Home » Intelligent Design » PZ open cut quote mines

PZ open cut quote mines

PZ has a lot to say. I present some gems below for your education.

I’m sure that I have some irrational beliefs of my own. I have no idea what they are. It’s not holding irrational beliefs that makes you an idiot. It’s holding the irrational beliefs and demanding that those be imposed on everyone else.

Nobody has convinced me that God exists. That’s not going to happen.

Science is the answer. I’m sorry; you may be a very devout religious person, but praying is not going to solve the world’s problems. It never has.  We’re living in an enlightenment, which is fuelled by rational thinking and science. Science is the answer.

I’m buddies with a lot of the big shot new atheists, people like Richard Dawkins and Dan Dennett. There’s nothing we’re saying that Betrand Russell didn’t say. This is all the same old stuff. The only difference is that we’ve got the primal scream therapy of atheism. New atheists are the people who shout and yell a lot about this stuff. But it’s the same old stuff that atheists have been talking about for years and years.

Atheists tend to be politically liberal, fairly tolerant.  The tolerance part is that there’s no question that nobody is going to deport creationists. Nobody is going to shut down the churches. Nobody is going to do anything like that. What we want to do is put things in a proper perspective.  If you want to believe that in the privacy of your home, if you want to get together in church and talk to people about this, yes, that’s perfectly reasonable. That’s the tolerance we’ll give them.

There are some of the people in the intelligent design movement who are incredibly nasty, awful, and misrepresent science in ways that I cannot forgive. This is not about demonizing the individuals.

I have to single out this man, whom I consider the most contemptable, despicable, cruel, and vicious evil liar in the creationist movement today, yes, he’s a nasty, nasty person. (PZ has never met or talked with this ID proponent.)

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

164 Responses to PZ open cut quote mines

  1. I would sure like to know who this “contemptable [sic], despicable, cruel, and vicious evil liar” is, so I can be properly prepared to defend myself against being seduced by his or her ideas.

  2. Nobody is going to shut down the churches.

    Really? This is precisely what has been done historically by Marxists, in the name of an explicitly atheistic ideology.

    Atheists tend to be politically liberal, fairly tolerant.

    Yes indeed, tolerant, but only of those with whom they agree.

  3. I have to single out this man, whom I consider the most contemptable, despicable, cruel, and vicious evil liar in the creationist movement today, yes, he’s a nasty, nasty person. (PZ has never met or talked with this ID proponent.)

    Maybe the particular ID proponent has written some books, and maybe it is from those books that PZ finds the ID proponent to be a “vicious evil liar.”

    I think I listened to the same podcast, and the particular ID proponent was identified as Jonathan Wells. I’m not sure why you omitted that detail. PZ is not the only evolutionist who holds a low opinion of Wells. Larry Moran has been posting a series on his blog (see this post for an example.

    (moderator: Neil the language applied would not usually be used of someone who one had not met by a rational clear thinking person. How can someone be “evil” where there is “no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference” (Dawkins)?)

  4. PZ ‘Science is the answer.’

    OK PZ in so far as ‘Science’ goes, but have you ever wondered where does this ‘Science’, you place so much faith in, come from in the first place?

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes.
    http://www.faqs.org/periodical.....27241.html

    This following site is a easy to use, and understand, interactive website that takes the user through what is termed ‘Presuppositional apologetics’. The website clearly shows that our use of the laws of logic, mathematics, science and morality cannot be accounted for unless we believe in a God who guarantees our perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy in the first place.

    Proof That God Exists – easy to use interactive website
    http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/index.php

    Stephen Meyer – Morality Presupposes Theism (1 of 4) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSpdh1b0X_M

    Nuclear Strength Apologetics – Presuppositional Apologetics – video
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....pologetics

    John Lennox – Science Is Impossible Without God – Quotes – video remix
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6287271/

    Materialism simply dissolves into absurdity when pushed to extremes and certainly offers no guarantee to us for believing our perceptions and reasoning within science are trustworthy in the first place:

    Dr. Bruce Gordon – The Absurdity Of The Multiverse & Materialism in General – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5318486/

    What is the Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism? (‘inconsistent identity’ of cause leads to failure of absolute truth claims for materialists) (Alvin Plantinga) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yNg4MJgTFw

    Can atheists trust their own minds? – William Lane Craig On Alvin Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byN38dyZb-k

    “But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” – Charles Darwin – Letter To William Graham – July 3, 1881

    It is also interesting to point out that this ‘inconsistent identity’, pointed out by Plantinga, which leads to the failure of neo-Darwinists to make absolute truth claims for their beliefs, is what also leads to the failure of neo-Darwinists to be able to account for objective morality, in that neo-Darwinists cannot maintain a consistent identity towards a cause for objective morality;

    The Knock-Down Argument Against Atheist Sam Harris – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvDyLs_cReE

    “Atheists may do science, but they cannot justify what they do. When they assume the world is rational, approachable, and understandable, they plagiarize Judeo-Christian presuppositions about the nature of reality and the moral need to seek the truth.
    As an exercise, try generating a philosophy of science from hydrogen coming out of the big bang. It cannot be done. It’s impossible even in principle, because philosophy and science presuppose concepts that are not composed of particles and forces. They refer to ideas that must be true, universal, necessary and certain.” Creation-Evolution Headlines

  5. 5

    Nobody is going to shut down the churches.

    Exactly Nobody would think of such a thing.

    “Stalin followed the position adopted by Lenin that religion was an opiate that needed to be
    removed in order to construct the ideal communist society. To this end, his government promoted atheism through special atheistic education in schools, massive amounts of anti-religious propaganda, the anti-religious work of public institutions (especially the Society of the Godless), discriminatory laws, and also a terror campaign against religious believers. By the late 1930s it
    had become dangerous to be publicly associated with religion…

    “Just days before Stalin’s death, certain religious sects were outlawed and persecuted. Many
    religions popular in the ethnic regions of the Soviet Union including the Roman Catholic
    Church, Uniats, Baptists, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, etc. underwent ordeals similar to the Orthodox churches in other parts: thousands of monks were persecuted, and hundreds of churches,
    synagogues, mosques, temples, sacred monuments, monasteries and other religious buildings were
    razed.”

    “Stalin’s role in the fortunes of the Russian Orthodox Church is complex. Continuous persecution
    in the 1930s resulted in its near-extinction as a public institution: by 1939, active parishes numbered in the low hundreds (down from 54,000 in 1917), many churches had been leveled, and tens
    of thousands of priests, monks and nuns were persecuted and killed. Over 100,000 were shot during
    the purges of 1937–1938.[78] During World War II, the Church was allowed a revival as a patriotic
    organization, after the NKVD had recruited the new metropolitan, the first after the revolution,
    as a secret agent. Thousands of parishes were reactivated until a further round of suppression in
    Khrushchev’s time. The Russian Orthodox Church Synod’s recognition of the Soviet government and of
    Stalin personally led to a schism with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.”

    Think you egg heads were safe…

    “Science in the Soviet Union was under strict ideological control by Stalin and his government, along with art and literature…

    “Scientific research was hindered by the fact that many scientists were sent to labor camps
    (including Lev Landau, later a Nobel Prize winner, who spent a year in prison in 1938–1939) or
    executed (e.g. Lev Shubnikov, shot in 1937)…”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Stalin

  6. The tolerance part is that there’s no question that nobody is going to deport atheists. Nobody is going to shut down the natural history museums. Nobody is going to do anything like that. What we want to do is put things in a proper perspective. If you want to believe that in the privacy of your home, if you want to get together at a natural history museum and talk to people about evolution, yes, that’s perfectly reasonable. That’s the tolerance we’ll give them.

    I wonder if PZ would find the above statement “politically liberal” and “fairly tolerant”

  7. I have hung out with Jonathan Wells at lunch a couple of times. He strikes me as a courteous and well-spoken person, as are almost everyone in the ID movement. And this courtesy is despite the vehemence and unfair attacks that are so commonly employed against pro-ID people. Contrast that to PZ’s boorish behavior.

  8. It’s interesting – before I had some discussion with PZ, I was just an ID’er. Afterwards, I became a full-blown creationist. Why the change? I realized that the negative slurs against creationists were just a bunch of hot air. After hearing “liar liar liar” coming out of PZ’s mouth, I pushed him further about where was the lie. There was not lie, there was only disagreement, and a lot of posturing to make people think that creationists are bad people. I never found the reverse. No one claimed that PZ was lying, only that he was wrong. I realized that all of the posturing about Creationism being intellectually dishonest was just a giant show – just like the rest of PZ’s arguments.

    So – thanks PZ! It was because of you that I gave Creationism the benefit of the doubt, and decided to investigate its claims for myself!

  9. “I’m sure that I have some irrational beliefs of my own. I have no idea what they are. It’s not holding irrational beliefs that makes you an idiot. It’s holding the irrational beliefs and demanding that those be imposed on everyone else.”

    You hold beliefs but you don’t know what they are or why you believe them? Then you’re irrational, PZ.

    “Science is the answer.”

    What was the question?

    “I’m buddies with a lot of the big shot new atheists, people like Richard Dawkins and Dan Dennett. There’s nothing we’re saying that Betrand Russell didn’t say. This is all the same old stuff. The only difference is that we’ve got the primal scream therapy of atheism. New atheists are the people who shout and yell a lot about this stuff. But it’s the same old stuff that atheists have been talking about for years and years.”

    Shouting and yelling do not prove anything. Being loud does not mean that you are right.

    “Atheists tend to be politically liberal, fairly tolerant.”

    Except when it comes to religion, which they do not tolerate at all.

    ” The tolerance part is that there’s no question that nobody is going to deport creationists. Nobody is going to shut down the churches. Nobody is going to do anything like that. ”

    Why on earth would you, or anyone else, deport a creationist? You don’t deport anyone who isn’t a criminal or a threat to others. Seriously, what is he talking about here? Does he truly believe that he or any other atheist has that kind of power?

    “What we want to do is put things in a proper perspective. If you want to believe that in the privacy of your home, if you want to get together in church and talk to people about this, yes, that’s perfectly reasonable. That’s the tolerance we’ll give them.”

    Oh, how wonderfully enlightened of you, PZ.

  10. Nobody has convinced me that God exists. That’s not going to happen.

    Translation: no one can ever force me to admit that God is … therefore, God is not.

    This is how far to many people think, not just about the “God question,” but about any question of which they fear rational examination will yield the unwelcome answer.

  11. 11

    “What inclines me now to think you may be right in regarding [evolution] as the central and radical lie in the whole web of falsehood that now governs our lives is not so much your arguments against it as the fanatical and twisted attitudes of its defenders”

    ~C. S. Lewis

  12. Clive,

    Do you have any CS Lewis quotes regarding quantum physics, cosmology, or advanced mathematics, because quite honestly there are some pretty far-out, if not outright dastardly ideas being promulgated in those fields.

  13. Ilion,

    how can one perform a rational examination about something that doesnt have a reasonable definition, let alone a clearly-defined approach by which to perform the examination? The concept of god becomes vacuous in the endeavour.

  14. P:

    Confident manner blanket assertions do not a case make.

    In addition, it seems that you are indulging in subject switching talking points, that serve to move towards a caricature of theism and theists. (I suggest, onlookers, a glance here as a 101 on the subject. If you spend time listening only to the talking points of those determined to make theism sound like nonsense at any price, you may miss the other side of the story.)

    The key issue on the table is the ideologically over-wrought boorishness and abusiveness of PZM as an exemplar of the attitude of the new atheists.

    Also, of their habitual uncivil, rudely disrespectful pattern of abuse and slander when they disagree, as can be seen from how he chooses to address it seems Mr Wells. All, because Mr Wells has exposed some icons used in the promotion of evolutionary materialism in the name of science education that have long since passed sell-by date.

    It would seem that Mr Myers would be better advised to clean his own house instead of throwing stones.

    GEM of TKI

  15. PS: On exposing the misleading icons in a nutshell cf, here.

  16. F/N: P would be well advised to view this video.

  17. Gage @7 –

    I have hung out with Jonathan Wells at lunch a couple of times. He strikes me as a courteous and well-spoken person, as are almost everyone in the ID movement. And this courtesy is despite the vehemence and unfair attacks that are so commonly employed against pro-ID people. Contrast that to PZ’s boorish behavior.

    I haven’t met PZ, but I’ve heard from several people who have (including my wife) that in real life he’s a nice person in real life – perhaps even cuddly.

    Unfortunately it’s far too easy for people on both sides to inject a lot of rancour into the debates. It’s understandable that things will sometimes get heated, and that some enmity will be built up. One wonders who will try to build bridges, and if anyone will support them.

  18. paragwinn asks;

    ‘how can one perform a rational examination about something that doesnt have a reasonable definition, let alone a clearly-defined approach by which to perform the examination? The concept of god becomes vacuous in the endeavour.’

    paragwinn, though you may feel God’s actions cannot be discerned through science, Charles Darwin himself felt no such reservations about discerning God’s actions in nature. Indeed his book ‘Origin of Species’ is now found to be Theological, rather than scientific, in its basis:

    Charles Darwin, Theologian: Major New Article on Darwin’s Use of Theology in the Origin of Species – May 2011
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....46391.html

    Paragwinn, you may object that Darwin was limited to making Theological arguments due to limits of science in the 1800s. Well it turns out that the ‘God would not have done it that way’ argument is still the primary argument that neo-Darwinists use; For instance Ayala here:

    Refuting The Myth Of ‘Bad Design’ vs. Intelligent Design – William Lane Craig vs. Ayala – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIzdieauxZg

    or Francis Collins here:

    Francis Collins, Darwin of the Gaps, and the Fallacy Of Junk DNA – Wells, Meyer, Sternberg – video
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....40361.html

    Thus paragwinn, it seems your criticism against studying God in nature is of a lop-sided affair, in which neo-Darwinists are allowed to say how God would and wouldn’t act, but IDists are not!?!

    ========================

    What I find very persuasive, to the suggestion that the universe was designed with life in mind, is that physicists find many processes in a cell operate at the ‘near optimal’ capacities allowed in any physical system:

    William Bialek – Professor Of Physics – Princeton University:
    Excerpt: “A central theme in my research is an appreciation for how well things “work” in biological systems. It is, after all, some notion of functional behavior that distinguishes life from inanimate matter, and it is a challenge to quantify this functionality in a language that parallels our characterization of other physical systems. Strikingly, when we do this (and there are not so many cases where it has been done!), the performance of biological systems often approaches some limits set by basic physical principles. While it is popular to view biological mechanisms as an historical record of evolutionary and developmental compromises, these observations on functional performance point toward a very different view of life as having selected a set of near optimal mechanisms for its most crucial tasks.,,,The idea of performance near the physical limits crosses many levels of biological organization, from single molecules to cells to perception and learning in the brain,,,,”
    http://www.princeton.edu/~wbialek/wbialek.html

    ==========================

    Evolution Is Religion–Not Science by Henry Morris, Ph.D.
    Excerpt: Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality,,, Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.
    Darwinian atheist Michael Ruse – Prominent Philosopher

    I think Michael Behe does an excellent job, in this following debate, of pointing out that denying the overwhelming evidence for design in biology makes the science of biology ‘irrational’. As well Dr. Behe makes it clear that materialistic evolutionists themselves, by their own admission in many cases, are promoting their very own religious viewpoint, Atheism, in public schools, and thus are in fact violating the establishment clause of the constitution:

    Should Intelligent Design Be Taught as Science? Michael Behe debates Stephen Barr – 2010 – video
    http://www.isi.org/lectures/fl.....4/lectures

    ===================

  19. PZ- long on the (false) accusations and very short on the supporting evidence.

    Wow just as in PZ’s “science”- go figure…

  20. id.net,

    can you cite the sources for these quotes? context may be important

  21. ba77,

    you’ve read way more into my statements than i intended.

    kf,

    i was addressing Ilion’s point regarding “not just about the “God question,” but about any question of which they fear rational examination will yield the unwelcome answer.” And i will take a look at your link.

  22. paragwinn

    Which statements do you think may have different meaning than a plain reading suggests? All but the last sentence are from the one source. Use Google.

  23. paragwinn, I found the source at
    http://minnesota.publicradio.o.....-pz-myers/ along with a video of the interview.

    idnet.com.au, where did that last sentence come from? I can’t find it in the transcript.

    Also, there are some conventions that are supposed to be followed when quoting somebody else’s words. The main convention is that whenever you change another person’s words in any way, you’re supposed to indicate it. For instance, you write:

    “There are some of the people in the intelligent design movement who are incredibly nasty, awful, and misrepresent science in ways that I cannot forgive. This is not about demonizing the individuals.”

    Here are PZ’s actual words, from the transcript:

    “There are some of the people in the intelligent design movement who are incredibly nasty, awful, and misrepresent science in ways that I cannot forgive. At the same time, when you get to know them, when you talk to them, they’re generally nice people. They’re your neighbors. They’re ordinary people. So I would say, right off the bat, no, this is not about demonizing the individuals. It’s about demonizing really, really bad ideas.”

    That’s quite a difference. At a minimum, you should have quoted him something like this:

    “There are some of the people in the intelligent design movement who are incredibly nasty, awful, and misrepresent science in ways that I cannot forgive. …. [T]his is not about demonizing the individuals.”

    But even then, leaving out, “At the same time, when you get to know them, when you talk to them, they’re generally nice people. They’re your neighbors. They’re ordinary people.” and “It’s about demonizing really, really bad ideas.” would get you in trouble at any respectable school.

    Or are you trying to show people what quote-mining (taking words out of context) is?

    moderator, when Richard Dawkins says, “there is “no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference”, he’s referring to the inanimate universe. There is plenty of evidence for evil individuals.

  24. paragwinn you state;

    ‘you’ve read way more into my statements than i intended.’

    Well paragwinn, you opened the whole ‘can of worms’ into the ugly, shallow, theology that underlies neo-Darwinian thinking!!! Why is the when the can poured out for all to see its deceptiveness becomes unpalatable for you???

  25. No, none at all. No, I do that all the time. There are some of the people in the intelligent design movement who are incredibly nasty, awful, and misrepresent science in ways that I cannot forgive. At the same time, when you get to know them, when you talk to them, they’re generally nice people. They’re your neighbors. They’re ordinary people. So I would say, right off the bat, no, this is not about demonizing the individuals. It’s about demonizing really, really bad ideas.

    A plain reading is only possible when you have the full text, not edited excerpts.

    The full transcript is available
    here.

  26. DrBot,

    Don’t you find it odd that PZ doesn’t support any of his rant? No examples of IDists being nasty and nothing showing an IDist misrepresenting science?

  27. Joseph, perhaps if the interviewer had asked that question he might have answered it – of perhaps you could e-mail him yourself!

  28. If the interviewer would have asked the question PZ would have walked away.

    But anywy if PZ is going to say something it is up to PZ to support it. Only very small-minded people blurt ut accusations like that.

  29. Only very small-minded people blurt ut accusations like that.

    ROTFL

  30. Dr Bot:

    Pardon, but you are overlooking the ideologised attempted re-definition of science that lurks under PZM’s comment.

    Lewontin summarised it in a somewhat less acerbic form, but with essentially the same content:

    To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident [science is NOT self-evident, nor is its epistemology self-evident, it can at best provide warrant on best explanation in light of principles established by other more foundational disciplines including epistemology and Mathematics] 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 . . . .

    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.

    [[From: “Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997.]

    Nor is this just Mr Lewontin or Mr Sagan — as he explicitly summarises, in the circles he runs in this is the DOMINANT view. (Cf the other three excerpts here.)

    In short, once we translate and adjust for the ideological intensity and hostile boorishness Mr Myers so often shows [remember he is the one who showed a picture of a stolen host pierced with a NAIL and thrown in the trash next to a banana skin], the meaning is very clear. In straight terms: If you do not line up with my a priori materialism, and especially if you dare point out errors or manipulative devices in how origins science is presented, you have gone beyond the circle that I, PZM, can “forgive.”

    Now of course ID thinkers, theorists and supporters will err, as we are human. That is not the material point (though it is handy to hang the real issue on).

    The point is that here is an alternative view on origins that would naturally attract widespread support, undermining the institutional and cultural power of the ideological materialists in the establishment. Worse, it would allow that ever so despised Divine Foot in the door. Which is the root of the “creationism in a cheap tuxedo” slander.

    So, the key issue is to expose the a priori evolutionary materialism, how it ideologically distorts natural science [as once Marxism distorted social science] through so-called methodological naturalism, especially on origins; and, to restore a historically and philosophically — specifically, epistemologically — well warranted understanding of the nature and limits of science.

    It is high time we stopped allowing the Alinsky tactics to prevail by default.

    GEM of TKI

  31. “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”-Eleanor Roosevelt

  32. Clive is on to something (along with the other Clive). It’s the shouting Chatty PZ does, and his open embrace of it, that is telling.

    There was a time when all a “committed Darwinist” had to do was whisper. He was able to speak softly because he carried the big stick.

    Seems that happy time is over. Now he feels the need to “shout and yell about a lot of stuff.” He’s cashing in his bow-tie for the “primal scream therapy of atheism.”

    Why? Because the worm has turned. The people he used to tread on are rising up against him.

    Too bad shouting and yelling are a sign of weakness. PZ thinks he’s rescuing the Modern age and all of its, er, glories through his intemperate antics.

    In fact he’s a sign of its demise.

  33. DM:

    Sorry, but this misses the key point on evils in a materialist view:

    when Richard Dawkins says, “there is “no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference”, he’s referring to the inanimate universe. There is plenty of evidence for evil individuals.

    Namely, the worldview resources available to materialism are time, chance, matter energy space and time. There is in such materialism no foundational is that can ground ought. Such materialism is inescapably amoral. And that was exposed and denounced since Plato in the Laws Bk X, 360 BC, in light of the harm done to Athens.

    In such a view, terms like evil and good etc become simply tools for cynical emotional manipulation and programming of populations and individuals.

    Will Hawthorne’s summary is devastating:

    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’.

    This is not usually explained plainly to the public, so it may seem strange. But in fact it is rooted in Hume’s well known [and quite cynical, BTW] is-ought argument, in light of the Anscombe point that the only way to build in a real ought into a worldview is that in its foundations there must be an IS who can ground ought.

    What amazes me is that in all my studies, readings and discussion, I never ran across Plato’s expose until in looking up the roots of the causal trichotomy on chance, necessity and agency, I came across this:

    [[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 . . . .

    [[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 . . .

    If you do not hear in this the anticipation of Alinsky’s cynical polarisation tactics, and jack-boots marching in torchlight parades and the secret police knock on your door at 4 am, it is because you are not listening closely enough.

    I do not exaggerate when I say our civilisation is in mortal danger.

    GEM of TKI

  34. kairosfocus,

    Since this is a thread discussing quote mines (taking excerpts out of context to suggest that the author’s meaning is something other than what was intended), it seems a reasonable place to raise an issue with the Lewontin quote you post so often.

    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.

    That is not complete. Indeed, there are two additional sentences that conclude the very paragraph you quote that are essential to Lewontin’s thesis:

    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.

    Without these two sentences, your excerpt implies that Lewontin is claiming that science is actively and irrationally anti-religious. In fact, he is explaining exactly why the the tools of science cannot be used if an omnipotent entity is postulated to intervene in the physical world.

    Your quotation would far more accurately reflect Lewontin’s views if it were to include the final two sentences of that paragraph.

  35. MathGrrl:

    Since this is a thread discussing quote mines (taking excerpts out of context to suggest that the author’s meaning is something other than what was intended),…

    Any evidence the OP quotes were taken “out-of-context to suggest that the author’s meaning is something other than what was intended”?

    Or are you sill tilting at windmills?

  36. MG:

    Pardon me but — as is now routine with you — you know or should know that at the linked point I discuss the issue in more details. Are you not tired of setting up and knocking over strawmen?

    I am NOT taking Lewontin out of context or clipping in any way that materially distorts his essential meaning.

    As to the cite from Beck,

    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.

    . . . this shows sophomoric ignorance of the nature of actual theistic beliefs, and makes a direct and improper insinuation of irrationality.

    But in fact, the main point of the miraculous is not that they are capricious and chaotic but that they are SIGNS — that is the root concept of the term — pointing beyond the usual course of the world.

    That is, to work as signs, miracles REQUIRE a general and reliable order of reality, a creation in short.

    In a classic text from the Judaeo-Christian frame of thought, we may see what that order is held to be like and where it is held to come from:

    Colossians 1:15-20

    Amplified Bible (AMP)

    15[Now] He is the [a]exact likeness of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible]; He is the Firstborn of all creation.

    16For it was in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him.

    17And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together).(A) [This is a direct inference to God as cosmic lawgiver who holds creation together by his Word of power.]

    18He also is the Head of [His] body, the church; seeing He is the Beginning, the Firstborn from among the dead, so that He alone in everything and in every respect might occupy the chief place [stand first and be preeminent].

    19For it has pleased [the Father] that all the divine fullness (the sum total of the divine perfection, powers, and attributes) should dwell in Him [b]permanently.

    20And God purposed that through ([c]by the service, the intervention of) Him [the Son] all things should be completely reconciled [d]back to Himself, whether on earth or in heaven, as through Him, [the Father] made peace by means of the blood of His cross.

    Footnotes:

    Colossians 1:15 Charles B. Williams, The New Testament: A Translation in the Language of the People: Strong terms–thus translated “exact likeness.”
    Colossians 1:19 Marvin Vincent, Word Studies.
    Colossians 1:20 Joseph Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon.
    Colossians 1:20 Marvin Vincent, Word Studies.

    Cross references:

    Colossians 1:17 : Prov 8:22-31

    You seem bound up in a strawman distortion of thestic thought, so let me cite that eminent and supernaturalistic scientist, a certain Newton, Isaac, in his General Scholium to the Principia:

    _____________

    >> . . . This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. And if the fixed stars are the centres of other like systems, these, being formed by the like wise counsel, must be all subject to the dominion of One; especially since the light of the fixed stars is of the same nature with the light of the sun, and from every system light passes into all the other systems: and lest the systems of the fixed stars should, by their gravity, fall on each other mutually, he hath placed those systems at immense distances one from another.

    This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God pantokrator , or Universal Ruler . . . .

    We know him only by his most wise and excellent contrivances of things, and final cause [i.e from his designs]: we admire him for his perfections; but we reverence and adore him on account of his dominion: for we adore him as his servants; and a god without dominion, providence, and final causes, is nothing else but Fate and Nature. Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and every where, could produce no variety of things. [i.e necessity does not produce contingency] All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being necessarily existing. [That is, implicitly rejects chance, Plato's third alternative and explicitly infers to the Designer of the Cosmos.] But, by way of allegory, God is said to see, to speak, to laugh, to love, to hate, to desire, to give, to receive, to rejoice, to be angry, to fight, to frame, to work, to build; for all our notions of God are taken from. the ways of mankind by a certain similitude, which, though not perfect, has some likeness, however. And thus much concerning God; to discourse of whom from the appearances of things, does certainly belong to Natural Philosophy. >>

    _____________

    In short, the reason why you find the Beck quote to support your views is because you have been led to swallow a strawman caricature of the thought of those who are theistic and believe in miracles. As, evidently, did Lewontin.

    To a more instructed person, the clip underscores the point being made, as it is further indication of how the dominant evolutionary materialism leads even highly educated people to distort the views of those they dismiss. this is of a piece with his dismissive language as cited.

    And, there is much more that Lewontin gets blatantly wrong — e.g. that science is the only beggetter of truth is a self-referentially incoherent epistemological claim i.e a philosophical claim that tries to dismiss philosophical claims and warrant for knowledge, but what is cited is central.

    And, my memory is that only some weeks back I have had to make essentially this correction before.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: Onlookers, there are several longstanding issues that MG needs to address, e.g. here.

  37. PS: Onlookers, there are several longstanding issues that MG needs to address, e.g. here.

    You are in no position to criticise others about their behaviour. You frequently deploy unplesant rhetoric against others and I often find some of your paranoid diatribes against the scientific community offensive. It is a daily struggle to turn the other cheek.

    And don’t give me any of your ‘turnabout accusation’ rubbish – you are often the first to resort to ad-hominem attacks, you can’t demand one standard of behaviour for others and another for yourself.

    As you said – such behaviour should not be tolerated.

