on false doctrine and coercion seeking to subvert and deceive the Christian churches, through formally issuing a creedal document, the 1934 Barmen Declaration. That is about one year after he attained power, but of course by then he was firmly entrenched. (In case you don’t realise it, that pattern immediately assigns him to the spirit of Antichrist, not Christ. If you don’t know what AN antichrist is, let’s just use words like demonic fraud and deceiver. I do not know if you accept the experiential reality of the demonic, but let’s just say you can take it metaphorically and see that this gives a whole new dimension to the reports of his wild out of control rages in which he would fall to the carpet and foam at the mouth, chewing it; as well as to the mesmerising power of his personal presence and speeches. This was one dangerous puppy with a seriously poisonous bark and bite.) Let me give a clip from the White Rose student protest Movement’s leaflet III (remember, these students paid in their blood for these words):

    Every word that comes from Hitler’s mouth is a lie. When he says peace, he means war, and when he blasphemously uses the name of the Almighty, he means the power of evil, the fallen angel, Satan. His mouth is the foul-smelling maw of Hell, and his might is at bottom accursed. True, we must conduct a struggle against the National Socialist terrorist state with rational means; but whoever today still doubts the reality, the existence of demonic powers, has failed by a wide margin to understand the metaphysical background of this war . . .

    2 –> Then, at least skim through the Nuremberg investigatory documentation, here. This will show what he intended and was doing to the churches. Those who willfully promote the idea that Hitler was a Christian, and acting as such, in the teeth of such accessible evidence, are spreading a poisonous lie and a slander.

    3 –> You want to express rhetorical amazement that Hitler induced the Christian people of Germany to participate in the Holocaust. Actually, that is not correct. The critical mass of perpetrators of the holocaust — the few who had been poisoned utterly and were willing participators in mass murder — were careful to CONCEAL the scope and systematic, genocidal nature of the holocaust from the people of Germany, for they knew that if the truth were known the spell of Nazi propaganda — which remember mostly came to the public as NEWS, the NEWS they heard, from “credible” sources that of course would not lie to them like that . . . — would be broken by the shock. So, they used brutal secret police methods to suppress any cases where people were waking up and spreading the truth. listen, then, to the testimony of Hitler’s own secretary, and understand just how little she knew, much less those manipulated and intimidated by all the powers of an evil totalitarian, cunning police state led by highly skilled demonic deceivers and murderers:

    Of course, the terrible things I heard from the Nuremberg Trials, about the six million Jews and the people from other races who were killed, were facts that shocked me deeply. But I wasn’t able to see the connection with my own past. I was satisfied that I wasn’t personally to blame and that I hadn’t known about those things. I wasn’t aware of the extent. But one day I went past the memorial plaque which had been put up for Sophie Scholl in Franz Josef Strasse, and I saw that she was born the same year as me, and she was executed the same year I started working for Hitler. And at that moment I actually sensed that it was no excuse to be young, and that it would have been possible to find things out.
    Traudl Junge, Hitler’s personal secretary, in Im toten Winkel – Hitlers Sekretärin (2002) [Blind Spot: Hitler’s Secretary]

    4 –> The best known case, as already cited, is the White Rose movement of Roman Catholic students and mentors, which actually seems to have been among the first to publicise that at least hundreds of thousands were being killed in a systematic slaughter, not just the usual horrors of war distorted though hostile propaganda that would be brushed aside as probably lies. They were hunted down and for instance in the key case of a brother and sister, were kangaroo courted before the infamous so-called people’s courts, then guillotined in in one day. And yes, Hitler resurrected the guillotine in Germany, I gather 70,000 were executed by it.

    5 –> In addition, you need to take time to watch the video lecture by Dr Weikart, which will show you the lines of influence that ran from Haeckel at al to Hitler, and the serious science in society ethical issues that were and are connected to Darwinian evolutionary theory, and things like eugenics and social darwinism. Understand that eugenics was embedded in science textbooks — including Hunter’s Civic Biology that was at the centre of the Scopes trial — in the era from the 1910’s – 40’s.

    6 –> Take particular time to pause and look at the misleading 12 profiles chart by Haeckel, where the Indo-European is at the top, and the sixth in rank is the negro.

    7 –> Then look at the apes and monkeys immediately thereafter and reflect on Haeckel’s role as the leading Darwinist in Germany, and on his assertion that there were twelve species of humans in four genera, where the gap between the highest human and the lowest was greater than that between BLACK PEOPLE and apes.

    8 –> Put that in the context of survival of the fittest social darwinism, eugenics, and even euthanasia. Remember, all of this was presented by leading lights, so-called, in Germany and beyond, was promoted in International Congresses with titles like “Eugenics is the self-direction of human evolution.”

    9 –> Then ask yourself, why is it that such things are so alien to your ears. Or, to put it another way, what would you have thought if after emerging from your bomb shelter on some early morning in 1943, you were to find a bomber-dropped leaflet entitled “The Manifesto of the Students of Munich.” Would you have taken it seriously, why or why not? Hey, let me clip from this leaflet as translated here:

    HEADING, By the English propagandists:

    This is the text of a German leaflet, a copy of which has reached England. Students of the University of Munich wrote and circulated it in February. For this, six of them were executed, others of them were thrown into prison, others again were sent to the front as a punishment. Since then, at all other universities, the students are being purged. The leaflet evidently expresses the feelings of a considerable proportion of the German students . . . .

    LEAFLET, by Google Translate:

    Fellow! Fellow students!

    Shaken, our people behold the loss of the men of Stalingrad. [NB: Stalingrad had been defeated across the Winter on a Soviet counter-offensive that cost Germany the 6th Army and nearly lost the war.]

    Leaflet VI

    Leaflet VI. With approval of the German Resistance Memorial Center.

    Three hundred and thirty thousand German men have been senselessly and the ingenious strategy of World War corporal [i.e. Hitler] irresponsibly driven to death and destruction. Leaders, we thank you! There is a rumbling in the German people: Will we continue to entrust the fate of a dilettante of our armies? Do we sacrifice the lowest power of a Party clique the rest of our German youth? Never!

    The day of reckoning has come, the reckoning of German youth with the most abominable tyrant our people has ever endured. On behalf of the German people we demand from the state, Adolf Hitler’s personal liberty, the most precious commodity back to the Germans, to which he has betrayed us in the most miserable way.

    In a state unscrupulously suppressed all free speech, we have grown up. HJ [Hitler Youth], SA and SS have us in the most promising young years of our lives, revolutionize to drug tried. “Philosophical training” was the contemptuous way to nip the budding intellectual and self values ??in a fog of empty phrases. A selection of leaders, as devilish and narrow-minded at the same time can not be thought, its future party bigwigs in Ordensburgen pulls up to be wicked, shameless and unscrupulous exploiters and murderers, to the blind, stupid leader following.

