Downsides to the Hope Offered by Christianity: Believing Because It’s Consoling

Downsides to the Hope Offered by Christianity: Believing Because It’s Consoling July 13, 2018

Here’s an interesting thought experiment from Tracie Harris of The Atheist Experience podcast. Suppose I put an ad in the local paper and say that I help people find jobs. I’m retired from business and have experience and contacts that I’d like to share. I only ask that job candidates come to my house, give me their resume, and tell me about their background. That usually takes an hour or two, but my help is free.

But there’s more to the story. When the applicants leave, I throw their resumes in the trash. I give them hope that I can help them, but I don’t actually help them. The fact is, I have no real business experience at all.

What do you make of this story? I am a caring and helpful person who offers hope to people? Or a jerk who wastes their time, plays with their emotions, and deludes them?

Christians make much of their religion’s precious gift of hope, but these same pointed questions could be asked about that as well.

What’s the harm with Christian hope?

Christians will point to elderly people who’ve been Christians all their lives. What’s the harm in their believing that they’ll soon be in heaven, reunited with loved ones? Surely you don’t want to attack Grandma’s Christian beliefs at her age.

Another example is someone living in abysmal circumstances—a child soldier in Somalia or a child prostitute in Thailand, say. Or someone in a Third World prison or a young mother with a disease that will shortly kill her. Christianity could give hope when things are hopeless.

I agree that there’s no point in attacking a frail person’s worldview, and I have little argument with someone who clings to a delusion they need to get them through the day. It’s the rest of humanity that I’m asking to throw away their crutches.

I’d like to consider six problems caused by Christian hope.

1. “It’s consoling” isn’t good enough

Sam Harris in The End of Faith says,

[Belief in the afterlife] is deeply consoling if believed, but you really shouldn’t believe it simply because it’s consoling. For example, say I believe that a diamond the size of a refrigerator is buried in my backyard. If you ask me why I believe that, I would reply, well, it makes me feel good, it gives my life meaning. That’s clearly a crazy answer. For a belief to [tell us something useful about the world], it can’t be held just because it feels good to hold it.

Christians may respond that the difference is one person who believes in the giant diamond vs. a couple of billion who believe in Christianity, but of course this is just the argumentum ad populum (the formal name for the bandwagon fallacy). Robert Pirsig’s response to this situation was, “When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion.”

Lots of people believe astrology and homeopathy, but that doesn’t make them true. Evidence should be the guide, and you shouldn’t believe Christianity’s claims without good evidence.

Steven Pinker pokes holes in the idea that false beliefs should be comforting:

Saying that something is so doesn’t make it so, and there’s no reason why it should be comforting to think it so, when we have reason to believe it is not so. Compare: if you’re freezing, being told that you’re warm is not terribly soothing. If you’re being threatened by a menacing predator, being told that it’s just a rabbit is not particularly comforting. In general, we are not that easily deluded. Why should we be in the case of religion? It simply begs the question.

Some answers come to mind. Maybe the appeal is Christianity’s promise of an afterlife. Or maybe it’s a cultural custom. Shermer’s Law notes that as an adult, you use your intellect to defend indefensible beliefs you hold only because they were part of your upbringing. Whatever the reason, believing just because it’s consoling is indefensible for most adults in the West.

Continue with reason 2, Not Seeing Reality Clearly.

He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file
has already earned my contempt.
He has been given a large brain by mistake,
since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice.
— Albert Einstein

.

Image via Bubba, CC license

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  • RichardSRussell

    An excellent book on the appeal of mass movements is Eric Hoffer’s 1951 work of social psychology The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements. In it, Hoffer advances the notion that many people view themselves as life’s losers and are just desperately hoping for something greater than themselves that’s been demonstrated to be successful (or at least noisily attractive) that they can attach themselves to in order to bask in reflected glory.

    Hoffer, writing less than a decade after the conclusion of WW2, uses Nazis and Communists for most of his examples, but they’re readily transferable onto religion and certain economic theories (looking at you, Ayn Rand), not to mention the Tea Party and the Trumpites.

    • OutsideLookingIn

      Great book.

  • Brian Curtis

    To a degree, it may depend on the severity of the emotional need that’s being filled. Wanting to believe that you’re comfortable when you’re not is a minor craving. Wanting to believe that you, personally, are of supreme importance to the entire universe and (more importantly) that you will NEVER DIE is a much bigger boost to the old ego, and most people have to be dragged away from such an important fantasy kicking and screaming.

  • > That’s clearly a crazy answer.

    In my opinion that’s not a compelling refutation. More interesting is “For a belief to [tell us something useful about the world], it can’t be held just because it feels good to hold it.” But I’m not sure that tells the whole story of the utility of a belief.

