In Defense Of Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson

No, not me, of course–to defend that particular rant, you need the help of experts. So it’s that shows us how everybody in the liberal media got it wrong.

His words were indefensible,
But still they had to try;
They blamed the liberal media,
And caught them in a lie!
This wasn’t duck-man’s fantasy–
He knows it’s truly wrong–
He means to show that atheists
Are moral all along!
They know his scene is horrible,
But what old Phil finds odd?
Their moral indignation means
They must believe in God!
The logical conclusion of
The atheist world view
Means that anything is moral
If it feels that way to you!

Since no atheist believes that,
The conclusion’s rather grim:
It’s hypocrisy in action
But… the atheists, or him?

John Nolte, writing at breitbart, explains:

Robertson is not “fantasizing” about an atheist family suffering a home invasion. It’s glaringly obvious he is portraying this scenario, not only as terrible, but as the most terrible thing imaginable. He is using an extreme scenario to drive home an important point about right and wrong, and where the notion of moral relativism can ultimately lead.

Robertson is in no way saying atheists deserve this. Quite the opposite. It is horrifying and tragic situation and presented within that context. Robertson is telling a parable, a graphic parable, but still a parable using shock value as a way to bring home a perfectly valid point about a Godless world in which there is no Ten Commandments and by extension no basis to judge right from wrong.

It’s simple logic. Without God, there is no way to judge right from wrong. But atheists clearly do judge right from wrong. Logically, atheists must actually believe in god. It couldn’t possibly be that the first premise is faulty.

So, yeah, Robertson was saying the exact opposite of what nearly everybody heard him saying. With that sort of public speaking skill, I expect him to join Ted Cruz in the race for the oval office.


  1. says

    I’m kind of half and half on this. On the one half, I do see where John Nolte is coming from. I’ve encountered, as I suspect you have, numerous believers who have bought into that premise that a god is needed for there to be a way to judge right and/from wrong.

    On the other half, Robertson didn’t need to go to such an extreme to demonstrate his point. The question is why was he using such an extreme example. In what you’ve quoted, Nolte doesn’t address this.

  2. discountdeity says

    The comments over on that Breitbart link are (unsurprisingly) bizarre and horrifying.

    But my personal favorite was the fellow who said “the evil men have learned that whoever shouts the loudest, with the scariest countenance wins”…apparently seeing no irony in that comment being paired with his Yosemite Sam avatar picture.

  3. Die Anyway says

    After the anti-gay outburst from the D.D. outfit a year or so ago, I made sure to avoid their show (which I hadn’t seen up till then anyway). I did notice that a D.D. daughter was on Dancing With The Stars last season. She seemed like a nice young lady and I felt sorry that she was growing up in such a toxic environment. Anyway, I wasn’t aware of this latest tirade. Now I have to go see what it’s all about.

  4. Die Anyway says

    Ok, read it. Tempest-in-a-teapot. Phil used very poor taste in showing his misunderstanding of morality in atheists but it didn’t sound ad if he was wishing this on anyone. Some of the commenters at breitbart though… mmmm.

    Here’s my response to Phil: If an action makes the world a more difficult, harsher, unkinder place to live, it’s bad. If an action makes the world an easier, nicer, more comfortable place to live, it’s good. It’s not black & white though. There are shades of grey and you have to take a long view but in general this should work better than your Bible based version.

  5. brucegee1962 says

    Have there been any surveys done on how many atheists are actually moral relativists?

    Just because you believe Good and Evil are created by humans, doesn’t mean you don’t believe they exist. There are lots of abstractions created by humans they still deserve our allegiance: Justice, Love, Mercy — the list is very long.

  6. says

    This reasoning has made a believer out of me! I do believe any mind that would concoct such a tale of horror to spread hatred of atheists (and of independent thought and autonomy) is evil beyond words. By a similar syllogism, we can prove that anyone who believes in God has no clue about what is good or evil, since they don’t recognize their belief and their resultant actions as evil.

  7. says

    I read what Phil said, and it seems to be simply a graphic restating of the Dostoevsky quote, “If God doesn’t exist, everything is permitted.”

  8. Cuttlefish says

    That is certainly the argument.