    We “Workers of the Spirit” would be just in time to make this new ruling class of the stick. Veterans will be reprimanded by student leaders and Gauleiteraspiranten like schoolboys, and the lewd jokes, the Gauleiter of the honor students. German students have been at the Munich University to the besmirching of their honor a worthy answer, German students have stood up for their mates, and stood up. This is a beginning of the struggle of our free self-determination, without the spiritual values ??can not be created. We thank the brave comrades who have set a shining example!

    For us there is but one slogan: fight against the party! Get out of the party organizations in which you want to keep us more politically silenced! Get out of the lecture rooms of the SS-and-sergeants and the party! We want genuine learning and real freedom! No threat can terrorize us, not even the closure of our universities. This is the struggle of each of us for our future, our freedom and honor its moral responsibility in a conscious state.

    Freedom and honor! Ten long years have squeezed out Hitler and his comrades, the two splendid German words to the disgust, twisted, as only dilettantes can, casting the highest values ??of a nation before swine. What freedom and honor them is that they have sufficiently demonstrated in the ten years of destruction of all material and spiritual freedom, of all moral substance among the German people. Even the stupidest German has opened the eyes of the terrible carnage that they have done in the name of freedom and honor of the German nation in the whole of Europe and daily start anew. The German name remains erect forever disgraced if German youth does not finally rise, take revenge, and atone, smash its tormentors, and a new spiritual Europe.

    Students! Students! The German people look at us! We would expect, such as 1813, the refraction of Napoleon, so in 1943 the breaking of the Nazi terror, from the power of the mind. Beresina and Stalingrad are burning in the east, the dead of Stalingrad implore us!

    “Fresh smoke on my people, the flames characters!”

    Our people stand ready to rebel against the enslavement of Europe by the Nazis in a fervent new breakthrough of freedom and honor!

    10 –> What turned out to be the real truth. What you heard day by day on the radio, what you were taught in school, what your local leaders said, what you read in the papers, etc etc, or what you picked up in the street from an enemy bomber and onward from a bunch of silly religious students down there in Bavaria?

    11 –> Then, fast forward to 1945 October when you are living in a hovel in a bombed out city, are mourning lost relatives, are shivering with cold and hurting with hunger, and are hearing the reports of what had really been going on behind the scenes of the Third Reich.

    12 –> Then, please read this blog post from a few years ago [you may want to read the whole series linked therefrom] and think again about the superficiality, scapegoating and dismissive demonising you are indulging above.

    ___________

    Shoot or discredit and dismiss the unwelcome messenger is an old old story, GCU; one that you have plainly chosen to indulge. But, it does not change the truth, which is mere clicks away.

    And, it does not make you any whit less responsible before the truth and the right, however unwelcome.

    Pardon, but your personally insulting, recklessly abusive response to the well documented albeit unwelcome truth demands some fairly frank words.

    After this, I will ignore what you have to further say, unless something serious comes up that requires a note for record, which will be to the onlooker, not you or your ilk, for plainly you speak in the voice of the abusive hate sites, and/or are an enabler for them. You have thus shown yourself utterly irresponsible and unresponsive to correction or remonstrance.

    Good day.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: onlookers, please review what Plato had to say about the nihilistic ways and tactics of those in thralldom to evolutionary materialist indoctrination, and where it ends up if left unexposed and unchecked.

  106. 106
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Liddle,

    Pardon, but you have now knowingly crossed a serious line.

    Evidently, you refuse to face the truth about Stalin et al, on the imagined immoral equivalency grounds that I justify genocide in the name of God.

    You know, or should know, that you are wrong in such poisonous assertions or insinuations, as I have taken pains to explicitly state and explain.

    But, we all know that rage helps us project blame and feel justified in what we do.

    Indeed, it is common knowledge that anger at God is the classic basis for stabilising and sustaining atheism. Teenager rage and rebellion writ large, in short.

    (Please re-read the story of the Prodigal Son and note the subtext to demanding and walking out with his inheritance while his father was yet alive: I wish you were already dead, and I want to treat you as one dead. Which was unspeakably outrageously disrespectful. Of course the Father in the story is a symbol for God. Think about those who were perfectly willing to egg the wasting of the inheritance on, and what it meant to be half-starved, in rags and feeding hogs. do you want me to draw out the hints and symbols? Let me just say, this shows how rebellion against God is addictive, delusional and ruinous.)

    If you insist on spreading poisonous falsehoods while refusing to seriously address the long since objectively established inherent amorality of the evolutionary materialism you have chosen to embrace, I can do but little about that.

    Let me, however, pause and again remind you from Hawthorne, making a little substitution of Stalin for Hitler.

    This, is what, sadly, you refuse to squarely face:

    Assume (per impossibile) that atheistic naturalism [[= evolutionary materialism] is true. Assume, furthermore, that one can’t infer an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’ [[the ‘is’ being in this context physicalist: matter-energy, space- time, chance and mechanical forces]. (Richard Dawkins and many other atheists should grant both of these assumptions.)

    Given our second assumption, there is no description of anything in the natural world from which we can infer an ‘ought’. And given our first assumption, there is nothing that exists over and above the natural world; the natural world is all that there is. It follows logically that, for any action you care to pick, there’s no description of anything in the natural world from which we can infer that one ought to refrain from performing that action.

    Add a further uncontroversial assumption: an action is permissible if and only if it’s not the case that one ought to refrain from performing that action . . . [[We see] therefore, for any action you care to pick, it’s permissible to perform that action. If you’d like, you can take this as the meat behind the slogan ‘if atheism is true, all things are permitted’.

    For example if atheism is true, every action Hitler Subs: STALIN performed was permissible. Many atheists don’t like this consequence of their worldview. But they cannot escape it and insist that they are being logical at the same time.

    Now, we all know that at least some actions are really not permissible (for example, racist actions [and, we can add, creating a totalitarian state with a Gulag that enslaved millions, starving or otherwise killing tens of millions, in many cases rubber-stamped through kangaroo courts etc . . . all in the name of Dialectical Materialism and the promised Communist Golden Age, and excused that one cannot make an omelette without breaking a few eggs . . . ]). Since the conclusion of the argument denies this, there must be a problem somewhere in the argument. Could the argument be invalid? No. The argument has not violated a single rule of logic and all inferences were made explicit.

    Thus we are forced to deny the truth of one of the assumptions we started out with. That means we either deny atheistic naturalism or (the more intuitively appealing) principle that one can’t infer ‘ought’ from [[a material] ‘is’.

    What you do with this, is your own decision.

    Just, remember how Stalin’s friend recalled how Stalin spoke about the impact of Darwin’s writings, even as he was in education towards the clergy. In so doing, remember, please that 1880 letter to Marx’s son in law.

    I have already plainly stated where the matter rests, and months ago you have had access to my response to the issue of the sins of Christendom and to the well-poisoning, anti-Christian and Anti-semitic smear that the God of the Tanach (AKA OT) is a bronze-age genocidal moral monster and his followers are little better.

