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Church-Burning Video Used to Promote Atheist Event

Here’s another delightful offering from the compassionate, tolerant, inclusive, diversity-promoting atheist community. As usual, it includes a plug for “evolution.”

…the lineup includes atheist speakers, a rapper who raps about evolution and a “kiddy pool” where boys and girls will be able to scientifically walk on water.

There will also be a number of bands performing – the most famous of which is Aiden. They are featured in a video on the “Rocky Beyond Belief” website that includes images of burning churches and bloody crosses.

Among the lyrics: “Love how the [sic] burn your synagogues, love how they torch your holy books.

The group is no stranger to strong lyrics. Another of their songs says, “F*** your God, F*** your faith in the end. There’s no religion.

From a link in the link above:

The band Aiden has announced it will be playing the atheist festival “Rock Beyond Belief” at Fort Bragg in March 2012, as the lead-in act to Richard Dawkins, the main attraction at the “concert.”

As we all know, Christian believers are mysteriously the primary targets of denigration and vilification on the part of militant atheists (always, of course, in the name of the high virtues they proclaim: tolerance, diversity, etc. — yawn).

I have a modest proposal for the band Aiden:

Why not be a little more specific in your lyrics and see what happens? How about:

“F*** Jesus, F*** the Bible, F*** Christians”
“F*** Mohammed, F*** the Koran, F*** Muslims”

The results of this experiment would be interesting to observe.

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229 Responses to Church-Burning Video Used to Promote Atheist Event

  1. HMMM???, Hating something you don’t even believe exists???

    When Atheists Are Angry at God – 2011
    Excerpt: I’ve never been angry at unicorns. It’s unlikely you’ve ever been angry at unicorns either.,, The one social group that takes exception to this rule is atheists. They claim to believe that God does not exist and yet, according to empirical studies, tend to be the people most angry at him.
    http://www.firstthings.com/ont.....gry-at-god

    Myself, I was raised a Christian, and indeed confessed that I was a Christian many times, though we rarely attended Church as I grew up. I was not particularly concerned with walking the ‘straight and narrow walk’, and indeed found myself avoiding Christians and drinking, and using, more and more as I got older, until eventually I started losing everything near and dear to me in my life. It was during a particularly painful loss, during this time, that I turned to my old dusty Bible and finally opened it up sensing that perhaps God would have some guidance for me during this dark period of my life. It was in that moment that I opened that dusty Bible that I realized, full force, the meaning of this scripture:

    Hebrews 4:12
    For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

    Here is another ‘small miracle’ along the same lines:

    Strange But True – Miracle Testimony
    https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AYmaSrBPNEmGZGM4ejY3d3pfNTNocmRjZGtkdg&hl=en

    One further comment, there is more than enough evidence to substantiate the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, and indeed volumes, upon volumes, upon volumes, have been written on the subject of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.,,, but personally I feel that,,,

    What we need is a living encounter with God!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnlTIODfbhY

    ,,,to make Christ real for each of us personally,,,

    further notes:

    Experiencing Jesus Christ – Francis Chan – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4928919

    A Study From The Second Epistle of Peter, Chapter One by Lambert Dolphin
    Knowing God Personally and Intimately
    Excerpt: Can a person embark on a journey that leads to knowing God? The overwhelming claim of the Bible is yes! Not only can anyone of us know the Lord and the Creator of everything that exists, we are invited—even urged—each one of us, to know him intimately, personally and deeply.
    http://ldolphin.org/Eightfld.html

    John 14:26
    “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
    http://www.christian-marriage-.....estudy.pdf

    Music:

    Casting Crowns – The Word Is Alive
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5197438/

  2. Just out of morbid curiosity I decided to go on YouTube and check out Aiden. I quickly discovered the following uplifting and edifying musical compositions, apparently inspired by their atheistic proclivities:

    Scavengers of the Damned
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....&NR=1

    I Set My Friends On Fire
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....=endscreen

    Does Richard Dawkins really want to be associated with this kind of thing, and these kinds of people? Check it out. (WARNING: Aiden music videos might not be appropriate for young children, and could cause brain damage in adults.)

    These music videos glorify outright degenerate debauchery, and include satanic imagery and themes.

    On the other hand, Christianity has produced the following:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....38;ob=av2e

    I’m still trying to decide: Should I go with Scavengers of the Damned or Amazing Grace?

    That’s a really tough one.

  3. BA: Sadly revealing as to what is going on behind the cleverly toxic talking points and accusations that are so often pushed by the very same New Atheist circles and spokesmen. Let me add to your list, (a) the 101 survey here on the underlying historically grounded credibility of the gospel, and (b) the similarly introductory survey here on warrant for a specifically orthodox Christian theistic view in a selectively hyperskeptical (and too often indoctrination and closed-mindedness-driven) age, with (c ) the response on issues of the real and imagined sins of Christendom here also (which includes exposing the twisted attempt to lay the one generally acknowledged case of unmitigated evil in our civilisation at the feet of the Christian Faith). I trust these will help inquiring onlookers, and I trust that the expose of the nurturing of that sort of asp in one’s bosom as seen in the original post will draw attention to what is really going on in the New Atheist anger-driven fever swamps. Cf here as well for the online version of an expose of the new atheists (also available from Amazon). KF

  4. F/N: Also, on the general issues on origins science linked to debates on the scientific-epistemological warrant for the inference to design, cf here on.

  5. F/N: Just out of curiosity, I checked out the Wikipedia page on Aiden. The introduction has nothing like the warnings and accusations that are common for design theory theme Wiki pages, there is no controversy section as of this morning, and this is how the same event is announced in the Wikipedia article, as at 10:05 hrs CUT, Jan 28, 2012: “In December 2011, the band announced, via their official web page, that they will be headlining the “Rock Beyond Belief[14]” festival in March.”

  6. KF is sadly revealing and perpetrating what is going on behind the cleverly toxic talking points and accusations that are so often pushed by the very same ID Creationist circles and spokesmen. Let me list, (a ) the open calls by Christians to kill atheists, and (b ) the atheist hate themed video game encouraging genocide against christ deniers (and crafted for the purpose of indoctrination to drive closed-mindedness and hatred), and (c ) the response on issues of the real and imagined sins of Atheists by KF also (which includes the twisted attempt to lay the one generally acknowledged case of unmitigated evil in our civilization at the feet of the Atheists and Darwin). I trust these will help inquiring onlookers, and I trust that the expose of the nurturing of that sort of asp in one’s bosom will draw attention to what is really going on in the Christian Fundamentalist anger-driven fever swamps.

    Cf here as well for another example of hate driven persecution of atheists by theists.

    ttfn.

  7. Talk page, clips on the criticisms paragraph that was formerly there:

    I deleted much of the criticisms paragraph because it was personal opinion turned into “some say”, which violates WP:WEASEL. In addition, saying that Aiden got bottled does not describe criticism, it describes hooliganism.–Wehwalt 12:46, 17 March 2007 (UTC) . . . .

    For everyone’s edification, I requested feedback from others on the Criticism section, which I tend to delete, in full or part. Krator’s response relates to that.–Wehwalt 19:39, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

    I am not sure where to write my third opinion, so I just made a new section.

    Long paragraphs should be here on attribution, no original research, and NPOV, but WP:XXXXXX just covers everything I want to say, so I just link there.

    –User:Krator (t c) 19:35, 10 April 2007 (UTC) . . . .

    As a response to the request for comment over the inclusion or exclusion of this, I would say to leave it out. It is unreferenced, and quite trivial. — Reaper X 03:44, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

    It’s been added again. So until there’s a proper majority of whether or not it stays, I’m deleting it from the page. It appears to be original research and has no citations, even though I’m not keen on this band myself. OldSongsNewStereo 12:04, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

    Here via RfC. I would disagree with the assertion that a criticism section is trivial, but there are no references and the section appears to be original research. Delete until some valid sources are found. Orphic 08:41, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

    I vote to include it–Slogankid 17:16, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

    It needs to stay out unless you put in some citations. WP:V, WP:RS, WP:OR, WP:TRIV.–Wehwalt 18:33, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

    So now you have an insight on what is going on inside the sausage factory over at the Wiki site.

  8. I agree, how appalling to insist that personal opinions which lack any citations, references or other supporting evidence be excluded from an encyclopedia entry until such references can be supplied, or indeed that the editorial rules should be followed.

    Terrible!

  9. Onlookers:

    Predictable atmosphere-poisoning turnabout accusation to distract attention from the indefensible.

    Let me speak, for record.

    In particular, observe how GCU “cleverly” speaks of an atheist attacked by “theists,” neatly pushing all who believe in God into the same boat with radical IslamISTS in Indonesia who have indeed acted out their own rage, hostility and anger management problems. Somehow it escapes GCU et al that IslamISTS are not even to be conflated with the vast majority of Muslims, much less equated with Jews or Christians or generic theists.

    (And BTW, if you and your ilk were to take a moment to look at the page on worldviews foundations I linked above at (b) GCU, you would find that it leads with a diagram relating to my region, which points to three major sets of people with some serious issues to deal with: dechristianisers from the North, Islamists from the east, and Christians and a partly christianised culture at home who have some serious reformation to go through. As in, the toxic talking point on blaming “all the world’s ills” on atheists and darwinists is an irresponsible slanderous false accusation that should be known to be such. [But then, on experience, sadly, New Atheists seem to be a little careless of doing due diligence to fairness, accuracy etc. before trotting out favourite false accusations] FYI: I have plainly and frequently highlighted that the basic problem we all have is that we are finite, fallible, morally fallen, and too often ill willed. In highlighting the issue of the morally tinged socio-cultural and historical impacts of evolutionary materialism and associated ideas since the triumph of darwinism made such a worldview a mass phenomenon for the first time in human history, I am doing what I have done since I was five or six years old: insist that we must learn the lessons of history, so that we avoid repeating its worst chapters. Nazism and Marxism were not INEVITABLE consequences of the triumph of Darwin, BUT IF YOUR “SCIENCE” (ACTUALLY, THE UNDERLYING A PRIORI MATERIALISM) HAS IN IT A DEMONSTRABLE MAJOR MORAL HAZARD, YOU HAD BETTER FOCUS BIGTIME ATTENTION ON FIXING THE PROBLEM, AND IF IT CANNOT BE FIXED, THEN SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THE WORLDVIEW THAT UNDERGIRDS THE SCIENCE. I trust that has made my point very, very clear. )

    Onlookers, pardon, I need to be fairly direct. What follows is doubtless painful, which I regret, but we need to lance the boil before it poisons the blood.

    What the resort to toxic new atheist rhetorical turnabout talking points we have seen and are seeing again most directly reveals [especially the "Blood-thirsty IslamISTS in Indonesia = Christians etc" we just saw], is that the rage-driven hostility GCU and others seem to have conceived for the God and Father in whose house [creation] they have lived and reaped benefits from, to any and all who seek to serve him.

    So, if they find any extremist associated in any way with theism, they would cast it at the feet of any theist they have to deal with. That is the same sort of bigotry that would take say the behaviour of a mafioso and then project this as an accusation against all Italians. (Do I need to make the matter a little more explicit on racist bigotry as a parallel, or is that hint close enough?)

    I suggest that such need to take a look again, at the parable of the Prodigal Son, through new eyes. Namely, asking themselves seriously, whether a lot of the rage-driven atheism they seem to advocate is little more than overgrown teenager rebellion gone well past its sell-by date.

    Next, GCU et al need to do some serious thinking about just what is being advocated by Aiden, as noted in the OP, remember, as the proposed warmup act for Mr Dawkins:

    The band Aiden has announced it will be playing the atheist festival “Rock Beyond Belief” at Fort Bragg in March 2012, as the lead-in act to Richard Dawkins, the main attraction at the “concert.”

    Where also:

    …the lineup includes atheist speakers, a rapper who raps about evolution and a “kiddy pool” where boys and girls will be able to scientifically walk on water.

    There will also be a number of bands performing – the most famous of which is Aiden. They are featured in a video on the “Rocky Beyond Belief” website that includes images of burning churches and bloody crosses.

    Among the lyrics: “Love how the [sic] burn your synagogues, love how they torch your holy books. [--> remember the rage and hot talking points when I pointed out the implications of antisemitism in some of Dawkins' infamous rhetoric on bronze age sky gods?]

    The group is no stranger to strong lyrics. Another of their songs says, “F*** your God, F*** your faith in the end. There’s no religion.

    It seems whenever morally tinged issues and concerns regarding the new atheist movement are raised, they angrily lash out and attack the messenger.

    In reality, the just above clips show how they are in serious need of cleaning up their act.

    GCU et al also need to take time to actually watch and respond to the evidence presented here by Weikart, on what was going on historically in Germany as social darwinism got embedded into power centres under the false name of well grounded science, with Haeckel, the leading darwinist in Germany, at the head of the charge.

    This was the toxic atmosphere in which Hitler rose to power, and the clip of his infamous book discussed here makes it utterly plain that he appealed to just that sort of allegedly firm and consensus science to advance his cause, leading to horrors predictable from someone who would take seriously the following clip:

    Any crossing of two beings not at exactly the same level produces a medium between the level of the two parents. This means: the offspring will probably stand higher than the racially lower parent, but not as high as the higher one. Consequently, it will later succumb in the struggle against the higher level. Such mating is contrary to the will of Nature [--> notice, the capitalisation; (u/d Jul 27: this is not the pivot of the argument, but note the personalisation of Nature as having a will, in context)] for a higher breeding of all life. The precondition for this does not lie in associating superior and inferior, but in the total victory of the former. The stronger must dominate and not blend with the weaker, thus sacrificing his own greatness. Only the born weakling can view this as cruel, but he after all is only a weak and limited man; for if this law did not prevail, any conceivable higher development of organic living beings [--> i.e. evolution viewed as progress] would be unthinkable.

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

    Jewish and Polish “mice” reading those fulminations of an ill-educated and deeply propagandised rage-driven demagogue who was allowed to get away with treason by foolishly lenient courts in Germany, in 1925 or 1926, may have thought this a bit of overblown rhetoric, as I suspect did most of the elites of the world.

    But the demented, demonised Hitler meant this very, very literally.

    To our shame as a world, we did not then respond in good time to stop the madness when it could have been stopped at relatively little cost, but then when the cancer had gone to the point where its end was obvious, it would cost 40 + million lives and a devastated continent. And the story of Jewish refugees with nowhere to go is a stain on the history of our civilisation. At least, there was a Caribbean nation that had the gumption to grant refuge to some of these, the Dominican Republic.

    Again: the problem is that we ALL are finite, fallible, morally fallen and too often ill-willed. I should perhaps, add, we are also far too prone to forget the relevant past that is inconvenient.

    Thirty years ago, if you had told me we would be standing to one side and doing little or nothing (other than making the usual tut-tut noises) while another dictator sitting on the world’s oil jugular vein arms himself with nuke weapons, I would have said, you cannot be right; the world MUST have learned the lesson of the 1930′s.

    But, lo and behold, that is exactly what is happening as we speak.

    Okay, back to the example GCU so unwisely thought could be dragged out as a turnabout toxic talking point . . .

    In short, there is no reasonable doubt — just a lot of angry dismissals and turnabouts — that Hitler’s thought (that of evidently an occultic neopagan who did not shun to use blasphemously twisted messianic themes to promote himself as a political saviour) was deeply shaped by social darwinism perceived as science [applications of darwin's theory], and took the ideas promoted in the eugenics movement — self-understood and widely promoted by elites as: “the self-direction of human evolution” — to nihilistic extremes.

    GCU has also chosen to twist — in the teeth of many explanations — the point that is properly laid at the feet of evolutionary materialists ever since Plato in the Laws, Bk X: Evolutionary materialism — a worldview, not individuals associated with it; we must always distinguish systems and individuals — has in it no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT (often, presented with a pretty face as “the naturalistic fallacy”). But, that major moral hazard is easily shown, say courtesy Hawthorne, as I have had occasion to cite ever so many times (i.e. the New Atheists know or should know this point of concern and need to deal with it on the merits instead of distracting attention through toxic talking points):

    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’.

    Okay, FOR RECORD

    GEM of TKI

  10. kf, GCUGreyArea is not attempting to distract anyone. That you should think so is indicative of a real problem.

    Yes, you, and Gil, and others, see Christians as being vilified by atheists, and clearly they sometimes are.

    But atheists are also vilified by Christians. Neither attitude is defensible, but attempting to paint one side as victim and the other as oppressor is not only, literally, “one-sided” but also encourages the kind of mutual vilification we would all like to see ended.

    Seriously, kf – be the change you want to see. Right now you are part of the problem.

  11. GCU: Sadly predictable again. Has it not struck you as strange that THERE IS NO CRITICISM SECTION in this wiki article [there was one, but instead of putting in well founded concerns, it was deleted on a flimsy excuse . . . ], for a band that advocates what Gil has highlighted, whilst when we turn to the pages for those associated with design thought, we see all sorts of accusations and insinuations, right from the introductory remarks, never mind Wikis NPOV rule? What is this telling us about what is going on, GCU? KF

  12. Dr Liddle, with all due respect when in reply to an issue over an upcoming festival of music and speech in which we see the sort of items highlighed in the OP — synagogue and church burnings, remember, we hear in rely an accusation based on what IslamISTs are doing in Indonesia, that is a red herring distractor led away to an ad hominem laced strawman stratagem if there ever was one. G’day, KF

  13. Dr Liddle, please don’t omit who they are the warm up act for, proposed. I trust they will now be dropped. KF

  14. KF, you seem totally blind to your own radical hypocrisy (and to the irony inherent in your own position)

    You are complaining that you (your worldview) is being attacked and demonized, and in the same breath you attack and demonize those holding a different worldview. All your posts that discuss Hitler, atheism etc are doing exactly the kind of thing you perceive and then complain about in others. This is rank hypocrisy.

    I notice as well that you have deployed your usual atmosphere poisoning tactic of declaring ‘I can criticize others but no one is permitted to say anything against me(tm)’ aka ‘turnabout rhetorical attack’ accusation.

    For the record, I’m not defending the subject in the OP, just pointing out what a hateful hypocrite you are.

  15. GCU did not only link to the murderous comments by Muslims about atheists in Indonesia. He also linked to murderous comments by Christians about atheists in America.

    It is not a “red herring” and is no more an “ad hominem” as it is a “straw man”.

    It’s a reference to the climate of mutual fear in which this reciprocal hatred is generated.

    Let’s stop now.

  16. Onlookers: Further sadly predictable, laced with false and ungrounded turnabout tactic accusations inspired by the influence of Alinskyite propaganda techniques [and this, in an utterly telling context . . . ] , and unresponsive on the merits. I have already spoken for record and given enough evidence to show grounds for the concerns I have raised. Inadvertently, GCU has amply confirmed the validity of the concerns. Goodbye. KF

  17. F/N: Onlookers, also observe that there is simply no serious grappling with the very sobering issue of a major moral hazard in the worldview of evolutionary materialism, nor any responsiveness to the pains I have taken to point out our common human moral dilemma, the problems faced by major movements and the distinction I have drawn between movements of thought and individuals. All of that is utterly revealing. And BTW, notice, all of this was occasioned by my having the temerity to point to where the interested onlooker can find some help on warranting a theistic and even a Bible-believing Christian worldview, and help in dealing with increasingly common, strident “shut up rhetoric” used to verbally lynch Christians who dare to speak up. Telling, especially in a context where the OP shows how the very New Atheism advocate whose attack against the God of the Bible is specifically addressed in one of the linked, turns out to be scheduled to have a public presentation warmed up for by an act by a band associated with calls for synagogue, church and holy book burning. Sadly revealing. Anyway, I have spoken enough for record. G’day again.

  18. there is simply no serious the very sobering issue of a major moral hazard in the worldview of evolutionary materialism

    kf: here, and elsewhere, you affirm your view that “evolutionary materialism” is a moral hazard.

    This is indeed a serious accusation leveled at all of us who hold to what you refer to as “evolutionary materialism”. We deny the charge.

    Moreover, we point out that the charge itself engenders hatred, as is evidenced by the kinds of murderous comments, by Christians, towards atheists on the site linked to by GCU.

    Instead of grappling with this evidence that the vilification goes both ways, you dismiss our evidence as a “red herring” and a “straw man” and, most weirdly of all, as an “ad hominem”.

    You, kf, are accusing us of moral degeneracy. Time after time I read real “ad hominem” arguments on this site addressed to we “evolutionary materials” – allegations that we have no leg to stand on because we can’t derive an is from an ought – that we have no moral authority.

    We are not using “ad hominem” arguments against you, which would take the form “you are a Christian therefore you your argument is invalid”. We merely point out that the fear is mutual, as is, sadly, the hatred, and that what we need to do is understand each other more, not less.

    So we try to explain. Repeatedly, you attempt to “correct”.

    kf, please consider the possibility that what you fear is largely imaginary, and worse, potentially self-generating.

    Atheists are no more nor less evil or amoral than anyone else, and ugly bigotry is found on both sides. Please let’s stop.

  19. Dr Liddle:

    Pardon, but — as has repeatedly been pointed out to you — it is not just me who says that the worldview of evolutionary materialism, however labelled has in it no foundational principle that can carry the weight of objectively grounding ought. Leading advocates for the view say much the same, though they often do not seem to be fully aware of the moral hazard thereby implied for the worldview.

    You will also kindly note that I have repeatedly underscored — thread after thread, month after month, actually for years at UD — that we ALL struggle with the challenge that we are finite, fallible, morally fallen/struggling, and too often ill-willed.

    As a Christian, it is a foundational teaching of my faith [Try Rom 2 for size] that all of us have an implanted candle of the Lord, the conscience, that when properly maintained, guides us towards the duty of care we all have tot he truth and to the right, whatever our worldview. That too, I have repeatedly said, but it has been repeatedly ignored or at least overlooked by those who imagine that I am singling out atheists as particularly wicked. Atheists can be wicked and nihilistic [the amorality I have highlighted is a property of the evolutionary materialist view, not even all forms of atheism, e.g. there are some highly moral and impressive forms of Buddhism that are formally atheistical], but so can just about any adherent of just about any faith, that is not the hard thing to explain.

    What is to be addressed is the problem that the Hawthorne clip above underscores. Namely, no warranting grounds for morality, which leads to an undermining of the moral fabric of society where such evolutionary materialism becomes a force among esp4cially the elite classes. A problem highlighted since Plato in The Laws Bk X, with Alcibiades and co very definitely in mind. As in, for 2350 years now.

    As to documenting my point that leading atheists do acknowledge but don’t seem to be aware of the implications of what hey are saying, let me clip Provine from his well known 1998 Darwin Day address at U Tenn:

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

    The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them . . .

    How about Dawkins, here, in a key 1995 Sci Am article:

    Nature is not cruel, only pitilessly indifferent. This lesson is one of the hardest for humans to learn. We cannot accept that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous: indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.

    We humans have purpose on the brain. We find it difficult to look at anything without wondering what it is “for,” what the motive for it or the purpose behind it might be. The desire to see purpose everywhere is natural in an animal that lives surrounded by machines, works of art, tools and other designed artifacts – an animal whose waking thoughts are dominated by its own goals and aims . . . . .

    In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference . . . . DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. [[ “God’s Utility Function,” Sci. Am. Aug 1995, pp. 80 - 85. This article raises the issue of the problem of evil that atheists are usually very coy about these days, now that the impact of Plantinga's work has taken full effect. Cf a response here for a 101.]

    Let’s put it this way, to say that here is no grounding foundation for objective morality, is to say the worldview you adhere to and believe to be true has in it no IS that can objectively ground ought. Or putting more directly, good vs evil, on your worldview, is a subjective delusion with no reality outside the subjective sense of feelings etc. Indeed, fifty or sixty years ago, the then dominant positivists would have gone further, alleging that the terms are meaningless.

    Amorality of the worldview, and being presented as the last word on the matter of reality, in the name of science as given by one of its leading icons, Darwin. (I suspect that Provine may be over-reading Darwin’s actual atheism, but that is another matter.)

    Then, we have the capping off with the claim that we have no freedom of will. Which means we cannot make truly responsible choices. The immediate implicat6ions are that we have undermined the credibility of mind and reasoned thought, and moral thought as well. Much less, moral acts. That is, all is conditioning, through genes, memes and whatever emotional and social forces have shaped you.

    And DAWKINS (yes, the same who has blundered so badly, as the OP shows) CHIMES IN WITH THE IMPLICATION THAT MORALITY HAS NO EXISTENCE IN THE ONLY REALITY HE WILL ACCEPT, MATTER AND ENERGY IN SPACE AND TIME.

    He directly implies there is no good, there is no evil, just pitiless indifference.

    To all such I simply say, that so long as it is plain that to torture and murder innocent children is wrong, it is patent that morality is objectively real, and our awareness of it points to the need for accepting and grounding a worldview that can accommodate that basic reality. So, if a worldview has in it no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, then it is simply morally absurd and groundless.

    Now, people may well choose to adhere to such a view, and may indeed be “nice” and friendly people, but that has nothing to do with whether the view in question can ground OUGHT. If it cannot, if it implies that OUGHT is illusion or delusion, then it is absurd. Period.

    I am sorry tha this is all very painful, and in particular given that we tend to closely identify with our worldviews.

    But, unless evolutionary materialism, for the first time in 2350 years, can find in matter, energy, space and time, an IS that can ground OUGHT, then it is inherently and objectively AMORAL as a system of thought.

    Those who accept it may indeed hear the voice of conscience and try to heed it, but that is not because they are being consistent with the implications of their views.

    Pardon me for ruffling feathers, and for cutting, but I think this worldview is social cancer here. The cut is that of a biopsy. At the very minimum, we must find a way to manage and restrain it in our culture if it is presently inoperable.

    And yes, I accept that this is very painful, and may lead some to be very angry. I wish that were not so, but that is the nature of the beast when we deal with a serious moral hazard that is deeply entrenched in our civilisation.

    GEM of TKI

  20. F/N: What I actually intended to try to address by citing from the page here on, on what I have actually endorsed as a problem that faces our civilisation, including in the era in which it was generally known as Christendom. But then I saw Dr Liddle’s remarks.

    Okay, back on the clip:

    ______________

    >> The historic and current strengths and sins of Christendom

    As a first step to taking a more balanced view, we could listen to the great Jewish Historian of the Middle East, Bernard Lewis, in his pivotal September 1990 Atlantic Monthly essay, The Roots of Muslim Rage:

    . . . The accusations are familiar. We of the West are accused of sexism, racism, and imperialism, institutionalized in patriarchy and slavery, tyranny and exploitation. To these charges, and to others as heinous, we have no option but to plead guilty — not as Americans, nor yet as Westerners, but simply as human beings, as members of the human race. In none of these sins are we the only sinners, and in some of them we are very far from being the worst. The treatment of women in the Western world, and more generally in Christendom, has always been unequal and often oppressive, but even at its worst it was rather better than the rule of polygamy and concubinage that has otherwise been the almost universal lot of womankind on this planet . . . .

    In having practiced sexism, racism, and imperialism, the West was merely following the common practice of mankind through the millennia of recorded history. Where it is distinct from all other civilizations is in having recognized, named, and tried, not entirely without success, to remedy these historic diseases. And that is surely a matter for congratulation, not condemnation. We do not hold Western medical science in general, or Dr. Parkinson and Dr. Alzheimer in particular, responsible for the diseases they diagnosed and to which they gave their names.

    In short, a more balanced view of the sins of Christendom would have to recognise that hegemony is an occupational disease of wealthy and powerful classes, and has been for millennia, in all major powers. So, the peculiarity of Christendom is not that across time all too many of its leaders — including, sometimes, princes of the churches — were infected with the corrupting and destructive sins of power; naturally staining the whole fabric of society.

    That is a sad and drearily often repeated lesson of history.

    All over the world.

    And, down the long reaches of time.

    What is positively peculiar with the history of Christendom over the past five hundred years, is in the door opened to penitence, reformation and liberation, once the Bible was put in the hands of the ordinary man,through the Protestant Reformation (for all its sins!) and once people were called to true penitence under the Gospel afresh. Soon after this, liberation struggles ensued, and have continued for centuries . . . .

    The specific, vexing case of slavery also needs some balance.

    For instance, we may read in The Oxford History of the Roman World, [a work that is in other contexts not particularly sympathetic to the Christian view or claims; even by contrast with, say, sympathy to the rampant homosexuality in the ancient pagan Mediterranean world], under the sub-heading “The Church and the End of the Ancient World,” on p. 471, that:

    . . . there were questions about [Christian] compromise with the political and social system. Gregory of Nyssa boldly attacked the institution of slavery. Augustine thought the domination of man over his neighbour an inherent wrong, but saw no way of ending it and concluded that, since the ordering of society prevented the misery of anarchic disintegration, slavery was both a consequence of the fall of man and at the same time a wrong that providence prevented from being wholly harmful. Slaves were not a very large proportion of the ancient labour force, since the cost of a slave to his owner exceeded that of employing free wage-labourers. Slaves in a good household with a reasonable master enjoyed a security and standard of living that seldom came the way of free wage labourers. But not all slaves had good masters, and in special cases the bishops used the church chest to pay the cost of emancipation. Refusal on moral grounds to own slaves became a rule for monasteries. [Henry Chadwick, "Envoi: On taking Leave of Antiquity," in The Oxford History of the Roman World, Eds. Boardman, Griffin & Murray, (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press paperback, 1991), p. 471. Links added. NB: In the very next paragraph, the contributor goes on to discuss how the church also deeply disapproved of capital punishment [which in many cases of course would be by the utterly degrading death on the cross, and which would thus sharply contrast with Paul's remarks on the magistrates' power of the sword in Rom 13:1 - 7] and judicial torture. Indeed, he notes that “[a] Roman church-order of about 200 forbids a Christian magistrate to order an execution on pain of excommunication. No Christian layman could tolerably bring a charge against anyone if the penalty might be execution or a beating with lead-weighted leather thongs . . . Torture forced so many innocent people to confess to crimes they had not committed that the Christian hatred of it commanded wide assent . . .” In short, the picture is far more complex than we might have thought.]

    So, through the impact of the moral-ethical teachings of the Bible and the courageous voices of our civilisation’s prophets who demanded justice in Government — too often, at the cost of their lives — it has had its heart gradually softened, and has “tried, not entirely without success, to remedy these historic diseases.”

    Then over the past five hundred years, especially since the scientific revolution of 1543 – 1700 and the industrial one(s) from about 1750 – 1870, and now the information revolution, the power of the West was greatly multiplied; with a sustained improvement in the lot of the common man occurring for the first time in recorded history.

    Through the impacts of these revolutions, Christendom has also been increasingly secularised (especially since the rise of Darwinian Evolutionary theory in 1858-9), and today a militant anti-Christian new atheist movement is in the forefront of a trend to break the credibility of the Judaeo-Christian worldview in the culture at large, especially its public square.

    As a result of this radical secularisation, radical relativism concerning knowledge and morality have for the first time become mass phenomena.

    So, at this time, Western Civilisation — the change in terminology is revealing — is economically powerful, militarily dominant, and morally-culturally deeply divided, with Bible-believing Christians becoming an increasingly isolated, controversial and despised minority in many quarters . . . >>
    ______________

    I ask my critics to kindly note that I have ENDORSED Lewis’ critique of our civilisation, and have specifically pointed to the sins of the era in which it was known as Christendom.

    I ask them to at the very least simply watch Weikart’s survey of the impacts of social darwinism in Germany, and to respond point by point if they find that this tracing is in error. Also, to go through the excerpt from Mein Kampf [the very title echoes the then darwinist view: survival of the fittest5 in the struggle for existence] and show us how it is not a fair conclusion that Hitler was deeply influenced by Darwinist thought as applied to human society in that era, and that he felt that he could appeal effectively as a politician on those terms.

    Now, I know that in the aftermath of that horror, there has been a repudiation of social darwinism and of eugenics etc [thought his part took decades]. My point is not that Darwinists are nazis, and no fair minded reader can say that. What I am pointing out is that there is a longstandsing moral hazard, one that was foreseen by Heine in his astonishing prophecy, one that was identified and addressed by the likes of H G Wells, in preaching parts of very popular novels, and so forth. Look, the very reason that Bryan became a leading anti-darwinist was because of his concerns about social darwinism, and even the Hinter’s Civic Biology that was in the Scopes trial, was influenced by eugenics. All of that is well substantiated history and fact.

    What I am calling for is to mange the moral hazard, and I have specifically called for serious and honest examination of cases like these in science, worldviews, ethics and society courses that should be compulsory parts of undergraduate and graduate education in science.

    (Just last weekend I was chatting with a recent grad in physics, who did do such a course, Guess what, Hitler’s case was conspicuously absent, and the links between US Eugenics and what happened in Germany were just glided over in an all too convenient silence.)

    It is high time we got serious and sober about this matter.

    G’day again

    GEM of TKI

  21. Pardon, but — as has repeatedly been pointed out to you — it is not just me who says that the worldview of evolutionary materialism, however labelled has in it no foundational principle that can carry the weight of objectively grounding ought. Leading advocates for the view say much the same, though they often do not seem to be fully aware of the moral hazard thereby implied for the worldview.

    Well, I’d like to see specific citations, kf, and I also beg to differ, except in the trivial sense that you clearly cannot abstract moral principles from a scientific theory. It is certainly perfectly possible to construct moral principles without assuming that there is a God.

    You will also kindly note that I have repeatedly underscored — thread after thread, month after month, actually for years at UD — that we ALL struggle with the challenge that we are finite, fallible, morally fallen/struggling, and too often ill-willed.

    Sure. I’m not arguing with that.

    As a Christian, it is a foundational teaching of my faith [Try Rom 2 for size] that all of us have an implanted candle of the Lord, the conscience, that when properly maintained, guides us towards the duty of care we all have tot he truth and to the right, whatever our worldview. That too, I have repeatedly said, but it has been repeatedly ignored or at least overlooked by those who imagine that I am singling out atheists as particularly wicked. Atheists can be wicked and nihilistic [the amorality I have highlighted is a property of the evolutionary materialist view, not even all forms of atheism, e.g. there are some highly moral and impressive forms of Buddhism that are formally atheistical], but so can just about any adherent of just about any faith, that is not the hard thing to explain.

    Well, please provide a definition of the thing you are calling “evolutionary materialism”. If you mean a scientific theory, then obviously it’s amoral, but people don’t base their morality on scientific theories. If you don’t, then what on earth do you mean?

    Your entire argument seems to rest on an idiosyncratic concept you call “evolutionary materialism”.

    What is it?

  22. Atheist movement is trying to gain momentum. They need the blitz kreig. The way they are achieving it is by encouraging anger. Anger is an empty, unsatisfying emotion but a powerful tool.

    I grew up in East European communist country where religion was systematically repressed. Religious people were second-class citizens with limited career options. My father, a teacher, was constant suspect because he could possibly indoctrinate young students. He was interrogated several times by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Good teachers were demoted and intimidated if they mentioned their religion.

    It was Orwellian atmosphere where you had to be careful not to reveal your thoughts and opinions. Unfortunately, reminds me of today’s political correctness.

    All along, the Church was comforting its people in spite of atheist oppressors. Church is embedded and intertwined with the nation for centuries. It has deep understanding of history and its people needs. It was focusing us on positive and reminding that evil cannot last forever. Evil eventually collapsed and nation withstood.
    It wasn’t the first and will not be the last time my Church saved the nation.

    It is worrying to see the rise of militant atheism. I understand some educators and scientist here (in North America) have their careers put on hold or they are being intimidated and ridiculed. I don’t want to see oppression again.

  23. “Christian believers are mysteriously the primary targets of denigration and vilification on the part of militant atheists (always, of course, in the name of the high virtues they proclaim: tolerance, diversity, etc. — yawn).”

    I don’t believe that Christians are mysteriously the targets of denigration, as Jesus himself indicated that his followers would be persecuted. It’s something to be expected, unfortunately.

