Questionable Motives

January 9, 2013

Why is acting on the presumption of Original Sin moral hypocrisy in action?

This is just too good not to pass it on.

To all of those people who are so humble in their faith-based arrogance that they presume all humans are born with a fallen nature in need of salvation, that all are sinners unworthy of god’s love except by grace, who have the meekness and mildness to presume this opinion causes no harm but brings a moral benefit to all, have a listen to how strident, militant, shrill atheists, who make no such assumptions and who hold no patience to such unadulterated bullshit, dismantle its pious overtones to expose it for what it is: moral hypocrisy in action.

(h/t to Tracy Harris and Matt Dillahunty at Atheist Experience #795)

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39 Comments »

  1. Wow.
    It’s stomach-churning to hear how some people will go to any lengths (instantly!) to fit those square pegs into round holes just to cling to their beliefs.
    Normally, it’s just fuzzy nonsense like “Oh well. God moves in mysterious ways or… Hey, that was a special thing at that time so…etc.
    Yet that guy reaches for a quick fix and doesn’t even slow down. He’s perfectly fine to flush his human decency down the toilet rather than be revolted like the rest of us.
    I’d like to see him fight hot lava.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — January 12, 2013 @ 2:23 am | Reply

    • Yes, it is revolting how quickly the bedrock belief is kept alive and kicking without regard of the the actual cost this assigns to others. This guy not only gives up his autonomy to be a moral agent in favour of submission to his imaginary god’s immorality, but has no problem turning an imaginary nine year old girl who has been raped into an embodiment of evil to maintain the fiction, all in order to try to avoid any personal responsibility for being a “piece of shit” even while being a “piece of shit.” This is divine command theory in action, where the re-victimization of a raped girl is theologically twisted into an acceptable sacrifice because it is believed that god says it’s okay and that makes it permissible to turn one’s self and others into an active agents to promote this indecency. It is truly revolting.

      Comment by tildeb — January 12, 2013 @ 7:38 am | Reply

  2. Original sin is an explanation of how humanity can do evil things. Do you think humans do evil things?

    Comment by Dan O'Brian — February 1, 2013 @ 10:42 pm | Reply

    • Original sin is a very poor interpretation of a myth that is then misused to try to justify a later historical event. Because at best it is a poor interpretation of that myth, it misguides the reading of it. This misguided reading then produces a meaning that simply is not true, and it is this meaning that you presume is an ‘explanation’ of some human behaviour. But it’s not an explanation at all in the sense that it contains no knowledge or insights that are true.

      Comment by tildeb — February 2, 2013 @ 8:26 am | Reply

      • You didn’t answer my question. Do you think humans do evil things?

        Comment by Dan O'Brian — February 2, 2013 @ 11:48 am

      • Humans do things that some consider ‘evil’. And this reveals the problem with your question: what is considered ‘evil’ is subject to great debate… from wearing ‘immodest’ clothing to participating in sexual acts with someone of the same gender, from aborting a fetus that is killing the mother to targeted genocide, and so forth. Evil is a term we use to describe everything from our disapproval, dislike, or disparagement of effects and consequences that we find offensive, to acts we consider morally wrong and wicked. It is entirely a subjective term based on a non-agreed spectrum of actions and effects and our individual responses to them.

        Comment by tildeb — February 2, 2013 @ 4:45 pm

  3. Well, tildeb, it evil is nothing but ” …a term we use to describe everything from our disapproval, dislike, or disparagement of effects and consequences that we find offensive, to acts we consider morally wrong and wicked. It is entirely a subjective term based on a non-agreed spectrum of actions and effects and our individual responses to them,” who are you (or the commentators in the video) to say that the view expressed by this Christian or his God is “evil.” If it’s just up our subjective interpretation, you have no basis to condemn either the knucklehead in the video, or the God you hate, as being evil.

    Sounds like a pretty faith-based arrogance to me …

    Comment by av8torbob — February 4, 2013 @ 4:10 pm | Reply

    • Hey Bob, good to hear from you; it’s been a while.

      I don’t call your god ‘evil’; I call belief in original sin moral hypocrisy in action. And I have good reasons to do so and offer evidence (revealed in this video) of how such a belief warps and diverts believers from practicing the very moral values believers like to tout as deriving only from their god! None of this has anything to do with the criticism needing any kind of faith-based belief to remain valid.

      Look, without a product to sell religion is an empty set. The product isn’t god. It is your need for this particular brand name god. To do this, a tale is created about being born in need of religious redemption… a very specific kind of religious redemption that requires a very specific kind of religious belief. You’ve simply bought into the idea of believing in original sin and requiring redemption from this imaginary flaw. It’s no surprise that your need will never be satisfied because you’ve set yourself up to always need redemption. The problem, however, is that there is no evidence for this flaw and no evidence that belief of the brand name religion fixes it. The argument about becoming a better person caused by this belief is simply false (as the video shows). Belief in original sin is a mug’s game and you’ve fallen for it. That’s not something to be proud of but an admission of muddled thinking.

      Comment by tildeb — February 5, 2013 @ 7:22 am | Reply

      • You may not call God evil but the vile, foul-mouthed “hosts” in the video did … But that’s not the point I’m debating. I’m pointing out the inconsistent hypocrisy of people who think like you … and in your answer you’ve given me yet another example.

        1) My first point was that, in your own words, you claim that:

        “Evil is a term we use to describe everything from our disapproval, dislike, or disparagement of effects and consequences that we find offensive, to acts we consider morally wrong and wicked. It is entirely a subjective term based on a non-agreed spectrum of actions and effects and our individual responses to them.”

        Therefore, you have no basis to call anything really evil. If “evil” is just a matter of subjective opinion about things we find offensive to us personally, you have no basis to judge whether the actions of others (or of God) are objectively “evil.” All you can say is you don’t like them. The actions of Mother Teresa and Adolph Hitler are just different and you have no basis to judge otherwise. Of course, you can’t live your life that way, and you don’t REALLY believe it … you just claim to believe it. It’s hypocritical and inconsistent thinking on your part.