    This smear is utterly unjust, is little more than a poisonous turnabout to distract from the serious question of the amorality of the system of thought described as evolutionary materialism and is a playing with some very dangerous matches, as you full well know or should know. (And, of vcoursze, many atheists are nice, decent, well-socialised people who routinely borrow moral principles from the same Judaeo-Christian frame that their more strident fellows would trash like the above. I am pointing to a serious problem with the warrant for ought, and its implications for the stability of recognised rights. Those who examine the trends of our civilisation as evolutionary materialism becomes more and more culturally powerful, read Rom 1 and take serious pause as they think about where we are headed as the memory of those principles fades, and as Christians are more and more stereotyped, smeared and scapegoated. Which is of course a key underlying concern for the OP to this thread. If you doubt or would dismiss my concerns, then please read the Heine prophecy for Germany when the old demons would be let loose, c 1830, discussed here.)

    This is a sad day, to have to now draw a line with you, but you know what you will need to do to unweave the rhetorical spell you have now cast.

    Good day, madam.

    GEM of TKI

  107. 107

    Pardon, but first understand that your pretence at moral outrage and superiority first of all underscores that the evolutionary materialism you seem to be defending has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT.

    Kairosfocus, you really need to see the logical error you are making here.

    The “moral outrage” that you perceive on our side is no more a pretence than your own is. You are assuming it is a pretence because you believe that “evolutionary materialism…has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT”.

    But this is precisely the assertion at issue. We think you are incorrect, and thus, our “moral outrage” is by no means a pretence. We are, quite genuinely, as morally outraged at the suggestion that atheists are amoral as you are at what you think are the amoral consequences of as “evolutionary materialism”.

    You can cite Plato as often as you like; it doesn’t make you correct. Atheism is not the belief that “might is right”, it is simply lack of belief in god or gods. For some it may be the positive belief that no gods exist. That is still nothing to do with the belief that “might is right”. Indeed, you could argue that Divine Command Theory is precisely that: it is the argument because God is, by definition, All-Mighty, he is necessarily All-Good.

    That’s not Plato’s view of course, because Plato was a pagan, not a mono-theist, and his gods were not omnipotent.

    The rest of your posts are predicated on this fundamental error: that lack of belief in god or gods is equivalent to the belief that might is right.

    It is not.

    It is also not the case that one cannot derive morality outside a theistic framework. You can, and we do.

  108. 108
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: The above shows by sadly repeated example the way the new atheist rhetoric tends to polarise and poison reasonable discussion.

    The best answer to today’s angry atheism, is found in the parable of he prodigal son, once we understand that the son’s action was in effect an acted out expression of rage at the father, and symbol for God, that implied “I wish you were dead and am acting as though you were dead.”

    Once we deal with the rage, we can then more reasonably deal with the real questions, reduced to due proportion. And, with ill-advised temper tantrums put to one side.

    So, now, let us read:

    ______________

    >> Luke 15:11-32

    J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

    11-19 Then he continued, “Once there was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the property that will come to me.’ [in short: I wish you were dead!] So he divided up his property between the two of them. Before very long, the younger son collected all his belongings and went off to a foreign land, where he squandered his wealth in the wildest extravagance. And when he had run through all his money [with the help of those who sought to profit from his folly], a terrible famine arose in that country, and he began to feel the pinch. Then he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country who sent him out into the fields to feed the pigs. He got to the point of longing to stuff himself with the food the pigs were eating and not a soul gave him anything. [as in, he found out what a very different lord was like, the hard way] Then he came to his senses [yup, he woke up from the spell of bewitchment and rage against his father whom he had been ever so ungrateful to ] and cried aloud, ‘Why, dozens of my father’s hired men have got more food than they can eat and here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go back to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have done wrong in the sight of Heaven and in your eyes. I don’t deserve to be called your son any more. Please take me on as one of your hired men.”’ [NOW he learns what just vs unjust government or authority is like]

    20-24 So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still some distance off, his father saw him and his heart went out to him, and he ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. But his son said, ‘Father, I have done wrong in the sight of Heaven and in your eyes. I don’t deserve to be called your son any more ….’ [Daddy, in love does not even listen to the carefully constructed offer: I will work for food, and I accept I have lost my inheritance, it is enough to be a servant of the righteous] ‘Hurry!’ called out his father to the servants, ‘fetch the best clothes and put them on him! Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet, and get that calf we’ve fattened and kill it, and we will have a feast and a celebration! For this is my son—I thought he was dead, and he’s alive again. I thought I had lost him, and he’s found!’ And they began to get the festivities going. [there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner that repents . . . ]

    25-32 “But his elder son was out in the fields, and as he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants across to him and enquired what was the meaning of it all. ‘Your brother has arrived, and your father has killed the calf we fattened because he has got him home again safe and sound,’ was the reply. But he was furious and refused to go inside the house. So his father came outside and called him. Then he burst out, ‘Look, how many years have I slaved for you and never disobeyed a single order of yours, and yet you have never given me so much as a young goat, so that I could give my friends a dinner? But when that son of yours arrives, who has spent all your money on prostitutes, for him you kill the calf we’ve fattened!’ But the father replied, ‘My dear son, you have been with me all the time and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and show our joy. For this is your brother; I thought he was dead—and he’s alive. I thought he was lost—and he is found!’” [so, we must not act with resentful rage when we face wanton rebellion and even more extravagant forgiveness . . . God’s love has reasons that mere reason cannot fully fathom] >>
    ______________

    Let us trust that hose who are playing the prodigal today, will pause and turn back before they and our civilisation, are dragged down to the pig pen, under a very different lord. As, the people of Germany and Russia found themselves within living memory.

    May God open our eyes before it is too late.

    GEM of TKI

  109. 109

    Kairosfocus, if anyone is casting “rhetorical spells” here, it is you!

    I may have crossed a line, but that line is of your own drawing.

    Evidently, you refuse to face the truth about Stalin et al, on the imagined immoral equivalency grounds that I justify genocide in the name of God.

    Kairosfocus, I stated completely unambiguously that:

    There are many reasons why people commit atrocities. All justification is spurious.

    But let me attempt to be even less ambiguous:

    There is NO MORAL JUSTIFICATION FOR ATROCITIES.

    So yes, one atrocity is morally equivalent to another, whether it is done “in the name of” atheism, Protestantism, Christianity, Islam, Catholicism, Nationalism, Marxism, National Socialism, Racism or any other ism you care to name.

    I am of the view that the atrocities committed by Stalin were not committed in the name of atheism. If you differ, fine. As I said, it was NOT my major point. My point is that it is completely invalid to argue that atheism is morally inferior to theism on the grounds that atrocities have been committed in its name (whether or not it is true) because it is at least as equally true that atrocities have been committed in the name of almost every other ism (with the possible exception of pacifism) there has ever been.