    I find it amusingly ironic that a group (atheists) who preach tolerance are themselves intolerant and disrespectful of those who do not share their views.

  24. Apparently, one of the main themes of my post was not recognized.

    Disparagement and ridicule directed at Christians is not only tolerated, but sanctified and promoted by the politically-correct, secular-leftist crowd and the popular media. Check out the Comedy Channel.

    Everywhere in the secular-leftist media we encounter the term “Islamophobia.” A phobia is an irrational fear, that is, a mental disorder.

    Yet, we are bombarded by people like Eugenie Scott with the irrational fear that ID proponents want to impose a Christian theocracy, but she and her ilk are never labeled “Christophobics,” that is, accused of suffering from a mental disorder.

  25. Dr Liddle:

    Pardon the pain the below will occasion, but I must point out that the above is deeply, sadly, tellingly disappointing and points to serious gaps and breakdowns in evolutionary materialistic thought.

    I decided to wait until this morning, to give time for cooling off, reflection and serious response. What I have found instead tells me a lot, and none of it good.

    This calls for some painful cutting, lest he boil break out into blood poisoning.

    I apologise in advance for the pain and the mess, but I do not think this can be responsibly avoided.

    Let me approach the problem by taking up several clipped points from your response to my discussion in 1.1.2.2.4:

    1] EL: I’d like to see specific citations [on the moral hazard of evolutionary materialism], kf,

    This is astonishing, for 1.2.2.4 has in it two highly significant clips from eminent evolutionary materialists, in highly significant contexts: (a) Prof William B Provine of Cornell at the 1995 U Tenn Darwin Day keynote address, and (b) Prof Clinton Richard Dawkins, in his 1995 Sci Am article on God’s utility Function.

    Your pretence that I have not given sources and references, here, repeatedly across time at UD, and in my own online course that was linked as recently as above in this thread, is irresponsible and unbecoming, especially of an academic of your stature.

    In addition, you and onlookers will easily see that in those sources, as you can see for the price of a click, Provine characterises the worldview in question and the scientific paradigm it dominates as “Naturalistic evolution,” going on to list as direct implications, “3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . .”.

    That is already quite plain enough, for in a naturalistic evolutionary worldview, we are here seen as being without an objective foundation for ethics and without power of responsible choice, which immediately entails that morality is a purely subjective phenomenon under the control of “might [and manipulation] make right.” In addition, if we cannot think based on responsible choice, our very thoughts, decisions and resulting deeds are preprogrammed, i.e. there is a logical entailment of self-referential incoherence. Reason, objectivity and rationality have been fatally undermined and reduced to might and manipulation make right.

    All of this, in the very state of the US where the Scopes Monkey trial put the debate over darwinism vs the Bible on the map, and allowed the issue to be — highly misleadingly — cast in the public’s mind, as reason and objective science triumphing over backward, irrational superstition clinging to God, guns and the Bible. (It is quite clear from context that for instance, Fundamentalism as Bryan et al championed, was seen as compatible with an old earth and the sort of evolution that say Wallace championed, where there was a spiritual intervention to make man. This was not the era of young earth creationism.)

    And Dawkins speaks in Sci Am — an extremely prominent and influential source — of how:

    In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference . . . . DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.

    That is, he sees a world that has moved from hydrogen to humans by way of blind unfoldings, i.e. a cascade of naturtalistic, physicalist, materialist evolutions: cosmological, planetary system, chemical, biological macro, socio-cultural. In his mind, “science” — and particularly evolutionary science — makes it possible to be “an intellectually fulfilled atheist,” and grounds the conclusion that we live in “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication . . . [where] The universe that 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 pitiless indifference . . .”

    All of this — long since — is known to you, or should be known to you. So, your attempt to pretend that I am speaking without warrant is irresponsible and should be withdrawn, with a proper explanation.

    2] I also beg to differ, except in the trivial sense that you clearly cannot abstract moral principles from a scientific theory.

    Not even close. The issue, patently, is that we have a scientific theory that is deeply embedded with worldview declarations and positions, as again summed up from eminent sources. It is the worldview level implications, assumptions, assertions and claims that have created the moral hazard, and it is that cluster which has to be addressed.

    If you have a paradigm in science — with a cluster of associated research programmes, that pivots on there being a world that is materialistic or physicalist or naturalistic [all three boil down to the same in essence as was highlighted in another recent thread], then the only ISes that are allowed in the worldview are: matter, energy, space, and time, in one form or another. The challenge such a worldview faces is to ground OUGHT, moral responsibility and duties of care — including those of scientists — on those ISes.

    It is not hard to see that you cannot do it, that it has not been done and that it all but certainly cannot be done, for these 2350 years since Plato in The Laws, Bk X, put the problem on prominent public record.

    Let me put the core problem in the (dangerously fallacious) form Hume put it, pretending to a “surprise”:

    In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, ’tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given; for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it. [Hume, David (1739). A Treatise of Human Nature. London: John Noon. p. 335.]

    The gap in Hume’s thought, of course, is that he was not allowing consideration of the possibility of a worldview foundational IS that grounds OUGHT. Arthur Holmes, citing Elizabeth Anscombe, puts his finger on the problem:

    However we may define the good, however well we may calculate consequences, to whatever extent we may or may not desire certain consequences, none of this of itself implies any obligation of command. That something is or will be does not imply that we ought to seek it. We can never derive an “ought” from a premised “is” unless the ought is somehow already contained in the premise . . . .

    R. M. Hare . . . raises the same point. Most theories, he argues, simply fail to account for the ought that commands us: subjectivism reduces imperatives to statements about subjective states, egoism and utilitarianism reduce them to statements about consequences, emotivism simply rejects them because they are not empirically verifiable, and determinism reduces them to causes rather than commands . . . .

    Elizabeth Anscombe’s point is well made. We have a problem introducing the ought into ethics unless, as she argues, we are morally obligated by law – not a socially imposed law, ultimately, but divine law . . . . This is precisely the problem with modern ethical theory in the West . . . it has lost the binding force of divine commandments. [Ethics: Approaching Moral Decisions (Downers Grove, IL: 1984), pp. 70 – 72.]

    In short, the foundaitons of our worldview must be inherently moral, or else morality cannot later be introduced on any objective foundation. And without such an objective warrant for OUGHT in a grounding IS, morals reduce to might and manipulation make ‘right.’

    Which is of course inherently amoral, and invites the sort of cynical nihilism that has been highlighted since Plato.

    3] It is certainly perfectly possible to construct moral principles without assuming that there is a God

    I have of course highlighted the key substitution in this strawman argument.

    The issue is not to CONSTRUCT systems of ethics by whatever assumed authority or implied power of coercion or manipulation, but to OBJECTIVELY GROUND and WARRANT said principles.

    As has been repeatedly said, and as has just as repeatedly been dodged by advocates of evolutionary materialism.

    Which brings us to a piece of sophistry that is perhaps the most disappointing of all:

    4] please provide a definition of the thing you are calling “evolutionary materialism” . . . . Your entire argument seems to rest on an idiosyncratic concept you call “evolutionary materialism”. What is it?

    Given that this has been defined, exemplified, explained, cited on and highlighted as a description of the institutionally dominant “scientific” worldview of our time, over and over and over again, the sudden pretence of ignorance is deliberately selectively hyperskeptical, and the dismissive term “idiosyncratic,” is utterly revealing of a want of genuineness in the discussion.

    Sorry, Dr Liddle, but this last rhetorical gambit on your part, and that of your ilk, is not good enough, by a very, very, very long shot.

    Let us go to where the matter first seriously comes to the attention of Western Culture’s intellectuals some 2350 years ago, i.e. in Plato’s The Laws, Bk X, c 360 BC; as I have drawn on in the IOSE and have cited here at UD over and over and over again, month after month (onward links are of course at the just now linked):

    [[The avant garde philosophers, teachers and artists c. 400 BC] say that the greatest and fairest things are the work of nature [ --> physis, in effect mechanical necessity of inner essence of things] and of chance, the lesser of art [[ i.e. techne], which, receiving from nature the greater and primeval creations, moulds and fashions all those lesser works which are generally termed artificial . . . They 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 [--> we thus see evolutionary materialism, including in essence implied biological evolution] . . . .

    [[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 . . .

    So, 2350 years ago, what I have summarised descriptively as “evolutionary materialism,” was a long since established worldview.

    However, I have found that most educated people have probably never heard of Plato’s The Laws, much less this cite. Though, I have found things over the years that sound very much like veiled allusions to some aspects of it. A far more familiar source is Lucretius in his The Nature of Things, Bk I (which was actually alluded to in my O Level Physics course, many years ago now, as a manifestation of Democritus’ atomism):

    [[Ch 4:] . . . All nature, then, as self-sustained, consists
    Of twain of things: of bodies and of void . . . .

    Naught, saving body, acts, is acted on;
    Naught but the inane [[i.e. void] can furnish room.
    And thus,
    Beside the inane and bodies, is no third
    Nature amid the number of all things . . . .

    [[Ch 5:] Bodies, again,
    Are partly primal germs of things, and partly
    Unions deriving from the primal germs.

    So, evolutionary materialism is an ancient worldview, one that has always sought to appeal to the intellectual elites and aspiring elites among youth. It has always presented itself as skeptically anchored, objectively warranted, empirically grounded knowledge. So also, it is unsurprising that in our day, it should come to us dressed in the holy lab coats of science, which precisely pis about empirically grounded objectively warranted albeit provisional knowledge and its discovery.

    Let Lewontin speak for today’s scientific elites on the matter (in yet another of those oh so despised letting the cat out of the bag clips that I have so often used here at UD and as has been so deeply resented and derided without good reason):

    . . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads we must first get an incorrect view out . . . the problem is to get them to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth [[--> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]. . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident [[--> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . ] that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality [--> = all reality, to a materialist], and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [[--> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .

    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 [[--> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ]

    [“Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. Bold emphasis and notes added. Discussion and rebuttals of the usual counter-points can be seen at the linked. So can clips from four other witnesses that show the representativeness of this clip. Note, two of these are the US NAS and NSTA, speaking officially for institutional science and science education.]

    So, we can see that evolutionary materialism is an apt, two word description of a worldview that has been around for thousands of years, and which dominates in the halls of science and science education, formal and popular.

    In effect, the descriptive term (one BTW that I have found others using before I did; it is an obvious summary phrase whatever objectors may want to pretend), evolutionary materialism can be summed up as:

    the view that all of the world, from hydrogen to humans, has arisen by forces of blind chance and mechanical necessity, acting through cosmological, planetary system, chemical, biological macro, and sociocultural evolutions; in a universe that is seen as, believed to be, or assumed to be ultimately physical only.In particular, it is seen as warranting the concept that scientific explanations (especially in contexts of origins) may only appeal to forces tracing to blind chance and mechanical necessity; typically presented as “natural” or “naturalistic” explanations, i.e. so-called methodological naturalism. This last, is as opposed to seeking to identify and characterise such forces of necessity and factors of chance, without making any a priori commitments that such exhaust the forces and factors that have causal influence in the observable world.

    I have, of course presented similar discussions and descriptions many times, here at UD and elsewhere. My always linked note through my handle, in Section A (with onward links), describes how:

    . . . we all intuitively and even routinely accept that: Functionally Specified, Complex Information, FSCI, is a signature of messages originating in intelligent sources.

    Thus, if we then try to dismiss the study of such inferences to design as “unscientific,” when they may cut across our worldview preferences, we are plainly being grossly inconsistent.

    Further to this, the common attempt to pre-empt the issue through the attempted secularist redefinition of science as in effect “what can be explained on the premise of evolutionary materialism – i.e. primordial matter-energy joined to cosmological- + chemical- + biological macro- + sociocultural- evolution, AKA ‘methodological naturalism’ ” [ISCID def'n: here] is itself yet another begging of the linked worldview level questions . . .

    So, the pretence that evolutionary materialism is an idiosyncratic, obscure and ill-defined term, spectacularly fails.

    5] If you mean a scientific theory, then obviously it’s amoral, but people don’t base their morality on scientific theories.

    The neatly set up and knocked over strawman in this, is that we have a worldview that dresses itself up in the holy lab coat, and then pretends to be “the only begetter of truth” regarding the real world. Even, “self evident[ly]“ so.

    And, in that context, the obviously it’s amoral is a grudging acknowledgement of the point, but with the rhetorical hope that we will then not notice that those who advocate evolutionary materialist scientism, cling to the notion that, even self-evidently, this is the only begetter of truth about reality, which is held to be wholly material — bearing in mind that mass and energy are in effect different forms of the same thing per Einstein and E = m_0*c^2– and governed by physical laws of chance and necessity only.

    Against that backdrop of course moral principles can be artificially CONSTRUCTED and then put into general acceptance through manipulation, conditioning and in the end naked force or barely less overt intimidation of the power elites. But that boils down to: “in a materialistic world, might and manipulation make ‘right’ . . .” i.e. it is wrapping the problem up in a nice rhetorical package and presenting it as the solution.

    Sorry, fail.

    ________________

    We can therefore see that he above explosion of “how dare you” outrage is little more than “how dare you say the emperor is naked.”

    But, sadly, he is.

    And, we had better realise that, and what it implies for our culture if we allow an amoral system of thought to dominate our thinking and deciding. One that also implies that we cannot truly responsibly think for ourselves. So, all boils down to might makes right power politics.

    Hence the very breakdown of science itself that we are beginning to see.

    Reductio ad absurdum, in short.

    It is high time for reformation!

    Bydand!

    GEM of TKI

  26. Gil: a serious and sobering point, given the above. I note that we see no serious response on your expose of promotion of synagogue and church burning. KF

  27. Onlookers and participants:

    As you will know from my just posted, I decided to take an overnight, to give time for feelings to calm down and for a serious response to the expose by Gil of how Mr Dawkins has set himself to be key speaker at an event where the warm up act is by a band, Aiden, that is promoting itself in a context of suggesting synagogue and church burning.

    The lack of serious response on this is deeply disappointing and itself a warning, tot hose inclined to heed such portents.

    Professor Dawkins, ret’d, clearly has some serious explaining to do, and should promptly cancel the band with explanation. In addition, he needs to address the issue of grounding morality on evolutionary materialism, and he should soberly address the wave of unhinged hostility and now incitement that is associated with the new atheism movement that he is one of the leading spokesmen for.

    It may be easy and rhetorically clever to distract from this — as we saw above — by playing at the “sins of Christendom” card [note my response at 3 above based on prof Bernard Lewis' apt point, and the onward linked] and/or shooting at the messenger, but that in no way addresses the underlying issue; which is extremely serious.

    I trust that a serious, sober response will be forthcoming.

    Gil, a good investigative job.

    GEM of TKI

  28. F/N: Let us notice the Fox News commentary that is linked in the first word of the original post:

    Atheists are using a music video that celebrates the burning of churches and synagogues to promote an upcoming atheist-themed festival at Fort Bragg.

    “Rock Beyond Belief” is scheduled to be held on the parade field at Fort Bragg in March. The event was created in part as a response to a Billy Graham Evangelistic Association event that was held last year . . . .

    Justin Griffith, who organized “Rock Beyond Belief,” said he was personally offended that a Christian evangelical event like “Rock the Fort” was held on the base.

    “We felt it was entirely inappropriate for anyone to say your current religion is wrong,” Griffith told Fox News& Commentary. “We view all soldiers as already spiritually complete. Whatever their current religious preference is has no bearing on how fit they are as a soldier or anything related to military business” . . . .

    There will also be a number of bands performing – the most famous of which is Aiden. They are featured in a video on the “Rocky Beyond Belief” website that includes images of burning churches and bloody crosses.

    The website Christianfighterpilot.com was the first to raise questions about the music.

    The website labels the song as the “atheist anthem.”

    Among the lyrics: “Love how the burn your synagogues, love how they torch your holy books.”

    The group is no stranger to strong lyrics. Another of their songs says, “F*** your God, F*** your faith in the end. There’s no religion” . . . .

    Griffith said that particular song would not be performed at the festival, but defended the video of burning churches.

    “You can buy their albums in Wal-Mart, a Christian-friendly store,” Griffith said. “If you have issues with bands that sometimes have swear words, or naughty words, or shocking imagery, that’s a part of the First Amendment.”

    Benjamin Abel, a spokesman for Fort Bragg told Fox News & Commentary that they were launching a review of the bands scheduled to perform along with their content.

    “This is a family-friendly event and we expect the entertainment will meet the standards of decency that would be typical on a top-40 music station,” Abel said. “We owe it to our soldiers and families on post to make sure it is.”

    As for the graphic, anti-Christian lyrics – Abel said “I would have to think we would have to take a very close look at that kind of lyric.”

    “I don’t know how family-friendly that is,” he said.

    Griffith said there is absolutely no controversy about Aiden’s upcoming performance.

    “It’s a little shocking to hear some of this stuff,” he said. “I’m sure you understand that these types of shocking things are not going to be front and center for a rock concert that is on a military base. This is not controversy. This is not a real story.”

    But if that’s the case, why is there a video of the band performing in front of burning churches on the “Rock Beyond Belief” website?

    The military could not answer that question . . .

    In short, the back-story itself underscores the significance of the concerns raised above.

    KF

  29. F/N 2: the blog, Christian Fighter Pilot, adds:

    The band Aiden has announced it will be playing the atheist festival “Rock Beyond Belief” at Fort Bragg in March 2012, as the lead-in act to Richard Dawkins, the main attraction at the “concert.”

    Never heard of them? You’re not the only one. But first, take a look at what the band said in their announcement [emphasis added]:

    Justin Griffith, the soldier in charge of setting this up has a very interesting story to tell. The United States military had no problems funding a christian based musical event, but when it was suggested that the large number of atheists and secular humanists who are enlisted, would like to have a function of their own choosing, the top leaders at Fort Bragg decided to pull the plug on the entire thing. Cutting the funding without any reason at all, that I can see, except that maybe christians in the Army are the only ones allowed to have fun…

    They fought the law and THEY WON.

    Given that they attribute their information to the soldier hosting Rock Beyond Belief, Justin Griffith, its unlikely a call to correct their misinformation would go far.

    For the record (again, and again), the US military did not fund a “Christian musical event” when it hosted Rock the Fort – Christian military congregations funded it. “Top leaders at Fort Bragg” didn’t pull the plug on anything — Griffith did. Nor did anyone “cut” any funding.

    Finally, they fought nothing and won nothing. Based on public information, it appears they did little more than a lot of complaining about the US military, even as Fort Bragg’s leadership remained magnanimous in the face of very public — and very personal — insults by Rock Beyond Belief supporters. Griffith finally raised money to fund the event (as a result of the publicity over his decision to cancel) and finished the appropriate paperwork, as had always been required. The only victory was the one over paper cuts.

    So, once again, the US military gets drug through the mud over its decision to allow an atheist festival to be held on military grounds — and it is the participants of the festival doing the dragging, not critics of it. Graciousness is apparently a lost virtue.

    Something is plainly very wrong here, and the underlying hostile attitude and “trash-them” approach to issues, people and concerns, sound, sadly, ever so familiar.

    The New Atheists have some serious work to do, to address serious concerns and issues.

    KF

  30. F/N: The Aiden video in question, “Hysteria.”

  31. F/N: If you doubt my remarks on a “trash them” approach, kindly read the CFP blog post, including the lyrics and comments, also look at the Youtube discussion surrounding the video.

  32. kf, first of all please don’t feel you have to apologise for anything :)

    But before we go any further, could you please answer my question?

    What is your definition of “evolutionary materialism”? (I link to where you have previously defined it is fine).

    But unless I understand what you are actually talking about, I can’t really comment on any of the above.

  33. Dr Liddle:

    I am sorry, but this is now ridiculous.

    Are you trying to irritate me to the point where I may say something untoward?

    Did you not see that in the remarks just above — again bringing together remarks I have made over and over and over again, I provided links, quotations and TWO definitions of what evolutionary materialism is, bolding the term itself?

    Please, do better than this.

    Right now, I am very much not pleased to see what you are doing.

    Please, again, do better.

    GEM of TKI

  34. F/N: Let me be more explicit: kindly look at point 4 here above, noting the term that appears in bold twice and what is said about it.

  35. No, of course I’m not, kf.

    It’s just that you have given so many interpretations of the term that I just don’t know what you are talking about.

    But let me take just one of your summaries above:

    the view that all of the world, from hydrogen to humans, has arisen by forces of blind chance and mechanical necessity, acting through cosmological, planetary system, chemical, biological macro, and sociocultural evolutions; in a universe that is seen as, believed to be, or assumed to be ultimately physical only.In particular, it is seen as warranting the concept that scientific explanations (especially in contexts of origins) may only appeal to forces tracing to blind chance and mechanical necessity; typically presented as “natural” or “naturalistic” explanations, i.e. so-called methodological naturalism. This last, is as opposed to seeking to identify and characterise such forces of necessity and factors of chance, without making any a priori commitments that such exhaust the forces and factors that have causal influence in the observable world.

    That is simply not a world view that I even recognise. It completely ignores, for instance, the fact that biological agents exhibit intentional behaviour.

    So it seems you have built a straw man, called it “evolutionary materialism” (not sure why “evolutionary”, it seems just a kind of “materialism” to me), and then laid the blame for the evils of the world at its door.

    Let me present an alternative view:

    That what is sometimes called “methological naturalism” is the methodology that underpins science, and rests on the assumption (whether true or false) that observed phenoneman can be explained in terms of other observed phenomena, by a series of discernable regular relationships, in which events can be predicted by other events.

    It is “amoral” in the sense that any methodology is “amoral”. You cannot derive from “methodological naturalism” any moral precepts. But nobody attempts to.

    You have made the grievous error, IMO (and I think it really is grievous – dangerous in fact) of mistaking a methodological stance for a moral one.

    It is of course perfectly true that some people (me for one, Dawkins for another) take the view that the world itself is not the work of an intentional agent. But that does not mean that there is no morality within it. There clearly is. But it arises from our properties as human beings, not from the properties of the (non-intentional) origins of its existence.

    That’s the only difference between us. Atheists, whether scientists or anything else, are not amoral, and there is no reason why they should be.

  36. The Wedge Document scarcely renders the fear that ID proponents want to impose a Christian theocracy “irrational”.

    The fear seems quite well-founded to me.

    As for the “promotion of synagogue and church burning”. Clearly that is indefensible, and I’ve seen no-one here defend it.

  37. Dr Liddle:

    Sorry, but I simply don’t believe you at this time.

    Especially, as we both grew up in the era of Freudian thought, Behaviourism, and Marxian thought, so you must be aware of the issues of unconscious influences on how we think and act.

    I also note, reigning myself in, that all of this, very conveniently, is nicely tangential to a question that — had it been a Christian spokesman and music group — would have been deluged with outraged comments and demands.

    In short, frankly, all of this is patently distractive in effect; from a case where the leading new atheism spokesman, prof C Richard Dawkins, ret’d, is in a situation where he is carded — in the next six or so weeks — to be at Ft Bragg NC, to present to an audience warmed up by Aiden, a band that has advertised the event with a video encouraging burning of synagogues and churches, as well as holy books.

    Let me clip some of the lyrics by this atheism advocacy band; pardon that I need to show the initial letters of some outrageous words:

    Christ died for s–, and was a f— c–

    F— your God
    F— your faith in the end
    There’s no religion

    And:

    Love how they burn your synagogues
    Love how they torch your holy books

    Faith whether Christian, Muslim, Jew
    Still you all distort the truth
    The death of fiction will save us all

    I hope you will understand the seriousness of such nihilism, as warned against by Plato, never mind Paul.

    (Do you recall exactly why Alcibiades was recalled from the Sicilian expedition he had championed, by Athens, and what he did? What he then did to his city, then to the king of Sparta who was in the field? Then, to the Queen and their love-child? And so forth? Do we really want to go down the road Plato warned against on that example?)

    Please, on your tangential matter; take some time to see just what the likes of Provine, Lewontin, Dawkins, Crick et al are really saying.

    Since you talk about the subjective experience of intentions, let me cite Crick from his The Astonishing Hypothesis, 1994; as I have cited in the same IOSE intro page that cites Lewontin et al:

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

    It should be plain that the evolutionary materialism that is championed by ever so many in the name of science, fatally self destructs in self-referential incoherence and amorality leading to nihilism.

    Please, think again before playing what looks more and more like neat little evasive and distractive rhetorical games.

    Good day,

    GEM of TKI

  38. Please, think again before playing what looks more and more like neat little evasive and distractive rhetorical games.

    And please think again before accusing me of dishonesty.

    I have no idea even what it is that I said that you don’t believe. And certainly not why.

    I don’t tell lies.

  39. F/N: I have of course highlighted that it is evolutionary materialism — a worldview — that has in it no foundational is that can ground ought.

    Atheists of this view, are still human beings who have implanted moral impulses.

    My concern, though, is the benumbing and endarkening impact of such a worldview as it comes to dominate in a culture, much as Paul warned in Eph 4, warning Christians to steer clear of deleterious cultural influences:

    Eph 4:17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

    20 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness . . .

    And, these concerns, too, I have pointed out over and over, only to meet again and again with a snidely set up strawman.

    Sorry, now that Aiden/Alcibiades is on the table, that talking point tactic is simply not good enough.

  40. And actually, having checked out the lyrics myself, here, I think you’ve misread them anyway. I don’t think that’s a call for atheists to burn churches or synagogues or holy books, I think it’s a condemnation of believers for doing just that. Hence the refrain: the death of fiction will save us all.

    I don’t think the song is nihilist at all. I’ve read through the lyrics of the whole album just now, and while it is powerfully anti-religious, it also seems powerfully moral to me, and certainly not nihilistic. Angry, but not nihilistic:

    In fact one song appears to be a quote from Christopher Hitchens:

    “So when I say religion poisons everything, I mean to say it infects us in our most basic integrity. It says we can’t be moral without Big Brother, without a totalitarian permission. It means we can’t be good to one another. We must be afraid, we must also be forced to love someone who we fear, the essence of sadomasochism.”

    which, far from being amoral or nihilistic is the complete reverse: he is saying that under religion there is no morality, only fear, that religion poisons morality.

    You will disagree, of course, but if this is the kind of message Aiden is trying to convey in their lyrics, then it is not what you allege, but the opposite.

  41. Dr Liddle:

    Pardon me, but I think it is you who have some explaining to do.

    Perhaps, you have not worked through the issues and implications, but it is pretty clear that for instance you MUST know the issue of unconscious influences.

    Similarly, I have taken time to go again through 2300 years worth of highlights on what the worldview in question is, as a review; in a context where for months at least, you have seen the relevant evidence and points of concern.

    Something does not add up, and, this is all neatly tangential to an issue and situation that are highly, highly revealing, on 2400 years of history.

    I am not calling you a liar, but I am saying that something does not add up, bigtime, in a serious context.

    Good day

    GEM of TKI

  42. kf, I honestly have no idea of what you are talking about at this stage.

    So I cannot “explain” anything – I do not understand the charge you have levelled at me.

    Of course I know something about how we can be influenced by things without being aware of the influence.

    But I have no idea how it relates to my posts, or to this topic.

    And I am NOT playing games. I don’t.

    Please explain.

    Thanks.

    Lizzie

    PS: I just found a video of the song you object to. It’s certainly heavy stuff, but it is quite clearly NOT a call to burn churches and holy books. It actually segues, at the end, to a clip of Hitchens appealing to our better natures. So not nihilistic either – quite the reverse.

    It’s a powerful condemnation of hysteria of all kinds and an appeal to reason instead.

    And I heartily approve. It’s precisely the point I’ve been trying to make on this thread.

  43. Gil, KF,

    You’ve stooped to quote-mining song lyrics now? Elizabeth is right: the song condemns the burning of synagogues and holy books.

    Shame on both of you for deliberately quoting the first two lines but not the rest:

    Love how they burn your synagogues
    Love how they torch your holy books
    Filling coffers with your grief
    Filling coffins with your misery
    Faith holding outright criminals safe
    This is just the world we live in
    Can you justify the pain
    The death of fiction will save us all

  44. Dear Liz,

    Please explain to me where in the Wedge Document it is proposed that there should be a government-imposed Christian theocracy.

    And also please explain why, by judicial and governmental fiat, no evidence can be presented in public education concerning the monstrous logical, mathematical, and evidential holes in Darwinian orthodoxy, through which a Mack Truck could be driven.

    I suggest that your irrational fear of a government-imposed Christian theocracy has been replaced by a perfectly rational fear that materialists have taken control, and have implemented a government-imposed anti-theocracy, with the full force of academic consensus and the power of the legal system to punish all dissent, no matter how rational or evidential that dissent might be.

    Philosophically committed Darwinists are not interested in science or evidence. They are interested in converting others, and others’ children, to their nihilistic, materialistic worldview.

    I’m a freethinker. I follow the evidence where it leads. That meant — despite a lifelong philosophical commitment to materialism and atheism — admitting that Darwinian orthodoxy is bogus philosophy wrapped in junk science, and that design is the only reasonable inference.

  45. Ch

    Pardon, but I fail to see how additional lyrics do anything but worsen the force of my earlier point. But, crying “quote mining” will often cloud an issue.

    Onlookers, kindly pardon my having to wade into a cesspit, with filthy language [I only use leading initials but the infamous seven words are well represented] and much worse than merely filthy words, below. I do think however, sadly, that some specific corrective comments are plainly needed.

    Now, of course, a preliminary point: I would like to hear your side grounding the basis for the ought that you are so fond of appealing to in a foundational is for your evolutionary materialism; on pain of standing exposed as seeking to rhetorically manipulate moral sentiment, on the principle that might and manipulation make ‘right.’

    On the specifics of context, I have long since given the link to the actual video of the Aiden song Hysteria in this thread, and of course you managed not to discuss the implications of the church leader as vampire against chiaroscuro background imagery, the opening image of burning synagogues/churches, the call to such burning, etc.

    Image gives telling, utterly telling context to words in this case, sir.

    Let me spell it out, in the name of the many decent men and women of God I have known over the years: Christian clergy are not blood-sucking vampires who profit from the pain, suffering and gullibility of others, nor do they foment blood-letting the better to have the blood they crave. To portray such in that way — as this video does from its opening imagery, in this context is little more than target-painting and the worst sort of slanderous scapegoating.

    Not to mention the implications of the other cluster of filthy lyrics I quoted. Lyrics that sound ever so familiar to me after several months of seeing exactly those sentiments and echoes of the actual language in my inbox from the hate site operator.

    Your accusation of “quote mining” is grossly out of order.

    Let the sad record stand, in response to the case we are seeing — the leading new atheism spokesman carded as key speaker at an event warmed up for by a band that advertises the event with a video that STARTS with images of burning houses of worship and presents a church leader as a vampire in a graveyard [I understand, of service-members of the US] and “Love[s]” synagogue/church and holy book burnings, etc — the response of your ilk has been distractive and shoot at the messenger.

    What we see here is the stoking of extreme hostility, through scapegoating and denigratory, demonising characterisation. A vampire, for instance, is a stand-in for a demon, and is of course dressed with a symbol of the Christian clergy. And, that is how a “typical” church leader is presented.

    Do you know whose name means “Accuser”?

    Please, think about that.

    “Love how they burn your synagogues” in such a context then speaks for itself, especially in the onward context that speaks of torching holy books and the like. The onward remarks attempt to lay the world’s ills at the feet of the church [the cross imagery is plain] — or “Faith” — and of course try to pose the problem of pain and the assertion that belief in God is belief in fiction, by of course implicit appeal to the “ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked” canard.

    I would infer from the intervening lines and general time of composition, that this song largely comes from one side of the debates over the flaring up in ME fighting of the ongoing, long-running now low burning, now hot, war with IslamISM (which is a war that our civilisation cannot escape, historically every time IslamIST powers have had enough strength, they have renewed the jihad, for 1400 years; hence, for instance the reason why the first wars the US fought 200 yrs ago were the wars with the mujaheddin of the coast of NW Africa, as in “To the shores of Tripoli . . . “; such can only be contained . . . ). So, that is how I then read:

    Filling coffers [offerings are blood-money]with your grief
    Filling coffins with your misery [you are war mongers]
    Faith holding outright criminals safe [your clerics promote and protect war criminals who on the excuse of the US etc being attacked have invaded countries in the ME, and by extension, generally corrupt right-wing theocratic fundy politicians and officials . . . a highly misleading and poisonously loaded stereotype]
    This is just the world we live in [as in, this is subject to change by the new atheist revolution of the "brights" which "we" represent]

    The problem with this is of course in such a context and coming from such a source, this is an allusion to the largely imaginary right wing, inherently racist . . .

    [did it dawn on you -- given onward imagery of police arresting a black person -- that Black churches in the US and elsewhere are both Christian churches and have a history of contribution to liberation struggle rooted in the Bible?]

    . . . deeply Christian fundamentalist theocratic agenda, which is the same step beyond the canard that say design theory or thought is “Creationism in a cheap tuxedo,” and the like that is ever so familiar. In short, this video is broad-brush cheap talking point strawmannising, stereotyping, scapegoating and demonising of the worst sort.

    Let’s go on to the bit of my own excerpt that brings out the Abrahamic religions meme that is promoted by Dawah advocates to try to gain credibility, and which has been latched on to by new atheists to push Christian faith etc into the same immoral equivalency boat with IslamIST terrorists — and yes this is in my inbox too; sidestepping the odd little fact that such IslamIST terrorists are not even representative of Muslims as a whole, much less members of sharply different faith traditions:

    Faith whether Christian, Muslim, Jew [broad-brush stereotyping]
    Still you all distort the truth [how do we know that Mr Bright, and on evolutionary materialist premises, how do you ground the value that we must prize and seek the truth? And, onlookers, kindly cf where this all started above, where I presented links on warranting the core Christian faith in particular and the broader generic framework of theism in the teeth of such accusations.]
    The death of fiction will save us all [has it ever dawned on such Brights, that evolutionary materialism is inherently self-referentially incoherent and necessarily false?]

    But it is the background context of the other lyrics that you so artfully chose not to touch that tells all we need to know about this band, the warm-up act for prof Dawkins, ret’d:

    Christ died for s–, and was a f— c–

    F— your God
    F— your faith in the end
    There’s no religion [kindly cf here on in context on warranting worldviews, a theistic worldview in particular, and the Christian tradition within that broad worldview]

    Sorry, this is a jaundiced, hostility laced stereotyping and demonisation by toxic music video, fully consistent with the snide, poisonously loaded and implicitly anti-semitic dismissal of God and those who believe in him in the Judaeo-Christian tradition found in The God Delusion bestseller of recent years, as authored by the featured speaker for this concert.

    It is time to stop, look at what is now going on by cold light of day, and rethink the sort of visceral hostility that this song shows.

    Before it is bloodily too late.

    Please, think again.

    GEM of TKI

  46. kairosfocus,

    Pardon, but I fail to see how additional lyrics do anything but worsen the force of my earlier point.

    There is a reason that you and Gil quoted only the first two lines of the verse below. Is dishonesty okay as long as it’s done for Jesus?

    Love how they burn your synagogues
    Love how they torch your holy books
    Filling coffers with your grief
    Filling coffins with your misery
    Faith holding outright criminals safe
    This is just the world we live in
    Can you justify the pain
    The death of fiction will save us all

  47. Dr Liddle:

    This is now sadly predictable.

    I suppose, you and those of like ilk did not have long debates with GP, against the concept of “Libertarian free will,” advocating at most some form of compatibilist redefinition, that boils down to we are shaped by forces of chance and necessity, through biological and socio-cultural evolution and individual patterns of conditioning, but because we are moving in light of internal forces, we can be said to be freely deciding.

