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Jun 10 2012

Open thread on AETV 765

Tonight on the show, Don talked with Russell about the failure of Christian morality, then we immediately followed it up with a caller claiming that only Christians can have real morality.  Follow it up with a guy advocating learning about the spiritual realm through the use of psychedelic drugs, and it was a fairly interesting evening.

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  1. 1
    joshburkhart

    Interesting is one way of putting it. What worries me is when the first caller brought up the subject of torturing babies. Not torture in general, but specifically babies. It’s more than a little unnerving to wonder what his thought processes were behind bringing that up.

    1. 1.1
      Russell Glasser

      Well, I want to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that the reason he picked “torturing babies” as an example is because it is something that, generally speaking, is understood to be beyond the moral event horizon. I can understand using it as a clear cut example, and I don’t think it means that he actually thinks about torturing babies because he’s interested in the activity.

      1. articulett

        It’s the “for fun” thing that is bizarre. I would think that anyone who would think it was fun to torture babies is a sociopath. This implies that there are some number of people out there who would find torture of babies “fun”.

        1. Cafeeine

          I’m not sure this guy actually mentioned the ‘for fun’ bit. The reason its in there is to avoid a response like “Well, if a deranged terrorist is making you torture a baby or else he will kill millions…”

          Just like the use of ‘torture’ and ‘baby’, these are words that carry a moral impetus. Torture is conscious and willful harm, while a baby represents quintessential innocence. The choice of the particular example (and not for example “is it always good to obey god, even if He orders you to torture babies?”) is a marker of reasoned moral considerations and not an absolute dictum morality.

          1. Joe

            He didn’t repeat it, but the first time, yes he did say “…for fun”.

      2. David

        Damn you for linking to TV Tropes. I was hoping to get at least SOMETHING done today.

        1. N. Nescio

          There really ought to be some kind of TV Tropes warning.

      3. Foxy Freedom

        Other species have different moralities. When a male lion wins a female from another male, the first thing he will do is kill the baby lion cubs of the previous male.

        Humans don’t always act according to their own evolution or “absolute” innate human morality. The situation where you grow up is usually more important in practice. The Christian kings of Europe regularly slaughtered all their relatives, young and old, to eliminate the competition, like lions more than humans.

        You guys on the atheist experience have used several items from our free online book during the last few weeks. I guess that someone on your team has been reading it and talking about it. Your statement this week that Hitler was a Christian and will go to heaven but Gandhi was not a Christian and will not go to heaven is a quote from our book. You should mention the title of the book on a blog or on the TV program so that other people can read it. The title of the book is “the danger of Christianity to democracy freedom and science”. It is commissioned by pop group Foxy Freedom for free distribution. Anyone can copy it or paste it anywhere on the internet free.

        1. Jasper of Maine

          The analysis of Christian doctrine applying to Hitler is not a new one. It’s actually a “duh” point.

          It’s kind of arrogant to assume that because you came up with something obvious that others have, that therefore if anyone uses that same argument, they got it from you.

    2. 1.2
      Cafeeine

      “would you ever torture a baby for fun?” is a staple in discussions on absolute morality. My usual response is that any example that has several qualifiers in it like this one cannot be used to make the case for an absolute morality.

      I do love his excuse not to give an answer to the question.

    3. 1.3
      Ing

      I suggest countering by asking them that if there were a situation where they would have to torture a baby or let 1,000,000 people be killed horribly if torturing the baby would be moral.

    4. 1.4
      Tomasz R.

      One person might be against torturing babies for fun, because he thinks having fun is evil, and we should be living an ascetic life without pleasures. Another person can be against torturing babies for fun because it’s a waste of money – as one may try to sell a baby on a slave market or for medical experiments/organs but only if the baby is undamaged.

      So even if people agree torturing babies for fun is bad this may not stem from the same reason. Thus this example is not a good way to show that there’s some single universal source of morality.

  2. 2
    moresco

    Wow man, Jordan made me laugh. like, the world just opens up for me maaaan, we’re all one maaan! it’s such a beautiful thing!

    But seriously I almost died when he goes that he only does it every now and then, it’s not a problem. And then he justifies by saying that shrooms come from the earth, so it’s like, made for us maaaan! I sincerely hope that these otherworldly experiences don’t fry his brain completely too soon.

  3. 3
    SmartLX

    Torturing babies is a commonly used example of something which appears to some to be absolutely wrong, so it turns up all the damn time when someone wants to establish absolute morality.

    Meanwhile, what’s up with the splintered UStream upload? Kind of a pain to watch, especially when some of the parts are shorter than the maximum length a longer clip can go without an ad.

    1. 3.1
      Martin Wagner

      We really really hate UStream.

      1. Mandrellian

        Yep, bollocks to Ustream! I just grabbed the mp3 of the show later and played it on my stereo – it was pretty much the same as watching the show because I know what you guys look like and what your facial expressions are likely to be in response to certain questions :)

      2. annabucci

        Why don’t you guys use youtube to stream?

    2. 3.2
      moresco

      I think the stream was messed up this week, which is why it is split. Unfortunately, I couldn’t even watch it live this week because it would cut out every couple seconds. Ustream sucks.

      1. Cephus

        The problem is, it wasn’t just UStream, I tried to switch over to the Channel Austin stream and it was just as bad. I finally gave up and just listened to the audio version this evening.

  4. 4
    articulett

    I wish they’d ask that “torturing babies” guy if he thought torturing babies was objectively wrong– because his god sure doesn’t. There’s the passages about ripping babies from wombs and dashing little ones against the rocks. And lets not forget god’s circumcision demands of infants. Oh, and there’s the flood that drowned every baby on the planet for being the imperfect beings their god knew they’d be! And let’s not forget the Eternal damnation for unbaptized babies or babies that grow up to be gay or not believing in the right unbelievable story.

    Also, I wonder how theists possibly know that pedophilia is wrong since their god appears to be all for it: Numbers 31: 17, 18 “Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man”. Pedophilia is akin to torture in my book.(Why would a moral god even allow any adult to be attracted to children ever anyhow? If he can make it so humans can’t fly– why not make them so they can’t have sexual proclivities that displease him?)

    So what IS this objective morality each Christian imagines they’ve accessed and why don’t they agree? Is lesbianism okay? How about men thinking of lesbians while they are masturbating? Is this more or less moral then men thinking of men while doing the same? How does one determine this “objective morality” and choose the lesser evil? Does “objective morallity” involve slavery being wrong? If so, how come Jesus-god didn’t seem to know?

    And what are we to make of MRI studies that show that everyone pretty much thinks that god thinks like they do? http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2009/11/30/creating-god-in-ones-own-image/

    How do Christians access this “objective morality” when it comes to issues their god never mentions– do they just go with what “feels right”? What if it conflicts with stuff that “feels right” to some other Christians? What about that passage “thou shall not suffer a witch to live?” Does that make killing people you think might be witches “moral”? If god says it, is it automatically moral? What about if people just THINK god said it?

    If humans had evolved to enjoy torturing babies… I don’t think they’d have survived very long as a species. This goes for other species too. The caller must not understand evolution at all. Suppose dogs got a thrill out of torturing puppies– how long would dogs last as a species? We don’t need any gods to feel protective towards babies. Most of us get a thrill out of seeing them laugh and would feel revulsion over anyone torturing a baby– even someone named “god”.

    I think the argument theist’s are trying to make is: “Everyone knows that torturing babies is wrong; therefore Jesus!” But the god of the bible does not seem to know that torturing babies is wrong– even though most mammals do despite having no souls nor gods. Moreover, most theists don’t seem to have any idea as to what they mean by “objective morality”– it’s a vague term they use to try to convince themselves that there is a rational reason to believe in god.

    I think the real reason theists believe is because they’ve been told that god will torture them forever if they don’t (which is not a moral god in my book), but that doesn’t sound like a noble or rational reason to believe– Craig’s morality argument sounds much more “reasonable” to the faith-addled person. Didn’t Matt think this was a good argument as a theist?

    Next time the “objective morality” thing comes up– ask the theist to define exactly what he means by that term. Torturing babies is wrong according to whom? And if god is the giver of morality, why would he even make the torture of babies possible– much less advocate torture of those babies on multiple occasions? If it was so wrong you’d have think he’d have made a commandment against it instead of that vague command about “keeping the Sabbath day holy”.

    1. 4.1
      Cafeeine

      They tried to ask him, but he wasn’t biting.

      1. mentaljewelry

        Right. He just wanted to “win” the point, which doesn’t get us anywhere. But it was entertaining. :-)

  5. 5
    Muzz

    Wow, Ustream is borked this week. The show is in 11 pieces and only adds up to about 47 minutes. Good the audio goes up nice and quick though.

    1. 5.1
      bananafish

      The fan stream on Youtube theatheistexperience has a full clip. I don’t know if the blog promotes/endorses him but he had the full ep.

  6. 6
    geru

    Morality is basically a meme just as any thought we can summarize and describe in some way, right? Why should it be placed in some special category outside the realm of any other trivial meme then?

    If I understood correctly the caller was implying that if morality exists even if every moral human being disappeared, this proves that morality comes from a supernatural source. So how about Spiderman, if all evidence of them that exists in the universe was wiped out, would that mean that the existence of the immaterial concept of Spiderman proves there is a God? Does our concept of Spiderman come from God?

    Btw, gotta love the “Gotcha!” approach this guy has with asking questions: ask a leading question, deny the validity of the answer you’re given, declare yourself the winner of the discussion. Success!

  7. 7
    Erba

    I know that the show isn’t the “Matt Dillahunty Experience” and definitely shouldn’t be but when he’s not around some of the calls get really frustrating. When Mike wouldn’t answer Russell’s question about what would happen if god said torturing babies is good and deflected it by referring to Atheist Experience as a question and answer show, I think the hosts should really have hammered on the point that it isn’t a question and answer show where people just call to get their questions answered. It’s about dialogue with the callers in my opinion.

    This isn’t really constructive criticism because it’s not like the other hosts could decide to change their personality and be more assertive (not sure if that’s the word I’m looking for) with the callers. It’s probably about experience and Matt has more experience than other hosts since he’s on the show more often. I still like the show even with other hosts but like I said it can get frustrating to listen to.

    By the way, Jordan wasn’t completely off with his psychedelics influenced stuff. The effects of magic mushrooms were studied in 2006 and they found that after the initial psychedelic effects of the mushrooms, their after effects, which reduce depression and anxiety and also increased emotional well-being, can last months.

    1. 7.1
      DanTheMilkMan

      I think Matt or Tracy would have ripped him open like a soft shell peanut. But Russell was doing pretty good with his “but not everybody agrees in your scenario, the babies have a problem with it.” He finally let it drop for the discussion to continue, but it turned out the douche nozzle wasn’t interested in discussion. And for a question he found soooo predictable, he sure didn’t have an answer ready that he wasn’t ashamed to share with the public.

      I think when he tossed off his “fine, christianity is the worst thing ever” comment, I would have just said since you’re an atheist, you already know the answer, and release the call.

      1. cafeeineaddicted

        I disagree. He did have an answer ready:
        “Look! over there! a Squirrel!”
        *smoke bomb*
        *run away!*

        …or words to that effect.

  8. 8
    jdon

    Wow, Joe Rogan called in to talk about all he’s learned from mushies!

    1. 8.1
      Max Entropy

      Have you seen this “documentary”? http://www.hulu.com/watch/352717

      1. Tomasz R

        Apparently there are also guys who have “god” experiences without using entheogenic substances, or without suffering from temporal lobe epilepsy. Seem to be a healthier option.

        “Dancing With The Gods”

        http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/dancing.html

  9. 9
    Jasper of Maine

    I think torturing babies for fun is always wrong. But, I don’t think it’s absolute moral law.

    The reason I think it’s always wrong is because my morality is based on harm/benefit, and torturing babies will always be harmful.

    Another intelligent species might not have that basis for morality, and they might not believe it’s wrong to torture babies.

    Since there would be a species that doesn’t think that, it’s not absolute moral law, because there are places where it doesn’t apply.

    They try to establish it as “absolute law” kind of like gravity. It wouldn’t be absolute if gravity existed here on Earth but not on Venus.

    1. 9.1
      Jasper of Maine

      Hell, all we need to do is find a sociopath and the concept of absolute moral law flies out the window.

    2. 9.2
      OzKrenske

      Babies and Morality.

      The concept of being nice to babies is a pure biological issue that causes the development of the moral belief. I know I am stating this as an absolute and very soon someone will tell me I’m wrong. But it is nearly always the case that the fewer the children the greater the care given by the preceding generation.

      Women have (given no contraceptives or medical assistance) about 5-7 children in their lifetime (pure averages here, historical replacement factor of 2 is generally found to exist). They are a lot of effort and everything about assisting their survival is considered good and anything harmful considered bad at a survival level. There are many mammals that have this level of breeding some even less and they see an even greater objection to harm. Elephants will drive off and have even been known to injure/kill aggressive males rather than have them around to harm elephant calves. Some Elephant herds will allow very passive males ( under hormoned near neuters ) to remain. It is a near absolute rule that smaller numbers result in greater care and concern for offspring.

      The opposite is also true as greater numbers are born/hatched/spawned the care levels drop. To the point of abandonment and even active predation on juveniles of the same species.

      It is at this point that we could start playing word games with our moral definitions. In science fiction we have seen many cases where social structures have been positted around violence in the case of species with high reproductive rates. The greatest would appear to be Neil Ashers ‘Prador’ a species that appears to literally drop 100 infantile children a day, involuntarily. Eventually through massive death rates and predation by elders and parents a small set of ‘children’ sub adults become the next generation. A massive biological experiment to find the most effective, nastiest, intelligent and luckiest to become the next generation. Makes for bad enemies in fiction. It is only at this level that humans can sort of morally accept a deliberate destruction of children as not wrong, and even then they still think it is bad due to a moralistic carry over.

      Another point that is easy to point out is that the moral is very speciest/racist/nationalist/tribalist, in that it is only with greater outlook that the moral seems to apply to others. When people were tribal the moral only appeared to apply in tribe. As social structures grew the moral slowly expanded. Once nations formed you could kill/torture only other nations. Once whole civilisation interlinks grew it became wrong to harm children in the same cultural group. (note that europeans were in this level when they bumped into central americans still doing interkingdom/nation sacrifice. The europeans were Ok with intercultural massacres but horrified by the apparent intra cultural killing.) The world has now effectively gone single race outlook on the issue. Personally I believe Humanity probably wiped out Neanderthals not because they were another species but because at that point in prehistory we were still wiping out other tribes and clans of people who were part of our same cultural group. It will be interesting if humanity elevates another species, develops AI’s or bumps into other sentiences how rapidly we mannage to extend the moral envelope or don’t manage to at all.

      Back to fiction. A lot of Sci Fi resolves around clash of moral structures in the genre. Thus we see lots of mass reproduction insect/reptile like violent alien cultures meet the moral humans. Alternatively we see Human like, high moral races who have a (religious or internal cultural meme) value system that excludes Humans from their moral structure, having conflict. We even have examples when many similarly moral races join together, for example Star Trek’s ‘Federation’, Star Wars’s ‘Republic’.

      There are even people today who extend their Moral dislike for Child harm to non sentient species. There are groups that are anti Veal, anti Lamb, anti seal cub killing who care far less about the species elders dieing for the exact same purposes. I even admit to being slightly that way in that I won’t buy or eat such foods but I won’t go raiding the production facilities or standing in the road to stop it.

      It is certainly an interesting idea to think about and the closest to a conclusion I can have is that the idea of child harm being morally wrong is a biologically and then culturally driven universal idea that could be different given biological or cultural differences. Certainly not a religiously defined absolute, as it is countered almost continuously in the same religious works, that proclaim death and massacre against non members or by their deity on apparent whim’s against people even in the same groups.

  10. 10
    rrpostal

    The “I don’t have to answer questions” guy was such a tool. His excuse was he wasn’t the host of a “question and answer show”. But he was, in fact, a caller on such a show. Then he equated any questions you would ask of him as “being grilled”. If people can not support their claims, this does not mean they are being “grilled”. I hate apologetics that treat discussions as a way to “trick” people or assume that is what others are trying to do to them. If you bring out that someone is believing things for poor reasons, it does not mean they are being “tricked”. This type of thinking leads to shock of god type questions.

    And the final thing about that first caller was that he insisted he was being “polite”. I thought he was being condescending and insufferable. In modern conversations why do people think if you fail to call someone a prick outright it is considered polite? He was upset that you wanted to give a more meaningful answer than “no” and was insulting about it. That is not polite.

    As for the drug guy- Would heroin be justified because of it’s stress relieving qualities and general sense of well being it achieves? It does come from “natural” poppies. I think there’s a good argument that it’s my body, but where his argument derailed was when he attempted to explain the non physical elements. He couldn’t even construct a decent sentence concerning his supposed revelation, much less attempt to quantify it. My favorite quote was “you can’t say that it isn’t there for a reason” (concerning the fact that ‘shrooms are just right there in the manure).

    1. 10.1
      Mandrellian

      Good point! Quite a lot of internet theists I’ve encountered never fail to to take the moral high ground and declare themselves victorious because they’ve not used cuss-words or insults during the conversation – never mind that they’re usually copping the sailor-talk because they’ve been any one or a combination of smug, ignorant, arrogant, condescending, dismissive, plain irritating or have just ignored or talked over every single response to their theopologetic assertions/questions/gotchas. This guy was a piece of work, with his “I didn’t call up to get grilled” though – TAE isn’t a “Ask a question, get an answer, repeat” show, it’s a TALK show where Q&A goes both ways. But apparently not if you’re on Team Jesus!