    Yes, these atrocities are morally equivalent. They are equally, and profoundly, reprehensible.

    But, we all know that rage helps us project blame and feel justified in what we do.

    Indeed. And I invite you to consider your own rage, so vehemently expressed on this thread.

    Indeed, it is common knowledge that anger at God is the classic basis for stabilising and sustaining atheism. Teenager rage and rebellion writ large, in short.

    No, it is not “common knowledge”. It seems to be a common assertion made by Christians, but that does not make it true. And it is not true. I know of not a single atheist who is angry at God. I know vast numbers of atheists who are angry at Christians and other theists, in most cases with good reason. But Christians and theists are not God.

    If you insist on spreading poisonous falsehoods while refusing to seriously address the long since objectively established inherent amorality of the evolutionary materialism you have chosen to embrace, I can do but little about that.

    It is not I who is “spreading poisonous falsehoods” kf. The “inherent amorality of … evolutionary materialism” has not been “long since objectively established” except in the trivial sense that that evolutionary theory, as part of methodological naturalism, is a scientific theory, not a moral philosophy. So your statement, is, in my view, a clear falsehood, and, while the choice of word would not be my first, I could just as easily describe it as “poisonous”. It has certainly greatly poisoned any discussion as to the objective scientific merits of ID.

    You write (I assume you are quoting yourself; at any rate you quote approvingly):

    Assume (per impossibile) that atheistic naturalism [[= evolutionary materialism] is true. Assume, furthermore, that one can’t infer an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’ [[the ‘is’ being in this context physicalist: matter-energy, space- time, chance and mechanical forces]. (Richard Dawkins and many other atheists should grant both of these assumptions.)

    Given our second assumption, there is no description of anything in the natural world from which we can infer an ‘ought’.

    That is logical nonsense. First I am to assume that “one can’t infer an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’”. Then, based on this “assumption”, I am supposed to conclude – that I can’t infer an ought from what is.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more blatant case of assuming your consequent.

    And of course, I accept neither premise nor identical consequent.

    Certainly you can “derive an ought from an is”. More coherently, you can derive the fact that we “ought” to do some things from the very fact (the “is”) that we have choices as to what we do, and some come with immediate reward to ourselves which would be lost were we to choose actions that have larger rewards, but later, or not for ourselves. We are therefore constantly faced with choices between what would gratify our immediate desires, and what we “ought” to do. It’s why we use the word.

    So the existence of morality itself is built in to our evident capacity to choose rewards for others over rewards for ourselves, or to choose later rewards in preference to early rewards. And a moral imperative emerges from the simple logic that if everyone behaves as though the welfare (healthy, autonomy, happiness) of others carries as much priority as their own welfare, then the welfare of all, including ourselves, will be maximised. Hence the Golden Rule, derived, not coincidentally, by many cultures independently, and which makes absolutely no reference to god or gods.

    It’s at the basis of all justice systems, and indeed, is fundamental to the concept of a “just” society – one that serves the good of all its members.

    Now, tell me how you derive your “ought” from your “is”.

    Or not, as you wish. But I remain firmly of the view that it is with our own sense of justice that we should determine whether the alleged atrocities reported in the OT were just, not by whether or not they were (allegedly) ordered by “God” or not.

    It is not an anti-semitic or anti-Christian “smear” to hold that those acts were self-evidently evil (or would have been if they occurred at all). Indeed, I’d call it a profoundly anti-semitic and anti-Christian “smear” to suggest that Jews and Christians believed that they were not, were it not for the fact at least one set of Christians (those holding to “Divine Command Theory) does seem to believe it.

    In that instance, it is not a “smear” to say so, merely the appalling truth.

    You know, or should know, that you are wrong in such poisonous assertions or insinuations, as I have taken pains to explicitly state and explain.

    And I suggest, kf, that instead of repetitiously stating and explaining what you think is the case, you actually read, mark, and inwardly digest, the counter-arguments and rebuttals to your statements and explanations. Things are not so just because kairosfocus believes them to be so. Nor are they so just because Lizzie does.

    That’s why we discuss things. I hope we can continue to do so.

    In peace,

    Lizzie

  110. 110

    The above shows by sadly repeated example the way the new atheist kairosfocus’ rhetoric tends to polarise and poison reasonable discussion.

    Please, stop, kf.

    “Evolutionary materialism” is, apparently, a construct of your own making, which you are erroneously, and, I’d say, poisonously, assigning to good scientists and good ordinary people who simply do not believe in god or gods. We are not bringing down civilisation. Many of us are trying to find ways of making the world a better place, developing new medicines, finding out how to preserve rich habitats, understanding what drives global economics, crime, mental distress, inequality, and how they might be rectified.

    We are also, some of us, trying to show some of the harm often done directly in the name of religion, including bigotry against gays, obstruction of good sexual health education, the insistence that lives must be lived in pain, rather than brought to a peaceful end, insistence that all pregnancies must result in birth, regardless of any resulting harm to the woman.

    Please stop laying all civilisation’s ills at our door. And if some of what we ask for is, in your view, evil, then let’s discuss that, and not be endlessly sidetracked by the canard that we have no moral standing. We do.

  111. 111
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Liddle:

    I am not going to say a lot, but, it should be clear — as repeatedly shown and never cogently answered — that the problem of evolutionary materialism is exactly that it has a problem with grounds, grounds for knowing/warranting in general, and for moral knowledge in particular. So it is amoral save insofar as it freeloads on the remnants of the cultural support for a system that does objectively ground moral knowledge.

    The huffing, puffing and projection of how dare yous does not cogently answer the challenge.

    A challenge that has had the kind of impact that was warned against over the past 200 years, and the past 2000 years for that matter.

    Good day

    GEM of TKI

  112. 112
    GCUGreyArea says:

    ppps …
    I’m not an atheist.

  113. 113
    tragic mishap says:

    You only have moral standing for yourself. You have zero moral standing with anybody else, because according to your world view, no person has any more or less moral authority than anyone else.

  114. 114

    I don’t think anyone possesses “moral authority”. I think we are all responsible for our own actions and moral decisions and we cannot pass the buck to some “moral authority”

    I don’t think appealing to “moral authority” is a defense. People who claim that they are right to discriminate against gays, for example, on the grounds that their “moral authority” – their church, their sacred text, whatever, have decreed that gay sex is immoral, are, in my view, acting amorally. They have ceded moral responsibility to some arbitrary “moral authority” instead.

    However, as members of human society, I would argue that that moral responsibility includes the moral responsibility we demand from each other as part of our systems of moral and criminal justice, and which, naturally, tend to be based on the principle that the good of the individual should not take priority over the good of all.

    In that sense, “moral authority” rests with the collective, of which we are a part, not with any one individual.