    David Sloan Wilson’s “Darwin’s Cathedral” makes the argument that a non-true belief can be useful, perhaps not at an individual level, but certainly at a group level. Historical accounts tell of Christians, who believed that God would reward them in heaven, removing the corpses of plague victims from the streets. They did it because they believed a lie. But the benefit to their Christian community (having the plague corpses gone) was real. Wilson suggests all religions are just bundles of “adaptive truths”: Memes that may or may not be true but that provide an evolutionary advantage. It’s a fascinating argument, and one the non-religious community would do well to consider how we can use.

    • sandy

      Paul came along and said all you have to believe is in Jesus and you get to live forever and…..we won’t cut the end of your dicks off…who’s in?

    • Otto

      Is it better to believe things that comport with reality or is any old belief good as long as it is useful? The argument here is not that false beliefs can’t have utility, just that true beliefs serve us better in the long run.

      • I agree that true beliefs generally serve us better in the long run. But when true beliefs have been maximized there is always room for a compelling may-or-may-not be true belief.

        • Otto

          Sure there is always room for any belief…good or bad.
          I am not sure what your point is though.

        • I guess my point is that religion was doing something. It was helping people accomplish together what they couldn’t accomplish alone. And how was it doing it? By providing a coherent package of beliefs that were excellent at suppressing free riders. We now know that many of those beliefs were false. But I think the secular community is foolish to ignore the utility of a belief that may-or-may not be true. The idea of heaven motivates people in a way that the idea of ceasing to exist does not, and we should study what that difference is and how the secular community can use it.

          Anyway, if you’re interested at all, a good start is Haidt’s The Righteous Mind and Wilson’s Darwin’s Cathedral.

        • Do you think that was overall good? It could also be used in destructive ways after all. As to using it ourselves, what are you thinking?

        • We shouldn’t confuse “ethical” with “good for the group”. So when you say ” was it an overall good?” I have two answers: Has religion, overall, been ethical? Well, it’s probably been better than nothing, but it has a long way to go and no means of correcting itself. Has it been “good” for the groups of religious people? Absolutely. It’s been amazing for them. So amazing, in fact, that “religious” appears to be the default state of humans.

          As to what I am thinking, here’s a suggestion for an adaptive truth: “In a cold and uncaring universe, all life has a special value that should be protected. We have an ethical responsibility (because we are reasoning, technology-using lifeforms) to go out in to the universe and find this life and protect it.” This belief could be useful in helping humans suppress their selfish desires to help humanity reach the stars. This statement doesn’t need to turn anyone in to the Christians who pulled the corpses out of the street, it just needs to help suppress our innate selfishness better than competing ideologies. There are probably ten of thousands of other, better, ideas that the creativity of human beings can create.

        • It depends on your ethics. For some, that would be “good for the group”. I mean more is it good for humanity overall though.

          An idea something like that seems common, whether religious or not, and I’d get behind it.

        • > It depends on your ethics.

          Definitely. I’ve never considered it in that way before, but I suspect that religions push “good for the group” ethics harder than they push “good for the individual”, and that much of the criticism that secular people have of religion involves the gap between these two.

        • Religions but also most ethical systems hold the group over the individual I’d say, at least when it comes to a choice between them. Individualism in general is a fairly recent belief system.

        • epeeist

          Individualism in general is a fairly recent belief system.

          You don’s see virtue ethics being concerned with the individual rather than the group?

        • Aristotle put the group first too. Improving the individual is good for them.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          As to what I am thinking, here’s a suggestion for an adaptive truth: “In a cold and uncaring universe, all life has a special value that should be protected. We have an ethical responsibility (because we are reasoning, technology-using lifeforms) to go out in to the universe and find this life and protect it.” This belief could be useful in helping humans suppress their selfish desires to help humanity reach the stars.

          The prior “may or may not be” statements are empirical in nature, whereas the above quote is a value proposition. The two don’t have anything to do with one another – it certainly doesn’t fit your description of adapting secular approaches for religious techniques.

          IMO, even if your earlier argument was fully granted, it only suggests that ignorant people can be motivated by incorrect beliefs. You have miles to go before it makes sense to suggest that more informed people would still be served by potentially faulty beliefs in ways that more accurate beliefs cannot.

          To use your earlier example, more informed beliefs would prompt the same action along with improved sanitation, which would diminish potential future outbreaks.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Has it been “good” for the groups of religious people? Absolutely.

          Well that’s patently ridiculous. Being religious has absolutely not been good for certain groups of religious people. Does the word genocide not ring a bell? Then there are all those religious cults that are detrimental to their followers, sometimes to the point of death…I’m thinking Jonestown and Heavens Gate as examples of detrimental religions.

          It’s been amazing for them. So amazing, in fact, that “religious” appears to be the default state of humans.

          Ah, but what do you mean by “religious” here?

          Not always…and not everyone…and are people born religious?