  38. kairosfocus,

    I am NOT taking Lewontin out of context or clipping in any way that materially distorts his essential meaning.

    I pointed out exactly how you were doing so. To repeat: Without these two sentences, your excerpt implies that Lewontin is claiming that science is actively and irrationally anti-religious. In fact, he is explaining exactly why the the tools of science cannot be used if an omnipotent entity is postulated to intervene in the physical world.

    To say of the two sentences you elided that

    . . . this shows sophomoric ignorance of the nature of actual theistic beliefs, and makes a direct and improper insinuation of irrationality.

    misses the point. Without the final two sentences, your excerpt does suggest that Lewontin said something different from what he did actually say. This would not be considered acceptable practice in an academic environment.

    My intention in pointing this out was to let you know that, by continuing to use the quote in the form you have been, you are potentially opening yourself up to charges of deliberate mischaracterization. Simply including the additional two sentences would eliminate any confusion and would allow your readers to determine whether or not Lewontin supports whatever point you are making when you use that quote. Whether you choose to modify your behavior based on the information I have provided is, of course, entirely up to you.

    PS: Onlookers, there are several longstanding issues that MG needs to address, e.g. here.

    As I have made clear in several threads over the past few months, when you choose to provide a rigorous mathematical definition of CSI and detailed example calculations for the scenarios I detailed I will be more than happy to continue the discussion.

  39. Dr Bot:

    Sorry, the turnabout rhetoric does not work anymore.

    GEM of TKI

  40. MG:

    I have, with evidence, pointed out just how you are in error in implying that I have clipped Lewontin out of context and/or have distorted what he has had to say.

    In fact the additional sentences show further that Lewontin’s argument is based on an irrational and unfair distortion of theists and theism.

    But that in itself is additional to the basic and — cf the cites from the US NAS and NSTA onlookers — demonstrably widespread point: there is an a priori imposition of evolutionary materialism that distorts the ability of science to consider anything that might possibly let the “Divine Foot” in the door. The additional remarks you give simply add to the irrational fear and distortion of theists, based on slandering them with a caricature of irrationality and believing in a chaos not a cosmos.

    You have direct citations form foundational documents and from the man who is probably the leading scientist over the past 400 years, in correction.

    Further to all of this, I pointed out the basic blunder of making an epistemological claim that would undermine all epistemological claims: if science is the only begetter of truth, that implies that this (non-scientific!) claim must be false, i.e. it refers to and refutes itself. So, the context of irrationality, unfortunate though it is, is established, on multiple grounds; not just the question-begging of imposing a priori materialism.

    But it is clear from the above that you again — that is demonstrably what happened over these past three months — wish to insist on an unwarranted assertion in the teeth of any and all correction, regardless of how well warranted.

    So, this is for the record, so that the astute onlooker can see for him or her self just what you are continuing to do. I wish you would turn over a new leaf and do better, but until and unless you do so, I have a duty of correction.

    Good day madam

    GEM of TKI

  41. F/N to Dr Bot: The just above shows the problem. There — on warrant — is not an immoral equivalency here and it would be appreciated if you would acknowledge that fact. Good day, sir. GEM of TKI

  42. Onlookers:

    MG is again trying the thread hijack card, so I will now clip the standard response that she has yet to seriously respond to, week after week:

    ++++++++

    On CSI and its “rigour,” that has been addressed over and over again, in most specificity to the issue of rigour, at 34 – 5 in the CSI footnote thread. Similarly, the talking points MG tends to use over and over as thought hey have not been cogently answered, were last dissected in 23 – 24 in the same thread. And, the overall summing up of the issues MG has needed to explain herself on has been kept up in the editorial response to Graham at no 1 in the CSI newsflash thread; which MG has persistently ignored.

    When it comes to ev, 137 in the same shows my links to the places in the CSI Newsflash thread where it is dissected by Mung.

    (NB: One of MG’s tactics seems to be to wait until something is buried under enough posts in a thread, or has been continued in a successor thread, before repeating the assertion that was rebutted.)

    She knows or should know better than she has consistently acted.

    ++++++++

    To see the balance on the merits for yourself simply follow the links.

    GEM of TKI

  43. Other than argument from authority, what was the point of the Isaac Newton quote?

  44. kairosfocus,

    I have, with evidence, pointed out just how you are in error in implying that I have clipped Lewontin out of context and/or have distorted what he has had to say.

    I just re-read your response and see no such evidence. Taking exception to what Lewontin wrote in those two sentences and quoting Colossians is, as I noted, missing the point.

    If I were reviewing a paper for a colleague and saw a quotation that could suggest that the quoted author meant something other than what a fuller context indicated was that author’s intention, I would expect a response more along the lines of “Thank you for preventing me from mischaracterizing the author’s position.” This kind of thing is taken very seriously in academia.

    I hoped you would take my original comment as the courteous, constructive criticism it was intended. In any case, I’ve raised the issue with you — at least if you use the quotation in the future it will be with full knowledge of the potential problems of omitting the last two sentences. I have no more to add.

  45. So, please – what is the part of that comment 34 which contains the rigorous definition of CSI? Could you just reproduce the relevant part.

  46. Onlookers:

    Let me pause and take apart a claim on points, for the record:

    MG: >>To repeat: Without these two sentences,

    a –> In which Lewontin cites Beck:

    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.

    b –> I repeat, this inadvertently reveals instead:

    sophomoric ignorance of the nature of actual theistic beliefs, and makes a direct and improper insinuation of irrationality.

    But in fact, the main point of the miraculous is not that they are capricious and chaotic but that they are SIGNS — that is the root concept of the term — pointing beyond the usual course of the world.

    That is, to work as signs, miracles REQUIRE a general and reliable order of reality, a creation in short.

    c –> As I went on to cite from Paul and Newton, theism holds that the God who performs miracles as signs that point beyond the ordinary course of the world, does so in a context where he established and sustains that course as Creator and Sustainer.

    d –> Consequently, for miracles to be discernible there has to be exactly that, a usual pattern of the world. One that is open to its Creator to make changes in specific cases, for his good purposes.

    e –> And in fact precisely the sort of closed cosmos, uniformitarian naturalism being used to object to theism as a viable worldview in which science can be done, was predicted by the apostle Peter as follows:

    2 Peter 3:3To begin with, you must know and understand this, that scoffers (mockers) will come in the last days with scoffing, [people who] walk after their own fleshly desires

    4And say, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the forefathers fell asleep, all things have continued exactly as they did from the beginning of creation.

    5For they willfully overlook and forget this [fact], that the heavens [came into] existence long ago by the word of God, and the earth also . . . .

    7But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been stored up (reserved) for fire, being kept until the day of judgment . . .

    your excerpt implies that Lewontin is claiming that science is actively and irrationally anti-religious.

    f –> It demonstrates an antipathy that sees the theist as irrational and believing in a failed system of “demons” (he plainly cites Sagan’s term with approval, not distancing) who would if real create a chaos not a cosmos, it shows that he goes along with the self-refuting belief that science defined materialistically is the only begetter of truth, and it shows that he and the majority of scientists in key positions of influence impose an a priori materialism in these terms:

    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.

    f –> this is more than enough, standing on its own, to demonstrate the points claimed: a priori censorship of evolutionary materialism on science, le4ading to a distortion of science’s ability to seek and empirically warrant the unfettered truth about our world.

    g –> It further documents a pattern of irrationality: making a self-refuting epistemological claim on the begetter of knowledge, confusing a question-begging censoring a priori imposition of materialistically redefined science for a self evident truth about the world and accessing truth about it, imposition of a censoring a priori.

    g –> The blatantly irrational cannot be warranted as rational, and in fact the rest of he passage further indicts the fundamental irrationality at work. (And the caricature about the woman who doubts the moon landing is an example of the worst kind of misrepresenation by unrepresentative extreme case — von Braun FYI was an evangelical Christian, HE IS THE MAN WHO DESIGNED THE ROCKET THAT WENT TO THE MOON.)

    In fact, he is explaining

    h –> He is going on to dig himself further in the hole

    exactly why the the tools of science cannot be used if an omnipotent entity is postulated to intervene in the physical world.

    i –> he may indeed believe this, but that simply publicly exposes his ignorance of what theism actually entails, and has long entailed on the subject of science.

    j –> For instance, I pointed out he logic of miracles as sign. Elsewhere I have discussed as well the need for an orderly, predictable world in which actions have normal consequences, if we are to be accountable creatures responsible before God for our stewardship of the world and our lives.

    k –> In addition, I took the time to cite both Paul and Newton, which it seems plain you have not bothered to read in your haste to keep on dancing wrong but strong.

    l –> Let me clip just the first piece of Newton in his General Scholium:

    . . . This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. And if the fixed stars are the centres of other like systems, these, being formed by the like wise counsel, must be all subject to the dominion of One; especially since the light of the fixed stars is of the same nature with the light of the sun, and from every system light passes into all the other systems: and lest the systems of the fixed stars should, by their gravity, fall on each other mutually, he hath placed those systems at immense distances one from another.

    k –> Observe how Newton draws out the legitimate form of the uniformity principle from the supervenience of the one common Pantokrator who established ans sustains the cosmos.

    l –> In short, MG, your remarks simply further bring out that you have refused so far to be corrected on mere facts and logic. Please, do better than this. >>

    Onlookers, see what has been happening over and over again for months?

    GEM of TKI

  47. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.

    Of course this is indeed a problem with admitting an omnipotent deity into science. Science looks for regularities. It is difficult to see how a miracle could be established by scientific means. So in this respect Lewontin is right.

  48. What’s this about Marx, Stalin and churches?

    As far as I know, whole Europe is full of churches, we even have synagogues, and mosques with Saudi Arabian funding.

    We are tolerant, I fell like spelling it out. We have democracy, health care for everybody, we provide for both the unemployed or disabled, secular states, some with full separation between state and church. Even our police, judicial and penitentiary systems are inferior to their American counterparts.

    Most of us consider religion a personal matter and don’t care whether a person is indifferent(a lot are), subscribe to a particular religion, is member of a ‘human-ethical’ society or just support a human-ethical weltanschauung. Or an atheist, I suppose there are some of that here to.

    That just isn’t an issue here.

  49. Driver:

    Are you simply reiterating a convenient talking point, drumbeat fashion as though repetition creates rerality?

    Next, do you understand how serious it is to insistently misrepresent another person or people?

    And, what that looks like when it is sustained in the teeth of correction on the merits?

    Okay, before drawing serious conclusions, let’s do a test . . .

    1] Let’s start with: can you kindly cite or summarise what was said twice above — and has now been added to the page where I cite Lewontin [since it appears there is yet another drumbeat slander building up] — on the link between a theistic worldview and the idea that creation will therefore have an orderly lawlike pattern, just one that is open rather than closed?

    2] Then, can you kindly summarise or cite the view made by Newton on the orderliness of nature, from not only the general Scholium but Opticks, Query 31? [And yes, I held back something.]

    3] Then, can you kindly show why we are to believe Beck and Lewontin over Paul, Peter and Newton, on the actual views of theists and the implications for the possibility of science?

    4] Finally, if you have no cogent answers to 1 – 3, but insist on the talking point just above, what does that suggest, why?

    (Onlookers, this should tell us a lot about the level of discussion we are dealing with.)

    GEM of TKI

  50. KF,

    If the presence of a miracle can be established by scientific means then suggest how. It does not matter if the world is lawlike most of the time, the problem is establishing that the UN-lawlike took place. How do you scientifically measure a purported unlawlike event? In relation to what?

    I agree with Newton that nature is orderly. What Newton says about a creator is theology not science. Newton does not refute Lewontin’s point, since Newton does not propose
    a means to scientifically measure the presence of his Creator.

    In fact, as Lewontin points out, if we include miracles in our scientific hypotheses, how can we get from these exceptions to regularities? – regularities being what science studies.

  51. do you understand how serious it is to insistently misrepresent another person or people?

    I am commenting on the unfortunately omitted part of the Lewontin quote. Certainly we wouldn’t want to misrepresent him, so we should discuss his entire quote, including the part that was unfortunately omitted.

  52. Driver:

    Let us look again at the claim by Lewontin that you are now softening into, well how can a miracle be accounted for in science.

    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.

    In short the issue here is that L & B imagine with many others that a theistic world would be a chaos not a cosmos. Such is a rationalist myth common in our time; one that resists mere correction on mere facts and logic.

    And yes, in a chaos science would not be possible, but the theistic worldview does not entail a chaos. As I showed, with specific links, only to be brushed aside as though I had said nothing, byu both MG and you. Do you see why I am pointing to a problem of insistent ad hominem laced strawman caricature on your part?

    You will kindly notice that my response and questions highlighted what theists have held for 2,000 and more years, and that I have cited and pointed to significant remarks by a founding figure of modern science who happened to be a Biblical theist. That odd chap called Isaac, who has a few laws named after him.

    Lewontin was wrong, and Beck was wrong, wrong in ways that reflected a profound ignorance of theists and theism, not to mention the inconvenient little fact that modern science was born in a Judaeo-Christian culture and was NURTURED by it.

    (No, the Christians c 1490 did not think the world was flat, as can be easily shown. Copernicus was actually a cleric. Kepler was devout. And Galileo’s troubles had more to do with politics and his betrayal of a former supporter who was now a Pope under a lot of pressure. Newton was a strongly philosophically minded theistic thinker, whose reflections on phil of sci and on epistemology of sci would repay a serious reading today. And more.)

    And BTW, at least somethings that would be miraculous would be amenable to scientific investigation. If Jesus really rose form death, he could doubtless have been made the subject of a medical examination, and indeed his reported invitation to Thomas to insert fingers into nail holes and hand into side suggests just that.

    Similarly, our cosmos shows signs of having been fine tuned for C-chemistry cell based life, which would make it quite credible that the cosmos is itself a sign pointing beyond it to a literally super-natural designer. And that would be a miracle that rests on recognising the order and organisation of the cosmos.

    BA 77 would provide a long list of studies of unquestionably scientific nature on the Shroud of Turin, which is at least possibly empirical evidence of a miracle. North of 150,000 hours of research, much of it with quite sophisticated equipment.

    And, more would be possible or even actual.

    In short, there is no reason why any number of possible or actual miracles would leave empirical signs that would be characteristic of there having been something beyond the usual course of nature at work. So, the perception behind the questions and challenges need a serious rethinking.

    And I think you need to answer the four questions already asked, as a basis for any serious discussion.

    GEM of TKI

  53. F/N: In anticipation of an onward drumbeat talking point, I have in fact now explicitly addressed this snippet in the linked. There is no OBJECTIVE or justifiable reason to conclude that the citation I have given distorts Lewontin’s claims or that the clip from beck would justify a priori evooutionary materialism imposed on the definition of science, which is the highlight of the quote. And in fact the extra part simply further brings out the problems already highlighted. I have also retained an added note on the woman who doubted the moon shot, from an earlier exchange.

    CONCLUSION: My estimation now is that all of this smacks of a turnabout rhetorical attempt now that PZM was caught out in a slander of Jonathan Wells.

    –> Onlookers, let us see if the drum beaters will be serious enough to address the facts now in evidence, including the update as given and linked. This will tell us a lot about what we are dealing with, but so far this looks like more ALINSKY TACTICS.

  54. our cosmos shows signs of having been fine tuned for C-chemistry cell based life

    So in science we look for laws (regularities) explaining these apparent fine-tunings. At what point should we give up looking for laws? What is the correct period of time?

    In fact there is no correct period of time. As soon as we stop looking for lawful explanations we stop being scientific.

    Since miracles are by definition suspension of natural laws, we cannot find laws explaining miracles.

    a long list of studies of unquestionably scientific nature on the Shroud of Turin

    I do not deny that scientific studies can be performed on the shroud.

    An aside, but the most pertinent scientific study of the shroud dates it to the 13th Century.

    As for the scientific studies on the shroud, at what point do we conclude that the shroud image does not have a natural origin? Why don’t we conclude that now? Would another fifty years of not knowing how the image got there suffice? No, because as soon as we stop looking for lawful explanations we stop being scientific.

  55. Driver:

    Now that you have established the rhetorical pattern that is developing, enough for onlookers to see for themselves what is happening, I have little interest in further tangents that are all further distractive on what was plainly a distraction to begin with.

    I will note that the case of empirical investigation of miracles is tied to the study of intelligent acts [up to and including he formation of the cosmos], and that we already have seen that the key question being begged is the a priori imposition of evolutionary materialism that was documented from Lewontin and three other evolutionary materialist sources — observe how that was of course not touched on in the haste to make a turnabout rhetorical point.

    I simply note en passant that the Shroud date you cite is a very challenged date, and leave that to BA 77, as that is not my interest other than to simply document that a claimed miracle is here subject to empirical test. And, as noted if the descriptions are accurate, the case of the interview with Thomas would have constituted a crude case of a medical examination of a miracle. Even if this was not an actual event, it is sufficient to show the possibilities.

    I note that the four questions I asked have again been dodged, which does not say much of the direction you wish to carry discussion. So, we can note enough for onlookers to see for themselves and go on.

    Good evening

    GEM of TKI

  56. the key question being begged is the a priori imposition of evolutionary materialism

    Methodological naturalism is the correct term.

    If you have a new scientific paradigm, all you have to do is explain how it will work. Simply giving up investigation is not scientific, so we need a better way than that.

    I have been answering your question 1. Question 3 is asking me to make an argument from authority.

    Question 2:

    can you kindly summarise or cite the view made by Newton on the orderliness of nature

    You have already cited Newton at length. I don’t know why you want me to do it too, unless you want to create here another digital copy of his work.

    As an argument from authority, your authority figure is rather mildewed. If Newton had come up with a means to test divine hypotheses then you would have a genuine argument instead of the fallacy of argument from authority.

    Question 4 was presupposition.

  57. Driver as to ‘methodological naturalism’,,,

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
    William Shakespeare – Hamlet

    The artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy onto the scientific method has blinded many scientists to the inference of God as a rational explanation in these questions of origins. In fact, the scientific method, by itself, makes absolutely no predictions as to what the best explanation will be prior to investigation in these question of origins. In the beginning of a investigation all answers are equally valid to the scientific method. Yet scientists have grown accustomed through the years to the artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy onto the scientific method. That is to say by limiting the answers one may conclude to only materialistic ones, the scientific method has been very effective at solving many puzzles very quickly. This imposition of the materialistic philosophy onto the scientific method has indeed led to many breakthroughs of technology which would not have been possible had the phenomena been presumed to be solely the work of a miracle. This imposition of materialism onto the scientific method is usually called methodological naturalism, methodological materialism, or scientific materialism etc… Yet today, due to the impressive success of methodological naturalism in our everyday lives, many scientists are unable to separate this artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy from the scientific method in this completely different question of origins.

    In fact, I’ve heard someone say, “Science is materialism.” Yet science clearly is not materialism. Materialism is a philosophy which makes the dogmatic assertion that only blind material processes generated everything around us, including ourselves. Materialism is thus in direct opposition to Theism which holds that God purposely created us in His image. Furthermore science, or more particularly the scientific method, in reality, only cares to relentlessly pursue the truth and could care less if the answer is a materialistic one or not. This is especially true in these questions of origins, since we are indeed questioning the materialistic philosophy itself. i.e. We are asking the scientific method to answer this very specific question, “Did God create us or did blind material processes create us?” When we realize this is the actual question we are seeking an answer to within the scientific method, then of course it is readily apparent we cannot impose strict materialistic answers onto the scientific method prior to investigation. No less than leading “New Atheist” Richard Dawkins agrees:

    “The presence of a creative deity in the universe is clearly a scientific hypothesis. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more momentous hypothesis in all of science.” Richard Dawkins

    The best data we have [concerning the Big Bang] are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the bible as a whole.
    Dr. Arno Penzias, Nobel Laureate in Physics – co-discoverer of the Cosmic Background Radiation – as stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978

    In fact when looking at the evidence in this light we find out many interesting things which scientists, who have been blinded by the philosophy of materialism, miss. This is because the materialistic and Theistic philosophy make, and have made, several natural contradictory predictions about what evidence we will find. These predictions, and the evidence we have found, can be tested against one another within the scientific method.

    Steps of the Scientific Method
    http://www.sciencebuddies.org/.....thod.shtml

    For a quick overview, here are a few:

    1. Materialism predicted an eternal universe, Theism predicted a created universe. – Big Bang points to a creation event. -

    2. Materialism predicted time had an infinite past, Theism predicted time had a creation. – Time was created in the Big Bang. -

    3. Materialism predicted space has always existed, Theism predicted space had a creation (Psalm 89:12) – Space was created in the Big Bang. -

    4. Materialism predicted that material has always existed, Theism predicted ‘material’ was created. – ‘Material’ was created in the Big Bang.

    5. Materialism predicted at the base of physical reality would be a solid indestructible material particle which rigidly obeyed the rules of time and space, Theism predicted the basis of this reality was created by a infinitely powerful and transcendent Being who is not limited by time and space – Quantum mechanics reveals a wave/particle duality for the basis of our reality which blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. -

    6. Materialism predicted the rate at which time passed was constant everywhere in the universe, Theism predicted God is eternal and is outside of time – Special Relativity has shown that time, as we understand it, is relative and comes to a complete stop at the speed of light. (Psalm 90:4 – 2 Timothy 1:9)-

    7. Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and life was ultimately an accident of time and chance. Theism predicted this universe was purposely created by God with man in mind – Every transcendent universal constant scientists can measure is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe. -

    8. Materialism predicted complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Theism predicted the earth is extremely unique in this universe – Statistical analysis of the hundreds of required parameters which enable complex life to be possible on earth gives strong indication the earth is extremely unique in this universe. -

    9. Materialism predicted much of the DNA code was junk. Theism predicted we are fearfully and wonderfully made – ENCODE research into the DNA has revealed a “biological jungle deeper, denser, and more difficult to penetrate than anyone imagined.”. -

    10. Materialism predicted a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. Theism predicted only God created life on earth – The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial mutations whatsoever. (M. Behe; JC Sanford) -

    11. Materialism predicted a very simple first life form which accidentally came from “a warm little pond”. Theism predicted God created life – The simplest life ever found on Earth is far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. (Michael Denton PhD) -

    12. Materialism predicted it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Theism predicted life to appear abruptly on earth after water appeared on earth (Genesis 1:10-11) – We find evidence for complex photo-synthetic life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth -

    13. Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life to be self-evident in the fossil record. Theism predicted complex and diverse life to appear abruptly in the seas in God’s fifth day of creation. – The Cambrian Explosion shows a sudden appearance of many different and completely unique fossils within a very short “geologic resolution time” in the Cambrian seas. -

    14. Materialism predicted there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record, Theism predicted sudden appearance and rapid diversity within different kinds found in the fossil record – Fossils are consistently characterized by sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record, then rapid diversity within the group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. -

    15. Materialism predicted animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Theism predicted man was the last species created on earth – Man himself is the last generally accepted major fossil form to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. -

    references:
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1ubha8aFKlJiljnuCa98QqLihFWFwZ_nnUNhEC6m6Cys

    As you can see when we remove the artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy, from the scientific method, and look carefully at the predictions of both the materialistic philosophy and the Theistic philosophy, side by side, we find the scientific method is very good at pointing us in the direction of Theism as the true explanation. – In fact it is even very good at pointing us to Christianity:

    General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy & the Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5070355

    Last, but certainly not least, as a Christian I would be very remiss if I failed to ask you to accept the free gift of eternal life from the living God who created this universe and all life in it. In fact, almighty God has made a very clear path for us “fallen human adults” to completely reconcile with Him so we may be able to stand before Him in heaven. We do this by humbly accepting what He has done for us through Christ on the cross so that we may be able to stand in the glory of the presence of almighty God in heaven (For our God is an all-consuming fire – Hebrews 12:29). In fact by accepting Christ into your heart, you will be cleansed spotless of your sins in the presence of almighty God. So how about it, Will you accept this priceless gift of Jesus Christ into your heart today so you may able to receive the priceless gift of eternal life in heaven? —

    Revelation 3:20
    ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.’

    My Beloved One – music video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4200171

    John 3:16
    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

    The Disciples – How They Died – Would A Man Die For Something He Knew Was A Lie? – music video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4193404

    ————————————

    Evanescence – “Bring Me To Life” – Video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YxaaGgTQYM

    Wake Me O Lord

    Wake me O Lord from this sleep of mine
    To the living wonders of creation that are so fine
    With a “Oh, that’s nice” I shall not content
    NO, only when You speak shall my heart be spent
    Others may suffice their cravings of Awe
    With an “Oh Well” shrug of the wonders they saw
    But I know You are in each piece of reality
    Yes, in the wind, the stars, and even the sea
    So this vow to You I make
    No rest in me my heart will take
    Till Your face and hands again I see
    In the many waters of reality
    For the truth be known to You indeed
    That if I see You not with my heart and head
    I’m not really born again, but instead am dead

    Does God Exist? Finding a Good God in an Evil World
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4007708

  58. Driver as to ‘methodological naturalism’,,,

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

    Perhaps, perhaps not. The problem is how would we use science to infer miracles? It’s a genuine problem, I grant you. One that no-one has a solution for. If you know of a scientific test for inferring miracles, then that would be a marvellous scientific revolution.

    I agree with you that science is not materialism.

  59. Driver, whether you believe it or not, you yourself have ‘performed a miracle’ when you typed your post, for you have exceeded, in your generation of functional information, what can reasonably be expected from the entire material processes of the universe over the entire history of the universe. If you don’t think what you have done is a miracle, from a materialistic point of view, then simply show me just one example of purely material processes doing generating functional information. By the way if do demonstrate as such you will falsify a null hypothesis;

    The Law of Physicodynamic Insufficiency – Dr David L. Abel – November 2010
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”,,, After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided. The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction: “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”
    http://www.scitopics.com/The_L.....iency.html

    Stephen Meyer describes the intelligent design argument as follows:

    “Premise One: Despite a thorough search, no material causes have been discovered that demonstrate the power to produce large amounts of specified information.
    “Premise Two: Intelligent causes have demonstrated the power to produce large amounts of specified information.
    “Conclusion: Intelligent design constitutes the best, most causally adequate, explanation for the information in the cell.”

    There remains one and only one type of cause that has shown itself able to create functional information like we find in cells, books and software programs — intelligent design. We know this from our uniform experience and from the design filter — a mathematically rigorous method of detecting design. Both yield the same answer. (William Dembski and Jonathan Witt, Intelligent Design Uncensored: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to the Controversy, p. 90 (InterVarsity Press, 2010).)

    Stephen C. Meyer – The Scientific Basis For the Intelligent Design Inference – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4104651

    ,,, Driver, to get to the gist of what it means to be ‘inferring a miracle’, most people consider defying time and space to be a ‘supernatural and miraculous event, I know I certainly do, and yet the actions of quantum mechanics blatantly defies any time and space constraints,,,,

    Dr. Quantum – Double Slit Experiment & Entanglement – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4096579

    Double-slit experiment
    Excerpt: In 1999 objects large enough to see under a microscope, buckyball (interlocking carbon atom) molecules (diameter about 0.7 nm, nearly half a million times that of a proton), were found to exhibit wave-like interference.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D.....experiment

    This following site offers a more formal refutation of materialism:

    Why Quantum Theory Does Not Support Materialism – By Bruce L Gordon:
    Excerpt: Because quantum theory is thought to provide the bedrock for our scientific understanding of physical reality, it is to this theory that the materialist inevitably appeals in support of his worldview. But having fled to science in search of a safe haven for his doctrines, the materialist instead finds that quantum theory in fact dissolves and defeats his materialist understanding of the world.
    http://www.4truth.net/site/c.h.....ialism.htm

    It seems fairly obvious the actions observed in the double slit experiment, as well as other experiments, are only possible if our reality has its actual, ultimate, basis in a ‘higher transcendent dimension’:

    Explaining The Unseen Higher (spiritual) Dimension – Dr. Quantum – Flatland – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4119478

    The ‘Fourth Dimension’ Of Living Systems
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1Gs_qvlM8-7bFwl9rZUB9vS6SZgLH17eOZdT4UbPoy0Y

    Albert Einstein – Special Relativity – Insight Into Eternity – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6545941/

    ‘When you die, you enter eternity. It feels like you were always there, and you will always be there. You realize that existence on Earth is only just a brief instant.’
    Dr. Ken Ring – has extensively studied Near Death Experiences

    It is also very interesting to point out that the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, reported in many Near Death Experiences(NDEs), is also corroborated by Special Relativity when considering the optical effects for traveling at the speed of light. Please compare the similarity of the optical effect, noted at the 3:22 minute mark of the following video, when the 3-Dimensional world ‘folds and collapses’ into a tunnel shape around the direction of travel as an observer moves towards the ‘higher dimension’ of the speed of light, with the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ reported in very many Near Death Experiences:

    Traveling At The Speed Of Light – Optical Effects – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5733303/

    The NDE and the Tunnel – Kevin Williams’ research conclusions
    Excerpt: I started to move toward the light. The way I moved, the physics, was completely different than it is here on Earth. It was something I had never felt before and never felt since. It was a whole different sensation of motion. I obviously wasn’t walking or skipping or crawling. I was not floating. I was flowing. I was flowing toward the light. I was accelerating and I knew I was accelerating, but then again, I didn’t really feel the acceleration. I just knew I was accelerating toward the light. Again, the physics was different – the physics of motion of time, space, travel. It was completely different in that tunnel, than it is here on Earth. I came out into the light and when I came out into the light, I realized that I was in heaven.(Barbara Springer)

    etc… etc…

    ,,,I don’t know Driver how much more do you want??? miracles abound all around us in our everyday lives as well as in our science, I guess it all comes down to if a person is big enough to humble themselves before God and realize that He pervades all of reality!!!