    2. 10.2
      Sonorus

      In my experience, it’s common for religious fundamentalists and certain kinds of political conservatives to act as if they get to frame the debate and only answer questions they want to answer while pinning whoever they are talking to into a corner.

      My answer to the question is that I can’t think of a situation in which torturing babies is a moral action. If your argument depends on examples from the most ridiculous extremes, then it’s obviously a weak one. I don’t believe in moral absolutes because there are too many situations that call for an exception. There are too many situations where people have had to choose between bad and worse. Absolutes fail to take the real world into account. That kind of argument is best left behind after those Freshman year late night bull sessions. After that it (at least in my opinion) shows a lack of intellectual and moral maturity.

      1. Jonathan

        I realize that my explanation wasn’t easy for many of you to grasp, or take seriously. Well, I’ll admit that it’s not easy to explain my understanding online like this. I’ll try to make it plain and simple this time. Also, I’ve read many responses and noticed what confuses you, trying to respond in here takes more time than expected, i didn’t expect so many responses so quickly. I don’t really care to respond over the web if ppl don’t care but i can tell that you care, so i’ll do my best to respond this time to each one, if you don’t have a new response to these expanded ideas then i will assume you didn’t read it and then i will simply respond to your prior responses by directing you to this one.

        Many of you understand human life to have evolved over a long period. You base this on research that was done from as early as 100 BC perhaps. I’m not concerned with anything that we humans have observed as a platform for answering moral questions. Science is a great tool, the scientific method has helped us create many useful tools that help us in this life, but, the theories based on observations of the natural world that attempt to define human morals are not reliable. I’m fully convinced that we’re missing out on the most important component we need to form completely reliable definitions of what’s right/wrong.

        Before say 100 BC and before man could record his observations was a being that was not as evolved (a simple organism perhaps? honestly we just make educated guesses at this too). Proceeding this being was another entity of some type that allowed the not so evolved being to exist. It doesn’t matter if you understand it to be “something from nothing” or “some undiscovered phenomenon” you can agree in either case that there was some “thing” that caused the “being” to first exist before it started to evolve. What was it? Whatever this “thing” was that caused the being, how did it cause the being?? Did it give the being a brain to be used for a certain purpose up to a certain point and then for different purposes further along it’s evolution? The problem is that science can’t reach these facts, because no scientist has a time machine, honestly scientist don’t know where to start, they need a miracle, they need this “thing” that caused the first “being” to fall in their lap so they can understand (even if it did they may not understand it). Not one person can decide that the first “being” or “beings” were not caused for a reason, or caused so that they may function in a certain way, there’s nothing to study to prove this inaccurate.

        Today we draw on scientific theories that have done nothing but observe life in it’s current state, and that’s fine, but, the results are not capable by any means of determining what’s right/wrong. The only way we can find results that can help us morally is if we seek the source… and… we aren’t the source, but we’re making ourselves the source, as if we came into existence to define our own purpose! Purpose is not considered by the scientific community, purpose in this sense is a philosophical pursuit. Why did the a “thing” of some sort cause any “being” to exist in the first place? Did the “thing” have intelligence? Was the “thing” just a process that randomly happened free of purpose? If we don’t find purpose then why do we even live? Or are we completely convinced that we exist to define our own purposes and define why we live? How do we know we can trust our own human-made world views to lead us to the best conclusions concerning morality? Is there another option? Do we sanely look consider the options? Or do we insanely do the same thing over and over despite the possibilities?

        The crazy thing is that we have the audacity, even though we don’t know if this “thing” that caused our first forms to exist had an intention or not, we are willing to define our own purpose. Is it then ok to not trust science for answers like this? YES, it’s actually logical, because science fails miserably without a time machine to find an answer to the ‘purpose or no purpose question.’ If the first being came into existence with a purpose, then the root of that purpose defines their existence and the way they should manage their existence. The root of that purpose defines what we “call” morals today, such a purpose helps us understand in any situation what is right/wrong to do. In the case of morals now we can decide that human life should exist without purpose and that instead humans should all define their own purposes and not base their morality on any sort of intended purpose.

        The BIG deal here is that “birth” is not a function of life that we ourselves added! The “thing” that caused the first “being” to exist that you believe evolved into a human “being” IS was added “birth” to the equation, the “thing” created an organism as we understand it that was capable of evolving and reproducing, why did the “thing” want “birth” to be a function of life? WE WILL NEVER KNOW, and this is where certainty as I love to call it helps us decide if things like abortion are right/wrong.

        Birth is not a function that we added to life when it originated, we actually had nothing to do with it. It doesn’t matter if we alter embryo’s and do these things, we’re still tampering with a function that was added and not added by us. In this case we have to decide, is “birth” a function of life for a reason? Is there a purpose for child birth? What is that purpose? Well we can see by taking a simple look at it that child birth is a natural part of life, sex can result in child birth, sex also being a function of human life that we didn’t add. So if sex and child birth aren’t our additions, then can we really be sure when we define them ourselves that we’re creating perfect definitions? NOPE, but why do we need to know what the purposes of sex and child birth are? Isn’t it obvious that sex is simply for sharing intimacy with another being and child birth is obviously good because you’re following through after sex and wanting to create another life on earth to enjoy? Well, I just defined the purpose of sex and child birth. This is something that science can’t do.

        Something else science can’t do: Define morals. Scientific research can tell us how morals have changed over time, sure, research can tell us lots about how moralities differ from each other, but you seriously think i’m going to follow some human-made scientific process to help me choose right/wrong? No, scientific processes today can’t define how to choose right/wrong because of the nature of things. There is no way to see if there was an intended purpose for sex and child birth, or a specific way that such functions are supposed to be managed. Scientists think that it’s all up to them to define to the world how to manage your sex life and your decision to deliver a child or not, it’s not all up to a scientist, it doesn’t have to be, I found an ancient text that shares with me how to manage my life on earth, and it’s not written by a scientist. I can answer any question with what it teaches me because it also defines purpose to an extent that allows me to see clearly what’s right/wrong. In addition to this the text is believed to be inspired by the “thing” or source of life when it first existed.

        Science can’t make any 100% reliable claim about “beings” when they first existed, because scientist don’t have time machines. Therefore, scientists shouldn’t expect their definitions to be completely trusted as the only guidelines for managing morals. Does it really make sense given the things we know for certain to tell another human how to manage their ability to choose right from wrong? In the case of an abortion which includes the elements of sex and birth it’s not right to tell a woman to abort her baby, unless, you’re the one who purposed birth in the first place, another-words, if you’re the “thing” that added the function of birth and sex to evolution then yes, please tell the woman if she should abort her baby or not because if you added the functions of sex and birth to life then you definitely know what they were originally intended for and how we should manage such functions, otherwise, you’re just relying on your human ideology at the time to be good enough to give advice to the pregnant woman that she can really trust. At the end of the day, the pregnant woman wants to really know that she’s making the right decision. That’s all she wants to know, unfortunately many women think they have nothing more to rely on than humans that seem smart and are giving her advice.

        There is however a life management guide called the New Testament that not only gives her a clear answer but also helps her see why it’s the answer and helps her see to an extent how to manage her sex life and her child baring life. In addition to this, the text suggests that it’s from the source of life itself, it suggests that what’s written to the reader(a pregnant woman) is inspired by the readers (her) source.

        I really don’t see why we need science to dive into morals at all. Morals are best understood by seeking the source, many people are immoral, they justify things like rape and having sex with little children as right. In EVERY case when those who follow these immoral ways are confronted they have something that has caused them to fall into the immoral ways, some other instance has got them knee deep in immorality thinking it’s right and fine. This correlates topically with what I call the “atheists problem,” where EVERY atheist has something that has them adopting a Godless world-view, but no matter what it is, it’s never something that the atheist properly questions.. anyways that’s a different topic..

        So, lets just say we can be certain that everyone that has replied in this topic is not a rapist or a human trafficker. If this is true, then from what I’ve already mentioned there is certainly some human out there who is at this very moment a rapist or human trafficker or maybe both. In between us and them is morality. The ability to choose what’s right to do in life. Scientific studies simply show us the most likely results before they happen, like if a woman is raped then she will likely deal with such and such, etc. Scientific studies don’t belong in between us and those who’re immoral, what does belong is purpose. If purpose rained down on all parties, us and the immoral then we’d both better understand how to manage our sex lives, lets say the management guidelines from the New Testament rained down on us both. In such a case you would see both parties cherish sex as an intimacy shared by a man and woman who’ve been bonded together by a covenant. The immoral person would realize that the act of rape doesn’t agree with the intended purpose for sex, the human trafficker who sells kids to sex houses for example would understand that sex was not intended to be managed the way it is managed in a sex house.

        Now do you think the manager of the sex house has any problem with what they do? Maybe, or maybe not. But science is not going to help the manager of a sex house make a decision. A text that explains how to manage life will help the sex house manager. In the same way, the New Testament has and still does help the child baring woman find reason, and not just trust another human ideology, but trust a deeper meaning and greater purpose for her life than “life randomly started with no purpose.”

        Science doesn’t attempt to preach to us what life’s purpose is or whether life has a purpose, but, because science doesn’t explain this it can’t be trusted as the best source for this information. The New Testament does preach this quite plainly and pretty well in some areas, it helps us understand “why.”

        So, I’m open to philosophical objections, but I’m not open to rants about evolution, I personally don’t accept evolution(chimpanzee evolving into homo sapien) at.. all… because we humans have a measly amount of evidence for what happened prior to 100BC, and whether I trust what’s been found or not I’ve found that believing that humans evolved doesn’t help me at all in life because I’m not pursuing a vocation where I need to know it. I mean, “humans evolved from chimpanzees” .. ok, what’s next? It’s a new day, how does this information help me? Are scientists studying current chimpanzees and from this studying coming up with all these great things that are helping me live my life? No. What do you get from studying how one being changed into another? I think you get non-sense, because since as far back as the first bit of written history we have we’ve been human! If we were less advanced humans who wrote down less advanced things, then great, maybe those things can help us, but here we are today and I don’t see evolution or any form of scientific study helping me decide whether or not I should have sex before I get married. I need something personal to my being to tell me that, something that understands me better than I understand myself, Something non-human that knows life like the back of it’s hand.. not a thermo table in the back of a text book..

        Science is observation, observing something afterwards, you dig up something but you observe it in it’s afterwards-state, you start a reaction and study what happens afterwards. Life is afterwards, the “thing” that caused the first living organism to exist did what? It caused it. That means the “thing” that caused our earliest known living state in the evolution chain did something when it caused us. Did it decide there was purpose for life?

        Today we wonder what purpose is, we buy lots of books that we think will help us figure out what our purpose is in this life, we wonder, a lot, actually, we wonder so much that we become enslaved by wondering to the point that we get tired of wondering and want to just see numbers so we can “feel” more comfortable about our existence. I was at this point, I REALLY wanted to know what life was for, I found life to be about nothing but impressing others and struggling to do so and I felt that if that was it then I’d rather just die young, Then.. I tried to figure out what the atheists were saying, I stopped wondering about life and what it really and truly was and just let scientific reports make me comfortable.. but I didn’t want to stay comfortable because I felt deep within my being that I was existing for the wrong reason, I felt there was more to it then feeling comfortable with my statistics and human knowledge and using them to define my own purpose on earth, I couldn’t grasp purpose with human-made ideologies, I got tired after trying to grasp purpose and not feeling like the results were adequate enough, after wanting more answers, I wondered could there be more answers on the other end of the spectrum?

        The God-side of the spectrum, the side where human reasoning SHRINKS and wonder takes over completely in order to find some special ending? So I was so determined that I set out to seek spiritual things, I wanted to just see and make sure I was doing enough.. before I even got off to a good start my best friend who I had known since we were 7 y/o (i’m now 27) told me he found the God Jesus and was going to follow Jesus’ ways. He simply gave me a Holy Bible and told me to focus on the New Testament and let it define the Old Testament. I decided I would put the supposed ‘truth of God’ in this supposed ‘Holy’ book to the test so I started doing exactly what it said, repenting, praying, etc. etc. Jesus stuff.

        At first I didn’t notice much, but before I knew it really intense things began to happen just like I had read and still read in the New Testament, I would pray in as similar a fashion as I could understand from studying the New Testament for people to be healed and God would heal them when I called on Him in Jesus’ name. I asked for the same things to fill up my being that I read about and they filled me up, so much that my appearance changed and my personality too to the extent that people noticed I was different. I didn’t completely understand it, they’re still lots of gray areas, not as many as 8 years ago when I started this spiritual pursuit, but there have been unmistakably real occurrences backed by non-Christian witnesses and ambulance records etc. that God is there and responding to me. I never thought any of it was possible, but I gave my life to it and it returned BIG time.

        If I went to court to prove the things that God has done to heal people when I’ve called on Him to, there would be ample evidence to show it really happened. I mean I watched it with my own eyes as a sober human being and that should be plenty enough, but there is legit evidence in other forms as well. Once I put the truth of God to the test and realized that the results weren’t phony but that they lined up with what I had read, I wanted MORE, I wanted to see how much I could experience.

        Sure enough I got to occurrences that were even more miraculous in some ways than others, like when I prayed in a whispering voice for a lady that was 30 ft away and later she told me what she heard in her head while she was hyperventilating and it was verbatim what I had prayed, then someone near her at the time tells me that this woman said she heard someone praying and asked, “who is that praying?” The woman didn’t know I was 30 ft away or that I was aware of what was happening and was praying in a whispering voice for the situation. Then the lady quickly recovered overnight and didn’t even need any medical treatment though she had passed out.

        I mean, if you really think that science can disprove the personal things that happen in the lives of humans that can barely be explained by humans then think again. We are complex beings that can’t be fully understood…

        Today I’m pretty certain of my morals, and I also know that if I’m in a complicated situation that I will know how to make the right choice. And all this has nothing to do with science, honestly I haven’t looked to science in the past 8 years for any answers and I’ve had a great life and helped lots of people and have really flourished. I respect science, I am a dual major in college, senior in mechanical engineering and sophomore in environmental science. I don’t expect science to ever have any answers for me morally, I’ve found my answers from the “thing” that caused the first form of my being to exist long ago. And for me that “thing” is a Divine Being I call Jesus.

        I also now accept as of 8 years ago that seeking purpose as a means to managing your morality is a better method than seeking a scientific approach to morality. I’ve found that when life’s purpose is defined it in-turn defines my morality to enough of an extent that I can make a right choice. I see science failing miserably to explain life’s purpose whereas for example I see the New Testament succeeding greatly, not completely, just greatly.

        1. mike

          @Jonathan

          You’re an idiot. We have no reliable data prior to 100 BC[sic]? Which by definition would mean you also have no data so therefore can’t draw any conclusions, but, wow… go read a book. Preferably a book either than the bible. Too ignorant to argue with

        2. Gwynnyd

          Wha….? Nothing is knowable before 100 BC? Most of the Old Testament was written down before 100 BC – so… you disavow YOUR OWN sacred texts? You admit you know that all that Genesis and Flood and Abraham and Exodus stuff is total bunkum. You’ve got the completely wrong reasons, but you should agree on the outcome. Everything about morality in the Old Testament can be completely ignored. Ten Commandments? Out the window! All that Biblical history, assuming it took place at all, took place before 100 BC. Leviticus was written well before 100 BC, so you agree it’s garbage and nothing in it applies at all to morality. You said it yourself, you simply can’t trust anything you think we know about what happened before 100 BC.

          Wow – so much wrong on so many levels all in one tl:dr post.

  11. 11
    Josh1415dr

    Great show. Russel said something at the end that reminded me of a quote by Susan B Anthony “I distrust people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice that it always coincides with thier own desires.” I’m really enjoying the shows. It’s all starting to come together now. Thanks a lot.

  12. 12
    ledwhofloyd

    If anyone in the ACA is reading this, can you please tell me what’s going on with the Non Prophets podcast. The last show was almost three months ago. Is there a hiatus, or is the show cancelled? Could you please post something up on your website.

    1. 12.1
      Martin Wagner

      They recently did a live Google+ handout thing. So they are still working on it.

    2. 12.2
      Russell Glasser

      We did an episode last week. Matt hasn’t posted the audio, but you can see it here:

      1. NoApologetics

        Matt’s smoking? If you want an affectation that says “I’m a professor” let me suggest a tweed blazer with leather patches on the elbows. It’s less harmful to you and those around you.

        This reboot needs some work. It’s a little off. When I think of skype style podcast I think of people who are not geographically accessible to each each other but excited to talk. I feel neither of that here.

      2. Sonorus

        Yay. I’ve missed the Nonprophets. Of course I’m also still going through the archives. I’m almost up to the 2008 election. NO SPOILERS!!!

    3. 12.3
      LykeX

      The show’s been on a kind of unofficial hiatus. I think Matt was moving and since he had the studio set-up, they couldn’t record for a while.
      Real life: what a drag :)

  13. 13
    Ing

    And the final thing about that first caller was that he insisted he was being “polite”. I thought he was being condescending and insufferable. In modern conversations why do people think if you fail to call someone a prick outright it is considered polite? He was upset that you wanted to give a more meaningful answer than “no” and was insulting about it. That is not polite.

    QFFT. Refusing to talk to people due to a set of “rules” you invented on how the conversation has to go is a huge dickhead move.

    I hate to stereotype but druggie guy sounded like his brain was fried and slowed down to a crawl.