  115. 115
    champignon says:

    Elizabeth wrote:

    I don’t think appealing to “moral authority” is a defense. People who claim that they are right to discriminate against gays, for example, on the grounds that their “moral authority” – their church, their sacred text, whatever, have decreed that gay sex is immoral, are, in my view, acting amorally. They have ceded moral responsibility to some arbitrary “moral authority” instead.

    That’s right. Following a moral authority doesn’t get you off the hook. It remains your responsibility to determine whether the authority in question should be obeyed.

    This principle even extends all the way up to God. Imagine a world in which we know for sure that God exists and we know that he wants us to do X. To behave morally in such a world requires us to ask whether X is moral. If it is, we should obey God and do it. If not, we should disobey.

    Note that to assume that God is good doesn’t solve the problem. He might be good or he might not be. You have to determine this, and you can’t do so without employing your independent judgment.

    The buck stops with you.

  116. 116

    Dr Liddle:

    I am not going to say a lot, but, it should be clear — as repeatedly shown and never cogently answered — that the problem of evolutionary materialism is exactly that it has a problem with grounds, grounds for knowing/warranting in general, and for moral knowledge in particular. So it is amoral save insofar as it freeloads on the remnants of the cultural support for a system that does objectively ground moral knowledge.

    This allegation has been cogently answered many times, kf. Responding to those answers merely by repeating it does not make it true.

    For a start, it is incoherent. What is this “Evolutionary materialism” supposed to be? An -ism isn’t an independent agent, it’s a view held by actual people. Who? And where have they expressed it? In what sense is it materialistic? In what sense is it “evolutionary”? I entirely agree that methodological naturalism is amoral, as all investigative methodologies are. We do not derive morality from investigative methodologies. I would also agree that evolutionary theory is amoral, as are all scientific theories.

    But that does not mean that people who accept consensus evolutionary theory, or who use the assumption of naturalism in their investigative methodology are amoral, nor does it mean that they are incapable of deriving moral principles. You have, among other errors, made a category error here. It is possible to be a “methodological naturalist”, an advocate of evolutionary theory and a devout theist simultaneously, and I know many who are.

    The huffing, puffing and projection of how dare yous does not cogently answer the challenge.

    I’m seeing huffing, puffing, and projection, kf, and plenty of how dare yous, but I’m seeing them in your posts, not mine. Who was it who said that someone had “crossed a line”? What is that if not a “how dare you”?

    A challenge that has had the kind of impact that was warned against over the past 200 years, and the past 2000 years for that matter.

    And what is this if not “huffing and puffing”?

  117. 117
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Liddle:

    I took out a couple of days in hopes that you would cool off and a more reasonable tone could be had.

    Now, imagine the impact of finding you here, insisting on a false accusation that I have taken pains to point out does not belong in my mouth:

    Please stop laying all civilisation’s ills at our door.

    You know, or should know, that it is not only my personal view, but that of the Christian faith, that a major part of the human plight, is that we are all finite, fallible, morally fallen, and too often ill-willed. So, in short, we see here a bit of projecting on your part. How convenient it is for you to set up and knock over a strawman!

    Next, you know or should know that I have highlighted the premise of morality from the Judaeo-Christian frame of thought. It is nor, that there is someone with a bigger stick than the rest of us in the sky, who can club us down if we simply don’t toe the line on capricious, anti-fun rules. Instead, it is that we are made in the Divine image, and so are of equal moral worth.

    That both motivates love and loyalty to our common Father, and mutual respect to our brothers, sisters and cousins made equally in that image and endowed with the same dignity, thus rights. That is, a fundamental right is a binding and proper moral expectation that we respect one another mutually: life, liberty, property (including reputation) etc. In short, the morality we see emerging from this frame is rooted in our common, good, Creator God, and is a REASONABLE service. If you have been paying attention, you will recall how often I have linked or cited how, when he set out to ground the canons of liberty and self-government, Locke in his 2ns Essay on Civil Gov’t, Ch 2.5, cites “the judicious [Anglican Canon Richard]Hooker” [from his Ecclesiastical Polity], thusly:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [[Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [[Eccl. Polity, preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80]

    And so, core morality is pivoted on Creation order; rooted in the inherently good Creator God. (And, for instance, that means that the unborn child, being a separate human individual, is entitled to rights like the rest of us, starting with life. Similarly, sexual ethics is premised on providing a stable environment for conception, birth, and nurture, in family and community. Sexual immorality — following up on a category you have chosen to use — undermines such and can be exposed by applying the Categorical Imperative: what would happen if behaviours, X, Y, Z were to spread across society and become the universal norm? If society would become unsustainable, these activities are morally unsound. That starts with living by lust, which leads to the outworked misbehaviours that wreak such chaos across our civilisation, starting with say web porn — and I highlight this because of its currency and rising prevalence, wherein also over half of divorces in the US according to the Divorce lawyers, have this as a significant factor — and moving on out from there. If something is undermining family stability, it is morally unsound. I need not go on to highlight the abuse and exploitation of young women etc associated with it.)

    By contrast, evolutionary materialism — and BTW, your attempt to imply a “sez who” objection to a descriptive term for something that has been documented in the literature since Plato’s The Laws Bk X, 360 BC [recall the often linked and cited text here, noting the description of the view as highlighted] fails –is a worldview that has in it no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT. It is thus amoral, and not only logically but historically (including, 100+ million ghosts remind us, within living memory) leads to the radical relativism, “might makes ‘right’ . . . ” nihilist factionism and social destructiveness Plato highlighted. this happened directly, in overtly atheistical systems, and indirectly in neo-pagan ones enabled by the claimed assured results of “science” dominated and motivated by “free thought,” and issuing in social darwinism, eugenics, so-called scientific racism, and in the sad end, genocide and total war leading to devastated continents with dozens of millions dead. All this happened in living memory.

    And, to highlight the rotten and bloody fruit of such nihilism rooted in claimed assured results of science, is not o lay the blame for all the world’s ills on evolutionary materialism. It is to highlight a neglected and supressed side of recent history that, though painful, we dare not forget, lest we repeat it in some virulent new form. And, you know or should know that I am at the very same time the person who has gone on the mats to expose destructive religious sects within the Christian faith, and I have stood up to warn on the dangers of IslamISM. It should be fairly obvious that I am calling for radical reformation of the Christian faith, and am working towards that in my home region, starting with an education initiative. In short, I am putting the blame for a good slice of the world’s ills on us, finite, fallible, fallen and too often ill-willed human beings who too often will find a way to warp and corrupt even the best of things. Hence the ongoing need for renewal and reformation of life, family, church, community, nation and civilisation.

    Now, too, you seem determined to present latterday evolutionary materialistic scientific schools of thought as a morally neutral, good thing that somehow has grounded a worldview that finds no good reason to see God as creator, on nice, neutral, objective research.

    NOT.