  60. Isn’t it curious that the folk who go around loudly insisting that there really is a real distinction between ‘methodological naturalism’ and ‘philosophical naturalism’ seem never to grant even the possibility of a corresponding distinction between ‘methodological designism’ and ‘philosophical designism’?

  61. KF: Wow, that’s a lot of bad philosophy! I don’t know much about this is-ought stuff, but a good first approximation for a decent philosophy would be something like, “Whatever hurts or injures a human is bad, allowing unnecessary pain or injury is evil.” A good second approximation would be something like, “Whatever hurts or injures a sentient anything …”

    What you want to watch out for is basing your philosophy on religion. For instance, as a black man in the Caribbean, you must be well aware of the disasterous consequences of verses like:

    LEVITICUS 25:44 ‘As for your male and female slaves whom you may have – you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you.

    That must have provided a lot of comfort to the pius and enterprising Christian slavers who purchased your ancestors and transported them across the Atlantic, to die in the cane fields without ever seeing their loved ones again.

    The African tribes who used to raid rival tribes for slaves to sell to the Christians undoubtedly got their morals from their religions too. As did the Muslims who ran an equally large slaver operation in their sphere of influence.

    Of course, here in the US, the slave states quickly became the Bible Belt when they discovered that the Bible explicitely authorized and approved of the chattel slavery they were practicing.

    It wasn’t just the American South that felt that way, of course. A mob of Christians chased the great abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison through the streets of Boston and he narrowly escaped lynching at their hands.

    Religious morality doesn’t just fail the slavery test though. Think of how many have died because of this verse:

    EXODUS 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

    or this one:

    EXODUS 22:20 He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord
    only, he shall be utterly destroyed.

    Sounds almost Islamic in its evil, doesn’t it?

  62. DM:

    You begin my acknowledging “I don’t know much about this is-ought stuff” and then proceed to try for an ad hominem by wrenching some OT case-law remarks out of their context to suggest the now all too commonplace “the God of the Bible is a moral monster” new atheist talking point.

    On the first, pardon some frank words: you would be better advised to study before speaking.

    There is — as Hawthorne aptly summarised — indeed a major gap for evolutionary materialistic views on warranting OUGHT based on the ISes that that view permits, as well as the similar gap it faces on warranting the credibility of a knowing, reasoning mind. Both of these were already discussed and linked. (You should be asking yourself why it is that these commonplace results are not commonly known. This will point you to the shameless heart of our C21 version of Plato’s Cave.)

    As to the moral monster thesis, this simply reflects new atheist atmosphere poisoning, so as a first comment — the points you make are as usual tangential and polarising towards a turnabout immoral equivalency accusation [BTW, as a Jamaican, I have a history where the Christian faith at the hands of Evangelical dissenters was a major part of our liberation from slavery, starting with the likes of Wilberforce, Buxton, Knibb, Equiano and Sharpe . . . ] — I simply point you here on the core of Biblical morality.

    As the ghosts of over 100 million victims of atheistical and evolutionist regimes over the past 100 years moan out, you would be well advised to pause and reflect carefully on this [onward links are there], from Plato’ The Laws Bk X, who saw first hand what the rise of similar evolutionary materialism — this is an ancient view — already did in Athens 2,400 years ago:

    __________

    >> [[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 . . . .

    [[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 . . . >>
    _________

    Being morally governend creatures made in God’s image and with an implanted conscience, evolutionary materialists have moral intuitions and impulses like the rest of us, but we must beware of the destructive power of an increasingly amoral culture. As the apostle warned in C1:

    Eph 4:17 . . . this I say and solemnly testify in [the name of] the Lord [as in His presence], that you must no longer live as the heathen (the Gentiles) do in their perverseness [in the folly, vanity, and emptiness of their souls and the futility] of their minds.

    18Their [a]moral understanding is darkened and their reasoning is beclouded. [They are] alienated (estranged, self-banished) from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the ignorance (the want of knowledge and perception, the willful blindness) that is [b]deep-seated in them, due to their hardness of heart [to the insensitiveness of their moral nature].

    19In their spiritual apathy they have become callous and past feeling and reckless and have abandoned themselves [a prey] to unbridled sensuality, eager and greedy to indulge in every form of impurity [that their depraved desires may suggest and demand].

    Good day

    GEM of TKI

  63. F/N: I have made a for the record post on the Lewontin NYRB 1997 cite, here. I trust that this will provide sufficient warrant for the fair minded onlooker to see the balance of the matter on the merits, and that it will thus also allow this thread to return to its proper focus on what Mr Myers did, especially to Mr Wells.

  64. kairosfocus and dmullenix, “coincidentally” the first site I serendipitously ran across this morning deals directly with the old ‘slaves and the bible’ issue:

    Slaves In The Bible – 8 Quick Resources
    http://apologetics315.blogspot.....urces.html

    =========================

    Here is a song you may enjoy kf:

    Courageous – Casting Crowns
    http://www.godtube.com/music-videos/

  65. BA:

    Thanks.

    Looks like I have to register.

    G

    PS: Here are some of my own remarks on slavery and the Judaeo-Christian worldview, in the context of liberation and government. CARM and Copan in your linked list are a good start for the fair-minded.

  66. KF: Wow, you are really hard to parse! When you say, “…proceed to try for an ad hominem by wrenching some OT case-law remarks out of their context to suggest the now all too commonplace “the God of the Bible is a moral monster” new atheist talking point.”, are you talking about where I quoted the Bible verses? If so, perhaps you should remember that “ad hominem” means “to the man”, not “quoting the Bible”.

    I made two points and you haven’t really answered them. In fact, your “answers” are a little ad-hominish. First, morality isn’t really all that hard, at least to a first approximation. As an example, most people would say that having somebody stick a knife in their eye was a pretty bad thing and that if the knife sticker was doing that for the heck of it and not because they were eye doctors, then they were pretty evil. I know, there are lots of hard questions about morality and some questions probably don’t have good answers, but some of them are pretty obvious and shouldn’t cause anybody any problems.

    Similarly, a few minute’s Bible reading will show any fair minded person that you can’t depend on that book for an absolute morality because there’s too much stuff in it that’s just plain nasty and immoral. Maybe some other religions don’t have that problem, but I can’t think of any right off the top of my head. Buddhism maybe?

    Not that you can’t pick and choose your Bible verses and come up with a fairly decent morality, but you’re necessarily depending on your own human abilities to do so, which means it’s not an absolute morality.

    When you speak of an increasingly amoral culture, are you taking into consideration that slavery is illegal in most of the world today and that when somebody kills somebody else because they worship the wrong god, most of the world condemns their actions? Personally, I think that’s an improvement. I’ll trade that for stopping gay marriages any day.

  67. BA77: That CARM “defense” of the Bible re slavery is not very good: http://carm.org/slavery

    1: Yes, a slave is the property of his master – that’s pretty much the definition of a slave: You’re property. You belong to somebody.

    2: This is a REALLY bad defense. “The Bible restricted the master’s power over the slave” and they quote Ex 21:20 “If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished.” That’s very good and reflects well on the Bible. Except that Ex 21:21 says, “Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.” So the Bible says you CAN beat your slave to death, but he has to linger a day or two before he dies. And I have a feeling that if he dies right away, it’s just a fine. Anybody know?

    3 & 4: The slave is a member of the family and has to rest on the Sabbath. Good.

    5: The slave is required to participate in religious obsrvances. There’s a few big problems here. First of all, “participation” seems to mean “circumcision”. You have to circumcise the slave. Regardless of how the salve feels about having his genitals mutilated. (And without anesthetic!) That is one religious practice I would prefer to skip, especially as an adult and without anesthetic.

    6: The Bible prohibits extradition of slaves. Very good – except that the New Testament book of Philemon consists of a letter from Paul to a slave owner concerning a slave Paul is sending back to him.

    7: Hebrew slaves can only be kept six years. True. If they’re male. Females never have to be freed, nor do foreign slaves of either sex.

    8: A freed slave recieves gifts to help him survive. Very good, but if you gave him a wife, you keep the wife and any children he might have fathered. And only male Hebrews have to be set free.

    CARM’s defense is probably as good as anybody’s, but the Bible and it’s alleged Objective Morality don’t come off very well.

  68. EDM:

    This is beginning to look more and more like a further threadjacking attempt.

    I would advise you to do a little more study, as already noted.

    Good day

    GEM of TKI

  69. Driver, whether you believe it or not, you yourself have ‘performed a miracle’ when you typed your post, for you have exceeded, in your generation of functional information, what can reasonably be expected from the entire material processes of the universe over the entire history of the universe.

    ba, I say that the null hypothesis is that material processes are sufficient.
    After all, it is Abel who is positing the extra entity/process. So where do we go from here?

    If you don’t think what you have done is a miracle, from a materialistic point of view, then simply show me just one example of purely material processes doing generating functional information.

    It all depends how you define “functional information”, doesn’t it? It is trivial to show that material processes can generate information.

  70. Onlookers:

    DM is of course tossing out red herring after red herring led away to a forest of strawman caricatures laced with ad hominems awaiting some firebrand rhetoric to set ablaze, bitterly polarising and poisoning the atmoshpere.

    (Side-bar: And surely s/he knows or should know that this is not the proper forum for a theological debate over Biblical ethics; there are many such out there if s/he were really interested in solid, carefully considered answers, starting with the already linked sites BA provided for us. But the onward rhetorical talking points on slavery and related issues are already revealing. The trick in all of this is that this is actually a disguised dilemma: ignore the points and the ad hominem laced strawmen stand unopposed. Answer them and UD stands indicted as “creationists in cheap tuxedos.” I choose to do neither: let us see what grounds other than appealing to popular opinion, rhetoric or feelings, can DM give to ground moral claims? ANS: None, That is, what we are seeing is radical relativism rooted in our culture in evolutionary materialism and in its inherent amorality of might and manipulation make for perceptions of right, which if backed up by state power of whatever dominant faction, are as much of morality as you can get. Exactly as Plato warned against, and exactly as my ancestors suffered from at the hands of amoral and greedy power elites who had no answer on the merits to a Wilberforce, but instead subjected him to the most nasty and vicious personal attacks then when that failed, resorted to delay tactics for a generation. The sound answer instead is that the fact of morality points to the soundness of a worldview that can ground OUGHT in its root IS. The only credible answer to such is creation-anchored theism where the creator and ground of being is inherently good, and so orders the world as to reflect that moral character. From this we can see that there is an IS who grounds OUGHT, and who in the course of moral government — of a world of finite, fallible, fallen and too often ill-willed creatures with the awesome gift of freedom, the basis of love which is in turn the root of all genuine virtue — calls us to repentance and reformation, but along the way will adapt to the hardness of men’s hearts so that amelioration and reform — but not suicide based on willfully ignoring or distorting the obvious foundation of family — mark the path of sound civilisation.)

    What s/he, therefore, has tellingly failed to address is the fundamental problem of evolutionary materialism, as a system that has in it no IS that can ground OUGHT.

    Materialists and fellow travellers have moral feelings and even reason morally, but when their system is pushed, it has no firm ground so is captive to a radical relativism that the manifests over and over again. Accordingly, it falls prey to whoever can seize control of institutions of influence, and pump out clever Plato’s Cave manipulative rhetoric, regardless of the consequences of the civilisation. And it is no secret that I hold the view that on this track our civilisation is obviously heading over the cliff.

    Getting back to the focus for this thread, the OP, we can see much the same in PZM’s fulminations, especially:

    There are some of the people in the intelligent design movement who are incredibly nasty, awful, and misrepresent science in ways that I cannot forgive. This is not about demonizing the individuals.

    I have to single out this man, whom I consider the most contemptable, despicable, cruel, and vicious evil liar in the creationist movement today, yes, he’s a nasty, nasty person. (PZ has never met or talked with this ID proponent. [Namely, Jonathan Wells, who dared to expose the rotten foundations of several of the major icons so often used to indoctrinate unsuspecting students and the wider public in evolutionary materialism under the false colours of science, starting with Haeckel's embryological fraud.])

    This abusive and amoral faux outrage rhetoric by PZM that manipulates moral feelings is exactly the sort of willfully slanderous polarising Alinskyite rhetorical pattern that I have warned against here.

    Surely, we can do better than this.

    If we care about our civilisation, even if not our souls.

    Good day.

    GEM of TKI

  71. Driver:

    Though your own points are tangential, they are at least in the general ambit of the blog.

    I see your:

    ba, I say that the null hypothesis is that material processes are sufficient [i.e. to be sources of digitally coded, functionally specific complex linguistic or algorithmic information].

    The challenge is to show this, empirically and repeatably, without inadvertently sneaking in intelligent direction through the back door.

    We can show that dFSCI is routinely produced by active intelligences, with an Internet full of accessible examples. Your side, after years of asking, has yet to meet the simple challenge of rising aboov e a materialistic a priori to show chance and necessity creating dFSCI without the intervention or direction or design by intelligence.

    The infinite monkeys analysis also strongly supports the conclusion that as a practical matter you cannot.

    GEM of TKI

  72. KF,

    Evolution is nothing like monkeys at keyboards. It is incremental and not at all random.

    I have yet to see a demonstration that dFSCI is produced by intelligence but not by natural processes.

    So it has not been shown that dFSCI is a sufficient condition for intelligent intentional agents. Neither has it been shown, that exhibiting dFSCI is a necessary condition for life.

    I am interested as to how dFSCI relates to CSI. Although, as yet, I have not been able to find that rigorous definition of CSI in the comment 34 you have linked to as an answer. Perhaps you could simply reproduce the part that is the rigorous definition?

  73. Driver you state:

    ‘It all depends how you define “functional information”, doesn’t it?’

    Well Driver, why don’t we use, Nobel recipient, Jack Szostak’s definition for functional information???

    Functional information and the emergence of bio-complexity:
    Robert M. Hazen, Patrick L. Griffin, James M. Carothers, and Jack W. Szostak:
    Abstract: Complex emergent systems of many interacting components, including complex biological systems, have the potential to perform quantifiable functions. Accordingly, we define ‘functional information,’ I(Ex), as a measure of system complexity. For a given system and function, x (e.g., a folded RNA sequence that binds to GTP), and degree of function, Ex (e.g., the RNA-GTP binding energy), I(Ex)= -log2 [F(Ex)], where F(Ex) is the fraction of all possible configurations of the system that possess a degree of function > Ex. Functional information, which we illustrate with letter sequences, artificial life, and biopolymers, thus represents the probability that an arbitrary configuration of a system will achieve a specific function to a specified degree. In each case we observe evidence for several distinct solutions with different maximum degrees of function, features that lead to steps in plots of information versus degree of functions.
    http://genetics.mgh.harvard.ed.....S_2007.pdf

    Mathematically Defining Functional Information In Molecular Biology – Kirk Durston – short video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995236

    Measuring the functional sequence complexity of proteins – Kirk K Durston, David KY Chiu, David L Abel and Jack T Trevors – 2007
    Excerpt: We have extended Shannon uncertainty by incorporating the data variable with a functionality variable. The resulting measured unit, which we call Functional bit (Fit), is calculated from the sequence data jointly with the defined functionality variable. To demonstrate the relevance to functional bioinformatics, a method to measure functional sequence complexity was developed and applied to 35 protein families.,,,
    http://www.tbiomed.com/content/4/1/47

    Three subsets of sequence complexity and their relevance to biopolymeric information – Abel, Trevors
    Excerpt: Shannon information theory measures the relative degrees of RSC and OSC. Shannon information theory cannot measure FSC. FSC is invariably associated with all forms of complex biofunction, including biochemical pathways, cycles, positive and negative feedback regulation, and homeostatic metabolism. The algorithmic programming of FSC, not merely its aperiodicity, accounts for biological organization. No empirical evidence exists of either RSC of OSC ever having produced a single instance of sophisticated biological organization. Organization invariably manifests FSC rather than successive random events (RSC) or low-informational self-ordering phenomena (OSC).
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC1208958/

    Stephen Meyer – Functional Proteins And Information For Body Plans – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4050681

    Book Review – Meyer, Stephen C. Signature in the Cell. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.
    Excerpt: As early as the 1960s, those who approached the problem of the origin of life from the standpoint of information theory and combinatorics observed that something was terribly amiss. Even if you grant the most generous assumptions: that every elementary particle in the observable universe is a chemical laboratory randomly splicing amino acids into proteins every Planck time for the entire history of the universe, there is a vanishingly small probability that even a single functionally folded protein of 150 amino acids would have been created. Now of course, elementary particles aren’t chemical laboratories, nor does peptide synthesis take place where most of the baryonic mass of the universe resides: in stars or interstellar and intergalactic clouds. If you look at the chemistry, it gets even worse—almost indescribably so: the precursor molecules of many of these macromolecular structures cannot form under the same prebiotic conditions—they must be catalysed by enzymes created only by preexisting living cells, and the reactions required to assemble them into the molecules of biology will only go when mediated by other enzymes, assembled in the cell by precisely specified information in the genome.
    So, it comes down to this: Where did that information come from? The simplest known free living organism (although you may quibble about this, given that it’s a parasite) has a genome of 582,970 base pairs, or about one megabit (assuming two bits of information for each nucleotide, of which there are four possibilities). Now, if you go back to the universe of elementary particle Planck time chemical labs and work the numbers, you find that in the finite time our universe has existed, you could have produced about 500 bits of structured, functional information by random search. Yet here we have a minimal information string which is (if you understand combinatorics) so indescribably improbable to have originated by chance that adjectives fail.
    http://www.fourmilab.ch/docume.....k_726.html

    Abiogenic Origin of Life: A Theory in Crisis – Arthur V. Chadwick, Ph.D.
    Excerpt: The synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids from small molecule precursors represents one of the most difficult challenges to the model of prebiological evolution. There are many different problems confronted by any proposal. Polymerization is a reaction in which water is a product. Thus it will only be favored in the absence of water. The presence of precursors in an ocean of water favors depolymerization of any molecules that might be formed. Careful experiments done in an aqueous solution with very high concentrations of amino acids demonstrate the impossibility of significant polymerization in this environment. A thermodynamic analysis of a mixture of protein and amino acids in an ocean containing a 1 molar solution of each amino acid (100,000,000 times higher concentration than we inferred to be present in the prebiological ocean) indicates the concentration of a protein containing just 100 peptide bonds (101 amino acids) at equilibrium would be 10^-338 molar. Just to make this number meaningful, our universe may have a volume somewhere in the neighborhood of 10^85 liters. At 10^-338 molar, we would need an ocean with a volume equal to 10^229 universes (100, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000) just to find a single molecule of any protein with 100 peptide bonds. So we must look elsewhere for a mechanism to produce polymers. It will not happen in the ocean.
    http://origins.swau.edu/papers.....fault.html

    ========================

    Monkey Theory Proven Wrong:
    Excerpt: A group of faculty and students in the university’s media program left a computer in the monkey enclosure at Paignton Zoo in southwest England, home to six Sulawesi crested macaques. Then, they waited. At first, said researcher Mike Phillips, “the lead male got a stone and started bashing the hell out of it. “Another thing they were interested in was in defecating and urinating all over the keyboard,” added Phillips, who runs the university’s Institute of Digital Arts and Technologies. Eventually, monkeys Elmo, Gum, Heather, Holly, Mistletoe and Rowan produced five pages of text, composed primarily of the letter S. Later, the letters A, J, L and M crept in — not quite literature.
    http://www.arn.org/docs2/news/.....051103.htm

    ======================

    etc.. etc.. etc..

  74. Driver you state:

    ‘Evolution is nothing like monkeys at keyboards. It is incremental and not at all random.’

    What??? So not even the variation is random??? But as to ‘incremental’, That’s the neo-Darwinian fairy-tale, the problem for you is to ACTUALLY scientifically prove that ‘incremental’ steps, one tiny step added to another tiny step, can climb Mount Improbable as the neo-Darwininian conjecture maintains:

    Evolution vs. Functional Proteins – Doug Axe – Video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4018222

    “Charles Darwin said (paraphrase), ‘If anyone could find anything that could not be had through a number of slight, successive, modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.’ Well that condition has been met time and time again. Basically every gene, every protein fold. There is nothing of significance that we can show that can be had in a gradualist way. It’s a mirage. None of it happens that way. – Doug Axe PhD.

    Nothing In Molecular Biology Is Gradual – Doug Axe PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5347797/

    When Theory and Experiment Collide — April 16th, 2011 by Douglas Axe
    Excerpt: Based on our experimental observations and on calculations we made using a published population model [3], we estimated that Darwin’s mechanism would need a truly staggering amount of time—a trillion trillion years or more—to accomplish the seemingly subtle change in enzyme function that we studied.
    http://biologicinstitute.org/2.....t-collide/

    =====================

    Waiting Longer for Two Mutations – Michael J. Behe
    Excerpt: Citing malaria literature sources (White 2004) I had noted that the de novo appearance of chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum was an event of probability of 1 in 10^20. I then wrote that ‘‘for humans to achieve a mutation like this by chance, we would have to wait 100 million times 10 million years’’ (Behe 2007) (because that is the extrapolated time that it would take to produce 10^20 humans). Durrett and Schmidt (2008, p. 1507) retort that my number ‘‘is 5 million times larger than the calculation we have just given’’ using their model (which nonetheless “using their model” gives a prohibitively long waiting time of 216 million years). Their criticism compares apples to oranges. My figure of 10^20 is an empirical statistic from the literature; it is not, as their calculation is, a theoretical estimate from a population genetics model.
    http://www.discovery.org/a/9461

    Estimating the prevalence of protein sequences adopting functional enzyme folds: Doug Axe:
    Excerpt: Starting with a weakly functional sequence carrying this signature, clusters of ten side-chains within the fold are replaced randomly, within the boundaries of the signature, and tested for function. The prevalence of low-level function in four such experiments indicates that roughly one in 10^64 signature-consistent sequences forms a working domain. Combined with the estimated prevalence of plausible hydropathic patterns (for any fold) and of relevant folds for particular functions, this implies the overall prevalence of sequences performing a specific function by any domain-sized fold may be as low as 1 in 10^77, adding to the body of evidence that functional folds require highly extraordinary sequences. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15321723

    etc.. etc…

  75. Driver, it may interest you that the ‘one tiny step added to another tiny step’ conjecture has recently been shown to NOT EVEN be able to climb ‘Molehill Improbable’ must less ‘Mount Improbable’, for the steps are found to drag each other down the molehill when added together;

    Mutations : when benefits level off – June 2011
    Excerpt: After having identified the first five beneficial mutations combined successively and spontaneously in the bacterial population, the scientists generated, from the ancestral bacterial strain, 32 mutant strains exhibiting all of the possible combinations of each of these five mutations. They then noted that the benefit linked to the simultaneous presence of five mutations was less than the sum of the individual benefits conferred by each mutation individually.
    http://www2.cnrs.fr/en/1867.htm?theme1=7

    (from Lenski’s LTEE)

  76. ba77,

    To quote Meyer:

    Now, if you go back to the universe of elementary particle Planck time chemical labs and work the numbers, you find that in the finite time our universe has existed, you could have produced about 500 bits of structured, functional information by random search.

    I dispute his numbers, which are made up since no-one knows how life arose, but anyway evolution is NOT a random search.

  77. as to ‘incremental’, That’s the neo-Darwinian fairy-tale,

    Is it? Do you accept micro-evolution?

  78. Driver, it may interest you that the ‘one tiny step added to another tiny step’ conjecture has recently been shown to NOT EVEN be able to climb ‘Molehill Improbable’ must less ‘Mount Improbable’, for the steps are found to drag each other down the molehill when added together;

    ba77, please. Do yourself a favour. The paper you cite does not say what you think it says.

  79. Driver, having just gone through a grueling with this paper, I know exactly what the paper is saying, it is YOU that is harboring illusions!!!

  80. ba77, Where in that paper does it say that organisms cannot evolve?

  81. Driver you state;

    ‘but anyway evolution is NOT a random search.’

    Fine Driver, you seem to have evolution all figured out!!! Tell you what I want a ‘bird dog’!!! No not a dog that hunts birds,, I want a dog that flies!!! :) Please tell me exactly what ‘non-random’ evolutionary process I can implement to achieve this goal!!! Do I start by throwing dogs off a roof and keeping the ones that survive???

  82. Driver, where in the paper does it say that the addition of mutations did not produce negative epistasis?

    New Research on Epistatic Interactions Shows “Overwhelmingly Negative” Fitness Costs and Limits to Evolution
    Excerpt: The research paper published out of the Cooper lab (with Richard Lenski as a co-author), by Khan et al., is titled “Negative Epistasis Between Beneficial Mutations in an Evolving Bacterial Population.” It found that “Epistasis depended on the effects of the combined mutations–the larger the expected benefit, the more negative the epistatic effect. Epistasis thus tended to produce diminishing returns with genotype fitness, although interactions involving one particular mutation had the opposite effect. These data support models in which negative epistasis contributes to declining rates of adaptation over time.”

    The other paper from the Marx lab, by Chou et al., is titled “Diminishing Returns Epistasis Among Beneficial Mutations Decelerates Adaptation.” The article’s abstract likewise explains that: “patterns of epistasis may differ for within- and between-gene interactions during adaptation and that diminishing returns epistasis contributes to the consistent observation of decelerating fitness gains during adaptation.”

    The title of a summary piece in Science tells the whole story: “In Evolution, the Sum Is Less than Its Parts.” It notes that these studies encountered “antagonistic epistasis,” where negative effects arise from epistatic interactions:

    Both studies found a predominance of antagonistic epistasis, which impeded the rate of ongoing adaptation relative to a null model of independent mutational effects.

    In essence, these studies found that there is a fitness cost to becoming more fit. As mutations increase, bacteria faced barriers to the amount they could continue to evolve. If this kind of evidence doesn’t run counter to claims that neo-Darwinian evolution can evolve fundamentally new types of organisms and produce the astonishing diversity we observe in life, what does?
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....47151.html

  83. It’s quite amazing to see the degree to which Modernism and its rear-guard mongoloid step-child, Postmodernism, have annihilated context. No, Poindexter, the “text” does not exist in some sort of magic vacuum, as if it came into being from pure nothingness. Every text has a context, and there’s the rub for our would-be moralizing tale spinners. Their love of pure and simple valuations requires them to negate context in order to get to a bare-naked “text.”

    There are countless examples of this loss of context in current academic discourse. It is as if we had forgotten history in our rush to satisfy our moral vanity and make ourselves seem like Zarathustras of racism and sexism and whatever. We were so busy running away from Hegel and the historical method that we ran right into a benightedness that actually seems to pride itself in its ignorance of context and shadings of value—Zinn and Chomsky being models of the type.

    The game now is to show how righteous and morally superior we are by simplifying history to the point where it is no longer history but merely a story of savage indignation. Case in point: the ongoing attempt to depict the Bible as pro-slavery. Here is an offending “text” from Leviticus: “As for your male and female slaves whom you may have, you may buy male and female slaves from the nations that are round about you.” Heroically, the Postmodern critic seizes upon this scarlet verse and turns into a synecdoche. See! The Bible advocates slavery.