    Let me further quote Provine — you were busy looking for more on a false accusation of quote mining on a toxic video that I have just had to deconstruct above, but somehow I do not see evidence of further interaction with say, the following wider context of the 1998 Darwin Day remarks at U Tenn:

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

    The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will . . . . Without free will, justification for revenge disappears and rehabilitation is the main job of judicial systems and prisons. [[NB: As C. S Lewis warned, in the end, this means: reprogramming through new conditioning determined by the power groups controlling the society and its prisons.] We will all live in a better society when the myth of free will is dispelled . . . .

    How can we have meaning in life? When we die we are really dead; nothing of us survives.

    Natural selection is a process leading every species almost certainly to extinction . . . Nothing could be more uncaring than the entire process of organic evolution. Life has been on earth for about 3.6 billion years. In less that one billion more years our sun will turn into a red giant. All life on earth will be burnt to a crisp. Other cosmic processes absolutely guarantee the extinction of all life anywhere in the universe. When all life is extinguished, no memory whatsoever will be left that life ever existed.

    Yet our lives are filled with meaning. Proximate meaning is more important than ultimate. Even if we die, we can have deeply [[subjectively and culturally] meaningful lives . . . .

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

    In short, the evolutionary materialist elites admit that they have a hard sell — even tot hose who accept the theory at popular level — on the implication of their system, that free will is an illusion, a myth. So, prof Provine chose this as his actual focal issue and pivot to argue on things relating to how criminals are to be treated. Echoes of C S Lewis’ warning on what happens when prison is seen as a way to reprogram the defectives, in the hands of a ruthless and amoral elite, are all too loud and clear. And, we must not ever forget the standard Soviet-era praxis of designating dissidents as mentally ill and putting hem in institutions where they were pumped full of mind-bending drugs. You and I both lived through that era, so you know or should know about this.

    So, also, sorry, the evasiveness above on “yo no undestan” simply does not add up.

    If you do not recognise the definition of evolutionary materialism I have given, that is despite the fact that, on abundant evidence, and example, you SHOULD.

    It is, after all, the DOMINANT view of the scientific and other intellectual elites in the world of academia and in wider elite circles in our civilisation.

    It is, indeed, the very basis for prof Dawkins’ declaration that Darwin’s theory makes it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.

    So, let me cap off by summarising the evolutionary materialist view, in the often quoted words of that spokesman, prof Richard Lewontin of Harvard, the man who let the cat out of the intellectual bag; words that you know or full well should know, to be accurate:

    . . . to put a correct view of the universe [--> this is about a worldview, presented in the name of science] into people’s heads we must first get an incorrect view out . . . the problem is to get them to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations [--> anything but materialism is deemed irrational, superstitious and even "demon[ic"], and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth [[--> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]. . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident [[--> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . ] that the practices of science [--> to be defined below as applied, a priori materialism, in an implicitly evolutionary context: cosmological, planetary system, chemical, biological macro, then socio-cultural] provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality [ --> = all of reality to the evolutionary materialist], and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [[--> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .

    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 [-> the basis for so-called methodological naturalism now lies exposed], no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [[--> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen. [[--> Perhaps the second saddest thing is that some actually believe that these last three sentences that express hostility to God and then back it up with a loaded strawman caricature of theism and theists JUSTIFY what has gone on before. As a first correction, accurate history -- as opposed to the commonly promoted rationalist myth of the longstanding war of religion against science -- documents (cf. here, here and here) that the Judaeo-Christian worldview nurtured and gave crucial impetus to the rise of modern science through its view that God as creator made and sustains an orderly world. Similarly, for miracles -- e.g. the resurrection of Jesus -- to stand out as signs pointing beyond the ordinary course of the world, there must first be such an ordinary course, one plainly amenable to scientific study. The saddest thing is that many are now so blinded and hostile that, having been corrected, they will STILL think that this justifies the above. But, nothing can excuse the imposition of a priori materialist censorship on science, which distorts its ability to seek the empirically warranted truth about our world.]

    [[From: “Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. Bold emphasis and notes added. Kindly see notes here on on the context in reply to the usual "quote mining" false accusation and the like.]

    This is the most clear statement of the worldview of evolutionary materialism, from an adherent who is an eminent scientist, that I know of. As you know or should know, I have provided four more clips that back up the claim that this is the view of the elites, in key institutions, immediately following the place where I have clipped this in the intro page for the IOSE. This is not just an idiosyncratic view.

    Philip Johnson’s rejoinder of November that same year was richly deserved:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original; Johnson'e terms are synaonymous with my own, the science in question here is origins science and the framework of paradigms and research programmes is that of cosmological, planetary system, chemical, biological macro and in the end socio cultural evolutions] 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.]

    All of this has been presented here at UD, over and over and over and over, indeed, in point 14 of the weak argument correctives, we can observe:

    ID proponents acknowledge that Darwinian mechanisms operate within a limited scope (changes in beak sizes among finches as a result of environmental pressures; development of resistance to antibiotics by certain bacteria). But they dispute that the mechanism responsible for these micro-evolutionary changes is also responsible for macro-evolutionary changes. In other words, ID proponents agree that Darwinian processes can change the size of finch beaks across generations, but they dispute that those processes are solely responsible for the existence of finches, or birds or dinosaurs, or land-animals in the first place.

    At the macro-evolutionary level, ID proponents point out that Darwinism is too often rooted in an evolutionary materialist metaphysical presupposition imposed on science and posing as a scientific theory; as Richard Lewontin notoriously admitted in his infamous 1997 NYRB article, “Billions and Billions of Demons”:

    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. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

    Grounded in materialistic ideology, such Darwinism holds that purposeless, mindless, physical mechanisms, manifested as small genetic changes, can drive the evolutionary process to produce all observed complexity and biodiversity on earth. As such, it interprets all evidence in light of its own materialistic ideology and rules out, in principle — indeed “a priori,” any possibility that any part of the evolutionary process could have been designed . . .

    And, in the UD glossary, we may read, under “Materialism”:

    . . . the philosophical premise that all that is, is “material.” In practice, that means that our observed universe is held to be “nothing but” the result of blind forces of nature acting on matter-energy in space-time, in light of chance circumstances across time.

    Thus, the resulting evolutionary materialism assumes or asserts – and this (on pain of the old “No True Scotsman” fallacy) is not at all simply the general consensus of “all” informed and responsible thinkers – that: (a) through undirected cosmological evolutionary processes, our cosmos came into existence and evolved into the complex of stars, galaxies and planetary systems we observe. Similarly, (b) life originated by fortuitous synthesis and juxtaposition of required chemicals such that self-replicating entities came into existence. Once life originated, (c) chance variation of various sorts, and competition for food and for reproduction allowed diverse life forms to originate by chance and necessity only, and to fill the niches in ecosystems, leading to body-plan level biodiversity as observed in the fossil record and in our current world. Also, (d) at a certain point, some ape-like animals — having a superabundance of neurons, relative to what was needed to survive on the plains of East Africa several million years ago — became conscious, intelligent hominids; who eventually became modern man.

    Such philosophically premised evolutionary materialism is then often enforced institutionally through the recently imposed “rule” of science known as methodological naturalism: in effect, only causal patterns and stories fitting into the origins model (a) through (d) as just summarized are permitted in scientific discourse, on pain of “expulsion.”

    Immediately following:

    Methodological naturalism — the concept or “rule” that science may ONLY seek to ultimately explain observed phenomena in terms of (i) non-directed mechanical forces, and (ii) non-directed contingencies.

    That is, it is committed to the idea that the observed cosmos (including ourselves) originated and developed through undirected evolutionary processes — cosmological, chemical, biological, socio-cultural — that are in the end rooted in law-like necessity and/or chance. It therefore often contrasts “natural” vs. “supernatural” explanations; dismissing the latter as un- or even anti- scientific. However, this overlooks or ignores the alternative observed contrast that dates at least back to Plato: natural vs artificial (or intelligent).

    So, if (i) intelligent cause is empirically observed (e.g. humans), and (ii) such causes may leave reliable signs of intelligent action (such as SETI investigators are looking for), then – as we have no good reason to assume that we exhaust the set of actual or possible intelligent agents – (iii) we must leave open the possibility of intelligent causes. At least, if science is to be an unfettered (but intellectually and ethically responsible) search for the truth about our world in light of the evidence of observation and experience.

    What has been meant in and around UD has been on clear record all along, easily accessible through the glossary and FAQ, as well as commonly used quotes from eminent evolutionary materialist spokesmen.

    So, what “evolutionary materialism” means is — or should be — no strange and puzzling, hard-to-understand mystery, nor is it an idiosyncrasy of some questionable bloggist who can be brushed off without more than a dismissal.

    Pardon, but since you chose to do that, thus enabling the fringe of hate site operators in much more that using terms like “idiosyncratic,” I have no choice but to be fairly direct:

    that you have plainly chosen this evasive rhetorical tack tells us all that you have no cogent answer on the merits, and — regrettably — have chosen to be distractive and dismissive rather than face the deep difficulties of evolutionary materialist views.

    Please, please, please, think again and do better next time.

    Good day

    GEM of TKI

    F/N: As noted in the main body, I have already answered the nature of the video in question, and the agendas thereby exposed, above.

  48. Onlookers:

    Ch, sadly, skips over how I took the time to step by step deconstruct the image sequence and lyrics used in the song as he cited it.

    And, of course I gave the wider context implied by some other lyrics, that characterised and dismissed the core Christian faith by using the worst sort of vulgarities.

    Sadly revealing.

    But plainly, we need to know what is going on in the world of the new atheist movement. The world that shows up ever so often in my inbox [spam section], in pretty much the same tone and language.

    KF

  49. KF,

    Your “deconstruction” is irrelevant to the charge of quote mining.

    Quoting the first two lines by themselves…

    Love how they burn your synagogues
    Love how they torch your holy books

    …paints a completely different picture from quoting them in context:

    Love how they burn your synagogues
    Love how they torch your holy books
    Filling coffers with your grief
    Filling coffins with your misery
    Faith holding outright criminals safe
    This is just the world we live in
    Can you justify the pain
    The death of fiction will save us all

    That is quote mining, and no amount of post hoc “deconstruction” will obscure the fact that you and Gil chose to quote only the first two lines, knowing that this would create a false impression in the minds of your readers.

    I’m ashamed to say that when I read Gil’s post and your subsequent comments, I actually believed that the songwriter was expressing approval of the burning of synagogues. I figured that you and Gil couldn’t possibly be brazen enough to quote mine the song lyrics, particularly when anyone could look them up online. Well, you and Gil have stooped that low, and you can bet I won’t be assuming your honesty in the future.

  50. Onlookers,

    Imagine the outcry from kairosfocus if an atheist had quotemined a Christian song in order to smear Christianity. We’d get 500+ indignant lines talking about how “evo mat” amorality was leading to the destruction of civilization.

    What hypocrisy.

  51. kf, my point in drawing attention to the rest of the lyrics you quoted from, is that, taken in that context (and in the context of the album, and of the video) it is perfectly clear that far from advocating the burning of churches, the song-writers are condemning that kind of “hysteria”.

    In other words, you have, although no doubt inadvertently, completely, and by 180 degrees, misinterpreted those lyrics, and the accusation made in the OP therefore fails.

    You have several times in this thread noted that we have failed to respond to specific challenge in the OP. I now have, and I call on you to retract the allegation.

    You may not agree with those lyrics, but you must, now, surely agree that they do not, as you had originally thought, advocate violence against believers, but condemn violence perpetrated by believers and other ideologues.

    Hence the title of that track “Hysteria”.

    Can I also ask you to stop taking the words of a few individuals, and ascribing the view you think they express to all people who you assume to conform to your category “evolutionary materialist”?

    I do not agree with Provine; I often disagree with Dawkins; I do not think Lewontin meant what you think he means.

    I nonetheless share their view that the world can be described in terms of equations.

    That does not make me a danger to you, or to anyone else. It just makes me a scientist.

  52. F/N: It seems Ch has decided to just double the volume. What I will say is that this Aiden video starts with the imagery of the Christian cleric as vampire [which works on two levels, immediate and as a stand in for demon, i.e. it is a vicious smear in itself], which properly controls understanding of all else that follows. Taking in the wider context of vulgarity-filled dismissal of the gospel message, it is plain that we are seeing a toxic hit piece, meant only to stir hostility and in that context the use of videos and lyrics about burning synagogues and churches at minimum is a largely unwarranted accusation inviting of retaliation. The presentation of stateme3nts about filling coffers and coffins, in the context of the vampire image is also plain: blood money and war mongering, again largely unwarranted accusations. Going on tot he “fundies joined at the hip” words, this is a patently familiar attempt to push Bible believing Christians into the same boat of immoral equivalency with the IslamIST terrorists. And so forth. In short, the “quote mining” and “lying/dishonesty for Jesus” smears, simply are attempts to evade dealing with a serious problem of the New Atheist movement — one that BTW is brimming over in my inbox from the hate site operator [so I know this is not a weird misreading of the sentiment that is controlling what is going on] — by way of the common tactic of project5ing a turnabout accusation. Ch, wake up and face the cold light of day. Goodbye. KF

  53. The Wedge Document lays out a “Strategy” for “the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies”.

    Its first step in that strategy is “scientific research”.

    What sort of “scientific research” is it that lays out its conclusions and cultural implications before it actually has the findings?

    That isn’t “follow[ing] the evidence where it leads” – it’s the opposite: deciding where you are going then finding the evidence to support it.

    I’m not accusing you of that Gil, but that’s what the Wedge Document lays out.

    In contrast, I know of know equivalent document indicates that “Philosophically committed Darwinists are not interested in science or evidence. They are interested in converting others, and others’ children, to their nihilistic, materialistic worldview.”

    If there are such people, they certainly do not form a “consensus” of scientists.

    And there is nothing inherently “nihilist” in atheism anyway. Atheists include some of the most visionary and optimistic people I know.

  54. What sort of “scientific research” is it that lays out its conclusions and cultural implications before it actually has the findings?

    That is what naturalism does.

  55. No, it doesn’t.

  56. Of course it does as it starts with a conclusion.

  57. No, it doesn’t.

    You start with a hypothesis, and you finish with a conclusion.

  58. Naturalism starts with the conclusion- that nature is all there is- and says forget about any hpothesis.

  59. Well, let’s stop personifying isms and have some clarity.

    Scientists, whose methodology is “methodological naturalism” work on the assumption that phenomena have natural, and therefore discernable, explanations. They neither conclude nor test it, it is simply the working assumption.

    No scientific study ever attempts to answer the question “is nature all there is?”

    We simply do not have the methodology to do that.

    So it is neither conclusion nor hypothesis. It is simply a practical working assumption that enables us to keep looking when we might otherwise give up.

  60. “the US military did not fund a “Christian musical event” when it hosted Rock the Fort”

    Freedom of Information act requests suggest otherwise:

    http://rockbeyondbelief.com/20.....-released/

    Ironic that a song titled “Hysteria”is provoking exactly that. Especially since it denounces sectarian beliefs as the cause of those things listed, with “The death of fiction will save us all” ending the stanza you are fond of quoting)

    I suppose you can read the lyrics as negatively as your imagination allows, but how you get to this band advocating anti-religious violence baffles me.

  61. kairosfocus wrote:

    Gil: a serious and sobering point, given the above. I note that we see no serious response on your expose of promotion of synagogue and church burning. KF

    Gil, kairosfocus,

    You have falsely accused Aiden of promoting synagogue and church burning. When will you retract your irresponsible accusation?

  62. Onlookers (and participants):

    This thread, though quite painful all around, has been very important for the progress of discussion at UD.

    This is the thread that shows that the sort of concerned analysis of the socio-cultural implications of evolutionary materialism — due to its evidently unbridgeable IS-OUGHT gap — first put on serious record by Plato in The Laws, Bk X, is still a highly relevant point.

    (Do you notice, for instance, that for all the high dudgeon we see above, all the projection of hypocrisy, all the blood-libel laced accusation of fraud against Christian leaders, all the sense of how “faith” ought to be overturned, we never see anywhere an objective grounding of moral principles — OUGHT — on foundational ISes of evolutionary materialism? That should put us on alert that we are here dealing with a worldview that has in it no IS that can ground OUGHT, and is thus inherently amoral, leading its adherents down a path to a radical relativism that can easily benumb the voice of implanted conscience and lead to the nihilism of might and manipulation make ‘right’ . . . )

    You will notice, that, for the second time in recent days, I have taken an overnight timeout, to allow myself and others the chance to cool down and be objective.

    This is because I understand that we are all finite, fallible, morally fallen/struggling, and too often ill-willed. So, I am very aware that we can blind ourselves even as we become angry at the other party to a contentious disagreement. But, having taken time out, I need to speak for record, to help move our overall discussion froward.

    Please understand, and if necessary, forgive, some painful things that I believe need to be said; not least, for record. Because, our civilisation is again treading a very dangerous path, having yet again forgotten the lessons of the past, within living memory. In some aspects, lessons taught just 20 – 25 years ago, as the Iron Curtain fell and we saw what had been going on behind it. So, there is and can be no excuse for this forgetting.

    Let us begin with Aiden, and the way they respond to the Christian gospel: spewing verbal filth across it, and thinking they have a right to do that, and expecting to be welcome in civil society having acted like that. (Notice, onlookers, no-one has been able to justify this, just as, no-one is able to cogently explain how smearing and dismissing the God of the OT/Tanakh as a bronze-age moral monster, with invited inference that those who take such seriously are threats, is not implicitly blood libel-laced anti- semitism as well as the overt anti-Christian bigotry.)

    Sorry, if you go up to where all this began, you will see in effect an open invitation to examine the warrant for a theistic worldview, and for the Christian tradition, on the merits, coming from BA and the undersigned. Just scroll up to 1, 1.1 and 1.1.1.

    The path not taken by the new atheists, who have now built up a track record of rage-driven slander, stereotyping, scapegoating and now, verbal filth and blood libel. Such hoggishness betrays an animating spirit that is utterly uncivil and destructive.

    And, sadly, points to him whose name means “accuser.”

    That is hard to face, very hard. But, face it we now must, especially given the sort of imagery and lyrics Aiden has put on the table; and which should be acknowledged and turned from. There is, and can be, no excuse for such filth as the following from Crusifiction, which I cite under right of fair comment:

    My name is Roman,
    Not king nor emperor.
    Just the voice of a ghost, the past son of a whore.
    I transcend to dispatch this letter.
    Where the rich bought rape the poor.
    You can astound this human race.
    You can embrace lies built on faith.
    You can manipulate a simple story.

    For fear!, panic!, glory!
    F- your God.
    F- your faith in the end,
    There’s no religion.

    Would you open your eyes already.
    Christ died for s- and was a f- c-.
    We were brothers born to build an army . . . .

    Standing on the edge of insanity,
    Wishing there was more time to explain.
    We were brothers born a prostitute.
    A thief of a beggar,
    There is a new God.
    I am the devil.

    F- your God.
    F- your faith in the end,
    There’s no religion.

    F- my God,
    There is no God.

    No band that has this in its repertoire is suitable for consideration as a warm up act for any public event, period. If they wish to peddle such filth behind closed doors to those who are addicted, let hem do so behind closed doors to those of age to know what they are buying into.

    On the strength of this alone, the sponsors of the event are utterly out of order.

    For further instance, it is not “child abuse” to raise children in a decent Christian home or church. Professor Dawkins and those who have allowed him to get away with such outrageous slanders have some serious explaining to do on just this point alone.

    Now, let us turn to Hysteria (notice, onlookers, who is giving links to the lyrics and who is not), advertised as the atheist’s anthem, and put on a music video that leads with an image of Christian-cleric-as-vampire, leading straight into images of burning churches etc; again by right of fair comment in response to an outrageous offence:

    Love how they burn your synagogues
    Love how they torch your holy books
    Filling coffers with your grief
    Filling coffins with your misery
    Faith holding outright criminals safe
    This is just the world we live in

    Can you justify the pain
    The death of fiction will save us all

    Hysteria
    We live We die
    I wont give up
    In a world worth saving goodbye
    I don’t have anything to fear
    I live, I live hysteria

    Wait supporting outright genocide
    Hate let us all disseminate
    A message to your herd
    Our voices will be heard
    Now faith is a question you can choose
    Faith whether Christian, Muslim, Jew
    Still you all distort the truth
    The death of fiction will save us all

    Searching for the answers are
    you asking all the questions
    Will the evidence suffice your fear
    Human evolution is the only real solution
    All the truth you gotta hear
    Would you stand and fight

    To all who would try to make such seem innocent, I am sorry, I was not born yesterday.

    Portraying Christian clerics as vampires, is vicious, scapegoating stereotyping patently driven by hostility and bigotry. Yes, there have always been wolves who sneak in and hide in shepherd’s robes, but in fact, the tradition of genuine shepherds has been long and distinguished, indeed it is a 2,000 year long trail marked by martyr’s blood, the first being the Chief Shepherd himself, who laid down his life for the sheep; having first declared to those who would take the other path, of the sword, that “those who live by the sword will die by it,” a direct allusion tot he history of the Macabbean period, where six of seven brothers who led the uprising perished in it; it even prophetically hints on the futility of the three Jewish uprisings against Rome that would happen in the following century.

    But, equally — as is well understood, it points to the corrupting and self-destructive nature of terrorism and nihilistic violence.

    Next, whether you see the imagery and words on burning places of worship and holy books as a caricature or as a direct invitation, makes but little difference. The first view, makes it part of a vicious stereotype; the latter is a directly nihilistic call, and indeed the first implies the second, in “retaliation.” One of the grimmest lessons of the century past, is that ideologically mass murder, democide and genocide have to be prepared for by dehumanising and demonising the intended victims, making those who embark on murder imagine they are doing justice.

    I doubt that the likes of the singers of Aiden fully understand the matches they are playing with, but that is what they are playing with.

    The next cluster of lines is of course more scapegoating and stereotyping. Blood money, unjust wars and protection of war criminals are plainly laid at the feet of the stereotypical vampire clergy — don’t forget who is the singer in the video, in what guise. And, right after this has been done, we see: “supporting outright genocide.”

    This is blood libel, and turnabout false accusation.

    The rest is more of the same, sneering dismissal and pushing all into the same boat with IslamIST terrorists.

    There is no excuse for this.

    Those who thought it reasonable to have this as a warm up act for an atheist event obviously meant to be a counter-point for having a Christian spokesman present to those who would come to listen, at Ft Bragg, have a lot of explaining to do. (Especially in a context where Mr Franklyn Graham has taken a lot of grief for trying to point out the dangers of IslamISM (note the emphatic distinction from those who respond to God as they understand him in light of Islamic tradition); which should be common knowledge on 1,400 years of historical record of the jihad wars. Even the much despised crusades — which indeed were indefensibly awful in execution and in many respects in conception (as in a capital example about being finite, fallible, fallen and too often ill-willed . . . ) — were, strategically speaking, limited and partly successful counter-offensives to the jihad wars, in a context where Rome had been sacked and Christian pilgrims in the Holy land attacked, massacred and enslaved in the thousands. Yes, in the 1060′s, there was the equivalent of a 9/11; did you ever wonder why German, French and English people cared enough about what was going on in the Middle East to fight sustained wars there a thousand years ago? And, are you surprised that the major media have not adequately and objectively explained just what has been going on over these 1400 years? Even, why the very date of the 9/11 attacks was historically symbolic? (As in, of what event was 9/11 the eve of the 318th anniversary of? as in, who was Jan Sobieski, and what did he do on Sept 12, 1683 just outside the gates of Vienna? Why?)

    But, that is somewhat tangential.

    The key matter on the table, here, is that we are dealing with the new atheist movement, and the serious problems with basic civility that too often crop up in the writings, speech and performances of its spokesmen and their followers. Reflecting the basic problems with the underlying evolutionary materialistic worldview, as highlighted by Plato in The Laws Bk X, 2350 years ago (onward links are at the IOSE page I am again clipping from):

    [[The avant garde philosophers, teachers and artists c. 400 BC] say that the greatest and fairest things are the work of nature and of chance, the lesser of art [[ i.e. techne], which, receiving from nature the greater and primeval creations, moulds and fashions all those lesser works which are generally termed artificial . . . They 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 [--> notice, the summary of the core of evolutionary materialism, all that needs to be updated is the current scientific theories] . . . .

    [[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 . . .

    Plainly, these grim words and warnings on misled youth are still all too patently, sadly relevant.

    I have written for record.

    G’day,

    GEM of TKI

    PS: of course, in the aftermath of Plantinga’s devastating responses decades ago [now you know some of why they are trying to trash the eminent philosopher Plantinga currently], atheists are now rather coy about their formerly favourite argument, from evil. An implied appeal to this is made in Hysteria. Those troubled by it may find here a helpful first level response.

  63. Kairosfocus, you spend a great deal of time on this site promoting the libel that atheists (or “evolutionary materialists) are dangerous amoral nihilists.

    Please consider the beam in your own eye.

  64. F/N: It is appropriate to not only point to a 101 on the warrant for the Christian worldview and one on the gospel that Aiden have tried to dismisss by smearing it with verbal filth, but also to point out the empty chair debate lecture/panel of Oct 25, 2011, where Professor Dawkins ducked the opportunity to defend his assertions in The God Delusion by making an attempt to smear and dismiss professor Craig (cf here on in general response), and a current public debate on the resurrection.

  65. GilDodgen you’ve been silent since the slanderous quote mining was revealed.

    So far, you haven’t lied. You were snookered by Tod Starnes and Fox News and passed on their slander. Starnes himself apparently passed on a slander from “Christianfighterpilot”. Whether “Christianfighterpilot” outright lied or was just “careless beyond belief”, I don’t know. The important thing is that you were fooled, so you haven’t told a lie – yet.

    But now that the truth is revealed to everyone, including yourself, you owe your readers a quick and sincere apology for your actions. You were careless and you passed on Starnes’ slander and a lot of readers have certainly believed it and others have certainly been hurt by it.

    Now please tell your ID readers that the OP is not correct, that the band is actually criticizing religious fanatics who burn other religious people’s houses of worship and that they were not celebrating this destruction, approving it or urging others to do it.

    If you confess your sins now, you will alleviate some of the harm you’ve done. If you don’t – well, then your mistake becomes a lie and you bear full responsibility for it.

    I don’t make this offer to kairosfocus because I know he will never admit making an error, he will just flood the blog with multi-thousand word denials of the obvious laced with invective, slander and strawmen and burning with the flames of ad hominem. There’s still hope for you.

  66. It is completely irrelevant, kf.

    You seem not to understand that the indignation you feel at Aiden’s lyrics is echoed in those lyrics themselves – indignation at the evil that is done in the name of religion, including the burning of churches and synagogues, but also including the smearing of atheists as amoral nihilists, and of gays as “intrinsically disordered” people who do not have the rights the rest of us enjoy of legally marrying and raising families.

    Aiden’s lyrics specifically quote Christopher Hitchens on this, and with justice. At its worst, religion subverts morality, replacing it with “Divine Command Theory” in which Might is by definition Right, and the motivation to behave well is not love but fear.

    Yes, you are, understandably, angry at the insult to your religion. But do not underestimate the anger that religion engenders in those whom religious views insult.

    Dawkins was absolutely within his rights to condemn Craig’s “Divine Command Theory”. It was not a “smear”, it was a link to the man’s actual words. I myself was appalled, as you know.

    Religious people do not have a lock on morality, and those of us who disagree with religious morality have as much right to express our righteous indignation as you do.

  67. Dr Liddle:

    Sorry, but this is pushing words into my mouth that you know or should know do not belong there.

    I now speak, FOR RECORD.

    I have explicitly, repeatedly, stated to you and others that the fundamental moral problem we all face is that we are finite, fallible, fallen and too often ill-willed. As I have explicitly pointed out to you yet again in recent days, as a believer in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, I hold that all men — including atheists — have implanted in them conscience as the voice and candle of God.

    Since you seem unwilling to accept this from me, let me cite again John Locke at Section 5 of the intro to his essay on human understanding, where he lays this premise out, taking this followig clip from a discussion in my longstanding, often referenced, note on selective hyperskepticism; where you may find onward links:

    On this last issue of what we ought to know, John Locke in the introduction to his famous Essay on Human Understanding, makes a stunning — but often overlooked — point, in Section 5:

    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 & 13, Ac 17, Jn 3:19 - 21, Eph 4:17 - 24, Isaiah 5:18 & 20 - 21, Jer. 2:13, Titus 2:11 - 14 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. [Text references added to document the sources of Locke's allusions and citations.]

    And, again, let me cite from Hooker, as Locke also cites, on the subject of the specific principles of core morality that are so implanted and known to all men of sufficient capacity to be responsible, in Ch 2 sect 5 of his 2nd essay on civil govt, here taking the clip from my IOSE section that remarks on the roots of morality (and in so doing lays out the inherent amorality of the worldview of evolutionary materialism, much as I have already laid out above in this thread, that you were unable to confute; instead playing evasive tangential talking point games on what “evolutionary materialism” means, then going on to addressing the common talking point taken from the so-called Euthyphro dilemma):

    . . . the fatal defect of the dilemma argument lies in its pagan roots: the Greek gods in view in Socrates’ original argument were not the true root of being; so, they could not ground reality. But the God of theism is the ground of reality, so it is a classic theistic answer that the inherently good Creator of the cosmos made a world that — in accordance with his unchangeably good character — not only is replete with reliable, compelling signs pointing to his eternal power and Deity as the root of our being, but also builds in a real, reasonable, intelligible moral principle into that world. That intelligible moral principle is implanted inextricably in our very nature as human beings, so that for instance by our nature as creatures made in God’s image with ability to know, reason and choose, we have a known duty of mutual respect. [--> Is that clear enough, Dr Liddle?] And, when this inherently good Creator-God and Lord commands us on moral matters, what he says will be decisively shaped by that goodness on the one hand — commandments are “for our good” — and will also reflect a responsiveness to human beings who are morally governed creatures, in a relevant situation. (A subtlety in this, is that there will be cases where there is ameliorative regulation of behaviour too deeply rooted in a culture shaped by “the hardness of our hearts” to be pulled up at once without unacceptable harm [cf. here the classic "I hate divorce" case of the Judaeo-Christian tradition], but there will also be provision onwards for reformation of the culture [cf. here for a similar case, on slavery].)

    As a result, objective morality is grounded in the roots of our nature and in the moral Creator behind those roots. Richard Hooker, in his Ecclesiastical Polity sums this view up in a key passage cited by Locke in his Second Treatise on Civil Government, Ch 2 Sect. 5, to justify liberty and justice in government:

    . . . 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, cf. here. Emphasis added.]

    That in the teeth of such easily accessible information tot he contrary, you insist on pushing words into my mouth that do not belong there, in an attempt to set me up as the strawman you wish you had to deal with, is sadly revealing.

    Dr Liddle, that is not good enough.

    Not by a long shot.

    A NOTICE: Beyond this point, if you use it again, you will understand why I will draw the conclusion that you have resorted to willful false accusation; enabling the lunatic fringe like the operator of the hate site, who will say far worse.

    Please, do not go there.

    I do have some very strong things to say about evolutionary materialism as a worldview, as onlookers can see by scrolling up.

    That worldview — notice, I here sharply distinguish systems of thought and agendas from individuals that may be caught up in the system, after all, as a Christian I believe in reddeemability of people and the power of the gentle persistent probing of conscience enlightened by the Spirit of God, calling us to known duty [why else do you think I am able to highlight someone like Plato?] — that worldview, as I say yet again, patently has in it no foundational IS that can objectively ground OUGHT; yet, we — human beings made in God’s image and implanted with consciences — are undeniably under moral government.

    This is of course one of the strongest, most direct, in-built, inescapable indicators that we live in a cosmos that is Morally Governed, by an IS who can indeed ground OUGHT: the inherently good Creator God.

    This insight can however, be benumbed and endarkened by the entertainment of worldviews and cultural agendas that are amoral or distorting of morality, leading to promoting addiction to evil, or even nihilism.

    Nihilism like Aiden, sadly, so hoggishly exhibits for us all to see.

    So, madam, let me be direct, I explicitly deny — having warranted it yet again — that I am:

    promoting the libel that atheists (or “evolutionary materialists) are dangerous amoral nihilists . . . [taken from Dr Liddle, just above]

    I am warning, instead that evolutionary materialism — something that, even after it has been explained to you with 2350 years worth of clear documentation, you cannot bear to acknowledge exists, much less that it is the dominant worldview in the intellectual milieu of our civilisation’s elites, often dressed up in the holy lab coat — is inescapably amoral, having no IS that can ground OUGHT.

    I am warning, further, with antecedents as far back as Plato, and on cases in point as far back as Alcibiades, that such an amoral worldview is inherently highly dangerous, and has in it moral hazards that we had better attend to before they yet again do serious damage.

    In particular, I have identified the so-called New Atheists, as cases in point of the playing out of implications of the underlying radical relativism and amorality of this worldview, for benumbing consciences and endarkening consciences, so that nihilism yet again stalks our civilisation.

    if you doubt me, kindly look at the lyrics I have presented, and look again at the video that has been discussed. think about what it means to present the “typical” clergyman as a vampire, then surround him with those lyrics and images.

    Then, ask yourself, just whose name means Accuser.

    And, what that being is notoriously the father of.

    So, as I have repeatedly issued the challenge, I do so yet again, to adherents of evolutionary materialism dressed up in the holy lab coat and calling itself science: provide a sufficient objective warrant from moral principles, and for the sake of the 100 million ghosts of the century just past, at least, address and contain the moral hazards of such scientism. Especially, in our halls of science education.

    In so doing, I am obviously appealing to my confident knowledge that, despite the implications of what I believe to be an utterly flawed and patently self-refuting worldview, the implanted conscience is enough to restrain a critical mass of even adherents, so that the course of the amorality can at least be checked from full force.

    That is the very opposite of the recklessly false and arguably defamatory statements that you have cast in my teeth by falsely accusing me of libel.

    I think you owe me an apology, with explanation, for that false accusation in the teeth of explicit and detailed comments and explanations, over and over again, to the contrary.

    If you do not provide such, it leaves me no alternative, but to conclude that you are indulging in willful strawman tactic scapegoating and turnabout tactic accusations, the better to polarise the atmosphere rather than deal with a serious matter — a mortal danger to our civilisation, on its merits.

    PLEASE, do not go down that road, Dr Liddle.

    Good day, madam.

    For record.

    GEM of TKI

  68. Onlookers:

    the irresponsibility in the teeth of sufficient evidence is increasingly plain.

    Aiden’s hoggishness is inexcusable, and it is not quote-mining or worse to point it out.

    Good day.

    GEM of TKI

  69. I am warning, instead that evolutionary materialism — something that, even after it has been explained to you with 2350 years worth of clear documentation, you cannot bear to acknowledge exists, much less that it is the dominant worldview in the intellectual milieu of our civilisation’s elites, often dressed up in the holy lab coat — is inescapably amoral, having no IS that can ground OUGHT.

    And as I have said, you can “explain” this to me all you want, it doesn’t make you correct. I think you are wrong. And I think you are dangerously wrong, because, however much you protest that you are not accusing good people of amorality and nihilism, you are simultaneously laying at the door of those very people responsibility for propagating a view that you claim promotes amorality and nihilism.

    It’s a distinction without a difference, and it is a charge I reject.

    Of course science is “amoral” methodologically. It claims to be nothing else. You cannot, obviously, derive a system of ethics from the laws of gravity any more than you can derive a system of ethics from evolutionary theory. This is a straw man of your own making.

    That does not mean that the philosophical view that the world can be described in terms of its own intrinsic natural laws (or whatever you mean by “evolutionary materialism”) gives rise to amorality and nihilism. It doesn’t.

    We are perfectly capable of deriving a system of morality and ethics without reference to a Divine Creator of the Universe, and would claim that our system is certainly far superior to anything derived from “Divine Command Theory” which we regard as deeply unethical.

    The argument that because the universe was not created by an agent with a purpose therefore human lives have no purpose is a non sequitur. It simply doesn’t follow. Nor does the argument that because the universe per se is pitiless and uncaring therefore there is no pity nor care in the universe. There patently is.