        2) Your ridiculous canard …

        “Look, without a product to sell religion is an empty set. The product isn’t god. It is your need for this particular brand name god”

        … works both ways. I can just as easily claim that your disbelief in God is psychologically based. You “need” to avoid judgment about your moral actions … or you “need” to rebel against authority … or you “need” to respond to an abusive or missing father (read: Vitz, “Faith of the Fatherless” about the psychological background of most of the world’s most famous atheists). The empty claim that I “need a particular brand of god” is a blatant admission of another brand of hypocrisy and muddled thinking you represent so well.

        Just pointing out the ridiculous inconsistencies in the ideas proposed by some who fancy themselves rational and intellectual icons of “free thought”

        Comment by av8torbob — February 5, 2013 @ 9:13 am

      • Well, a couple of things:

        The caller suggests that because a child has already been tainted by original sin, she is “just as evil as a child rapist.” So look at the OED definition of what constitutes the term evil. This definition that I have compressed reveals the subjective nature of the term. But how do any of these apply to a child targeted for rape in comparison to the act of the person willing to rape a child? I don’t see any equivalency. If I were to use the term here, I would apply it strictly to the rapist. The only reason anyone would apply it to an innocent child is because of a faith position that assumes the very character of being a human child contains an equivalent evil of the child rapist. To me, that assumption has no moral merit. None. In fact that assumption contains an evil: it causes people to allow themselves to believe in a false equivalency, namely, blaming a child to be deserving of rape because both rapist and child are equivalently evil. This is the moral stance that can be achieved and justified by believing in original sin. Just look at how this motivates the catholic church to be a criminal organization covering up child rape cases and protecting child rapists in the name of serving their god. It’s repulsive and an inversion of what you and I feel towards anyone who would harm a child in this fashion. The difference, however, is that I don’t allow religious perversions to distort my moral sense.

        Having said that, you illustrate how this perversion occurs. You honestly think that morality only comes from your god. You assert without evidence that “you have no basis to judge whether the actions of others (or of God) are objectively “evil.”” This is true in the sense that there is no ‘objective’ evil but you fail to qualify this with other spectrums that allow me to judge ‘objectively’ differences in effects of behaviour. For example, if we use something like well-being to qualify behaviours of effect, we can quickly discover that child rape causes measurable harm in many comparative ways and measurably reduces the well-being of children. I do not need a belief in god but compelling reasons to justify my moral stance against child rape. This is a far cry from having nothing to go by- as you seem determined to maintain – for me and other non believers in your god to develop a strong moral code that informs with good reasons highly ethical ethical behaviours.

        It makes no sense to try to suggest that your non belief in faeries is psychologically based. You – like I – have no compelling reasons to believe in them. That’s as far as we need to go. Nothing else is involved other than the absence of good reasons to believe in something’s existence. I would hope you would be just as surprised as atheists are for anyone to honestly think your moral sense was in any way affected by your belief or disbelief in faeries. But if your belief in faeries allowed you to think that child rape was somehow equivalent to just being a child, I would sincerely hope you would take issue with the belief.

        Comment by tildeb — February 5, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

    • You still didn’t answer my question. It’s a yes or no question; maybe with some explanation afterward as to why you answered the way you did. So, do you think humans do evil things?

      Comment by Dan O'Brian — February 5, 2013 @ 3:06 pm | Reply

  4. As usual, tildeb, you’re missing my whole point … so let me try one more time. And just to eliminate the smokescreen you have tried to hide behind — I condemn the caller, the child rapist, and the church that covers it up. The caller is simply a buffoon and the acts he is trying to avoid talking about are repugnant, evil acts for which the perpetrator and those who cover it up should be punished as severely as possible. That’s not the point I’m arguing.

    My point is that I can condemn each of those things on my worldview as objectively immoral acts. Contrary to your claim, I don’t need the Bible or the psychological crutch of a God to know those things are wrong. Either do you. That’s my whole point. Those things are wrong because their wrongness is built into the fabric of the universe. Their wrongness is as much a part of reality as gravity. Their wrongness doesn’t depend on some subjective definition you can find in the OED.

    They are unarguably and objectively wrong and any human being with a conscience knows it in virtue of their being human. I don’t need to provide a reason. Anyone who denies those acts are wrong is either a liar or a lunatic.

    My point is that, on your worldview, you can do no such thing. Your appeal “to something like well-being” is just a construct that could be different if you got a different group to vote on it. What do you mean by “well-being”? I’m sure the pedophiles among us would love to take a vote on that definition in their “community.”

    That’s my point. I can call something wrong objectively. You can’t. You can only say “I don’t like that thing.” So what? You (and the moronic “hosts” in your video) have no foundational basis to call something wrong. You deny the only means of grounding morality and then try to create a standard out of thin air that no one has any obligation to accept. It’s lame, hollow reasoning and you folks use it all the time. That’s the key: OBLIGATION. No one is obliged to adhere to your subjective definition of “well-being.”

    You fail to understand the difference between the ontology of evil and the epistemology of how we know evil. I just find it sadly comical when people who deny the objective nature of good and evil then have the audacity to question anyone as doing something “wrong.”

    Comment by av8torbob — February 5, 2013 @ 9:24 pm | Reply

    • Bob, you’re under a delusion that the attributions you make derived entirely from your faith-based beliefs are not just true but exempt from independent justification. They’re not. That you find pointing this out to be ‘sadly comical’ as well as ‘audacious’ shows the shallowness of your understanding. You see, Bob, you have to show what part of reality supports your assertion that evil is a real thing independent of humanity, show how something is ‘built into the fabric of the universe’, show how something that can be objectively known and objectively used to establish moral value available to the believer but impaired by non belief.