    Or how about this really juicy tidbit from Ephesians? “Slaves, be obedient to your masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as to Christ, not in the way of eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” Doesn’t this “text” prove that the Bible not only advocated slavery but even engaged in subtle slavery apologetics? Can’t you just read between the lines and see the self-serving “rhetorical strategies” of the writer, O Dionysian interpreter?

    Where to begin? So many candles to light against the smug darkness. Let’s start with the simple fact that slavery was a universal condition of existence at the time those verses were written—and indeed, right up to “modern” times. Households and farms did not have machines to make their chores light. In the past, slaves did the work that machines do today. Slavery was the rule, not the exception, in all civilized as well as uncivilized nations.

    For that matter, let us not forget that most of the population of Western Europe consisted of “serfs” up until the Middle Ages. In Russia, serfs made up 40% of the population as late as the 1850s. Serfs are not, strictly speaking, slaves, but they were servants, and serfdom is no less unthinkable today than slavery. And in the West, even middle-class households had servants to help with the chores.

    The main driver for the abolition of slavery was the Industrial Revolution, not the superior virtue of humanities professors. Today we have machines to do our bidding, making slaves both unnecessary and economically unfeasible. To get one’s dander up over the existence of slavery in the past is to annihilate the context of history for the sake of a simple story that glorifies ourselves and our superior virtue when there is no reason whatsoever for us to feel superior.

    The reason there have been no major wars in the West since WWII is because the armaments, and particularly the atom bomb, have become too potent to make war seem attractive, not because modern man suddenly became enlightened and shed the bellicosity he had exhibited throughout the preceding centuries. Similarly, the reason we no longer countenance slavery is because technology has made it unnecessary, not because we are morally superior to our ancestors.

    Leviticus simply states that buying slaves from neighboring nations is permissible. It does not say that slavery is commendable or right. The verse reflects the universal condition of the time in which it was written. To smugly condemn it from the Modern vantage point, when slavery is no longer necessary or even desirable, is to annihilate history as if it had never been written. To what end? Simply to demonstrate our moral superiority.

    The same Bible that contains the offending verse from Leviticus also says: “Is this not the fast that I choose? To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?…Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.”

    This stirring liberation text has virtually no peer or even counterpart in the ancient world. Any balanced discussion of the Bible and slavery should include consideration of such verses. But they complicate things for those who seek shelter in simple valuations and the sweeping negations that are used to prop up moral vanity. A posture of savage indignation requires simple valuations, but history is not simple; therefore it must be annihilated.

    The self-glorifying abuse of the verse from Ephesians involves a different kind of contextual negation—not of history but of cultural givens. There was a time when we could take cultural givens as givens and reach a sensible, well-rounded judgment with regard to such “texts.” But now that the “texts” have been stripped of their context, all sensibility has gone out of academic discourse.

    The cultural given for the Ephesians passage is the principle of submission. According to the Bible, the fall of man and cause of his unhappiness was rebellion against God. It follows, then, that the path back to happiness is to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Just as Christ submitted to God’s will and the cross and was rewarded with life, so slaves are advised to submit to masters and wives to husbands, not to empower masters and husbands, or, God forbid, corporations and “empire,” but as a matter of spiritual discipline.

    Of course if God is negated, summarily and airily dismissed, as he is in the modern academy, then this sensible, logical context simply vanishes, as it if it had never existed. Centuries and ages of contextual understanding evaporate under the withering heat of Nihilism and its extreme subjectivity, which is necessary to sustain the heroic identity of the superman and ubercritic seen in Postmodern discourse.

    This is the situation in which we now find ourselves. Humanities departments churn out volumes of smug but benighted value judgments from which all sensible context has virtually disappeared. And those who are repelled by this foul tide are cowed into submission, not by Postmodern arguments themselves, which are generally childish and shallow, but by the magnitude of the challenge of trying to recreate a substantive context that took millennia to come into being and now seems lost.

    The Postmoderns are bulletproof in their benightedness. Doesn’t matter what you say to them; they smile condescendingly as if to let you know that they have gone ahead of the rest of us—the “common herd,” as their prophets like to say—into the world of light and no longer need to burden themselves with such mundane things as context and history.

    It is as if they had liberated themselves from everything that is interesting and true.

  84. KF at 68: “EDM:
    This is beginning to look more and more like a further threadjacking attempt.”

    I assume that’s directed to me. The name is David, by the way. I don’t know where you got the E. What’s your name?

    Now, let’s look at that threadjacking charge:

    The name of this thread is “PZ open cut quote mines”. idnet starts it off with some good ones, probably unintentionally because few people around here seem to understand that “quote mine” is just a colorful synonym for “quoting out of context”. (In fact, a lot of posters don’t seem to understand what quoting out of context means. I still remember one poster insisting that every word he typed came directly from the person he was quoting, so what was the problem?)

    My first post was # 23 where I gave paragwinn a URL for the source of the PZ quotes and asked for the source of the last line, which I don’t think we’ve gotten yet. I then gave idnet what little I could dredge up from my high school English classes about proper quoting procedure.

    In message 3, the moderator had asked, “How can someone be ‘evil’ where there is ‘no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.’”

    That quote is from “River out of Eden”, by Richard Dawkins, which I have, and it’s a quote mine. The full quote is, “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.” Dawkins isn’t talking about individuals here, he’s talking about the workings of the inanimate universe which, being unconscious, is incapable of design, purpose, evil, good or anything else except indifference and really, not even the last, since indifference is usually associated with something that is capable of caring, but doesn’t.

    So I added this at the end of #23: “moderator, when Richard Dawkins says, “there is ‘no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference’, he’s referring to the inanimate universe. There is plenty of evidence for evil individuals.”

    In message #33, you type FOUR PAGES of bad philosophy, aided and abetted by a Will Hawthorne, in which the two of you charge materialism with being “inescapably amoral”, claim that to a materialist, “…terms like evil and good etc become simply tools for cynical emotional manipulation and programming of populations and individuals.”, claim that for a materialist, “..for any action you care to pick, it’s permissible to perform that action.”, and “…if atheism is true, every action Hitler performed was permissible.”

    You then claim that, “This is not usually explained plainly to the public, so it may seem strange.” No seems about it, it is totally strange and false.

    You finish up by saying atheists claim that the highest right is might (and you bold it to boot) and associate Saul Alinsky with “jack-boots marching in torchlight parades and the secret police knock on your door at 4 am…” and “I do not exaggerate when I say our civilisation is in mortal danger.”

    In your next message, #36, directed to MG, you call distinguished Kant scholar Lewis Beck “sophomoric” and claim he’s ignorant “…of the nature of actual theistic beliefs”. You then go into a disquisition on miracles complete with 6 Bible verses, say that MG seems “bound up in a strawman distortion of the[i]stic thought” and quote Isaac Newton as an authority. Newton believed that the Bible had been tampered with to the point of unreliability and that the Trinity was a false doctrine. I guess he was “bound up in a strawman distortion of the[i]stic thought” too. You finish the reply by saying to MG,

    “In short, the reason why you find the Beck quote to support your views is because you have been led to swallow a strawman caricature of the thought of those who are theistic and believe in miracles.”

    The thread is now effectively hijacked from quote mining to slander.

    If you want to see the threadjacker, look in a mirror.

  85. KF at 70: “DM is of course tossing out red herring after red herring led away to a forest of strawman caricatures laced with ad hominems awaiting some firebrand rhetoric to set ablaze, bitterly polarising and poisoning the atmoshpere.”

    What a bunch of horse pucky! I corrected the moderator on a factual error, you hijack the thread and now you accuse me of tossing out red herrings, making strawman caricatures, spreading ad hominems, doing something or other with firebrand rhetoric and polarizing and poisoning the debate.

    I’m calling you. “ad hominem” means “to the man”. In other words, instead of addressing an argument, you start to slag the person making the argument. Either show us all who I slandered and the words I used or retract that statement. What argument did I make a caricature of? Either show us the words or retract that statement. What polarizing and poisonous rhetoric did I use? Again, show us or retract that charge.

    Disagreeing with you doesn’t count as any of the above.

  86. DM:

    It is clear that you are not addressing the direct implication of the materialist universe, which is the context in which there is no evil extends to us and our dealings. Evolutionary materialism has in it no IS that can ground OUGHT, on a line of reasoning that goes all the way back to Hume. (On such a view, there is no more to “ought” than a particularly intense form of what “I” like or dislike.)

    So, in addressing an avowed evolutionary materialist, the commenter above was entirely in order to object: how can you ground good or evil, please?

    That is, he pointed out the inherent amorality of evolutionary materialism, which BTW is one way ti reduces itself to self-refuting absurdity.

    You have dismissed such and derided my pointing out a well warranted finding as thought they were wrong. But what you cannot do is to provide a warranting basis for ought on the ises of evolutionary materialism.

    That may be shocking or painful, but ti is indeed a well warranted finding, actually a commonplace in ethics. (The more sophisticated materialists tend to try to imply that other views have no good grounds for morality either, by for instance improperly extending the Euthyphro dilemma from pagan gods that are not the root of being, to the inherently good Creator God who is.)

    Your turnabout attempt fails.

    GEM of TKI

  87. allanius at 83: “Where to begin? So many candles to light against the smug darkness. Let’s start with the simple fact that slavery was a universal condition of existence at the time those verses were written—and indeed, right up to “modern” times.”

    A very good point if the Bible is the work of man. They were just doing the best they could in the world they found themselves in.

    But if the Bible is the work of God, then we really have to ask why He didn’t mention that this slavery thing is actually pretty immoral and I expect you all to drop it as soon as machinery lets you do without slaves. Or, better yet, use his advertised powers to create a better way to farm. Or just leave out verses like Ex 21:4. Or treat foreign slaves and female slaves like male Israeli slaves?

    The point is that if the Bible is the work of men, then it’s about what we’d expect and very possibly an improvement on what came before. Just fining a slave owner for beating his slave so hard he dies in a day or two is probably an improvement on former practices where the owner could do whatever he wanted because the slave is his money. Or how about Ex 21:7? If a father sells his daughter as a slave, why not let her go after six years like his son?

    “Leviticus simply states that buying slaves from neighboring nations is permissible. It does not say that slavery is commendable or right.”

    Well yeah! And rape and murder are permissable too. (Num 31:9-18) Kill all the men and boys and the women who aren’t virgins and keep the ones who are for your own use. That’s permissable, but it’s not commendable or right. Except that that’s Moses telling you to do the killing and raping. Hmmm…

    “The same Bible that contains the offending verse from Leviticus also says: “Is this not the fast that I choose? To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?…Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.””

    As I said, you can take the Bible and use your own human judgement to pick and choose from the verses you like and ignore the rest and make yourself a fairly decent moral code. But that’s human-made morality, not the absolute morality that so many people on this blog claim the Bible possesses.

    Show us this absolute morality and you’ll shut us right up. You should be able to do it if it’s in the Bible and it’s really absolute. It should stand out. You shouldn’t find any other passages disagreeing with it or countermanding it.

    But of course, you can’t do that because it’s not there. Just a bunch of humans doing their best with what they’ve got and inadvertently setting moral traps for later, more enlightened times.

    Short version: If there actually is no God, then religions start to make sense.

  88. Disagreeing with you doesn’t count as any of the above

    KF once accused me of an ad hom because he claimed that by disagreeing with him I was implying that he didn’t know what he was talking about, and was therefore attacking his person.

  89. KF at 86: “It is clear that you are not addressing the direct implication of the materialist universe, which is the context in which there is no evil extends to us and our dealings. Evolutionary materialism has in it no IS that can ground OUGHT, on a line of reasoning that goes all the way back to Hume. (On such a view, there is no more to “ought” than a particularly intense form of what “I” like or dislike.)”

    First of all, I don’t care if the world is material or god-blessed. When it comes to morality, we are here and how we got here doesn’t matter. We have certain characteristics and it doesn’t matter how we got them. We have to work with what we have.

    Look to post 61 for a sound basis for morality – whatever hurts a sentient creature is bad, if you hurt one for no reason, you’re evil.

    This shouldn’t be new to anybody – it’s a variation on the Golden Rule, which Jesus loved so much that he gave it to civilizations that flourished and died centuries before he was born.

    You and other posters, meanwhile, claim to have an absolute morality. I’d like to see it. In fact, if somebody doesn’t come up with one soon, I’m going to assume it doesn’t exist.

    Then, how about showing us where I slandered or caricatured an argument or used poisonous rhetoric or did anything else you accuse just about everybody you’ve ever argued with of doing. My words are right here in this thread. It shouldn’t be hard.

    And remember, mere disagreement with you or formulating an effective argument doesn’t count.

  90. 90
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Nitpick:

    The ad hominem fallacy is an argument based on some negative personal attribute of our opponent:

    e.g. Darwinism is wrong because Hitler espoused it. Or: Christianity is wrong because Constantine espoused it. Or even : ID is wrong because it is just Creationism in disguise.

    Or directly: Your argument argument is wrong because you are a liar/cheat/bigot/theist/evilutionist/atheist/clinging to your sky fairy delusions.

    These are all fallacious arguments.

    However:

    Non-intelligent processes cannot create information, you lying atheistic Darwinist is not an ad hominem (though it be both fallacious and insulting).

    Ditto with: GAs demonstrate that Darwinism is true, no matter how much you choose to ignore any evidence that threatens your precious theistic worldview.

    Rude, possibly fallacious, but not an ad hominem.

    Just had to get that off my chest :)

    I’ve seen a little bit of rudeness here (though a lot less than on my home turf :)) but very few ad hominems, at least ad participants (one or two ad Hitler).

  91. Driver:

    Evolution is nothing like monkeys at keyboards. It is incremental and not at all random.

    It can incremental, including losses of function. “not at all random”? Any data to support tt claim?

    BTW there sill isn’t any evidence of incremental change constructing new, useful and functional multi-part systems. Why doesn’t that count against the theory?

  92. David @84:

    Dawkins isn’t talking about individuals here, he’s talking about the workings of the inanimate universe which, being unconscious, is incapable of design, purpose, evil, good or anything else except indifference and really, not even the last, since indifference is usually associated with something that is capable of caring, but doesn’t.

    So you would have us believe that what Dawkins really meant to say is that:

    “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference as long as we ignore out own existence in the universe.”

    That’s what you’re saying.

    Well, I reject that interpretation because I think it makes Dawkins look irrational.

    Can you offer an explanation as to why Dawkins would ignore our own presence in the universe when making such an argument about what “properties” the universe has?

  93. dmullenx: “First of all, I don’t care if the world is material or god-blessed. When it comes to morality, we are here and how we got here doesn’t matter. We have certain characteristics and it doesn’t matter how we got them. We have to work with what we have.”

    It does not follow that because we have certain characteristics we have to work with what we have. You beg the question. Your current brain state is telling you this but your brain state does not have to be correct. In fact there does not have to be a correct answer. Just because you’re convinced of this meme, it does not follow that it is correct.

    “Look to post 61 for a sound basis for morality – whatever hurts a sentient creature is bad, if you hurt one for no reason, you’re evil.”

    Why is it ‘evil’ whatever that means to hurt a ‘sentient’ creature? What is this reason you say excuses this behaviour? This just begs the question.

    There may be no objective morality. There is no scientific fact in the universe which says that plunging a knife into someone’s eye is bad. Even if we dissected the brains of knife plungers and non-knife plungers and found significant differences between the two groups, there would still be no fact to tell us which brain structure is correct.
    Even if we found that knife plungers’ brains directly led them to lead much shorter lives or lives with much discomfort, it would still not mean they are incorrect. Their brains may be deficient when it comes to peaceful coexistence but it does not mean that that it’s necessarily a morally bad thing. Since we evolved from slime and are no better than slime, whether we co-operate peacefully or not is not objectively relevant.

    I also don’t see your basis for condemning the Old Testament. Even if you had some objective basis for judging what moral or immoral behaviour is, your would still need all the facts. We’d need to study the history and anthropology of these ancient peoples and decide if our current norms would do more good than bad. Certainly we don’t even know if our current norms are correct and it is a fallacy to assume that some future time will not come and label us as post-post modernists or something else. Even now many of us can’t agree on whether it’s ok to kill human beings for the sake of sexual convenience.

    Human interpretations of God’s morality or natural law may be flawed but for me at least, they can be argued about and there is at least a foundation for objective morality. If there is no God, then there is no basis for any objective morality and instead we’ll have imposition of morality by those who are deluded and powerful on the weak. If the Nazis or the Soviets had won, it would be moral to kill non-persons such as Jews and the rich, as is the case that it is ok to kill unborn non persons nowadays.

    Note that it perhaps would still be evil to make a sentient being suffer, just that Jews and the rich would not be classed as sentient beings or perhaps even if classed as sentient beings there would be a reason to do this – perhaps a utilitarian or a consequentionalist one, as one Marxist put it, “…you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs”.
    :-)

    Thanks.

  94. mung at 92: “Can you offer an explanation as to why Dawkins would ignore our own presence in the universe when making such an argument about what “properties” the universe has?”

    Because Dawkins was comparing the operation of the universe as we see it to the universe we would see if it was run by a benevolent intelligence.

    In other words, when he says “universe”, he means the universe minus us and any other intelligent beings that might reside in it.

  95. puragu at 93: “It does not follow that because we have certain characteristics we have to work with what we have.”

    Well, it’s hard to work with what we don’t have. :) My point is that we’re stuck with our human fallibility and we have to do the best we can with it.

    “There may be no objective morality. There is no scientific fact in the universe which says that plunging a knife into someone’s eye is bad. Even if we dissected the brains of knife plungers and non-knife plungers and found significant differences between the two groups, there would still be no fact to tell us which brain structure is correct.”

    That’s right and brain structure is the wrong place to look. Golden Rule moralities base themselves on what you do or don’t do to sentient creatures, not on your brain states. Knowledge of brain states might tell you why a person did something, but it’s what you do that is moral or immoral. For instance, that Arizona guy who killed all those people and shot Representative Gifford clearly did all that because of his brain states – he’s barking mad! But to see if his actions were moral, you have to see how they affected sentient beings and they affected them very, very adversely. They killed a lot of people and put others in the hospital. He was immoral because of his actions. His brain states just explain why he committed those actions.

    “Since we evolved from slime and are no better than slime, whether we co-operate peacefully or not is not objectively relevant.”

    [RANT] I don’t hold this against you personally, but this ‘we are no better than slime’ meme is one of the most common, false and disgusting things you hear from the ID / creationist culture and you see it here on UD constantly. It’s like saying, “Your father was a scumbag so you’re a scumbag too.” If I said something like that, you would very properly think I was the scumbag because that’s a nasty and untrue thing to say. You are yourself, not your parents or ancestors and you should be judged solely on your own qualities, not the qualities of any ancestors.

    So why is it supposed to be ok if you go back far enough in someone’s family tree that their ancestors actually are slime? The answer is that it’s NOT ok! You are you and I am I and it doesn’t matter a bit how either of us got that way. We are judged on our actions, not our ancestors. Slime is non-sentient. We aren’t. We are almost infinitely better than slime because of that and if some of our billions of years distant ancestors were slime molds, then congratulations to us for being so much improved and congratulations to the slime molds for having such illustrious descendents. It would be nice to never hear that “we are no better than slime” lie again. [/RANT]

    “I also don’t see your basis for condemning the Old Testament. Even if you had some objective basis for judging what moral or immoral behaviour is, your would still need all the facts. We’d need to study the history and anthropology of these ancient peoples and decide if our current norms would do more good than bad.”

    People try to defend the Old Testament this way all the time, but we know quite a bit of the history and anthropology involved and they don’t excuse many of the things in the OT. There’s a character named “Tektonix” or something like that and I’ve seen him argue that enslavement is the best thing for a little girl because she’d starve to death or be eaten by wolves if we didn’t since we’ve killed her mother, father, all of her brothers and any non-virgin sisters she might have. Honestly.

    Sometimes when the apologists really get rockin’ and rollin’, you just lose hope for the human race. There’s too much in both testaments for any amount of history and anthropology to excuse. And even if they were excusable, you have to ask why a book that is supposedly intended for all people through all time didn’t say, “But this is all immoral and someday it will be forbidden.”

    “Human interpretations of God’s morality or natural law may be flawed but for me at least, they can be argued about and there is at least a foundation for objective morality.”

    If you have a truly objective morality, there should be no good arguments against it, so the arguments should be short. And we can certainly argue about Golden Rule based philosophy.

    “If there is no God, then there is no basis for any objective morality and instead we’ll have imposition of morality by those who are deluded and powerful on the weak.”

    If there is a God and He has presented us with an objective morality, you’d think that somebody would be able to tell us what it is. So far, they haven’t. But we have plenty of impositions of “morality” by those who are deluded and powerful on the weak and the vast majority of those doing the imposing have believed in a god or gods and had a religion.

    “Note that it perhaps would still be evil to make a sentient being suffer, just that Jews and the rich would not be classed as sentient beings or perhaps even if classed as sentient beings there would be a reason to do this – perhaps a utilitarian or a consequentionalist one, as one Marxist put it, “…you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs”.

    That was Robespierre, actually, Too early to be a Marxist, but nasty all the same. The powerful are always going to try to warp morality to suit their desires. One way to thwart them is to put morality on a sound, defensible basis. If we establish that hurting or killing a sentient creature is the definition of bad and doing so deliberately and unnecessarily is immoral, then all we have to do to thwart the anti-Semites is to point out that Jews are sentient, which is pretty easy to do. But even that won’t work every time. Hitler thought he was doing the Lord’s work and defending Jesus by killing Jews and I’m sure he thought that serving God and Jesus justified all the killing.

    Thanks for the best response so far.

  96. David @94:

    Because Dawkins was comparing the operation of the universe as we see it to the universe we would see if it was run by a benevolent intelligence.

    The universe as we see it contains intelligent beings, like us.

    In other words, when he says “universe”, he means the universe minus us and any other intelligent beings that might reside in it.

    IOW, a universe quite unlike the one we actually find ourselves in.

    That reading of what he wrote makes Dawkins look like a moron, so I reject your interpretation.

    And since I have no reason to think your premise is true, so much for your conclusion.

  97. I try to always read the book before calling someone a moron. I call a lot fewer people morons that way.

    Dawkins is discussing the problem of evil and brings up an actual crash of a bus full of Catholic schoolchildren with great loss of life. He quotes a priest who has no good explanation for things like that happening.

    Dawkins replies, “On the contrary, if the universe were just electrons and selfish genes, meaningless tragedies like the crashing of this bus are exactly what we should expect, along with equally meaningless good fortune. Such a universe would be neither evil nor good in intention. It would manifest no intentions of any kind. In a universe of 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 we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference. As that unhappy poet, A. E. Housman put it:

    For Nature, heartless witless Nature Will neither know nor care.”

    Dawkins is saying that when you look at the universe, there’s no sign of intelligence or consciousness in its operation. When only a portion of a single sentence is quoted, it can sound like he’s saying that “no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference” exists in the universe, but he’s really talking about the operation of the universe.

  98. kairosfocus: I asked you this question in # 89:

    “… how about showing us where I slandered or caricatured an argument or used poisonous rhetoric or did anything else you accuse just about everybody you’ve ever argued with of doing. My words are right here in this thread. It shouldn’t be hard.

    And remember, mere disagreement with you or formulating an effective argument doesn’t count.”

    I’m still waiting and so are a lot of others. The thread is still here and my words are still in it.

    Please show me where I did anything like what you charged me with.

  99. DM:

    Please scroll up, and look with fresh eyes to see what you and others have done and what I said in respnse; noting from the OP what the blog thread is supposed to be discussing (hint, it has something to do with PZM and his behaviour towards a certain Mr Wells . . . ) and what you have helped pulled it away to.

    And, I think you will find that I will only highlight the use of distractive, distorting and denigratory tactics when there is a specific reason to do so.

    Unfortunately, this pattern of abusive argument has now become the standard pattern of argument for all too many objectors to ID.

    Indeed, your just above is a turnabout rhetorical attempt, in which your hinted-at subtext is that I habitually accuse people of the trifecta rhetorical pattern without foundation.

    But, instead, it only manages to exemplify the problem I have pointed out.

    When someone like Dr Liddle is willing to engage on the merits, you will find that in this case I have actually taken time to commend her for so doing through a post.

    Good day,

    GEM of TKI

  100. F/N: Onlookers, observe my 62 above to DM responding to 61 [and an onward scroll-up will show the wider pattern, nb on MG's tangent I took time to make a whole new thread here], and onwards, in response to a patent ad hominem circumstantial [Dr Liddle it is a bit more than merely personally abusive, it is intended to undermine credibility through an attack to the person and/or the group . . . ], compounded by the dilemma [so beloved of those who are embracing the indefensibly self-contradictory . . . (cf here, here and here) that if a theological discussion is engaged, it provides rhetorical ammunition for those who wish to characterise design theory as Biblical Creationism in a cheap tuxedo, and on the other hand if it is left standing, the wrenched out of context claims are well- /atmosphere- poisoning.

    –> Let’s make a deal, ID objectors: you don’t indulge in habitual distractions, distortions and demeaning, and I will not have to call you on it.

  101. PS: Notice too, the difference a little context made just now — the above I had to respond to looks like a REAL case of clipping out of context and substitution of a highly misleading one. But, I think it was inadvertent, as many trifecta fallacy objectors don’t seem to fully realise what they are doing, e.g. there is no relevance of a Village Atheist string of texts trying to take regulations of slavery in Ancient Israel to the sort of personal abuse Mr Myers exerted towards Mr Wells, but moral monster mud-slinging feels so good to the angry- at- the- God- of- the- Bible and often works very well as “shut-up!” rhetoric.

  102. IEP on Fallacies, ad hom here:

    Ad Hominem

    You commit this fallacy if you make an irrelevant attack on the arguer and suggest that this attack undermines the argument itself. It is a form of the Genetic Fallacy.

    Example:

    What she says about Johannes Kepler’s astronomy of the 1600?s must be just so much garbage. Do you realize she’s only fourteen years old?

    This attack may undermine the arguer’s credibility as a scientific authority, but it does not undermine her reasoning. That reasoning should stand or fall on the scientific evidence, not on the arguer’s age or anything else about her personally.

    If the fallacious reasoner points out irrelevant circumstances that the reasoner is in, the fallacy is a circumstantial ad hominem. Tu Quoque and Two Wrongs Make a Right [--> i.e. im-/a-moral equivalency] are other types of the ad hominem fallacy.

    The major difficulty with labeling a piece of reasoning as an ad hominem fallacy is deciding whether the personal attack is relevant. For example, attacks on a person for their actually immoral sexual conduct are irrelevant to the quality of their mathematical reasoning, but they are relevant to arguments promoting the person for a leadership position in the church. Unfortunately, many attacks are not so easy to classify, such as an attack pointing out that the candidate for church leadership, while in the tenth grade, intentionally tripped a fellow student and broke his collar bone.

  103. KF at 99: “Please scroll up, and look with fresh eyes to see what you and others have done and what I said in respnse …”

    Since you made the charges, I would like you to point out any place where I used slander, mischaracterized an argument or used poisonous rhetoric.

    You made the charges, it’s up to you to back them up.

    Also, idnet, you still haven’t provided a cite for the last two sentences of your opening post:

    “I have to single out this man, whom I consider the most contemptable, despicable, cruel, and vicious evil liar in the creationist movement today, yes, he’s a nasty, nasty person. (PZ has never met or talked with this ID proponent.)” Also, is that last, bolded sentence yours or did somebody else insert it?

  104. KF, in case you’ve forgotten what I’m talking about, here’s what you said in # 85:

    “DM is of course tossing out red herring after red herring led away to a forest of strawman caricatures laced with ad hominems awaiting some firebrand rhetoric to set ablaze, bitterly polarising and poisoning the atmoshpere.”

    I’m just wondering where I said anything like that.

  105. DM:

    I have more than substantiated the point, in particular on your well-poisoning tangent at 62 above, note as I posed as a F/N just above.

    Compare your focus in 61 with the theme set in the OP; if you have time, skim through the thread above to see how it repeatedly goes off on tangents that are poisonously laced. (Does the light-bulb now go on? It should.)

    Good day, sir.