  14. 14
    Lone Primate

    Oh, man, I was so upset when Russell and Don let that Mike guy off the hook on the torturing babies thing! Mike phones up and asks about objective morality, sets the example, but when it’s turned around, he gets to plead the Fifth? You guys should have nailed his hide to the wall and if he didn’t have the guts to answer, lay it out plainly: the answer is that if his god came down and told him it’s great, even obligatory, to torture babies, he’d have a BIG problem with it and his notion of objective morality would instantly go out the window. He would either become a moral free agent with REAL free will, or else just another cowardly creep “following orders” he knew to be wrong at Auschwitz. And he doesn’t get to say his god would “never do that”, because his god has changed the rules before, and the whole point of moral objectivity is that HIS GOD SETS THE RULES AND THEY’RE RIGHT SIMPLY BECAUSE HE DECIDES THEY ARE–just ask Abraham and Isaac. Oh, I was so sorry to see you guys back him to the ropes and then let him slip from the ring able to claim he won on points. I guess we all know where it was going, but it would have been a fine thing to watch it played out… especially for the theists out there.

    1. 14.1
      NorskVind

      You really think that would have ended with ATHEISTS: 1 THEISTS: 0 ? It’s more likely that Russel and Don didn’t want to continue wasting their breath on someone who was being deliberately obstinate and would not answer his own question. Had they continued to humor this guy, it would have dragged on forever. It would be a stereotypical internet fight: Nobody wins, everyone loses.

  15. 15
    Curt Cameron

    I keep waiting to hear someone prominent refute the absolute morality BS by what seems obvious to me as the proper response.

    “Morality” is just an opinion about whether an action should or shouldn’t be done. It is, fundamentally, an opinion. How can an opinion be absolute? What does that even mean to have an absolute opinion?

    Is torturing babies for fun immoral? Yes, in my opinion, it absolutely is immoral. Is that your opinion too? Good. If there’s anyone who has the opinion that torturing babies is OK, I want to keep far away from him.

    Even if there is a God, morality is still just an opinion. God has his opinions, I have mine, and you have yours. They’re still just opinions. The fact that he can torture me forever for disagreeing with him doesn’t mean that his opinion is “absolute” in any way.

    1. 15.1
      mentaljewelry

      What theists try to argue is that some morals are not opinions, but absolute truths that exist independently of what we think of them. Hence, his dumb example of everyone suddenly deciding that torturing babies is fun. If everyone thinks it’s fine, does it become fine? My argument is that we, as a species, learn and hopefully improve our moral standards over time, using nothing more than reason and empathy. I think the hosts’ response that the babies wouldn’t agree that torturing them is fine, is a good point, and goes to my argument. We use our brains to have empathy for others, and reason out whether an action does more harm than good. Theists do this just like we do – they just like to say they get it straight from the Word, but they obviously don’t. I don’t see us stoning widows and killing folks who work on Sunday.

      1. Ing

        What theists try to argue is that some morals are not opinions, but absolute truths that exist independently of what we think of them. Hence, his dumb example of everyone suddenly deciding that torturing babies is fun. If everyone thinks it’s fine, does it become fine?

        Which is a problem because you’re asking ME who does not think it’s fine if it is fine. You’re trying to use MY OPINION to argue that it isn’t opinion.

      2. Curt Cameron

        mentaljewelry wrote:
        Hence, his dumb example of everyone suddenly deciding that torturing babies is fun.

        But the point is that my opinion is still that torturing babies is bad, regardless of what the consensus of society is. In my opinion, the rest of society would be wrong.

        If he’s asking about a scenario where everyone suddenly decided it was fun, including me, then he’s asking what my opinion would be if I suddenly had the opinion that it was OK. Well, by definition, my opinion in that bizzaro-world case would be that torturing babies would be OK. What does that have to do with anything?

        1. SPACKlick

          I can’t overly recommend Sam Harris’s “The Moral Landscape”, but it speaks to your question.

          Morailty is that set of actions/rules/laws which maximises human well-being, therefore some things are more moral than others, just as some physical models are more accurate representations of reality than others.

          Even if everyone alive and everyone who ever lived believed that torturing babies was moral, they would be just as wrong as if they believed that gravity was faeries pushing things down.

          1. Curt Cameron

            I don’t think Sam’s book thesis really answers the theists’ question of what absolute morality is based on.

            Sam’s point is that once you accept that our actions should reduce suffering and increase well-being, then actions can be somewhat objectively gauged against that. But the theists’ question is how you got to the idea of increasing well-being in the first place.

            And the answer to that is that it’s Sam’s opinion that increasing well-being is a good thing. It’s also my opinion, and it’s the opinion of almost all the world’s people. But yes, it is an opinion, and therefore not absolute in any way.

          2. Tomasz R.

            This is a wrong definition of morality, as it only involves humans. Morality is also about the approach to nature, and a moral system should also include behavior of corporations. Currently popular moral systems don’t include enough of stuff for corporations and protection of nature.

            Inclusion of corporations in moral systems is inevitable, as they are now major actors in worlds affairs. Some rules are simple, like not lying during negotiations, honoring contractual obligations. Some rules from human world don’t apply – you can kill a corporation, own a corporation etc.

  16. 16
    Pinkamena, Panic Pony

    Re: the first caller: That’s somepony who has never been told to shut his piehole and listen. He needs the back of somepony’s hoof to set him straight.

    Re: the second caller: I swear, not all of us in Fort Wayne are that bad. Many are (it is the City of Churches, after all), but there are also plenty of freethinkers up here. And we’re not all whacked out of our skulls, either.

  17. 17
    Aaron

    The problem with the idea of an absolute morality is that it requires at its core that values be present in everything, regardless of whether it is thought by humans or animals. At its most ridiculous, we should be able to use an absolute morality to determine the moral rightness or wrongness of a comet impacting with a gas giant in an uninhabited star system.

    On a more ‘human’ level, the moment you introduce words like good, bad, better, or worse, you have moved away from objectivity into making a subjective assessment based on the desirability of an outcome: what one person thinks of as good, another may consider bad, such as empty land becoming a supermarket or a park. Some will prefer a closer market while others will prefer somewhere for their children. Yet when theists use words like ‘objective’, they are really talking about ‘dispassionate’ or ‘unemotional’ rather than real objectivity. If we turn these words into ‘disinterested’ or ‘cold’, as in “A cold rule of conduct imposed on us by a disinterested and uninvolved party” the pseudo-fuzzies of phrases like ‘objective morals’ become clearer.

    Morality also is a code that uses schemas to provide supportive frameworks to make decisions when incomplete information is available. Thus, the correct answer to any moral “question” by a theist is “Either morality is absolute and I wouldn’t need any qualifiers to say what the correct single answer is, or I don’t have complete information and thus cannot say what the moral answer would be in that situation”. Any qualifiers at all, such as ‘for fun’ are attempting to complete the information and thus refute morality as an absolute.

    As an example, I can ask “Is it morally right to cut the soles of the feet of a young boy, leave him in the desert and expect him to find his way back to camp seemingly alone?” The answer of couse is “That depends”. It would be wrong to do this in for example the Scouts. But it was in fact one of the rites of a tribe of Indigenous Australians, and assessed future hunters’ ability to find their way back to safety even when wounded – an essential skill (for clarity, they were always secretly followed for safety). More information shows that the necessity of survival skills changes our moral assessment of such a situation.

    If morals were absolute, then there could be no qualifiers that would change the absolute moral. The moral would hold regardless of the situation, or even if the object was inanimate. Thus, arguments in favor of ‘absolute’ or ‘objective morality’ do not hold up to scrutiny.

    1. 17.1
      SPACKlick

      That claim is simply untrue, absolute morality can still declare some things, like events which are not experienced or events which are not intentional/intensional, outside the realm of morality.

      All absolutism means for morality is that there is, in at least some cases, moral truth/truths.

      On objectivity, there are two meanings of objectivity, one of which applies here and one doesn’t. Objective moral standards are morals that are discovered and reasoned free of obvious bias and error. Morals are ofcourse subjective in content, but inasmuch as it is possible objectively reasoned. Just as it is an objective fact that things with mass cause gravity, it can be an objective fact that action x is more moral than action y.

      As for moral absolutes needing no qualification, that’s clearly false. There is an absolute truth over which of any two objects is more massive, but with incomplete information we can only make a guess and that guess would be qualified with our uncertainty. Star x is probably more massive than star y based on brightness and colour spectrum characteristics. On getting more complete information our assesment can change. So in your case of chopping the soles off feet, their can be a moral absolute about whether chopping the soles of the feet and leaving in the wilderness is moral or not, but the full details of the situation weigh in on that absolute truth.

      1. Aaron

        I must admit I found your reply a little muddled and appeared to me to be even contradictory in places, so I apologize in advance if I have misinterpreted anything.

        I addressed the issue of ‘objective’ as slang for dispassionate and also showed why I believe that absolute morality would require there to be moral standards in terms of value statements for inanimate objects without minds. To use your example of the size of a star I suggest the only way such a thing could show the existence of objective or absolute morals is if it could be demonstrated that, for instance, star X has more of a moral right to exist or more intrinsic worth than star Y, without invoking some mind as part of that example. And unlike a fact such as the actual mass of a star, a general rule such as “don’t kill” is easily changed with circumstances. This is due to moral ‘rules’ as schemas, not an absolute statement independent of situations. Thus, morals do not exist unless and until a general situation or experience warrants the construction of such a schema, while objective facts exist independently, regardless of human opinion, perspective or even discovery.

        While I agree that morality exists, the social contract model seems to fit the evidence far better than ideas of morals being ‘objective’ or ‘absolute’ in terms of morality being a force separate from minds.

  18. 18
    Cephus

    The question about objective morality was nonsense, but it’s certainly not new nonsense. Do a Google search, you’ll find all kinds of almost identical questions because Christian apologists have formulated the question to elicit an emotional response. Humans, like most advanced lifeforms, are genetically programmed to be protective of our offspring. As such, making a threat toward said offspring is going to produce an immediate emotional reaction. That doesn’t make the question valid though.

    There’s no such thing as objective morality. It’s something that humans have invented. Some of it is, as I said before, accepted simply because it’s a biological imperative, but there’s nothing in all of morality that is, in any way, objective. A lot of the most common moral stands are simply good for society and as such, are accepted widely because they’re good for all societies. Don’t kill others is a good idea because with unrestricted killing, you wouldn’t have much time for growing crops or hunting or doing useful work. Don’t kill babies? That’s a good idea because without the next generation, the society dies.

    It was funny watching him refuse to answer, but we did catch him almost doing so when he started to say “yes”, that if God said killing babies was a good thing, he’d agree.

    And that’s a sure sign of Christian moral inferiority.

  19. 19
    NorskVind

    Off topic, found an ad on your front page saying “Does GOD Exist? Click to find 6 reasons God exists.” Found it hilarious.

  20. 20
    terrycollins

    Define torture, because circumcision may qualify. The first caller’s hypothetical was seriously flawed as the hosts tried to point out. If he wanted to make some point about objective morality, he should have went with Matt’s favorite, slavery. He was a flyby theist who thought he could drop a quick “gotcha!” mindfark bomb. We are not amused.

  21. 21
    G.Shelley

    On the first caller, you could probably have saved yourself a lot of trouble if you’d asked him to define “Objective”

  22. 22
    PaulJ

    Sam Harris responds to a question about that instantaneous hallucinogen here:

    http://youtu.be/ITTxTCz4Ums

  23. 23
    Shifty

    I doubt the first caller reads this, so I’m probably just preaching to the choir, but here goes.
    So I think this is something Matt has brought up before, but asking if there is objective morality seems a lot like asking if there are objectively best moves to make for a given position on a chess board. The answer is usually yes, even if we don’t always have the best idea of what they are. This doesn’t mean there’s a divine giver of chess strategy or morality. The best chess moves are determined by what best helps the goal of checkmating (or avoiding being checkmated). Likewise, the best moral actions are those that best support ones values.

    This creates a bit of a weird situation that Russell tried to convey. For a given collection and weighting of values, there’s an objective morality; however, there doesn’t seem to be an objectively best set of values (in fact if there were, it would be best in light of some “meta-values”; best can only be judged wrt to some metric). So morality is objective in the sense that for my given values, any action taken by anyone (not just be) has a level of morality or immorality–even if I’m not quite sure what that level is thanks to chaos theory and such. However, you may take actions I find immoral because you have different values. Fortunately humans are similar enough that there is substantial overlap in our values and we could perhaps try to take the intersect as the values to work with in determining objective morality for all human actions.

    This is where the caller screwed up and didn’t get it. We don’t think that it’s within the scope of ordinary human nature to not have values that make torturing babies for fun viewed as reprehensible. Positing such humans is about as useful in a counterfactual as positing humans who are 20 feet tall, have wings, and breath underwater. Further, even if such beings did exist, their actions would be viewed as objectively bad according to the values I (and most other humans) hold.

  24. 24
    Jonathan

    The biggest issue with morality is that humans didn’t invent morals, we know this because humans didn’t invent themselves, and since humans exist and come up with morals then the original origin of what we “call” morals is not the human it’s what the human came from. THERE’S the kicker, humans are constantly theorizing and wondering exactly where they came from.. Ancient history has left behind some “ideas” that shape todays ideas, BUT, unless we get a time machine and travel back to see such an “origin” we are all left with our self-invented ideas of our world and life, ideas which can’t be 100% trusted. I mean, you can’t measure the facts completely, as I said the time machine is your only route and it’s not available, sorry atheist. Back to morals. Morals are your ideas of right and wrong according tooooooooooooo, yourself. Most everyone understands that the unnecessary deaths that Hitler caused were WRONG. Most people understand that taking care of your body (cleaning it etc.) is RIGHT.. these are no-brainers. The subjects that test our ideas of morals are those which we tend to not look deeper into for a more certain sense of morality, for example, abortion. Right or Wrong? Well most people just look at the surface: Why should the woman put herself at risk for something she didn’t intend on having? Now, if we look at the more certain and visible facts about the act of aborting then we can easily see according to the one BIG fact(that humans didn’t invent morals) that abortion is certainly not right: When a child begins to grow in a woman she certainly doesn’t know if it will make it out of her alive(no time machine). At the same time she certainly knows that the process of child birth is not something she invented(no time machine), THEREFORE, stopping child birth is not something she can call right. The other thing she doesn’t know for certain is whether or not she WILL be able to deal with her child if it is successfully delivered and healthy and ready to grow. Because of these 2 certainties: I certainly don’t know if the child is supposed to grow because I didn’t invent child birth, and, I certainly don’t know the future of this child and if something will allow me to handle it’s existence in this life I certainly didn’t invent, the woman should be 100% convinced that she’s not making a 100% right decision to abort the human that’s growing inside of her. IF she does think it’s right, then how is she 100% convinced that it’s right? How is she certain? The most interesting thing I’ve learned about women who want to abort is that almost every single one (as long as their sober and not drugged up) is NOT certain what to do. The last time I checked, if you aren’t certain, then why just do whatever you think is best? Could it be a dangerous choice to do whatever you think is best? YES(look at Hitler).. a lifetime of a dangerous choice in some cases. Morality is not from humans, it was given to humans as part of their inherent existence, humans themselves aren’t from humans, we were originated from some other existence. Some people think we came from mysterious particles that lead to animals that lead to us (humans), others think we came from a divine existence. In both cases, the particles or the divine existence is what gave us the ability to choose a right and wrong, the particles or divine existence is what gave us our intellect, and if you aren’t certain about this and aren’t seeking the source to find out what your intellect is for and how to use it, then what can you be truly certain of at all?

    responses welcome through email as well: [email protected]

    1. 24.1
      Jonathan

      Please note atheists that trying to seek a mysterious particle to find out how to use your intellect correctly is not reasonable! I used to be an atheist looking for answers but I realized that I would rather give the divine existence a real and complete chance in my life. I dove in at age 20 to see about this God called Jesus and I actually found answers after really and truly accepting life on the terms laid out in the New Testament of the Holy Bible. I didn’t think I would get any results from repenting and accepting the words written to me, I didn’t think there would be any results like those I still read about in the New Testament, but astonishingly there were results that were far beyond what I expected, BIG results. I didn’t go to any church service, I just read and followed the words written to me from ancient times in what is believed to be a Holy Book, I accepted life on the terms laid out to me, and life changed unexpectedly, the things I still read today started really happening, people getting healed, lives being restored from serious addiction/depression etc. it was too cool to stop, I sensed I had found something.. beyond reason.. something certainly true, and though all Christian’s still lack 100% facts and literal explanation for the God Jesus, we realize that our pursuits are in a completely different ballpark, they aren’t reason based, they leave behind reason in it’s failures and cease opportunity despite all the unreasonableness…

    2. 24.2
      Martin Wagner

      This ought to kick the thread into high gear. :-)

    3. 24.3
      Jasper of Maine

      It’s too bad it’s an ad hominem to dismiss someone because they don’t use paragraphs.

      The biggest issue with morality is that humans didn’t invent morals, we know this because humans didn’t invent themselves,

      And right off the bat we start with a whopping non-sequitur. What? That’s like saying that we didn’t invent TV because we didn’t invent ourselves.

      That statement makes no sense.

      and since humans exist and come up with morals then the original origin of what we “call” morals is not the human it’s what the human came from.

      I can’t follow this “logic” at all. It’s compounded evidenceless assertions.

      THERE’S the kicker, humans are constantly theorizing and wondering exactly where they came from.. Ancient history has left behind some “ideas” that shape todays ideas, BUT, unless we get a time machine and travel back to see such an “origin” we are all left with our self-invented ideas of our world and life, ideas which can’t be 100% trusted. I mean, you can’t measure the facts completely, as I said the time machine is your only route and it’s not available, sorry atheist.