      Okay, show me this ‘thing’.

      As far as I can tell, your assertion is empty of truth value from reality. It exists solely and wholly within your beliefs unrelated and unassociated with the reality it tries (and utterly fails) to describe.

      Yes, we share the same ability to judge the moral value of human actions. I’m not the one doubting this. You are. Your attribution for us demonstrating this ability misses the obvious (we share the same biology) and goes straight to Oogity Boogity! to explain this commonality. Forgive me for doubting your naked assertion in the active and intervening agency you claim is responsible but I need more than your faith-based attribution to link (or, as you ironically say, to ‘ground’ ) our shared moral sense apparently bestowed at some historical time by some unknown mechanism into our biology by your invisible sky daddy. I want evidence from reality. I know how unreasonable my request is; imagine, asking a person so certain in his faith-based belief to provide something from reality to back up his faith-based attribution! The fault is entirely my militant stridency to follow the dictates of atheism.

      ?

      I do not fail to understand the difference between the epistemology and ontology of the evil you insist is a thing but recognize that the assumption that ‘grounds’ your belief has nothing from reality to back it up. There is no epistemology of ‘evil’ because you cannot show how the existence of this thing independent of your religious beliefs determines that it is right and proper for you to kill your neighbour for picking up sticks on the sabbath. There is no ontology of ‘evil’ independent of your religious beliefs that I am deserving of death for cutting the corners of my beard. There is no link between your religious beliefs and evidence for this thing you call ‘evil’.

      What I do understand is that what you mean by evil is a human construct that represents a particular motivation that results in undesirable consequences (unless you call, let’s say, a storm surge to be an expression or manifestation of this thing you call ‘evil’, in which case I will broaden that construct to include the agency you presume must be manipulating and influencing weather). I understand that your insistence that the morality of non believers is inferior to the morality of believers is a way for you to promote your moral sense to be superior to mine. You think this is justified whereas I see the presumption you assume is true as a very great danger to exercising the civic values of the enlightenment. As the video shows, this positioning you take on the merit of christian faith to raise the tide of our shared morality faces compelling evidence to the contrary from reality and nothing you have said here shows any understanding of this fact.

      Comment by tildeb — February 6, 2013 @ 10:02 am | Reply

  5. First, it was “well-being” that you used to “qualify behaviors for effect.” Now, it’s “undesirable consequences” … and you claim I am the one who is deluded?! Amazing.

    So, let’s say someone belongs to a community of pedophiles who define their “well-being” as having the ability to perform any act that satisfies their sexual desires and makes themselves feel “happy.”

    Q. Why would someone from that “community” be under ANY obligation to accept your, or anyone else’s, repudiation of their actions?
    A. On your view, they wouldn’t.

    Or, let’s say someone rapes your wife. Since (on your morally bankrupt, Darwinistic view) his primary reason for living is to perpetuate his species by surviving and advancing his genetic makeup into the next generation, why would he be obligated to accept any moral objection you had to his doing so?

    The sickening reality of your view of morality is that, under this scenario, not only is there no reason for him to care what you think about his raping your wife, but his raping your wife would be a good thing because it would enhance the evolutionary probability of his progeny’s survival. In fact, on your animalistic view, he would be perfectly within his “rights” to rape your sister, your daughter(s), your mother, your neighbor’s wife …

    Congrats, tildeb, that is the view you are unapologetically defending and you don’t even realize it. Or you do, but you are so committed to your own blindly accepted presuppositions, you have placed your adherence to philosophical naturalism above common sense and the reality of what it means to be a human being.

    Pretty sick … objectively and obviously sick … and you might not want to tell your wife about it.

    Comment by av8torbob — February 6, 2013 @ 2:23 pm | Reply

    • Bob, thank you for the demonstration of moral hypocrisy in action due to your religious belief.

      Surprised?

      You really shouldn’t be; you are making shit up, applying it to me, and then pretending it’s true in order to vilify what you presume is my lack of morality. You are more willing to believe in your presumption than you are to find out from reality if these beliefs are true.You provide a question that I would be quite willing to answer, but you don’t even bother waiting for my response because to you my response simply doesn’t matter; you just make it up and pretend I’ve answered it and then call me ‘pretty sick’. That’s not very nice, Bob. In fact, it’s really quite dishonest of you because that’s not my answer… and I really should know because I’m the one who is supposed to have answered it. Because you seem to have conveniently forgotten in your quest to misrepresent me as morally inferior (because I don’t believe in your god nor share your belief in an objective moral code hovering somewhere just out of sight), go remind yourself of your god’s commandments that you are currently breaking here in print to try to make yourself feel morally superior. You are bearing false witness and lying. You, sir, demonstrate no care about what’s true in reality. For that, you find your beliefs sufficient and reveal yourself to be exactly the kind of moral hypocrite I accused anyone who believes in original sin to be: someone willing to be immoral and unethical in the name of morality and ethics.

      Again, Bob, thanks for your important contribution.

      Comment by tildeb — February 6, 2013 @ 3:00 pm | Reply

      • On re-reading the comment that set you off on your (highly morally judgmental) rant, it really is striking to me that you could even do a cursory reading of what I wrote and come away twisting it into a personal assault on you. I repeatedly emphasized that I was referring to the ability to defend the view you defend. It’s about the bankruptcy of moral relativism, tildeb, it’s not about you. But your reaction is very telling.

        Methinks you protesteth too much.

        Comment by av8torbob — February 6, 2013 @ 7:41 pm

  6. Cute … coming from someone who repeatedly belittles me personally and my religious ideas in particular. But I do have to say you sound pretty thin-skinned, a little (OK, a lot) whiny, and that you are quite adept at avoiding the subject there, tildeb.

    For the record, I never once said you were “morally inferior” to me. In fact, I have no reason to believe that you don’t act in ways that are morally superior to me. Nor did I ever say that atheists in general are morally inferior or cannot be perfectly moral people.