    What continues to astonish me, though, is that people can look at the moral behavior of atheists, and immoral behavior of believers, and still think the Dostoevsky/Robertson argument holds water. The actual, observable, behavioral evidence suggests that no belief in god is necessary for morals, and that belief in god is no guarantee of morals. The elevation of bad logic over evidence is astonishing.

  9. Pliny the in Between says

    I am perfectly willing to accept that people like the Duck guy need external constraints in order to function in society. But they need to acknowledge that not everyone is so weak of character.

  10. says

    There is an easy way to demonstrate that morality can’t come from the Bible. Simply find some evidence that ancient Egypt or the Sumerians or some other pre biblical society believed that murder was wrong, that stealing was wrong, that lying was wrong. Was it a crime in American Indian culture to murder? If to be wrong requires a bible then it must not have been.

    Indeed, Adam and Eve were told there was only one commandment. Don’t eat that fruit. And when they left the garden after eating it, were they given a bible? How could they have known that murder and theft were immoral without a bible?

  11. johnhodges says

    We call something “good” because we believe it would satisfy our desires. We may be mistaken, but that is why we use the word.

    A “good person” is therefore a desirable neighbor. Desirable to whom?

    Because we are social animals (i.e. who survive by cooperating in groups) evolved by natural selection, we can be sure that the most common and widely-held desires will be for the health (survival-ability) of our families and the peace of our communities. While not truly “universal”, these desires will be widely held across all cultures.

    Accordingly, the common understanding of “good person” will be someone who is a desirable neighbor from the point of view of those who seek to live in peace and raise families. The Good is that which leads to health, The Right is that which leads to peace.

    Religious morality, by contrast, derives from instincts that are favorable to our survival while we are children. Children are more likely to survive if they accept the protection and guidance of their parents. For children, “being good” means “obeying your parent.” Religious morality simply carries this instinctive sort of “morality” into adulthood, substituting an invisible cosmic parent for the Earthly ones. This has the disadvantage that it is easily hijacked by anyone bold enough, crazy enough, dishonest enough, to claim that they are the local spokesperson for the Divine. Religious morality is “Obey the alleged will of the Divine, as reported by the priesthood.” It depends crucially on faith; faith that the self-proclaimed “prophet” is not just making it up, and faith that the voices they hear actually are from the Divine. Anything that is necessarily based on faith is inherently subjective and culturally relative.

  12. StevoR says

    Old Duckykins is quaking
    Old Mallard loves his rape
    When it comes to killing atheists
    It sure is some godly jape

    Coz who knows what’s right or wrong
    Without gods guidance strong
    Phil Robertson sure doesn’t
    Duckykins must get the gong

    Coz without da wholly lawd
    Rape and murder would be done
    But wait it’s in his name condoned
    Da Bible can’t be wrong!

    It says to smash kids skulls in and slavery’s okay
    IT condemsn the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah which btw wasn’t teh gay
    It says a lot of evil but that’s okay we know
    Coz rape n”murders peachy
    Phil Roberston said it’s so!

  13. StevoR says

    D’oh! Make that first line :

    Old Duckykins is a- sp(e)aking

    There instead, please dangnabbit! Sorry.

  14. StevoR says

    @11. johnhodges : A “good person” is therefore a desirable neighbor. Desirable to whom?

    More than that the question is who is your neighbour – and Isaac Asimov among others has a good answer for that :

    … We forget the point of the parable is entirely vitiated by the common phrase “good” Samaritan for that has cast a false light on who the Samaritans were. . . To the Jews [of Jesus’ time – ed.] the Samaritans were not good. They were hated, despised, contemptible heretics with whom no good Jew would have anything to do. Again, the whole point is lost through non-translation.

    …The Parable of the Good Samaritan clearly teaches that there is nothing parochial in the concept “neighbor,” that you cannot confine your decency to your own group and your own kind. All mankind, right down to those those you most despise are your neighbours.”

    – Pages 266-270 Isaac Asimov, “Lost in Non-translation” in ‘Magic’ anthology Harper-Collins, 1996.

    I love that essay and those paragraphs & I couldn’t agree more.


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