    GEM of TKI

  106. F/N: Onlookers, cf 61 and onward with the exchange just above.

  107. kairosfocus,

    F/N: Onlookers, cf 61 and onward with the exchange just above.

    As an onlooker in this thread up to this point, I just re-read the exchange and I see nothing that would support your claim that “DM is of course tossing out red herring after red herring led away to a forest of strawman caricatures laced with ad hominems awaiting some firebrand rhetoric to set ablaze, bitterly polarising and poisoning the atmoshpere.”

    Could you please point out even one ad hominem in one of his or her comments in this thread? If not, the rules of civil discourse require you to publicly retract your accusation.

  108. MG:

    Pardon starting with a personal aside, but on track record, your reports of what you find to have been demonstrated or not demonstrated are not particularly credible to informed onlookers.

    I would point out, again, from 62 above in response to 61 above, that to pull away from a blog thread discussing inter alia:

    Atheists tend to be politically liberal, fairly tolerant. [ --> deny, deny, deny . . . ] The tolerance part is that there’s no question that nobody is going to deport creationists. Nobody is going to shut down the churches. Nobody is going to do anything like that. [ --> And, what does the bloody history of the past century at the hands of atheistical regimes tell us on this?] What we want to do is put things in a proper perspective. If you want to believe that in the privacy of your home, if you want to get together in church and talk to people about this, yes, that’s perfectly reasonable. [--> translated, we will censor the public square and the culture's sense of what knowledge is on a priori evolutionary materialism as we have institutional power to do and if you object to the imposition of ideological censorship on origins science, we will come down on you like a ton of bricks, even threatening to hold your children hostage, on the excuse that you can have your little fantasies in quiet and that's "freedom" enough for you; don't you dare expose our censorship of science and science education] That’s the tolerance we’ll give them.

    There are some of the people in the intelligent design movement who are incredibly nasty, awful, and misrepresent science [--> translation: they are exposing the use of misleading icons of evolution to indoctrinate the public and school children, starting with Haeckel's frauds, cf the Google Books result here] in ways that I cannot forgive. This is not about demonizing the individuals. [--> the bland denial of what one is about to do . . .]

    I have to single out this man [--> in context, plainly Jonathan Wells], whom I consider the most contemptable, despicable, cruel, and vicious evil liar in the creationist movement today, yes, he’s a nasty, nasty person. ([editorial comment, OP:] PZ has never met or talked with this ID proponent.)

    . . . to try to inject as a smelly distraction — aka red herring [and here there plainly is a shoal of these led away to a forest of strawman caricatures . . .] — the Village Atheist level debates over the ill-informed, atmosphere-poisoning and rabble-rousing God of the OT as a moral monster thesis, is distractive and given the actual balance of the theology, it is led away to a caricature soaked in a poisonous misrepresentation, ready to be set alight with incendiary rhetoric — which is doubtless going on elsewhere as we speak.

    And, that is enough for a reasonable onlooker. I do not now count the sort of shenanigans that are going on in the attack blogs that target UD and some of its contributors as more than fever-swamp rhetoric.

    Enough already, on yet another distraction from a serious enough subject in the OP that is conspicuously not being addressed on the very sobering merits.

    GEM of TKI

  109. F/N: Notice, onlookers, the ad hominem circumstantial [here in the form of well-poisoning and atmosphere poisoning via the genetic and/or guilt by association fallacies . . . ] is an ad hominem, and the context of that has been addressed above.

    I see no good reason to keep going in circles to try to persuade those who on track record will never be persuaded but will insist on drumbeat repetition of what is false, has adequately been shown to be false and what they know or should know is false, so let the above stand as record as an expose of what is again going on.

  110. kairosfocus,

    That was a fair number of words, but no direct quotations of anything dmullenix actually wrote that supports your claim that “DM is of course tossing out red herring after red herring led away to a forest of strawman caricatures laced with ad hominems awaiting some firebrand rhetoric to set ablaze, bitterly polarising and poisoning the atmoshpere.”

    Could you please document an ad hominem and a strawman perpetrated by dmullenix? If not, common courtesy would dictate an apology and retraction.

  111. MG:

    I will be direct:

    refusal to click and read links in context on your part — starting with 62 on, on 61 etc above:

    [Onlookers, note DM's fallacious ad hominem circumstantial appeal inter alia to my heritage as an Afro-Caribbean, Jamaican AND a professed Christian . . . one who is also qualified in and concerned about science as an educator also; all in the onward context of distractions from the serious matter in the OP]

    . . . with reasonable understanding expected of an educated person on your part does not constitute failure to adequately substantiate a claim on my part.

    Good day, madam.

    GEM of TKI

  112. kairosfocus,

    I will be direct:

    Thank you, that will help resolve the issue.

    refusal to click and read links in context on your part — starting with 62 on, on 61 etc above:

    I did not refuse. In fact, I made it clear that I re-read the discussion from that point and was unable to find any statements by dmullenix that supported your claim.

    I note that you have refrained, again, from providing such quotations yourself. Unless and until you do so, I and any other onlookers are logically justified in concluding that your assertions are without merit. Given the emphasis placed on civility here, it seems that you owe dmullenix a public apology.

  113. F/N: the underlying rhetorical tactics being used, from Alinski’s Rules for Radicals:

    _______

    >> 5. “Ridicule [--> and more broadly, personal attack] is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.” . . . .

    13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. [NB: Notice the evil counsel to find a way to attack the man, not the issue. The easiest way to do that, is to use the trifecta stratagem: distract, distort, demonise.] In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and ‘frozen.’…

    “…any target can always say, ‘Why do you center on me when there are others to blame as well?’ When your ‘freeze the target,’ you disregard these [rational but distracting] arguments…. Then, as you zero in and freeze your target and carry out your attack, all the ‘others’ come out of the woodwork very soon. They become visible by their support of the target…’

    “One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.” >>
    _________

    This needs to stop, MG, MF, DM, et al.

    NOW.

  114. Onlookers:

    MG is now being dismissive in the teeth of highly specific examples drawn from a specific linked exchange at 61 and 62.

    If she cannot or will not recognise an ad hominem circumstantial when she sees it by described and linked concrete example in the context of a definition already supplied, that is telling.

    Sorry, but this is yet another patent example of her willful refusal to be corrected, having made an unjustified accusation laced with — you guessed, subtle ad hominems against the undersigned.

    GEM of TKI

  115. kairosfocus,

    I don’t think additional comments from me on this topic will further the discussion or result in resolution of the issue. I will simply point out, once more, that you have not provided specific quotations from material written by dmullenix that supports your claim that “DM is of course tossing out red herring after red herring led away to a forest of strawman caricatures laced with ad hominems awaiting some firebrand rhetoric to set ablaze, bitterly polarising and poisoning the atmoshpere.”

    I’ve elucidated this one simple point as clearly as I am able. I hope you will take some time for introspection and do the right thing.

    The floor is yours.

  116. MG:

    Pardon my having to be directly corrective again, as I also have to anticipate the turnabout tactic your side is ever so prone to use as though it is proof by accusation.

    I need to correct,even knowing that here and elsewhere, I am likely going to be abused for it. Only when the message finally gets though that the sort of atmosphere poisoning tactics have been exposed and only further reveal a dangerously uncivil Alinskyite agenda by the evo mat advocates, will there be a point where this will stop.

    remember, I saw pretty much the same from the communist agitators of my youth.

    I know what eventually stopped them, and it is probably going to be the same this time around.

    So, I will now speak my piece.

    First, your drumbeat repetition of an adequately corrected claim does not magically transform the falsehood into truth.

    Second, I repeat, just above [and linked onward to 62 on in response to 61 etc], I have pointed to a very specific example of an ad hominem circumstantial.

    Note my self-reference there . . . it is not an accident in passing, it responds to this from 61: “That must have provided a lot of comfort to the pius and enterprising Christian slavers who purchased your ancestors and transported them across the Atlantic, to die in the cane fields without ever seeing their loved ones again . . . ”

    [BTW, DM has been so exposed to a one-sided selection of texts by today's Village Atheists that he does not know of the context of God working into a culture and dealing with men as they are, through the same hardness of hearts principle by which God is recorded in Mal 2:16 "I hater divorce," but in dealing with men as they are not as they will be softened through the gospel, he regulates divorce in the law, as Jesus points out in Mt 19:1 - 6, and I have already pointed onward to the discussion of the irresponsible, rabble-rousing moral monster thesis.

    So, let us look at a couple of balancing texts, as a corrective to atmosphere poisoning circumstantial ad hominem, noting that this is exception for UD not the pattern or focus for the blog:

    If a man is caught kidnapping one of his brother Israelites and treats him as a slave or sells him, the kidnapper must die. You must purge the evil from among you. [Deut. 24:7. Cf. Lev. 24:22: "You are to have the same law for the alien and the native born . . ."]

    and

    The law is good if one uses it properly . . . [it] is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders [KJV: menstealers] and liars and perjurers – and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God. [1 Tim 1:8 - 11]

    or

    Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you – although if you can gain your freedom, do so. For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. [1 Cor 7:21 - 23.]

    These were precisely key texts in dealing with the low-hanging fruit, the slave trade, as led by Evangelical Christian Wilberforce et al.

    This whole side issue is an ad hominem circumstantial, designed to drag the discussion in the UD context into a dilemma [answer and you feed a malicious stereotype of Design thought, ignore and atmosphere-poisoning proceeds apace], and I have pointed to 62 on where it was already specifically and adequately answered (NB: I gave an onward link above to a discussion where the above texts were cited and discussed. I deem the above adequate for the fair minded onlooker, and will regard onward attempts to go off on yet another poisonous tangent as willful distraction.)

    In addition, I provided a linked and excerpted disucssion of the nature of the fallacy in question.

    Your pattern above, regrettably, is just like the pattern in response to adequate answers given on other subjects for several months now. So, pardon us in our conclusion that — on months of evidence — you are not behaving like a reasonable participant in the give and take of a real discussion.

    And so I must again point out — painful as it will be to hear it, lancing a boil is painful — that willful, drumbeat repetition and recycling of a false and damaging claim in the teeth of adequate correction is improper.

    On evidence over 3+ months, this has unfortunately been a pattern with you.

    Please, do better than this.

    (A suggestion, if you are going to be serious: clip or summarise what I gave as my example — one among several BTW — of an ad hominem laced strawman, led off to from a red herring distractor, and show how this is not an example of: (i) distractive tangent from the OP and even the initial incidental issue, (ii) unjust caricature, (iii) ad hominem circumstantial.)

    GEM of TKI

  117. KF, thank you for finally telling us which of my words upset you so. “this from 61: ‘That must have provided a lot of comfort to the pius and enterprising Christian slavers who purchased your ancestors and transported them across the Atlantic, to die in the cane fields without ever seeing their loved ones again . . . ‘”

    I thank you for making that identification because I wouldn’t have spotted it in a million years. Nothing in it is a red herring, a strawman caricature, an ad hominem, firebrand rhetoric or polarizing and atmosphere poisoning. They’re just good points and you’re reacting just as you always do when an argument goes against you.

    As for your balancing texts – no better than CARM’s. “If a man is caught kidnapping one of his brother Israelites and treats him as a slave or sells him, the kidnapper must die.” Yep, the Israelites knew darn well that slavery was evil – for them. They were very touchy about enslaving members of their own tribe: You could only keep an Israeli slave for 6 years, any relative could redeem him at any time, etc. (That’s for male Israelis, of course. You could keep females forever.) Hence, it’s not surprising that they come down like a ton of bricks on anyone who kidnaps a (male) Israeli and enslaves him. But enslaving someone who’s not a member of your tribe? Well, as Lev 25:44 says, “…you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you.” i.e. from non-Christian African nations, like the ones your ancestors were kidnapped from.

    Regarding those fine anti-slavery Christians such as Wilberforce and Garrison: just who were they fighting? Who were Wilberforce’s opponents in the slavery debates? Who burned William Lloyd Garrison’s newspaper to the ground and chased him through the streets, trying to lynch him? Why … they were Bible believing Christians, every one of them. And they had a lot more and a lot better arguments from the Bible than Wilberforce or Garrison ever had. Neither of them won any arguments using the Bible.

    As for the communist regimes, they proved that atheists can be just as immoral as theists. They’re gone now and we’re back to all the slaughtering being done by the religious.

  118. It’s pretty funny, I think, that in another thread I was accused of obsessing over MathGrrl.

    kairosfocus, you must have struck a nerve somewhere.

  119. 119
    CannuckianYankee

    David,

    That you can’t see how your own words in 61 are inflammatory is beyond me. You said them knowing full well KF’s background. If I were KF, I would have seen them as quite insulting, and I probably would not have had the grace nor patience in dealing with them in the manner he has done.

    What would make this insulting is the fact that you know certain things about KF (implied in the very words you used), which would benefit you in the rhetorical nature of your statement, such that it was intended to personalize KF’s beliefs regarding slavery as they relate to his religious beliefs and which are grounded in scripture that you apparently despise. It then becomes a personal attack, which justifiably can be shown to be ad hominem.

    Had you said the same words to me, not knowing my race or background; they probably could not be construed as such. However, in that you acknowledged your awareness of KF’s background and race, the statement WAS personalized.

    It’s not the personalization alone that makes it ad hominem though, it’s the implication. The implication is that KF as a black man should know better. That’s what I would find insulting. Maybe you didn’t intend it in that way, but clearly offense was taken justifiably.

    Having engaged in discussion with KF for several years now I would have to say (not having met him face to face, but having read much of what he’s stated here as well as his personally linked writings) that he is first of all not one to take offense at any slight deviation from good manners. And when he does take offense, it is not without good reason, which he painstakingly uses not for a personal vendetta, but as an opportunity to further educate; which is what he has done here.

    That you are part of the subject of that education should not be seen as retribution but as KF’s attempt to gracefully sway you towards future actions that will avoid doing the same thing. I think the wise thing to do would be to take his teachings to heart and learn from them.

    Of course you believe you are right. That’s fine. I think you can find many forums online where there’s hoards of people who agree with you. It should be obvious to you that this is not one of them.

    Your further indulgence in demonizing Christian belief in the authority of scripture is also insulting and really quite silly, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call them ad hominem. I think others here have done a fine job in setting the record straight that the Bible does not condone slavery. That you can “quote mine” a few passages from scripture to support that contention is really of no consequence. The number of passages that prove you wrong far outweigh the one’s you’ve been able to find.

    Here’s a few more:

    “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” (John 8:34).

    Hard to see how being a slave to sin could be bad if being a slave (i.e., in bondage) is a good thing.

    “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—” (Romans 6:6)

    Of course the only context in which the Bible explicitly states being a slave as a good thing is in reference to being a slave to the Lord. In that we have a choice.

    Here’s some more:

    “Though we are slaves, our God has not forsaken us in our bondage. He has shown us kindness in the sight of the kings of Persia: He has granted us new life to rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins, and he has given us a wall of protection in Judah and Jerusalem.” (Ezra 9:9)

    God offers comfort to those who suffer. The Bible has been a source of comfort to those who suffer throughout Christian history and even before. He heals the sick and frees those in bondage. This act would be quite meaningless if being sick or in bondage to slavery were good things.

    “Everyone was to free their Hebrew slaves, both male and female; no one was to hold a fellow Hebrew in bondage.” (Jeremiah 34:9)

    “But afterward they changed their minds and took back the slaves they had freed and enslaved them again.
    12 Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 13 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I made a covenant with your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I said, 14 ‘Every seventh year each of you must free any fellow Hebrews who have sold themselves to you. After they have served you six years, you must let them go free.’[a] Your ancestors, however, did not listen to me or pay attention to me. 15 Recently you repented and did what is right in my sight: Each of you proclaimed freedom to your own people. You even made a covenant before me in the house that bears my Name. 16 But now you have turned around and profaned my name; each of you has taken back the male and female slaves you had set free to go where they wished. You have forced them to become your slaves again.” (Jeremiah 34:11-16)

    So Egypt was the land of slavery. Interesting that God brought the slaves to freedom. Why would he do this if slavery was in His view a good thing? Clearly the ones condoning slavery are not God, but human beings. Does God allow slavery? God allows a lot of sin, but He doesn’t condone any of it as a good thing. He in fact condemns it.

    If you would prefer God to judge everything we do as human beings, I’m afraid neither you nor I would survive. God is merciful with us as he is with those he frees from slavery. In the proper context it is quite difficult to see any other interpretation when we place scripture within its proper historical context; which is why scripture itself was the applied basis for morality, which led to the abolishment of slavery in Great Britain. That effectively happened long before it took place here in America.

    So contrary to your own beliefs, scripture can be and has been applied as a basis for morality.

  120. CY: There’s nothing insulting in pointing out that a book someone mistakenly thinks promotes a good morality was actually complicit in enslaving millions of human beings, and in particular, his own ancestors. The juxtaposition is designed to make him confront the contradiction: “I claim that the Bible is the source of all morality, yet it approved of the kidnapping and enslaving of millions, which was grossly immoral.” The personalization is designed to drive the point home: “Some of those millions were MY ancestors!” The sad thing is that most Christians (and believers in general, I don’t want to single out Christianity here) can’t face it. They desperately want the Bible to be moral, yet it is obviously advocating things that are immoral and the brain starts to stutter right there.

    “Having engaged in discussion with KF for several years now I would have to say … that he is first of all not one to take offense at any slight deviation from good manners.”

    Just a second while I pick my jaw up off the floor. Ah, that’s better. Did you read #88 in this thread? “KF once accused me of an ad hom because he claimed that by disagreeing with him I was implying that he didn’t know what he was talking about, and was therefore attacking his person.”

    People who discuss almost anything with KF invariably wind up being accused of “…tossing out red herring after red herring led away to a forest of strawman caricatures laced with ad hominems awaiting some firebrand rhetoric to set ablaze, bitterly polarising and poisoning the atmoshpere.”, to quote him in # 70.

    Christian belief in the authority of scripture is really quite tragic. The mental and moral gyrations apologists go through defending the Bible shakes my confidence in the human race. Look at that CARM website, look at your own attempts above.

    Nobody has said the Bible thinks slavery is a good thing – if you’re a slave. But THE BIBLE EXPLICITLY SAYS YOU CAN OWN SLAVES ANYWAY! It tells you where you can get them and gives you some pointers on how you must treat them. Some things are pretty good – you can’t put out an eye or a tooth. But you can beat them to death, so long as they survive the beating for a day or two. THIS IS EVIL, YET THE BIBLE SAYS YOU CAN DO IT!

    You’re in the same position as Wilberforce and Garrison. You’re holding up general passages from the Bible and your opponents are holding up specific passages that explicitly contradict them. That’s not a winning combination.

    Wilberforce only won because Britain had outlawed slavery centuries before for secular reasons and he was arguing against slavery in a land far, far away. Garrison’s outcome is more common – he lost and slavery was only ended when the Bible believing slave owners started a civil war to protect their Biblical mode of living and then lost that war.

    Remember, once you assume the Bible is the work of men, all the problems vanish. Of course it contradicts itself, people do that all the time. Of course it has immoral passages – immoral people put them there. No surprises, no problems.

  121. “They desperately want the Bible to be moral, and yet it is obviously advocating things that are immoral and the brain starts to stutter right there.”

    You don’t say!

    Please prove to us, based on ancient texts—not Wilberforce and Garrison, who, in case you didn’t know, were 19th century politicians—that slavery is immoral. And when we say “prove,” we don’t mean ranting, insults, misdirection, or even smug preening.

    In the ancient world, slavery was considered natural and even necessary. To say “slavery is immoral” is to apply modern (or Postmodern) rules to an ancient context.

    Come on, Mullenix. Prove to us that you know something about ancient history and are not just a Postmodernism sock puppet. Show us the ancient writers, from any tradition, who condemned slavery as “immoral.” In fact, show us that you know what the word “immoral” means. (Hint: mores.)

  122. DM:

    The above demonstrates that you are a willful Alinskyite slanderer; unwilling to consider the actual balance of issues on an important and controversial subject with many rekleant aspects and considerations across time, if you can find a handy way to play at distractive atmosphere poisoning games with it.

    And of course, the above is a plain threadjacking attempt, since you have been repeatedly warned on the matter.

    Good day, sir.

    GEM of TKI

  123. Onlookers:

    When we are confronted with intentionally distrac tgive, immoral equivalency slander, the first thing is to make sure we do not allow ourselves to be distracted from the issue that is on the table. For, it would be folly indeed in the face of serious peril to distract and embroil ourselves over a dead issue, while a clear and present danger is in front of us.

    Which is precisely what DM is hoping to achieve by his slanderous, diwstractive misbehaviour.

    Here is my remark on the significance of PZM’s assertion in the Original post, as was promoted to a separate post (the onward links are there):

    PZM: >>Atheists tend to be politically liberal, fairly tolerant. [ --> deny, deny, deny . . . ] The tolerance part is that there’s no question that nobody is going to deport creationists. Nobody is going to shut down the churches. Nobody is going to do anything like that. [ --> And, what does the bloody history of the past century at the hands of atheistical regimes tell us on this?] What we want to do is put things in a proper perspective. If you want to believe that in the privacy of your home, if you want to get together in church and talk to people about this, yes, that’s perfectly reasonable. [--> translated, we will censor the public square and the culture's sense of what knowledge is on a priori evolutionary materialism as we have institutional power to do and if you object to the imposition of ideological censorship on origins science, we will come down on you like a ton of bricks, even threatening to hold your children hostage, on the excuse that you can have your little fantasies in quiet and that's "freedom" enough for you; don't you dare expose our censorship of science and science education] That’s the tolerance we’ll give them.

    There are some of the people in the intelligent design movement who are incredibly nasty, awful, and misrepresent science [--> translation: they are exposing the use of misleading icons of evolution to indoctrinate the public and school children, starting with Haeckel's frauds, cf the Google Books result here] in ways that I cannot forgive. This is not about demonizing the individuals. [--> the bland denial of what one is about to do . . .]

    I have to single out this man [--> in context, plainly Jonathan Wells], whom I consider the most contemptable, despicable, cruel, and vicious evil liar in the creationist movement today, yes, he’s a nasty, nasty person. ([editorial comment, OP:] PZ has never met or talked with this ID proponent.)>>

    You will note that, there, those who are ever so eager to rebut and dismiss points raised by ID thinkers have been conspicuously silent int eh face of this case. [The ratio of visits to comments is highly revealing.]

    And, here, there has been an insistent attempt to distract our attention from serious, clear and present danger.

    We should note this first of all and foremost, in any serious addressing of matters.

    GEM of TKI

  124. 124

    My own simpleton observation is that personal slander, and its normal accompaniment of other BS, becomes quite easy for bigots (in fact necessary) when the evidence against their ideology is as intractably strong as it is.

    The two are in direct proportion.

  125. allanius (121):

    “In the ancient world, slavery was considered natural and even necessary. To say “slavery is immoral” is to apply modern (or Postmodern) rules to an ancient context.”

    OK, so the Bible was approving of slavery in an ancient context so we can’t apply the “immoral” label to it. Therefore we shouldn’t be using the Bible for moral guidance at all because it was set in an ancient context.

    If you shouldn’t apply modern rules to an ancient context then you shouldn’t apply ancient rules to a modern context.

  126. Onlookers:

    Secondly, I have often found this 1990 remark by prof Bernard Lewis to be highly illuminating on the blame game tactic so beloved of Alinskyites who want us so worked up over their favourite demons that we are too clouded and polarised to think carefully about what our would-be rescuers are up to:

    . . . 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 [--> and the proper name at this point is "Christendom"] 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 part of why Bible-believing Christians were in the forefront of that struggle to reform and liberate is this, from what a certain president of the USA so unjustly dismissed as an obscure epistle by Paul:

    Romans 2:6-8

    Amplified Bible (AMP)

    6For He will render to every man according to his works [justly, as his deeds deserve]:(A)

    7To those who by patient persistence in well-doing [[a]springing from piety] seek [unseen but sure] glory and honor and [[b]the eternal blessedness of] immortality, He will give eternal life.

    8But for those who are self-seeking and self-willed and disobedient to the Truth but responsive to wickedness, there will be indignation and wrath . . . .

    2:14When Gentiles who have not the [divine] Law do instinctively what the Law requires, they are a law to themselves, since they do not have the Law.

    15They show that the essential requirements of the Law are written in their hearts and are operating there, with which their consciences (sense of right and wrong) also bear witness; and their [moral] [a]decisions (their arguments of reason, their condemning or approving [b]thoughts) will accuse or perhaps defend and excuse [them]

    16On that day when, as my Gospel proclaims, God by Jesus Christ will judge men in regard to [c]the things which they conceal (their hidden thoughts).(A)

    Romans 13
    1LET EVERY person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God [by His permission, His sanction], and those that exist do so by God’s appointment.(A)

    2Therefore he who resists and sets himself up against the authorities resists what God has appointed and arranged [in divine order]. And those who resist will bring down judgment upon themselves [receiving the penalty due them].

    3For civil authorities are not a terror to [people of] good conduct, but to [those of] bad behavior. Would you have no dread of him who is in authority? Then do what is right and you will receive his approval and commendation.

    4For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, [you should dread him and] be afraid, for he does not bear and wear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant to execute His wrath (punishment, vengeance) on the wrongdoer.

    5Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God’s wrath and escape punishment, but also as a matter of principle and for the sake of conscience.

    6For this same reason you pay taxes, for [the civil authorities] are official servants under God, devoting themselves to attending to this very service.

    7Render to all men their dues. [Pay] taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, and honor to whom honor is due.

    8Keep out of debt and owe no man anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor [who practices loving others] has fulfilled the Law [relating to one's fellowmen, meeting all its requirements].

    9The commandments, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet (have an evil desire), and any other commandment, are summed up in the single command, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.(B)

    10Love does no wrong to one’s neighbor [it never hurts anybody]. Therefore love meets all the requirements and is the fulfilling of the Law.

    The implications of this for reforming and liberating society should be plain, as I discuss here.

    And even more patently, these are central controlling principles that shape a proper reading of the text as a whole, i.e. to read scriptures that regulate and ameliorate behaviour that is rooted in hard-heartedness — cf Mal 2:16 on “I hate divorce” and Matt 19:1 – 6 on God responding to the hardness of men’s hearts while calling us to reform and repentance [as already pointed out and ignored or hastily brushed aside by DM in his determination to poison and distract the thread] — as commanding or commending such, is scripture-twisting.

    Prof Lewis, of course, as a Jew, is very familiar with the sins of Christendom and its apostasies such as that species of idolatrous political messianism known as National Socialism — and yes, this was a LEFT wing ideology.

    But, he is wise enough to recognise that there is a softening effect of the gospel in this civilisation that has opened the way to liberation, reformation and improvement, especially once the Bible — the book DM would so smear and besmirch — was put in the hands of the ordinary man, and called the ever so often Machiavellian power elites to the bar of morality and justice.

    Above, I cited the case of Wilberforce, who was a capital example in point of calling conscience-benumbed power elites to heel on precisely the slavery question, starting with the low hanging fruit, the kidnapping based trade. He was subjected to every species of slander intended to make him shut up in the face of the abuses and sins of the day, precisely as DM and his fellow Alinskyites would have us silenced in the face of the sort of rising tide of danger that PZM’s ilk represents today.

    Sorry, Bibles in hand, and on the well-warranted confidence in the truth and in the reforming impact of the gospel it teaches, we will take our stand, on this hill, and if necessary fall here “for wee bit hill and glen.”

    For, there are some “Proud Edward[s]” in our time that need tae be “sent homewards tae think again.”

    And FYI, proud and disrespectful mockers, that G in my name that you and your ilk so lightly play scornful games with is there because the self same blood that stood on that hill courses in my veins.

    A name that is a war cry.

    For good reason.

    DM et al, don’t you ever underestimate the grim resolve we have to stand in the face of your patently wicked agendas. (And my Ashanti, Irish and Indian bloodlines grimly concur with my Scottish lineage on this.)

    Our civilisation and our liberty are at stake, as PZM so plainly let the cat out of the bag on.

    The line is drawn in the sand, and we are going to stand here, for liberty and civilisation.

    GEM of TKI

  127. F/N to DM: I hope you now understand just how deeply and unjustifiably offensive and in utterly poor manner your ad hominem circumstantial is.