    What I said was that your view of morality cannot in any way justify or ground why anyone should act morally. Subjective morality (on your definition) simply cannot justify moral obligations.

    We’re supposed to be having a rational discussion here, tildeb. You really should stop letting your emotional outbursts get in the way of that … hyper-rational evidence seeker that you are.

    Now, how about a logical (unemotional) response to the point I made in my previous comment?

    Comment by av8torbob — February 6, 2013 @ 3:25 pm | Reply

    • How can we successfully and accurately determine elevation when it’s relative (local airport, sea level, beacons, with measurements in both Imperial and metric systems) and still have enough confidence in its comparative value to trust them with the lives of millions of passengers?

      Think on that and perhaps you’ll appreciate how our subjective morality can be both individual yet shared and we can have enough confidence in its comparative value to remain (relatively) successful social creatures.

      Comment by tildeb — February 6, 2013 @ 10:40 pm | Reply

      • So, after saying that I: fabricated things about you; vilified your personal lack of morality; called you pretty sick; lied about you, misrepresented you; and bore false witness against you (I think I got ’em all) — and after being shown that you were utterly ridiculous and inaccurate in a your ability to distinguish between my arguments against moral relativism on one hand, and tildeb’s morals on the other — you just move on as if nothing happened … That’s OK. I won’t respond with an unjustified diatribe like you did. I’ll just take it as an apology. And your apology is accepted.

        Just one problem though … your latest challenge not only shows how ignorant you are about the topic in question; it completely undermines your entire position in a way that I couldn’t have put better myself. Here’s why:

        Yes, we can accurately determine “elevation” and have confidence in our ability to do so. How do we do that? Well, it’s pretty basic really. When I get in my airplane, one of the first things I do is find out what the altimeter setting — the barometric pressure — is for my location. When I input that altimeter setting, I get a display of my airplane’s altitude in reference to sea level! All the other airplanes do the same thing. That way, we are all basing our altitude off the same objective point of reference. We use sea level because it doesn’t change — it doesn’t matter if it’s in the imperial or metric system — it’s fixed — it’s permanent — it’s unmoving — it’s the same for everyone — it’s not subjective — it’s objective! If everybody used their own “personal” altimeter setting there would be aviation chaos — kind of like when a society adopts moral relativism and gets moral chaos.

        For God’s sake (literally), tildeb, can you not see that if we used the same subjective method to determine our altitude that you want us to use to determine our morality, we would be having midair collisions all over the place? Hopefully you can “appreciate” that.

        Thanks for conceding my point … however unwittingly 🙂

        Comment by av8torbob — February 7, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

      • Yes, the base datum is mean sea level and elevation is measured relative to this mean. There is no fixed point but a generally agreed upon mean. Locally, we have established relative elevation (local airports and beacons) to that mean so that pilots can calculate comparative differences in altitude. This is where objective differences between, say, a plane at 2000 feet is 500 feet higher than one at 1500. Even though the base datum is relative to mean sea level, it allows us great precision to measure comparative differences to avoid mid air collisions. And this is my point about morality: all we need is an agreed upon base datum even to establish relative comparisons of great precision. One such base datum could be well-being. No matter how you wish to define that relative term (the analogy is that it doesn’t matter if we do so with Imperial or metric units), we can still create what amounts to an objective comparison even from a relative but common source. The argument that we must first have an objective, fixed, and independent point or ground to produce an objective comparison is clearly false; all we need is a common reference point. And nothing is more common a point for people than our shared biology.

        It is from our common biology that we can produce an objective moral code. We come fully equipped with an innate sense of reciprocity and fairness. It is upon this ground – our shared biology – that we can create a moral code for all, one that crosses all artificial boundaries like age, race, religion, language, gender, sexual orientation, and culture by using this common yet mean base datum. It is no coincidence that all religions pretend to own reciprocity and fairness (in christianity, this appears as the Golden Rule, for example) but we know that almost all humans share this identical sense (and clearly show preference for it even as infants long before other influences come into play). It is this sense you bring to your religious studies about morality, for example… discarding what you don’t like and keeping what you do. This is why you do not support slavery, for example; your moral sense is outraged at people owning others as property regardless of biblical rules on how to treat your slaves. You reject the entire idea because your moral sense tells you to. And you follow it over and above religious teachings to the contrary. I do the same. The difference is that you assume your morality comes from god whereas I have compelling reasons to think it comes from our shared biology. But the point is that some people train themselves to mistrust their innate moral sense of what is right and wrong measured against reciprocity and fairness and submerge it beneath repugnant moral dictates like original sin. This what produces people who are willing to label children to be just as ‘evil’ as those who would use them to rape. That’s why Weinberg’s observation remains accurate: it takes empowering faith-based belief over and above self trust to convince good people to do very bad things. And in christianity, the very first rule is to believe we can’t trust our moral sense… even though it is exactly that which allows us to accept those parts of scripture we agree with and discard (and make into metaphor) those parts we don’t. That’s why – if you’re honest with yourself – YOU judge your bible. Your morality clearly precedes your religious beliefs. So does mine. And that’s why we are equivalently moral without any need for religious belief and interventions by Oogity Boogity to screw things up when it comes to understanding why we are both moral creatures. Unlike you, however, I am willing and able to be fully responsible for mine.

        Comment by tildeb — February 7, 2013 @ 11:23 pm

  7. “Yes, the base datum is mean sea level and elevation is measured relative to this mean. There is no fixed point but a generally agreed upon mean.”

    I’ve been flying airplanes for 31 years, but thanks for explaining altitude to me, especially since all you did was mimic what I just told you (while acting like you’re teaching me something). But anyway … the (repeated ad nauseam) fallacy in your little explanation is that we don’t “agree upon” sea level as the mean. Not a fixed point? Really, tildeb? The surface of the Earth is not a fixed point? It doesn’t matter if you “agree upon” it. It is imposed on us by reality. If you violate it, you fly into this big solid thing called the Earth and you die. It’s not the objective standard because we “agree upon” it, it’s the objective standard because we recognize it and are forced to honor it.