    We think it evolved, at least once, on earth.

    What is so dangerous about that idea?

    (BTW: you and Gil really need to retract the implied claim in the OP that Aiden is advocating church-burning, now that it is abundantly clear that the are, in fact, condemning it. It’s an enough easy mistake to put right.)

  70. It is quotemining to extract lines that imply that they are advocating church-burning when in fact their lyrics clearly condemn it.

    In fact it’s the very paradigm of quote-mining – to take a quotation out of context to make it appear that the author meant the actual opposite of what s/he intended. I don’t blame you or Gil, because the source seems to be Fox News, but now that the actual meaning has been pointed out, it should be corrected.

    Sure they use rude words about religion. But that is a whole different issue.

  71. Dr Liddle

    I am now totally disappointed.

    perhaps it escaped you that all along I had linked the entire video? That I took time to start from its images and discuss the song in context, or that I have now provided essentially the whole song above?

    No, Aiden has not merely used rude words about religion. They have spewed verbal filth across the gospel in order to angrily dismiss it.

    They have presented specifically Christian clergy as vampires, and have in that context put the notion of loving burning of holy houses and books, as well as profiting from war and bloodshed, and protecting war criminals, even promoting genocide.

    That is a slander-laced invitation to the lunatic fringe to indulge in violence targetting Christians, especially ministers of the gospel.

    Period.

    These are all reckless,utterly irresponsible slanders of he worst degree of hoggishness.

    That you and those who support you are unable and/or unwilling to see this, is utterly, sadly revealing.

    AIDEN SHOULD BE SHUNNED IN ANY POLITE COMPANY, AND NO-ONE WHO HAS THE LEAST CLAIM TO DECENCY SHOULD ALLOW THEM TO WARM UP THE STAGE FOR HIS SPEECH.

    The caps lock clicked on accidentally but I think I will let that stand.

    For shame, Dr Liddle!

    Good bye,

    GEM of TKI

  72. We are perfectly capable of deriving a system of morality and ethics without reference to a Divine Creator of the Universe, and would claim that our system is certainly far superior to anything derived from “Divine Command Theory” which we regard as deeply unethical.

    Nice, another bald unsupportable claim.

    Elizabeth “argues” via bald assertion and acts as if her bald assertions will actually convince someone.

    Strange, that…

  73. kairosfocus:

    Aiden, far from advocating the burning of churches, are, in those lyrics, condemning the burning of churches.

    You seem determined to misinterpret them, even though the video makes that absolutely clear.

    It is not “a slander-laced invitation to the lunatic fringe to indulge in violence targetting Christians, especially ministers of the gospel”. It is a perfectly justified (by history) condemnation of the violence and hatred perpetrated by religious people in the name of their religion.

    It ends with a powerful plea, by Christopher Hitchens, for a morality unpoisoned by the fear of an invented god.

    Sure, you disagree with it. But they have a point, and that point you are choosing to ignore, while at the same time accusing those who disagree with you of promoting amorality and nihilism.

    As long as you cling to your Divine Command Theory you will fail to understand just how appalled the rest of us are by a moral grounding that justifies genocide as long as it is perceived as Divine Command, and how angry we are made when those who hold that view choose to regard us as having no basis for our morality.

    Our position is that our morality is far superior to any derived from Divine Command Theory, and some young people (my son, for instance) feel very passionate about what they see as evil being done in the name of religion.

    They’d like to live in a world free from religious bigotry and hatred, and so would I. Perhaps they are wrong to blame all religious practitioners, but there is a charge to be answered.

    The right response to Aiden, if you find their charge unjustified, is to present to them a kinder, more loving, more ethically grounded version of religion to consider, instead of stalking, shocked, from their expression of righteous indignation at the evil that they see wrought in religion’s name.

  74. We can derive the Golden Rule.

    Do you have a problem with that?

  75. He who has the gold, rules?

    What “golden rule” are you talking about?

    I have a problem with your ambiguity…

  76. OK, Joe, I’m happy to clarify. What is known as “the Golden Rule” is the rule “Treat others as you would be treated”. Or, as Jesus put it, “Love your neighbour as yourself”.

    A good rule, as I’m sure we can both agree.

  77. Yeah and I doubt we would have stumbled across it.

    And I don’t know if it is a good rule- my neighbors are using resources that I could be using- me and my family.

  78. What do you mean, you “doubt if we would have stumbled across it”? We’ve “stumbled across it” repeatedly in the course of human history. It’s the rule that enables us to thrive as social animals, to experience the joy of self-giving, and forms the basis of the laws that minimise the damage done by that those who put their own needs and desires above those of others.

    You can differ as to whether it’s a good rule or not, if you like, but if you break it, and steal your neighbour’s stuff, then, precisely because it is the rule that underpins human justice systems, you may find your own freedoms curtailed.

  79. No we did not stumble across it as we are not the result of stochastic processes.

  80. kairosfocus hypocritically complains about purported quotemining:

    Why don’t you contrast say how I have cited and annotated Lewontin saying what he says with say how various fever swamp sites are trying to snip bits and pieces from what I have said out of context to paint a willfully false picture, the better to demonise and ridicule. (Not to mention to paint targets on my back and those of my family.)

    The pattern of poison-tongued, spitefully slanderous and obviously hateful village atheistical behaviour that has played out in the fever swamps especially in recent months leaves me disgusted, and it is rapidly driving me to the conclusion that Alcibiades has risen and stalks among us as a latterday vampire spreading his venom in those fever swamps.

    …Do you seriously think that those who act like that or tolerate and excuse or enable such behaviour can safely be trusted with any more serious responsibilities, given how blatantly they abuse the little bit of power given them by web forums?

    Motes and beams, KF.

    I repeat my question:

    kairosfocus wrote:

    Gil: a serious and sobering point, given the above. I note that we see no serious response on your expose of promotion of synagogue and church burning. KF

    Gil, kairosfocus,

    You have falsely accused Aiden of promoting synagogue and church burning. When will you retract your irresponsible accusation?

  81. Another full day has passed, and neither Gil nor kairosfocus has retracted the false accusation against Aiden:

    5.1.1

    champignon January 31, 2012 at 12:07 am

    kairosfocus wrote:

    Gil: a serious and sobering point, given the above. I note that we see no serious response on your expose of promotion of synagogue and church burning. KF

    Gil, kairosfocus,

    You have falsely accused Aiden of promoting synagogue and church burning. When will you retract your irresponsible accusation?

  82. Onlookers:

    It is now clear that we are not dealing with reason, but a rhetoric of accusation and invidious association of images, accusations,stereotypes and scapegoating.

    Dialogue with such is impossible and will not be attempted.

    I will simply expose, for record.

    And, I will note that — predictably and habitually — such will proceed to drag red herrings across the track of truth, towards convenient strawman distortions laced with ad hominems and set alight with snidely or overtly incendiary rhetoric.

    So, do not allow yourselves to be pulled into the myth that where there is smoke, there is fire, other than that of burning slanderously smeared strawmen.

    (It is particularly disappointing to see that after almost a day, in which she has been busy here and elsewhere, Dr Liddle has not withdrawn the false accusation of libel she made and which I took time to correct.)

    All of this is sad, but we must face the objective reality of what we are plainly dealing with.

    Note also, that at no point in the attempted discussion has there been any show of a serious attempt to ground morality on evolutionary materialist premises. We can take it that the amorality of this view stands exposed, and the consequence for adherents follows as night follows day: for such, might and manipulation make ‘right’ . . .

    Indeed, there has been a pretence that this morally bankrupt view — the dominant view in key institutions that likes to dress itself up in a lab coat and call itself science — is unrecognisable when described, exemplified and defined, and so needs not be defended.

    But the implication of this is that morality is merely a matter of moral feelings and/or perceptions of advantage, so if feelings and related perceptions can be manipulated, morality will change. Not merely, moral perceptions, but that there is nothing beyond perceptions there so to change perceptions is enough.

    But, while in politics and propaganda perceptions drive choices, it is reality that governs consequences.

    So, if our perceptions have been manipulated away from the real by those who play clever games, we will make destructive choices.

    When it comes to a group like Aiden, no-one of any shred of decency should ever be springing to the defence of a group that publicly responds to the gospel by smearing verbal filth across it.

    Period.

    That is beyond the pale of civil conduct, and those who do this or enable it have crossed a line that should never be crossed.

    There is no excuse for such.

    Observe, onlookers: right from the beginning, and all along this thread, there has been an open invitation to actually deal with the issue of the warrant for the Christian faith that Aiden etc would dismiss. Has it been taken up? Obviously not.

    What does that tell you about the real balance of the matter on the merits?

    The same pattern we saw last October when the champion of the New Atheists was invited to defend his assertions in the book The God Delusion and responded by trying to smear and dismiss. And of course the talking points were trotted out to create a faux outrage, driven by distractions, distortions and demonisation of those who dared oppose the evolutionary materialist agenda.

    In short, we have a clear view of the way manipulation and rage are repeatedly, even predictably, being used to polarise, instead of actually address serious matters on the merits.

    If you are sick of such, so am I.

    And, what happens here at UD is only the enabling for what is happening elsewhere, where there are no limits, in the fever swamp hate sites.

    All of this, of course, is exactly what Plato warned about, 2350 years ago.

    It is happening in front of our eyes, and yet we stand aside and look.

    Instead, let us be clear that we are dealing with polarising, destructive, rage-driven irresponsible factions, that substitute smears for reason, and rage-warped perceptions for moral suasion on well-grounded principles. notice, onlookers, how there has been no answer to the question of Hume’s IS-OUGHT gap? Or, the premise argued by Hooker and cited by Locke, that as equally made in God’s image and equally valuable, the principle of neighbour love applies as the core of morality? or Locke’s own point that there is a candle set up in us that shines brightly enough to guide us to duty? One, that,sadly, we may willfully endarken?

    To all this, we see silence on the merits, and false accusations redoubled.

    For the evolutionary materialist talking point pushers know that if they can stir up a faux outrage, they can often drown out the voice and light of reason and reasonableness.

    That is the context in which we should understand what Aiden has been doing.

    Now, we can see why their response to the gospel is to smear verbal filth across it and try to associate the spoke3smen for the gospel with the images of outrageous wrongdoing, on the presumption that they have the propaganda talking points that will lead the indoctrinated to cheer such smear tactics, slanderous stereotyping and scapegoating on.

    Imagine, they encourage people to download such filth as ring tones for their phones!

    Think about what is happening to the hearts and minds of those who immerse themselves in regular baths in such filth.

    Instead, we should make it clear that those who celebrate, attempt to justify or enable that sort of behaviour have shown themselves utterly morally and intellectually bankrupt and uncivil.

    Which is, plainly, the precise state of today’s new [village] atheist movement.

    Yes, I know, the image of the silly, usually half-drunk village atheist thundering out ill-founded, unbalances smears is a harsh one. Sadly, it is plainly well merited here.

    Going on, we need to parse the deliberate ambiguity — one message to the in-group, another to the out-group, a la 1984′s double-speak — being used by groups like Aiden (and moreso by those who so artfully indoctrinated them into the New Atheist sub-culture . . . ) to manipulate moral sensibilities and drive in wedges that polarise and manipulate.

    For instance, of course they project anger at say burning churches and synagogues; BUT the key trick is that, first, they use images and context to invidiously associate this with specifically Christian clergy projected as vampires, and so invite “retaliation” from the lunatic fringe whose rage they have stoked.

    Ask yourself: does the Christian Faith per normative texts and expressions, and taken as a whole, advocate or excuse church burnings of black churches, or burnings of synagogues, or are the offerings of churches by and large blood money, or are the churches by and large encouraging genocide or war crimes?

    In so doing, let us not ever forget: the group representative targetted by the song in the form of the music video as the chief example of “hysteria” is the vampire clergyman.

    So, this is not outrage at generic mass hysteria and where it can lead [and the moans of a hundred million ghosts from the century just past tell us about some very different forms of mass hysteria that have held destructive power within living memory and have wreaked havoc . . . often, while flying the banners of "science" . . . ], this is a stirring up of self-righteous hostility and — yes — hysterical rage against the Christian faith and those who stand up for it.

    Herr Schicklegruber taught by example, long ago, that the best way to get the target group to swallow a big lie was by turnabout false accusations that make one’s actions seem to be a “justified” defense against the evil outsiders. And, silly talking points about Godwin’s law are no answer to the living case before us of just this form of vicious manipulation.

    If we don’t learn from relevant history, we will be doomed to repeat it.

    So, let me be direct: Bible-believing Christians are now plainly the projected vampire demons targetted by the New Atheist spinmeisters. After all, we are ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked, aren’t we.

    Don’t you see the bigotry in that attitude promoted by the champion of the new atheists?

    And if such dare to protest, they can always be handily further tarred as hypocrites and/or as too stupid to see what is going on.

    As we can see just above in this thread.

    Sorry, once we see the verbal filth smeared across the core Christian gospel message instead of a reasoned response, we know what we are dealing with. If the objectors in this thread cannot frankly acknowledge the rage-driven incivility that Aiden represents by doing that, then we know that we are dealing with enablers.

    Back to our main question.

    The answer is quite obvious: Not at all, and indeed the premise of Christian morality in society has long since been stated by Paul, in his form of the Golden Rule:

    Rom 13:8 . . . he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The 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.

    11 And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

    Well, what about racism? (That great, and not quite dead, sin of Christendom.)

    Paul was plain in his paradigmatic address to the Athenians, in AD 50; which was of course a cross-race, cross-culture context in which the Apostle to the Nations, explained the principles of the Christian Faith to the representative leading lights of our civilisation, in the midst of the altars and statues that bespoke the pagan sentiments of the time:

    Acts 17:22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.

    24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

    29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man’s design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead. [Of course, with 500 eyewitnesses, none of whom could be broken, not even in the teeth of fire, sword and cross. But, that was 15 years in the future at that point.]”

    Going further, Paul speaks to the Galatians concerning our common status in Christ:

    Gal 3: 6 Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[a] 7 Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”[b] 9 So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith . . . . 14 [Christ] redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit . . . .

    26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

    These are crystal clear, longstanding and normative.

    Anything that cuts across such is aberration.

    Sadly, given the many and notorious sins of Christendom across the centuries, aberrations there have been, but such do not trace to the foundation, but to the common moral challenge we all face: we are finite, fallible, morally fallen and struggling, and too often ill-willed. EVERY civilisation, and every ideology or worldview faces that same basic challenge; once it moves off the pages of a book and beyond a narrow circle of the devoted.

    So, the challenge once we move beyond a small circle — and don’t forget that right there in the circle of the twelve there was a traitor and thief — will always be to call the collective back to reformation through recognition of wrongs that have crept in and our need for repentance. Indeed, that is the very reason why the attempts to read the NT as antisemitic fail, for they somehow fail or refuse to see them through the lens of the prophetic tradition that had for many centuries been calling for repentance and reformation of Israel, from within. In that context, the Christian Faith’s foundational self-understanding is that those who are in Christ, as well as in Adam, are doubly of one.

    So, the call is to recognise how far we have fallen, thence repentance and reformation, so that we may be renewed in the blessing of God.

    It is in that context that I again (second time in this thread) cite and endorse the remarks of the great — and BTW, Jewish — historian of the Middle East, Bernard Lewis; in his epochal essay on The Roots of Muslim rage:

    . . . The accusations are familiar. We of the West are accused of sexism, racism, and imperialism, institutionalized in patriarchy and slavery, tyranny and exploitation. To these charges, and to others as heinous, we have no option but to plead guilty — not as Americans, nor yet as Westerners, but simply as human beings, as members of the human race. In none of these sins are we the only sinners, and in some of them we are very far from being the worst. The treatment of women in the Western world, and more generally in Christendom, has always been unequal and often oppressive, but even at its worst it was rather better than the rule of polygamy and concubinage that has otherwise been the almost universal lot of womankind on this planet . . . .

    In having practiced sexism, racism, and imperialism, the West was merely following the common practice of mankind through the millennia of recorded history. Where it is distinct from all other civilizations is in having recognized, named, and tried, not entirely without success, to remedy these historic diseases. And that is surely a matter for congratulation, not condemnation. We do not hold Western medical science in general, or Dr. Parkinson and Dr. Alzheimer in particular, responsible for the diseases they diagnosed and to which they gave their names.

    A responsible, soundly informed, reasonable and balanced response to the situations would start from something like that.

    But, that is exactly what we have not seen.

    And, that is exactly what I have pointed out as needing correction.

    Then, of course, the pretence can be made that no, no no, Aiden and the like are simply expressing outrage at different forms of “hysteria”!

    Sorry, we were not born yesterday, and we know just what we are dealing with, once we see their plain text dismissal of the gospel and their chosen target case of hysteria: the vampire clergy of their imagination.

    How do they address the gospel?

    Do they try to address its historical foundations?

    Not a chance, they smear verbal filth across it, in the form of an imagined Roman spokesman, to express rage, hostility and contempt, amounting to hate.

    So, we need to ask again, just who are the hysterics that are being targetted.

    Obvious, as long since pointed out: especially, through the telling image of the imagined vampire clergy.

    In that context, the invidious associations become slanderously accusatory, especially where some extremist somewhere can be found to characterise the Christian faith and its leadership as vampires, hunting blood money and profiting from war, protecting war criminals and promot5ing genocide. At no point do we ever see a sound counterbalance, something that would give a fair view.

    On the next level, the same lyrics and images appeal to the lunatic fringe on the other side of the wedge, who now feel justified in smearing and dismissing the demonised. And, indeed, the haunting lines call out to the demented, to act out the burning images seen. Something that is well known from all too many cases in point. (Do you remember how for instance there was pretended high dudgeon about the use of the fairly common verbal image of targetting, once a lunatic acting if I recall right, on a twisted notion on grammar, had shot up a meeting of a Congresswoman in Arizona? Take that and now ask what is the effect of presenting the clergy as vampires seeking blood and blood money, coddling and protecting war criminals and promoting genocide, then superpose the image of burning religious houses. Enter, stage, left, the lunatic fringe, with the lines echoing in their heads, love the way they burn . . . [See what I mean about destructive layered meanings and appeals?])

    To point this sort of thing out, I am tagged a hypocrite or a liar or a libeller, etc etc. Or at minimum, as too stupid to see what it “really” means.

    Sorry, what it really means is so plain that it cannot be whitewashed.

    So, plainly, we are at a watershed moment in the life of this blog.

    Dr Liddle, I appeal to you as a responsible and educated person. Please, please, please, look again at what is really going on. Ask yourself, what you are enabling.

    As for others, who seem only too eager to try to smear by trotting out ill-founded turnabout rhetoric talking points, I will only say that such are the living proof of the concerns I have laid out.

    Onlookers, next time such come by with the intent to manipulate moral sensibilities, ask them to ground moral feelings and assertions on the grounding IS of their worldview, so that we can see on what basis they appeal to OUGHT.

    Let the silence in the thread above tell us the truth: they have no foundation for OUGHT, they only are able to try to manipulate perceptions and feelings.

    Which is exactly what Plato warned against 2350 years ago, with the memory of the havoc wreaked by Alcibiades and co indelibly etched in his memory.

    If we refuse to learn from grim history ancient and within living memory, who but ourselves will be to blame when we see our communities reliving some of the worst chapters of history?

    But then, one of the saddest lessons of history, is that, too often, we refuse to learn from it.

    Let us not make that avoidable blunder yet again.

    I have but little doubt,t hat we will be treated to further rounds of turnabout talking points, so I simply ask you to look and see if the fundamental issues are being soundly addressed, on warrant. Or, is it that the tactic of invidious association and the further tactic of red herrings, led away to ad hominemn soaked strawmen set alight through the destructive power of rhetoric, will again be repeated.

    An excellent test is, can we find the objectors clearly acknowledging the inexcusable irresponsibility of and wrong done by Aiden?

    If not, then we know just what we are dealing with.

    Good day

    GEM of TKI

  83. Accusing people who you consider promote a particular worldview (“evolutionary materialism”) of promoting amorality and nihilism is libellous, kf.

    It is false.

    Accusing Aiden of promoting churchburning when they are in fact condemning it is also libellous.

    It is false.

    Be the change you want to see, kairosfocus.

  84. 20,000 characters, 3,500 words.

    All to deny the simple truth: You screwed up.

    Try this: “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me.”

    44 characters, 8 words.

    At least GilDodgen is decent enough to keep quiet if he can’t find the courage to admit he screwed up.

  85. Ch: Kindly see below to see HOW that is being done, on an embedded layer of the video. All you have to do is see that in this case the spokesman presented is a target to be demonised. From that, think about the utterly unbalanced presentation, and the invitation issued to “retaliate” to the lunatic fringe enabled by the demonisaiton. And, that is on the relatively favourable reading. The more direct reading simply goes to the target and the response: Burn, baby, burn. This is a case where context — a group that responds to the Christian gospel by smearing verbal filth across it, so it is obvious that the vampire clergy image projected is not by way of approval — rules understanding, and it is obvious that this is not a protest ate generic wrongs, but a scapegoating and target-painting exercise. Details are below. I write here for record, not in expectation — on track record — that you will respond reasonably. Those who enable or excuse Aiden tell us far more than they intend, as is examined below. Good day. KF

  86. Dr Liddle, there is no IF here, and this is a group that is not operating on reason but on manipulation of hate. The IF is all too revealing. For my wider response, kindly see below. And, there is a little matter on the table of a false accusation of libel on your part, to be explained and resolved. Good day. GEM of TKI

  87. As predicted, the turnabout.

  88. 88

    KF, its funny to watch all these educated people defend this band.

    “The Devil’s Eye’s”
    Aiden

    All hail the dark one
    All hail this night / I’ll search the darkness
    Transform to the beast that I’ve become

    All hail the dark one
    All hail this light / I’ll search the darkness
    Transform from a cell we have begun

    Anyone else hail the “dark one” lol?

  89. Dr Liddle, this is now knowingly false accusation. You KNOW or should know that I have pointed out the problem with a worldview and distinguished the people who may adhere to it. You know or should know that, echoing many since Plato, I have warned about a tendency. Instead of addressing the issue, you have turned to repeating an accusation that is false and that you know or should now is false. Notice, to date, none of your ilk has been able to provide an objective warrant for OUGHT on a foundational IS of evolutionary materialism (which has been adequately explained, defined and exemplified so as to be instantly known as the institutionally dominant view in the intelligentsia of our time), which only leaves the principle: might or manipulation make ‘right.’ i did not make that up, and it is an objective fact, I have pointed out, over and over, directly and though serious thinkers, that this principle comes up against the in-built moral compass we have, but can warp it. I have pointed out, on the testimony of 100 million ghosts, cases within living memory. You have chosen, not to respond tot he serious issue, but to shoot at the messenger. I am saddened to see that, but at least the plain situation is out in the open for all to see. I trust that one day, your eyes will be opened to see what is going on. Good day, madam. GEM of TKI

  90. 90

    KF, “Notice, to date, none of your ilk has been able to provide an objective warrant for OUGHT on a foundational IS”

    This is patently untrue, KF, here we see AIDEN seamlessly closing the is ought gap with their classic hit:

    “Die, Die My Darling”

    Die, die, die my darling (die (tonight) die, die, die…)
    Die, die, die my darling (die (tonight) die, die, die…)
    Die, die, die my darling (die (tonight) die, die, die…)

    Die!

    Die, die, die my darling
    Don’t utter a single word
    Die, die, die my darling
    Just shut your pretty mouth

    I’ll be seeing you again
    I’ll be seeing you in Hell

    Don’t cry to me oh baby
    Your future’s in an oblong box, yeah
    Don’t cry to me oh baby
    Should have seen it a-comin’ on
    Don’t cry to me oh baby
    I don’t know it was in your power
    Don’t cry to me oh baby
    Dead-end girl for a dead-end guy
    Don’t cry to me oh baby
    Now your life drains on the floor
    Don’t cry to me oh baby

    Die, die, die my darling
    Don’t utter a single word
    Die, die, die my darling
    Just shut your pretty mouth

    I’ll be seeing you again
    I’ll be seeing you in Hell

    Don’t cry to me a baby
    Your future is in an oblong box
    Don’t cry to me oh baby
    Should have seen the end a-comin’ on, a-comin’
    Don’t cry to me oh baby
    I don’t know it was in your power
    Don’t cry to me oh baby
    Dead-end girl for a dead-end guy
    Don’t cry to me oh baby
    Now your life drains on the floor
    Don’t cry to me oh baby

    Die, die, die my darling
    Don’t utter a single word
    Die, die, die my darling
    Shut your pretty mouth

    I’ll be seeing you again
    I’ll be seeing you in Hell

    Don’t cry to me oh baby
    Die, die, die my darling
    Don’t cry to me oh baby
    Die, die, die my darling
    Die, die, die my darling
    Die, die, die my darling
    Shut your pretty mouth
    Die, die, die my darling
    Die, die, die my darling
    Die, die, die my darling

    Die, die, die, die, die, die….

  91. Kf,
    How can I trust your interpretation of Biblical texts when you obviously are not able to parse a simple contemporary song?

  92. Dr Liddle, this is now knowingly false accusation. You KNOW or should know that I have pointed out the problem with a worldview and distinguished the people who may adhere to it. You know or should know that, echoing many since Plato, I have warned about a tendency. Instead of addressing the issue, you have turned to repeating an accusation that is false and that you know or should now is false.

    Well, kf, your defence seems to be not that you are not accusing those of us who hold the worldview you describe of promoting amorality and nihilism, but that your accusation is justified.

    I disagree. I am saying it is not justified. Those of us who advocate that world view are not promoting amorality and nihilism.

    Notice, to date, none of your ilk has been able to provide an objective warrant for OUGHT on a foundational IS of evolutionary materialism (which has been adequately explained, defined and exemplified so as to be instantly known as the institutionally dominant view in the intelligentsia of our time), which only leaves the principle: might or manipulation make ‘right.’

    And I am saying this is false. In fact, I’m saying that the opposite is the case: a worldview (a system of OUGHTs, if you like) based on “Divine Command Theory” is, in fact, the principle that might makes right: that the Almighty makes the Alrighty.

    We don’t think that. We don’t think that might makes right. We think that ethical systems can be derived from our status as social animals, and or moral imperatives from the principles of social justice that are intrinsic to social living. “Might makes Right” is anathema to that principle; our social justice systems are designed, by collective human endeavour, to ensure that those who exercise power (through force, for example, or violence) are not rewarded, while those who contribute to the common weal are.

    This principle underlies democracy, for instance, which was a pagan invention, not a christian one, by the way. Moral philosophy need not be based on a theistic premise, though it can be.

    i did not make that up, and it is an objective fact,

    No, it is not an objective fact. It’s your opinion, and you are entitled to it, but equally, I am entitled to mine, and I find it highly offensive and unjust. I probably find it as offensive as you find Aiden’s lyrics.

    I have pointed out, over and over, directly and though serious thinkers, that this principle comes up against the in-built moral compass we have, but can warp it.

    Yes, I know you have. That doesn’t mean you are correct. I agree that we have an “inbuilt moral compass” but I don’t agree that it has anything to do with Divine Command. I think it evolved within us as social animals, and has developed through our cultural traditions. You disagree. Fine. But your opinion is not objective fact.

    I have pointed out, on the testimony of 100 million ghosts, cases within living memory. You have chosen, not to respond tot he serious issue, but to shoot at the messenger.

    I’m not shooting any messenger. I am not the one using inflammatory language here, you are. I am disagreeing with you, profoundly. That is not “shooting the messenger”. It’s disagreeing.

    I am saddened to see that, but at least the plain situation is out in the open for all to see. I trust that one day, your eyes will be opened to see what is going on. Good day, madam. GEM of TKI

    Well, yes, I think it is plain for people to see.

    I hope one day, we will both be able to see things from the same point of view.

    But right now, you have chosen one horn of Euthyphro’s dilemma and I have chosen the other. I prefer mine – precisely because I do not believe that Might Makes Right.

    Peace.

    Lizzie

  93. JDFL:

    Silly, little unsophisticated you!

    Don’t you know, Aiden is “really” just exposing the dangers of hooking up with a dead end brat of a boy friend? And, they are “really” just exposing the reality of that fellow with the beady eyes, cloven hooves and a red suit?

    Tut, tut!

    And silly me, indeed they have bridged the IS-OUGHT gap: we ought to do whatever we are strong enough or clever enough to get away with, especially if we can outsmart those silly ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked fundy rubes out there!

    See, Herr Schicklegruber said it all 86 years ago in Da Book, man, Da Book:

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

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

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

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

    And he got da backin’ of da Beard mon, Da Beard hisself, in he second book, and chapter de sixth:

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

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

    Silly, unsophisticated, blundering us who can’t read anything straight that is more than plain and on the level of See Spot run, Dan is the man in the van!

    KF

  94. Dr Liddle, you have done enough damage to yourself already, so I will not further reply; having more than made the case already that a worldview is different from its adherents, though the views may well hamper their ability to do the right by light of conscience and evident truth. I ask you to think, seriously, about what you are saying, and I suggest that you take some time to see why Euthyphro’s dilemma is irrelevant to the inherently good Creator God of theism — it is a grand case of the strawman fallacy and how it is often quite persuasive though highly misleading. Finally, a sad point: if it is so hard to come to terms with something as simple as a definition with multiple examples before us that is also a dominant force in the intellectual sub-culture of our civilisation, then it should be no surprise that it has been all but impossible to make real progress on more abstract and abstruse matters for so many months. Good day, again; I trust that there will be another day — hopefully soon — when we can have a more reasonable discussion. KF

  95. F/N: I should note on the strawman, a caricature divine command theory. The good is not good because it is commanded by the ultimately powerful and could be this way as well as that. Nope, we deal with the inherently good who will command the good, but also, we will SEE that this is good, on the reasonableness principles outlined by Hooker etc. Observe, Hooker is drawing not only on Paul, Jesus and Moshe, but on Aristotle, and highlights thereby just how reasonable the principles are” we wish to be well-treated by our equals in nature and so patently ought to do the same to our equals, equally made in the image of God and equally valuable. Observe, how consistently this is missed by those who object to the presentation of an IS which indeed can objectively ground OUGHT. The service of him who is Reason himself, is reasonable. The service of him who is Love himself is loving. The service of him who is The Good himself, is good.

  96. kf, at no time have I alleged that you do not separate a worldview from its adherents.

    What you are nonetheless doing, is accusing its adherents of promoting a worldview that you consider is amoral and nihilistic. Whether or not you consider those adherents themselves of being amoral and nihilistic does not alter that.

    And indeed right there, in your post, you say: “though the views may well hamper their ability to do the right by light of conscience and evident truth”.

    No, those views do not so hamper us, and I have explained exactly why. You have argued in favour of Divine Command Theory, which I, and many others, including apparently the band Aiden, reject, not because we are nihilistic or amoral, but because, ironically, we find your approach amoral.

    If we are drawn to God it is because we recognise in God what we know to be good. We do not identify as good that which we deem to be commanded by some arbitrary god. We have chosen the other horn of the Euthyphro dilemma.

    So no, I have not damaged myself. I have merely tried, in vain it seems, to help you understand that the worldview you find so alarming is not an amoral one, but one that can engender just the kind of passionate ethical conviction that you yourself display.

    And indeed, the same kind of angry indignation, except on our part, it is anger against such things as bigotry against gays, religious terrorism, sectarian murder and the imposition of religious laws on those who do not share those religious beliefs.

    But yes, I trust too that there will soon be another day when we can have a more reasonable discussion.

    Lizzie

  97. F/N 2: Finally, Dr Liddle, the false accusation: libel, is exceedingly inflammatory. By contrast, kindly explain to us what is inflammatory, as opposed to a carrying out of a reductio, step by logical step in, say, this from Hawthorne:

    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’.

  98. F/N: I should note on the strawman, a caricature divine command theory. The good is not good because it is commanded by the ultimately powerful and could be this way as well as that. Nope, we deal with the inherently good who will command the good, but also, we will SEE that this is good, on the reasonableness principles outlined by Hooker etc. Observe, Hooker is drawing not only on Paul, Jesus and Moshe, but on Aristotle, and highlights thereby just how reasonable the principles are” we wish to be well-treated by our equals in nature and so patently ought to do the same to our equals, equally made in the image of God and equally valuable. Observe, how consistently this is missed by those who object to the presentation of an IS which indeed can objectively ground OUGHT. The service of him who is Reason himself, is reasonable. The service of him who is Love himself is loving. The service of him who is The Good himself, is good.

    In that case you do not differ fundamentally from any person who is able to derive ethical principles without recourse to a god.

    In which case, you can drop your criticism of “evolutionary materialism” that it cannot form the basis for ethical principles.

    If I have a staw man here, I am delighted. But in that case so do you.

    Let’s burn them both and be done.

  99. F/N 2: Finally, Dr Liddle, the false accusation: libel, is exceedingly inflammatory.

    The “libel” in question, is in turn, a protest against your false accusation that “evolutionary materialism” that some of us espouse is immoral. If I were more inflammable than I am, I would be more inflamed :)

    I’ve already addressed this Hawthorne piece elsewhere, and I don’t have time to go through it again now. It seems to me fallacious on a great many counts.

  100. kairosfocus writes:

    Dr Liddle, you have done enough damage to yourself already…

    And:

    In short, we have a clear view of the way manipulation and rage are repeatedly, even predictably, being used to polarise, instead of actually address serious matters on the merits.

    If you are sick of such, so am I.

    And yesterday:

    For shame, Dr Liddle!

    And on the 29th:

    Dr Liddle:

    Pardon me, but I think it is you who have some explaining to do.

    I suspect that visitors to the kairosfocus home are struck by the total absence of mirrors.

  101. In short, we have a clear view of the way manipulation and rage are repeatedly, even predictably, being used to polarise, instead of actually address serious matters on the merits.

    Ironically this sums up your own attitude nicely: Ragefull, polarizing, manipulative, distracting – yet entirely predictable ;)

  102. The Aiden church-burning thing was clearly meant to portray the inevitable evils of all religious belief, without distinction. The obvious implication is that if we could all become righteous materialistic atheists, no such atrocities would be perpetrated or even conceivable. But where would that righteousness come from?

    I have some questions: Where are the atheist-inspired children’s hospitals? (By the way, as a former atheist turned evangelical Christian, I have a growing admiration of the charitable work of Catholics.) Where are the atheist “churches” where materialists congregate on a regular basis to be admonished to examine one’s deficiencies, and attempt to overcome them on a day-to-day basis? I don’t go to church to be told I’m OK, You’re OK; I go to church to be reminded that I’m not OK, and must work diligently to overcome my obviously fallen nature (with the help of You Know Who).

    Where in the Aiden videos is there anything edifying, anything admirable, anything but depravity and a hideously bad excuse for “music” displayed?

    Does Richard Dawkins really want to be associated with these clowns in his crusade against Christianity? That’s essentially his raison d’être, despite his protestations that he’s defending science.

  103. Where are the atheist-inspired children’s hospitals?

    Atheists derive their morality from sources other than theism. That doesn’t mean we derive it from our lack of belief. That would be like deriving your morality from not believing in fairies.

    There are plenty of children’s hospitals which have been created and funded by sources that are not religious – including the UK’s largest and most famous, the Great Ormond Street. This is not done in the name of atheism. It is done in the name of helping children and that is sufficient without needing divine guidance.

  104. At least GilDodgen is decent enough to keep quiet if he can’t find the courage to admit he screwed up.

    So much for that.

  105. Yet another day has passed with no retraction of Gil’s and KF’s false accusation:

    5.1.1

    champignon January 31, 2012 at 12:07 am

    kairosfocus wrote:

    Gil: a serious and sobering point, given the above. I note that we see no serious response on your expose of promotion of synagogue and church burning. KF

    Gil, kairosfocus,

    You have falsely accused Aiden of promoting synagogue and church burning. When will you retract your irresponsible accusation?