    I therefore call to the witness stand five witnesses [kindly read here on], testifying inadvertently against interest, let me highlight the first, as there seems to be a determined effort to refuse to see that this sort of censoring a priori question-begging in the field of knowledge is utterly inexcusable [with full echoes of Rom 1:18 – 32 etc intended], and can never be epistemically justified, regardless of the claims made to try to do that; that which at most would be a conclusion must nor warp the process of unfettered and responsible, informed inference to best, empirically anchored explanation towards truth that should characterise science:

    . . . It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated . . . [Lewontin of Harvard, “Billions and billions of demons,” NYRB, Jan 1997. Cf linked above on the five witnesses for a fuller explanation that addresses the context for the key clip just given]

    Let me put it this way, with pardonable exaggeration for emphasis: sound science is dead, and a priori, censoring evolutionary materialism dressed up in the holy lab coat is the killer.

    But, science can rise from the dead.

    (And, I invite the onlooker to read here on to see why I say this.)

    Please, please, please, do better than this.

    Good day,

    GEM of TKI

  118. 118
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers (and participants):

    You may find my summary in light of the new atheist trends, the linked readings and a video and textual discussion of the Prodigal Son here, helpful; especially in understanding the too often evident psycho-spiritual and social dynamics at work. If the verbal eruptions of the hate site operator are anything to go by, this comes with the highest recommendation as to its nail-head impact.

    GEM of TKI

  119. 119
    tjguy says:

    I wish I could figure out how to organize the post like you do Liz, with the quotes in white.

    Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. Anyway, here goes a long response to your post.

    Liz said: “Evolutionary theory and the standard models regarding the age of the earth and the universe have vast amounts of evidence to support them, and are also perfectly compatible with non-nihilist philosophies.”

    TJ: Liz, what non-nihilist philosophies are you referring to. Also, which of those non-nihilist philosophies do you hold to?

    Liz: A philosophy that says that stuff is worth doing.

    TJ: How do you know that the philosophy is true? Just because it says that stuff is worth doing doesn’t mean it is. Still interested in knowing which one you hold to.

    +++

    Liz said: “YEC on the other hand is directly infirmed by evidence, and requires its holders to worship a creator god who sought to prevent his creatures from acquiring a moral knowledge, then punished them and all their descendents when they disobeyed.”

    TJ: Liz, I am concerned about the way you are distorting who God is.

    Liz: I’m not distorting how YECs interpret Genesis. It makes for unsupported science and bad theology IMO.

    TJ: There is no bad theology here. God sought to prevent Adam and Eve from sinning, from losing their perfect home, perfect relationship, and relationship with God. That is what a moral and experiential knowledge of sin brought. I was protesting because your nuance is that God had wrong motives in this.

    +++

    Liz: He didn’t give them moral guidance in that story. In fact, he insisted that they remain amoral (without knowledge of good and evil). He didn’t tell them to be good, he told them to obey. Those two things are not the same.

    TJ: They knew what was right and although they had no experiential knowledge of sin, they certainly had moral knowledge of right and wrong already. God programmed a language into their heads. They had not experienced death or seen death and yet God told them they would die if they ate the fruit. Certainly they must have understood that, otherwise the command would make no sense. In programming a language into them so they could communicate from the start, He most certainly would have included the knowledge of these things, even though they had not yet experienced it yet. Certainly they knew that He was God and they were not. They understood they had a moral obligation to obey their Creator. When God told them not to eat from a certain tree, they certainly understood what He meant. They didn’t need an experiential knowledge of right and wrong. They would have been better off never having sinned.

    +++

    TJ: You think He shouldn’t have tried to stop them from bringing a curse upon themselves and the world they lived in. It seems like to you, God was the one who was in the wrong here. Ma’am, I think you have bought the lie of the Evil One just like Eve did.

    Liz: Well, I don’t think the story is literally true, but if it were, then obviously he shouldn’t have cursed them. He’s supposed to be omnipotent, right? So yes, I think that story is very unflattering to God, and does paint him as rather evil. But then I don’t believe that God exists.

    TJ: On what basis do you make your judgment of God? He warned them ahead of time what would happen. He was totally in the right. He could have killed them right then and there because the punishment for sin is death. They died spiritually when they sinned, meaning that they lost their relationship with God and the process of physical decay began in their bodies so that physical death was now just a matter of time. Adam lived a long time after that showing God’s grace to them. I don’t see anything “evil” here at all.

    Besides, you have to realize that you, a finite person whose judgments have been influenced by sin, really cannot accurately judge God. Even if you cannot fully understand everything God does now – a given because of what I just said, once you stand in His place and see things from His point of view, you will no doubt admit that He is/was right in all He does.

    And, another point is that you really have no standard upon which to make such a judgment of God. Any definition you have of evil is simply arbitrary and relative. In your worldview, there is no such thing as “evil”. What is, is and that is all you can say about it apart from like and dislike.

    God is omnipotent, but He can never go against Himself. He cannot do something that is wrong. A parent who lays down the law for his children and then never follows through is never respected by the children. He shows plenty of grace to people – the cross of Calvary is the ultimate display of His grace where He came to rescue us from His wrath, but taking that punishment for us.

    +++

    TJ: It also seems you have a very negative view of worship.

    Liz: No, I have a positive view of worshiping what is worth worshipping. I think worshipping something evil is bad, though. And worshipping the idol painted as a Creator in Genesis I think is pretty bad. I wouldn’t worship a deity who forbade his creatures to acquire knowledge of the difference between right from wrong and then cursed them when they tried to find out. But, as I said, I don’t believe that deity exists anyway.

    TJ: God is the only person worth worshipping. All other things are idols.
    Personally I think it is a good thing to prevent a person from gaining knowledge that would be harmful to him and to the world he lives in, but that’s just me I guess. Even as parents, we want to protect our kids from gaining knowledge that could be harmful to them. Besides, that was the ONLY restriction God placed on them. It was not a hard thing to obey. God’s goodness was overflowing in the creation He prepared for them. You couldn’t have asked for anything more. They had everything they needed! You were created to worship Him and your refusal to do so is a serious sin in God’s eyes – which explains the first two commandments.

    +++

    TJ: It also seems like you think punishment is a bad thing.

    Liz: I think it can be a good thing if it helps people not to do the thing they were punished for, and if that thing was a bad thing. I don’t think punishing people who didn’t do the bad thing is a good thing.

    TJ: They did do a bad thing. You don’t get to define what is good or bad. The Creator does. Besides, they rebelled against their Creator, doubted His Word, trusted the snake more than God, and turned their back on His love and grace. They decided they knew better than God. Again, it was not the physical act of eating the fruit that was so bad. God looks at our hearts. Wrong motives can make even “good” things or neutral things a sin in God’s eyes.

    +++

    TJ: For God, punishment is not the goal. Justice is.