    “It is from our common biology that we can produce an objective moral code. We come fully equipped with an innate sense of reciprocity and fairness.”

    Just how does our biology “equip” us with this code? Please explain to me how, even in principle, the carbon-based molecules and proteins that are built from them impose an objective moral obligation on me toward “reciprocity and fairness.” The fact that you would even assert — without evidence I might add — such an asinine notion betrays the vacuousness of your thinking and the willful ignorance you display. Molecules can’t make me be “fair” because fairness is not material.

    In summary, here’s what anyone who has followed this discussion with an open mind toward finding the truth (which would not include you) would have observed:

    1) You post a ridiculous video of an example of a Christian buffoon and pretend he represents thoughtful Christianity so you can mock it. Anyone with a sense of intellectual fairness and objectivity knows you should engage the best arguments of your opponents, not the worst. Your tactics are the tactics of an intellectually dishonest bully.

    2) When confronted with a logical proof for how your definition of “subjective morality” collapses under the weight of evidence of actual moral examples, you ignore the evidence and pretend it’s irrelevant.

    3) When called on the fallacies of moral relativism, you get all indignant and judgmental about how I attacked you personally (while proceeding to attack me personally) — even though a careful reading of my comments shows absolutely no evidence that I did so. Not only so, but you refuse to even acknowledge that this is the case. This shows not only a lack of careful discernment but also unveils your intellectual cowardice for not acknowledging the error. You just pretend it never happened because doing so weakens your argument.

    4) When your brilliant example of “subjective” morality (the altitude thing) not only fails miserably, but serves to prove my point exactly, you go about redefining words and ignoring the facts.

    CONCLUSION: You either don’t realize these things — which means you have deluded yourself — or you do realize these things and are making the willful decision to deny them — which means you are intellectually dishonest. Either way, it’s not very pretty. I hope that next time you will pick a more legitimate target for your arguments instead of engaging in bullying sarcasm. It’s probably too much to ask but you might even go so far as to acknowledge when you are mistaken about something. This doesn’t mean you have to change your position (though it should), but it does make you more credible with your opponents and even those who share your view.

    Bottom line is that your arguments fail intellectually. The only way you can continue to hold to them is by a volitional, willful decision to lean on the psychological crutch of your atheism. If that works for you, that’s your choice.

    Cheers …

    Comment by av8torbob — February 8, 2013 @ 10:28 am | Reply

    • Bob, I’m truly sorry you have such difficulty comprehending the written word. If I could help you, I would.

      My intention with the flying analogy was to clarify the relative nature of establishing elevation. A mean is not a data point – a necessary fixed thing, Bob. Flying an airplane successfully does not reveal comprehension of how elevation is a relative scale. Flying an airplane does not show how comparative differences in altitude can be precisely know even though it is based on a relative scale of elevation. I was doing my best to show you how your assertion for the necessity of a fixed moral code is simply not true by showing you how all we need for confidence in comparative values is a common scale of reference even if relative. You have failed utterly to comprehend why this analogy – one that I know you will be familiar with as a pilot – works to show you the error of your assumption regarding morality.

      Your comments have started with an attitude of applying what you believe about me to be true rather than what is true, and have gone on from there to show no desire to first accurately comprehend the points I raise or understand how and why they support the thesis that belief in original sin causes moral hypocrisy in action. You have decided the points I have raised are caused by me hating your god, caused by what you believe is the psychological crutch of my atheism, and have avoided dealing with my actual argument at every response. You continue to imagine stuff and pretend your imaginings – rather than what’s true in reality – is what is applicable here so I will leave you to your little bubble world where nothing I can say matters a tinker’s damn to the (false) certainties of your hypocritical beliefs.

      Comment by tildeb — February 8, 2013 @ 11:20 am | Reply

  8. For someone who claims to demand evidence, you certainly are deficient in providing any. You have shown ZERO evidence — in fact, you don’t even attempt to show evidence — for:

    1) the accusations you made about what you claimed I said about you, or the resultant counter-accusations you made toward me, in your whiny rant. You continue to pretend it never happened. That’s OK. I understand your embarrassment. I’ve done embarrassing things too. The difference is that I admit it.

    2) any obligation by others to adhere to your subjective ethical preferences

    3) a description, even a theoretical one, about how physical objects (like proteins) can induce moral “fairness” or obligation in other physical objects

    But other than that, your case is very convincing. 🙂

    It must be nice to roam around completely oblivious to the fact that you use a theistic view of moral value to claim that theistic moral values don’t exist … Classic

    Comment by av8torbob — February 8, 2013 @ 1:32 pm | Reply

    • If it’s just up our subjective interpretation, you have no basis to condemn…

      This line of argument will not get you where you want to go.
      Your magical man in the sky will not “poof” into existence by default.
      False Dichoctomy Argument.
      Nor indeed will tildeb’s condemnation magically vanish.
      It remains.

      I’m pointing out the inconsistent hypocrisy of people who think like you…

      Tildeb thinks it’s wrong to rape a child.

      Therefore, you have no basis to call anything really evil.

      Doesn’t matter.

      The actions of Mother Teresa and Adolph Hitler are just different and you have no basis to judge otherwise.

      Yet… he does judge. He judges and reaches the same conclusions about the morality of raping children just like you.

      It’s hypocritical and inconsistent thinking on your part.

      You have yet to demonstrate such a thing.

      I condemn the caller, the child rapist, and the church that covers it up.

      Good for you. Good for anyone that would say the same thing.

      Those things are wrong because their wrongness is built into the fabric of the universe.