  106. Mark is right, Gil. There are plenty of secular organisation that do great work. Mark has mentioned Great Ormond Street. I’d also mention Oxfam.

    Obviously these places were not founded in the name of atheism, because, as Mark says, atheist don’t derive their morality from their atheism per se, any more than they derive it from their a-fairyism. Another example is United World Colleges, a most inspiring organisation.

    Not surprisingly, atheists don’t form “churches” on the whole, although the Unitarian Universalist church, while having Christian roots, attracts a large number of atheists who value the aspects of religion that do not include belief in a Creator god. A dear online atheist friend of mine was a lifelong UU attender, singing in the choir each Sunday, and commemorated in a UU memorial service there after his death.

    Quakers, too, offer a haven to many atheists, and they are at the forefront of a great many important and charitable ventures.

    And that is to ignore more informal gatherings of atheists, mutual help communities who serve as “church” communities for their members. I’ve known astounding acts of generosity from these atheists, as well as moral, and indeed what you would call spiritual, support.

    Clearly Gil, you were an unhappy and miserable atheist, and have found joy and meaning in Christianity. I am very glad for you. But please do not assume that all atheists are unhappy and miserable, or that it is not possible to be an unhappy and miserable atheist and become a joyful, fulfilled atheist. I have known many (not myself, because I wasn’t an unhappy or miserable Christian, nor am I an unhappy and miserable atheist!)

    Finding meaning in life is vital to happiness, but the assumption that for an atheist, life has no meaning, is a fallacious one. We do not require the belief that our lives serve the purpose of some divine being to know that our lives have purpose. We are purposeful organisms, and our natural inclination is to find meaning in the world we life in. And we find it, written in the very beauty of both its order and its chaos. And of course, in the goodness and generosity of our fellow human beings.

    Listen to Carl Sagan, or David Attenborough even, if you need evidence of that.

  107. 28 characters, four words.

    You’re doing much better with the logorreah problem.

    Now try saying, “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me.”

  108. Onlookers:

    I see the sadly revealing spin and distraction games by evolutionary materialists continued overnight. Let’s underscore a few points — I will leave it to the astute onlooker to understand why the materialists continue to be reduced to shooting at the messenger:

    1 –> At no point above, have evolutionary materialist advocates shown a foundational IS in their view that can objectively ground OUGHT. It is thus inherently amoral, which reveals it to be false as it is inescapable that we are under the government of ought. (So telling is this, that we have seen the repeated attempt to suggest that the proponents of just this view cannot recognise it from descriptions, examples and adequate definitions from 2350 years ago to current times. Telling.)

    2 –> Of course, given the implanted inner light of conscience guided reason, all men are capable of reasoning and acting morally. But, as was equally pointed out and ignored int eh rush to falsely accuse me of libel, we are finite, fallible, fallen and struggling, too often ill-willed. That means that a worldview such as evolutionary materialism — one that is inherently amoral — is liable to blind minds and dull consciences, making it not only false but dangerous. And so say the ghosts of 100 million victims of regimes deeply influenced by evo mat thought over the past 100 years.

    3 –> The result of the institutional dominance of such evo mat dressed up in the holy lab coat, is that the moral consensus of our civilisation has been sharply eroded over the past several generations, and is rapidly reaching the point where the nihilistic tendencies of such a system, will be quite evident: might and manipulation make ‘right,’ so if perceptions and feelings can be manipulated, that is all there is to morality.

    4 –> This evil, demonically manipulative music group Aiden, is a case in point.

    5 –> Of course, it is not going to be very persuasive if evil comes in blatant form, before it is strong enough to throw off masks and disguises.

    6 –> So, we are to EXPECT manipulation [remember, Herr Schicklegruber was an economic and nationalist saviour, and Lenin and Stalin et al as well as Mao et al were leaders of progress and rescue of the downtrodden workers and peasants . . . ), and the tactics of turnabout false accusation that seeks to discredit voices that challenge a rising tide of nihilism backed by an amoral worldview.

    7 --> In particular, as George Orwell exposed in his 1984 and Animal Farm novels of warning, we must expect doubletalk and the tactics of the onion: multilayered meaning, that becomes progressively plain to the initiates into ever deeper inner circles, where the price of progress is always the next bit of your conscience; and the isolation from old contexts, alienation from them, lead to unfreezing, to be fitted into new moulds as desired by the manipulators. This, BTW, is the self-same Schein model brainwashing tactic of the more destructive cults, as I had to expose 25 years ago.

    8 --> Ironically, this is a counterfeit of genuine repentance and reformation. The key issue is always going to be the integrity and transparency of the process. if you are being led by the truth in love and purity, even in the midst of painful correction, that is a good sign. If your conscience is being benumbed, and hostility is being subtly cultivated, watch out.

    9 --> A key is to ask if someone is telling you the straight truth, or is tickling your itching ears with what s/he secretly thinks you want to hear. if you are not being led to self-examination and turning from the wrong, that is a bad sign. So is the putting of darkness for light, and light for darkness, bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter, calling good evil and evil good. this comes from Isa 5 for those who don't recognise the cite.

    10 --> Once we can pick up attitudinal patterns, the second key to interpreting multi-layer, onion, inner circle manipulative, wedge apart communications, is to find plain text anchor points that serve as keys to decoding the more veiled messages.

    11 --> In this case, that is not hard to do. When confronted with the gospel Aiden responds by smearing verbal filth across it. That is a blatant wedge tactic, and it shows that the driving force is a hard-hearted, endarkened and conscience benumbed disrespectful hostility that is driven by enmity, not truth or fairness.

    12 --> Notice, the response to that, above, from defenders of evo mat thought [who are ever so quick to shoot at the messenger who contradicts them, accusing falsely of hypocrisy, libel and so forth]: quietly tip-toeing around it, or at most barely acknowledging that something is very, very, very wrong and well beyond the pale of civil discussion here.

    13 –> All the angels are on our “scientific” and “progressive” side and all and only the devils are on your side, in short. Classic Saul Alinsky rules for radicals tactics, and already, we see consciences being benumbed and minds endarkened. We are on the road to nihilism here. (And, ask yourself some pointed questions on views on several more of the hot button issues that were tossed into the pool to further poison the context of discussion.)

    14 –> Now, turn to the case of the video that is at the focus of this thread. IT BEGINS WITH A VAMPIRE-CLERGYMAN, DECORATED WITH THE CHRISTIAN CROSS. Already a demonising, stereotyping, hostility stirring caricature. (Notice, how this is never properly responded to above whenever I have pointed it out? No prizes for guessing why.)

    15 –> So, let us start with onion layer 1. Here is the devil-stereotype singing and saying — with images of burning churches and religious houses — love the way they burn your synagogues and holy books. Soon, we progress to coffers of blood money, coffins filled with war mongered dead, protecting war criminals, promoting genocide.

    16 –> Blend in a little context — this sort of manipulative communication is always high context, to exploit perceptions, attitudes and feelings — where we did have people who nominally adhered to the Christian faith doing racist things, which betrayed them as being in fundamental error. This, was shown from foundational teachings, that have been on record for 2,000 years.

    17 –> To that, of course, there is no serious response. No, we have to demonise. And, nowhere do we see the recongition of the eugenics movement and related “scientific” racism, Social Darwinism and how this is what led to major real genocides of the century past. That imbalance and refusal to acknowledge evident truth, is diagnostic.

    18 –> So, on layer 1, we are seeing strawmannising, demonising, stereotyping,and scapegoating. This invites unbridled hostility and contempt, in a context that is not calling attention to the need for evolutionary materialists to face the nihilistic tendencies in their own worldview.

    19 –> By telling contrast, let us clip another popular work, from H G Wells, in 1897, who warns in no uncertain — and unfortunately prophetic — terms, in the opening chapter (notice, how he uses his OPENING to warn his own side!) of his War of the Worlds:

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

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

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

    20 –> On layer two, we see the planting of the sequence of ideas: target — the vampire clergy, response — burn baby burn. And in case you didn’t get the motives to justify violence: blood money, war mongering, protecting war criminals, genocide. In short, the retaliation is being invited, from the new atheist movement’s lunatic fringe.

    21 –> Now, too, Aiden is the warm-up act. So, what does the big ticket speaker have to say on the target? God Delusion (clip and response can be found here on in context, and there are onward links to responses as suggested in the clip):

    Dawkins, The God Delusion: “The God of the Old Testament [= The God of Israel . . . ] is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully . . . ” [Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, Great Britain: Bantam Press, 2006, 31. Cf. Lennox- Dawkins debate, here. For a quick initial response to this sort of rhetoric, cf. CARM here and JPH of Tektonics here, here, here and here. Also cf. Vox Day's short book length critique of the new Atheists in a free to download format here. (Available from Amazon here.)]

    22 –> Unbridled hostility, with implicit antisemitism.

    23 –> That is onion layer 3. The context of the post 9/11 conflicts, led by a president of the US who happens to have been an Evangelical Christian of some adherence (and supported by a UK PM who was also an Evangelical at that point), coupled to the Evangelical support of Israel, multiplied by the perceptions of the Israel lobby, feed into some of the darkest forces on the loose in our civilisation. The vampires are further identified, and this ties into the vast pool of agit-prop that set out to demonise Bush, Blair, the war effort in the ME etc.

    24 –> Layer 4 lies in the broad-brush equation of “Fundies,” so that Bible-believing Christians are implicitly identified with IslamIST terrorists, and are deemed to be right-wing, Fascistic [FYI, Fascism was an ideology of the LEFT!!!!! Just, not so far left as Stalin, who set about labelling it as Right-wing, successfully. To begin to see this consider that Nazism is really national Socialism . . . ], theocratic, terrorists and would be tyrants oppressing the progressive movement and attacking science.

    25 –> For layer 5, let us look at the manipulators, and their agenda: who benefits by pushing the sort of stereotypes, slanders and polarisations just identified?

    26 –> Ironically, fundamentally anti-democratic, deeply secularist and materialist, elitist, manipulative, nihilistic power-brokers who have taken science captive as the point man for an evolutionary materialist agenda. Notice the sneer that those who question or object are ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.

    27 –> The likes of Aiden probably don’t begin to understand what they are fronting for, at the level of long term socio-cultural agendas. They too are simply filled with rage and are promoting somebody else’s cleverly toxic talking points. I doubt that they understand the matches they are playing with, or the conflagration that could happen as a result.

    __________

    But, dear onlooker, now you do.

    G’day.

    GEM of TKI

  109. Elizabeth: “Clearly Gil, you were an unhappy and miserable atheist, and have found joy and meaning in Christianity.”

    That’s not the impression I get from what Gil has written on this blog. He has a long paper trail in the Hang Gliding community and he edited “Hang Gliding” magazine for years. His articles and reviews were a joy to read. http://www.willswing.com/revie.....Idx=falcon or just google gil dodge hang gliding

    He was also an excellent programmer and pianist.

    His works used to be a joy to read. He certainly never slandered anybody. Then he found Jesus and look at what he writes today. It’s very Conservative Christian.

  110. Well, if his piano recordings were recorded while he was an atheist, I would agree!

    They certainly bring joy to me.

  111. I expect that it was written by Mike Meier, who is a clever fellow with an excellent command of the English language (although he still needs to learn about hyphenating two words that combine to form an adjective which precedes the modified noun).

    Heh, Gil, we have something else in common :)

  112. F/N: Just in case you missed out on the worldview agenda that — right from the very beginning — underlies what is dressed up in the holy lab coat and presented to us as scientifically grounded knowledge as sure as the law of gravity or the roundness of the earth, let me clip from an Oct 13, 1880 Darwin letter to Karl Marx’s son-in-law, in which Darwin declined to have one of Marx’s books explicitly dedicated to him:

    . . . 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.

    In short, right from the beginning, the worldview, ideological agenda was central to the whole enterprise dressed up in the lab coat, which of course is a key part of the story as to why Wallace’s turn to design oriented views pushed him into heretic status, starting 1869.

    Something more to think about . . .

    KF

  113. 113

    You are reading into the letter exactly and incorrectly what you want to read into it. Rather than Darwin supporting dressing up ideology “in a lab coat”, he is rejecting it. This is one of the reasons why Darwin would prefer not to have the book dedicated to him:

    It has, therefore, been always my object to avoid writing on religion, & I have confined myself to science.

    Thus, a separation between science and religious matters, not cloaking one within the other.

    And for what it’s worth, the book in question is The Student’s Darwin by Edward Bibbins Aveling, who became Marx’s daughter’s partner (he was already married but separated) in 1884, four years after the letter you quote.

  114. [--> NB: free-thought is an old synonym for skepticism, agnosticism or atheism]

    If it’s a synonym for all three, it’s a synonym for none, because those three words don’t mean the same thing.

    Kairosfocus, you are making a terrible habit of making an idiosyncratic and pejorative interpretation of other people’s words, and then insisting that all who interpret them differently must be “corrected”.

    “Free-thought” means what it says on the tin. It means freedom to make up your own mind, rather than accept dogma from authority.

    And when you use the word “heretic”, you might like to remember its origins and history.

  115. Point of information – whilst you are correct in asserting that “free thought” was and is a synonym for skepticism, agnosticism, or atheism, it also sometimes means just what it says – thought untrammelled, free of pre-existing conclusions

  116. Oh – I see Dr Liddle thinks/types a little faster than I do!

  117. kairosfocus — master of self-parody:

    4 –> This evil, demonically manipulative music group Aiden, is a case in point.

    He even goes a little BA77 on us with his exclamation marks:

    FYI, Fascism was an ideology of the LEFT!!!!! Just, not so far left as Stalin, who set about labelling it as Right-wing, successfully. To begin to see this consider that Nazism is really national Socialism . . .

    Someone on the ID side might want to intervene. He won’t listen to us demonic evo-mat atheists.

  118. Dear Liz,

    …the Unitarian Universalist church…

    When I was seven years old I started asking my parents about God. They were so horrified that they decided to take me to a UU “church,” obviously in an attempt to straighten me out concerning irrational thinking and the dangerous and destructive influence of religion. (My mother in particular hated Christians and Christianity with a passion.) My only memories of UU “ministry” was a bunch of academic intellectuals getting together on Sunday mornings to congratulate themselves for having high-enough IQs not to believe in God.

  119. In 1973 I discovered hang gliding, built my first glider from a kit and taught myself to fly. During the following 30 years I made approximately 1500 hang glider flights. Many hours of soaring on wings of Dacron with eagles and falcons represent some of my most precious memories.

  120. Dear Liz,

    We have much more than that in common. Anyone who likes my piano recordings can’t be all bad!

    Seriously though, although we disagree on many things, I appreciate your good character. You are consistently wrong, but consistently respectful, in my opinion. Where did that come from? I suspect it was acquired by osmosis from the Judeo-Christian culture in which you were raised.

  121. Another day has passed, and Gil and kairosfocus are still allowing their false accusation to stand.

    5.1.1

    champignon January 31, 2012 at 12:07 am

    kairosfocus wrote:

    Gil: a serious and sobering point, given the above. I note that we see no serious response on your expose of promotion of synagogue and church burning. KF

    Gil, kairosfocus,

    You have falsely accused Aiden of promoting synagogue and church burning. When will you retract your irresponsible accusation?

  122. prof Gumby:

    We all know just what “Free Thought” means as used at the relevant time. This was a rhetorical, self-congratulatory term, e.g. we may see from Am HD, “Thought that rejects authority and dogma, especially in religion; freethinking.”

    Taking in the highlighted code words, it is not too hard to see that “rationalists” saw themselves as refusing to be cowed by authority in ecclesiastical robes (meanwhile refusing to seriously and soberly assess the actual weight of the evidence on its own historical merits); meanwhile they usually were blissfully unaware of their own a priori metaphysical commitments. Just as, today’s evolutionary materialists do not recognise the a priori metaphysical commitments that hold them fast.

    It is quite clear that Darwin was a “skeptic,” at minimum some sort of vague deist, and maybe more of an agnostic, as he was prone to speaking rhetorically in a veiled manner. The context of refraining out of concern for family relationships, especially by implication his wife, is quite decisive.

    But then, at this point, I have crossed a watershed where I no longer expect Darwinist advocates to be reasonable or responsive to mere facts or to reasonable context.

    G’day

    GEM of TKI

  123. Dr Liddle:

    I am sorry, the point is that all of the above lie on a narrow spectrum, and are quite closely inter-related.

    Skeptics of the era were deists and/or agnostics or atheists; deism being an unstable view that tends to the latter, especially since Darwin. To this day, when we press atheists in a suitably serious context, they often turn out to wish to defend agnosticism, especially if they know that they do not possibly know enough to KNOW that there is no God.

    As to your accusations, given your false accusation of libel already, I take it at no weight.

    For, you have already proved yourself unable to recognise the institutionally dominant worldview of our time and civilisation — the one that likes to hide in the lab coat, whether presented in descriptive summary, or by definition or by key exemplars, from 2350 years ago, to the current time. Namely, evolutionary materialism.

    And, in case you were not paying attention, I am using the terms of others, in describing Wallace as the heretic in Darwin’s house.

    Have you taken time to look at prof Feser’s video?

    Can you tell us what Darwin scrawled in the margin of his magazine when he saw Wallace’s conclusion of 1869?

    Can you ex-lain why it is that Wallace has essentially disappeared from the commonly seen record, only now being resurrected as a corrective on the relevant history of the origin of and views on evolution as a scientific system of thought?

    Why is it that everyone has heard of origin, far fewer know of Descent of Man, and so very few know of The World of Life?

    Good day, madam

    GEM of TKI

  124. Yes, but usually that appears in a context of debates about being a “true” free thinker. I do appreciate your willingness to acknowledge that I have described the predominant historic meaning accurately.

  125. F/N; I of course am giving the key connexion of the gentleman Darwin wrote to.

  126. F/N 2: I should add that Darwin’s writings in significant part functioned by way of being an attempted rebuttal to Paley’s design arguments [though it seems to me that Paley's self replicating watch elaboration needed and needs to be cogently and fairly addressed], with natural evils playing an important role as well.

  127. Onlookers, observe again, the changing of the subject. The issue is not whether one may inherit, borrow or even conceive moral ideas out of thin air — or if we are lucky the inbuilt testimony of conscience — and think or act morally, but the objective warrant for morality on evolutionary materialist atheism. It is quite evident that advocates of evolutionary materialism are unable to objectively ground OUGHT on the ISes they are willing to accept, which leads to precisely the concerns highlighted by Plato 2350 years ago. Notice, the case in view, Aiden, is exactly a case in point of the concerns Plato raised. KF

  128. For, you have already proved yourself unable to recognise the institutionally dominant worldview of our time and civilisation — the one that likes to hide in the lab coat, whether presented in descriptive summary, or by definition or by key exemplars, from 2350 years ago, to the current time. Namely, evolutionary materialism.

    In other words, by disagreeing with you I have proved that I am wrong?

    Can you not see the circularity, here, kf?

  129. It is quite evident that advocates of evolutionary materialism are unable to objectively ground OUGHT on the ISes they are willing to accept

    No, it is not “quite evident”. It’s not even clear what you mean.

    We advocates of what you call “evolutionary materialism” are quite capable of figuring out what is ethical from what isn’t. And I’d argue, do a better job, most of the time, the poster child being the absurd religious condemnation of homosexuality.

    We, on the other hand, understand that at the heart of ethics lies the principle of the Hippocratic oath: First, do no harm. And from our need to live in social groups, the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would be treated.

    That is why we do not condemn homosexuality, and is one of the many reasons why atheists (in common with many Christians) are often so morally indignant at the so-called moral edicts from the more conservative regions of theism.

  130. 130

    Whether or not Darwin was a skeptic or an agnostic or a Church of England minister does not support your assertion that:

    right from the beginning, the worldview, ideological agenda was central to the whole enterprise dressed up in the lab coat

    You need more than Darwin rejecting a request for having a book by a “freethinker” dedicated to him.

  131. 131

    F/N; I of course am giving the key connexion of the gentleman Darwin wrote to.

    Which is rather irrelevant as it happened after Aveling’s correspondence with Darwin. Anyway, I’m happy I was able to correct the error you made about the book’s authorship.

  132. Gil, kairosfocus —
    You still haven’t retracted your false accusation against Aiden. Why is that?

  133. Dr REC, you plainly have not read what the band sings, or seriously looked at the video that is linked before shooting off dismissive talking points. Ironically, there are clips just below. KF

  134. Onlookers interested in the roots of the rise of modern liberty and democracy are directed here, as I have done ever so many times. They will find what we will not usually hear in schools today, from original sources. Let the shoot the messenger rhetoric above, in the context of what Aiden is patently up to and the obvious lack of an evolutionary materialist IS that objectively grounds OUGHT speak for itself. KF

  135. Onlookers:

    We now see a borrowed principle:

    We advocates of what you call “evolutionary materialism” are quite capable of figuring out what is ethical from what isn’t. And I’d argue, do a better job, most of the time, the poster child being the absurd religious condemnation of homosexuality.

    We, on the other hand, understand that at the heart of ethics lies the principle of the Hippocratic oath: First, do no harm. And from our need to live in social groups, the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would be treated.

    Of course, the scare quotes willfully ignore 2350 years of apt description, analysis, and from the horse’s mouth examples. But, that is just a note on tone.

    On to the meat.

    Now, let us first ask, why this maxim? (We need not bother to ask what grounding worldviews and champions have put forth the GR, that is well known in our civilisation . . . )

    What is there that makes this not just someone’s feel-good recommendation, but a real binding OUGHT?

    Where do we get the notion that our evolutionary inferiors and defectives — think here, those ever so ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked fundies of prof Dawkins — have such value that they have RIGHTS that they should expect to be treated with equality?

    Has not the very fact that some have risen to the top shown their evolutionary superiority, and does that not justify the domination or even elimination of the unfit?

    So, WHO is the neighbour to be loved and treated as oneself?

    If you doubt me on this, here is Darwin, in Ch 6 of Descent of Man, 1871, on the implications of his theory for the human future:

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

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

    And, we have this, from Ch 5:

    the reckless, degraded, and often vicious members of society, tend to increase at a quicker rate than the provident and generally virtuous members. Or
    as Mr. Greg puts the case: “The careless, squalid, unaspiring Irishman multiplies like rabbits: the frugal, foreseeing, self-respecting, ambitious Scot, stern in his morality, spiritual in his faith, sagacious and disciplined in his intelligence, passes his best years in struggle and in celibacy, marries late, and leaves few behind him. Given a land originally peopled by a thousand Saxons and a
    thousand Celts- and in a dozen generations five-sixths of the population would be Celts, but five-sixths of the property, of the power, of the intellect, would belong to the one-sixth of Saxons that remained. In the eternal ‘struggle for existence,’ it would be the inferior and less favoured race that had prevailed- and prevailed by virtue not of its good qualities but of its faults.”

    There are, however, some checks to this downward tendency. We have seen that the intemperate suffer from a high rate of mortality, and the extremely profligate leave few offspring . . .

    This is of course precisely the line of thought that crops up a few generations later as received scientific wisdom in Herr Schicklegruber’s infamous writing:

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

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

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

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

    And, if treasuring the evolutionarily unfit and/or inferior is undermining the fitness of the community of interest, does that not justify first sterilising them forcibly if necessary, then “mercifully” putting them away, so removing a burden on the society?

    And if that is the consensus of the elites and their media spin doctors and amplifiers, driven home drumbeat style, with any who dares to differ swarmed down under the media hornets, where would the community held captive to such head?

    And so, if I have enough power and cleverness to manipulate laws and policies to do that, and can propagandise enough to agree with me, does that not make what I am doing “right”?

    Do you see what happens when you have a worldview that has in it no foundational is that can ground ought objectively?

    Starting, with the value of our fellow human being that gives them rights?

    I repeat, from 1.1.2.2.6, as already pointed out Jan 29 (but of course ignored and buried under distractive comments):

    Let me put the core problem in the (dangerously fallacious) form Hume put it, pretending to a “surprise”:

    In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, ’tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given; for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it. [Hume, David (1739). A Treatise of Human Nature. London: John Noon. p. 335.]

    The gap in Hume’s thought, of course, is that he was not allowing consideration of the possibility of a worldview foundational IS that grounds OUGHT. Arthur Holmes, citing Elizabeth Anscombe, puts his finger on the problem:

    However we may define the good, however well we may calculate consequences, to whatever extent we may or may not desire certain consequences, none of this of itself implies any obligation of command. That something is or will be does not imply that we ought to seek it. We can never derive an “ought” from a premised “is” unless the ought is somehow already contained in the premise . . . .

    R. M. Hare . . . raises the same point. Most theories, he argues, simply fail to account for the ought that commands us: subjectivism reduces imperatives to statements about subjective states, egoism and utilitarianism reduce them to statements about consequences, emotivism simply rejects them because they are not empirically verifiable, and determinism reduces them to causes rather than commands . . . .

    Elizabeth Anscombe’s point is well made. We have a problem introducing the ought into ethics unless, as she argues, we are morally obligated by law – not a socially imposed law, ultimately, but divine law . . . . This is precisely the problem with modern ethical theory in the West . . . it has lost the binding force of divine commandments. [Ethics: Approaching Moral Decisions (Downers Grove, IL: 1984), pp. 70 – 72.]>/blockquote>

    In short, the foundations of our worldview must be inherently moral, or else morality cannot later be introduced on any objective foundation. And without such an objective warrant for OUGHT in a grounding IS, morals reduce to might and manipulation make ‘right.’

    Which is of course inherently amoral, and invites the sort of cynical nihilism that has been highlighted since Plato.

    In short, what the objective grounds for morality issue is about has been on the table ever since, and is quite well known. the fact-value or is-ought gap is a longstanding and well known issue.

    Just, this issue is not convenient to those who are advocating a worldview that has in it no IS that has inherently moral character that can warrant OUGHT. And of course, this points onward to the question, is the sort of is that has been put forth as warranting morality, well grounded? Namely, the inherently good and loving Creator God.

    A 101 introduction to that is here on.

    Until evolutionary materialism advocates soundly ground moral claims, the sound, fury and rhetoric that we see in a tone of high dudgeon and sneering dismissal of those who challenge whatever happens to be politically correct and fashionable just now, comes down to little more than manipulating moral feelings and perceptions, manipulation, not objective and sound calls to action.

    And, it is patent that evolutionary materialism has in it no IS that can so objectively ground OUGHT. Such advocates are reduced to borrowing and manipulating principles and feelings, ending up in the cross-hairs of the following classic prophetic woes:

    Isa 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
    who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
    who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter.

    21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
    and clever in their own sight.

    Over against such, we are aptly warned and counselled — and, pardon my citing scriptures, but I suspect that with the sort of poisonously laced strawman dismissals coming from new atheist circles (such as Aiden tellingly exemplifies) too many do not know the likes of this, from Paul’s pen:

    Eph 4:17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

    20 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness . . .

    G’day,

    GEM of TKI

  136. Ch, clever turnabout tactics, shoot at the messenger rhetoric and sneering denigration do nothing to ground OUGHT objectively on evolutionary materialist premises. Similarly, if you don’t understand that fascism is a STATIST, politically messianic system [with the messiah for the designated identity group being in effect a Nietzschean superman beyond law and morality], i.e. it is leftist, trotting out sneers does not turn your error into being correct. Notice, the Nazis were the National Socialist German [D] Workers [A], Party: NSDAP. The right, in recent times [ever since monarchy moved off the scene], has been increasingly libertarian then, at extreme, anarchist. That extreme is where you get those odd survivalist cults and self-organised militia groups from and their fulminations that there should be little or no government and especially taxes. The republican conservatives are centre-right, and your democratic-liberals are centre-left. Fascism is further left (but often made pragmatic deals with those to their right: deals with parties and industrial cartels were common, but make no mistake, the second definition of ownership is control . . . a nominal owner who has no control is a tenant of the controlling state), and communism is to the far left: the state and party becoming increasingly totalitarian, ideologically controlling everything. KF

  137. Prof Gumby:

    Have you actually read the letter? Do you not see that Darwin spoke in terms of an undermining attack being more effective, long run than a direct one, and in that context, spoke about his own actions? Do you not see that it is then legitimate to see this sort of worldview agenda implicated in the science he did? Not to mention other materials that we have that point in that direction? Just think of how he used Paley as a foil, and the background role of the issue of the problem of natural evils, in his thought. There is plainly a lot of [anti]theological agenda linked background in Darwin’s work.

    KF

    PS: Thanks for the note on Aveling’s book, I will make that adjustment.

  138. F/N: Aveling and Francis Darwin on Darwin:

    SINCE the death of our great teacher, the clergy, who denounced him aforetime with that volubility of which long practice in the art of vituperation has made them consummate masters, have claimed the illustrious dead as one of their flock . . . . those who are trying to effect a compromise between the irreconcilables, religion and scientific thought, from the Archbishop of Canterbury upwards, are assuring us that the great truths of Evolution are all in harmony with the Bible, and have been this long time embodied in more or less hidden guise in the teaching of the Church—that, in short, the discoveries of to-day are a godsend to religion, whilst less versatile thinkers had regarded them the rather as a god’s end. All this might have been passed by with pity and a sigh for something more novel. But when these same persons tell us that Charles Darwin was a religious man and a Christian, a feeling other than one of pity is ours . . . .

    [Having been invited to lunch and at the end of the meal with a Dr Büchner of Germany, withdrawing to Darwin's study, so] once we were within the walls of his study, and he was sitting in most unconventional fashion in the large, well-worn easy chair, almost the first thing he said was, “Why do you call yourselves Atheists?” . . . . It was pointed out that the Greek ? was privative, not negative; that whilst we did not commit the folly of god-denial, we avoided with equal care the folly of god-assertion: that as god was not proven, we were without god (?????) and by consequence were with hope in this world, and in this world alone . . . with point after point of our argument he agreed; statement on statement that was made he endorsed, saying finally: “I am with you in thought, but I should prefer the word Agnostic to the word Atheist.”

    Upon this the suggestion was made that, after all, “Agnostic” was but “Atheist” writ respectable, and “Atheist” was only “Agnostic” writ aggressive. To say that one did not know was the verbal equivalent of saying that one was destitute of the god-idea, whilst at the same time a sop was thrown to the Cerberus of society by the adoption of a name less determined and uncompromising. At this he smiled and asked: “Why should you be so aggressive? Is anything gained by trying to force these new ideas upon the mass of mankind? It is all very well for educated, cultured, thoughtful people; but are the masses yet ripe for it?”

    Then we asked him whether the same questions he now asked of us had not been addressed to him about the years 1859—60, when his immortal “Origin of Species” first saw the light. Many at that time had thought a greater wisdom would have been shown in only enunciating the revolutionary truths of Natural and Sexual Selection to the judicious few. Many had, as of old, dreaded the open declaration of truth to the multitudes. New ideas are always at first regarded as only for the study.

    Danger is feared if they are proclaimed abroad on the house-tops, and discussed in market-place and home. But he, happily for humanity, had by the gentle, irresistible power of reason, forced his new ideas upon the mass of the people. And the masses had been found ripe for it. Had he kept silence, the tremendous strides taken by human thought during the last twenty-one years would have been shorn of their fair proportions, perhaps had hardly been made at all. His own illustrious example was encouragement, was for a command to every thinker to make known to all his fellows that which he believed to be the truth.

    Then the talk fell upon Christianity, and these remarkable words were uttered: “I never gave up Christianity until I was forty years of age.” I commend these words to the careful consideration of all and sundry who claimed the great naturalist as an orthodox Christian . . . [Aveling, E. B. 1883. The religious views of Charles Darwin. London: Freethought Publishing Company. In reply to this, Darwin's son, Francis wrote: "Dr. Aveling tried to show that the terms "Agnostic" and "Atheist" were practically equivalent—that an atheist is one who, without denying the existence of God, is without God, inasmuch as he is unconvinced of the existence of a Deity. My father's replies implied his preference for the unaggressive attitude of an Agnostic. Dr. Aveling seems (p. 5) to regard the absence of aggressiveness in my father's views as distinguishing them in an unessential manner from his own. But, in my judgment, it is precisely differences of this kind which distinguish him so completely from the class of thinkers to which Dr. Aveling belongs."]

    I went on to remark:

    Of course, the proffered definition of “atheist” is a rhetorically convenient and somewhat tendentious one, as atheism normally is understood as the active, even aggressive, denial of the reality of God, not merely doubting it. Which is of course the reason why Francis Darwin emphasises the difference between Agnosticism and Atheism in his own onward response as cited. But, from the pen of Aveling, and the association of Dr. Ludwig Büchner, of Darmstadt, president of The International Federation of Freethinkers Congress in London on September 25th, 26th, 27th of 1881, we have a clear enough picture on Darwin’s views on Religion and how this intersected with his theory and its expected effect on the masses.

    In particular, Darwin was plainly of the view that the Christian faith is ill-founded, that there is no clear warrant for confidence in the reality of God, and that gradual scientific enlightenment would so undermine the Christian faith and theism that eventually an “enlightened” era under the name science would emerge. God’s reality would not so much be hotly dismissed but rather viewed as increasingly doubtful and irrelevant to the world of informed thought. (Cf. below.)

    This is of course the root of the patterns that are so familiar to us today, and have now become institutionalised. This is the context in which Lewontin did not hesitate to write, in his infamous 1997 NYRB article:

    To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident [[--> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . ] that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [[--> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .

    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 . . .

    And, therein lieth the rub. That is why Philip johnson’s retort is ever so apt:

    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.]

    It is time for re-thinking, starting at worldview foundation levels.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: The historic meaning of the term “freethinker” should also be underscored in the above.

  139. “Atheists are no more nor less evil or amoral than anyone else, and ugly bigotry is found on both sides. Please let’s stop.”

    Jeffrey Dahmer, a convicted serial killer and cannibal, was an atheist. Find me a religious/Christian counterpart.

    Pol Pot, Lenin, and Stalin were atheist dictators who systematically murdered millions of their own people. Find me a religious/Christian counterpart. Difficulty: The Crusades killed far fewer than these atheists did, so it’s not much of a real comparison.

    The problem is that atheists do not lay claim to any objective standard of morality. Christians may lay claim to biblical standards of morality; Muslims the Koran, Jews to the Torah, and so on.

    When you make up moral standards as you go along, you are then more evil and more amoral than those who have an objective standard to live up to. Why? Because you cannot differentiate right behavior from wrong behavior.

  140. “Atheists are no more nor less evil or amoral than anyone else, and ugly bigotry is found on both sides. Please let’s stop.”

    Jeffrey Dahmer, a convicted serial killer and cannibal, was an atheist. Find me a religious/Christian counterpart.

    Pol Pot, Lenin, and Stalin were atheist dictators who systematically murdered millions of their own people. Find me a religious/Christian counterpart. Difficulty: The Crusades killed far fewer than these atheists did, so it’s not much of a real comparison.

    Barb, I’m not going to trade genocides with you. A genocide that only kills half a million people is not less evil than one that kills 6 million people. Both religious and non-religious movements have been responsible for heinous atrocities, and I see no evidence that one is any less likely to commit such atrocities than the other. What seems to be the common factor is tribal ideology, religious, in the case of the crusaders and many others, political in the case of Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot. The nubmers of dead are irrelevant, your Jeffrey Dahmer example shows.

    And if you want a religious example of a Jeffrey Dahmer, it is not unusual for serial killers to be under the delusion that they are acting on instructions from God. Peter Sutcliffe was one. In other words, religious belief offers no protection against evil-doing, any more than atheism does. And that’s before we even consider the human sacrifices that were offered to gods.

    The problem is that atheists do not lay claim to any objective standard of morality. Christians may lay claim to biblical standards of morality; Muslims the Koran, Jews to the Torah, and so on.