    Do not ever do the like again, but then I have no doubt that you would hardly dare do in person what you so lightly did through the safe distance of the Internet.

    However, your grossly outrageous misbehaviour makes it plain to all who are serious and sober onlookers just what sort of character we are up against here, including in the face of what appears to be a sock-puppet, MG.

    So, take due notice, with a terrible weight of history behind it: on this hill, we stand, cost what it may.

    You and ilk shall not pass.

  128. 128

    “Do not ever do the like again, but then I have no doubt that you would hardly dare do in person what you so lightly did through the safe distance of the Internet.”

    You are wrong KF. Sadly so. They would relish in the opportunity, and hope the largest number of others could witness it.

    People do what profits them. The lie is that they give a shit what happended to slaves two thousand years ago. It is the ideology of today that is being protected.

  129. “2Therefore he who resists and sets himself up against the authorities resists what God has appointed and arranged [in divine order]. And those who resist will bring down judgment upon themselves [receiving the penalty due them].”

    So, were Americans wrong in revolting against the British crown?

  130. Mike:

    Why do you insist on an ill-instructed “noview”?

    Are you so desperate that we not look at what PZM did, as is captured in the original post?

    Have you taken even ten minutes to examine the context of the discussion here?

    Do you knot know the history of the dual covenant theology of nationhood and government under God?

    Have you been so willfully robbed of your history?

    Do you not even know the context of the commandments cited by Paul from Moshe once in the narrative, the Israelites had been delivered through the hand of God from oppressive slavery?

    Do you not know what tyranny by usurpation or invasion is, as opposed to just government under God?

    Have you ever heard of the doctrine of interposition by lower magistrates in defense of the civil peace of justice, when a ruler has turned tyrant?

    Let me enlighten you from what your Congress proclaimed in calling days of prayer and thanksgiving in 1775, 1776 and 1777 (and take time to read the Dutch DOI of 1581):

    __________________

    >> May 1776 [over the name of John Hancock, first signer of the US Declaration of Indpependence] : In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered by the secret machinations and open assaults of an insidious and vindictive administration, it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publickly to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger, and prospering our strenuous efforts in the cause of freedom, virtue, and posterity.. . . Desirous, at the same time, to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God’s superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely, in all their lawful enterprizes, on his aid and direction, Do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies; . . . that it may please the Lord of Hosts, the God of Armies, to animate our officers and soldiers with invincible fortitude, to guard and protect them in the day of battle, and to crown the continental arms, by sea and land, with victory and success: Earnestly beseeching him to bless our civil rulers, and the representatives of the people, in their several assemblies and conventions; to preserve and strengthen their union, to inspire them with an ardent, disinterested love of their country; to give wisdom and stability to their counsels; and direct them to the most efficacious measures for establishing the rights of America on the most honourable and permanent basis—That he would be graciously pleased to bless all his people in these colonies with health and plenty, and grant that a spirit of incorruptible patriotism, and of pure undefiled religion, may universally prevail; and this continent be speedily restored to the blessings of peace and liberty, and enabled to transmit them inviolate to the latest posterity. And it is recommended to Christians of all denominations, to assemble for public worship, and abstain from servile labour on the said day.

    December 1777: FORASMUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of; And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence, but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defence and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased in so great a Measure to prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops and to crown our Arms with most signal success: It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for Solemn Thanksgiving and Praise; That with one Heart and one Voice the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favour, and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD, through the Merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance; That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole; to inspire our Commanders both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty GOD, to secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE; That it may please him to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People and the Labour of the Husbandman, that our Land may yet yield its Increase; To take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand, and to prosper the Means of Religion for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom which consisteth “in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.”[i.e. Cites Rom 14:9] [Source: Journals of the American Congress From 1774 to 1788 (Washington: Way and Gideon, 1823), Vol. I, pp. 286-287 & II, pp. 309 - 310.] >>
    __________________

    Wake up, man!

    The time for silly rhetorical one-upmanship games and for polarising distractors based on snide caricatures and offensive ad hominems is over.

    Your ilk has gone too far.

    And if you cannot see that you need to at least distance yourself from what has been done above, that is all too revealing of a want of character.

    GEM of TKI

  131. allanius: William Lloyd Garrison was a 19th century abolitionist and publisher, not a politician. He published “The Liberator”. Here’s a short bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W.....d_Garrison I recommend “All on Fire: William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of Slavery” by Henry Mayer for a longer biography. I see that Amazon.com has a dozen or so books with his name in the title although I see that one of them is a Topps trading card.

    I know that slavery was considered natural in the ancient world. That’s why I ended #120 with “Remember, once you assume the Bible is the work of men, all the problems vanish. Of course it contradicts itself, people do that all the time. Of course it has immoral passages – immoral people put them there. No surprises, no problems.”

    KF #122 “The above demonstrates that you are a willful Alinskyite slanderer; unwilling to consider the actual balance of issues on an important and controversial subject with many rekleant aspects and considerations across time, if you can find a handy way to play at distractive atmosphere poisoning games with it.”

    I’m trying hard to consider the “actual balance of issues”, but it takes two to debate and all I’m getting from you is indignation and slander. Try actually replying to one of my points for a change.

    “And of course, the above is a plain threadjacking attempt, since you have been repeatedly warned on the matter.”
    As I’ve said before, back in #3, I replied to the moderator’s misunderstanding of a Dawkins quote and in #33, you replied with four pages of dodgy philosophical meanderings about the foundation of morality that had nothing to do with the moderator, Dawkins or me. You also said that “materialism” has no foundation for morality, that it’s inescapably amoral, that materialism says that the “highest right is might”, and implied that jack-boots would soon be marching in torchlight parades and the secret police would be knocking on doors at 4am. Since no honorable man would allow this calumny to stand, you effectively hijacked the thread right there. I made a statement of fact – Dawkins meant this, not that, you replied with all sorts of totally off topic philosophics on morality and we were off. As I said before, if you want to see the hijacker of this thread, look in a mirror.

    KF at 123: After hijacking the thread from quote mining to morality, KF’s defense of his moral ideas isn’t doing too well so he calls the points I’ve made “intentionally distractive immoral equivalency slander” and “slanderous distractive misbehavior” and tries to get the thread back to quote mining. As soon as he quotes one of his previous posts, he goes right back to knocking his opponents and says there’s apparently an insistent attempt to distract our attention from serious, clear and present danger, by which I think he means his distortion of (and his own additions to) what PZ said in a radio interview.

    In #124, Upright BiPed says, “My own simpleton observation is that personal slander, and its normal accompaniment of other BS, becomes quite easy for bigots (in fact necessary) when the evidence against their ideology is as intractably strong as it is.”

    I’d say that KF is doing the best he can.
    KF at #125: Onlookers:
    Great post! A KF classic. KF quotes Bernard Lewis from a 1990 Atlantic article. The money quote:

    “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 . . . .”

    Problem: Polygamy (Biblical Marriage) and concubinage were made déclassé by the Greeks and the Romans and the Christians merely copied their moral advances. Polygamy plainly embarrassed Paul, (you can almost hear him saying, “Just one wife, you hicks!” but he didn’t dare forbid it.
    Meanwhile, the Bible, as it existed in Paul’s day, was embarrassingly PRO polygamy. For instance, turn to 2 Samuel 12 1-8. The prophet Nathan was sent by the Lord to chastise David for killing Uriah the Hittite, one of David’s faithful soldiers, so David could cover up his adultery with his wife, Bathsheba.

    2 Samuel 12:1 The LORD sent Nathan to David.
    2 Samuel 12:7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.:

    Whoops! According to the Ground of Absolute Morality, the Lord gave Saul’s wives to David and he gave them to him as a reward! (I’ve actually seen apologists try to claim the wives were just more mouths to feed, not a reward!)

    Let me repeat that: GOD GAVE DAVID SAUL’S WIVES AS A REWARD!! Boy, this Biblical Morality is tricky stuff!

    Let me point out, by the way, that although the Bible records God’s approval of polygamy, God did NOT approve of David’s having Uriah murdered. He punished David and Bathsheba severely for this sin. He killed their baby. (2 Sam 13-19)

    But you know, this is starting to feel like shooting fish in a barrel. I’m just going to repeat that the “conscience-benumbed power elites” that Wilberforce (and all the other abolitionists) fought were, in fact, pious Christians defending the plain words of the Bible, and that slavery wasn’t in fact overthrown until the west subdued Christianity and put it under the thumb of secular government and that all the “nice” Biblical quotes don’t help when you’re trying to ground your morality in the Bible. As I’ve said, The only way you can separate them from the immoral verses is to use your own human judgment and when you do that, your morality is no longer absolute. Also, I know how Wilberforce felt, being, “subjected to every species of slander intended to make him shut up”.

    Oh, and congratulations on your Scotch heritage. What’s your name, by the way? I’ve given you mine and judging by the “Meet Mathgrrl” thread, it’s all right to “out” someone, so why not tell us who you are?

    KF at 126 I think everybody who is familiar with your work knows that you take any opposition to your word as a personal insult which is typically followed by accusations of immoral behavior. Sorry, you’re wrong there too.

  132. KF at 129: “The time for silly rhetorical one-upmanship games and for polarising distractors based on snide caricatures and offensive ad hominems is over.”

    I agree. Since you’ve hijacked this thread from quote mining to the grounds of morality, let’s concentrate on that.

    1: Do you believe that the Bible is inerrant? I don’t.

    2: Do you believe that the Bible is God’s word? I don’t.

    3: Do you believe that the Bible is the Ground of Absolute Morality? I don’t.

    4: Do you even believe that there IS an Absolute Morality where that’s defined as a morality that is

    A: Completely true.

    B: Clear enough to be beyond effective dispute.

    C: Complete enough so it doesn’t have to be amended. My answer is no, but we can create a morality good enough to live by.

    I’d like to discuss all of those points, especially numbers 3 and 4 with you or anybody else.

    I’d especially like to invite all the people who claim that there IS an Abolute Morality to type it out right here where we can all get a look at it.

  133. 133
    CannuckianYankee

    “There’s nothing insulting in pointing out that a book someone mistakenly thinks promotes a good morality was actually complicit in enslaving millions of human beings, and in particular, his own ancestors.”

    Well excuse me, but it is when you’re completely wrong about said book.

  134. DM:

    FYI, the topic of this thread was set in its original post; which is on Mr Myers’ misbehaviour as summarised by AussieID through a cluster of clips [it seems taken form a radio interview and a speech].

    In that context, it is objectors who have come in this thread and — being unable to directly defend the blatantly indefensible — have repeatedly sought to divert attention by any means fair or foul, including immoral equivalency tactics; the attempt to pretend that the remarks were clipped out of context in ways that changed their meaning or were inaccurate having manifestly failed, even though it would have been preferable if Aussie had used the “proper” academic conventions.

    But then, given the title he gave, maybe he was being willfully provocative; to make the point that clips like this are in fact tellingly true and revealing of the matter of substance, which those who want to strain at gnats while swallowing camels, will studiously avoid facing.

    This last problem includes yourself, so we can see for ourselves just why you now wish to resort to a turnabout false accusation in the face of being corrected for indefensible personal attacks starting with a bigoted ad hominem circumstantial and going downhill from there, and worse village atheist rhetoric, especially in the past day or so and as can be seen from 61 onwards, and again from 117 onwards.

    All of this in a context where you were in the first instance given opportunity to find out for yourself where you could go if your questions were genuine, this not being a blog on matters theological, save as a secondary issue to the scientific and worldviews questions that are its proper focus.

    As a further index of the temper and attitude of the man you are trying to defend by distraction and counter-accusation, we may sumamrise from the recent incident where he with confederates stole a communion host from a Catholic church, boasted about it, then proceeded to punch it with a nail, and dump it in a wastebasket next to a banana peel and some coffee grounds. (I am not a Catholic, but the attitude and intent revealed by this action are a warning to all who care about a civil society.)

    Here are his utterly and inadvertently revealing words on this:

    IT’S A FRACKIN’ CRACKER!

    Category: Religion • Stupidity
    Posted on: July 8, 2008 8:05 PM, by PZ Myers

    There are days when it is agony to read the news, because people are so goddamned stupid. Petty and stupid. Hateful and stupid. Just plain stupid. And nothing makes them stupider than religion.

    Here’s a story that will destroy your hopes for a reasonable humanity.

    Webster Cook says he smuggled a Eucharist, a small bread wafer that to Catholics symbolic of the Body of Christ after a priest blesses it, out of mass, didn’t eat it as he was supposed to do, but instead walked with it.

    This isn’t the stupid part yet. He walked off with a cracker that was put in his mouth, and people in the church fought with him to get it back. It is just a cracker!

    Catholics worldwide became furious.

    Would you believe this isn’t hyperbole? People around the world are actually extremely angry about this — Webster Cook has been sent death threats over his cracker. Those are just kooks, you might say, but here is the considered, measured response of the local diocese:

    “We don’t know 100% what Mr. Cooks motivation was,” said Susan Fani a spokesperson with the local Catholic diocese. “However, if anything were to qualify as a hate crime, to us this seems like this might be it.”

    We just expect the University to take this seriously,” she added “To send a message to not just Mr. Cook but the whole community that this kind of really complete sacrilege will not be tolerated.”

    Wait, what? Holding a cracker hostage is now a hate crime? The murder of Matthew Shephard was a hate crime. The murder of James Byrd Jr. was a hate crime. This is a goddamned cracker. Can you possibly diminish the abuse of real human beings any further? . . .

    Of course, just so, the mere burning of inconvenient books — it’s just some dead trees, right — by the Nazis was not a direct attack against or murder of people [and BTW, the murders listed by PZM had nothing to do with either the Catholic church or the legitimate Christian faith, which emphasises that people may repent and be transformed so sin is exposed and corrected but the sinner is invited to turn back home to his Lord, people who are all made in God's image so that racism, too is an aberration]. Book burning just revealed the underlying attitude to the other, and built up the intensity of feelings of polarisation.

    It is in this context that the scriptures you so plainly despise, speaking with the voice of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount [the touchstone of biblical morality] counsel us solemnly:

    Mt 5:21You have heard that it was said to the men of old, You shall not kill, and whoever kills shall be [ac]liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court.(E)

    22But I say to you that everyone who continues to be [ad]angry with his brother or harbors malice (enmity of heart) against him shall be [ae]liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court; and whoever speaks contemptuously and insultingly to his brother shall be [af]liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, You [ag]cursed fool! [You empty-headed idiot!] shall be [ah]liable to and unable to escape the hell (Gehenna) of fire . . .

    In that light, DM, I earnestly counsel you to look on the attitude you have revealed in recent days here at UD, and call on you to amend your ways. For, attitudes that lead to intemperate and contempt-filled rhetoric [cf 61 ff and 117 ff and your most recent fulminations], lend themselves to a spiritual acid that eats away the mutual respect that is the basis for sustaining the civil peace of justice. Not to mention, what it does to our souls.

    So also, it is inadvertently highly revealing that, shortly thereafter this or another similar wafer was subjected to the willful desecration by PZM that was described above.

    [ . . . ]

  135. In that context of PZM’s disrespect, contempt and stirring up of hate through guilt by false association [and I am sure that no Christian in his right mind would countenance death threats, so the attempt to characterise the response by a few lunatics, is an even worse form of guilt by false association . . . ], let us now hear his words from his radio interview, giving a little more than was clipped in the OP above:

    Myers: Well, there’s a subtle difference here that what I try to do is promote a conversation that is tolerant. I mean, we do. Think literally about the meaning of the word. We tolerate them, but we do not do is give them a false respect. What this is all about is eroding this unwarranted respect that’s given to religion and foolishness like creationism in this country. We back off so much from this and we refuse to confront it. We cover it over with manners and nice words. We shouldn’t be doing that. We should be openly dismissing a lot of these bad ideas and doing it loudly and proudly. That’s what we do.

    But of course the tolerance part is that there’s no question that nobody is going to deport creationists. Nobody is going to shut down the churches. Nobody is going to do anything like that. What we want to do is put things in a proper perspective.

    Things like religion and creationism do not belong in government. They do not belong in the public schools. If you want to believe that in the privacy of your home, if you want to get together in church and talk to people about this, yes, that’s perfectly reasonable. That’s the tolerance we’ll give them.

    But if you’re telling me that the earth is 6,000 years old, I’m going to call you an idiot.

    Mr Myers’ communion wafer stunt gives the lie to any claims of tolerance or respect on his part.

    His behaviour, attitude, words and deeds are indefensible and inexcusable, period.

    he needs to be sharply corrected and curbed by decent people, not celebrated like a rock star.

    But that is not what we have seen above.

    Instead, we have seen several — including yourself, DM, who have sought to divert the thread from its focus on a serious matter, probably as the matter is so patently indefensible. Now you wish to falsely accuse me of thread jacking for pointing that inconvenient fact out.

    Further to all this, over the past 24 hours, you have shown that you cannot keep civil fingers on your keyboard, and show no compunction or remorse for the most nasty and unwarranted, racially tinged of personal attacks, nor willingness to make amends; nor, can you face the response to your attempts to discredit the historic foundation of moral thought in our civilisation.

    All of this began when in 61 above, you — admitting that you do not understand the relevant philosophy — sought to dismiss the well established challenge that evolutionary materialist atheism (advocated by Mr Myers) is inherently amoral and thus faces the problem that it cannot ground morality, which is a fact of our existence.

    That, by itself — something pointed out on the record as long ago as in Plato’s The Laws, Bk X in 360 BC, is more than enough to utterly discredit such views to anyone who understands the significance of morality vs machiavellian amorality for the sustainability of any civilisation.

    But, we plainly have much more on the table this morning, for we can see the signs of a clearly rising cloud of danger, in the form of precisely the sort of radically amoral evolutionary materialist factions Plato warned against in the passage as just linked, based on the havoc they and their mentors wreaked in Athens in the generation just previous to his writing:

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

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

    What is happening in our civlisation is no mystery, nor is it anything novel. It has happened before, over and over again.

    So, we must now take courage to recognise a rising cloud of mortal danger, and have the determination to stand, exposing it and correcting it lest it bring us all down to ruin.

    Bydand

    GEM of TKI

  136. F/N: For those genuinely concerned on the grounding of morality and its significance for our civilisation, I point to the course lecture note here, the public lecture paper here and the PDF of a PPT presenting the paper in a public lecture here. the policy primer here will show how it can be put to work on the ground, using the key concepts of sustainable development — this is fundamentally an ethical challenge — and the ideas-link between the Categorical Imperative and the classic Mosaic- Christian- Pauline form [yes, Rom 13:8 - 10 is a version of the golden rule . . . ] of the classic Golden Rule.

  137. F/N 2: Had DM troubled himself to read the discussion from here on, he would have come across the point in Ch 2 sec 5 where John Locke, in his famed second essay on civil govt, grounds principles of civil liberty and government by citing “the judicious [Canon, Rev'd Richard] Hooker,” in his 1594+ Ecclesiastical Polity, as follows — in yet another of those classic references that somehow do not make it into today’s secular humanist, evolutionary materialism censored public education (so called, but in fact, plainly, indoctrination into a false, endarkening Plato’s Cave mentality):

    . . . 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.

    This is the immediate history of ideas context for the following, from the US Declaration of Independence, 1776 [which should also be read in light of the May 1776 call to prayer and penitence as already cited above]:

    When . . . it becomes necessary for one people . . . to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, [cf Rom 1:18 - 21, 2:14 - 15 [these give the idea rots of this concept in our civilisation]], that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government [i.e. the right of reformation and if resisted, of just and orderly revolution under interposed magistrates, who per Vindiciae citing OT examples, may be popular and emergent as were Moses, David etc], laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security . . . .

    We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions [Cf. Judges 11:27 and discussion in Locke], do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

    this of course lays out an objective — notice the strawman “absolute” above — basis for morality as foundation of law and justice, rooted in the only worldview foundational IS sufficiently strong to sustain OUGHT, the Good eternal Creator God who makes a cosmos in accordance with his nature. And, as evolutionary materialist secular humanism aptly illustrates, the attempted substitution of other, amoral bases does in fact end in precisely the sort of patent absurdity that “self-evident” implies.

  138. Oops, left off a link: The discussion from here on.

  139. F/N 2: On self-evident truth.

  140. My dear Mullenix: The emphasis in my comment was on “19th century,” not “politician.” But I’m not surprised at the misdirection; it’s all you’ve got.

    You are a Nihilist in the, er, tradition of Zinn and Chomsky. You desperately want to be Zarathustra, the moral prophet, but in order for you to support your moral vanity, your self-congratulatory pose of saeve indignatio, you must negate all of being as if it had no value. The result is high-order subjectivism. The valuations you make in your moral prophet role are utterly devoid of any sense of context or balance.

    This is the landscape of Postmodernism. There has been a frightful forgetting of history as the past is condemned and negated on the basis of modern moral pieties. And it shouldn’t surprise anyone if you are incapable of seeing that these pieties have no grounding—no objective correlative—other than your own personal tastes and preferences.

    You say Christians “desperately want to believe” the Bible is “moral.” That’s interesting. I know a good many Christians and I’m pretty sure not a single one of them is “desperate” about this matter. You seem unaware of the fact that there are intelligent, sensitive Christians who can read the very same passages you cite and see them quite differently from you. This is a symptom of moral vanity—the inability to acknowledge the existence or validity of conflicting views.

    You assure us you are not like other Nihilists. You are not a Hitler, or a Mao, a Stalin. All right; we believe you. The problem with your moral pieties is not so much that they are evil as that they are trite. Being is complex. The trite subjectivism that produces the absolutes seen among Nihilists is the order of the day, but its extreme self-absorption is also leading to its own demise.

    After all, not everyone is willing to throw over all of history and all that is valuable in being for the sake of the moral pieties of dmullenix.

  141. F/N 3: And, on the slavery question, DM plainly shows that he has refused to even begin to address the corrections given to him, starting here at 64 above; so tempting to him is an inexcusable racially tinged ad hominem circumstantial.

    FYI, DM, so you can begin to appreciate just how wrong headed and wrong hearted your notion that a black man should not be a Christian because of slavery is:

    1: The Christian faith was first seriously brought to my ancestors in my homeland, Jamaica, by a black, former slave and missionary from Georgia [who is also significant in the history of the Black and Cherokee Indian churches in the USA], George Liele.

    2: He and others founded, starting in 1782, the Native Baptist churches that were the founding institution of modern Jamaica, giving to the land three of seven acknowledged national heroes, all martyrs to liberty. (And there should be a fourth, William Knibb; a second generation Missionary from England, one of those who came out when the colonial authorities tried to shut down the voice of the black baptist leaders from preaching the evangelical faith. He was not martyred, but only escaped the noose because the slaves spoke up for him when he and other missionaries were unjustly accused of fomenting rebellion.)

    3: In just over 50 years from the date of that founding, on the night of Aug 1 1834, the slaves — Christian and animist alike — crowded into the Baptist and other dissenter churches on the night that slavery was abolished.

    4: In Falmouth, said William Knibb, began the seconds count-down to midnight, with the announcement that the monster was dying, then counted down seconds to midnight, triumphantly announcing that “the monster is dead.”

    5: After the Christmas 1831 uprising, which had started out as an intended sit-down strike for pay, Knibb had been sent to England, and had sworn, in the Baptist Missionary Meeting, to walk from one end of England to the other to let the Christian people of England know what their BRETHREN in Jamaica — the slaves — were suffering. (Yes, like other abuses and deception, slavery thrived in the dark, and lived off intimidation and smearing those who stood up to question it.)

    6: No-one could withstand his facts, his citations of law he had investigated in light of abuse of members of his church who were slaves, and he ended up before parliament.

    7: When in the midst of a crisis in England in which the dissenter [Evangelical] districts were pivotal, the Governor’s report on the uprising arrived, and showed how a so-called Colonial Church Union, affiliated with the Established Church, had burned to the ground 13 dissenter chapels, on the flimsy excuse and patent slander that these were the sources of rebellion.

    8: With that telling echo of the issues over freedom of conscience and worship in the reformation era, and in the face of a crisis — remembering how it was not that long before that the Scots had last marched on London — the establishment threw overboard the West India planters and merchants who fattened themselves off the blood, sweat, toil and tears of the slaves.

    9: That is how after some final delays, in 1833 abolition was passed, and was set for that famous August 1, 1834. yes, there was an unwise compromise that meant full free was August 1838, but that is a secondary matter.

    10: For on that night, my ancestors, knowing who had stood up in the face of fire and noose for liberation, made my homeland a Covenant, Christian, Evangelical nation under God. (The present sufferings are in large measure because to many, sadly, have forgotten their covenant.)

    11: And in this context, that history is written into my name, which includes that of a national hero and family member, martyred in the next generation for standing up and speaking out for the plight of the peasants in the face of drought, depression and war in America.

    ___________

    I hope you have the decency to be utterly ashamed, DM.

  142. F/N 4: I need to also point out, again, the force of Will Hawthorne’s rebuke to evolutionary materialism on morality — and no Dr Liddle, this is not a fallacious playing of the Hitler card, it is pointing out through an apt example the self-evident absurdities of a false system of thought. For, we dare not forget this:

    ____________

    >> 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’. >>
    ______________

    Unfortunately (and as already shown), PZM’s behaviour, attitude and words — which no appeal to context can ever excuse, underscore the force of this warning.

    GEM of TKI

  143. CY at 133 Me: “There’s nothing insulting in pointing out that a book someone mistakenly thinks promotes a good morality was actually complicit in enslaving millions of human beings, and in particular, his own ancestors.”

    CY “Well excuse me, but it is when you’re completely wrong about said book.”

    Why … why …. gasp! You’re right! All those verses that say you can buy foreigners for slaves and buy the children of foreigners living in your country as slaves and keep a slave’s wife and children if you release him and beat a slave to death so long as he/she lives a day or two after the beating – why they don’t say that at all!

    Except that they DO say that and if you went into any church in the US slave states you would have heard those lines quoted to you and the slave owners felt utterly justified because they had the Word of God squarely on their side. And when they went to war to fight for slavery, they quoted those Bible verses as justification for their deeds. And for that matter, when Wilberforce was trying to bring modern morality to the world, those verses were thrown back at him. You’re completely wrong about said book.

    KF at 134 The topic of this thread was set in the OP, you hijacked it to morality in #33 and now you’re trying to pretend you didn’t do that while you bury the thread in verbiage, ad homs and distractions. I can see why since you plainly don’t understand the meaning of the phrase “quote mining”. It means quoting out of context – taking somebody’s words and leaving off their context in order to make it look like they meant something other than what they said and usually without giving unsuspecting readers any hint of their skullduggery.

    Which is exactly what the OP did. I provided some of the text that aussie left out in #3. The problem is not that he didn’t use “proper” academic conventions, it’s that he quote mined AND he didn’t show any trace of his deletions whatsoever!

    But no fear, you went him one better by adding your own text to the quote-mined PZ text and then criticizing PZ for what YOU wrote!

    And now you hijack the thread a second time by bringing up the Cracker Incident. It may surprise you, but I agree that PZ should not have dissed the Communion Wafer. It would have offended many of my friends if they’d heard about it and, frankly, it smells way too much like Koran Burning. Bad PZ, Bad!

    “he needs to be sharply corrected and curbed by decent people, not celebrated like a rock star.”

    He was, by his secular university.

    KF at 135 “I am sure that no Christian in his right mind would countenance death threats..” And no True Scotsman would either. (For those who don’t know, that’s the name of a common logical fallacy, not a reference to KF’s ancestry.)

    “Mr Myers’ communion wafer stunt gives the lie to any claims of tolerance or respect on his part.”

    Disrespect is not intolerance. Respect has to be earned and when it’s not earned, anything but disrespect is immoral.

    “Further to all this, over the past 24 hours, you have shown that you cannot keep civil fingers on your keyboard, and show no compunction or remorse for the most nasty and unwarranted, racially tinged of personal attacks, nor willingness to make amends; nor, can you face the response to your attempts to discredit the historic foundation of moral thought in our civilisation.”

    Why don’t you let your keyboard cool down for a while and go back through your hundreds of posts here on UD. If you do that honestly, you’re going to see a pattern: you almost invariably resort to personal attacks whenever your arguments receive the slightest criticism. Accusing people of slinging ad hominems, red herrings, and strawmen, mis-characterizing their opponents arguments, making personal attacks, making unwarranted attacks, having no compunction or remorse – these are all standard charges for you. I urge anyone who doubts this to search UD for “herring” or “strawmen” or one of your other pet words and phrases and see how often and unjustly you resort to this tactic.