      That’s a claim that you have to support.
      With evidence.
      The whole “built into the fabric of the universe” bit needs to be supported. You think raping a child is immoral? Great. I hope we can all say the same (and I’m sure we can) It’s what you attribute such thinking that is the problem.
      There’s no reason to accept that “the universe” is either here nor there.

      They are unarguably and objectively wrong and any human being with a conscience knows it in virtue of their being human. I don’t need to provide a reason. Anyone who denies those acts are wrong is either a liar or a lunatic.

      Then the same goes for tildeb, right?
      (shrug)

      My point is that, on your worldview, you can do no such thing.

      What worldview? Tildeb has not mentioned one.

      That’s my point. I can call something wrong objectively.

      Call it what you want. You, however, need evidence to back it up.

      The sickening reality of your view of morality is that, under this scenario…

      Only, you are not describing reality. You are indulging in fantasy.
      The reality is that tideb does not approve of the raping of children.
      You too do not approve of it.
      This has to be your starting point if you are going to figure out why you both accept the same thing.
      (Hint: It’s got nothing to do with Oogity-Boogity)

      Since (on your morally bankrupt, Darwinistic view)…

      No such thing. You just made that up out of thin air. Stick to reality.

      In fact, on your animalistic view,…

      According to tildeb’s “animalistic” view, raping children is wrong. That’s not going to change. You have to deal with reality rather that make up fantasy scenarios.
      Strawmen will get you nowhere.

      Congrats, tildeb, that is the view you are unapologetically defending and you don’t even realize it. Or you do, but you are so committed to your own blindly accepted presuppositions, you have placed your adherence to philosophical naturalism above common sense and the reality of what it means to be a human being.

      Yet, in reality, tideb and you see eye to eye on the issue of raping children.
      (shrug)

      Just how does our biology “equip” us with this code?

      Even if tildeb cannot answer you to your personal satisfaction, it does not change the fact that he condemns child rape.
      Nor does your magical man in the sky poof into existence.

      For someone who claims to demand evidence, you certainly are deficient in providing any. You have shown ZERO evidence — in fact, you don’t even attempt to show evidence — for…

      No.
      The inadequacies of your opponent (either real or imagined) do not allow you to win by default.
      Your own understanding of morality must stand or fail on their own merits.

      No 62: ARGUMENT FROM ABSOLUTE MORAL STANDARDS
      (1) If there are absolute moral standards, then God exists.
      (2) Atheists say that there are no absolute moral standards.
      (3) But that’s because they don’t want to admit to being sinners.
      (4) Therefore, there are absolute moral standards.
      (5) Therefore, God exists.

      Comment by Cedric Katesby — February 10, 2013 @ 3:56 am | Reply

      • Well, apparently you lack the same reasoning skills as tildeb so, at risk of setting off another girly-man response based on an inability to distinguish between a critique of moral relativism and the morals of any specific individual, let me try to make it easier for you to understand by using a Sesame Street analogy:

        SITUATION: A man has sexual intercourse with a woman

        POSSIBLE EXPLANATIONS:
        1) The man is your next door neighbor and the woman is your wife
        2) The man is you and the woman is your wife
        3) The man is a notorious street thug who assaults your wife in the alley behind Walmart

        {Sing to yourself ala Sesame Street} … “One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn’t belong …”

        QUESTION: Since the behavior (sexual intercourse) and the biology (genetically identifiable male and female humans) are the same in all three scenarios, what makes one of them different and why?

        Comment by av8torbob — February 10, 2013 @ 4:21 pm

  9. Well, apparently you lack the same reasoning skills as tilde….

    You are not getting this.
    Your beliefs cannot rely upon rejecting whatever answer some person on the internet gives you.
    They must stand and fall on their own merits.
    False DIchotomy.

    QUESTION: Since the behavior (sexual intercourse)….

    (shrug)

    Answer: No idea.

    (…awkward silence…)

    Now what?

    (…more awkward silence…)

    Did you notice something? Nothing happened. Your magical, invisible man in the sky did not “poof” into existence by default. Even though you probably find my answer totally inadequate…..nothing happened.
    There’s no good reason to now trot off like a good little sheep to your church and put money in the collection plate.
    You can indulge in fantasy scenarios as much as you like but the basic fact remains that I and tildeb and you and most other people are moral people.
    You have to start with reality.
    Asking why we have morals and how they work are good questions.
    Yet you ruin it when you reach for a magical oogity-boogity answer.

    Morality 1: Good without gods

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — February 10, 2013 @ 10:32 pm | Reply

    • An excellent video well worth revisiting. Thanks, Cedric.

      Comment by tildeb — February 11, 2013 @ 10:15 am | Reply

    • Well, I have other things to do than banter with weak-minded sophists who have no intention of seeking the truth, so this is it for me …

      While I’ve been responding here armed only with my keyboard and the thoughts generated in my mind after years of taking these kinds of issues seriously, you say,“your beliefs cannot rely upon rejecting whatever answer some person on the internet gives you … and then go on to post a video you found (on the internet) which talking points you have parroted to me ad nauseam. Apparently you don’t see the irony in that. I do.

      In response to a simple question (for most people) about whether or not there is any difference between: 1) consummation of a marriage, 2) rape, 3) the next door neighbor doing your wife, your response is: (shrug) … Answer: No idea.

      Now, I have to say this is different than tildeb’s intellectual cowardly (unsupported by any evidence whatsoever) claim that the answer lies in biology. However, if your response was that you don’t know why one of these things is perfectly moral while the other two are not, I would respect that answer and it would be worth debating. But that’s not what you said. You said, you don’t know which one is different from the other two.

      There are two explanations for your response:

      1) You really don’t know. Since a person who cannot distinguish between right and wrong is known as psychopath, I reject that this is your actual position. You claim to be a moral person and I have no reason to disbelieve you. That leaves us with …

      2) You do know but you are not intellectually honest enough to admit it. Based on my belief that you are a normal functioning human being, I believe this is the actual case.