    I don’t know what “objective standard of morality” means. I see nothing “objective” about the standards of morality outlined in those books – the very fact that there is more than one book is evidence that choice of book itself, must be subjective. And I don’t think those books offer good moral guidance anyway. I’d say that most atheists, who come to their ethical principles by way of figuring out what causes harm and what doesn’t, and what contributes to a contented society in which they can live happily have a way more “objective” standard. It certainly produces ethical principles on which most people can agree, regardless of cultural or religious backgrounds.

    When you make up moral standards as you go along, you are then more evil and more amoral than those who have an objective standard to live up to. Why? Because you cannot differentiate right behavior from wrong behavior.

    Except that atheists don’t “make up moral standards as [they] go along”. This is a myth, and a highly divisive one. It’s high time it was busted.

  141. Barb,

    That’s pure blind prejudice, and it completely ignores the facts. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    Unlike you, William Lobdell actually bothered to find out whether Christians behave better than atheists. He describes his findings in his book Losing My Religion:

    It was discouragingly easy — though incredibly surprising — to find out that Christians, as a group, acted no differently than anyone else, including atheists. Sometimes they performed a little better; other times a little worse. But the Body of Christ didn’t stand out as morally superior. Some of my data came from secular institutions such as the Pew Research Center and the Gallup Poll, but the most devastating information was collected by the Barna Group, a respected research company run by an evangelical Christian worried about the health of Christianity in America. For years, George Barna has studied more than 70 moral behaviors of believers and unbelievers. His conclusion: the faith of Christians has grown fat and flabby. He contends that statistically, the difference between behaviors of Christians and others has been erased. According to his data and other studies, Christians divorce at about the same rate or even at a slightly higher rate than atheists. White evangelical Christians are more racist than others. Evangelicals take antidepressants at about the same rate (7 percent) as others. Non-Christians are more likely to give money to a homeless or poor person in any given year (34 percent) than are born-again Christians (24 percent). Born-again Christians are taught to give 10 percent of their money to the church or charity, but 95 percent of them decline to do so. The percentage of Christian youth infected with sexually transmitted diseases is virtually the same as the rate among their non-Christian counterparts. Ronald J. Sider, a professor at Palmer Theological Seminary and an evangelical, covers a lot of these statistics and more in his 2007 book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience.

    “Whether the issue is divorce, materialism, sexual promiscuity, racism, physical abuse in marriage, or neglect of a biblical worldview, the polling data point to widespread, blatant disobedience of clear biblical moral demands on the part of people who are allegedly are evangelical, born-again Christians,” Sider writes. “The statistics are devastating.”

    …And I already knew that the majority of Catholics ignored some of the church’s basic teachings. A recent poll co-sponsored by the National Catholic Reporter found that the majority of America Catholics believed they did not have to obey church doctrine on abortion, birth control, divorce, remarriage or weekly attendance at Mass to be “good Catholics”. Catholic women have about the same rate of abortion as the rest of society, according to a 2002 study by Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. And 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women have used a modern method of contraception, according to a 2002 national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    I just couldn’t find any evidence within Protestantism or Catholicism that the actions of Christians, in general, showed that they took their faith seriously or that their religion made them morally or ethically better than even atheists.

    Losing My Religion, pp. 204-207

  142. I was talking with my son (18) about this over lunch at Starbucks (our weekly treat, before grocery shopping). He made the point that in his peer group, the most conscientious tended to be the ones who took religion seriously, whether to adopt it or explicitly reject it. He thought that the less conscientious (the ones who cared less about doing the right thing) were both nominal theists or not-really-thought-about-it ones.

    I think he has a point. It’s not religion that makes people moral so much that morality causes some people to subscribe to religion and some to some other ethical system.

    Sadly, ideology itself – people trying to act in the name of what they think is right – often leads to atrocities.

    Theism is not immune, nor is political or national ideology. And a heck of a lot of it has to do with our drive for power. I’m trying not to mention testosterone.

  143. Liz,

    I’m trying not to mention testosterone.

    But not trying very hard. Must be the estrogen. :-)

  144. Matter and energy could not admit of any REAL morality. You and me can derive any nice ‘golden rules’ etc, social living good behaviors, whatever. So what? It’s just atoms in motion. No matter how deeply nested the system is.

  145. butifnot:

    Matter and energy could not admit of any REAL morality… It’s just atoms in motion.

    What’s the missing ingredient that would make ‘REAL morality’ possible?

  146. By its nature, the concept we’re talking about, ‘REAL morality’, would have to come externally from our ‘system’ (universe) to be real in the sense that it actually exists – like harm, honor, compassion, hatred – morals – are REAL things. And the concept is interactions between collections of atoms (persons, although at most living things – I don’t think we’re going to talk about moral rocks). The players in the game can’t all define their own relationships with each other, there has to be an ‘official’. An objective – and that means REAL in this case, I think – rule about interactions in the system have to come from outside the system.

  147. Barb

    Lizzie has made most of the relevant points but let me stress that this argument from numbers of people killed is daft. The question is does religion make people less evil? Leaders both religious and otherwise have massacred in large numbers throughout history. The 20th century despots just had more opportunity – more people to kill and more resources to do it.

    Do you really think the first Crusaders stopped massacring the Muslims of Jerusalem because their Christian morality told them they had exceeded their quota?

  148. It is quite evident that advocates of evolutionary materialism are unable to objectively ground OUGHT on the ISes they are willing to accept

    No, it is not “quite evident”. It’s not even clear what you mean.

    It’s not ‘quite evident’ – It’s self evident.

    We advocates of what you call “evolutionary materialism” are quite capable of figuring out what is ethical from what isn’t. And I’d argue, do a better job, most of the time, the poster child being the absurd religious condemnation of homosexuality.

    We, on the other hand, understand that at the heart of ethics lies the principle of the Hippocratic oath: First, do no harm. And from our need to live in social groups, the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would be treated.

    That is why we do not condemn homosexuality, and is one of the many reasons why atheists (in common with many Christians) are often so morally indignant at the so-called moral edicts from the more conservative regions of theism.

    That’s rich. But what you think and I think just don’t matter, objective is the point. You say do no harm I say do as you like – which one is true?

  149. Onlookers:

    Observe the consistent refusal to ask, what is the foundational IS that can objectively ground OUGHT, given the problem that if it is not there at the foundation of the worldview, it will not enter later, thanks to what is it called, Hume’s guillotine?

    Of course, though Barb has identified some extremes, and we all need to reckon with the impact of implanted conscience on restraining from full acting out, the trends that a worldview that is inherently amoral will naturally open up, are not heading where we need to head. This is a concern that has been on the table since Plato, and the case in view in this thread, Aiden, is yet another case in point on why.

    And, the issue on the impact of religious affiliation on morality is not that of whether one names X or Y as religion, but the actual living out of discipleship as a lifestyle.

    The classic reply to the sort of flawed or misleading studies above, is the remark by was it Rev Jesse Jackson, that if one were walking down a dark street in a tough part of town late at night, and four hulking young men suddenly turned up behind you, you would be greatly relived to learn that they were just now coming out of a Bible study.

    KF

  150. Kindly see the discussion here above. Do, forgive a mangled block quote.

  151. We’re not talking about bacteria right? I’m curious now about when in the course of evolution were morals created? As systems became more deeply nested and there were more outputs when did morality begin? And why in the materialist framework ‘morals’ are related to living things only, if they are? How about animals today, are some pre-moral, some developing morality? Not that they have to go that way, evolution is unguided after all. If everything went extinct but one individual would the golden rule exist anymore?

  152. It is quite evident that advocates of evolutionary materialism are unable to objectively ground OUGHT on the ISes they are willing to accept

    No, it is not “quite evident”. It’s not even clear what you mean.

    It’s not ‘quite evident’ – It’s self evident.

    Not to me.

    We advocates of what you call “evolutionary materialism” are quite capable of figuring out what is ethical from what isn’t. And I’d argue, do a better job, most of the time, the poster child being the absurd religious condemnation of homosexuality.

    We, on the other hand, understand that at the heart of ethics lies the principle of the Hippocratic oath: First, do no harm. And from our need to live in social groups, the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would be treated.

    That is why we do not condemn homosexuality, and is one of the many reasons why atheists (in common with many Christians) are often so morally indignant at the so-called moral edicts from the more conservative regions of theism.

    That’s rich. But what you think and I think just don’t matter, objective is the point. You say do no harm I say do as you like – which one is true?

    Of course what you and I think matter. Both of us agree that we should try to do no harm, right? It’s just that some people, instead of figuring out what causes harm, turn to some arbitrarily chosen book, and if it says “do not have homosexual sex” decide that trumps “do no harm”. In other words, their subjective choice of allegedly morally authoritative book trumps the self-evident precept that enables do as you would be done by, which is then is undermined by this arbitrary edict.

  153. By its nature, the concept we’re talking about, ‘REAL morality’, would have to come externally from our ‘system’ (universe) to be real in the sense that it actually exists…

    Do you think that the rules of poker came from outside of the universe, or is it just that we don’t play REAL poker?

  154. kf, there is no “consistent refusal” to address this question. It has been addressed repeatedly, you just don’t accept the answer.

    It is perfectly possible to derive the golden rule – do as you would be done by, from the simple need of humans to live harmoniously in groups as social animals.

    It does not require the assumption of a Divine Creator to figure out. It is objectively true that if that rule is maintained, we all benefit from the resulting benefits of peaceable society. That’s why we formulate laws – formal and informal – based on it, and punish, in various ways, those who transgress them, in order to maximise compliance with it, and minimise harm caused by those who transgress it.

    In other words, your insistence that an a-theistic world view is inherently amoral is simply wrong, as we have shown over and over again.

    Yet you repeatedly make the same false claim.

  155. Dr Liddle, Have you not noticed the reference to 2350 years worth of the history of ideas as a point of comparison, which has been repeatedly highlighted in this very thread, complete with pointers to where one can get no less than five from- the- horse’s- mouth exemplars, including institutions of science and of science education? (With two or three others in the near vicinity, one a Nobel Prize holder.) In short, I have not appealed circularly and question-beggingly to my own presumed authority, but have (again) given a pointer to evidence that — repeatedly –has not been adequately reckoned with; that is, any circles involved are informative, not vicious. On the other hand, you have tried to dismiss by pointing to the man rather than the merits, which, ironically IS question-begging as well as an implied ad hominem. Please, think again. KF

  156. KF,

    …if one were walking down a dark street in a tough part of town late at night, and four hulking young men suddenly turned up behind you, you would be greatly relived to learn that they were just now coming out of a Bible study.

    Not if you were homosexual.

    On the other hand, you would be relieved to learn that they were just coming out of a Richard Dawkins lecture — regardless of your sexual orientation.

  157. And kairosfocus hasn’t retracted his false accusation against Aiden, either.

    The irony is that his own behavior is yet more evidence that there is no correlation between being a Christian and behaving morally.

  158. Onlookers:

    MF, unfortunately appeals to exactly the conflation of “Religion[s]” that plays so central a role in Aiden’s smear tactics, as was pointed out and corrected above.

    The evidence, with millions of cases in point currently and across time — obvious, save to the jaundiced — is that serious commitment to God, rooted in penitence, consistently has life-transforming effects.

    Right now, I am dealing day to day with a murderer, who is a shining case in point. And, this is not exactly the first murderer I have known whose life has been transformed by penitent faith in God through the risen Christ, leading to discipleship.

    The refusal to acknowledge easily accessible evidence of transformation, of literally millions, is absolutely telling, and trips a huge red warning flag.

    GEM of TKI

  159. EL, this could be the worst defense of the moral-materialism position ever. 23.1 and 24.1 really make the case against you.

  160. Witty, but not true.

  161. I’m not seeing it. You don’t seem to have addressed my points at all.

  162. Sadly probably not true. You probably would be more frightened by the Richard Dawkins crowd.

    That’s why the kind of stuff that I’m reading from kf on this thread makes me so cross. It’s sheer scare-mongering – stoking fear of “the other”.

    Whereas it is perfectly true that gangs of people self-identifying as Christians have stalked and murdered homosexuals, abortion providers, non-Christians, and Christians of some other denominations.

    I am not aware of any incident of Dawkins supporters doing anything like this.

  163. KF,

    The evidence, with millions of cases in point currently and across time — obvious, save to the jaundiced — is that serious commitment to God, rooted in penitence, consistently has life-transforming effects.

    Evidently those “life-transforming effects” aren’t always positive, as you and Gil have demonstrated with your religiously motivated, dishonest accusation against Aiden.

  164. Dr Liddle,

    Pardon, but I find the above unacceptable. I must ask, how many times do you have to be confronted with the direct statements, that:

    a: it is a specifically foundational Judaeo-Christian belief that all men have implanted conscience-based principles of morality, part of how we are morally governed? (Have you read Hooker’s argument used by Locke as he grounded principles of liberty, which has been ever so often cited, even in this thread?)

    b: It is also similarly a foundational Judaeo-Christian understanding that we are all finite, fallible, morally struggling and too often ill-willed? thus, we all face the challenge to live up to the principles we know or should know.

    c: thus also it is a foundational principle, that we are called to turn f4rom the wrong to the right, seeking God’s help to walk in the right?

    Accordingly, and as has been repeatedly pointed out in the teeth of the rhetoric of the loaded and ad hominem laced strawman that has appeared ever so often in this thread, the issue is not whether atheists can think or feel or even act morally.

    So can all men of sound mind.

    That is what makes us morally responsible.

    The problem with evolutionary materialism, as repeatedly highlighted — and just as repeatedly ignored, brushed aside, distorted and even angrily dismissed — is that it has no foundational IS that can objectively ground OUGHT. Once no such IS is in the foundations, it cannot then later arise in the system.

    Consequently such materialism erodes the basis for moral consensus and insight, if left unchecked, at individual, institutional and cultural levels alike.

    For, as thinkers have known since Plato, it — by strong tendency — leads to radical relativisation of morality and to the rise of the de facto principle that might and manipulation make ‘right,’ and so by manipulation of the community one changes even core morality. for there is nothing more to it than community and personal sentiment, in the end.

    Thus, such an ideology, agenda and underlying worldview, pose moral hazards to our civilisation. And, as Kant’s categorical imperative reminds us, morally unsound behaviours have destructive, chaotic consequences for a civilisation.

    As we can see in the case of Aiden, and all around us in our current age.

    Which is the root reason for the polarisation this thread exhibits, and the tone of accusation against those who are pointing out what is after all pretty easy to show: unless the foundations of a worldview warrant OUGHT, then there will be no is that will by magic emerge later on to objectively warrant OUGHT.

    We need to do some serious rethinking about where our civilisation is headed, why.

    GEM of TKI

  165. We’re not talking about bacteria right? I’m curious now about when in the course of evolution were morals created? As systems became more deeply nested and there were more outputs when did morality begin? And why in the materialist framework ‘morals’ are related to living things only, if they are? How about animals today, are some pre-moral, some developing morality? Not that they have to go that way, evolution is unguided after all. If everything went extinct but one individual would the golden rule exist anymore?

    I’ll give you my opinion, for which there is some good experimental evidence.

    I think several things go into the mix.

    One is living in social groups.
    One is what we call “theory of mind” capacity – the ability to see what something looks like from another’s point of view (literally and more abstractly), and probably starts from the capacity to understand where another individual is looking. There is evidence that our closest primate relatives have this capacity in some measure.
    One is language – the capacity to reify, abstract concepts, for example, rules of behaviour, by means of symbolic representation.
    One is empathy, which probably goes with a long child rearing period.
    One is the capacity for goal directed behaviour, i.e. planning capacity. Again, we share this with our nearest primate relatives.

    As you say, evolution is unguided, in the sense that it doesn’t have a goal (but not unguided in the sense of not having a “groove” as it were), so it’s possible that some species may develop more advanced morality, while others may go the other way, if going the other way happens to promote the perpetuation of the population.

    However, being able to live in cooperative groups has proved a huge advantage for our own species, so it may well prove the same for others, in which case, morality may well emerge in those other species. There is some indication that this may be happening in some primates who seem to practice “punitive” action against “cheaters”.

  166. Ch: The very comparison of core morality to a game that we arbitrarily set up the rules for, makes the point. Morality is most important exactly at those times and places where there is not a consensus like we can look up in the rules of Poker. And, evolutionary materialism starts from matter, energy, space and time, and sees chance and necessity as successively evolving such from hydrogen to humans. Along that line, what foundational IS is there that warrants OUGHT beyond might and manipulation of sentiments and perceptions? the answer is obvious, and sadly portentous. KF

  167. Dr Liddle, the case you need to answer was presented above this morning, here. KF

  168. Dr Liddle, no, you are suggesting rules for cooperation among those who do not have disproportionatre power. This has no grounds for ought that are beyond might and manipulation make right. As has been repeatedly pointed out, explained, and grounded, but ignored. KF

  169. KF,

    Pardon, but I find the above unacceptable.

    We find your refusal to retract your false accusation against Aiden unacceptable.

    The problem with evolutionary materialism, as repeatedly highlighted — and just as repeatedly ignored, brushed aside, distorted and even angrily dismissed — is that it has no foundational IS that can objectively ground OUGHT.

    Neither does theism. Theists and atheists are in the same boat — we have to use our minds to decide what is right and wrong.

    Theists don’t get off the hook by appealing to an outside authority. As I put it on another thread:

    …suppose that we did somehow obtain certain knowledge of what God wants us to do. We would still have to ask ourselves, “Is it morally right to do what God is asking me to do, or am I morally obligated to disobey?” For example, who among us would fail to ask ourselves that question if God asked us to kill one of our children, as he supposedly asked Abraham?

    It comes down to individual judgment. Each of us is responsible for his or her moral decisions, and we can’t pass the buck to any external authority — not even to God.

  170. Ch: that is now plainly an outright lie: willfully stating what is objectively false and should be known to you to be false in disregard of the truth and hoping to profit by its being taken as truth; insisted on in the teeth of abundant correction. I repeatedly have taken time to show (just one link . . . ) just what Aiden is doing, which is utterly beyond the pale of decency and is a calculated multi-layered smearing of the Christian church (having caricatured Christian clergymen as vampires hoping to profit from blood money, war mongering and protection of war criminals, also promoting genocide — all there in the videos and lyrics folks) in the context of dismissing the gospel by smearing verbal filth over it and an invitation to violence against the church and the gospel. What is astonishing is that you and ilk seek to obfuscate the indefensible. Thanks for making my point for me, and thanks for letting me know for sure that you have no proper regard for the duty of care to the truth — but then, might and manipulation make ‘right’ don’t they, on your evident worldview. Good day. KF

  171. You are saying absolutely nothing here. This is a deep fundamental issue. All of this talk is an absolute not-answer to ought-is. And what is success? Sheer number, perpetuation of the population. Perhaps we would be more ‘successful’ if we didn’t live in cooperative groups but some iron fisted coercive society or whatever, who knows. Everything you’re saying is totally relative.

  172. KF,

    The very comparison of core morality to a game that we arbitrarily set up the rules for, makes the point.

    Yes. It makes my point, which is that butifnot is wrong when he writes:

    By its nature, the concept we’re talking about, ‘REAL morality’, would have to come externally from our ‘system’ (universe) to be real in the sense that it actually exists… An objective – and that means REAL in this case, I think – rule about interactions in the system have to come from outside the system.

    That is no more true of morality than it is of poker.

    Along that line, what foundational IS is there that warrants OUGHT beyond might and manipulation of sentiments and perceptions?

    See my comment here.

  173. The truth is, just for one example of the sort of manipulation of moral sentiments you are appealing to in disregard of truth or fairness, is that the Shepherd murder used to smear Christians as murderous towards such, was utterly misrepresented (and the Dirkheising case was suppressed.) You cannot soundly answer, so you smear. And this is the second time in a few minutes I have had to deal with this sort of atmosphere poisoning from you.

  174. Again, Dr Liddle, kindly address the real issue, here. KF

  175. Dr Liddle,

    Pardon, but I find the above unacceptable.

    What, specifically, “above” do you find “unacceptable”?

    kairosfocus, as I’ve said, I appreciate your sincerity on this, but I do think you are massively missing a very important point, which several people have made to your repeatedly, and which you do not seem even to acknowledge. And I do notice that you seem to reply in stock phrases, which recur in most of your posts, and suggest that you may have given up listening, and think only, like the proverbial Englishman abroad, that if only he speaks louder, surely the natives will understand!

    No, we don’t understand. Your words make no sense to us, and betray no evidence that you have actually listened to the points being made, whether or not you agree with them. Let me take your post piece by piece:

    I must ask, how many times do you have to be confronted with the direct statements, that:

    a: it is a specifically foundational Judaeo-Christian belief that all men have implanted conscience-based principles of morality, part of how we are morally governed? (Have you read Hooker’s argument used by Locke as he grounded principles of liberty, which has been ever so often cited, even in this thread?)

    b: It is also similarly a foundational Judaeo-Christian understanding that we are all finite, fallible, morally struggling and too often ill-willed? thus, we all face the challenge to live up to the principles we know or should know.

    c: thus also it is a foundational principle, that we are called to turn f4rom the wrong to the right, seeking God’s help to walk in the right?

    Accordingly, and as has been repeatedly pointed out in the teeth of the rhetoric of the loaded and ad hominem laced strawman that has appeared ever so often in this thread, the issue is not whether atheists can think or feel or even act morally.

    And, as I have repeatedly said, I know it isn’t (for you). I am not accusing you of saying that atheists cannot be moral. I know you think they can be. I have never said that you think they can’t be. What you are saying however, is that the “evolutionary materialism” we promote, promotes an amoral worldview. This is what we dispute. So please address the rebuttals we are making to this claim of yours, instead of assuming that we are rebutting a case you have not made!

    So can all men of sound mind.

    That is what makes us morally responsible.

    Well, in your view. Obviously not in ours. We don’t think conscience was implanted by God, but evolved as part of our evolution as language-using primates living in social groups.

    You disagree. Fine. But do not mistake the fact that we differ in how we account for the origins of our moral sense for a difference in acknowledging that such a moral sense exists. We do acknowledge it, and we do not promote a worldview that is amoral. Quite the contrary. Many of us promote a worldview that is deeply moral, even though our moral precepts tend to result, on some issues, of different ethical conclusions, one, of course, being homosexuality.

    The problem with evolutionary materialism, as repeatedly highlighted — and just as repeatedly ignored, brushed aside, distorted and even angrily dismissed — is that it has no foundational IS that can objectively ground OUGHT. Once no such IS is in the foundations, it cannot then later arise in the system.

    And so – dare I say, like a drumbeat ;) – you repeat this assertion. I’m not exactly sure what it means, but whatever it means, the fact is that your conclusion is false. We are perfectly capble of grounding our oughts – in the principles that enable us to live harmoniously in groups as social animals, and rear our young to take their role in a harmonious society. We do not need to posit a Creator God to do this, although it may enable us to recognise a good God if we find such a God.

    Consequently such materialism erodes the basis for moral consensus and insight, if left unchecked, at individual, institutional and cultural levels alike.

    And, as I have repeatedly tried to explain, it does no such thing.

    For, as thinkers have known since Plato, it — by strong tendency — leads to radical relativisation of morality and to the rise of the de facto principle that might and manipulation make ‘right,’ and so by manipulation of the community one changes even core morality. for there is nothing more to it than community and personal sentiment, in the end.

    Well, I don’t think Plato thought that, but if he did, he was wrong. It doesn’t. As I pointed out earlier – and I don’t think you addressed it, though I may have missed it – the underlying basis of Divine Command Theory is the principle that Might makes Right – if the omnipotent declares something to not to be a sin, it is not, regardless of how heinous it is to any right-thinking mortal. Hence the idiocy of Craig’s defence of Yahweh’s command to the Israelites to murder the Canaanites. Might does not equal Right, even if the Might is the Might of the AlMighty. If Yahweh is real, he is evil. Fortunately I don’t think he’s real, but even if you were to prove he was, I would not worship him. That’s because I derive my ethics and my sense of morality not from the alleged word of some desert deity called Yahweh, but from the basic principles that allow us to live together in peace. I will recognise Christ as God, but I will not recognise Yahweh. Indeed, with Jesus, I quote the psalmist: “ye are gods”. Yes, we are. We know good from evil. But not, IMO, because a Divine Creator implanted that knowledge in us, or, worse, because some ancestral woman stole an apple, but because we’ve evolved that way. Possibly because an all-loving omnipotent God created a universe in which such a species would evolve, but I don’t find that a necessary premise.

    Thus, such an ideology, agenda and underlying worldview, pose moral hazards to our civilisation. And, as Kant’s categorical imperative reminds us, morally unsound behaviours have destructive, chaotic consequences for a civilisation.

    No. The moral hazards facing us are bigotry and selfishness IMO. And both theists and atheists, sadly, are equally prone to both. It’s part of the human condition, of course. But at least atheists don’t start from the assumption that a creator God thinks that some of us are worthy of eternal damnation.

    As we can see in the case of Aiden, and all around us in our current age.

    No, “we” don’t see that. What I do see is a stubborn refusal on your part to retract a specific, but unfounded, allegation, that proved false, that Aiden were promoting church-burning. They were condemning it. You really need to retract that, because it is clearly wrong, as I think you yourself now see, except that you now are offended because they were accusing theists of church-burning, and you think this is unfair. Maybe it is. But it’s happened. And worse. Religion has a heavy charge-sheet, as do all ideologies. That’s the point of the Aiden lyrics.

    Which is the root reason for the polarisation this thread exhibits, and the tone of accusation against those who are pointing out what is after all pretty easy to show: unless the foundations of a worldview warrant OUGHT, then there will be no is that will by magic emerge later on to objectively warrant OUGHT.

    And you are wrong about this, as I have yet again explained.

    We need to do some serious rethinking about where our civilisation is headed, why.

    Yes indeed. It is high time we got rid of these silly barriers that set up those we disagree with as enemies of society, and sought common ground instead of differences.

    I hope you agree.

    Lizzie

  176. Dr Liddle, again, I have again and again put a basic bhallenge to objectively ground OUGHT on evo mat premises. You plainly cannot, or you happily would have. That points to a serious moral hazard. Why are you resorting to shooting at the messenger instead of dealing with it? Have I not pointed out, repeatedly, that we all struggle morally and need to address this issue? Have I not pointed out repeatedly that all of us are capable of moral action, but must restrain our tendencies to act otherwise, and in that general context, have pointed out the problem of worldviews that do not help? And, have you seriously read what I have specifically cited with approval from Bernard Lewis, using that to argue towards onward reformation? Since when does doing such translate into fear-mongering and the like? Sorry, I find you here guilty of insisting on a smear. Please stop it, and then seriously grapple with the worldview issue and the problem posed by Aiden and the like. KF

  177. KF,

    Ch: that is now plainly an outright lie: willfully stating what is objectively false and should be known to you to be false in disregard of the truth and hoping to profit by its being taken as truth; insisted on in the teeth of abundant correction.

    Got a mirror handy?

    I repeatedly have taken time to show just what Aiden is doing, which is utterly beyond the pale of decency and is a calculated multi-layered smearing of the Christian church…
    [snip remainder of rabid fulmination]

    A lie doesn’t become the truth just because you dislike the people you’re lying about.

    You accused Aiden of promoting synagogue and church burning in their song Hysteria:

    Gil: a serious and sobering point, given the above. I note that we see no serious response on your expose of promotion of synagogue and church burning. KF

    The lyrics of the song indicate just the opposite:

    Love how they burn your synagogues
    Love how they torch your holy books
    Filling coffers with your grief
    Filling coffins with your misery
    Faith holding outright criminals safe
    This is just the world we live in
    Can you justify the pain
    The death of fiction will save us all

    Your accusation is false. That makes you a liar, a hypocrite and an embarrassment to Uncommon Descent.

    …but then, might and manipulation make ‘right’ don’t they, on your evident worldview.

    No, and the fact that you keep insisting that they do is just one more lie.

  178. You are saying absolutely nothing here. This is a deep fundamental issue. All of this talk is an absolute not-answer to ought-is.

    It seems like an answer to me.

    Perhaps you need to rephrase the question?

    And what is success? Sheer number, perpetuation of the population. Perhaps we would be more ‘successful’ if we didn’t live in cooperative groups but some iron fisted coercive society or whatever, who knows. Everything you’re saying is totally relative.

    You are confounding the purpose of an individual, or of a collective, for the teleonomy of evolution.

    Let’s take a less contentious subject as an example. Why do we enjoy sex? The answer, from an evolutionary perspective is: “because individuals able to enjoy sex were more likely to seek it, and so had more offspring, who inherited the capacity to enjoy sex, than those who enjoyed it less.” But that does not answer the question as to why we, as individuals enjoy sex, which might be: “because it gives me and my partner physical pleasure and confers a sense of closeness and affection”.

    In other words, we have the “teleonomic” purpose of sex on the one hand (the reason it evolved) and the teleogic purpose of sex (what we as individuals seek from it).

    Same with morality, but it’s easier to get confused. We can say that morality evolved because populations in whom a moral sense was more acute and ethics better codified were less likely to go extinct, and individuals with a drive towards altruism were less likely to be rejected from the tribe to die.

    But that only answers the teleonomic question. The teleologic question “why do we seek what is right, rather than simply what suits us at the time” has a quite different answer. We do not share the teleonomic project of evolution – we are purposeful beings, and when we pursue what is right, we have our own goals, which may, sometimes, not even be for the perpetuation of our genes or of our species, if we determine that is may be more ethical for us to do something else. That, for instance, is why many couples choose not to have children, or to limit the size of their families – for moral reasons.

    And I think this may be at the heart of the misunderstanding, now that I come to think of it. The idea that “survival of the fittest” must mean that it is right that the fittest survive; that the fact that our “genes” are “selfish” means that we should be; the fact that we evolved to have good cheater detection systems means that it isn’t “really” wrong to cheat.

    This is fallacious, IMO. Acknowledging that we evolved to have a moral sense and the capacity to construct justice systems and ethical frameworks, and to reify good and evil does not mean that these things are not objectively real. They are as real as anything is.

    And that is why the charge that materialism is amoral is false. Yes, we believe that the universe is amoral, and “pitiless” as Dawkins says, but that doesn’t mean that people are, just as the fact that we are all made of fundamental particles does not mean that we do not exist as organisms with properties far different from the fundamental particles of which we are made.

    I hope that may have shed some light on your question.

  179. you are suggesting rules for cooperation among those who do not have disproportionatre power.

    I’m suggesting that such rules are common sense, and do not rest on the assumption of a creator God.

    This has no grounds for ought that are beyond might and manipulation make right. As has been repeatedly pointed out, explained, and grounded, but ignored.

    No. You have repeatedly asserted it, but you have not explained it, and I have not ignored it. In fact I have repeatedly offered a rebuttal, only be to told that I have failed to accept your correction.

    And you have completely failed to show how: if God commands it, it is good, even if it is a command to genocide, is not an appalling example of the principle that “Might makes Right” sitting right there at the heart of your religious “moral” system.

    Morals derived from the claimed authority of a religious text is, I would argue, not morality at all, but an abnegation of moral responsibility.

    Whereas morals derived from an understanding of the way in which harmonious societies function automatically mandates (i.e. makes an “ought”) the shouldering of our own moral responsibilities for the good of our fellow human beings, and perhaps allows us to extend that principle to beyond our own species.

  180. Lizzie and Champignon

    Are you going for the record for sustaining a debate with KF? I am gobsmacked by your patience and perseverance.

  181. Dr Liddle, again, I have again and again put a basic bhallenge to objectively ground OUGHT on evo mat premises. You plainly cannot, or you happily would have.

    I have done so repeatedly, kf, several times in the last hour.

    I am not shooting at any messenger. I am trying to respond to people’s posts, including yours.

    As for my charge of fearmongering, what is this:

    Thus, such an ideology, agenda and underlying worldview, pose moral hazards to our civilisation. And, as Kant’s categorical imperative reminds us, morally unsound behaviours have destructive, chaotic consequences for a civilisation.

    if not fear-mongering?

    For the last time, I hope, kf: an atheist worldview does NOT entail the belief that Might Makes Right.

    On the contrary, some theistic views do, including yours, apparently (as you defended Craig). It justifies, apparently, some christians in saying: our Mighty god said that homosexuality is evil so we it is right for us to condemn it.

    No, it isn’t because Might doesn’t make Right. What makes right is empathy, altruism and social justice, because those are the principles that promote harmonious society in which human beings, as social animals, can thrive and be content.

  182. We do it for the onlookers. :-)

  183. “Barb, I’m not going to trade genocides with you. A genocide that only kills half a million people is not less evil than one that kills 6 million people. Both religious and non-religious movements have been responsible for heinous atrocities, and I see no evidence that one is any less likely to commit such atrocities than the other. What seems to be the common factor is tribal ideology, religious, in the case of the crusaders and many others, political in the case of Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot. The nubmers of dead are irrelevant, your Jeffrey Dahmer example shows.”

    The bottom line is that your conclusion that atheists are no more amoral or evil than believers has been thoroughly disproven by historical facts.

    “And if you want a religious example of a Jeffrey Dahmer, it is not unusual for serial killers to be under the delusion that they are acting on instructions from God. Peter Sutcliffe was one. In other words, religious belief offers no protection against evil-doing, any more than atheism does. “

    No. My point was that Dahmer committed his crimes while an atheist. Find a cannibal serial killer who committed his crimes while also being a practicing Christian. I’m not discussing mental instability at all.

    “And that’s before we even consider the human sacrifices that were offered to gods.”

    That is a non sequitur. It is a logical fallacy which proves nothing.

    “I don’t know what “objective standard of morality” means.”

    Really? An objective standard is one that is set (so to speak) in stone. Surely you can define morality.

    Therefore, an objective standard of morality is one that is written down and is easily available for anyone to read. An example might be a corporate policy of ethics (my company has one) or a holy book.

    “ I see nothing “objective” about the standards of morality outlined in those books – the very fact that there is more than one book is evidence that choice of book itself, must be subjective.”

    No. The point is that there a standard to live by. The point is that you have moral guidelines, rather than being guided by your own (or someone else’s) feelings.

    “And I don’t think those books offer good moral guidance anyway. I’d say that most atheists, who come to their ethical principles by way of figuring out what causes harm and what doesn’t, and what contributes to a contented society in which they can live happily have a way more “objective” standard. “

    Please find a Bible and read the Golden Rule. Now please explain how living one life’s in accordance with that rule is not good moral guidance.

    Here’s another example. Rape is a crime punishable by over a year in prison, making it a felony. It is also a crime of power and violence. Society has laws in place that punish rapists. Why? Because society considers it a very bad thing.

    However, there is a book that suggests that rape is simply a mechanism by which genes are spread (its title is, I believe, “The Natural History of Rape”). Its authors suggest that rape isn’t really all that bad, evolutionarily speaking.

    Now, Ms. Liddle: is rape bad or good? Right or wrong?

    “It certainly produces ethical principles on which most people can agree, regardless of cultural or religious backgrounds.”

    Can you provide an example of an ethical principle that is founded on atheism?

    “Except that atheists don’t “make up moral standards as [they] go along”. This is a myth, and a highly divisive one. It’s high time it was busted.”

    Google ‘moral relativism’. Or ‘secular humanism.’ It’s not a myth, it’s reality.

    Champignon: “That’s pure blind prejudice, and it completely ignores the facts. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

    Why? I used ‘historical documents’ that are available to anyone to make my case. I have nothing to be ashamed of, champignon, because I’m only repeating what history has told us. Deal with it.

    “Unlike you, William Lobdell actually bothered to find out whether Christians behave better than atheists. He describes his findings in his book Losing My Religion: His conclusion: the faith of Christians has grown fat and flabby.”

    Taking antidepressants has nothing to do with morality, so that is a non sequitur. I would agree that not all Christians behave in the manner in which Christ instructed them to do. My argument is that at least they have a source for moral guidance, whereas atheists do not.

    This research is interesting, but does it cover the 10,000 groups who claim to be Christian? Surveys are only as good as the people who take the time to answer them.