    Liz: That makes no sense to me. Never has. Just behaviour might be a reasonable goal, to which end punishment sometimes serves.

    TJ: Of course, He wants us to repent and return to Him and leave our sin behind. But ultimately, because He is holy and just, He must punish sin.

    +++

    TJ: Just as it is morally wrong for a judge to let a convicted criminal go unpunished, it would be morally wrong to allow sin to go unpunished. He warned them ahead of time.

    Liz: Judges sentence criminals in order to protect the public from wrong-doers, through prevention, deterrence, rehabilitation and sometimes reparation. None of those justifications are relevant to the case of the putative punitive OT god.

    TJ: God is a Judge and He cannot allow sin to go unpunished. Sins against an eternal infinite holy God cannot just be swept under the carpet. You see instances of His wrath against sin in the OT and think that God is a big bad meanie. But you don’t realize how bad sin is and how repulsive it is to God. It just goes to show how used to sin we have become and how we don’t understand His holiness. We don’t think sin is a big deal at all. However, God would have the right to send us all to hell in the sense that we have all sinned and broken His laws. Protest all you want, but the truth is that according to God’s standards, and those are the ones that count, we deserve the punishment of death that our sin brings. But in His mercy, He gives us a chance to repent and be forgiven. He lets us continue to live our lives. He sends the rain and the sun on both believers and unbelievers. And, He even sent His Son to take our punishment for us! God’s terrible wrath against sin was poured out on Jesus when he died on the cross! Yes, His wrath is fearful. The Bible says that He is a consuming fire. When it comes to judging sin, it is true. But He offers us all a way to escape that judgment that we deserve. His judgments against sin actually teach us a very important lesson – that we cannot afford to ignore our sin. It shows us that sin IS a big deal. Yes, deterrence is part of that, but we need to repent, admit our sin, and seek His forgiveness – which He will ALWAYS freely give to those who seek it.

    +++

    TJ: Theirs was more than a simple little sin like eating an apple when they shouldn’t have. The actual act of eating the fruit was a result of the sin that took place in their hearts. In order to eat the fruit, they had to choose to doubt God and His love, to rebel against Him, and to become the lord of their own lives. For Adam it was a conscious rebellion. It’s not an excuse, but Eve was deceived. However, Adam was not. He ate knowing full well he was rebelling against God.

    LIZ: How come, if he didn’t know the difference between Good and Evil? And why shouldn’t he have done, anyway? Obedience to an unjust ruler is not a virtue. How did he know that God was just? As I said, though, I don’t believe the story anyway. It’s a story. It can be interpreted in some rather wonderful ways. But as literal history or literal theology it makes no sense at all.

    TJ: I already talked about the good/evil thing. They knew that they were not supposed to eat it under penalty of death. That is enough knowledge to be held morally responsible. Why shouldn’t he have done it? This was the one and only prohibition that God gave them.
    “Obedience to an unjust ruler is not a virtue.”

    Wow Liz, you are extremely demanding and expect God to do everything just the way you think it should be done in order to believe in Him. It is a bit arrogant don’t you think for the created person to speak to the Creator like that? Besides, why do you focus on the one tiny little restriction while ignoring all the good things God did for Adam and Eve? Adam and Eve should have obeyed God out of love and reverence for Him. For the most part, I’m sure they wanted to obey. They were happy to submit to their wonderful Creator! How did they know that God was just? They had opportunity to interact with God in the Garden. They had only experienced love and grace and good things from His hand. They had no reason at all to mistrust Him or doubt that He was unjust. They had no justifiable reason whatsoever to disobey.

    +++

    TJ: Like it or not, sin invites and even demands punishment, just like crime invites and demands punishment.

    Liz: Nope. The two cases are quite different. I don’t know why people get them confused. The first makes no sense; the second makes quite a lot of sense.

    TJ: Well, Liz, you are a sinful being who lives in a sin-filled world with no way to determine what is right and wrong anyway. Here we have the Creator of the universe telling us the rules of the game so to speak. The penalty for sin is death. It is that serious. But, because He loves us and doesn’t want to punish us, He provided a way to be forgiven and escape that punishment. Jesus would come and pay for our sins for us. So regardless of whether you agree or not, God says that sin invites and even demands punishment. The cross proves it.

    +++

    TJ: God knew this would happen and still He created humans. But don’t misunderstand. It is not as if God enjoys punishing people.

    Liz: I should hope not. In which case I have no idea why he would do it. Which is one of the many reasons I have no good reason to believe in that god, any more than I have good reasons to believe in Zeus.

    TJ: Because He cannot allow sin to go unpunished and remain just. He must be true to Himself. However, like I said before, although that means that we are screwed, He gave His only Son to provide a way of salvation for all who believe.

    +++

    TJ: No, He would much rather have men repent and be
    forgiven.

    Liz: Good. In which case why punish them, unless it is more likely to make them repent? And why visit that punishment on all their descendents, whether or not they did anything wrong? Hardly an incentive to behave or repent.

    TJ: Yes, encouragement to repent is the purpose of much of His punishment of Israel in the OT. He promised blessings when they obeyed. The purpose of the OT Law was not so that they would obey it all and be able to go to heaven, but rather so that they would see their sin and go to God in repentance seeking forgiveness. The Law points us to Jesus, who is the answer of our problem of sin. But judgment after death will right all the wrongs that need to be righted in this world. There is a putative aspect to it. If we reject His love here and now, God will honor that choice for all of eternity. But He honestly warns us about the consequences of our choices, with the hope that we will admit our sin and turn to Him for forgiveness. If we do not accept Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin, then we will have to bear the penalty for our sin ourselves because justice must be preserved. Sin must be punished in the end.

    +++

    TJ: The cross is proof of this. Even though we were the ones in the wrong, He loved us while we were sinners going our own way. And He even sent His own Son, Jesus into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

    Liz: Which makes even less sense. Why not just forgive us anyway, and cut out the middle man? Let alone require the horrific human sacrifice of an innocent? What kind of good god is that?

    TJ: You forget that God is just and holy and cannot just overlook sin. If that be the case, then He would not have had to send Jesus. Do you think He would have given His only Son for our sins if there was no need to do it? You may not understand it, but the cross is a great demonstration of His love and grace to sinners like you and I. Jesus willingly came. He was no coerced to become a man and die in our place. God the Father sent Him, but He was part of the whole plan of salvation from the start. Only His blood, the blood of a totally innocent human/God was an acceptable sacrifice for sin. Only His sacrifice could meet the demands of God’s justice. I can’t die for your sins because I have to pay for my own. But in sending Jesus to die for us, God found a way to both satisfy His justice and provide forgiveness. What kind of a God is that? One who loves you and did not even withhold His own Son! A God of love and grace! Don’t turn your back on grace like that!

    +++

    TJ: God Himself came and took the very punishment for sin that God Himself requires of us. Why? Because He loves us. He wants to forgive us so that we can live with Him forever in heaven.