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreligion#Kinds_of_irreligion

          Then there are the Pirahã people of South America. They have no concept of a supreme being or god.

          How soon do you think religion might last if all childhood indoctrination ceased immediately? Would the consequences be better or worse for everyone?

        • > Well that’s patently ridiculous.

          We need to be careful to view religion for what it is, a social technology driven by evolutionary processes, rather than what it claims to be: A divine and perfect way to live. When we look at a bird’s wing, we don’t laugh and say, “Birds are so stupid. They can’t even fly faster than the speed of sound.” But a bird’s wing does not need to fly faster than the speed of sound _to be useful_. Instead we say it is a marvel of evolutionary engineering. So why do we look at religion and say, “Religion is useless because it has not brought about world peace and has spawned genocide”? Of course it’s done evil. But it does not need to bring about perfect world peace _to be useful_.

          I think your exception (the Pirahã people) proves my point. A complete lack of religion allows 800 people to live on the margins of society. While Christendom allows tens of millions to take over the world.

          And before anyone else objects 🙂 I am not claiming the claims of Christianity are correct or good. Only that the beliefs it contains are valuable for suppressing free riders and out-competing non-religious (and non-monotheists).

        • Ignorant Amos

          My point was that it is patently ridiculous to claim that religion is/has been absolutely “good” for those that are religious. In many examples it has been absolutely the opposite. You have not refuted that.

          The birds wing analogy is a pretty poor one for lots of reasons.

          Religious people themselves point to other religions and claim they are stupid. In lots of cases they go much further than that.

          So why do we look at religion and say, “Religion is useless because it has not brought about world peace and has spawned genocide”? Of course it’s done evil. But it does not need to bring about perfect world peace _to be useful_.

          If a religion makes claims that it can’t or doesn’t live up to, then on that count, it is useless.

          If religions cause detrimental effects of societies, which lots do, then they are worse than useless.

          Some birds have wings that have evolved to be useless for the purpose of flying.

          Religions make claims that can’t be supported. People use religion for nefarious reasons. On balance, I think religions harm, out weighs it’s good. We are evolving away from religion. Hopefully it will become as useful as the wings of those birds for which their wings have become vestigial.

          I think your exception (the Pirahã people) proves my point. A complete lack of religion allows 800 people to live on the margins of society.

          Well, my example of a whole people who exist without religion was an extreme one. Some would say that their contentment is to be envied.

          But tens of millions of people living well within the margins of society without religion points to it’s uselessness. It doesn’t seem to be necessary, like the flightless birds wing. It has been a cause to stifle human evolution. It needs to become a vestigial part of human history.

          While Christendom allows tens of millions to take over the world.

          And when Islam surpasses Christendom, like it is destined to do circa 2050, how do you think religion will advance humanity on it’s world takeover? I see nothing good ahead.

        • I’m not impressed in your ability to find reasons my theory is wrong. Finding reasons to support any proposition is easy. Even the flat-earthers do it. What I am impressed by is a willingness to change one’s mind, to consider that someone you disagree with may be right. Your persistent misrepresentation of my arguments indicates either I am the world’s worst communicator (which is possible) or you haven’t considered even once that I may be right, and I find that as frustrating when I talk to atheists as I do when I talk to Christians. We should do better than this. We claim to do better than this. But we don’t (me included).

          I’m out. Reply with a witty zing about my intellect and we can call this discussion closed.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What I am impressed by is a willingness to change one’s mind, to consider that someone you disagree with may be right.

          When you present something that convinces me that your proposition has any merit, then perhaps I, and others, will change our minds accordingly. That hasn’t happened yet. And by the sounds of things, isn’t likely.

          In the mean time, isn’t there a certain irony that you’d be impressed by my changing my mind, yet see no benefit in you seeing things as the other does?

          Your persistent misrepresentation of my arguments indicates either I am the world’s worst communicator (which is possible) or you haven’t considered even once that I may be right,…

          Rather than whinge about it, if you think I have misrepresented your arguments, through your bad comm’s, or my inability to understand what you mean (which is possible), isn’t it incumbent upon you to clarify where I’m not getting your point? Is that not a better way forward, as opposed to picking up yer ball and cry off sulking.

          …and I find that as frustrating when I talk to atheists as I do when I talk to Christians. We should do better than this. We claim to do better than this. But we don’t (me included).

          You do know how argument works right? You make an assertion, your interlocutor either agrees…yippee! Or disagrees and gives reasons x,y, and z in refutation. You then counter rebut. Then, perhaps one side does enough to convince the other side to re-evaluate. It’s not my fault, or maybe it is, that I don’t find what you’ve said so far, convincing…or dare I say, have completely misunderstood your point entirely. Perhaps a third party could interject in arbitration.

          But since you prefer to draw a line, I guess we’ll never know.

          Reply with a witty zing about my intellect and we can call this discussion closed.