      Drop this idea of absolute certainty. We don’t use it. As long as something is demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt, we’re good to go. I can’t be 100% certain that my morning coffee hasn’t been poisoned by a assassin ninja, but I’m going to drink it anyway. We have to deal with practical reality, you know.

      You seem to be starting from the assumption that absolute certainty is even necesary for anything. That’s where your argument is getting derailed.

      Back to morals. Morals are your ideas of right and wrong according tooooooooooooo, yourself.

      According to consensus. We also have a consensus understanding of the rules of the road, so that we don’t crash into one another and have traffic accidents. Those traffic laws are objectively analyzable to see how well they’re working, and we can improve them over time.

      That’s what’s been happening with morality – a slow improvement over the thousands of years. Society learns how to be moral based on what works, not on personal preference.

      Most everyone understands that the unnecessary deaths that Hitler caused were WRONG.

      Because as a social species, we evolved with empathy and a desire to live in cooperative society. We can’t do that when harm is rampant, so we decided that harm is bad and to minmize it. Death is harmful, therefore it’s wrong. It’s not wrong because there’s an absolute moral law saying so.

      Most people understand that taking care of your body (cleaning it etc.) is RIGHT..

      It’s wise. I don’t see it as a moral issue though.

      The subjects that test our ideas of morals are those which we tend to not look deeper into for a more certain sense of morality, for example, abortion. Right or Wrong?

      Be careful that aren’t asserting that people have a shallow view of abortion because they don’t agree with you. It could be their understanding involves more information than you’re aware of.

      Well most people just look at the surface: Why should the woman put herself at risk for something she didn’t intend on having? Now, if we look at the more certain and visible facts about the act of aborting then we can easily see according to the one BIG fact(that humans didn’t invent morals)

      Stop – you haven’t established that assertion as true. Any argumentation based on that claim cannot work.

      that abortion is certainly not right:

      So your idea of “thinking deeply” is to claim that it’s certaintly not right based on undemonstrated assumptive claims? We would say you haven’t employed any critical thinking here.

      When a child begins to grow in a woman she certainly doesn’t know if it will make it out of her alive(no time machine).

      Again with the absurd notion of absolute certainty. We can assess probabilities. If the pregnancy is going smoothly at 7 or so months, there’s a high probability that the pregnancy will be fine – which means it probably will, for intsance. That’s good enough to make decisions.

      Right off the bad, especially in a first world nation, most pregnancies are successful, assuming there isn’t some kind of auto miscarriage.

      At the same time she certainly knows that the process of child birth is not something she invented(no time machine), THEREFORE, stopping child birth is not something she can call right.

      Are you on drugs? Another whopping non-sequitur. What does pregnancy being natural have to do with it being right/wrong? What you just said makes about as much sense as saying “People didn’t invent themselves therefore it’s certianly wrong for them to have their wisdom teeth extracted”.

      The other thing she doesn’t know for certain is whether or not she WILL be able to deal with her child if it is successfully delivered and healthy and ready to grow.

      I agree. She can, however, probabilistically assess whether it would be too much of a financial burden, or make it too difficult to complete school, etc. I thought we were thinking “more deeply” about the issues surrounding abortion.

      Because of these 2 certainties:

      You said they weren’t certainties. Make up your mind.

      I certainly don’t know if the child is supposed to grow because I didn’t invent child birth,

      What do you mean “supposed to grow”? You seem to be assuming some kind of grand purpose for the child. Every time you use this “didn’t invent child birth”, you lose me. I have no idea what it has to do with anything.

      We can observe that the vast majority of birthed children do grow, so it’s a reasonable conclusion that this one will too.

      and, I certainly don’t know the future of this child and if something will allow me to handle it’s existence in this life I certainly didn’t invent,

      … I uh.. what?

      the woman should be 100% convinced that she’s not making a 100% right decision to abort the human that’s growing inside of her.

      News Flash! They don’t think that. No one’s absolutely certain about anything, and women definately aren’t sure. What we have to do, in a practical reality, is assess data and probability, and try to make the best decision we can. This is what we call ethics – assessing morally ambiguous decisions.

      If I have an infected leg, and I may or may not survive the infection OR I can have it amputated – it’s a hard decision, and I have to try to make the
      most informed decision I can. Of course I’m not going to be 100% certain of the decision, but we have to make one and move on.

      IF she does think it’s right, then how is she 100% convinced that it’s right?

      She isn’t. You’ve built a strawman of sorts.

      How is she certain?

      She isn’t.

      The most interesting thing I’ve learned about women who want to abort is that almost every single one (as long as their sober and not drugged up) is NOT certain what to do.

      YES! You get it!

      The last time I checked, if you aren’t certain, then why just do whatever you think is best?

      That’s a dumb question. If we want to survive, or do well generally, we have to make daily decisions between ambiguously good/bad choices, and hopefully we’re informed enough to make accurate decisions.

      I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say that what you mean to say was “why not just do whatever you think is best?”, in which case, the women are.

      Could it be a dangerous choice to do whatever you think is best? YES(look at Hitler).. a lifetime of a dangerous choice in some cases.

      Pffft. Hitler also had a mustache so having mustaches is dangerous. What about all the times that people had to make dangerous choices to to good things like stopping Hitler? Apparently those don’t count.

      Do you know who else liked to listen to music? Hitler.

      Morality is not from humans, it was given to humans as part of their inherent existence,

      You haven’t demonstrated this. You’ve merely asserted it. Secular morality, however, is incredibly cogent, and matches up with analysis of evolution, history, psychology, etc.

      humans themselves aren’t from humans, we were originated from some other existence.

      Yes, we did. I came from my parents. My parents came from my parents. If you go back far enough, my 85% homosapien 15% Chimpanzee-Homosapien-common-anscestor anscestors came from my 84.999% homosapien 15.001% Chimpanzee-Homosapien-common-anscestor anscestors.

      It’s not like humans sprang up all of a sudden. Evolution is a slow morphing change.

      Some people think we came from mysterious particles that lead to animals that lead to us (humans),

      If you’re talking about the Big Bang, there’s heavy evidence for this, and it only accounts for up to one Planck time after the “incident”. Before that – we don’t know.

      Secondly, we are animals. We’re animals with bigger brains who can talk. That’s pretty much what separates us – our capacity to babble complex ideas to one another. Education and technology all spawn from that capacity.

      It’s also quite supported by evidence.

      others think we came from a divine existence.

      … which is not supported by evidence.

      In both cases, the particles or the divine existence is what gave us the ability to choose a right and wrong,

      No, they aren’t. We figured it out ourselves. That assertion is actually pretty straight forward. We can figure it out now using reason and logic and objective reality, which means it isn’t required for us to get it anywhere else. After that, it’s Occam’s razor.

      the particles or divine existence is what gave us our intellect, and if you aren’t certain about this and aren’t seeking the source to find out what your intellect is for and how to use it, then what can you be truly certain of at all?

      No, biology evolved us some brains, which have computational capacity.

      Again with the absolute certainty. We can be reasonably certain about decisions based on informed analysis. Whether our brains were “invented” by someone else or not isn’t relevant to that fact. Whether the gas in our cars came from decaying plant/animal matter or from Zeuz’s butt, the design of the internal combusion engine is unaffected.

      – next –

      Please note atheists that trying to seek a mysterious particle to find out how to use your intellect correctly is not reasonable!

      Why not? Because you say so?

      What scientists do is investigate how reality works. When evidence emerges that suggests the universe might have started as a singularity-like thing, they investigate that possibility more. That’s exactly reasonable – they’ve been given good reason to look into it more.

      It’s not like we started out just looking for a “mysterious particle” in a vacuum. That would be a misconception.

      I used to be an atheist looking for answers

      I always love it when someone says this. In my mind, it’s like the person just said “I used to be rational”. Not a credibility-builder.

      but I realized that I would rather give the divine existence a real and complete chance in my life.

      .. and that’s not rational. How could it be if there’s no good evidence for it? It’s about as rational as saying “I decided to give Cthulu a chance in my life”.

      This is where you and atheists part ways – we need actual coherent reason and evidence for such things. You apparently… don’t.

      I dove in at age 20 to see about this God called Jesus and I actually found answers after really and truly accepting life on the terms laid out in the New Testament of the Holy Bible.

      Are those answers correct? How have you confirmed this? Do you have any reason and evidence to back them up? Can you please cite and example and show your work, and how those “right answers” are exclusive to Christianity.

      Also, science doesn’t answer philosophical questions. It figures out how the universe work, and generally investigate thruth claims. I’m interested in the question “What’s true?”, and if you say God is true, then I would need evidence/logic/reason before coming to that conclusion.

      I didn’t think I would get any results from repenting and accepting the words written to me, I didn’t think there would be any results like those I still read about in the New Testament, but astonishingly there were results that were far beyond what I expected, BIG results.

      Here we go! Unfalsifiable personal testimony we can’t confirm or investigate the possibility that what you experienced wasn’t some combination of placebo effect and confirmation bias. I love these kinds of useless arguments!

      I didn’t go to any church service, I just read and followed the words written to me from ancient times in what is believed to be a Holy Book, I accepted life on the terms laid out to me, and life changed unexpectedly, the things I still read today started really happening, people getting healed, lives being restored from serious addiction/depression etc. it was too cool to stop, I sensed I had found something.. beyond reason..

      … yadda yadda … I’ve read the Bible. I found it to be one of the most disgusting and evil books I’ve ever read. I guess we have different tastes in literature.

      something certainly true,

      How do you know that isn’t just in your mind. Can you confirm that it’s kind of true? If you can’t even show that it’s somewhat true, how do you know it is “certainly” true?

      To quote the great Ra – If you can’t show it, you don’t know it.

      Knowledge is demonstrably true belief.

      and though all Christian’s still lack 100% facts and literal explanation for the God Jesus, we realize that our pursuits are in a completely different ballpark, they aren’t reason based, they leave behind reason in it’s failures and cease opportunity despite all the unreasonableness…

      Then we will continue to regard you as frothing-at-the-mouth insane, and I can never believe you.

      I don’t have time to proofread this, unfortunately.

      1. Martin Wagner

        Christians who try to claim that secular morality is just whatever the individual’s tastes are do not understand that morality only exists in a social context from which it cannot be divorced. Moral precepts are rules we have established in order to get along with one another. Therefore they simply cannot be based rationally on only what the individual prefers, and in cases where they are, we have a word for that individual: sociopath.

    4. 24.4
      Jasper of Maine

      they leave behind reason in it’s failures

      I missed this part.

      Sure, many people ineffectively apply reason. It, however, is responsible for 100% of the advanced technology and knowledge we have.

      It works very well.

      Do you have an alternative to reason that can be demonstrated to work at least 1/100th as well?

      1. John Kruger

        Clearly, being unreasonable is what he is shooting for, and he is succeeding.

        1. Jasper of Maine

          It’s kind of a weird mentality. Once in awhile, I literally hear a theist say something to the effect of “Since God can’t be supported by logic then screw logic”.

          It’s like saying “Well I can’t afford to buy this car, so screw money, now it’s free!”

    5. 24.5
      Shifty

      Humans also did not invent optimal chess strategy. Sure we invented chess, but once some basic rules are set, the optimal strategy is pretty much out of our hands. We can discover it, but have minimal control over it. This does not mean there is a divine giver of chess strategy, just that when there are particular goals, it is a brute fact that certain actions are better for accomplishing them. As long as human beings have things they want to achieve and avoid, morality–dare I say objective morality–exists.

      Now, my value system, which values the autonomy and happiness of self-aware entities much higher than achieving new such entities, or guaranteeing that potential such entities become actualized, or the life of all clusters of human cells, makes abortion an easy moral decision. You might have different values so it may be wrong it your system. However, I might even be able to change your values to agree with mine by appealing to a value held more fundamentally, and demonstrating that that value requires you to change some of your other values.

      1. Metaphysical Ham Sandwich

        Holy shit. The chess strategy analogy totally made it click for me. I’ve been hung up for the longest time how we could call morality “objective”. Thank you very much!

        1. Shifty

          Glad I could help. It all hinges on morality being objective relative to a collection and weighting of values/goals. That last part is crucial. I don’t think there’s a good way of telling people what their values should be except relative to their other values. So this method doesn’t mean that if we were perfect moral agents we’d agree on the correct action in a given situation, because we might have different values (we both look at the same chess board, but are each playing different chess variants). However, this is still useful, in that it makes it easier to pinpoint the differing values that make for differing objectively correct moral decisions.

          1. Cassie

            The problem with the chess analogy is that it has an universal end goal (checkmate). This is why morality is so topsy turvy, people have different values and their end goals are different, thus resulting in arguments of which is the superior morality. And thus resulting in what I would call the lack of objective morality.

          2. John Kruger

            I have to agree with Cassie. Morality is mostly about setting the rules, and the Chess analogy has rules set by fiat. A better analogy would be deciding if checkers was better than chess, or which set of rules is better, a confusing endeavor indeed.

            I am a moral relativist. This does not mean anything goes, it just means that I cannot object to something solely on the basis that it is immoral. I have to state a specific goal, and then I can criticize a moral system based on that goal.

          3. Shifty

            Cassie and John,
            I tried to make that fully explicit. Morality is absolute only with respect to a particular set of values (things considered good). If everyone were looking at a chess board trying to decide the best move, but all were playing separate games, even if they all were perfect at the games they were playing, everyone would have different moves. For a particular set of rules, the decision is absolute. The choice of rules is relative and I don’t think I can convince someone who values the death of all humans above all else as to the immorality of killing even if it is immoral under my values.

      2. Jonathan

        You seem to have missed the point. Humans do invent plenty of things, strategies and what not. There are however certain faculties that humans have that allow them to invent. One of these faculties is intellect. Without intellect we could not invent. And what we call “intellect” is not man-made, I’m sorry, it’s not from a man, it’s not and it certainly never will be. The problem remains here, the human intellect originated within us humans when we first originated, so did human strength, why were we given these abilities in this life? The answer is not from you! I’m so sorry, but your answer is not 100% trustable by any means, why? Because you’re not the originator of yourself and the intellect that yourself has. You never will be, you remain with the exact same options in this life you have right now: Either choose to seek the mysterious particles that resulted in animals and humans for answers OR seek the divine existence that is believed to be responsible for these things you have. You don’t know how to use your intellect, you only think you do, you don’t know if your intellect came with rules of engagement, if it did then you’d need to know these rules yes?

        1. Jasper of Maine

          There are however certain faculties that humans have that allow them to invent. One of these faculties is intellect. Without intellect we could not invent. And what we call “intellect” is not man-made, I’m sorry, it’s not from a man,

          It’s not from man, it’s from brains. Every human who devleops starts with zero intellect, and as the size of their biological neural net increases, they gain more “intellect”. It’s not bestowed on us from somewhere. It’s as much a byproduct of the brain as insulin is a byproduct of the pancreas.

          We didn’t invent the panceas, but we have them thanks to evolution.

          The problem remains here, the human intellect originated within us humans when we first originated, so did human strength, why were we given these abilities in this life?

          You appear to be making a plethora of assumptions that, because aren’t aware of them, is rendering your argument into complete gibberish to us.

          The human intellect didn’t originate” when humans first did. Again, humans didn’t *poof* into existence. With evolution, there’s a slow morphing over time with occasional branching off of different species. Humanity doesn’t have an exact starting point.

          Human strength? Do you mean muscles? Life has had muscles for hundreds of millions of years. We inherited that from evolution too.

          We weren’t given these abilities. We evolved them over the course of a few million years.

          Gorillas and chimpanzees are incredibly intelligent. Since they don’t have the communication faculties that we do, they can’t engage in education, build a cumulative knowledge in society, to the point where they can start inventing things. In short, every generation of gorilla starts from scratch, in terms of a working knowledge of the world.

          The answer is not from you! I’m so sorry, but your answer is not 100% trustable by any means, why?

          I’m getting the feeling you didn’t read anything I said. Typical.

          Absolute knowledtge is irrelevant. As long as something can be demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt, that’s good enough.

          Because you’re not the originator of yourself and the intellect that yourself has. You never will be, you remain with the exact same options in this life you have right now:

          In a sense, I am actually the originator of my intelligence. I’ve been growing it myself since I was a fetus. All that’s needed is the DNA to self-replicate neural tissue in sufficient quantity, and it self organizes.

          Either choose to seek the mysterious particles that resulted in animals and humans for answers OR seek the divine existence that is believed to be responsible for these things you have.

          What the fuck is this “seeking mysterious particles” you’re going on about? Rational people follow the evidence. If the evidence happen to indicate some particle exists, then fine. It’s not like we set out to find a particle, for no apparent reason.

          You don’t know how to use your intellect, you only think you do, you don’t know if your intellect came with rules of engagement, if it did then you’d need to know these rules yes?

          We learn through interaction with others. That’s what school is for, among other things.

          Seriously, I barely know what you’re talking about at this point. Your argument is so incoherent, rife with assumptions, ignorance of basic biology, and misconceptions about science and scientists. You’re being an excellent example right now to fillet out so that people can see just how unintellibile theistic arguments are. You’re helping deconvert more people.

        2. Jasper of Maine

          Maybe a Haiku would work.

          Intellect wasn’t given to us
          Intellect and morality can emerge from evolution
          Please, go read a book

          1. NorskVind

            I thought Haikus went 5-7-5…

          2. Jasper of Maine

            Didn’t I? Keep in mind the middle line is word wrapping.

          3. NorskVind

            Yeah I did. You’re 9 syllables off, according to this thing.
            http://www.wordcalc.com/index.php

          4. Jasper of Maine

            Well, now I’m thoroughly embarrassed. I thought it was 17 words, not syllables.