    LIZ: And as I said, that makes no sense. Or, perhaps, in one sense, but not in any sense that has anything to do with Adam, that I can see. I can see the argument that to persuade us that He is All-forgiving, He might demonstrate the lengths of suffering He was prepared to undergo, and still forgive.

    But to argue that this infinitely forgiving and loving God is the same as the punitive tyrant of the OT makes no sense at all to me.

    TJ: He is infinitely and forgiving only to those who repent and call upon His name for forgiveness. The whole sacrificial system shows how serious sin is. Just because we are in the age of grace now and do not experience the terrifying judgments against sin very often, doesn’t mean that the NT God is different than the OT God. We are warned many many times in the NT about future judgment. It will be terrifying for those who reject His love and forgiveness. In fact, the NT says that “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.” Just because you don’t see it now, don’t make the mistake of thinking that God will not judge us in the future. He is very clear even in the NT that this WILL happen.

    +++

    TJ: God punishes sin because He is holy and just.

    LIZ: And then doesn’t. Seriously, does this make any sense to you?

    TJ: This is a good thing. You wouldn’t want a God who is not holy or just. Punishing sin is the right thing to do. “And then doesn’t.” Are you referring to the difference between the OT and NT? Does it make sense to me? Yes, in the sense that God changed His way of interacting with mankind. He explains it as the age of the Law and now the Age of Grace. Which one would you rather live in?
    The sacrificial system where innocent animals died to temporarily cover the sins of men and then Jesus, the final sacrifice once and for all for all sins is just one thread through both the OT & NT that shows us God is the same.

    +++

    LIZ: Even if it was, which I don’t accept, he then didn’t do it. So your argument is: God thought punishment was a good thing, not because it makes us better people, or protects the innocent (as human punishment tries to do) but for some unspecified reason called “Justice”, even though it lacks the fundamental rationale of human justice systems. Then decided to punish himself instead.
    Well, even if I had any reason to think any of that was true, which I don’t, it wouldn’t lead me to think much of the deity who organised it.

    TJ: He never says that punishment is always immediate, but it must occur. God’s wrath against sin and evil and His demand for justice must be satisfied. It is like getting a traffic ticket. The law doesn’t care who pays for it as long as it is paid. God, as a righteous Judge, sentences us in accordance with His laws, but knowing that we cannot pay for our sins unless we remain separated from Him for all of eternity, He graciously steps down from the Judge’s stand and writes out a check to cover the full amount of our sin – or in this case volunteers to take our penalty of death in our place. In so doing, the just demands of the Law, of His holiness and justice are satisfied, while also making it possible for Him to save us and have a relationship with us for all of eternity. Criticize if you want, but this is love, unconditional love, like you will never experience in this world.

    +++

    TJ: But He also found a way to both punish sin and forgive us – the cross where He himself suffered and died for us. You wouldn’t really want to live in a world where there was no punishment, I’m sure.

    LIZ: No, but that’s because I think punishing the guilty serves some very important purposes. Punishing the innocent and letting the guilty off scot free makes no sense to me at all.

    TJ: Well, true. Grace doesn’t make sense. That is why it is grace! It is undeserved. Without this gracious offer of forgiveness, we would all rightfully end up in hell paying for our own sins. God is not concerned about whether it makes sense or not to you Liz. Even in this world, a judge is not really concerned if you agree with the law or not. It is whether or not you obey it. For God, it is whether or not you trust Him and receive His love or not.

    +++

    TJ: Liz, you are purposefully looking for something to criticize God for, but your desire to criticize prevents you from seeing His love and grace.

    LIZ: Nope. I am not criticising God. I am criticising a construct, termed “God” by some people who identify that construct with a mythical deity (or deities) featured in many of the books of the bible, particularly the OT.
    If God is Love, or God is Goodness, or if those two things mean the same thing, then I worship God. I just don’t think that God has anything (or much) to do with Genesis.

    TJ: I understand you don’t believe in the God of the Bible. However, you seem to think that love and goodness is a good thing. Why? Why is it that almost universally people feel this way? Why is it that we know these things are inherently good? Why is it that we inherently know that some things are wrong? Your conscience is pointing you to God but you are refusing to take the hint.
    God is more than just love and goodness. He is a perfect mix of grace and justice, love and holiness, wisdom and sovereignty, mercy, truth, and faithfulness. Take the ingredients of a cake. Some of the ingredients do not taste good all by themselves, but when you put it together in a cake, it tastes just right. Likewise, once the cake is made, you can’t take out the parts you want to and leave in the parts you don’t want to. God is perfect and He cannot change or be remade into who we wish He was. He is who He revealed Himself to be.

    +++

    TJ: If you refuse His love, grace, and forgiveness; if you refuse the sacrifice Jesus made for your sins, you invite the punishment that Jesus came to take for you. You will have to pay the penalty for your own sins yourself. Because Liz, although God loves you, He cannot allow your sin to go unpunished forever.

    LIZ: And if that’s his attitude, then I’d rather take the punishment. I certainly wouldn’t worship such a tyrant.

    TJ: Wow, you sound as if you are more righteous than God. Unfortunately for you, if that is your attitude, then that is what will happen and you will regret your decision to reject His love shown to you in the death of His Son. No one in their right mind would ever say “I’d rather take the punishment” if you understood what you are choosing, and even more if you understood what you were giving up.

    +++

    LIZ: However, as I see no reason to believe that a good God would impose eternal punishment at all, let alone make escaping it contingent on believing in a cobbled-together story that makes no sense, and is actually contradicted by perfectly good evidence. I’ll just keep on trying to do the best I can, as most of us do, and when I fail, to seek forgiveness from those I have wronged and do my best to put things right again.

    And if it turns out (as I doubt) that I do have some kind of life beyond my span, if God turns out to be the guy I thought she was, cool. If not, well, that’s a bummer. At least my conscience will be clear.

    TJ: Liz, your conscience will not be clear. You will see just how wrong you have been. You have rejected His clear warning in His Word. He tells us very clearly that there is eternal punishment for those who refuse His grace. Trying to do your best won’t cut it. Your best isn’t good enough. That is why Jesus came. It’s like you are swimming in the Niagara River struggling against the current. God offers you a lifeline, but you say no. I’ll do my best on my own. That is your choice. He has warned you and now the choice is up to you.

    Would you be willing to follow Jesus if you were convinced that he was God’s Son?

    Perhaps as an experiment, you could pray something like this to this God who you think doesn’t exist.

    “God, I don’t think you are there, but if you are there, I really do want to believe in you, know you, and follow you. Please show me if this Bible stuff is true or not.”
    Then go ahead and read the Gospel of John with believing eyes as opposed to skeptical eyes and see if God doesn’t speak to your heart. Considering the consequences of a mistaken judgment here, it might be worth that much time.

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