      Yes, Cedric, we do have to “start with reality” and the reality is that anyone with a conscience knows which of the explanations are different and morally right/wrong. You certainly wouldn’t and tell your wife you have “no idea.” In other words, you can’t live out your moral relativism in the real world. It doesn’t work. You can claim this nonsense all you want to try to make a point (which is why I referred to you as a sophist) but you don’t really believe it. You, sir, are the one denying reality and I don’t have time to waste pretending to take you seriously. I’ll let the readers (if there actually are any others) decide who is being more intellectually honest.

      Cheers …

      Comment by av8torbob — February 11, 2013 @ 10:18 am | Reply

      • Well, I have other things to do than banter with weak-minded sophists who have no intention of seeking the truth, so this is it for me …

        Well, let’s hope you are a godbot of your word.

        …you say,“your beliefs cannot rely upon rejecting whatever answer some person on the internet gives you … and then go on to post a video

        Non Sequitur.
        Even without the video, your beliefs must stand on their own merits. No matter how unworthy your opponents answer, your magical man does not poof by default.
        False Dichotomy. Look it up.
        It’s a real thing.

        In response to a simple question…

        I gave you a simple answer. You then proceed to be unsatisfied with it. It’s a standard routine. We all understand it. You are not doing anything new.

        There are two explanations…

        Yes, of course. The answer does not satisfy you etc, etc, etc. There’s no need to go into the why’s and wherefores. It’s an old tune. Queue the finale already.

        In other words, you can’t live out your moral relativism in the real world.

        i am here. I live in the real world (and rather successfully, I might add.) Most people do. That is reality of the situation. That’s where you have to start from.

        I’ll let the readers (if there actually are any others) decide who is being more intellectually honest.

        Sounds good. You have provided no evidence for your beliefs. Nor has your magical man poofed by default just because my answer did not meet your ever so demanding standards.
        Plus there’s a good video from my posting that gives a sane and rather mundane explanation on morality.
        So…we’re done here, right?
        Oh good.

        What If God Disappeared?

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — February 11, 2013 @ 11:00 am

      • Bob, again, your comprehension skills are very poor. You assume they are adequate. Your assumption is wrong. For example, you attribute my lack of providing evidence to my claim about the central role biology plays in our shared morality (for which you refuse to account) to my intellectual cowardice. This you again have simply made up. I suffer from no such cowardice. The reason why I have not provided you with compelling evidence is because… are you ready for my real motivation, Bob?… you have already dismissed it! And this is a repeating pattern. You have already dismissed all the criticisms you have earned in this thread… not with explanations and compelling counter points but with a wave of your intellectual arrogance. In place of a reasonable exchange of ideas and communication of meaning you continue to substitute what others say with shit you make up about them. You’ve done it again with Cedric’s contribution, telling him what your made up explanations are for his responses rather than having the intestinal fortitude to face his criticisms as an honest person. You’re not honest. And you don’t care that you are breaking a commandment you assure us is the very blueprint that makes you a moral agent of an <objective moral code while dismissing anyone who disagrees with you (and all the reasons why they disagree with you) as moral relativists unable to figure out why they shouldn’t fuck anyone or anything that grabs their sexual attention! You’re a hypocrite, Bob, and the worst kind of hypocrite: a pious one. All you keep doing is dismissing what others actually say and substituting what you presume they ought to be saying in order to maintain your blanket condemnation of non believers as immoral nihilists and sexual predators. Fuck off. Obviously, you only care to support what you already believe regardless of its truth value and dismiss whatever confronts them by condemning whomever confronts them. If this were not true, you would address the criticisms honestly and with respect for your challengers. You would act as the example to your moral superiority. This you have not done, do not do, and will not do with any criticism raised to reveal your moral hypocrisy… according to the evidence you have provided in this thread. You have proven yourself in your current rut to be a waste of time and effort because you do not care about finding out what’s true; you only care to maintain your beliefs at the expense of making shit up about others and maligning their characters in the service of your sense of piety. You can safely fuck off now, Bob.

        Comment by tildeb — February 11, 2013 @ 11:31 am

  10. The girly-man ranting and raving that goes on here really is tiresome so, to avoid the ‘ole “pearls before swine” thing …

    Cedric: Though your reasoning is empty and meaningless, at least you resort to avoiding the most important questions in life with sarcasm. I can appreciate sarcasm.

    tildeb: They say that you can tell when someone is losing an argument by their tendency toward: ad hominem attacks, foul language, misrepresenting their opponents, and/or yelling and screaming. You’re batting one thousand, dude! Congrats! You and your readers must be so proud!! Next time use ALL CAPS — that’ll REALLY show me 🙂

    I will leave you all alone to have the sheeple followers here tell you how brilliant and insightful you are for posting disingenuous videos and then making inaccurate arguments based on them so everyone gets a laugh. Enjoy … and remember, as a man more brilliant than all of us combined once said (a man, by the way, who was an atheist but then engaged his mind to end up as one of the greatest Christian apologists of all time), “the gates of hell are locked from the inside.” ~ C. S. Lewis

    Comment by av8torbob — February 11, 2013 @ 2:54 pm | Reply

    • Bob, you keep threatening to leave but seem unwilling… why is that, do you think? You really are a piece of work. I’ve tried being on point, tried to be nice, tried being rude, tried being blunt, and still you want to comment with distortions, misrepresentations, and lies. It will probably be a considered by you to be a feather in your cap to know that out of all the hundreds of different commentators, you are the first one I’ve ever seriously considered banning on the grounds that you add nothing meaningful and valuable as far as I can. All you do is make shit up and lie. Go away, Bob, or make the effort to add something worth reading.

      Comment by tildeb — February 11, 2013 @ 4:07 pm | Reply

  11. Well, I have other things to do than banter with weak-minded sophists who have no intention of seeking the truth, so this is it for me …

    Well, let’s hope you are a godbot of your word.