      3. Russell Glasser

        In addition to the chess strategy analogy — which I’ve used before, but is difficult to get across to some people — Lynnea suggested an approach that Sam Harris used.

        Caller: “Is there objective morality?”
        Host: “Is there an objective method for keeping your body perfectly healthy?”

        The answer is no, not really, but there are general principles to follow. The goal of being healthy is results based, and to some extent it can be measured (i.e., by lifespan, body mass index, etc). But there is no one right answer; we can only experiment and learn what works best.

        Morality is about societal health, and unlike chess, everyone has at least some experience with trying to be healthy.

    6. 24.6
      Jasper of Maine

      I hope this wasn’t a drive-by apologist.

      1. John Kruger

        Considering he never responded to any criticisms at all, definitely a drive by. He only posted the same incoherent word salad twice.

        At some level we know better than to engage against such bizarre manifestos, but we can’t help ourselves.

      2. John Kruger

        I stand corrected, he is back.

        No responses to any criticisms yet though.

    7. 24.7
      Jdog

      Just once, I’d like to see a crazy wall o’ text end with a really bad pun.

  25. 25
    Tomasz R.

    The famous fundamentalist heavy drug user Terrence McKeena (died of brain cancer) formulated psylocybin hypothesis of humanity development that goes as follows:
    1) At lowst doses psylocibin enhances human senses, thus allowing him to be a better hunter or gatherers.
    2) At medium doses it increases sexual libido, thus supporting reproductive success.
    3) At high doses it lets you hallucinate contacting gods, thus creating religions.

    So maybe what we hava here is one of the ways religions were created.

  26. 26
    rrpostal

    I am so totally seeking mysterious particles tomorrow.

    1. 26.1
      Jasper of Maine

      That’s one good reason to keep theists around. They’re an unending source of odd entertaining phrases that make little to no sense.

  27. 27
    Jonathan

    Well I’m not sure why but it posted my response up the page a ways… it starts like this…

    “I realize that my explanation….”

  28. 28
    Jonathan

    .
    I realize that my explanation wasn’t easy for many of you to grasp, or take seriously. Well, I’ll admit that it’s not easy to explain my understanding online like this. I’ll try to make it plain and simple this time. Also, I’ve read many responses and noticed what confuses you, trying to respond in here takes more time than expected, i didn’t expect so many responses so quickly. I don’t really care to respond over the web if ppl don’t care but i can tell that you care, so i’ll do my best to respond this time to each one, if you don’t have a new response to these expanded ideas then i will assume you didn’t read it and then i will simply respond to your prior responses by directing you to this one.

    Many of you understand human life to have evolved over a long period. You base this on research that was done from as early as 100 BC perhaps. I’m not concerned with anything that we humans have observed as a platform for answering moral questions. Science is a great tool, the scientific method has helped us create many useful tools that help us in this life, but, the theories based on observations of the natural world that attempt to define human morals are not reliable. I’m fully convinced that we’re missing out on the most important component we need to form completely reliable definitions of what’s right/wrong.

    Before say 100 BC and before man could record his observations was a being that was not as evolved (a simple organism perhaps? honestly we just make educated guesses at this too). Proceeding this being was another entity of some type that allowed the not so evolved being to exist. It doesn’t matter if you understand it to be “something from nothing” or “some undiscovered phenomenon” you can agree in either case that there was some “thing” that caused the “being” to first exist before it started to evolve. What was it? Whatever this “thing” was that caused the being, how did it cause the being?? Did it give the being a brain to be used for a certain purpose up to a certain point and then for different purposes further along it’s evolution? The problem is that science can’t reach these facts, because no scientist has a time machine, honestly scientist don’t know where to start, they need a miracle, they need this “thing” that caused the first “being” to fall in their lap so they can understand (even if it did they may not understand it). Not one person can decide that the first “being” or “beings” were not caused for a reason, or caused so that they may function in a certain way, there’s nothing to study to prove this inaccurate.

    Today we draw on scientific theories that have done nothing but observe life in it’s current state, and that’s fine, but, the results are not capable by any means of determining what’s right/wrong. The only way we can find results that can help us morally is if we seek the source… and… we aren’t the source, but we’re making ourselves the source, as if we came into existence to define our own purpose! Purpose is not considered by the scientific community, purpose in this sense is a philosophical pursuit. Why did the a “thing” of some sort cause any “being” to exist in the first place? Did the “thing” have intelligence? Was the “thing” just a process that randomly happened free of purpose? If we don’t find purpose then why do we even live? Or are we completely convinced that we exist to define our own purposes and define why we live? How do we know we can trust our own human-made world views to lead us to the best conclusions concerning morality? Is there another option? Do we sanely look consider the options? Or do we insanely do the same thing over and over despite the possibilities?

    The crazy thing is that we have the audacity, even though we don’t know if this “thing” that caused our first forms to exist had an intention or not, we are willing to define our own purpose. Is it then ok to not trust science for answers like this? YES, it’s actually logical, because science fails miserably without a time machine to find an answer to the ‘purpose or no purpose question.’ If the first being came into existence with a purpose, then the root of that purpose defines their existence and the way they should manage their existence. The root of that purpose defines what we “call” morals today, such a purpose helps us understand in any situation what is right/wrong to do. In the case of morals now we can decide that human life should exist without purpose and that instead humans should all define their own purposes and not base their morality on any sort of intended purpose.

    The BIG deal here is that “birth” is not a function of life that we ourselves added! The “thing” that caused the first “being” to exist that you believe evolved into a human “being” IS was added “birth” to the equation, the “thing” created an organism as we understand it that was capable of evolving and reproducing, why did the “thing” want “birth” to be a function of life? WE WILL NEVER KNOW, and this is where certainty as I love to call it helps us decide if things like abortion are right/wrong.

    Birth is not a function that we added to life when it originated, we actually had nothing to do with it. It doesn’t matter if we alter embryo’s and do these things, we’re still tampering with a function that was added and not added by us. In this case we have to decide, is “birth” a function of life for a reason? Is there a purpose for child birth? What is that purpose? Well we can see by taking a simple look at it that child birth is a natural part of life, sex can result in child birth, sex also being a function of human life that we didn’t add. So if sex and child birth aren’t our additions, then can we really be sure when we define them ourselves that we’re creating perfect definitions? NOPE, but why do we need to know what the purposes of sex and child birth are? Isn’t it obvious that sex is simply for sharing intimacy with another being and child birth is obviously good because you’re following through after sex and wanting to create another life on earth to enjoy? Well, I just defined the purpose of sex and child birth. This is something that science can’t do.

    Something else science can’t do: Define morals. Scientific research can tell us how morals have changed over time, sure, research can tell us lots about how moralities differ from each other, but you seriously think i’m going to follow some human-made scientific process to help me choose right/wrong? No, scientific processes today can’t define how to choose right/wrong because of the nature of things. There is no way to see if there was an intended purpose for sex and child birth, or a specific way that such functions are supposed to be managed. Scientists think that it’s all up to them to define to the world how to manage your sex life and your decision to deliver a child or not, it’s not all up to a scientist, it doesn’t have to be, I found an ancient text that shares with me how to manage my life on earth, and it’s not written by a scientist. I can answer any question with what it teaches me because it also defines purpose to an extent that allows me to see clearly what’s right/wrong. In addition to this the text is believed to be inspired by the “thing” or source of life when it first existed.

    Science can’t make any 100% reliable claim about “beings” when they first existed, because scientist don’t have time machines. Therefore, scientists shouldn’t expect their definitions to be completely trusted as the only guidelines for managing morals. Does it really make sense given the things we know for certain to tell another human how to manage their ability to choose right from wrong? In the case of an abortion which includes the elements of sex and birth it’s not right to tell a woman to abort her baby, unless, you’re the one who purposed birth in the first place, another-words, if you’re the “thing” that added the function of birth and sex to evolution then yes, please tell the woman if she should abort her baby or not because if you added the functions of sex and birth to life then you definitely know what they were originally intended for and how we should manage such functions, otherwise, you’re just relying on your human ideology at the time to be good enough to give advice to the pregnant woman that she can really trust. At the end of the day, the pregnant woman wants to really know that she’s making the right decision. That’s all she wants to know, unfortunately many women think they have nothing more to rely on than humans that seem smart and are giving her advice.

    There is however a life management guide called the New Testament that not only gives her a clear answer but also helps her see why it’s the answer and helps her see to an extent how to manage her sex life and her child baring life. In addition to this, the text suggests that it’s from the source of life itself, it suggests that what’s written to the reader(a pregnant woman) is inspired by the readers (her) source.

    I really don’t see why we need science to dive into morals at all. Morals are best understood by seeking the source, many people are immoral, they justify things like rape and having sex with little children as right. In EVERY case when those who follow these immoral ways are confronted they have something that has caused them to fall into the immoral ways, some other instance has got them knee deep in immorality thinking it’s right and fine. This correlates topically with what I call the “atheists problem,” where EVERY atheist has something that has them adopting a Godless world-view, but no matter what it is, it’s never something that the atheist properly questions.. anyways that’s a different topic..

    So, lets just say we can be certain that everyone that has replied in this topic is not a rapist or a human trafficker. If this is true, then from what I’ve already mentioned there is certainly some human out there who is at this very moment a rapist or human trafficker or maybe both. In between us and them is morality. The ability to choose what’s right to do in life. Scientific studies simply show us the most likely results before they happen, like if a woman is raped then she will likely deal with such and such, etc. Scientific studies don’t belong in between us and those who’re immoral, what does belong is purpose. If purpose rained down on all parties, us and the immoral then we’d both better understand how to manage our sex lives, lets say the management guidelines from the New Testament rained down on us both. In such a case you would see both parties cherish sex as an intimacy shared by a man and woman who’ve been bonded together by a covenant. The immoral person would realize that the act of rape doesn’t agree with the intended purpose for sex, the human trafficker who sells kids to sex houses for example would understand that sex was not intended to be managed the way it is managed in a sex house.

    Now do you think the manager of the sex house has any problem with what they do? Maybe, or maybe not. But science is not going to help the manager of a sex house make a decision. A text that explains how to manage life will help the sex house manager. In the same way, the New Testament has and still does help the child baring woman find reason, and not just trust another human ideology, but trust a deeper meaning and greater purpose for her life than “life randomly started with no purpose.”

    Science doesn’t attempt to preach to us what life’s purpose is or whether life has a purpose, but, because science doesn’t explain this it can’t be trusted as the best source for this information. The New Testament does preach this quite plainly and pretty well in some areas, it helps us understand “why.”

    So, I’m open to philosophical objections, but I’m not open to rants about evolution, I personally don’t accept evolution(chimpanzee evolving into homo sapien) at.. all… because we humans have a measly amount of evidence for what happened prior to 100BC, and whether I trust what’s been found or not I’ve found that believing that humans evolved doesn’t help me at all in life because I’m not pursuing a vocation where I need to know it. I mean, “humans evolved from chimpanzees” .. ok, what’s next? It’s a new day, how does this information help me? Are scientists studying current chimpanzees and from this studying coming up with all these great things that are helping me live my life? No. What do you get from studying how one being changed into another? I think you get non-sense, because since as far back as the first bit of written history we have we’ve been human! If we were less advanced humans who wrote down less advanced things, then great, maybe those things can help us, but here we are today and I don’t see evolution or any form of scientific study helping me decide whether or not I should have sex before I get married. I need something personal to my being to tell me that, something that understands me better than I understand myself, Something non-human that knows life like the back of it’s hand.. not a thermo table in the back of a text book..

    Science is observation, observing something afterwards, you dig up something but you observe it in it’s afterwards-state, you start a reaction and study what happens afterwards. Life is afterwards, the “thing” that caused the first living organism to exist did what? It caused it. That means the “thing” that caused our earliest known living state in the evolution chain did something when it caused us. Did it decide there was purpose for life?

    Today we wonder what purpose is, we buy lots of books that we think will help us figure out what our purpose is in this life, we wonder, a lot, actually, we wonder so much that we become enslaved by wondering to the point that we get tired of wondering and want to just see numbers so we can “feel” more comfortable about our existence. I was at this point, I REALLY wanted to know what life was for, I found life to be about nothing but impressing others and struggling to do so and I felt that if that was it then I’d rather just die young, Then.. I tried to figure out what the atheists were saying, I stopped wondering about life and what it really and truly was and just let scientific reports make me comfortable.. but I didn’t want to stay comfortable because I felt deep within my being that I was existing for the wrong reason, I felt there was more to it then feeling comfortable with my statistics and human knowledge and using them to define my own purpose on earth, I couldn’t grasp purpose with human-made ideologies, I got tired after trying to grasp purpose and not feeling like the results were adequate enough, after wanting more answers, I wondered could there be more answers on the other end of the spectrum?

    The God-side of the spectrum, the side where human reasoning SHRINKS and wonder takes over completely in order to find some special ending? So I was so determined that I set out to seek spiritual things, I wanted to just see and make sure I was doing enough.. before I even got off to a good start my best friend who I had known since we were 7 y/o (i’m now 27) told me he found the God Jesus and was going to follow Jesus’ ways. He simply gave me a Holy Bible and told me to focus on the New Testament and let it define the Old Testament. I decided I would put the supposed ‘truth of God’ in this supposed ‘Holy’ book to the test so I started doing exactly what it said, repenting, praying, etc. etc. Jesus stuff.

    At first I didn’t notice much, but before I knew it really intense things began to happen just like I had read and still read in the New Testament, I would pray in as similar a fashion as I could understand from studying the New Testament for people to be healed and God would heal them when I called on Him in Jesus’ name. I asked for the same things to fill up my being that I read about and they filled me up, so much that my appearance changed and my personality too to the extent that people noticed I was different. I didn’t completely understand it, they’re still lots of gray areas, not as many as 8 years ago when I started this spiritual pursuit, but there have been unmistakably real occurrences backed by non-Christian witnesses and ambulance records etc. that God is there and responding to me. I never thought any of it was possible, but I gave my life to it and it returned BIG time.

    If I went to court to prove the things that God has done to heal people when I’ve called on Him to, there would be ample evidence to show it really happened. I mean I watched it with my own eyes as a sober human being and that should be plenty enough, but there is legit evidence in other forms as well. Once I put the truth of God to the test and realized that the results weren’t phony but that they lined up with what I had read, I wanted MORE, I wanted to see how much I could experience.

    Sure enough I got to occurrences that were even more miraculous in some ways than others, like when I prayed in a whispering voice for a lady that was 30 ft away and later she told me what she heard in her head while she was hyperventilating and it was verbatim what I had prayed, then someone near her at the time tells me that this woman said she heard someone praying and asked, “who is that praying?” The woman didn’t know I was 30 ft away or that I was aware of what was happening and was praying in a whispering voice for the situation. Then the lady quickly recovered overnight and didn’t even need any medical treatment though she had passed out.

    I mean, if you really think that science can disprove the personal things that happen in the lives of humans that can barely be explained by humans then think again. We are complex beings that can’t be fully understood…

    Today I’m pretty certain of my morals, and I also know that if I’m in a complicated situation that I will know how to make the right choice. And all this has nothing to do with science, honestly I haven’t looked to science in the past 8 years for any answers and I’ve had a great life and helped lots of people and have really flourished. I respect science, I am a dual major in college, senior in mechanical engineering and sophomore in environmental science. I don’t expect science to ever have any answers for me morally, I’ve found my answers from the “thing” that caused the first form of my being to exist long ago. And for me that “thing” is a Divine Being I call Jesus.

    I also now accept as of 8 years ago that seeking purpose as a means to managing your morality is a better method than seeking a scientific approach to morality. I’ve found that when life’s purpose is defined it in-turn defines my morality to enough of an extent that I can make a right choice. I see science failing miserably to explain life’s purpose whereas for example I see the New Testament succeeding greatly, not completely, just greatly.

    1. 28.1
      Shifty

      Where to begin?

      Ok, I agree with your contention that we will become better at making good moral decisions if we have access to the source of morality. As a corollary, I believe there is a source of morality. Suppose you’re playing a complicated game with many ways to win and lose and all sort of rules about how you can legally move your pieces. There is an optimal (or maybe a choice of optimal) move you can make, though it’s likely very hard to discern, and there certainly are some moves that are clearly better than others. There is a source of the ranking/ordering of these moves. However, this source is not the inventor of the game, or even some big book of the perfect move for any board position. The source is the goals of the game itself. Any decision should be weighed against how well it helps you achieve the goals. If the inventor tells me what to do, or the book suggests a move, I trust it only as far as it’s clear to me that that’s the best decision for achieving the goals.

      The source of my (and everyone else’s) morality is my (or their) values–the things I think are good. Sometimes that’s not always clear, especially when two values conflict with each other. This is why “lifeboat” problems and other dilemmas are useful; they help me figure out how much I value various things. Knowing this source does enable me to make better decisions. Some book of “moral rules” or some entity telling me what to do will be trusted only to the extent that I believe it will promote these values.

      I don’t think science can tell me what I should value (or at least not do the whole job). One might say, “Science is the best method we have for finding truth, so that should inform your values.” Notice however that this rests on an a priori valuing of truth. Likewise, determining my values by what you claim your god tells me to values rests on an a priori valuing of tradition and authority and divine command (not to mention a strong devaluing of truth, reality, and avoiding harm to my fellow man).