    “Whether the issue is divorce, materialism, sexual promiscuity, racism, physical abuse in marriage, or neglect of a biblical worldview, the polling data point to widespread, blatant disobedience of clear biblical moral demands on the part of people who are allegedly are evangelical, born-again Christians,” Sider writes. “The statistics are devastating.”

    Evangelical born-again Christians =/= all those who claim Christianity as their religion.

    This is a narrow sampling that fails to include other groups whose moral behavior may be better than that of atheists.

    “…And I already knew that the majority of Catholics ignored some of the church’s basic teachings…”

    See above. Catholics do not represent all of Christianity.

    “I just couldn’t find any evidence within Protestantism or Catholicism that the actions of Christians, in general, showed that they took their faith seriously or that their religion made them morally or ethically better than even atheists. Losing My Religion, pp. 204-207”

    Firstly, his sample is too narrow. He cites born-again Christians but apparently fails to admit that they are only one part of Protestantism as a whole.

    Error is something that every researcher has to deal with; respondents might not answer accurately because they don’t understand the survey question or because they don’t recall any experiences related to the question in their own lives. The survey might have suffered from prevarication bias or selection bias.

    Anyhow, your points are interesting to note, but they still do not answer my initial point of having an objective standard on which to base moral decisions.

  184. Does religion make people less evil? Ask a Buddhist monk. Or a Hindu. Or a Jehovah’s Witness, as this religion claims political neutrality.

  185. Of course, the scare quotes willfully ignore 2350 years of apt description, analysis, and from the horse’s mouth examples. But, that is just a note on tone.

    The “scare quotes” as you call them are no such thing. They merely indicate that I am quoting you. It is your term.

    What is there that makes this not just someone’s feel-good recommendation, but a real binding OUGHT?

    Where do we get the notion that our evolutionary inferiors and defectives — think here, those ever so ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked fundies of prof Dawkins — have such value that they have RIGHTS that they should expect to be treated with equality?

    What “evolutionary inferiors and defectives”?

    Has not the very fact that some have risen to the top shown their evolutionary superiority, and does that not justify the domination or even elimination of the unfit?

    No. You have made the same error as Butifnot. Rising to the top of a social pecking order is not the same as showing “evolutionary superiority”, and nor does allowing such individuals to exercise authority over others merely because s/he holds power promote a harmonious society. As I’m sure you would agree.

    So, WHO is the neighbour to be loved and treated as oneself?

    The members of the population with whom we identify. And as time goes on, and we continue to reify our ethical principles, so we expand those boundaries, so that now, unlike the past, even the recent past, we recognise all human beings as members of one great society. Or at least some of us do, and there are even increasing moves to include all sentient beings, in some sense, as our neighbours, as we increasingly discover the interconnectedness of our own species with the world it inhabits.

    And, if treasuring the evolutionarily unfit and/or inferior is undermining the fitness of the community of interest, does that not justify first sterilising them forcibly if necessary, then “mercifully” putting them away, so removing a burden on the society?

    And if that is the consensus of the elites and their media spin doctors and amplifiers, driven home drumbeat style, with any who dares to differ swarmed down under the media hornets, where would the community held captive to such head?

    No, it is not “the consensus of the elites”. Again, it is muddled thinking (even by Darwin), confounding the persistence of the species with the wellbeing of individuals.

    It certainly has nothing to do with atheism per se. And only to do with evolutionary theory inasmuch as some people have used evolutionary theory to justify immoral acts. Just as they have used religion. BTW, you do know that “The Selfish Gene” does not refer to a gene that makes us selfish? I assume so, but I discovered that some people have made that wrong connection.

    However, I will say that I think there are real ethical issues raised by our current capacity for predicting, for example, the probability of passing on genetic disorders to future children, and I think genetic counselling is sometimes right and proper, as is, sometimes, sterilisation (or at least long-term contraception) for women who might well enjoy sex but would be unable to care for a child (or be unlikely to carry a healthy child to term). Again, that’s the kind of ethical issues that a god-free morality frees us to consider thoughtfully, and which is often dismissed without thought by those with authority-derived ethical precepts.

    And so, if I have enough power and cleverness to manipulate laws and policies to do that, and can propagandise enough to agree with me, does that not make what I am doing “right”?

    No, it does not. And a non-theistic basis for morality and ethics frees us to see that. A theistic basis patently does not, as we see from the abuse of power within, say, the catholic church.

    Do you see what happens when you have a worldview that has in it no foundational is that can ground ought objectively?

    Yes, but I see that as a problem with a religious foundation that defines God as good, and what God commands as good, rather than a foundation in which good is regarded simply for what it is, and, possibly, as evidence of God, but always that way round.

    I agree we need an objective basis for deriving our ethical principles, but I argue that we get nearer to truly objective criteria for what is good by using our capacity for reason and our knowledge of what makes for a harmonious socieity that by arbitrarily adopting some allegedly divine text and arbitrarily picking a selection of precepts, many of which derive from pre-scientific ideas about the origins of disease.

  186. 186

    Liz: “Morals derived from the claimed authority of a religious text is”

    You have absolutely no understanding of Christianity. Either that, or you are willfully misleading. Moral authority comes from Jesus that which is grounded in the resurrection event.

    You clearly do not understand what objective means. Objective is not grounded in what you feel is right, or based on the warm fuzzies you experience. If you feel one way about one thing, and another person feels another way about something, than which *feeling* is objective? How is, “we evolved our objective morals,” not logically incoherent?

    What you *feel* is the right thing to do is relative.

    Here’s an example of the incoherence of your “evolved objective moral code.”

    There is a tribe in Peru called the Mashco-Piro. They are virtually untouched by modern civilization. They have “evolved” a moral code that differs from western culture. One of the differences being:

    “The Mashco-Piro live by their own social code, which Soria said includes the practice of kidnapping other tribes’ women and children.”

    Based on your atheist logic,

    1) evolution is the basis for moral code
    2) evolved moral code is objective
    3) the Mashco-Piro tribe evolved a code which allows kidnapping women and children
    4) kidnapping children is objectively moral

    You have two choices, 1)appeal to a transcendent objective moral code and denounce the tribe’s behavior and refute yourself, 2) accept that evolution has selected the kidnapping of women and children, and therefore moral code accountable by evolution can only be relative –> and therefore have the guts to follow your ideological first premise to its logical conclusion:

    Evolution can not objectively ground morality.

  187. The bottom line is that your conclusion that atheists are no more amoral or evil than believers has been thoroughly disproven by historical facts.

    No, it has not. Did you read 20.2?

    And do you honestly think it is less evil to massacre a city of 10,000 than a city of 100,000?

  188. Please find a Bible and read the Golden Rule. Now please explain how living one life’s in accordance with that rule is not good moral guidance.

    I’ve already stated that the Golden Rule is good moral guidance. Just as well that it’s in the bible, but a shame that such terrible moral guidance is in there as well.

    And you have moved the goal posts radically (I see you did see Champignon’s post).

    Catholics don’t count? People who hear voices they think are from God don’t count? Even though it did count for the Israelites who thought God was telling them to slaughter the Canaanites?

    Barb, the bible is only good moral guidance if you ignore the bits that aren’t. And the way you know how to ignore the bits that aren’t is that you are perfectly capable of figuring out what is right and wrong before you even open the book.

    Exactly the same is true of all of us, believers and unbelievers, as kairosfocus says. The only difference is that we don’t think that sense is a Divine gift, but rather something that we evolved as social animals.

  189. Liz: “Morals derived from the claimed authority of a religious text is”

    You have absolutely no understanding of Christianity. Either that, or you are willfully misleading. Moral authority comes from Jesus that which is grounded in the resurrection event.

    OK. So what was all that OT stuff about?

    You clearly do not understand what objective means. Objective is not grounded in what you feel is right, or based on the warm fuzzies you experience. If you feel one way about one thing, and another person feels another way about something, than which *feeling* is objective? How is, “we evolved our objective morals,” not logically incoherent?

    No, it is not. “Objective” means “can be concluded by independent observers”. “Subjective” means “conclusion is dependent on the subject doing the concluding”. Independent observers can agree that if we each obey the Golden Rule, we will live in a harmonious society. So it’s reasonably objective.

    What you *feel* is the right thing to do is relative.

    Here’s an example of the incoherence of your “evolved objective moral code.”

    There is a tribe in Peru called the Mashco-Piro. They are virtually untouched by modern civilization. They have “evolved” a moral code that differs from western culture. One of the differences being:

    “The Mashco-Piro live by their own social code, which Soria said includes the practice of kidnapping other tribes’ women and children.”

    Yes, and I think we have developed, culturally, a much more extended view of the human family as we have become more aware of the connectedness of us all. Sadly, we remain all too prone to defining our “Neighbour” too narrowly. That’s why I think it’s important to try to build bridges rather than barriers.

    Based on your atheist logic,

    1) evolution is the basis for moral code

    Nope. Our capacity to develop a moral code evolved. That is not the same as saying that evolution is the basis of that code. This is the error Butifnot, kf and now you have all made.

    2) evolved moral code is objective

    No, but a moral code collectively developed, and subject to continued refinement in the light of our growing understanding about how connected we all are (genetically, and economically and ecologically) is more objective than something lifted from some arbitrarily selected alleged sacred text.

    3) the Mashco-Piro tribe evolved a code which allows kidnapping women and children

    No, they developed it. So did our own ancestors. That kind of thinking is still rife in warfare in the Western world. It certainly isn’t countered by religion. Many of the most vicious wars have been between tribes fighting in the name of their own gods.

    4) kidnapping children is objectively moral

    Nope. But not objectively immoral for those who regard do not see themselves as part of a wider community beyond their own local society.

    You have two choices, 1)appeal to a transcendent objective moral code and denounce the tribe’s behavior and refute yourself, 2) accept that evolution has selected the kidnapping of women and children, and therefore moral code accountable by evolution can only be relative –> and therefore have the guts to follow your ideological first premise to its logical conclusion:

    Evolution can not objectively ground morality.

    I completely agree. Nor can quantum physics or Big Bang.

    What grounds morality is our status as social animals whose best interests are served by a harmonious and healthy society.

  190. They came from outside the game of poker, as they must.

  191. What is justice made of?

  192. Your good and evil and right and wrong are meaningless. Apparently they can change and so at different times might even contradict. Construct systems and frameworks, anything you want, again so what?

    We can say that morality evolved because populations in whom a moral sense was more acute and ethics better codified were less likely to go extinct, and individuals with a drive towards altruism were less likely to be rejected from the tribe to die.

    If the diametrically opposite to every thing you believe is moral had given social populations less chance to go extinct – we evolved differently – then that would be morality instead?

  193. 193

    Liz: “Nope. But not objectively immoral for those who regard do not see themselves as part of a wider community beyond their own local society.”

    And here is the atheist incoherence, front and center. Here you admit, that to the Mashco-Piro, kidnapping is not objectively immoral, that it is relatively immoral, all the while claiming atheism can ground objective morality.

    Why are your feelings about kidnapping children more valid than the Mashco-Piro?

    Liz: “because they do not see themselves as part of a wider community”

    By compounding the incoherent logic, if one sees themselves as part of the wider community, then morals becomes objective. How do we then, based on darwinst-atheism, decide if “seeing yourself as part of the wider community,” is more valid than “not seeing yourself as part of the wider community”?

    Let’s say life on another planet evolved to accept cultural rape. They are clearly not part of our the wider community. Let’s say their race is older than our race, by a billion years and legions smarter than our race, and there is more of them. Then by your logic, since they do not see themselves as part of the human race on earth, their actions are not objectively wrong. Rape becomes right.

  194. JDL (if I may use this abbreviation)

    I am going to try and explain this in a different way from my atheist colleagues.

    The issue of the ultimate grounding of morals comes up with tedious regularity on UD and about a million other places on the Web. I got so fed up with repeating myself on this that I wrote a series of blog posts which I could keep referring back to – the most relevant one is here. In summary the point is that there have been many objective justifications for morality (!)ranging from Aristotle through Kant to J.S. Mill – none of these three are based on a deity, others are. But in the end there is no ultimate justification possible for choosing between the objective justifications (even the theist ones). Hume was right – in the end morality is based on our common human passions – you cannot logically derive an ought from an is. But that doesn’t mean morality is trivial.

  195. Onlookers, Ch’s onward reaction shows my point. Sad, but revealing. All of the hostility and smearing of Christians — I will make a general observation shortly — are occasioned by daring to highlight that Aiden has stepped across some serious lines into the utterly indefensible, and it seems that leading new atheist prof Dawkins is quite willing to share a platform with such. I hardly need to underscore the further revelations in MF’s attitude, given that the final breach in dealing with him was under remarkably similar circumstances to what is happening with Ch.Sadly revealing. KF

  196. butifnot,

    They came from outside the game of poker, as they must.

    Outside of poker, but inside the universe. Exactly as it is for morality.

    ‘REAL morality’ doesn’t have to come from outside the universe any more than ‘REAL poker’ does.

  197. F/N: Observe how Ch utterly fails to inform us that the video in question puts the words he excerpts in the mouth of the imaged, cross-wearing vampire clergy man image, and that it goes on to say much more in the same vein of invidious associations. I have already repeatedly deconstructed the song, and its context; so we can see that all that is happening is that Ch wishes to smear me for telling the unwelcome truth about a group that responds to the Christian gospel by smearing verbal filth across it and circulating such as a ring-tone. When such a group goes on to caricature Christian clergy as vampires, that is willful demonisation. Then, when it builds a song by wishing to smear such as promoting blood money in the “coffers” and wars, protecting war criminals and genocide, we can take it that we are dealing with invidious association, stereotyping and scapegoating. In that context, putting love how the burn in such lips and following with 60′s era sepia tone footage of white police arresting a black man, is an obvious propaganda montage of accusation and invitation to the lunatic fringe in their audience to “retaliate.” All, neatly deniable. And of course, a scan of this thread will show how effective this sort of immersion in one-sided smearing of the Christian faith is: despite centuries of positive history and millions of transformed lives and uplifted communities, we do not find a single whole-hearted acknowledgement of even say a Wilberforce, or a General Booth or a Mother Teresa from objectors to the Christian faith above. The climate of smears and hostility is working. Just as it was intended by those who hope to manipulate sentiments to create just such a climate of hostility and invidious stereotyping against the Christian faith and its adherents. If that does not raise a red flag of warning, it should. KF

  198. KF,

    Suppose that the members of Aiden were the very spawn of Satan. A lie about them would still be a lie.

    Given your sanctimonious lectures on morality, how do you justify your lies? Is lying for Jesus okay in your book?

  199. Mark,

    But in the end there is no ultimate justification possible for choosing between the objective justifications (even the theist ones).

    Exactly right. That’s what I was trying to convey earlier in the thread when I wrote:

    …suppose that we did somehow obtain certain knowledge of what God wants us to do. We would still have to ask ourselves, “Is it morally right to do what God is asking me to do, or am I morally obligated to disobey?” For example, who among us would fail to ask ourselves that question if God asked us to kill one of our children, as he supposedly asked Abraham?

    It comes down to individual judgment. Each of us is responsible for his or her moral decisions, and we can’t pass the buck to any external authority — not even to God.

  200. Your accusation is false. That makes you a liar, a hypocrite and an embarrassment to Uncommon Descent.

    Well KF seems to be building up quite a record for lies and false accusations (all preserved on this site), unfortunately I suspect it will just result in EL, champ, myself and others being banned – as happened recently to DrBot after KF’s false accusations and refusal to retract – leaving the field clear for KF to continue preaching his religiously motivated hatred, fear and intolerance in the name of Intelligent Design and Christianity.

    Sad, very sad.

  201. JDFL:

    Dr Liddle is trying to imply that the Christian faith’s morality is just the arbitrary whim of the biggest and strongest form of might makes right, and of course — given the sadly revealing context of the thread — the comment fairly drips with the usual insinuations of the right-wing, theocratic, would be tyrannical rule of what Aiden so viciously stereotypes as the criminal, vampire clergy.

    She has, however, utterly failed to come to solid grips with the principles and premise of how a worldview needs to rest on an inherently moral foundation, or it will never be able to soundly and on objective warrant introduce morality, due to the infamous IS-OUGHT gap.

    In short, she is trying to pull the warrant for morality in the Christian faith, down to the level of the radical relativism and inherent amorality of evolutionary materialism (which has functioned in this thread by way of being a tangential and polarising matter distractive from the indefensible incivility of Aiden).

    She full well knows or should know, that the foundational premise of an inherently good and loving creator God is a premise that would support the existence of morality as a binding and reasonable ought, so that there is no division between God and goodness, despite what the modern attempt to resurrect the Euthyphro dilemma, so-called, would try to conclude.

    At no time has she seriously responded to, say the key observation on the implication of our being jointly made in the image of God, as cited from “the judicious [Anglican Canon Richard] Hooker” by Locke in his 2nd essay on civil govt, when in Ch 2 sect 5 he set out to ground liberty and justice in civil society:

    . . . 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]

    We see here how our being made jointly in the image of the good God, grounds core morality. And of course, the birth, life, service, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus with 500 witnesses provides a historical anchor point for just that view of God, and for a high view of the scriptures that prophesied and explained the significance of messiah and his death and resurrection, centuries ahead of time. It is unsurprising that the writings of the apostles anointed by the outpoured Spirit, would then call us as individuals, communities and civilisations, to the path of goodness. A path that is REASONABLE, as Hooker shows.

    It is then no surprise at all, to see that those who have come to repentance from dead works and faith in Christ, by the millions across twenty centuries, have been personally transformed, and that this has been one of the most important forces for good in the world.

    This is abundantly and easily shown on record. But of course, above we see the usual zero concessions policy, that pretends or suggests that the Christian faith, message and adherents have been an unmitigated disaster in the annals of history; in this context, worthy of being smeared by plastering verbal filth across the gospel and worthy of characterising Christian clergy as blood-mongering vampires. Notice, in particular the ever so revealing repeated tip toeing around the highly important balanced observation of Bernard Lewis.

    Just above, we can also see where MF, who is trained in philosophy, gives a crucial, but predictably veiled concession:

    In summary the point is that there have been many objective justifications for morality (!)ranging from Aristotle through Kant to J.S. Mill – none of these three are based on a deity, others are. But in the end there is no ultimate justification possible for choosing between the objective justifications (even the theist ones). Hume was right – in the end morality is based on our common human passions – you cannot logically derive an ought from an is . . .

    This of course reflects MF’s underlying materialism that demands that there be no baseline IS that transcends matter, energy, space, time and forces of chance and blind necessity. So, his assertion boils down to saying there is no worldview foundational IS that can ground OUGHT. So also, the “objective” systems he mentions are not grounded, on evo mat views.

    What is being systematically missed here is that there is in fact a well warranted view that does provide such a foundational IS that places us under the moral and reasonable government of OUGHT.

    This tends to sound “theoretical,” until one asks: what is a RIGHT — the foundation of democratic civil society.

    The best answer, more or less is like this: a right is a proper, binding expectation that others OUGHT to respect one’s inherent human dignity. That is, my right implies your duty, to my life, liberty, property, reputation etc. And immediately, we see the significance of principles and precepts such as thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not slander, thou shalt judge fairly etc. As well, as the core Judaeo-Christian premise that we are jointly made in the image of God.

    We can also see that when one turns his or her back on the worldview-level warrant for such an understanding of our world and ourselves, s/he then ends up in worldviews that have no foundational IS that can objectively ground OUGHT. Thence, we end up in all the wranglings and chaos implied by where that ends: might and manipulation make ‘right’ — just as Plato warned us against, 2350 years ago.

    Let me therefore cite him, again, from The Laws Bk X, as we plainly need to hear and heed his warning again:

    [[The avant garde philosophers, teachers and artists c. 400 BC] say that the greatest and fairest things are the work of nature and of chance, the lesser of art [[ i.e. techne], which, receiving from nature the greater and primeval creations, moulds and fashions all those lesser works which are generally termed artificial . . . They 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 . . .

    Notice, how for many months now, there has been no cogent answer to these concerns and warnings from the evolutionary materialist side. That should tell us a lot.

    Let us then look back on the thread above, and see it through the light of this warning.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: above, I have studiously avoided the further atmosphere poisoning games surrounding one of the latest waves of politically correct manipulation of our moral sensibilities. The thread was just plain poisonously distracted enough. For those needing to hear what the promoters of homosexualism — yes, I am saying that we are again dealing with ideological agendas — are not telling us, I suggest here as a useful beginning. (It would be wise to work through at least chapter one before making any strong conclusions, pro or con.)

  202. And immediately, we see the significance of principles and precepts such as thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not slander, thou shalt judge fairly etc.

    [Emphasis mine]

    I don’t think you see the significance of the one in bold, KF. You’re false accusation against Aiden is a slander if ever there was one.

  203. Onlookers:

    perhaps the most revealing feature of the thread above is something that is conspicuously missing. Look above carefully — remember, this is in the context of a video that smears representative Christians as blood-mongering vampires — and see if you see any serious attempt on the part of advocates of evolutionary materialism to acknowledge the positive contributions of the Christian Faith or of Christians over the centuries and down to today.

    This consistent failure, in this context, is symptomatic of the politically correct trend to manipulate sentiments to stir deep-seated hostility to the Christian faith and its adherents.

    Thus, this thread is, in the end a tellingly revealing glimpse into the agendas at work in our civilisation. and of course, Aiden simply trumpets in crude tones the smear that is being more subtly drummed out, day by day, hour by hour, far and wide.

    This is a red flag warning, if ever there was one.

    Let us take heed, lest in not too many decades hence (if that long), we begin to again repeat some of the grimmest and least excusable chapters of history; driven by the animosity of scapegoating.

    GEM of TKI

  204. Make that “Your false accusation…”

  205. Re “the animosity of scapegoating” — Again, the irony whistles right over KF’s head.

  206. Let us take heed, lest in not too many decades hence (if that long), we begin to again repeat some of the grimmest and least excusable chapters of history; driven by the animosity of scapegoating – because its all the evil atheists fault, they are the ones to blame. FEAR THEM!!!11!! HATE THEM!! CORRECT THEM WITH MR LEATHERS!!!.

    LOL – you really can’t see the irony in your own hypocrisy can you ;)

  207. F/N: Dr Liddle et al should note that when a moral hazard is real, and has been warranted, to warn of such and call for taking heed is not empty fear-mongering. Of course, there are now far too many fallacious assertions and snide or overt personal attacks above for me to respond point by point, but the very fact of that resort in the teeth of well warranted warning on an agenda exemplified by Aiden’s vampire Christian clergy caricature, and by the failure to seriously and soundly address the IS-OUGHT gap that is the root of the hazard, are quite revealing on what is really going on. KF

  208. Liz wrote:

    Barb, the bible is only good moral guidance if you ignore the bits that aren’t. And the way you know how to ignore the bits that aren’t is that you are perfectly capable of figuring out what is right and wrong before you even open the book.

    The tendency of believers to project their own morality onto God, rather than vice-versa, has been studied:

    Believers’ estimates of God’s beliefs are more egocentric than estimates of other people’s beliefs

  209. Or a secular pacifist.

    My point is that religion isn’t the common denominator here.

    And Buddhists don’t have a God figure.

  210. “No, it has not. Did you read 20.2?”

    Did you read my post? Atheism has far more bloodshed on its hands than Christianity does.

    “And do you honestly think it is less evil to massacre a city of 10,000 than a city of 100,000?”

    I think massacres are evil, period. My point—which you seem to not understand—is that Christians have a source of moral guidance that would ostensibly prevent massacres in the first place, whereas atheists do not.

    “I’ve already stated that the Golden Rule is good moral guidance. Just as well that it’s in the bible, but a shame that such terrible moral guidance is in there as well.”

    Terrible moral guidance? Examples, please. And try to give the entire context of the scriptures rather than cherry-picking ones that you don’t understand.

    “And you have moved the goal posts radically (I see you did see Champignon’s post).”

    No, I didn’t. He makes salient points. Again—Christians have a source of moral guidance whereas atheists do not.

    “Catholics don’t count? People who hear voices they think are from God don’t count? Even though it did count for the Israelites who thought God was telling them to slaughter the Canaanites?”

    Catholics count, but they are not representative of all Christianity. Surely you can figure this simple point out yourself.

    Hearing voices has nothing to do with the discussion. We’re not talking about mental illness at all. This is you moving the goalposts.

    With respect to the Canaanites, there are a few things you need to understand. Firstly, God had promised that land to Abraham and his family. The Canaanites had no rights to that land, so this destruction fulfilled prophecy.

    Secondly, we could ask: could the two tribes have coexisted peacefully? Not really. Immorality, pagan worship, and child sacrifice were widespread in Canaan. Bible historian Henry H. Halley notes that archaeologists excavating the area “found great numbers of jars containing the remains of children who had been sacrificed to Baal [a prominent god of the Canaanites].”

    He adds: “The whole area proved to be a cemetery for new-born babes. . . . Canaanites worshipped, by immoral indulgence, as a religious rite, in the presence of their gods; and then, by murdering their first-born children, as a sacrifice to these same gods. It seems that, in large measure, the land of Canaan had become a sort of Sodom and Gomorrah on a national scale. . . . Archaeologists who dig in the ruins of Canaanite cities wonder that God did not destroy them sooner than he did.”

    Thirdly, God knew long beforehand that Canaan’s inhabitants were headed in the wrong direction. Yet, instead of immediately wiping them out, he patiently allowed 400 years to pass until their error had “come to completion.”—Genesis 15:16.

    Fourthly, When the sin of the Canaanites reached the point where all hope of improvement was gone, God brought their end. Even so, he did not blindly execute all Canaanites. Why? Because not all were beyond reform. Those willing to change, such as Rahab and the Gibeonites, were shown mercy.—Joshua 9:3-11, 16-27; Hebrews 11:31.

    Fifth, the destruction of human life is not pleasant to contemplate. Really, though, it was God’s love that impelled him to take such drastic measures against the wicked. To illustrate: When a patient develops gangrene, doctors often have little choice but to amputate the infected limb. Few would enjoy performing such a procedure, but a good doctor knows that the alternative—the spread of infection—is worse. Because he cares, he carries out this unpleasant task for the good of his patient.

    Similarly, God did not enjoy destroying the Canaanites. He himself says: “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” (Ezekiel 33:11, Darby)At the same time, he purposed for the nation of Israel to produce the Messiah, the one who would open the way to salvation for all those exercising faith. (John 3:16) Thus, God simply could not allow Israel to become infected by the disgusting practices of the Canaanites. He therefore ordered the Canaanites to be cut off, or evicted, from the land. In so doing, God demonstrated outstanding love—love that moved him to perform an unpleasant task for the benefit of his faithful worshippers.

    “Barb, the bible is only good moral guidance if you ignore the bits that aren’t. And the way you know how to ignore the bits that aren’t is that you are perfectly capable of figuring out what is right and wrong before you even open the book.”

    Thomas Jefferson would agree. He wrote that ‘nature’s law’ is self-evident. Reason isn’t needed to discover it, but one simply knows it. Without an objective standard of meaning and morality, then life is truly meaningless. There would be no absolute right or wrong. Everything—from cheating on your taxes, telling a lie, or genocide—would be a matter of opinion.

    Where we differ is that I believe that the entire Bible is filled with good moral guidance as it was inspired by God. Those who don’t understand it might think the way you do.

    “Exactly the same is true of all of us, believers and unbelievers, as kairosfocus says. The only difference is that we don’t think that sense is a Divine gift, but rather something that we evolved as social animals.”

    I notice you didn’t answer my point about rape. What about it: right or wrong?

    “Lizzie has made most of the relevant points but let me stress that this argument from numbers of people killed is daft. The question is does religion make people less evil? Leaders both religious and otherwise have massacred in large numbers throughout history. The 20th century despots just had more opportunity – more people to kill and more resources to do it.

    Do you really think the first Crusaders stopped massacring the Muslims of Jerusalem because their Christian morality told them they had exceeded their quota?”

    And the 20the century despots did not have anything giving them any type of moral guidelines. Why? They were atheists! They hated religion!

    Few would deny that religion has caused much suffering. But is God at fault? No! He is no more at fault than a car manufacturer would be for an accident caused by a driver using a cell phone. Mankind’s suffering has many causes, one of which is more fundamental than beliefs. The Bible identifies it as inherent imperfection. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

    This sinful inclination tends to foster selfishness, undue pride, a desire for moral independence, and violence. (Genesis 8:21) It also causes people to rationalize and to gravitate toward beliefs that excuse wrongdoing. (Romans 1:24-27) Jesus Christ rightly said: “Out of the heart come wicked reasonings, murders, adulteries, fornications, thieveries, false testimonies, blasphemies.”—Matthew 15:19.

    At this point, a distinction must be made between true worship—that is, worship that is acceptable in God’s eyes—and false worship. True worship would help people to fight against base inclinations. It would encourage self-sacrificing love, peace, kindness, goodness, mildness, self-control, marital loyalty and fidelity, and respect for others. (Galatians 5:22, 23) False religion, on the other hand, would tend to cater to popular trends—‘tickling people’s ears,’ as the Bible says—by condoning some of the bad things Jesus condemned.—2 Timothy 4:3.

    Might atheism contribute to the same moral ambiguity or confusion? ‘No God’ means no accountability to a divine authority, as well as “no objective values which we are obligated to respect,” says law professor Phillip Johnson. Morality thus becomes relative, with each person determining his own standards—if he chooses to have any. No doubt such thinking makes atheism an appealing philosophy for some people.—Psalm 14:1.

  211. I think massacres are evil, period. My point—which you seem to not understand—is that Christians have a source of moral guidance that would ostensibly prevent massacres in the first place, whereas atheists do not.

    Shame it seems not to work in practice.

    Terrible moral guidance?

    “If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
    Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.”

    Cheap at the price, although I can’t imagine how it would work for a mail order service!

    Christians have a source of moral guidance whereas atheists do not.

    Yes indeed, see above …

    With respect to the Canaanites, there are a few things you need to understand. Firstly, God had promised that land to Abraham and his family. The Canaanites had no rights to that land, so this destruction fulfilled prophecy.

    Incorrect, God had given the land to the Canaanites, but then this guy Abraham came along, coveted the land and made up a story about how God said he could have it, and that it was OK to kill them all because … whatever, God said it was OK, OK?

    To the victors, the documenting of history – so of course all the holy documents documenting how God gave the Canaanites the land were destroyed by Abraham … ;)

    And the 20the century despots did not have anything giving them any type of moral guidelines.

    Apart from God that is :“I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord..” (Hitler)

    Of course, you get the standard ‘No true Christian’ response …

    ‘No God’ means no accountability to a divine authority

    Obviously, but it doesn’t mean no accountability.

    Of course the truth is that the bible is designed by God to be an inconsistent mess – It is a test of humanities ability to ground our morality in our own common humanity rather than in individual claims of almighty right ;)

  212. Hi Elizabeth,

    While we’re on the subject of morality, have you had a look at Professor Edward Feser’s latest post, Reading Rosenberg, Part VII in response to Professor Alex Rosenberg’s The Atheist’s Guide to Reality? It’s quite a thought-provoking piece.

    Here’s what Rosenberg writes in his book:

    There is really one bit of bad news that remains to trouble scientism. We have to acknowledge (to ourselves, at least) that many questions we want the “right” answers to just don’t have any. These are questions about the morality of stem-cell research or abortion or affirmative action or gay marriage or our obligations to future generations. Many enlightened people, including many scientists, think that reasonable people can eventually find the right answers to such questions. Alas, it will turn out that all anyone can really find are the answers that they like. The same goes for those who disagree with them. Real moral disputes can be ended in lots of ways: by voting, by decree, by fatigue of the disputants, by the force of example that changes social mores. But they can never really be resolved by finding the correct answers. There are none. (p. 96)

    [T]here is strong evidence that natural selection produces lots of false but useful beliefs. Just think about religion, any religion. Every one of them is chock full of false beliefs. We won’t shake any of them. There are so many, they are so long-lasting, that false religious beliefs must have conferred lots of adaptive advantages on believers. (p. 111)

    Natural selection sometimes selects for false beliefs and sometimes even selects against the acquisition of true beliefs. It sometimes selects for norms we reject as morally wrong. Therefore, it can’t be a process that’s reliable for providing us with what we consider correct moral beliefs. (p. 112)

    Most people are nice most of the time, and that includes nihilists. There is no reason for anyone to worry about our stealing the silver or mistreating children in our care. As for moral monsters like Hitler, protecting ourselves against them is made inevitable by the very same evolutionary forces that make niceness unavoidable for most of us. There is nothing morally right about being nice, but we are stuck with it for the foreseeable future. (p. 144)

    To the charge of being soft on crime, scientism pleads guilty. According to scientism, no one does wrong freely, so no one should really be punished. Prisons are for rehab and protection of society only. To the charge of permitting considerable redistribution of income and wealth, it must also plead guilty, and for the same reasons. (p. 299)

    Would you like to explain why you think Rosenberg’s logic is wrong?

    Here are Professor Feser’s comments:

    Scientism undermines morality because, inheriting as it does the early moderns’ “mechanistic” conception of nature (which was defined more than anything else by a rejection of Aristotelian formal and final causes), it rejects the immanent teleology and essentialism necessary to making sense of morality. If neither human beings nor anything else have any ends toward which they are directed by virtue of their essence, then there can be no objective basis in terms of which to define what is good and bad for us. (See The Last Superstition for the full story.) Modern atheism tends toward nihilism, then, not because of its rejection of God per se, but because it is typically grounded in scientism…

    From a Thomist perspective, Feser also writes:

    [I]t must be emphasized that it is indeed Rosenberg’s scientism, and not his atheism per se, that entails nihilism. For morality does not depend on religion in quite the way many people suppose it does. Many religious people think of morality as essentially a set of arbitrary divine commands, so that to deny the existence of a divine commandment-giver is implicitly to deny the very possibility of morality. Atheists of the sort who populate Woody Allen movies seem to be of the same opinion. But things are not so simple. As other atheists rightly point out, if morality rested on nothing but arbitrary divine commands, then anything at all — including torturing babies just for fun, say — would be morally legitimate if God commanded it, which seems absurd.  Moreover, we would be left with no explanation of why we should obey God’s arbitrary commands in the first place.

    The only alternative to this view, these atheists think, is to acknowledge a source of morality entirely independent of God. This, of course, is the famous Euthyphro dilemma. But the dilemma is a false one – certainly from the point of view of Thomism, for reasons I explain in Aquinas . As with all the other supposedly big, bad objections to theism, this one rests on caricature, and a failure to make crucial distinctions. First of all, we need to distinguish the issue of the content of moral obligations from the issue of what gives them their obligatory force. Divine command is relevant to the second issue, but not the first. Second, it is an error to think that tying morality in any way to divine commands must make it to that extent arbitrary, a product of capricious divine fiat.  That might be so if we think of divine commands in terms of Ockham’s voluntarism and nominalism, but not if, following Aquinas, we hold that will follows upon intellect, so that God always acts in accordance with reason.  Third, that does not entail that what determines the content of morality and God’s rationale for commanding as He does is in any way independent of Him. I have elaborated upon all of this in an earlier post, to which the interested reader is directed. The point to emphasize for now is that though there is a sense in which God is the ultimate ground of morality (if only because he is the ultimate ground of everything), the proximate ground of morality is human nature, or at least human nature as understood in light of a classical (and especially Aristotelian) essentialist and teleological metaphysics.  And human nature — and thus, at least to a large extent, morality — would be what they are even if, per impossibile, God did not exist (just as the periodic table of the elements would be what it is even if, per impossibile, God did not exist). This too I have explained at greater length in Aquinas, and in another earlier post.

    Would you care to comment on this passage? Will you at least acknowledge that theists are not bound to accept a capricious moral code?