    The girly-man ranting and raving that…

    (…facepalm…)
    Evidently not.
    What is your problem, liar?

    Though your reasoning is empty and meaningless…

    False dichotomy. Look it up, you senile idiot. There’s nothing empty or meaningless about it. Your magic, invisible man does not poof into existence by default.

    …ad hominem attacks…

    What is it with godbots and their accusations of ad hominems? Is there some special Sunday School you people all go to where they teach you to sling off this kind of accusation when you are on a losing streak?
    Look it up.
    I know what “ad hominem” means. You don’t.
    Look it up, you ignorant tool.

    …foul language…

    Foul language? Oh, mercy me. I do declare! Heavens to Betsy. Someone pass you the smelling salts. Goodness gracious. However will you cope?

    No. 219: GOODY2SHOES’ ARGUMENT FROM OFFENSIVENESS
    (1) You keep making statements that I think are generalizations, hypocritical, and bigoted.
    (2) I will only agree to stay if you stop that.
    (3) [Non-believer tries to be non-offensive.]
    (4) You’re still offending me because of [insert random statement here].
    (5) [Non-believer rereads her posts before posting, posting when she thinks she is not being offensive.]
    (6) I’m offended!
    (7) [Non-believer tears her hair out trying to figure out how to be non-offensive.]
    (8) This conversation is just the two of us. I think we should stop this conversation.
    (9) [Non-believer figures ‘Fuck it’ and posts what she really thinks.]
    (10) WOW! WHAT A BIGOT! I’m leaving!
    (11) I have a spiritual victory.
    (12) Therefore, God exists.

    Enjoy … and remember, as a man more brilliant than…

    Wha…?
    C.S. Lewis?
    (giggle)
    You are going to quote C.S. Lewis? Wow, the cliches just never end with you. It’s the same ol’, same ol’.

    No. 182: ARGUMENT FROM C.S. LEWIS
    (1) C.S. Lewis had a lot of good arguments in favor of Christianity … at least that’s what all my Christian friends tell me.
    (2) C.S. Lewis wrote some popular books too!
    (3) So anything C.S. Lewis said must be right!
    (4) Therefore, God Exists.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — February 11, 2013 @ 5:11 pm | Reply

  12. O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle — be Thou near them! With them — in spirit — we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it — for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — February 24, 2013 @ 9:11 am | Reply

  13. The Fall:
    Adam sinned by eating of the fruit of the forbidden tree.
    This was a selfish act. The original sin is selfishness.
    Thus humans are selfish.

    Richard Dawkins in the Selfish Gene:
    We are made up of genes.
    Genes are selfish as they only want to reproduce themselves.
    Thus humans are selfish.

    Tomato, toMAto. Dawkins presents the scientific case for The Fall. Thanks, have a nice day.

    Comment by zero1ghost — March 29, 2013 @ 2:48 pm | Reply

    • “The Fall:
      Adam sinned by eating of the fruit of the forbidden tree.”

      Z1G you comparing apples with oranges here – and saying “hey they are both fruit – right?”

      Wrong – on a catastrophic scale!

      The bible is talking about a conscious act by a sentient being – that ‘being’ being Adam, a man.

      Dawkins is talking about a bunch of chemicals, that do not possess the machinery to make choices; genes have evolved to reproduce selfishly through organisms that reproduce, they have not chosen to reproduce selfishly and neither has the organism that inherits them, they either reproduce it or they do not exist. Flip it on its head – I have no more choice over the genes I inherited from my parents, than I have over which genes I pass to my children. The FICTIONAL Adam on the other hand had a choice.

      There absolutely no comparison to be made here, and your attempts to make one just make you look ignorant of one of the most basic understandings of evolution and life. Instead of cherry picking what you think is right, try picking up his book with the explanation in context.

      Comment by misunderstoodranter — April 6, 2013 @ 7:39 am | Reply

      • Did the fictional Adam have a choice? Do we? How free are we? Are we really a bunch of chemicals and that’s it? Are we just the sum of our parts?

        Dawkins and the tradition of the Fall both claim we’re selfish, they take different routes to get there. Having read both Augustine and Dawkin’s books, I can say that both are wrong. Hence I don’t believe in Dawkins or the Fall (never thought to ask on the latter did ya?).

        Comment by zero1ghost — April 6, 2013 @ 4:13 pm

      • Z1G: “Did the fictional Adam have a choice?”

        I think that’s the point of the fairy tale…

        Z1G: “Do we?”

        Yes – life is full of choices.

        Z1G: “How free are we?”

        We are all free to think what we like, and the lucky ones are free to say what they like – fuck you Jesus! – see!.

        Z1G: “Are we really a bunch of chemicals and that’s it?”

        I don’t see any evidence to suggest otherwise – when it boils down to it we are no more special than the trees, birds bees, and all other living things – we are just stuff, it’s great isn’t it. You can test this if you like at your local zoo – just step into the Lion enclosure, and see what ‘special’ treatment you get – you are just food for other things.

        Z1G: “Are we just the sum of our parts?”

        Looks like it to me, I have not seen any angles, dead relatives coming back to haunt me what I have seen is plenty of rotting stuff, and regeneration of forests, plants and trees and animals, when you die, you will be recycled back into nature, just like compost in a garden…

        Z1G: Dawkins and the tradition of the Fall both claim we’re selfish, they take different routes to get there. Having read both Augustine and Dawkin’s books, I can say that both are wrong. Hence I don’t believe in Dawkins or the Fall (never thought to ask on the latter did ya?).

        Look here, and read it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Selfish_Gene

        Z1G: Hence I don’t believe in Dawkins.

        Dawkins is not asking you to believe in him, biology is not a religion, it is a science.

        Comment by misunderstoodranter — April 6, 2013 @ 6:47 pm


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