      But wait, you say, how can I tell you you’re actions are immoral if we have different values? Shouldn’t we strive to have the same values? That first question brings up a good point. If there was someone who valued illusion and causing harm and unfairness and asceticism, we would view each other’s actions as highly immoral. This is because, say it with me, MORALITY IS ABSOLUTE RELATIVE TO A SET OF VALUES. No values, no morality. If you don’t have a way of distinguishing good from bad, you have no way of distinguishing good from bad actions. A board with pieces on it has no best moves unless the game has goals. If this person exists, the best I can hope for is that enough people share my values, and we do what we can to minimize his ability to act immorally. If I’m really good, I might be able to show this person that his actions are in fact in conflict with his value system and he should change them, but that need not be the case.

      I also would say that we should strive to have the same values. You’re gonna try here to say that we could do that by all accepting the values of the New Testament. We could. We could also do it by all valuing profit margins above all else, avoiding harm to hippos, fervent nationalism, or all sort of other things. But I don’t want these values. I like my values thank you very much (even if I’m not quite sure what all of them are). The only way you will convince me to change them is by finding the most fundamental values and convincing me that these require me to hold values different from the ones I do. Likewise, I’m pretty sure that’s the only way I can change your values, even if you don’t realize it.

      So finding the source is good. But the source isn’t some morality giver from up high, nor is it The Big Book of Morals. The source is the things you value. The things you consider to be good are the source of the actions you consider to be good. So please go find your source. I suggest doing so by thinking hard about moral dilemmas and why they’re dilemmas.

    2. 28.2
      John Kruger

      I’m not concerned with anything that we humans have observed as a platform for answering moral questions.

      There is a lot to the latest response, but this sticks out. If no observations are allowed to inform your opinion, I see little value in engaging with you on the topic. If you are going to base your actions on a vacuum and ignore observable consequences of your actions, I do not know how you can consider yourself moral in any sense. I hope this is not the case.

      Not that you seem to be willing to respond to direct criticisms, but you also keep abusing the word “purpose”, which presupposes an intelligent agent. There is no “purpose” if an intelligent agency is not present. Questions like “what is the purpose of life” just sneak god in so that the question can remain coherent. Different people have different purposes for life and many other things, but there is no purpose inherent to anything except relative to an entity with specific goals. What is the purpose of blue? The answer depends on the entity we are talking about, and makes no sense if there is no entity.

    3. 28.3
      ethanmyerson

      This correlates topically with what I call the “atheists problem,” where EVERY atheist has something that has them adopting a Godless world-view, but no matter what it is, it’s never something that the atheist properly questions.

      In a sea of inaccuracies, this one stuck out as needing attention. I haven’t adopted a Godless world view. Rather, I’ve not adopted a God world view. There’s a significant difference.

    4. 28.4
      Jasper of Maine

      Instead of tackling this line by line, I’ll respond to key points.

      Many of you understand human life to have evolved over a long period. You base this on research that was done from as early as 100 BC perhaps. I’m not concerned with anything that we humans have observed as a platform for answering moral questions.

      Then you aren’t taking the truth seriously. Human observation is all that we have. Formalize that as science, and it’s the single most effective tool for discerning reality that we have. There’s literally no other tool available that can be shown to even remotely work.

      The Bible’s grade on morality is F-, it gets it wrong so often.

      theories based on observations of the natural world that attempt to define human morals are not reliable.

      It’s the only thing we’ve got, outside of making shit up. It also jives with observation. Humans have been bad at morality, and steadily getting better. You’d expect that with an imperfect system.

      Proceeding this being was another entity of some type that allowed the not so evolved being to exist.

      Evidence please. You’re the one saying that it’s “educated guesses at best” (which it’s not – it’s evidence based).

      If you cannot demosntrate your claim, and argumentation based on that claim automatically fails, because it would merely be an assumption at that point.

      We will readily admit that abiogenesis is not well known, however, to shoehorn in a God as an explanation is an Argument from Ignorance.

      you can agree in either case that there was some “thing” that caused the “being” to first exist before it started to evolve

      At which point? Abiogenesis, or the Big Bang? We actually don’t know whether something can come from nothing, or not. It seems unlikely based on our rudementary understanding of how the universe works, but formulating an argument from “well we haven’t seen it happen yet”, it tenuous at best.

      Did it give the being a brain to be used for a certain purpose up to a certain point and then for different purposes further along it’s evolution?

      You keep using this term “being”. The first life were simple single celled organisms, then colony organisms (Like a Volvox), then true multicellular organisms, and on. It took a long time before any kind of rudementary nervous system started to form, and it was little by little, generation after generation.

      There was no point in which something “gave us a brain”. It wasn’t required any more than it was required for something to give us bladders.

      The problem is that science can’t reach these facts, because no scientist has a time machine,

      Yes, they can, through evidence. You know, that thing you don’t like to use. Ever.

      Time machines aren’t required to build a reasonable model of the history of the planet and it’s life.

      honestly scientist don’t know where to start, they need a miracle, they need this “thing” that caused the first “being” to fall in their lap so they can understand (even if it did they may not understand it).

      No, no, and No.

      You are simply wrong here. Where you start depends on the field you are specializing, such as cosmology, geology or biology. The answers to those are the Big Bang, Earth formation, and Abiogenesis, respectively. These aren’t hard questions. No miracle required.

      The things you are saying are so disconnected from reality, I’m honestly wondering if you aren’t high.

      No, we don’t need to “first thing” to investigate and understand cosmology, abiogenesis, etc. I don’t need to know how crude oil forms in order to understand what it is and how to use it. I don’t need to know anything about abiogenesis to investigate and understand how a liver works.

      Not one person can decide that the first “being” or “beings” were not caused for a reason, or caused so that they may function in a certain way, there’s nothing to study to prove this inaccurate.

      You’re shifting the burden of proof, thus, your concern is irrelevant. If you are asserting that there’s a purpose to life, above and beyond what’s directly observable, you have assumed a burden of proof that you must meet, or no one is required to believe you.

      Today we draw on scientific theories that have done nothing but observe life in it’s current state, and that’s fine, but, the results are not capable by any means of determining what’s right/wrong.

      We can analysze evidence about how life was in the past.
      Secondly, yes, it does give us a framework for understanding what could be considered right and wrong.

      Look, this is easy. I can sum it up for you real quick.
      Our species is a social species that evolved into a nich of cooperation. We were able to team up to takle large food resources like mammoth. Harm is antithetical to cooperation, like water is antithetical to fire. The humanoid groups who survived were the ones who decided it would be best to minimize harm within the group – natural selection at play. This becomes the basis for our morality – minimizing harm and maximizing benefit.

      Easy. No god required.

      The only way we can find results that can help us morally is if we seek the source… and… we aren’t the source,

      It doesn’t matter how often you assert that we aren’t the source. The evidence is against you.

      Evidence. Now.

      but we’re making ourselves the source, as if we came into existence to define our own purpose!

      What? No. Our existence has no intrinsic purpose. We happened to evolve on a planet that happened to spawn life. There’s no meaning or purpose to that.

      Purpose is not considered by the scientific community, purpose in this sense is a philosophical pursuit.

      Of course not. Hammers don’t teach us anything about purpose either. They’re not supposed to. They’re tools.

      Why did the a “thing” of some sort cause any “being” to exist in the first place? Did the “thing” have intelligence? Was the “thing” just a process that randomly happened free of purpose?

      We don’t know any of that. It is illogical to build an argument based on what we don’t know, therefore this is irrelevant.

      If we don’t find purpose then why do we even live?

      Again, evolution. All creatures with nervious systems have a survival instinct. Do you know why? Those that didn’t are now extinct. This is a behavior that would emerge very early on.

      One of the key problems you seem to have here is the difference between “intrinsic purpose to life and existence”, and purpose on a personal level.

      I generate my own purpose and meaning all by myself. I am not so feeble minded and pathetic that I need some great entity to hold my hand and deliver it to me on a silver platter. My purpose bursts forth from the sheer power of my own mind. I need no other.

      Or are we completely convinced that we exist to define our own purposes and define why we live?

      I don’t know about “We”, but those of us who aren’t in the trap of being erroneously convinced that we need to get our meaning/purpose from an external source have no problem with this. I feel bad for those who have that handicap.

      How do we know we can trust our own human-made world views to lead us to the best conclusions concerning morality?

      Because they work. How do we know we can trust our own capacity to make car engines that work? Demonstration.

      The goal is minimize harm and maximize benefit. It’s fairly easy to see if a particular moral code is successful toward this end.

      The crazy thing is that we have the audacity, even though we don’t know if this “thing” that caused our first forms to exist

      Begging the question – you’re assuming there was a “thing” that caused our first forms to exist.

      Is it then ok to not trust science for answers like this? YES, it’s actually logical, because science fails miserably without a time machine to find an answer to the ‘purpose or no purpose question.’

      Sure, it’s okay to distrust things. If, however, you make assertions without evidence, you are just as wrong.

      What you’re saing here is complete gibberish. It’s like saying “Awww shucks, this screwdriver isn’t telling me anything about the purpose of existence.”, so apparently let’s make something up!

      If the first being came into existence with a purpose, then the root of that purpose defines their existence and the way they should manage their existence.

      And where did that being get it’s purpose? Of course, this is all just waxing philosophical with no connection to the real world.

      Step 1 is to demonstrate that there was a purposeful “first being”. It’s nonsensical to contemplate anything about its nature if that isn’t first established.

      The root of that purpose defines what we “call” morals today, such a purpose helps us understand in any situation what is right/wrong to do.

      I don’t even know how to get from A to B on this. So morality is simply whatever jives with this entity’s purpose? How arbitrary.

      In the case of morals now we can decide that human life should exist without purpose and that instead humans should all define their own purposes and not base their morality on any sort of intended purpose.

      We can decide that regardless of whether there’s a “purposeful moral being”. And we have. We don’t need your permission first before deciding what the purpose to our lives are going to be.

      The BIG deal here is that “birth” is not a function of life that we ourselves added!

      You’re right! Evolution did! So WHAT?! You keep bringing up this “We didn’t invent ourselves” or “.. our intellect” as though it’s somehow relevant to … something.

      The “thing” that caused the first “being” to exist that you believe evolved into a human “being” IS was added “birth” to the equation

      Evidence! This isn’t “The 1000 Undemonstrated Assertions Hour”.

      The evolution of reproduction is actually very well understood. We don’t need to insert magic into anything we don’t understand.

      the “thing” created an organism as we understand it that was capable of evolving and reproducing, why did the “thing” want “birth” to be a function of life? WE WILL NEVER KNOW, and this is where certainty as I love to call it helps us decide if things like abortion are right/wrong.

      STOP! You are so far down the rabbit hole, beyond the point of no return.

      It’s just undemonstrated assertion upon undemonstrated assertion upon undemonstrated assertion, with absolutely zero evidence to back any of it up in any way whatsoever.

      This is noise.

      I would ask why listening to this entity’s opinion on whether abortion is right/wrong makes it right/wrong. It seems to me you’ve just pushed back your problem by one step.

      Look up Euthyphro’s Dilemma.

      Birth is not a function that we added to life when it originated, we actually had nothing to do with it.

      Yes! But that doesn’t mean that some “first being” had anything to do with it either. That part you actually need evidence for.

      In this case we have to decide, is “birth” a function of life for a reason?

      Yes, because if it didn’t, life wouldn’t exist anymore. As long as we’re generalizing “birth” as any kind of reproduction.

      So if sex and child birth aren’t our additions, then can we really be sure when we define them ourselves that we’re creating perfect definitions? NOPE,

      What? Defining childbirth only requires observation. We can also define farting by observing it. You seem to be operating under an assumption that “perfect definitions” are required for anything.

      but why do we need to know what the purposes of sex and child birth are?

      We don’t. Animal’s don’t know that, but they still do it. What the fuck is your point?

      Isn’t it obvious that sex is simply for sharing intimacy with another being and child birth is obviously good because you’re following through after sex and wanting to create another life on earth to enjoy?

      Begging the question – you’re assumign that, outide of procreation, that there has to be a “purpose” for sex. Sex is part of reproduction, which is an instinct drive that emerged from evolution.

      Well, I just defined the purpose of sex and child birth. This is something that science can’t do.

      Yes, it can. Procreation. Done. If you mean why reprodcution happens, sure. If you mean some kind of transcending purpose being it, of course not. But again, that’s assuming there is one.

      Something else science can’t do: Define morals. Scientific research can tell us how morals have changed over time, sure, research can tell us lots about how moralities differ from each other, but you seriously think i’m going to follow some human-made scientific process to help me choose right/wrong?

      Well, you don’t have to, but just because you have a bias against science doesn’t mean it can’t. I’ve already explained this a couple times, but I’ll add that most of the time, science doesn’t. It’s a combination of a basis in evolution, our being a social species, and observation as to what moral codes work or don’t work towards achieving our goals of getting along.

      No god required. No magic required.

      There is no way to see if there was an intended purpose for sex and child birth, or a specific way that such functions are supposed to be managed.

      It doesn’t matter if there was an intended purpose for sex and child birth, or whether we can detect it. Our morality is our own, and is not dictated by another external authority. The question is whether we’ve decided whether it’s moral or not, based on core values and observation of effects.

      Scientists think that it’s all up to them to define to the world how to manage your sex life and your decision to deliver a child or not, it’s not all up to a scientist,

      No, they don’t. Please stop lying now.

      I found an ancient text that shares with me how to manage my life on earth, and it’s not written by a scientist.

      You mean that book that was written by bronze age goat herders who wrote bronze-age moralityh, in all it’s primitive glory? The Bible is the single most evil book I’ve ever read.

      I am genuinely scared of anyone who derives morality from it.

      I can answer any question with what it teaches me because it also defines purpose to an extent that allows me to see clearly what’s right/wrong.

      THAT’S TOTALLY AWESOME FOR YOU! Now, the rest don’t feel like arbitrarily relying on what some bronze-age goat herders thought about morality.

      In addition to this the text is believed to be inspired by the “thing” or source of life when it first existed.

      FINALLY you say something that isn’t totally gibberish and fanciful. Yes, it’s BELIEVED, to be inspirited by that “thing”.

      NOW PROVE IT

      Science can’t make any 100% reliable claim about “beings” when they first existed, because scientist don’t have time machines.

      Listen carefully.
      1) Time machines aren’t required to build reasonably accurate models about the past.
      2) Absolute certainty and reliability are not required.

      You can’t be 100% certain that your car is 100% reliable. You still use it. And guess what? It’ll probably get you to where you’re going!

      Only an idiot would say “I can’t be 100% certain my car won’t break down, so I’ll walk the 200 miles instead”.

      What matters is demonstrating claims beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s all we can do in this practical reality with any kind of efficacy.

      Therefore, scientists shouldn’t expect their definitions to be completely trusted as the only guidelines for managing morals.

      1) SCIENTISTS DON’T DECIDE MORALITY
      2) COMPLETE TRUST ISN’T REQUIRED. 95% IS PROBABLY GOOD ENOUGH

      Does it really make sense given the things we know for certain to tell another human how to manage their ability to choose right from wrong?

      If it’s all we’ve got, then yes. And no, arbitrarily choosing to follow books written by bronze age goat herders doesn’t fix this problem.

      But no, actually, that’s not even how we do it. It’s a slow consensus over time by an entire cominity as a whole.

      In the case of an abortion which includes the elements of sex and birth it’s not right to tell a woman to abort her baby, unless, you’re the one who purposed birth in the first place, another-words, if you’re the “thing” that added the function of birth and sex to evolution then yes,

      Aaaaaaand we’re done. I can’t take any more of this blithering idiocy.

      Your version of morality is literally THE SINGLE MOST PRIMITIVE FORM OF MORLAITY THAT COULD POSSIBLY EXIST.

      It’s right or wrong because some guy entity thing SAID SO!

      Morality, as we humans have defined it, is about harm and benefit, suffering and happiness. Where are those considerations from this entity? You’ve established that it doesn’t matter.

      If your “first being” said abortion is right or wrong because it said so, that doesn’t answer why it’s wrong. It only answers that there’s some entity who has that opinion.

      I would flip if off and tell it to go fuck itself.

      I’m sorry, but your “morality” is arbitrary and vacuous. Your assumptions about purpose and meaning are unending. Your evidence is non-existent. Your inability to build any kind of coherent argument that isn’t complete gibberish is astonishing.

      This conversation is a complete waste of time.

      Step 1: Evidence

      1. Jasper of Maine

        To think, I only made it about halfway through that tsunami of insanity.

      2. Jonathan

        You assume that the truth “can” be taken seriously, how seriously can it really be taken given the nature of things? Human observation is most definitely required for making a moral decision, however the guidelines that we follow to make moral decisions can be drawn from other reliable places besides a scientific study. The Holy Bible works very well, you just don’t care to test it because you think you really know what you’re talking about..

        If you honestly think that you can just grade the “Holy Bible,” the book that is believed to be inspired by a divine being, and you expect me to take your grade seriously when you’re no scholar on biblical studies then you just wasted your time with that statement. You likely view the whole Old Testament out of context like tons of atheists do and just quote random little passages so that they fit into your grading and push out an F- .. don’t crawl up an ancient tree unless you use ancient wisdom, your modern day understandings of an ancient text will never be worth anything, I wouldn’t trust anyones modern day understanding of an ancient text except the ones who’ve shared their experiences from the ancient times, what you consider “wrong” morally is based on your human ideology and misinterpretation, what I understand as right from the Holy Bible for morality is what it literally implies in context. It’s proven to be a great tool for moral issues for thousands of people already! You giving it an F- is like you showing up to an awards show after the recognition has taken place and just slapping everyone in the face.. foolish choice..