    Interestingly, you seem to accept a form of teleology which you refer to as teleonomy. It sounds a lot like what Feser would call intrinsic finality, as opposed to extrinsic finality, which makes explicit appeal to a Designer. As you are well aware, though, Aquinas (of whom Feser is a great fan) believed that even the existence of intrinsic finality in Nature was sufficient to establish the existence of God. (Aristotle’s view was different.)

    However, Aquinas (and Aristotle) were both firmly convinced that moral norms could be derived from a knowledge of a being’s intrinsic ends, whose existence you apparently acknowledge. The atheist philosopher Philippa Foot thought likewise: she believed that we could build morality on a foundation of natural goodness. I wrote about her ethical views in a post entitled, Death of a grande dame: can we build morality on the foundation of natural goodness? .

    What are your thoughts on the matter, Elizabeth? If you accepted Foot’s line of argument, you would have to also accept the truth of some form of essentialism, the existence of objective moral norms, and the possibility of deriving “ought” from “is”. However, you seem to reject this view of morality in favor of one based solely on the Golden Rule, interpreted in a way that makes personal preferences normative (“Do as you would be done by” entails some form of altruism). You also write above that the evolutionary purpose of a biological process, such as sex (which is roughly equivalent to what Aristotle would call its natural purpose or end) is not morally binding on us, and that what matters ethically is the purpose we choose to imbue it with.

    It’s been said that Aristotle, Kant and Hume (who influenced Bentham) were the only three thinkers in history with anything genuinely original to say on the subject of morality. In whose camp do you find yourself, and why? If, as I suspect, you find yourself in the utilitarian camp, how do you avoid the nastier implications of a consistent utilitarianism – e.g. that there is no act, however vile, that we may not be required to do, if it proves to be conducive to the greatest happiness of the greatest number? For an appalling example of this kind of thinking, please see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vPW4aZ0BUI .

    Dr. Sam Harris says that pushing an innocent man into the path of an oncoming train is OK, if it is necessary in order to save a greater number of human lives. I’d recommend that you have a look at this online critique of Sam Harris’ utilitarianism, from a secular perspective: http://robephiles.hubpages.com.....of-Science .

    If you cannot bring yourself to be an Aristotelian atheist, what’s stopping you from becoming a Kantian, Elizabeth? That would be far preferable to sinking into the ethical quagmire of utilitarianism.

    Thoughts?

  213. GCUGreyArea weighs in: “Shame it seems not to work in practice.”

    So you are asserting that you have proof that no Christian anywhere follows biblical standards of morality?
    Oh, of course you don’t. You don’t have knowledge of all Christians.

    Your baseless assertion is noted and summarily dismissed.

    “Terrible moral guidance?
    “If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
    Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.”
    Cheap at the price, although I can’t imagine how it would work for a mail order service!”

    Didn’t we already cover this? Yes, we did, in another thread. Did you miss that discussion?

    “Yes indeed, see above …”

    Taking scriptures out of context and claiming that it’s terrible moral guidance only exposes your ignorance. Nothing else.

    “Incorrect, God had given the land to the Canaanites, but then this guy Abraham came along, coveted the land and made up a story about how God said he could have it, and that it was OK to kill them all because … whatever, God said it was OK, OK?”

    And your proof for this is…where?

    “To the victors, the documenting of history – so of course all the holy documents documenting how God gave the Canaanites the land were destroyed by Abraham … ”

    Proof. Evidence is required when positive assertions are made. Got any?

    “Apart from God that is :“I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord..” (Hitler)”

    Hitler didn’t like religion or Christianity in particular but he was savvy enough to know that he needed to control religion in Germany in order to better wield power over the people.

    “Obviously, but it doesn’t mean no accountability.”

    Accountability to what, exactly?

    “Of course the truth is that the bible is designed by God to be an inconsistent mess – It is a test of humanities ability to ground our morality in our own common humanity rather than in individual claims of almighty right ”

    Your ill-formed opinion is so far off the mark it’s laughable.

  214. Barb,

    Click here for an illustration of how to use block quotes in your comments. It will make your comments much more readable!

  215. Onlookers:

    Alinsky, rules for radicals — resort to toxic mockery (and turnabout, distractive accusations) instead of actually addressing a serious issue on its merits. Utterly revealing of the underlying irresponsibility on display from evolutionary materialists, from the OP’s expose on.

    In short, inadvertently, GCU manages to underscore the point on the significance of the is-ought gap faced by such materialists.

    Passing by for a moment.

    KF

  216. Dr Torley, well said, as usual. KF

  217. Liz: “Nope. But not objectively immoral for those who regard do not see themselves as part of a wider community beyond their own local society.”

    And here is the atheist incoherence, front and center. Here you admit, that to the Mashco-Piro, kidnapping is not objectively immoral, that it is relatively immoral, all the while claiming atheism can ground objective morality.

    Why are your feelings about kidnapping children more valid than the Mashco-Piro?

    Liz: “because they do not see themselves as part of a wider community”

    By compounding the incoherent logic, if one sees themselves as part of the wider community, then morals becomes objective. How do we then, based on darwinst-atheism, decide if “seeing yourself as part of the wider community,” is more valid than “not seeing yourself as part of the wider community”?

    Again, you miss my entire point.

    There is no entirely objective way of figuring out what is right and what is wrong. However, we can, collectively, as human beings, try to figure out sets of rules that promote a harmonious society. Obviously if we define that society very narrowly, we will find ourselves permitting atrocities on populations that we do not consider part of our own society.

    And, over many millenia, as a human community, we have, repeatedly, grounded our morality in the Golden Rule, because that rule tends to promote harmonious societies; we have alos, increasingly, broadened our concept of what our society consists, moving, mostly, from a kind of tribal morality to a more global morality, and even, these days, concern for species other than our own.

    And we can see this progression in the bible itself – the old testament is full of “tribal” morality, in which what benefits the Israelites is portrayed right, even if it means kidnapping and enslaving the woman and children (sometimes slaying the children) of other tribes – in other words, exactly the morality you say the Mashco Piro had.

    In the New Testament, and in later rabbinic sources, we find the Golden Rule articulated, and Jesus is reported as going out of his way to include gentiles in his notion of society. Nonetheless, Christians have frequently regarded non-Christians as fair game, including Jews and Muslims, and even each other.

    Positing some “objective” morality “out there”, and defined by some deity may sound very fine, but it is absolutely no use as a grounding for ethics. We are all, theist or atheist, in the end, responsible for our own decisions, and shifting the burden or responsibility for those decisions on to some sacred text is a cop-out.

    Even if, as a theist, I hear a voice from God telling me to do something, that does not make it right – I have to use my own discernment to figure out whether the voice is really from God or not. If someone hears a voice they think is from God telling them to murder prostitutes (as Peter Sutcliffe did), Christians (Barb in this case) say, oh that man was psychotic, that doesn’t count. But, apparently, if an Israelite hears a voice they think is from God telling them to massacre, kidnap or enslave the Canaanites – apparently that’s not psychotic.

    Where is “objective” the moral standard here? It’s simply barbarous nonsense, and fortunately I don’t think anyone here (not even William Lane Craig) would defend a modern war criminal who pleaded that s/he was obeying God’s command.

    We know they weren’t because we know that war crimes are evil. How? Not because the bible tells us so, for sure. And not because God tells us (or not through the bible anyway). All we have is what we can figure out, with help from the wisdom of our fellow human beings.

    Which is exactly what atheists have. No more, no less. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best we can do, and hugely better than claiming some notional “objective” morality that is, unfortunately, unavailable in any unambiguous form.

    Dr Liddle is trying to imply that the Christian faith’s morality is just the arbitrary whim of the biggest and strongest form of might makes right, and of course — given the sadly revealing context of the thread — the comment fairly drips with the usual insinuations of the right-wing, theocratic, would be tyrannical rule of what Aiden so viciously stereotypes as the criminal, vampire clergy.

    My comments “drip with” absolutely nothing, kf. Please stop reading what isn’t there, and do me the courtesy of actually reading what is.

    She has, however, utterly failed to come to solid grips with the principles and premise of how a worldview needs to rest on an inherently moral foundation, or it will never be able to soundly and on objective warrant introduce morality, due to the infamous IS-OUGHT gap.

    This “IS-OUGHT” mantra is becoming increasingly opaque. I thought I had an idea of what you meant by it, but by now I simply have no idea. It seems to have become nothing more than a slogan.

    Morality is the term we give to the domain of human decision-making that deals with the conflict between what benefits us personally, now, and what may benefit other people, now, or in the future.

    When such conflicts arise, we use the verb “ought” as in “I’d like to do this but I ought to do that”. There are many factors that contribute to such conflicts, but “IS” seems to me a totally inadequate way to describe them, and a totally incoherent way to summarise this complex domain of human decision-making.

    Human beings, whether theist, or atheist, derive their sense of what they ought to do from all kinds of influences, including their upbringing, and the cultural traditions of their society; their inbuilt capacity to empathise with others – to see things from another’s point of view, and even “feel their pain” (quite literally, sometimes); and their capacity, through their language function, to reify ideals like “justice” and “love” and “trust”.

    Those factors contribute to the human sense that there are things we “ought” to do, even when we would “like” to do something else. That’s the foundation of morality. Then we have to deal with ethics – what are the things we “ought” to do?

    Religion may help, but it’s not the only source of guidance, and, is, I would argue, a potentially dangerous source if we regard it as license to simply follow the rules in a sacred text, rather than figure out what our collective sense of human justice requires.

    And it worries me deeply that some people are still, on this board, attempting to defend the indefensible (the alleged war crimes allegedly ordered by an alleged deity) on the one hand, yet castigating the “evolutionary materialists” (quotes because it is not my term) for promoting amorality and nihilism.

  218. Thanks for your post vjtorley. First of all, I should say that I’m not terribly interested in “isms” because I don’t find that categorising belief systems, or, worse, labeling people with them, is terribly useful. I don’t think I’m a “scient-ist” though I am, of course a “scientist”, so I don’t have a lot to say about your Rosenberg quote. But I’ll have a go:

    Hi Elizabeth,

    While we’re on the subject of morality, have you had a look at Professor Edward Feser’s latest post, Reading Rosenberg, Part VII in response to Professor Alex Rosenberg’s The Atheist’s Guide to Reality? It’s quite a thought-provoking piece.

    Here’s what Rosenberg writes in his book:

    There is really one bit of bad news that remains to trouble scientism. We have to acknowledge (to ourselves, at least) that many questions we want the “right” answers to just don’t have any. These are questions about the morality of stem-cell research or abortion or affirmative action or gay marriage or our obligations to future generations. Many enlightened people, including many scientists, think that reasonable people can eventually find the right answers to such questions. Alas, it will turn out that all anyone can really find are the answers that they like. The same goes for those who disagree with them. Real moral disputes can be ended in lots of ways: by voting, by decree, by fatigue of the disputants, by the force of example that changes social mores. But they can never really be resolved by finding the correct answers. There are none. (p. 96)

    I would tend to agree that there are no “correct” answers to many moral dilemmas. Sometimes there is simply a choice between two evils, and one has to try to choose the lesser evil. Science can sometimes help (for example, by shedding light on the question as to what kind of suffering alternative courses of action might lead to) but I don’t see that it can provide inerrant answers, not least because the equation may be rather different in different cases. That’s what makes moral dilemmas so difficult.

    If you are interested, you might like to read my mother’s book, The Harm We Do, in which she tackled a number of thorny ethical dilemmas encountered in medical practice, from the point of view of a catholic doctor. The original title of her book was “The Cross of Unknowing” which was a play on words to make the point that ethics is “about what to do when we don’t know what to do” and the burden it places on those responsible for those decisions.

    [T]here is strong evidence that natural selection produces lots of false but useful beliefs. Just think about religion, any religion. Every one of them is chock full of false beliefs. We won’t shake any of them. There are so many, they are so long-lasting, that false religious beliefs must have conferred lots of adaptive advantages on believers. (p. 111)

    Natural selection sometimes selects for false beliefs and sometimes even selects against the acquisition of true beliefs. It sometimes selects for norms we reject as morally wrong. Therefore, it can’t be a process that’s reliable for providing us with what we consider correct moral beliefs. (p. 112)

    Most people are nice most of the time, and that includes nihilists. There is no reason for anyone to worry about our stealing the silver or mistreating children in our care. As for moral monsters like Hitler, protecting ourselves against them is made inevitable by the very same evolutionary forces that make niceness unavoidable for most of us. There is nothing morally right about being nice, but we are stuck with it for the foreseeable future. (p. 144)

    I’m not at all sure what is meant by “natural selection” here. It seems very muddled.

    To the charge of being soft on crime, scientism pleads guilty. According to scientism, no one does wrong freely, so no one should really be punished. Prisons are for rehab and protection of society only. To the charge of permitting considerable redistribution of income and wealth, it must also plead guilty, and for the same reasons. (p. 299)

    I do find it very annoying when people anthropomorphise abstract nouns. I don’t know what scientism is charged with that means that it has to plead guilty. I wish the guy would just say what he means.

    But I would agree that punishment as retribution doesn’t make a lot of sense. As deterrence, physical prevention, rehabilation and reparation, it does. I’d like to see justice systems focus on those, and drop the retributative element.

    Not because people aren’t morally responsible for their actions, but because holding them so seems part of reparation and rehabilation (and, to some extent, deterrence) to me. Retribution seems a throwback to me.

    Would you like to explain why you think Rosenberg’s logic is wrong?

    Well, I have said what my view is. I don’t see a lot of logic, so I haven’t commented on it.

    Here are Professor Feser’s comments:

    Scientism undermines morality because, inheriting as it does the early moderns’ “mechanistic” conception of nature (which was defined more than anything else by a rejection of Aristotelian formal and final causes), it rejects the immanent teleology and essentialism necessary to making sense of morality. If neither human beings nor anything else have any ends toward which they are directed by virtue of their essence, then there can be no objective basis in terms of which to define what is good and bad for us. (See The Last Superstition for the full story.) Modern atheism tends toward nihilism, then, not because of its rejection of God per se, but because it is typically grounded in scientism…

    Well, I think that is simply fallacious. I don’t think we need to appeal to “essence” to hold people morally responsible for their actions. And it seems to me his argument is based on that premise.

    From a Thomist perspective, Feser also writes:

    [I]t must be emphasized that it is indeed Rosenberg’s scientism, and not his atheism per se, that entails nihilism. For morality does not depend on religion in quite the way many people suppose it does. Many religious people think of morality as essentially a set of arbitrary divine commands, so that to deny the existence of a divine commandment-giver is implicitly to deny the very possibility of morality. Atheists of the sort who populate Woody Allen movies seem to be of the same opinion. But things are not so simple. As other atheists rightly point out, if morality rested on nothing but arbitrary divine commands, then anything at all — including torturing babies just for fun, say — would be morally legitimate if God commanded it, which seems absurd.

    I certainly agree with that, which is why I find Divine Command Theory, as articulated by Craig, not just absurd, but immoral. Fortunately, most theists don’t accept that theory.

    Moreover, we would be left with no explanation of why we should obey God’s arbitrary commands in the first place.

    Precisely.

    The only alternative to this view, these atheists think, is to acknowledge a source of morality entirely independent of God. This, of course, is the famous Euthyphro dilemma. But the dilemma is a false one – certainly from the point of view of Thomism, for reasons I explain in Aquinas . As with all the other supposedly big, bad objections to theism, this one rests on caricature, and a failure to make crucial distinctions. First of all, we need to distinguish the issue of the content of moral obligations from the issue of what gives them their obligatory force.

    Yup.

    Divine command is relevant to the second issue, but not the first. Second, it is an error to think that tying morality in any way to divine commands must make it to that extent arbitrary, a product of capricious divine fiat. That might be so if we think of divine commands in terms of Ockham’s voluntarism and nominalism, but not if, following Aquinas, we hold that will follows upon intellect, so that God always acts in accordance with reason. Third, that does not entail that what determines the content of morality and God’s rationale for commanding as He does is in any way independent of Him. I have elaborated upon all of this in an earlier post, to which the interested reader is directed. The point to emphasize for now is that though there is a sense in which God is the ultimate ground of morality (if only because he is the ultimate ground of everything), the proximate ground of morality is human nature, or at least human nature as understood in light of a classical (and especially Aristotelian) essentialist and teleological metaphysics. And human nature — and thus, at least to a large extent, morality — would be what they are even if, per impossibile, God did not exist (just as the periodic table of the elements would be what it is even if, per impossibile, God did not exist). This too I have explained at greater length in Aquinas, and in another earlier post.

    Would you care to comment on this passage? Will you at least acknowledge that theists are not bound to accept a capricious moral code?

    Some seem to be. Some aren’t. I don’t think Feser is right to say that Euthyphro’s dilemma is not a dilemma, I think he, with Aquinas, simply comes down on the other horn – we recognise God’s will (if we call it that) because we know that if we make a reasonable decision then it will be in accord with God’s will, not the other way round. In which case, atheists (I’m not going to comment on scientism – I’m not sure what is meant) are just as capable of making reasonable moral decisions, they just don’t call them God’s will.

    I would agree with Feser on this: “…though there is a sense in which God is the ultimate ground of morality, the proximate ground of morality is human nature”. That’s pretty well what I’ve been trying to say, except of course that that means that we do not have to accept that God is the ultimate ground of marlity in order to base our morality, proximately, in human nature.

    Interestingly, you seem to accept a form of teleology which you refer to as teleonomy.

    I accept both teleology and teleonomy, the first denoting the purpose conceived by a conscious agent in taking a particular course of action, often using an object for a particular purpose e.g. a tool to achieve an goal; and the second denoting the intrinsic function a feature of an entity serves in promoting the continued existence (persistence) of that entity. Thus my heart serves the teleonomic purpose of keeping me alive; my fingers serve the teleologic purpose of enabling me to type this post. I do not intentionally use my heart to stay alive, yet it serves that purpose; I do intentionally use my fingers to type this post. This is why Monod distinguished between the two, and I think it is an important distinction.

    It sounds a lot like what Feser would call intrinsic finality, as opposed to extrinsic finality, which makes explicit appeal to a Designer. As you are well aware, though, Aquinas (of whom Feser is a great fan) believed that even the existence of intrinsic finality in Nature was sufficient to establish the existence of God. (Aristotle’s view was different.)

    However, Aquinas (and Aristotle) were both firmly convinced that moral norms could be derived from a knowledge of a being’s intrinsic ends, whose existence you apparently acknowledge.

    Not sure what intrinsic ends are. But I do agree that ethical principles (possibly what you mean by moral norms) can, and must, take into account the purposes other people entertain for themselves, and in turn, for others. That is why, for example, most societies forbid stealing – if I steal my neighbour’s goods, my neighbour’s purposes are frustrated. I don’t know if that’s too proximate for you :) But similarly, if I steal my neigbour’s husband, or her hopes, the same applies. We are teleological beings, as well as social beings, and if we are to live together harmoniously, we must respect each other’s autonomy – their purposes – as we do our own. Which boils down to love, of course.

    The atheist philosopher Philippa Foot thought likewise: she believed that we could build morality on a foundation of natural goodness. I wrote about her ethical views in a post entitled, Death of a grande dame: can we build morality on the foundation of natural goodness? .

    What are your thoughts on the matter, Elizabeth? If you accepted Foot’s line of argument, you would have to also accept the truth of some form of essentialism, the existence of objective moral norms,

    I don’t know what is meant by “objective moral norms”.

    and the possibility of deriving “ought” from “is”. However, you seem to reject this view of morality in favor of one based solely on the Golden Rule, interpreted in a way that makes personal preferences normative (“Do as you would be done by” entails some form of altruism).

    Yes, of course it does. I’m not seeing your point. And I still don’t know what people mean by this phrase “deriving ‘ought’ from ‘is’”. Can you unpack it for me?

    You also write above that the evolutionary purpose of a biological process, such as sex (which is roughly equivalent to what Aristotle would call its natural purpose or end) is not morally binding on us, and that what matters ethically is the purpose we choose to imbue it with.

    It’s not that it’s “not morally binding”. It’s that it’s morally irrelevant. That’s why we have to distinguish teleonomy from teleology. But yes, what matters ethically is the purpose we make of it.

    It’s been said that Aristotle, Kant and Hume (who influenced Bentham) were the only three thinkers in history with anything genuinely original to say on the subject of morality. In whose camp do you find yourself, and why? If, as I suspect, you find yourself in the utilitarian camp, how do you avoid the nastier implications of a consistent utilitarianism – e.g. that there is no act, however vile, that we may not be required to do, if it proves to be conducive to the greatest happiness of the greatest number?

    I’m probably closest to a utilitarian, except that I don’t think “the greatest happiness of the greatest number” is defensible. I hope I would be one of The Ones Who Walked Away From Omelas (a great moral tale, btw, by a great atheist writer). But I think only a small tweak is in order; the greatest happiness of the greatest number compatible with the misery of none. Or rather, although it sounds a little cold, but I think it is more accurate, and more elegant: the maximisation of autonomy for all. It works better than you’d think :)

    For an appalling example of this kind of thinking, please see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vPW4aZ0BUI .

    Dr. Sam Harris says that pushing an innocent man into the path of an oncoming train is OK, if it is necessary in order to save a greater number of human lives. I’d recommend that you have a look at this online critique of Sam Harris’ utilitarianism, from a secular perspective: http://robephiles.hubpages.com…..of-Science .

    That’s a classic question, and a lot of work has been done on it. It turns out that while most people would rather see fewer people killed than more, they would balk at taking action that would result in the death of someone who would otherwise have lived in order to save the lives of people who would otherwise die.

    I find that kind of highly contrived ethical dilemma distracting, because it leaves out the risk evaluation part of decision-making which is of immense importance. I guess occasionally, particularly in war time, people really do have to make those decisions. Churchill allegedly deliberately failed to warn the people of Coventry of an impending air attack because to do so would have betrayed to the Germns the fact that the Enigma code had been cracked. I don’t know whether Churchill did right or wrong, and we can never know, because we can’t run the counter-factual, and in any case, most people would agree that the untimely death of anyone is an infinite tragedy, and so summing deaths doesn’t really work.

    But I don’t think any moral philosophy gives us answers to that kind of dilemma – in fact I think that by decontextualising them, it makes them unsolvable, when in fact they are solved, for better or worse, by people who have to make, literally, life or death decisions as part of their jobs. But I guess if it came down to it, and I was forced to choose between two evils with no other information other than that one involved evil to more people than the the other, I guess I’d go with the little I had, and choose the smaller number of casualties. Who wouldn’t? In real life, I mean?

    If you cannot bring yourself to be an Aristotelian atheist, what’s stopping you from becoming a Kantian, Elizabeth? That would be far preferable to sinking into the ethical quagmire of utilitarianism.

    Thoughts?

    Well, as I said, I don’t know my isms, so I can’t answer your question. But I guess I’ve given you some clues as to my position :)

    And I still have a soft spot for Aquinas.

  219. F/N: Some relevant statistics that are being left off, of course, relate to the penetration of the radical relativism, dismissal of the counsels of scripture etc that have become all too common in churches immersed in the climate of our civilisation. In other words, Barna et al are giving a report card on worldliness in churches in our time, and thus the need for repentance, renewal and reformation.

    What is conspicuously absent from those who are latching on to such statistics on nominal Christianity coupled to a want of serious discipleship or even serious attempts at discipleship that struggle to overcome a widespread cultural influence sanctioned by leading voices and institutions that shape views and perceptions in profound ways, is the just as valid and longstanding pattern of life and community transformation by living relationship with God in the communion of the saints, across 2,000 years with millions of cases, down to today. In short, Dennet’s observation that Darwin’s thought taken as a worldview core becomes a “universal acid” that if left to its own course, “eats through just about every traditional concept, and leaves in its wake a revolutionized world-view, with most of the old landmarks still recognizable, but transformed in fundamental ways,” has a serious point.

    But the point is not novel to Darwin or Dawkins et al, it goes all the way back to Plato, who (while being subtly skeptical about the pagan traditions of his own day) grimly warned us 2350 years ago in The Laws, Bk X. let us note the subtle balance he first strikes, speaking in the voice of the Athenian Stranger:

    Ath. At Athens there are tales preserved in writing which the virtue of your state, as I am informed, refuses to admit. They speak of the Gods in prose as well as verse, and the oldest of them tell of the origin of the heavens and of the world, and not far from the beginning of their story they proceed to narrate the birth of the Gods, and how after they were born they behaved to one another. Whether these stories have in other ways a good or a bad influence, I should not like to be severe upon them, because they are ancient; but, looking at them with reference to the duties of children to their parents, I cannot praise them, or think that they are useful, or at all true. [[Notice Plato's own carefully stated skepticisms and moral concerns regarding classical paganism.] Of the words of the ancients I have nothing more to say; and I should wish to say of them only what is pleasing to the Gods. But as to our younger generation and their wisdom, I cannot let them off when they do mischief. For do but mark the effect of their words: when you and I argue for the existence of the Gods, and produce the sun, moon, stars, and earth, claiming for them a divine being, if we would listen to the aforesaid philosophers we should say that they are earth and stones only, which can have no care at all of human affairs, and that all religion is a cooking up of words and a make-believe.

    He then turns his guns on the evolutionary materialism that even then was a serious challenge, speaking in the same voice:

    [[The avant garde philosophers, teachers and artists c. 400 BC] say that the greatest and fairest things are the work of nature and of chance, the lesser of art [[ i.e. techne], which, receiving from nature the greater and primeval creations, moulds and fashions all those lesser works which are generally termed artificial . . . They 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 . . .

    Resemblance to the moral chaos on our current scene is not coincidental.

    So also, above [and pardon if this post misses its proper place, I find the threading scheme a problem to work with . . . ], we have a case where evidence of just how corrosive evolutionary materialism and its wider influences through radical relativisation of thought and of morality are, has been transmuted into the false notion that serious living encounter with God through the risen Christ, the life transforming gospel, the indwelling and empowering of the poured our Spirit in the communion of the saints do not work. But, to maintain such a fallacy, direct positive evidence of millions of transformed lives across 2,000 years and all around us has to be suppressed.

    As in, “suppressing the truth . . . “

    In short, it seems the universal acid eats away at reasoning and due care and attention to the balance of evidence, too.

    As can be seen all across this thread.

    KF

  220. F/N: At some point or other Ch tries to twist away from HOW Aiden’s propaganda works. So, let me note again — and ironically, this very thread shows the same pattern of turnabout in perceived retaliation, though not at the level of physical violence (I note, of course that my family have been held hostage to threats by those of the same ilk, threats that are made mafioso style then when I pointed them out, there was a pretence they are just imagined on my part; so you can understand why I am not impressed by the deniability tactics . . . )

    Let’s do the deconstruction in outline again:

    1 –> Aiden’s technique starts with the context of their response to the gospel: smearing verbal filth across it as can be seen from the original post onwards. This alone is sufficient to expose the animating spirit for that band.

    2 –> In the video in question, they begin by creating an invidious image of the Christian spokesman presented: a vampire clergyman, duly draped in the Christian cross and placed in a graveyard. (I have seen the claim that it is a graveyard for military members, which if true would underscore a context evident from the timing in the early 00′s and some lyrics of what has been called — by fellow atheists — the atheist anthem.)

    3 –> Then, we see images of burning houses of worship, and soon thereafter an image in sepia tone, of 60′s era police arresting a black man, apparently at some protest or other. Against this montage or cascade of images, we hear about love the way they burn your synagogues and holy books. Remember, we are in an age of images being even more important than words in manipulation.

    4 –> already, through image association and culturally available themes and myths, the imagined vampire clergy are cast as racist and hatefully violent, inciters of pogroms and racism.

    5 –> This is the context where these are then accused by implication of having coffers filled with blood money, graveyards filled with victims of mongered wars, criminals protected, genocide promoted. Those hypocritical, theocratic, tyrannical, blood mongering fundies, we are going to smear you for what you are — in our imaginations, of course. (Whistleblower retaliation tactics above are NOT coincidental: Gil and I are plastered as dishonest, hypocritical and RELIGIOUS. [and, BTW, while there is an attempt to manipulate moral sensibilities and perceptions, we can find nowhere the faintest trace of a grounding of OUGHT on the ISes accepted by evolutionary materialism, i.e. the above should be understood as might and manipulation make 'right' as there is nothing more than feelings and mass views defining cultural positions, so let us manipulate to create hostility to the vampire clergy and their hangers on.])

    6 –> Then, the immorally equivalent fundies joined at the hip and promoting evil God-based fantasies card is played: Christians, Jews, Muslims. The insinuation is, that the Christian vampire clergy and their hangers on are the same as Al Qaeda suicide bombers crashing planes full of hostages into buildings full of innocents. This is not overtly said of course, but that is the underlying high-context allusion, given that notorious theme that has been circulated far and wide.

    7 –> This is one of the controlling contextual ideas that has to be understood and addressed. For instance, some weeks back, when I spoke in my personal blog against the Pushtun — it is not even strictly Islamic — custom of sending a child bride to another clan in payment for crimes by a member of one’s clan that so often leads to horrific abuse, I was accused of being just the same, believing in the same God, being just as religious, etc. See the utterly warped and distorted prejudice and bigotry, that is ever so resistant to correction?

    8 –> It must be understood that this terrorist fundies joined at he hip smear is firmly established in the minds of the audience Aiden is appealing to. That is why they are using the vampire clergy image, and it is why they speak of Christians, Jews and Muslims in the same breath. Do you see why AP in its press handbook, has warned that the term “Fundamentalist” has become so loaded with smears — thanks in large part, BTW to media manipulation techniques — that it should be avoided? (Cf some correctives here.)

    9 –> But in fact IslamISTS of the ilk of Al Qaeda are not even representative of the majority of Muslims, much less being typical of Jews or Christians.

    10 –> So, we must understand the rhetoric of wedges [real ones like this], which create an Orwellian doublespeak environment by poisoning images and words. Here, the Christian faith and anything symbolic of it are being further poisoned in the minds of Aiden’s intended audience.

    11 –> In that context, enter the ever-present lunatic fringe, who will see turnabout as “fair play.” So on this level we simply look from target, the vampire clergy, fundies joined at the hip, to the reaction, burn baby burn, buildings and holy books. In short, at minimum, Aiden are enabling and subtly inciting, precisely by driving poisonous wedges and failing to give a true and fair view. (I have already had occasion to draw attention to the pattern of one-sided unbalanced caricaturing of the Christian church, its message and members in this thread. Of course this problem has been duly projected unto the scapegoat targets. For pointing out that evo mat as a worldview is amoral, in the sense that it has no grounding IS that objectively warrants OUGHT — something that is not even controversial in informed circles, we have been falsely accused of saying that atheists are only and utterly evil. When in reply we have pointed to the difference between a system of thought and the reality of people made in God;s image and having the gift of conscience as foundational Christian understanding, so the issue is to expose and address a key absurdity of a system of thought and its deleterious influences, the false accusation has simply been reiterated as though it were established fact. For, the key rhetorical tactic in distraction from the significance of such a gap in a worldview is to use the power of polarisation, NOT to actually face and deal with serious issues on their merits. Which is exactly what Aiden is doing, and it is exactly the underlying tone in that sophomoric book, The God Delusion. Sadly, many have been so taken in that they often lionise what they should realise instead is a sign that something is very wrong with evolutionary materialism, if it has to resort to such ill founded arguments and invidious tactics. And, that can be backed up in detail, cf here and here for starters.)

    12 –> And, even when torches are not physically used, incendiary rhetoric will be used to light metaphorical fires to burn baby burn, burn those clergy men, their churches and their books. (And, FYI, it is the apostle James who speaks of the tongue as a little fire that sets huge out of control conflagrations, and is in turn set on fire by hell.)

    13 –> This immediately brings us full circle to the plastering of verbal filth across the gospel, to dismiss it. Fires of contempt and hate have been so stoked that Aiden is plainly confident that it can simply dismiss the gospel by smearing it with vulgarities, without being called to account.

    14 –> And lo and behold, above in this thread the most we have seen from the evolutionary materialist side is some acknowledgement that rude words were used.

    15 –> So, we see the agenda exposed for all to see. But, what is the response? Shoot at the messenger, distract from the issue, all the devils are on that side, and all the angels are on the side of Aiden. Ignore evidence that something is very twisted, incendiary and uncivil on the part of Aiden. And, never, never acknowledge that something may be wrong in promoting, celebrating or enabling such a group and its message.

    16 –> As for the issue that such a group is not a proper warm-up act for Dawkins, come March at Ft Bragg, don’t even think about that.

    17 –> And as for actual evidence and argument that a theistic view may have some legitimacy, or that the gospel may have a sound historical foundation, dismiss that in a torrent of angry thoughts, and if you can get away with it, plaster verbal filth across it. Instantly revealing the underlying animating spirit, for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

    Of course, I have no expectation that those trapped in angry, hostile, deeply ideologised evolutionary materialist rhetoric will in the first instance listen or respond reasonably. Such will act out of their programming, to retaliate using Alinsky’s cynically destructive rules for radicals, not to reason.

    But, ever so many standing by can begin to see that Plato’s point is all too evidently relevant.

    Let us wake up, our civilisation faces the progressive effects of a universal acid, destructive but beguiling evolutionary materialist ideologies robed in the holy lab coat.

    KF

  221. KF,

    My earlier comment still applies:

    KF,

    Suppose that the members of Aiden were the very spawn of Satan. A lie about them would still be a lie.

    Given your sanctimonious lectures on morality, how do you justify your lies? Is lying for Jesus okay in your book?

  222. Dr Liddle: sorry, but not good enough. Above,repeatedly, you responded to my pointing to the inherent IS-OUGHT gap of evolutionary materialism, with an irrelevancy that is atmosphere-poisoning. That cannot be dismissed with a few words. Nor can the implications of such a view be brushed aside, as though the 100 million ghosts from the century past who underscore the force of warnings since Plato, can be forgotten. And as for Aiden, the actual nominal focus of this thread, I have had to again expose what they are doing, and how their enablers retaliate against whistle-blowers, here. Please do better than this. KF

  223. NOTE: I am finding it very hard to keep track of the threaded pattern, which lends itself to multiple sub-discussions. I may have overlooked significant comments, Please understand, and let us hope we will soon have a chrono view option. Once a thread gets long, that option becomes much more valuable. KF

  224. I suppose it’s appropriate that you’re baffled by a nested hierarchy.

  225. Regarding the nominal topic of this thread: the headline concerns “church-burning” which you alleged Aiden was promoting. It turned out they were condemning it, in a song called “hysteria” which warns against the kind of ideologies that lead to burning churches.

    You refuse to retract, merely changing your complaint.

    Re the rest of your post:

    Please read my response to you, and, if you want to continue the conversation, address the points I have made. In particular, please explain, without slogans, what you mean by “the inherent IS-OUGHT gap of evolutionary materialism”.

    I don’t know what you mean by the words in that phrase, and they seem important to your point. But I can’t parse it. I have shown you, repeatedly, how it is possible to derive both morality and ethics without positing a creator God, and how a theistic position does not absolve one from the responsibility of resolving ethical dilemmas, nor provide the answers. We have to use our reason.

    Others have also made this point, including Markf.

    Yet you have not so much as mentioned it, let alone addressed it, that I can see.

    There seems no point in attempting to continue a conversation with someone who seems only to respond with a dictionary of stock phrases, and does not appear to make even a minimal attempt to either explain these when questioned on them, or to understand the proferred counter-points.

    You seem blinded by anger, kf.

    Please calm down.

    Lizzie

  226. Yes, I agree. Nested forums only really work if post titles only are displayed (as in scoop sites).

    But yeah, it’s a good example of how posts do not lend themselves to nested hierarchies :) pace not everything does ;)

  227. Meant: pace Joe. An html editor would be nice :)

  228. Ch: Has it ever struck you that people have another life and may easily miss sub threads (especially if they are not tracking the recent posts list)? KF

  229. champignon:

    I suppose it’s appropriate that you’re baffled by a nested hierarchy.

    LoL! YOU don’t even know what a nested hierarchy is.

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