    I urge you to mend your ways for, as you say, “… attitudes that lead to intemperate and contempt-filled rhetoric [cf 61 ff and 117 ff and your most recent fulminations], lend themselves to a spiritual acid that eats away the mutual respect that is the basis for sustaining the civil peace of justice. Not to mention, what it does to our souls.” only substitute most of your postings for 61 and 117.

    Your three main “debating” tactics seem to be heaping abuse on your opponents, constructing fantastically verbose arguments with numbered and lettered subparts that are so long and tedious that few people bother to root through them for their inevitable errors and just plain talking people to death. This thread is a good example of the latter tactic. So far, you’ve made 47 posts (out of a total of 142) and many of them are repetitive. I’ve made 18 and most of them are in reply to your posts.

    In 61 I said I didn’t know much about that is-ought stuff. I had it in philosophy classes maybe 40 years ago when we were studying Hume and I’ve run into it a few times since, mostly from people promoting the Bible as the basis for an Absolute Morality. The “is” I start from is the question, “What does a sentient creature need and desire” combined with “What is the best way of attaining those needs and desires without frustrating other sentient beings’ needs and desires?” The Golden Rule is the best start I’ve seen towards that goal. If we start with the Bible, we can kidnap people and own them. Or just kill the infidels for worshiping other gods or being witches. Or sell our daughters. Not a good basis for a system of morality!

    KF at 137 “. . . 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.”

    The Golden Rule in action.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, [cf Rom 1:18 - 21, 2:14 - 15 [these give the idea rots of this concept in our civilisation]], that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,”

    The Declaration of Independence was written to King George III, who believed he ruled by divine right! That was Jefferson’s polite way of saying, “No you don’t.” Jefferson was a Deist. He believed that some God or gods had created the universe and then more or less ignored it thereafter and let nature take its course. He specifically believed that Jesus was mortal and as for the Bible, he bought a cheap one, cut out the parts he thought were bogus and bound the rest into “Jefferson’s Bible”, which you can buy on Amazon. He tossed out the entire Old Testament and about 90% of the new. One version on Amazon is only 96 pages long and I imagine there’s at least a modern introduction adding to what little Jefferson kept.

    allanius at 120 “Please prove to us, based on ancient texts—not Wilberforce and Garrison, who, in case you didn’t know, were 19th century politicians—that slavery is immoral.”

    allanius at 140: “My dear Mullenix: The emphasis in my comment was on “19th century,” not “politician.”

    Riiight!

    Howard Zinn was not a nihilist nor is Chomsky. When you make your charges of “moral vanity”, “self-congratuatory”, “negate all of being as if it had no value”, “high-order subjectivism”, “utterly devoid of any sense of context or balance”, “postmodernism”, etc., you remind me very much of KF in his first mode of response to those who disagree with him.

    “After all, not everyone is willing to throw over all of history and all that is valuable in being for the sake of the moral pieties of dmullenix.”

    I don’t think I’ve typed a single original thought in this thread, so don’t try to flatter me. I’m willing to throw over that large part of history that is indecent and anti human. Do you want to bring back slavery and selling daughters and killing witches and those who worship other gods? Because we’ve thrown over that part of history and good riddance, even if the Bible says you can do it.

    Kf at 141 Man, you do go on and on! Read what you’ve written about George Liele again and answer these questions:

    1: WHO wanted to hang William Knibb and what was their religion?

    2: Who established the slavery that was finally abolished on Aug 1, 1834 and what was their religion?

    3: What was the religion of those who intimidated and smeared those who stood up to slavery?

    4: Who burned down those 13 dissenter chapels? Hint: “Established Church”.

    5: What was the religion of those West India planters and merchants who fattened themselves off the blood, sweat, toil and tears of the slaves? Bonus question: If the Bible explicity allows them to be enslaved and serverely beaten, almost to death and the Bible is the basis of Absolute Morality, can we criticize them?

    6: Why did your ancestors adopt the religion of their oppressors?

    I hope you’ll actually read and answer those questions, especially #6.

    KF at 142 You’ve posted this one dozens of times. It’s still wrong. What are you going to do? If you want morals, you can’t get them from the Bible unless you go in, roll up your sleeves and dump most of it (see Jefferson’s Bible). And if you do that, the result has only your authority. It’s human, it’s not absolute. So if you’re stuck with human invented morality, why not forget the Bible and start with the Golden Rule.

    Talk to you Monday, by which time I am resigned to seeing a dozen or more replies, mostly repetitive and none of which answer any of the questions above or any other of the questions I’ve asked of you and which you’ve been ignoring.

  144. DM:

    it is quite evident that you are utterly unwilling to go to the fora where a theological discussion of the issues you keep on pushing would be appropriate.

    (Onlookers, he was long since pointed to resources and venues where his concerns would be more than adequately answered by those with time and energy for it, in a forum where such a discussion would be appropriate. He insists instead on trying to raise a village atheist style litany of clips out of context and to push talking points in the teeth of any and all correction. He is therefore not a participant in a civil discussion on reasonable terms, he is intentionally disruptive and propagandistic; frankly, since he has had ample opportunity to correct his claims in light of a sounder view, he is willfully pushing what he should know is false and misleading, in an agenda to promote that which is demonstrably indefensible. That speaks for itself. I need not speak further on his implicit racism, presuming to know how a black Jamaican man should think. There is a word for that: RACISM. Now backed up by every species of insistence on rejecting correction.)

    So, the motivation of threadjacking to distract form the indefensible as exposed in the original post is obvious.

    It is further plain that you have no broughtupcy or common decency.

    You are therefore to be viewed and treated as a troll.

    Good day

    GEM of TKI

  145. Onlookers:

    Plainly, and ever so sadly, the MG tactic of closed-minded drumbeat repetition of long since corrected talking points, brazenly brushing aside all further correction, is spreading like wildfire across the darwinist fever swamps.

    All I can say on that is that such behaviour as we have now seen for some months, is willfully deceptive, and when one crosses that threshold, s/he is now a willful deceiver. There is a shorter word for that, L * * * , but let us focus on the action involved rather than the label: willful deceit, once one has enough education and basic intelligence to know better than one insists on speaking.

    Given the events of the past days, this sort of action is intended to distract us from following up on “dangerous” issues.

    Let us therefore remind ourselves of exactly what DM et al are ever so desperate that we not take up seriously and discuss.

    Here is my markup IDNET’s cluster of clips on PZM and the “tolerance” of evo mat ideologues, noting that the context and links are addressed in the thread here:

    ________________

    >> Atheists tend to be politically liberal, fairly tolerant. [ --> deny, deny, deny . . . ] The tolerance part is that there’s no question that nobody is going to deport creationists. Nobody is going to shut down the churches. Nobody is going to do anything like that. [ --> And, what does the bloody history of the past century at the hands of atheistical regimes tell us on this?] What we want to do is put things in a proper perspective. If you want to believe that in the privacy of your home, if you want to get together in church and talk to people about this, yes, that’s perfectly reasonable. [--> translated, we will censor the public square and the culture's sense of what knowledge is on a priori evolutionary materialism as we have institutional power to do and if you object to the imposition of ideological censorship on origins science, we will come down on you like a ton of bricks, even threatening to hold your children hostage, on the excuse that you can have your little fantasies in quiet and that's "freedom" enough for you; don't you dare expose our censorship of science and science education] That’s the tolerance we’ll give them.

    There are some of the people in the intelligent design movement who are incredibly nasty, awful, and misrepresent science [--> translation: they are exposing the use of misleading icons of evolution to indoctrinate the public and school children, starting with Haeckel's frauds, cf the Google Books result here] in ways that I cannot forgive. This is not about demonizing the individuals. [--> the bland denial of what one is about to do . . .]

    I have to single out this man [--> in context, plainly Jonathan Wells], whom I consider the most contemptable, despicable, cruel, and vicious evil liar in the creationist movement today, yes, he’s a nasty, nasty person. ([editorial comment, OP:] PZ has never met or talked with this ID proponent.) >>
    _______________

    If DM is like this when he is a guest in a blog, what would he be like in a Tenure or thesis committee? Or in a Courtroom, or a Parliament?

    W@hat about PZM and co?

    Do we see the implications of this behaviour and attitude for liberty and justice?

    GEM of TKI

    PS: Let me take one slice to show how unresponsive DM is to correction based on mere facts and logic.

    If you are troubled by DM’s highlighted reference to George III, an Enlightenment era ruler with a mental challenge, as though he were trying to rule by Divine Right of Kings, simply note that he was working in partnership with Parliament; indeed a crucial part of the issue was that London was trying to make law for the colonies who were supposed to have had charters making them separate as the Channel Islands and Man are separate realms to this day; hence “no taxation without representation” as a popular slogan on this complex issue. As, over 100 years previously, the last British King to try to rule by claimed divine right, lost his head by sentence of death backed up by said parliament. For, the theological teachings in Lex, Rex on the dual covenant of nationhood and government under God had prevailed; as pointed out, tyranny is a forfeit of legitimacy, and the doctrine of interposition first exemplified by Moshe himself (as the context for the 10 commandments Paul alludes to in Rom 13:1 – 10 — i.e Divine right of kings always was a case of scripture twisting), obtains. And behind Lex Rex, we can trace back to Duplessis-Mornay’s Vindiciae, and even the Dutch Declaration of Independence of 1581. So, DM is plainly ignorant on the history involved. related points are explored in the already linked, here.

    DM is just repeating propagandiastic talking points without sound knowledge, and in the process is falling afoul of Peter’s solemn warning:

    2 Pet 3: 15And consider that the long-suffering of our Lord [[e]His slowness in avenging wrongs and judging the world] is salvation ([f]that which is conducive to the soul’s safety), even as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the spiritual insight given him,

    16Speaking of this as he does in all of his letters. There are some things in those [epistles of Paul] that are difficult to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist and misconstrue to their own [g]utter destruction, just as [they distort and misinterpret] the rest of the Scriptures.

    17Let me warn you therefore, beloved, that knowing these things beforehand, you should be on your guard, lest you be carried away by the error of lawless and wicked [persons and] fall from your own [present] firm condition [your own steadfastness of mind].

    18But grow in grace (undeserved favor, spiritual strength) and [h]recognition and knowledge and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (the Messiah). To Him [be] glory (honor, majesty, and splendor) both now and to the day of eternity. Amen (so be it)! [AMP]

  146. F/N: The Dutch DOI under William The Silent of Orange, 1581, is well worth citing, being the first state paper to incorporate the points in Vindiciae. You will see that ti is a clear idea-context for the better known US DOI of 1776, and indeed I have seen hints in remarks by members of the drafting committee that suggest they looked to the Dutch antecedents:

    ________________

    >> . . . a prince is constituted by God to be ruler of a people, to defend them from oppression and violence as the shepherd his sheep; and whereas God did not create the people slaves to their prince, to obey his commands, whether right or wrong, but rather the prince for the sake of the subjects (without which he could be no prince), to govern them according to equity, to love and support them as a father his children or a shepherd his flock, and even at the hazard of life to defend and preserve them. And when he does not behave thus, but, on the contrary, oppresses them, seeking opportunities to infringe their ancient customs and privileges . . . then he is no longer a prince, but a tyrant, and the subjects are to consider him in no other view . . . This is the only method left for subjects whose humble petitions and remonstrances could never soften their prince or dissuade him from his tyrannical proceedings; and this is what the law of nature dictates for the defense of liberty, which we ought to transmit to posterity, even at the hazard of our lives . . . . . So, having no hope of reconciliation, and finding no other remedy, we have, agreeable to the law of nature in our own defense, and for maintaining the rights, privileges, and liberties of our countrymen, wives, and children, and latest posterity from being enslaved by the Spaniards, been constrained to renounce allegiance to the King of Spain, and pursue such methods as appear to us most likely to secure our ancient liberties and privileges. >>

    ____________

    DM et al have been robbed of the true history, and are programmed with a propagandistic, twisted view of the world. That is why they take a twisted view of the scriptures, regardless of correction. (And BTW, note that in the midst of the discussion on government under God I have linked several times, there is a section on the slavery issue, which DM gives no indication of having seriously read or understood with an open mind. But, he feels free to imagine that he can dictate to me as a black Jamaican, how I should think about the scriptures, based on my blackness. For shame!)

  147. F/N 2: Since slavery has been used so much as an atmosphere-poisoning distractor, let me clip this [as it is not a specifically theological reflection -- I have pointed courtesy BA elsewhere for that], as a part of the response DM has refused to seriously interact with:

    ________________

    >> America’s Founding Fathers are seen by some people today as unjust and hypocrites, for while they talked of liberty and equality, they at the same time were enslaving hundreds of thousands of Africans. Some allege that the Founders bear most of the blame for the evils of slavery. Consequently, many today have little respect for the Founders and turn their ear from listening to anything they may have to say. And, in their view, to speak of America as founded as a Christian nation is unthinkable (for how could a Christian nation tolerate slavery?) . . . .

    America’s Founders were predominantly Christians and had a Biblical worldview. If that was so, some say, how could they allow slavery, for isn’t slavery sin? As the Bible reveals to man what is sin, we need to examine what it has to say about slavery . . . .

    The Bible teaches that slavery, in one form or another (including spiritual, mental, and physical), is always the fruit of disobedience to God and His law/word. (This is not to say that the enslavement of any one person, or group of people, is due to their sin, for many have been enslaved unjustly, like Joseph and numerous Christians throughout history.) Personal and civil liberty is the result of applying the truth of the Scriptures. As a person or nation more fully applies the principles of Christianity, there will be increasing freedom in every realm of life. Sanctification for a person, or nation, is a gradual process. The fruit of changed thinking and action, which comes from rooting sin out of our lives, may take time to see. This certainly applies historically in removing slavery from the Christian world . . . .

    Some people suggest today that all early Americans must have been despicable to allow such an evil as slavery. They say early America should be judged as evil and sinful, and anything they have to say should be discounted. But if we were to judge modern America by this same standard, it would be far more wicked – we are not merely enslaving people, but we are murdering tens of millions of innocent unborn children through abortion. These people claim that they would not have allowed slavery if they were alive then. They would speak out and take any measures necessary. But where is their outcry and action to end slavery in the Sudan today? (And slavery there is much worse than that in early America.)

    Some say we should not listen to the Founders of America because they owned slaves, or at least allowed slavery to exist in the society. However, if we were to cut ourselves off from the history of nations that had slavery in the past we would have to have nothing to do with any people because almost every society has had slavery, including African Americans, for many African societies sold slaves to the Europeans; and up to ten percent of blacks in America owned slaves . . . . [Moreover] after independence the American Founders actually took steps to end slavery. Some could have done more, but as a whole they probably did more than any group of national leaders up until that time in history to deal with the evil of slavery. They took steps toward liberty for the enslaved and believed that the gradual march of liberty would continue, ultimately resulting in the complete death of slavery. The ideas they infused in the foundational civil documents upon which America was founded – such as Creator endowed rights and the equality of all men before the law – eventually prevailed and slavery was abolished. But not without great difficulty because the generations that followed failed to carry out the gradual abolition of slavery in America.

    [Kindly, read the whole article . . . ] >>

    ________________

    And, again, let us not forget the key focal matter that DM et al are so desperate to distract us from, PZM as clipped by IDNET and commented on by me:

    Atheists tend to be politically liberal, fairly tolerant. [ --> deny, deny, deny . . . ] The tolerance part is that there’s no question that nobody is going to deport creationists. Nobody is going to shut down the churches. Nobody is going to do anything like that. [ --> And, what does the bloody history of the past century at the hands of atheistical regimes tell us on this?] What we want to do is put things in a proper perspective. If you want to believe that in the privacy of your home, if you want to get together in church and talk to people about this, yes, that’s perfectly reasonable. [--> translated, we will censor the public square and the culture's sense of what knowledge is on a priori evolutionary materialism as we have institutional power to do and if you object to the imposition of ideological censorship on origins science, we will come down on you like a ton of bricks, even threatening to hold your children hostage, on the excuse that you can have your little fantasies in quiet and that's "freedom" enough for you; don't you dare expose our censorship of science and science education] That’s the tolerance we’ll give them.

    There are some of the people in the intelligent design movement who are incredibly nasty, awful, and misrepresent science [--> translation: they are exposing the use of misleading icons of evolution to indoctrinate the public and school children, starting with Haeckel's frauds, cf the Google Books result here] in ways that I cannot forgive. This is not about demonizing the individuals. [--> the bland denial of what one is about to do . . .]

    I have to single out this man [--> in context, plainly Jonathan Wells], whom I consider the most contemptable, despicable, cruel, and vicious evil liar in the creationist movement today, yes, he’s a nasty, nasty person. ([editorial comment, OP:] PZ has never met or talked with this ID proponent.)

    Do you want to put serious state or institutional power into hands like this?

    That would be patent folly, and where such have usurped power, it is time to stand up under interposing magistrates and first correct then if they refuse, remove them.

    GEM of TKI

  148. F/N 3: Since it has been buried, my comment in 141 on the story of the gospel and liberation form slavery in Jamaica is as just linked. DM — never mind his pretence of asking questions above, these are snide false accusations not questions — has not done the basic courtesy of reading a correction, in a context where he has willfully pushed in a knife. He is plainly a troll and should be treated as such.

  149. Some people should be taken seriously, other people should not be taken seriously.

    David, aka dmullinex, clearly falls into the latter category.

  150. 150
    CannuckianYankee

    Mung,

    KF has a tendency to use the screed of trolls to further educate onlookers, which in my view is quite acceptable, and in fact somewhat demanded. Agreed?

  151. Mung:

    Part of the story of the triumph of Hitler in Germany was that too many who saw through him assumed that others also saw through him, and/or were unwilling to take up the painful and dangerous struggle required to expose and break the momentum of his movement backed up by the murderous SA Brownshirts.

    And, too many were so distracted by the danger further to the left [NSDAP = National SOCIALIST German Workers' Party . . . ], the communists, that they did not realise that Hitler was just as dangerous.

    By the time he seized state power and control of education, media and police forces, it was too late.

    So, in our day, we have to expose dangerous radicals and the implications of their ideologies and rage. In the case of DM, he has been so programmed — or is a sock puppet — that he cannot or will not realise that a Black man can have a very different view of the role and significance of the gospel and the scriptures in our civilisation than he evidently has. And, he brushes aside the relevant history and balancing context, in his haste to make Village Atheist talking points; which seem to give him a sense of moral superiority.

    Going back to where this all started, he is utterly unable to see that evolutionary materialism has in it no IS that can ground OUGHT, reducing morality to amoral manipulation of a mass delusion that there is good and there is evil.

    That patent absurdity moves him not at all, and he either willfully or in the impulse of his rages and rhetoric, is busily trying to distract attention form the sobering issue in the original post.

    He does not even see the racist bigotry implied in his behaviour.

    But, we must not underestimate such. Nazism was patently absurd, yet it prevailed in Germany at the eventual cost of 60 mn dead and a devastated continent.

    Prevailed, because people did not take it seriously early enough and/or allowed themselves to be intimidated by the bully boy tactics so beloved of fascists of every stripe.

    We must never forget, and this is one time we gotta rub the puppy’s nose in the mess it has created.

    Think, seriously, about the comparison between the Nazi book burnings and the way PZM et al — look at the comments on the linked threads, including the BBC news article — think it is a laudable thing to steal a communion host, then nail it and throw it into a bin next to a banana peel and coffee grounds (which have very suggestive colour).

    Then, think about what such en-darkened minds and benumbed consciences would do if they have institutional and national power.

    Resemblance to what has begun to happen is NOT coincidental!

    Bydand!

    GEM of TKI

  152. KF at 144: I don’t doubt that you’d like me to post somewhere less conspicuous, but you hijacked this thread and I’m just posting to your posts. I don’t see much to reply to in your last posts, just your third repetition of quote mined PZ with your added comments.

    KF at 147: “America’s Founders were predominantly Christians and had a Biblical worldview.” Not Washington, Jefferson, Madison or Franklin. I’ve already covered Jefferson and his customized Bible with all the untrue or immoral stuff cut out. A mighty slim volume. Madison was his acolyte and felt the same way about almost everything.

    Washington was interesting – he attended church regularly with his wife, but whenever Communion was served, he would get up and, along with most of the men, leave the church. George would go home and send the carriage back for Martha, who partook. He got giggled by a preacher once who had the gall to preach a sermon about those who left without partaking of Communion. George thought about this and then sent the preacher a note saying he had reconsidered his actions and would no longer attend church on Communion Sundays. Not a very Christian Christian, eh?

    And Franklin, of course, was full of good advice on such topics as selecting a good mistress. Of course, that does fit in fairly well with the Old Testament with its God-sanctioned polygamy and its hordes of concubines. But I don’t think that the religious right would approve.

    “The Bible teaches that slavery, in one form or another (including spiritual, mental, and physical), is always the fruit of disobedience to God and His law/word.”

    You say that (I’d love some verses to go with it.) and then, in the very next sentence, you print this:

    “(This is not to say that the enslavement of any one person, or group of people, is due to their sin, for many have been enslaved unjustly, like Joseph and numerous Christians throughout history.)” which completely contradicts the first sentence. Unless you’re trying to slip in a fast one where the “disobedience” was Adam and Eve’s. Sorry, they never existed.

    KF at 148 Have you noticed that when you don’t have an adequate reply to someone, you just call them names?

    Mung and CY at 149 & 150 See reply to KF at 148 above.

    KF at 151 Godwin’s law! You lose.

  153. This is a reply to Sonfaro in the “You can’t have them, atheists!” thread. I don’t want to contribute to the threadjacking of a second thread.

    Sonfaro at 101 Read in context, Dawkins was saying the universe was unintelligent and thus we shouldn’t expect any morality from it. The moderator seemed to be saying Dawkins was denying the possibility of evil men: “How can someone be “evil” where there is “no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference” (Dawkins)? That’s not what Dawkins meant.

    I’m sorry, but if Lev 25:44 was meant only for the Israelis (“when slaves were still considered human”?), and not for us then the same thing must be true for Ex 20:2-17. It would also have been irresponsible not to say somewhere in the Bible that all this slave stuff would become immoral someday. That sure would have helped the abolitionists. As I’ve said elsewhere, I don’t deny that you can go into the Bible and pick and choose verses to make a fairly good moral code, but that moral code rests solely on your human judgment. And then you’d still have to deal with the verses that support slavery in the NT, especially the book of Philemon.

    I didn’t claim that only Christians were slavers, I mentioned Muslims and Africans too. So far as I know, all of the slave ships that brought slaves to the Americas were captained by Christians. And I’m sure that ALL of the slavers were motivated by greed.

    Check that kidnapping verses again Deut 24:7 “If someone is caught kidnapping a fellow Israelite and treating or selling them as a slave, the kidnapper must die. You must purge the evil from among you.” – it only prohibits kidnapping members of your tribe. Lev 25:44 says you can acquire slaves from “the pagan nations that are around you” and Deut 20:10,11 tells you one of the ways you can do it. Most of the Africans sold into slavery were acquired via inter-tribal warfare. This frequently took the form of snatching a lone person, but so long as you weren’t snatching your fellow tribesman, you were OK with the Bible.

    Garrison and Wilberforce and the other abolitionists were indeed Christians. But they were always a minority and all of their opponents were Christians. Wilberforce finally persuaded his government to force OTHER Christians to give up their slaves and Garrison failed at even that until the Civil War allowed Lincoln to force OTHER Christians to give up their slaves.

    Please watch your use of the word “bigoted”. Pointing out an organization’s undeniable and widely held defects hardly qualifies.

    I DO question why a descendent of slaves wants to base all morals on a book that explicitly allows slavery.

    The pro-slavery Christians didn’t TRY to justify themselves with the Bible, they DID so and they won all the debates. The more decent Christians were reduced to what you’re doing: pointing out general verses like “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, “love your neighbor as yourself”, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” etc. against Bible verses which explicitly allowed and regulated slavery. You can’t escape by quoting the New Testament either because you keep running into verses like:
    EPH 6:5,6 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eye service, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.

    and

    COLOSSIANS 3:22 Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerety of heart, fearing the Lord.

    and

    1 TIM 6:1,2 Let all who are under the yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine may not be spoken against. And let those who have believers as their masters not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but let them serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles.

    and

    TITUS 2:9,10 Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.

    “It’s not just that you mentioned it. You basically questioned why a black man would be a Christian period, which is an awkward and frankly ill-conceived thing to ask for numerous reasons.”

    Well, I DO question it. I question why any man who’s descended from people enslaved by people who used their religion to justify their actions adopts the religion of his persecutors. I also question why the descendents of those persecutors stick to the religion that justified their actions.

    “No, but it is sort of ignorant of what was going on at the time. As I’ve already said, Kidnapping for slavery was a huge no-no for the Jewish people, and if we’re supposed to match up their slavery to ours it should still have been a no-no.”

    Kidnapping ISRAELIS was a big no-no. I never heard of any Israeli slaves in the Americas.

    “pro-slavery Christians used the bible to try and justify what they were already doing, they didn’t do because it was in the bible. It’s not like they read it and went, “Hey, look, it says we can steal negros from their homes… let’s do it!” The slave trade was going strong before the more religious slave owners started cherry picking verses and what not.”

    Nobody says that the Bible gave people the idea for slavery. It existed from pre-historical times. It’s the fact that the Bible condones slavery and the slaveowners could justify themselves through the Bible that counts and also how well they could do it. They didn’t have to cherry pick or quote mine to do it. They had a plethora of verses justifying their behavior in both the Old and New Testaments and their opponents had only general “be nice” verses to oppose them with.

    “Kinda how the Nazi’s used Darwin to establish their master race thing (note: I AM NOT EQUATING NAZI’S AND EVOLUTION -_-). Hitler hated the jews (and everybody else) long before he got hold of Darwin. He just used it to his advantage.”

    Contra Weikert, anti-Semitism has about a 2000 year history before Hitler. It started in NT times when proto-Christians were a Jewish sect. After the two disastrous revolts, Judaism was persona non grata to the Romans and the new Christians, who had been kicked out of the Synagogue, went out of their way to make sure the Romans knew they were different from the Jews, and they didn’t like them either.

    Really violent anti-Semitism began with the Crusades when the Crusaders paused on their way to the Holy Land to murder some infidels a little closer to home. Things never got better after that until Hitler died.

    By the time Hitler came along, anti-Semitism had developed a racial aspect and Hitler believed that Jews were a degenerate race (ala the fall, except just them) who had become animalistic. As he switched his sympathies from Catholic to Protestant, he greatly admired German Martin Luther, especially his book, “On the Jews and Their Lies”, which is available if you Google. This book was proudly featured at the Nuremburg rallies.

    Some “highlights” (from Wikipedia): Jews are “base, whoring people, that is, no people of God, and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must be accounted as filth.” “full of the devil’s feces … which they wallow in like swine,”[2] and the synagogue is an “incorrigible whore and an evil slut”. According to Wiki, Luther recommended, “(1) for Jewish synagogues and schools to be burned to the ground, and the remnants buried out of sight; (2) for houses owned by Jews to be likewise razed, and the owners made to live in agricultural outbuildings; (3) for their religious writings to be taken away; (4) for rabbis to be forbidden to preach, and to be executed if they do; (5) for safe conduct on the roads to be abolished for Jews; (6) for usury to be prohibited, and for all silver and gold to be removed and “put aside for safekeeping”; and (7) for the Jewish population to be put to work as agricultural slave labor.”

    Sounds like a road map to Naziism, doesn’t it?

    I don’t believe Weikert mentions any of this in his book and I’ve yet to hear of any historian that agrees with Weikert on Hitler and evolution. I have heard that Hitler put some of Darwin’s books on the burn list: “6. Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism (Häckel).” http://sciencenotes.wordpress......itler-bur/

    Hitler also appeared to believe that humans were NOT the product of evolution: ““Whence do we get the right to believe, that from the very beginning Man was not what he is today? Looking at Nature tells us, that in the realm of plants and animals changes and developments happen. But nowhere inside a kind shows such a development as the breadth of the jump, as Man must supposedly have made, if he has developed from an ape-like state to what he is today.” (Hitler’s Table Talk)

    I think that’s enough of a reply for now.