        You assume that I’ve made sh*t up. Well, I’ve pointed to written ideas from an ancient text. You can’t currently prove that the ancient text is made up, so don’t assume that what I’ve pointed to is made up sh*t. It’s proven useful as I’ve mentioned, it’s all I’ve drawn on to properly observe moral issues and make good moral decisions for the past 8 years. The other thing is that I’m pointing to something you seem to be afraid of for no good reason and that’s a universal moral system that’s already laid out for us. The imperfectness of humanities morals which are based on humanities human ideologies and observations is something I expect. I have learned over the past 8 years that the moral system I follow that’s based on the ideology expressed in the Holy Book is not imperfect. I have a system that works.

        Everything is evidence based. Evidence is compiled based on human observation. Our very existence, and every so-called atomic particle of it is post-product, it’s here because something else caused it, what is the “something else?” We know it’s there, for if the “something else” didn’t exist then in-turn we wouldn’t exist.. yes?

        Scientist have assumed that gravity behaves a certain way. That’s great. I’m glad scientists have done this. After you finish reading the reports about gravity you “should” end up saying things similar to those of Albert Einstein, “If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.” Anotherwords science can reveal what we “call” gravity to a certain extent, Albert realizes that he can’t reach a full definition but can only reveal things about what has “already been defined.”
        Therefore, scientist assume gravity behaves a certain way, maybe it always does behave the way that scientists have revealed it to behave, or maybe it doesn’t always behave that way, problem is, humans didn’t define(or cause) gravity, some other existence caused gravity, period, end of story.

        Wow, I think you have a time machine, you seem to talk as if you’re so sure of yourself. What if the first life wasn’t a single celled organism? Could you ever tell if it wasn’t? I can never tell, and I don’t expect any ancient book to reveal super deep history like this in detail ever. I think you should not
        ever expect any modern day theories to so clearly define your ancient history either, unless they use time machines to gather their data?

        It’s really weird, and honestly scary that you really think you can just dig up some stuff and do some tests in this modern day and then from these properly define a history that isn’t even recorded.. I mean, are you mad? You seriously think humans need to be defining the origins of themselves? We don’t have anything to work with without the time machine, I hope you’ll face this.

        EVERYTHING about the origin of the earth and life is a hard question, it’s like you’re just deciding, “well I’m gonna skip over all these loopholes and just let the numbers “talk” to me and believe what they say.” Hello? Unless you recreate the beginning of the earth and life on earth you have no answers.. cosmology, geology, biology, big bang, these are all loaded assumptions, I trust these assumptions personally I do, but I would NEVER trust them to help me understand my true origin or the origin of this earth I walk on, such answers are not reachable, most scientist get this, some atheists remain foolish.. don’t remain foolish.

        I’m willing to provide a burden of proof. But I can’t do so in a comment feed on the internet. All I can do here is point you to the purpose that revealed itself to me because I choose to follow the terms laid out in the New Testament of the Holy Bible. I could explain much more if we were face to face. Many atheists have found Christ just by talking to me, they leave their brainy prison and finally allow them selves to wonder and seek a spiritual answer.

        Honestly I’m afraid of what would happen if I followed the minimizing harm and maximizing benefit ideology, as vague and senseless as I find it to be, I would much rather adopt the written teachings of the ancient Holy Bible than to follow some scientific understanding that is not defined enough and never will be.

        There you go again, you sound fully convinced that the human understanding of existence is the end all. You gotta realize that you can’t just assume this without full evidence.. This is the other “problem” I find with atheists, they tell me I can’t imply absolutes when they turn around and imply them! Come on, this is foolishness at it’s best, it’s not using sense, don’t go telling me my world is this and that and expect me to just believe such a simple and absolute statement without complete and absolute proof. This is how the atheists burden of proof actual grows larger than that of the theist. They clearly state absolutes and then expect people to believe it based on their inadequate data. If you wanna define the origin of life and earth then get complete data, build your time machine and stop running off at the mouth about it and show me. Christian’s have their ideology defined in the Holy Bible and it’s an ideology that’s burden of proof is to be discovered on a personal level by the reader. The Holy Bible is set up this way, you can’t define your questions and expect answers to them when you’re questions don’t apply. The Holy Bible invites you to smash the burden of proof through testing to see if God is there through genuine repentance and faith, thousands of people who really surrender everything to God find a gut wrenching and beyond-reason experience that does smash their burden of proof, for them. This is a different discussion but I had to explain a little bit about it..

        You have a bad understanding of the God Jesus if you think Jesus just holds your hand and delivers everything to you on a silver platter, read the New Testament and actually study what it’s saying. Your off.

        How are you completely sure that you’re generating the right purpose for yourself? Your proof is unreachable without seeking the source that caused you for answers. You can’t prove that you’re not feeble minded and pathetic without this purpose, and you can’t prove that this purpose isn’t reachable.. you’re left with challenges that you can resolve, but you’d rather just generate your own purpose and base it all on some other human ideologies, because, you don’t care to think enough.. you don’t want to wonder, you wanna let observations carry you to a place that you want to define as not feeble, though you can’t really tell if it’s feeble anyways..

        Tons of human-made world-views fail miserably, they cause whole civilizations to suffer, they cause people to die. I’m not saying that their haven’t been “religious” views held by a group of people that haven’t done the same. Then again, I’m not religious.. the Holy Bible itself defines religion and it also reveals through written records who Jesus is, I’m a Christian first and because I’m a Christian I do purely religious things like visiting the sick, or the widow.. this is again a side topic, but there is certainly a difference between “religious people” and “Christians.”

        Basically you’re a complete naturalist, you only care about things in the real world, You don’t see a reason in the short life you’re living to wonder why the real world exists and what it’s all here for. My dad is like this, he’s stuck in reality. It’s proven to shape him into an extremely unpleasant person to be around. I have grasped a definition for my reality, I’ve looked outside of reality for something that will help me see it for what it’s really worth. What I found happened to help me experience this reality to an extreme that my dad is actually jealous of, he almost cried right in front of me because he wanted to experience the things I have. Yet, my dad keeps himself so stuck in reality because he thinks it’s not safe outside of it. I’m here to prove to atheists that it’s SAFER outside of it..

        Evidence gives us so much. When we’re talking beyond reality. Evidence may or may not exist to prove ideas that are beyond reality. In my case I don’t expect to give any evidence to you that will help you also understand that a Divine entity is there and that it’s important to know the entity in a personal way. My world-view is based on my personal testimony of what answers I got when I used the power I had to change the way I was living. Another-words to understand the opposite end of the spectrum, the theist side, you can’t expect to draw on evidence that is empirical, you have to draw on evidence that is beyond your reality. It doesn’t mean this evidence doesn’t exist, it just means you don’t access it the same way. I wanted to access evidence for God so that I felt comfortable following what the New Testament taught. The New Testament explained that I must accept life on God terms and not on my own terms to access the evidence of His existence. So, I accepted life on God’s terms and sure enough I was able to access evidence. It’s not evidence that you can just pour into a tube and heat up, or evidence that you can take a picture of, it’s not supposed to be! This is another what I call “atheist problem,” You seem to think that the evidence you require is what you’re supposed to be asking for, but it kind of relates to your other problem where you question things out of context; atheists think they are asking the right questions and are demanding the right answers as to understanding if God exists or not. They’re not! They’re asking natural questions based on their natural reality. They need to breakdown and accept that that their natural reality has come from something. They need to accept that this “something” is supernatural and not common to the modern day natural reality that they study. In the same way God does not always conform to our natural reality for proof! Atheists want God to just show up and show them about Himself at the drop of a hat. How can they make such demands and be fully convinced it’s right? This relates to the third “Atheist problem,” atheists are fully convinced that they do the right things in their natural reality because they think they have defined their reality to an extent that is factual. They haven’t defined it this far though! They don’t even know how much they have defined reality! Albert Einstein made it clear, science reaches to an extent.. it always has and it always will, again and again I must say, that without a time machine the scientists can’t build the kind of facts about our natural reality that they truly want to build. Mystery is the burden of proof for the atheist, the mystery behind what they observe.. again I love what science has revealed and I think the discoveries are so helpful and I wouldn’t want a world without them, but science as a vehicle for defining morality is not reasonable.

        1. Jasper of Maine

          I don’t suppose you could be more concise? Could you make your argument in 4 medium sized paragraphs or less?

          I’m not compelled to wade through another inane wall of text.

          1. Jdog

            He’s Gish Galloping. Any argument we skip over for being incredibly stupid, ignore in favor of responding to another argument within the limited time we allot to posting here, or accidently miss in the giant walls of text he posts is an argument that “we didn’t answer”, so he can claim false victory.

        2. Tomasz R.

          “I’ve looked outside of reality [...] What I found [...]”

          What was the technical way you used to “look outside reality”? Psylocibin, meditation, 40-day fasts, constant prayer?

          1. Jonathan


            God is believed to exist outside of reality. In the New Testament it lays out how we seek God (the supposed entity outside of our reality) on His terms. If you’re unable to reach a Holy Bible then check out this link for the general details:
            http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/gods-terms-and-conditions/

            I must also say that your question may be a problem, I think you’re “demanding” a technical answer that fits into your atheist brain world. Unfortunately, you have no way to completely show me that you’re demanding the right thing from me.. actually I’m not even sure why you came to the conclusion that demanding a “technical” response is what you should be doing..

            If you do study the theists’ main point, the Christian theist anyways, you see that we’re inviting you to find answers yourself by seeking God on His terms and experiencing the results..

            I’m not sure if you’re deciding to just demand what you want despite the main point I have to offer, or if you’re actually asking for a response that includes the actual way to reach the God outside of reality as explained in the Holy Bible..

            Please be more clear and make more sense for me to give you a better response.. are you looking for technical answers that please your naturalism? Or spiritual answers that you can actually test in your own life with your own time? Thanks

          2. Jasper of Maine

            Please be more clear and make more sense for me to give you a better response.. are you looking for technical answers that please your naturalism? Or spiritual answers that you can actually test in your own life with your own time? Thanks

            The problem with this approach is that my initial question is, for people like you who claim to have had personal experiences, how can we distinguish between your experience and delusion/hallucination?

            You say that we can try it out ourselves.

            Let’s say I do, and I do in fact have the same experience that you do. Problem – I’m still left with the initial question – how do I know that I’m not just having a hallucination or delusion?

            The question, which is in fact the most important question, “Is this true?”, has not been answered.

            This is why personal testimony, personal experience, etc, are completely worthless in terms of evidentiary value.

            Given that hallucinations/delusions are very common, and we have never confirmed any single supernatural claim, ever, in the entirety of our species, let alone a god, it’s much more likely that this is just yet another hallucination/delusion.

        3. Jdog

          Haven’t studied the Bible? Ooh, I know how to play this game.

          You haven’t spent years studying the Hindu religious scriptures (which were first written down approximately 2000 years before the first writings of the “Old Testament”), so you obviously can’t have an informed opinion on the existence of the Hindu gods.

          Repeat some variation of that argument for every other religion out there.

          Therefore, you cannot state that the Bible is correct if you’ve never extensively studied every other religious text. Right?

          Of course not.

          1. Gwynnyd

            Silly jdog! You’ve forgotten Jonathan’s most important point! Nothing that existed before 100 BC is credible because no one has a time machine to go look at it in person. Not even the Bible is credible, apparently, as most of the Old Testament was written and most of it’s events were supposed to have happened well before 100 BC.

            Jonathan, do you have even the *slightest* clue about who wrote your so-called-sacred texts and when and why? Hint – they didn’t spring inerrantly from a godly pen in 30 CE.

  29. 29
    jolly

    A child wouldn’t use these arguments. To say a woman can’t decide to have an abortion because she didn’t invent birth is to say I can’t eat because I didn’t invent food. I can’t drink because I didn’t invent water. If he followed his own thinking (I can’t call it reasoning), he can’t believe in god because he didn’t invent god. Luckily for him he did invent god and continues to add to his god every day.
    By the way, we must not have invented chess because we don’t have a time machine.

    1. 29.1
      Jonathan

      You’re missing the point. You’ve just applied a moral code in a universal way to a choice that’s obviously morally predictable. As I stated above, things like “taking care of your body” are obviously right to do. Please wake up and apply your own reasoning correctly here.

      The issue: ‘to abort or not to abort?’ is not a simple moral decision by any means, especially when you examine how human faculties are involved in making the decision. Humans have been eating for a long time! A baby is fed as it grows up, otherwise it wouldn’t grow, the faculties we use to choose to eat a meal are trained, our intellect and strength should always be used in almost all cases to find food so we can stay alive.

      With abortion, the intellect is challenged! One challenge I offer is one that asks the woman to examine the origins of the processes involved. Examining both what we call “birth” and what we call “sex.” Both birth and sex are not processes that we’re trained to do as little babies, little babies don’t have sex and don’t give birth. Instead what happens?? Oh yeah, our parents raise us according to what again? According to “their” world-views. Yep, so if the woman’s world-view is “Birth has no purpose, there are no assumed ways in which I am to manage my child baring life” and “sex has no purpose, there are no guidelines for how I should manage my sex-life” then these processes are just changes that happened to the early organisms as they evolved..

      …why I even evolved?.. I don’t know! Why did sex and birth have to be part of evolution? I don’t
      know, why I couldn’t a seed just pop out my butt and there be this abyss for me to throw it in if I don’t want it to grow into a child?-and another abyss to plant it in that would grow it into a child? I don’t know! I don’t know why these processes exist!, they just do, are there specific guidelines for handling my child baring life and my sex life? ..Well, all these other humans are trying to tell me how to do it.. but none of these humans decided that I would have these processes.. I just have
      them.. so.. yeah, I need to see if I can confront the source of these processes for a real understanding.. I’m really wondering what this is about, is there a truth out there related to sex and birth? Is any of this advice going to be worth taking? How can I know if there is a truth about these things? Is God really there? Have I ever tested to see? Why shouldn’t I test? Why should I test? Could I really get results if I did test? Could some truth I discover set me free from this moral
      dilemma?

      1. NorskVind

        I seriously cannot understand what the hell you are saying. Confront the source of birth and sex? What the hell does that even mean? Why in the world would someone need to go that far? We understand how sex and birth work, why would we need to find their “origins?”

        1. Jasper of Maine

          I think the point he was trying to make is sort of a “children plays with toys wrong” issue.

          You give a kid a play tool set (plastic hammers, etc). Later, you find the kid is using the hammer as a pretend ray gun.

          What this guy is suggesting is that we correct the child, “No! That’s not what the designers of the toy hammer had in mind! You’re using it wrong. Now play with the hammer RIGHT!”

          Meaning, we can tell what’s right/wrong with abortion if we look at the original designer’s purpose for reproduction was, hypothetically. Though, demonstrating that designer is necessary for the argument to be cogent.

  30. 30
    Ing

    Signal to noise ratio too large

  31. 31
    jacobfromlost

    I always find it amusing when a person says that their morality is better than other people’s morality because the other people’s morality comes from people.

    Those invoking “god’s morality” are people too, although they don’t seem to realize this in their argument.

    Reminds me of Ray Comfort saying, “I might be wrong, but god’s not wrong.” It’s like saying, “I might be wrong about anything except what I’m asserting about god. I can’t be wrong about that!”

    Then they go on to tell you that you are a person and therefore can’t be 100% sure, but they can be 100% sure because the god/morality they are asserting is not human…

    …forgetting the fact that they, the claimants, ARE HUMAN. Which is why none of them agree on what god wants, and strangely they ALWAYS agree with what they think their god is and wants.

    What a WEIRD coincidence. I wish I could convince myself the entire universe revolved around me, what I think, and what I want while projecting all of it onto a god so I look humble instead of slightly imbalanced while telling others they are only human so can’t assert the things I can.

    1. 31.1
      Aaron

      I agree with your comments, and I suspect it’s even odder than that. It’s basically saying that the strength of one’s morals has little or even nothing to do with the moral code itself but that the justifiability and value of one’s morality is merely a product of attribution.

      If all morals came from a deity, then regardless of whether we as individuals attributed our moral code to that deity or not, our morals would still be from that deity. If no morals came from a deity, then attributing it to a deity still has no impact on the value of those morals. In neither case can a theist claim their morals are superior. The only way they could claim such a thing is if a value differential came from the attribution of the origins of morals, rather than the value of the moral code itself.

      To use a “Hitler” analogy to really show how ridiculous this attributional value would be:

      Were Hitler’s actions somehow moral, on the basis of his theism meaning he attributed his actions to his deity? Conversely, if he were an atheist, does that lack of attribution to a deity make his actions bad, yet his actions would have been morally good if only he attributed his moral code to a deity?

      In other words, when a theist claims that their morality is superior due to their morals coming from a deity, they’re really claiming that attribution is more important than the actual origin, while ignoring the justifiability or actual value of their morality.

      It really goes to show that the whole focus on attribution is a red herring; either a moral code is moral or not, and the discussion on ‘where it came from’ has no bearing on its ability to be justified. It is simply another case of theism trying to avoid the hard work of justification of ideas by substitution of a discussion about an irrelevance.

    2. 31.2
      Jonathan

      Well, I’m not the one to do the “I’m better than you” spiel. I’m also not the one who will entertain any sort of competition between how you think and how I think..

      I simply share for those who care to read and ponder it. If they want to challenge what I’ve said, then great, but an “i’m better than you” spiel is worthless. Instead we can all read what’s said and personally ponder it. There need not be competition between my view and yours, what does that solve? There need not be any spouts about having the best moral code.

      I share everything knowing that an experience and a testing of my ideology is all that counts.. if you read it, great, but putting it into to practice is all that’s left after reading it, trying to disprove it with words can only sometimes be useful.

      I’ll tell you flat out, I’ll never be interested in accepting your moral code, I have put the one that I’ve adopted from the New Testament to the test and found that it works extremely well, beyond this I continue to put God’s truth to the test and have decided based on the results that I will adopt the world-view that the New Testament shares, and it’s a world-view that boastfully proclaims that I don’t need to adopt anything else as truth concerning morals, but instead use the supposed truth of the New Testament as my moral guide in life. Because of this, I’m never interested in “i’m better than you” or “lets see who does best in the competition.” These two ideas don’t apply to personal discovery very well at all, and I chose to go on a spiritual hunt 8 years ago that has allowed a personal revelation.. and because of the results I can only see others choosing to go on a similar hunt for answers instead of choosing to trust a “my ideas were better than yours” or “I win this competition” conclusion. It’s more of a, let me choose to test this in my personal life and see if it passes by proving to be the best idea. Or, let me search for a conclusion by not ignoring the way in this ideology is set up to be tested.

      This leads directly into yet ANOTHER “atheist problem,” atheists seem to think that they can judge perfectly whether or not their ideology was more sound than a theists’ ideology, and after they decide they can judge and they do judge they decide that the conclusion from judging is ALL that’s needed to justify what the theist has proclaimed.. WRONG.

      The way that you “should” correctly judge a theists’ ideology is according to what the ideology has proclaimed! Not according to your own judgements of whether the logicality of your argument or the theists argument was more sound!

      The theists ideology ultimately says to put the truth of God to the test in your own life. It ultimately invites you to test a personal experience. So, instead of actually testing it according to the terms laid out in the New Testament, what does the atheists do?? They judge that they shouldn’t try because they “think” that their logic is completely sound(this is another atheists problem, they assume absolutes just like theists do, but won’t admit it!). This itself is illogical, if you are arguing based on facts, then as a theist I will examine your facts, that’s “all i can do”… why? well there is no
      personal experience that is at the root of your argument! However, if the theists argues based on the gut-wrenching changes within a human being, the atheists seriously thinks they can dismiss this!!! What? You can’t dismiss it unless you test it to see if it’s hogwash.

      I have personally challenged many atheists with this problem and they’ve decided that they need to properly respond to the theists argument… and.. yep you guessed it, the New Testament states it itself!!!!: “Draw near to God and God will draw near to you!” And sure enough when the atheists’ I talk to truly take the dive and draw near to God they find Him! I wonder why they find Him? Maybe
      because it’s all about a personal relationship with God, where God does special things in your life that prove to you that He’s there and cares.. duh.. wake up atheists, don’t be foolish!

      1. Jasper of Maine

        This leads directly into yet ANOTHER “atheist problem,” atheists seem to think that they can judge perfectly whether or not their ideology was more sound than a theists’ ideology, and after they decide they can judge and they do judge they decide that the conclusion from judging is ALL that’s needed to justify what the theist has proclaimed.. WRONG.

        Please, stop lying for Jesus. I know it’s standard protocol, but please stop.

        1) Atheism does not have an ideology, and more than not collecting stamps is an ideology.

        2) We don’t claim or think that we can judge anything “perfectly”. Please stop with this tired canard of absolute certainty. It’s unrealistic.

        However, if the theists argues based on the gut-wrenching changes within a human being, the atheists seriously thinks they can dismiss this!!! What? You can’t dismiss it unless you test it to see if it’s hogwash.

        Your standards of evidence are pathetic.

        The reason we dismiss it is because it’s an incredibly inaccurate approach to knowledge.

        You can find plenty of personal testimony from those in other religions.

        My personal experience was praying for any kind of sign that God existed, never getting one, and then realizing that I’ve never encountered anything supernatural in my entire life. Ever. I sincerely wanted to believe, but I got nothing.

        But I’m sure that my “personal experience” trying what you’re talking about isn’t going to count for whatever special pleading reason you can come up with.

        How can we tell the difference between a personal experience with a god being real, and it being a host of psychological phenomenon, such as the placebo effect, confirmation bias, memory error, etc?

        The three above points is why personal testimony, and even my own personal experience, is absolutely abysmal in terms of having any capacity to determine truth.

        If this is all you’ve got to demonstrate, then the conversation is over, because you have nothing.

      2. Jasper of Maine

        In regards to the personal experience “test”, let me put it this way.

        It’s not a refusal to take that test. For most of us, we HAVE taken that test, and that’s why we’re atheist.

        I already have first hand experience with just how pathetically embarrassingly incompetently unreliable personal experience is for revealing the truth, especially when it comes to extraordinary claims.

        Subjective experience is ridiculously bad at being accurate, and one of the primary mechanisms of science is to cut down on that subjective error as much as possible, which is why it’s so effective.

        … unlike the faith approach of making shit up and calling it true.

      3. LykeX

        I simply share for those who care to read and ponder it. If they want to challenge what I’ve said, then great, but an “i’m better than you” spiel is worthless. Instead we can all read what’s said and personally ponder it. There need not be competition between my view and yours, what does that solve? There need not be any spouts about having the best moral code.

        My moral code is founded on the idea of killing you, you children, your parents your siblings and all of your other close relatives, so as to extinguish your diseased genetic line from the world.
        I’m sure you’ll agree that that’s a completely valid moral system, every bit as reasonable as your own.

        By the way, what’s your home address?

  32. 32
    Jonathan

    I’m not sure if some of you still want me to respond to the comments you made about my first long explanation of my ideology. It would be nice to see you pose your questions or comments again after I did my best to re-submit my ideas more clearly. If you don’t then I guess you don’t care, and that’s perfectly fine if that’s the case.

    1. 32.1
      Roger

      Just out of curiosity, what morals did you get from the New Testament? And can you answer in something other than a wall o’ text? Bullet points would be fine.

    2. 32.2
      Jasper of Maine

      You should really call the show here tonight (though I only thought of suggesting it now, 1h 15m before the show).

      It airs every Sunday from 4:30 to 5:30 pm Central US Time.

      If you can’t make it tonight, you should try next week. You really should run your ideas past the show.

      The live streaming is here

  33. 33
    jacobfromlost

    Johnathan: Well, I’m not the one to do the “I’m better than you” spiel. I’m also not the one who will entertain any sort of competition between how you think and how I think..

    Me: Then why invoke “tests”? (You are aware that how anyone things about anything that requires actions in reality can be compared and contrasted in terms of their actual outcomes, right?)

    Johnathan: I simply share for those who care to read and ponder it. If they want to challenge what I’ve said, then great, but an “i’m better than you” spiel is worthless. Instead we can all read what’s said and personally ponder it. There need not be competition between my view and yours, what does that solve? There need not be any spouts about having the best moral code.

    Me: You are talking out of both sides of your mouth. You can’t (out of one side) say there is no competition of views, and then (out of the other side) say that yours have been tested and passed. Those two things are mutually exclusive.

    Johnathan: I share everything knowing that an experience and a testing of my ideology is all that counts.. if you read it, great, but putting it into to practice is all that’s left after reading it, trying to disprove it with words can only sometimes be useful.

    Me: “Testing” is a defined term. In its useful sense, a test requires evidence to pass, and evidence is verifiable, reproducible, predictive, and falsifiable. If you are using “testing” in its useless sense (which you are), then you are simply invoking the word to pretend you have support for your views when you don’t. Tautologies/circular arguments are not support, nor are they a passed test.

    Johnathan: I’ll tell you flat out, I’ll never be interested in accepting your moral code,

    Me: You are confused about what atheists are, what a moral code is, and what accepting it entails.

    Johnathan: I have put the one that I’ve adopted from the New Testament to the test and found that it works extremely well,

    Me: Tested it in comparison TO WHAT, and in what way was it an objective TEST (the only meaningful sense of the word “test”)?

    Johnathan: beyond this I continue to put God’s truth to the test and have decided based on the results that I will adopt the world-view that the New Testament shares, and it’s a world-view that boastfully proclaims that I don’t need to adopt anything else as truth concerning morals, but instead use the supposed truth of the New Testament as my moral guide in life.

    Me: Can you delineate what that moral guide is (specifically) and how it is different from what you perceive my moral guide to be?

    Johnathan: Because of this, I’m never interested in “i’m better than you” or “lets see who does best in the competition.” These two ideas don’t apply to personal discovery very well at all, and I chose to go on a spiritual hunt 8 years ago that has allowed a personal revelation..

    Me: You SAY you are not interested in “i’m better than you” while everything else says exactly the opposite for no apparent reason. Why? If you really think your moral code is better, and you really think you abide by it, and you really think our moral code is different and thus do not abide by your code to the degree you do, and you have tested your moral code, then BY DEFINITION you are saying you are better morally than we are! (And if morals are not the means by which we judge good people from “less good” or “bad” people, what is, and what’s the point of this conversation if morals are NOT the way to judge? The entire conversation becomes pointless without that means.)

    Johnathan: and because of the results I can only see others choosing to go on a similar hunt for answers instead of choosing to trust a “my ideas were better than yours” or “I win this competition” conclusion. It’s more of a, let me choose to test this in my personal life and see if it passes by proving to be the best idea. Or, let me search for a conclusion by not ignoring the way in this ideology is set up to be tested.

    Me: If you are NOT saying your ideas are better, what’s the point of arguing for them? What’s the point in testing them? What’s the point in “proving [them] to be the best idea”? You’re saying two mutually exclusive things simultaneously and apparently completely unaware of it.

    Johnathan: This leads directly into yet ANOTHER “atheist problem,” atheists seem to think that they can judge perfectly whether or not their ideology was more sound than a theists’ ideology,

    Me: It would be a problem if any of that were true. It’s not. No human can judge anything perfectly, including those who invoke god to try to slither out of the problem. Atheists don’t have an ideology by virtue of being atheists.

    Johnathan: and after they decide they can judge and they do judge they decide that the conclusion from judging is ALL that’s needed to justify what the theist has proclaimed.. WRONG.

    Me: How do you know it is wrong? How do you make any judgments divorced from verifiable, reproducible, predictive, and falsifiable evidence? Objective evidence that neither you nor I nor anyone else can change?

    Johnathan: The way that you “should” correctly judge a theists’ ideology is according to what the ideology has proclaimed! Not according to your own judgements of whether the logicality of your argument or the theists argument was more sound!

    Me: Too bad that doesn’t work, as ideologies can all proclaim each other false while also claiming they themselves are true. Those two propositions are mutually exclusive, just like most of your argument.

    Johnathan: The theists ideology ultimately says to put the truth of God to the test in your own life.

    Me: Theism is not Christianity, which illustrates the problem with many of your assertions. There are plenty of flavors of theism that are mutually exclusive, even under the umbrella of Christian sects. All of them claim they are true, some of them claim they have “tested” this truth personally and it passed. Mutually exclusive propositions.

    Johnathan: It ultimately invites you to test a personal experience. So, instead of actually testing it according to the terms laid out in the New Testament, what does the atheists do?? They judge that they shouldn’t try because they “think” that their logic is completely sound(this is another atheists problem, they assume absolutes just like theists do, but won’t admit it!).

    Me: Plenty of us HAVE tested it. Many times. That’s why we are atheists. How do you know atheists assume absolutes but won’t admit it? What magical powers give you the ability to see inside the minds of people to discover what they say about what they believe is actually not what they believe? What could motivate someone to lie about a basic position on what they think/believe? What would be the point? And how do you know you are not deluding yourself into believing this outrageous claim to make yourself feel better–ie, “Atheists don’t think what they say they think because I just can’t imagine someone thinking that and it makes me uncomfortable.”

    Johnathan: This itself is illogical, if you are arguing based on facts, then as a theist I will examine your facts, that’s “all i can do”… why? well there is no
    personal experience that is at the root of your argument!

    Me: Personal experience is not a path to truth. We have numerous examples of how they lead to objective falsehood. Thus relying on a personal experience to support an argument is too weak to be considered given the extradinary nature of the claim.

    Johnathan: However, if the theists argues based on the gut-wrenching changes within a human being, the atheists seriously thinks they can dismiss this!!! What? You can’t dismiss it unless you test it to see if it’s hogwash.

    Me: We don’t dismiss it. We understand it in a larger, empirical context that includes not only YOUR religion, but all the others–as well as neurology, psychology, etc, that demonstrate these experiences are HUMAN experiences, not theistic experiences, not Christian experiences, and NOT supernatural experiences. All the testable evidence confirms this, and none of it disconfirms this (and it could have disconfirmed it if the disconfirmation were true, yet it didn’t).

    Johnathan I have personally challenged many atheists with this problem

    Me: It’s not a problem. I don’t dismiss your experiences as profound. But they are explained empirically by science, neurology, and psychology on a scale of explanatory power much larger than you are even aware of. All you need to do is a little research.

    Johnathan: and they’ve decided that they need to properly respond to the theists argument… and.. yep you guessed it, the New Testament states it itself!!!!: “Draw near to God and God will draw near to you!” And sure enough when the atheists’ I talk to truly take the dive and draw near to God they find Him! I wonder why they find Him?

    Me: The data shows otherwise. It is available. (If this argument were true, not only would atheism be declining, it wouldn’t exist, and all the other religions would either be in decline or nonexistent also. All you would have to do is look around and see that the most objectively successful, happy people were Christians–or specific Christians XYZ–and becoming such made a difference that is never made using another religion, another passion, another hobby, another ANYTHING. Guess what? We don’t see that. There are plenty of objectively successful, happy people who are not Christians, who aren’t even theists. The existence of only ONE disconfirms your claim. But the hundreds of millions of us certainly disconfirm your claim, as do the innumerable number of miserable believers.)

    Johnathan: Maybe
    because it’s all about a personal relationship with God, where God does special things in your life that prove to you that He’s there and cares.. duh.. wake up atheists, don’t be foolish!

    Me: Your god is a solution to a problem we don’t have.

    1. 33.1
      Jasper of Maine

      Jonathan: And sure enough when the atheists’ I talk to truly take the dive and draw near to God they find Him! I wonder why they find Him?

      I’d also add to your kickass response, about this point.

      This is also loaded, by definition. Those who were able to successfully modify their minds to the point of believing it fall into the “truly take the dive” category, and anyone who doesn’t succeed falls into the “they weren’t sincere enough” ad hoc rationalization.

      It’s basically identical to Ray Comfort’s “drop do your knees, and with a humble heart, sincerely ask God to reveal himself to you, and he will!”. Anyone who tries and fails – well, they weren’t sincere enough.

      It renders the argument unfalsifiable, and thus, useless.

      1. LykeX

        Indeed. This could only ever be valid if the theists could provide clear, objective criteria for what it means to “truly take the dive” or “be sincere”. Criteria that do not include “end up believing in god”, “do this for the rest of your life”, etc.

        I’ve never encountered any theist who was capable of providing such criteria.

  34. 34
    Sam

    Here’s an example where torturing babies is acceptable. Some doctors actually enjoy the work they do and you could say it’s fun for them. When a doctor delivers a baby and holds it by its feet and spanks it when it first comes out of the mom, I’m sure the baby is feeling tortured. Then when the baby is cleaned a little, blood is drawn from it, this baby that’s in this strange environment is feeling tortured. When all is done, a new baby is in this world and all is well.

    Another example of baby torture. When relatives see the baby for the first time, usually they tickle it and touch it and make these baby sounds like ” ooh wittle itty baby. You sooo cute.” They enjoy seeing the baby and having fun interacting with it. The baby is in the pressence of the huge giants he or she has never seen making strange noises and getting poked and prodded like a abducted human on an alien ship. And there’s no place the baby can get away to. That’s torture but people don’t view this as immoral.

    So torturing babies for fun is not necessarily immoral.

    1. 34.1
      LykeX

      I don’t think those examples clearly qualify as torture. A doctor’s treatment of a baby may indeed be unpleasant and the baby probably has no understanding of it and may feel pain, fear and discomfort. However, the point is not to inflict pain. The procedures are medically necessary, ensuring the health of the baby, screening for diseases and what have you.
      You might have a point if you switched to circumcision as an example, since this is rarely medically necessary.

      As for adults poking and tickling a baby, I’m sure most people would agree that if it was plainly clear that the baby was frightened or in pain, it would be immoral to continue.
      The fact that the child doesn’t clearly understand the world is largely irrelevant. It can’t be helped and avoiding social interactions with the “giants” will not serve the child’s interests.
      A baby needs to interact with adults to grow normally.
      As long as this is done with a certain respect and care, I don’t see the problem and I certainly don’t agree that it constitutes torture.

      Compare with a situation where an adult was poking a baby, the baby starts crying and the adult continue to poke the baby. I think everybody would be pretty clear that this would be unacceptable behavior.
      The baby has, to the best of its ability, made it clear that it is not comfortable with the treatment. Continuing the behavior beyond this point would be torture. And it would be wrong.

      The issue of babies is complicated by the fact that they can’t really understand their own situation, nor properly communicate consent, but simultaneously, they’re completely unable to survive and grow healthily without serious intervention from others.
      As such, it is necessary for adults to attempt to predict what the baby would want and act accordingly. The fact that this cannot be done perfectly does not make it torture.

    2. 34.2
      LykeX

      A shorter way of saying it might be: Forcing a kid to brush their teeth is not torture, no matter how much they might dislike it. Rather, it is reasonable, responsible child care.

      The fact that an action inflicts pain on another person does not in and of itself make it torture.

      1. Cafeeine

        The hidden point here is that ‘torture’ already has a negative moral connotation. Which makes the question a cheat, since any time we can create a scenario with e.g. morally justified pain-infliction, the questioner can always claim that the scenario isn’t really torture and repeat the question. The water-boarding debacle was a good example of this.

  35. 35
    Brony

    I don’t know if I’m too late to the party but what would be considered good evidence of knowledge gained through psychedelic experience?

    This question is pretty relevant to me because I am really interested in different cognitive perspectives.

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