  154. DM:

    It is plain that you have fixed certain notions and will not be corrected, sadly; not even in the face of evident facts specifically drawn to your attention.

    If it were not so sad, I would find it amusing to see how my earlier attempt to get this thread to refocus on what is in the original post, is twisted into a false accusation of threadjacking, as in “he hit BACK first.”

    Similarly, even though this was pointed out in citing the proscriptions in the OT on kidnapping into slavery, you have refused to attend to the implications in this context of the explicit Mosaic provision that the law must be consistent for the native Israelite and the foreigner under Israelite jurisdiction [cf here as previously linked and above in the thread]. Not to mention the NT direct statement that kidnapping (in context of that time, into slavery) is contrary to sound doctrine, i.e a Christian profession.

    All of which were already pointed out and/or linked.

    I need not reiterate other corrections that have already been made, the underlying closed minded reiteration of refuted objections in the teeth of correction already given is enough demonstration of what is going on.

    And, just as a parting footnote, you need to severely update your understanding of Nazi Germany and Hitler from that favourite Darwinist clip out of context, in light of the history of ideas in Germany from Haeckel onwards. In that regard, you will find Hitler’s explicit statements in Mein Kampf appealing to Social Darwinist thought traceable to Darwin et al, starting with the Descent of Man Chs 5 – 7, will be illuminating. All that stuff in Mein Kampf about:

    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, a social darwinist version of Darwinian natural and sexual selection and survival of the fittest.] And struggle is always a means for improving a species’ health and power of resistance and, therefore, a cause of its higher development [--> aka descent with improved modification, or evolution].

    If the process were different, all further and higher development [--> evolution] would cease and the opposite would occur. For, since the inferior always predominates numerically over the best [--> NB: this is a specific theme raised in Darwin's discussion of the Irish, the Scots and the English in Descent, chs 5 - 7], if both had the same possibility of preserving life and propagating [--> differential reproductive success leading to shifting population balances of evolving varieties], 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 [--> a direct allusion to Darwin's appeal to Malthusian struggle for survival and reproduction], and by not permitting the remainder to increase promiscuously, but making a new and ruthless choice according to strength and health [--> AKA survival of the fittest] . . .

    . . . does have a known and highly specific root in the history of ideas [--> cf as noted], after all.

    One hopes that at some future date, you will think again.

    In the meanwhile, sadly, you have again underscored what currently shapes your thoughts, perceptions and views.

    Good day

    GEM of TKI

  155. 155

    DM: “George thought about this and then sent the preacher a note saying he had reconsidered his actions and would no longer attend church on Communion Sundays. Not a very Christian Christian, eh?”

    George Washington was not a Christian Christian…?

    “An Appeal to Heaven,” was used originally by a squadron of six cruisers commissioned under George Washington’s authority as commander in chief of the Continental Army in October 1775.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_Tree_Flag

    DM: “Not Washington, Jefferson, Madison or Franklin.”

    Ben Franklin’s famous quote:

    “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God”

    Thomas Jefferson’s bible, after editing what he thought was misrepresentation:

    “[of Jesus's teaching] There will be found remaining the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.”

    James Madison:

    James Madison attended St. John’s Episcopal Church while he was President. Some sources classify Madison was a deist. He was identified as an Episcopalian by the 1995 Information Please Almanac; A Worthy Company: Brief Lives of the Framers of the United States Constitution by M. E. Bradford; and the Library of Congress. Memoirs & Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson, IV, page 512 was cited as the source stating explicitly that Madison was a
    “theist.” (Source: Ian Dorion, “Table of the Religious Affiliations of American Founders”, 1997).

    These men seem to be either Christian, or completely influenced top to bottom by the Christian faith.

    DM: “I DO question why a descendent of slaves wants to base all morals on a book that explicitly allows slavery.”

    It would help to learn a little black history relating to the church, in full context, the good and bad, before you make these types of comments.

    “The Church in the Southern Black Community, 1780 – 1925, documents the growth of the “Black Church” in the American South and how evangelical Christianity was modified by the African-American community to encourage dreams of freedom, the importance of community, and the desire for personal survival. Included are materials that document the conflicts in the church caused by slavery. Also of interest are some slave narratives that document
    the role of the church in slave communities. The collection was compiled from printed texts
    from the libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.”

    http://www.loc.gov/teachers/cl...../file.html

    Are you really trying to manipulate race to support atheism?

    Martin luther King is his famous letterfrom Birmingham jail:

    “But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just
    as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their
    “thus saith the Lord” far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as
    the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ
    to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel
    of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the
    Macedonian call for aid.”

    http://abacus.bates.edu/admin/.....etter.html

    Christianity is self correcting exactly for the inherent understanding of the objective moral code. Atheism boasts an absolute zero when it comes to a self correcting moral anchor. Which is why it (atheism’s) ideological disciples also boast the number one slot for mayhem on earth.

  156. Hey again DM,

    Let’s get to it! ;-)

    -“This is a reply to Sonfaro in the “You can’t have them, atheists!” thread. I don’t want to contribute to the threadjacking of a second thread.”

    Understandable.

    -“Sonfaro at 101 Read in context, Dawkins was saying the universe was unintelligent and thus we shouldn’t expect any morality from it. The moderator seemed to be saying Dawkins was denying the possibility of evil men: “How can someone be “evil” where there is “no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference” (Dawkins)? That’s not what Dawkins meant.”

    Right. Which is why I suggested that the mod was the first to go off topic… unless you consider actually quote mining while off-topic about quote-mining to be on-topic… that hurt my head while writing it. Did that make sense?

    -“I’m sorry, but if Lev 25:44 was meant only for the Israelis (“when slaves were still considered human”?), and not for us then the same thing must be true for Ex 20:2-17.”

    How so?

    Six of the ten commandments are rules that just about every nation had in place already. Super Generic. The ones that would be remotely specific to Israel are the first four, which refer to dealing with God ie, no false images, remember the Sabbath, etc. And seeing as four major religions sort of share these rules still I’m not so sure they’re supposed to be specific either.

    Not so with Leviticus. Theres a level of specificity towards the jewish people in Leviticus that the ten commandmants (and the ones that follow) just don’t have.

    -“It would also have been irresponsible not to say somewhere in the Bible that all this slave stuff would become immoral someday.”

    Why?

    How would that have helped/hindered the people God was instructing at that point in history? Particularly when slavery was a little different then how it ended up (more on this below).

    -“That sure would have helped the abolitionists.”

    Sure. And him mentioning the twin towers falling would have prepped firefighters.

    I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work like that.

    And besides, it wouldn’t have done anything for the people he was talking to – which would have made it all a waste of time in that moment.

    -“As I’ve said elsewhere, I don’t deny that you can go into the Bible and pick and choose verses to make a fairly good moral code, but that moral code rests solely on your human judgment. And then you’d still have to deal with the verses that support slavery in the NT, especially the book of Philemon.”

    Okay, so I just re-read all of Philemon to see where everyone gets this ‘Paul supports slavery thing’.

    I’m not seeing it.

    Paul told Philemon to take Onesimius back as a brother – KJV says:

    “15For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever;
    16Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?
    17If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.
    18If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account…

    NIV clears it up a bit for those confused:

    “15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.
    17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.”

    I mean if you squeeze real hard and ignore the first few words in 16 yeah, maybe. But all together it seems to me Paul was sending Onesimius back to Philemon’s home – where he’s lived most of his life before being kidnapped, or run away or whatever happened to him before he met Paul and converted – With the express intent for Philemon to at least treat him as free… if not outright free the man.

    Moreover, it appears to be what Onesimus WANTED to go back in the first place.

    “I didn’t claim that only Christians were slavers, I mentioned Muslims and Africans too.”

    While trying to link their morality into the situation as if it had anything to do with their decision to sell out their rivals. They weren’t thinking about being moral. It was greed all the way.

    “So far as I know, all of the slave ships that brought slaves to the Americas were captained by Christians.”

    Nope. Check out John Henry Newton when you get a chance.

    Also, remember the old stereotype for sailors in those days wasn’t exactly the pious Christian.

    -“And I’m sure that ALL of the slavers were motivated by greed.”

    On this we can agree.

    “Check that kidnapping verses again Deut 24:7 “If someone is caught kidnapping a fellow Israelite and treating or selling them as a slave, the kidnapper must die. You must purge the evil from among you.” – it only prohibits kidnapping members of your tribe. Lev 25:44 says you can acquire slaves from “the pagan nations that are around you” and Deut 20:10,11 tells you one of the ways you can do it. Most of the Africans sold into slavery were acquired via inter-tribal warfare. This frequently took the form of snatching a lone person, but so long as you weren’t snatching your fellow tribesman, you were OK with the Bible.”

    Actually, I was referring to this verse:

    “Exodus 21:16 “Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.”

    That’s Anyone. Period. Kidnapping was not cool with God. And its not in Leviticus, so it’s not just a specific law for the Jews. This is a little after the Ten commandmants.

    Your first Deut verse just hammers this home as far as the Jews went. As I’ve already said, Leviticus was the book with the specific Jewish laws… now that I think about it Deuteronomy may be too. I’ll have to check with my pops. He’s the bible scholar of mi familia.

    Anyway The second Deut verse seems fairly standard ancient warefare to me.

    Like I said. Indentured Servants, Criminals, POWs.

    All before Christ too.

    -“Garrison and Wilberforce and the other abolitionists were indeed Christians. But they were always a minority and all of their opponents were Christians.”

    I’m fairly certain this is also false. Christians weren’t the only slave owning people around at the time and thus wouldn’t have been the only peoples with something to lose if it were abolished.

    -“Wilberforce finally persuaded his government to force OTHER Christians to give up their slaves and Garrison failed at even that until the Civil War allowed Lincoln to force OTHER Christians to give up their slaves.”

    Again, wasn’t JUST Christians arguing for slavery. They may have been the loudest though.

    -“Please watch your use of the word “bigoted”. Pointing out an organization’s undeniable and widely held defects hardly qualifies.”

    Maybe not. However, making such claims that basically sound like ‘only Christians promoted slavery pre-Civil war’ is both untrue and kinda slanderous as well.

    -“I DO question why a descendent of slaves wants to base all morals on a book that explicitly allows slavery.”

    It doesn’t allow for what was happening. It allows for those who willingly give themselves up (indentured servitude), Those who owe a debt to a person or society (IndServ & Criminals) or those who lost a war(POW’s). To my knowledge, none of the african slaves captured came willingly, a raid is not a war, and the only crime commited was ‘Breathing While Black’. -_-

    -“The pro-slavery Christians didn’t TRY to justify themselves with the Bible, they DID so and they won all the debates.”

    But they lost public opinion years later, ne?

    -“The more decent Christians were reduced to what you’re doing: pointing out general verses like “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, “love your neighbor as yourself”, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” etc.”

    1 Timothy 1:8-11 lumps Slave Traders with murderors, liars, sexual deviants and a whole slew of ‘not goods’.

    (He also doesn’t happen to like gays which is a whole other issue we can get into later I guess).

    -_-

    Anyway, it’s clear Paul, who writes the rest of those points (Which I’ll try to respond to below) on slavery and to my knowledge is the only one to do so, wasn’t fond of slavery but understood it was a way of life at that point in history.

    “[…]You can’t escape by quoting the New Testament either because you keep running into verses like:
    EPH 6:5,6 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eye service, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”

    Why’d you stop there?

    “EPH: 6:9 Masters, in the same way, be good to your slaves. Do not threaten them. Remember that the One who is your Master and their Master is in heaven, and he treats everyone alike.”

    Does ‘alike’ mean setting people on a post half naked and auctioning them off? Or breeding them like cattle so you can get big black men to work the feilds? Or raping them? Or not regarding them as human period? When he says ‘do not threaten’, does that include whipping? Lynching? Hammering legs so they can’t run away?

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s not the case.

    -“COLOSSIANS 3:22 Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerety of heart, fearing the Lord.”

    From the same book:

    -“COL 2:25 But remember that anyone who does wrong will be punished for that wrong, and the Lord treats everyone the same.”

    God sees slave and masters as… the same? Gasp, what a concept!

    ;-)

    -“1 TIM 6:1,2 Let all who are under the yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine may not be spoken against. And let those who have believers as their masters not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but let them serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but Paul’s talking to Christian slaves at this point yes? At a time when Christianity wasn’t the majority… or trusted? Should he have said ‘riot in the streets instead?’

    Besides, he gave his stance on slavers and kidnappers already in the letter, which nulls the African Slave Trade from the word go. The idea was for Christians who had slaves (most would have been converts) to treat them like family, not property. This didn’t often happen with the Africans.

    TITUS 2:9,10 Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.”

    Funny thing about that chapter. The entire thing is urging the household to behave. From top down. Including, if you have them, any servants/slaves. It’s not saying ‘It’s okay to let the master beat on you.’

    And again, Pauls earlier stance on Slavery was established in 1 Timothy.

    Later, I said:

    -SONFARO:“It’s not just that you mentioned it. You basically questioned why a black man would be a Christian period, which is an awkward and frankly ill-conceived thing to ask for numerous reasons.”

    -DM: “Well, I DO question it. I question why any man who’s descended from people enslaved by people who used their religion to justify their actions adopts the religion of his persecutors.”

    But you’re assuming their interpretation is the correct one. And when someone suggests to you that you may be wrong you kinda close off on ‘em.

    -“I also question why the descendents of those persecutors stick to the religion that justified their actions.”

    Because it doesn’t. Said religion has also done a lot of good for black people. Something that should be obvious to anyone who knows anything about the civil rights movement in America. Your response to that has essentially been ‘but look at all this bad stuff Christians did!’

    Well, yeah. Some people who said they were Christians did a lot of bad things and tried to justify it by taking scripture out of context or twisting the meaning around completely. Wouldn’t the true culprit there be the men themselves though? Or is it now okay to blame ‘Origin of Species’ for Colombine or Atheism for communist Russia or all the other things ‘non-theists’ don’t like Christians blaming them for?

    I was always taught to assign blame to the individual. Weren’t you?

    Oh, and for your ‘number 6’ in your response to KF’s history lesson: most slaves adopted their masters religion (or a version of it) because the masters forced it on them. Doesn’t make the faith any more true or false. Just means a few people who practiced it went about things the wrong way. And, as KF demonstrated (and as history has shown), it certainly helped black folks later didn’t it?

    -SONFARO: “No, but it is sort of ignorant of what was going on at the time. As I’ve already said, Kidnapping for slavery was a huge no-no for the Jewish people, and if we’re supposed to match up their slavery to ours it should still have been a no-no.”

    -DM: Kidnapping ISRAELIS was a big no-no. I never heard of any Israeli slaves in the Americas.”

    Kidnapping ANYONE is a big no-no. Just said that. You’d die for that. Exodus 21:16. You should read the whole thing too, deals with stuff like what should be done to girls whose families sell them. They have to be treated like family to the buyer. Don’t know any family who like being whipped. You?

    -SONFARO: “pro-slavery Christians used the bible to try and justify what they were already doing, they didn’t do because it was in the bible. It’s not like they read it and went, “Hey, look, it says we can steal negros from their homes… let’s do it!” The slave trade was going strong before the more religious slave owners started cherry picking verses and what not.”

    -DM: “Nobody says that the Bible gave people the idea for slavery. It existed from pre-historical times. It’s the fact that the Bible condones slavery and the slaveowners could justify themselves through the Bible that counts and also how well they could do it.”

    It condoned a specific kind of slavery that the African Slave Trade, pardon, ‘evolved’ from that totally went against everything biblical. It did not condone what happened to black people.

    -“They didn’t have to cherry pick or quote mine to do it.”

    Yeah they did. Same way you did.

    -“They had a plethora of verses justifying their behavior in both the Old and New Testaments and their opponents had only general “be nice” verses to oppose them with.”

    Nope. Kidnapping = death, God sees everyone the same, love your neighbor, slave trading & common sense, should have been more than enough to dissuade Christians from the African Slave Trade. Heck, common sense alone should have been more than enough for everyone not to participate.

    -SONFARO: “Kinda how the Nazi’s used Darwin to establish their master race thing (note: I AM NOT EQUATING NAZI’S AND EVOLUTION [Seriously, I’m not. They aren’t the same thing. People should stop equating them]). Hitler hated the jews (and everybody else) long before he got hold of Darwin. He just used it to his advantage.”

    “DM: Contra Weikert, anti-Semitism has about a 2000 year history before Hitler. It started in NT times when proto-Christians were a Jewish sect…[Insert NAZI’S & EVOLUTION explanation + attempt to link Christianity despite missing the point here.]

    Uh… Okay?

    -_-

    My point was Hitler & the Nazi’s picked up something and used it to justify what they were doing, not that they had to believe in it. I used their use of evolution and the beliefs of the time because I figured you’d get the example I was trying to make. They did that for a lot of things. I thought that was pretty common knowledge. I’m sorry if I failed.

    FTR, Hitler was also using pseudo-christian language and experimenting with occult crap and generally was very weird. I’m fairly certain his unofficial official stance was “I’ll believe anything that helps me win the war.”

    Either way, while it’s nice information, it doesn’t really help or hurt my statement I don’t think, unless I’ve gotten the time line mixed up (is that what you’re suggesting? That they established the existence of the master race before pulling in Darwin to justify it? ‘Cause either way, they used Darwin to justify it.)

    Anyway, two more Hitler related things just for gits-and-shiggles:

    1.) I didn’t even know about Weikert before you mentioned him, so thanks for giving me something to look up. ;-)

    2.) From Rationalwiki(whose article on this is HI-LARI-OUS [equating ID to Hitler’s beliefs when ID wasn’t even prominent in the 50’s? HA!]):

    “In fact Hitler’s views on nature seem to be a mixture of the two philosophies (ME: evolution & creationism), and he made some rather muddled statements, confusingly mixing the two concepts.
    [example given here…]
    “…Hitler seems to have believed that humanity, and especially the Aryan race, had evolved to become the likeness of God (rather than being created initially in God’s image), while other races were closer to humanity’s evolutionary ancestors. His comments citing apes or monkeys as the ancestors of humans imply that he believed some creatures had stopped evolving while others evolved on from them. This would account to some extent for his hierarchical conception of higher and lower orders of creatures, and for his belief that some races of humans were more evolved than others.”*

    *Do forgive if I’ve cited incorrectly. I never did understand how to write a paper… :-(

    Anyway, that’s my initial response to your bible-thumbing. Nice workout! It’s been a while since I had to look up those verses, so thanks for that.

    Ciao.

    - Sonfaro

  157. …dang that was long.

    :-(

    - Sonfaro

  158. 158
    CannuckianYankee

    Sonfaro,

    Long yes. Well done though. Your pop taught you well.

    Hitler died in 45 though. :(

  159. @ CannuckianYankee,

    -”Hitler died in 45 though”.

    So the 40s.

    Even more hilarious.

    (To be fair though, RationalWiki is under the impression that ID is creationism in a tux so… wait a minute, how is that fair?)

    ((also… sorry about the WWII slip up. I just got through shaking my head when a vet told a story about being introduced as a war vet from ‘World War Eleven’ and I do this. Sign of the times I guess…))

    -_-

    And thanks! Pop wouldn’t be so thrilled I’m arguing on the internet but hey, at least I haven’t forgotten everything.

    - Sonfaro

  160. 160
    CannuckianYankee

    Sonfaro,

    Well, if he tries to pull you away at any point, just say: “I can’t. There’s an idiot online.”

    (that’s not directed at anyone in particular – just humor, and a quote mine.) ;)

  161. Sonfaro:

    Well done, though I am in general most uncomfortable with prolonged theological debates at UD. There are other fora that can take those up without problems and that is where such should really be carried out. In addition, well above, adequate reference was provided.

    I will give a few footnotes, having had a much more close to home issue to deal with today:

    1: Slavery is, as was repeatedly noted but was ignored again and again in haste to try to score debate points, one of the many results of sin and the hardness of hearts that is regulated in the context of the times in the Bible, as is the more classic example, divorce.

    2: At the same time, a better way is shown, and of course Paul with Onesimus is a classic example, indeed it is the actual prime textual basis on which English Common law ruled that Christians in their jurisdiction could not be held as slaves.

    3: That law was changed under pressure from the slave holding interest once slaves in the West Indies were becoming Christians. And, said interest directly opposed the preaching of the gospel by especially black free dissenter missionaries, starting with George Liele.

    4: that alone is diagnostic on what they really were, if people were ignorant of the history of the Evangelical Awakening under Wesley, Whitefield and co, or the sort of objection and persecution Fox and co endured (they almost killed him with the gaol conditions).

    5: It has been said seriously that the Wesleyan revival in England averted a form of the French Revolution, and it has also been said that the preaching of the gospel by Whitefield in the American Colonies was a key factor in the formation of an American conscisousness and in grounding the American Revolution.

    6: John Newton was indeed a good example in point of what was really going on, and he and Wesley actually counselled Wilberforce, warning him about the horrors he was going to face. I think it was Wesley who told him more or less that every devil in England would be against him so he had better be sure of his calling to end slavery starting with the kidnapping based trade. And, it was the rise of the Evangelical dissenters that tipped the balance in the Parliament in the end. This was of course already pointed out and willfully ignored in the rush to make handy talking points.

    7: Your American debates and text-wrenching games came later, in reaction to the Abolitionist movement, in defence of the economic underpinning of the slave region. A sad lesson on how the gospel can be compromised, and how hard it can be to undo the harm, in your case a civil war. And notice 150 years later, we are still seeing he idea thrown in our faces that the scriptures supported slavery.

    8: I wonder, if people knew the career of the leading revivalist Finney on that, or the many churches that wrote antislavery provisions into their membership covenants, regarding slave holding under the relevant conditions, rooted in kidnapping as close to or outright incompatible with the claim to have eternal life. Half truths, suppression of material evidence and outright fabrications are here being used to make a smear against the scriptures, the gospel and the Christian faith.

    9: When it comes to my homeland, the question cast in my teeth — as a turnabout accusation used as distractor from a key issue in the thread, notice [and one loaded with the notion that someone wants to control my thinking on the colour of my skin . . .] — and still being cast in my teeth after I corrected the underlying falsehoods, is how could I be adopting he religion of the oppressor.

    10: That’s without excuse, at this point where we see willful denial, resistance to and dismissal of well grounded correction; sorry to be direct. I AM FOLLOWING THE RELIGION OF THE LIBERATORS (SOME OF WHOM PAID A TERRIBLE PRICE), AND I AM FOLLOWING IT BECAUSE I HAVE GOOD GROUNDS FOR THINKING IT TRUE AND RIGHT. (Grounds that the atmosphere-poisoning, circumstantial ad hominem rhetoric above, are being used to distract us from. And, I am refraining myself from using some accurate but very unpalatable words here.)

    11: When it comes to Hitler, what you are not hearing is that there was a Social Darwinism rooted, semi-mystical myth based on the evolutionary view of man, that the Aryan race was the former advanced race that led the advance of humanity, that needed to be recovered from its remnants (of which the Germans of course were a major part).

    12: That backdrop explains a lot of the mixed trends of thought in Hitler. I have already given a key excerpt from Mein Kampf that makes the pattern of thought clear, and pointed to its roots in Darwin’s Descent of Man Chs 5 – 7; which can be Googled and read.

    13: And, you are right to be suspicious of claims Hitler was Christian in any sense worth knowing — as opposed to playing at counterfeit games, as the Barmen declarants made clear in 1934 in the teeth of his invention of the German Christian heresy that tried to subvert the gospel. Yet another place where half truths and outright false talking points are twisting the truth into pretzels; to try to discredit the gospel and the Christian faith.

    14: And, that is how much it takes to bring us back to the specific point that this distractor was put on the table to lead us away from by poisoning the atmosphere, the inherent amorality of evolutionary materialism. Let me put Hawthorne’s remark back on the table, so we will not forget:

    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’.

    15: Evolutionary materialism reduces all to matter and energy interacting under chance and necessity in space and time. There is nothing in these that has the strength to bear the weight of ought.

    16: Only a worldview founded on the Good Creator has in it an is powerful enough to ground ought, and yet, our very heart’s cry that we have rights — a moral demand on others that they respect us in light of our fundamental dignity — is strong testimony that ought is real, not a mere figment of imagination or the result of fickle accidents of opinion in communities.

    17: I can therefore assure you that without something that could bear the weight of ought, there would have been no successful movement to break slavery through the power of the cry that men have a right to liberty. So, we had better heed the cry of the 100 million ghosts from the secularist and neopagan evolutionism driven regimes over the past 100 years — whether or not that little lesson of the recent past is palatable to today’s evolutionary materialists.

    18: Going on, event his is tangential, the key issue in teh blog is inteh original post, where we see from PZM a grim example of the sort of abusive, poisonous incivility that so many leading evolutionary materialism advocates are pushing, something that is particularly pointed for me today, given the unspeakable invasion of my family that was perpetrated through the same arrogant disregard for the dignity of others (and spouting the incendiary, and utterly unexcusably slanderous talking point that to raise a child in a Christian home is “child abuse”), over the past few days. Let me just say that I find it ironic that the one who is so concerned for that “abuse” promptly proceeds to try to violate the privacy of a family, including that of minor children. Shameless!

    19: So, let us observe, from PZM, lest we forget:

    PZM: Atheists tend to be politically liberal, fairly tolerant. [ --> deny, deny, deny . . . ] The tolerance part is that there’s no question that nobody is going to deport creationists. Nobody is going to shut down the churches. Nobody is going to do anything like that. [ --> And, what does the bloody history of the past century at the hands of atheistical regimes tell us on this?] What we want to do is put things in a proper perspective. If you want to believe that in the privacy of your home, if you want to get together in church and talk to people about this, yes, that’s perfectly reasonable. [--> translated, we will censor the public square and the culture's sense of what knowledge is on a priori evolutionary materialism as we have institutional power to do and if you object to the imposition of ideological censorship on origins science, we will come down on you like a ton of bricks, even threatening to hold your children hostage, on the excuse that you can have your little fantasies in quiet and that's "freedom" enough for you; don't you dare expose our censorship of science and science education] That’s the tolerance we’ll give them.

    There are some of the people in the intelligent design movement who are incredibly nasty, awful, and misrepresent science [--> translation: they are exposing the use of misleading icons of evolution to indoctrinate the public and school children, starting with Haeckel's frauds, cf the Google Books result here] in ways that I cannot forgive. This is not about demonizing the individuals. [--> the bland denial of what one is about to do . . .]

    I have to single out this man [--> in context, plainly Jonathan Wells], whom I consider the most contemptable, despicable, cruel, and vicious evil liar in the creationist movement today, yes, he’s a nasty, nasty person. ([editorial comment, OP:] PZ has never met or talked with this ID proponent.)

    GEM of TKI

  162. Thanks KF.

    Not big on long winded Theological defenses on UD either, but what can you do? I wish there was a sub-forum for that kind of thing: “Uncommon Descent – theological implications” or something. Something to keep the main page from getting cluttered with Judeao-Christian apologetics.

    - Sonfaro

  163. Sonfaro:

    That would be used to feed straight into the “Creationism in a cheap tuxedo” caricature.

    These folks think they have a pretty good thing going, if you reply they drumbeat their deceptive talking points and smears, also being able to say: see creationism in a cheap tuxedo.

    If you ignore it, they indulge int he nastiest forms of atmosphere poisoning.

    If you point out the tactics, they try to turn it about as though you are to blame for their wrong doing.

    If you correct and point to where serious discussions can be entertained, they ignore it and go back to their drumbeat talking points.

    I have drawn the conclusion we are going to have to stand hard and take the fight on this hill. Of course, as you saw today, they then try to bust your career, violate your privacy and even threaten your family.

    But eventually, a critical mass of the public is going to realise that his is a menace to civil society that has to be stopped.

    And right now, you had better believe I am going to push back hard on this threat to my family.

    People who threaten innocent children and wives like that would do anything they think they can get away with.

    Exactly as Plato warned against 2,350 years ago.

    This has happened before, over and over again.

    Let’s just put it this way: you attack me, I will take it very differently than if you attack those I am sworn or duty-bound to protect.

    Bydand

    GEM of TKI

  164. Somebody out there on the other side should have enough sense out there to know that you don’t cross a nuke tripwire line.

    They just did.

Leave a Reply