          Why did you even say that?

          Was it even necessary after…

          I’m out.

          …already?

        • >How soon do you think religion might last if all childhood indoctrination ceased immediately? Would the consequences be better or worse for everyone?

          That’s an interesting question.

          I don’t think the religions we know would last if all childhood indoctrination ceased immediately. However, I believe religion has modified human genetics (selecting for belief) and that if religion goes away an important part of the human condition will go away as well.The danger (to me, at least) is that with religion gone (a social construct), the human desire for the spiritual (a genetic construct) will remain, and this void _will_ be filled. This is why I want to suggest alternatives that are soundly based in science, that bring out the best aspects of humanity, that have correction mechanisms, but that _also_ trigger or slot in to this religion hole. I believe that human creativity can rise to this challenge, even as traditional religions go in to the dustbin of history.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well, some believe we have a “god” gene. But it doesn’t need to be god in the theistic sense of the personal god of the Abrahamic faiths.

          We already know that is not the case anyway, because people can function as well, if not better, without such belief.

          Have you read Richard Dawkins book, “Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder”

          Dawkins addresses the misperception that science and art are at odds. Driven by the responses to his books The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker wherein readers resented his naturalistic world view, seeing it as depriving life of meaning, Dawkins felt the need to explain that, as a scientist, he saw the world as full of wonders and a source of pleasure. This pleasure was not in spite of, but rather because he does not assume as cause the inexplicable actions of a deity but rather the understandable laws of nature.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unweaving_the_Rainbow

          There is plenty around us to inspire a feeling of spirituality without invoking the interference of…

          “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

          …and other such ridiculous entities.

          By all means, take what is deemed useful about religion and use it to human advantage. We already do in other institutions. But we really need to jump off the coattails of the stupid supernatural mumbo-jumbo that has plagued us all for so long. It is counter-productive to hang onto. We know this by just looking around ourselves.

        • Greg G.

          However, I believe religion has modified human genetics (selecting for belief) and that if religion goes away an important part of the human condition will go away as well.

          Maybe, by killing non-believers for not believing but the culling has been so inconsistent to select for or against a trait for a long term.

          The danger (to me, at least) is that with religion gone (a social construct), the human desire for the spiritual (a genetic construct) will remain, and this void _will_ be filled.

          There are many traits that are beneficial for survival in a primitive environment that may be less useful or desirable, perhaps detrimental, in a civilization. Religions that can exploit these traits best will survive. But as a species, it would be better to identify these instincts and tendencies and deal with them more intelligently so we can realize when a televangelist is pushing our buttons to give him $20 so he can buy a $65 million dollar jet or to a faith-healing braggart who needs to build a hospital.

        • Sample1

          However, I believe religion has modified human genetics (selecting for belief).

          I’ll challenge that. More accurate to say that brain evolution, with its obvious triumphs, naturally leaves cognitive susceptibilities. Bipedalism evolved with known advantages but left us susceptible to high incidents of eventual lower back pain (quadrupeds* largely don’t suffer that).

          I think rather than evolution selecting for belief it selected for bigger brains, religion has usurped the natural cognitive vulnerabilities of that evolution.

          Mike
          Edit *dachshunds are predisposed to spinal problems but that is a case of artificial selection, not natural selection.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Actually, ‘ethical’ and ‘good for the group’ ARE similar, if not identical concepts to me.

          I call ethics and morals the survival instincts of a society, the same way individual animals have survival instincts.

        • I very much agree regarding ethics being the “survival instincts of a society”. I think “society” is a superset of “group”, which is why “ethics are what is good for society” works better than “ethics are what is good for the group”. There’s a crap ton of stuff that’s horrible and good for the group.

        • Otto

          For myself, I have never argued religion is always bad or that believing false things always leads to something negative, typically my point is that it is unreliable and adds baggage. I don’t think the secular community here is ignoring the ‘utility of a belief that may-or-may not be true’, just that the utility in and of itself is not enough.

        • Lark62

          If the community believes nonsense, there is no way to self correct. Sure, some people may have picked up bodies of plague victims to please an imaginary deity.* But plenty of others murdered Jews to stop the plague, claiming allegiance the same deity. Plenty of actions ascribed to the deity are harmful to the community, but there is no way to defend against “god said so.”

          (*My bet is that they actually mostly did it for money. Several months after Gettysburg, the government hired a contractor to locate and dig up bodies of union soldiers and bury them in a new military cemetary. They were paid by the body, Union soldiers only. Given demographics, the contractor was probably christian but he did it for money.)

        • You have confused “what is ethical” with “what is good for the group”. Evolution is not ethical. But (and this is important) it doesn’t have to be unethical. If there are things that can ethically be believed by secular people that may-or-may-not be true that give us a competitive advantage, it would be foolish to ignore them.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Did people accomplish things together that they couldn’t accomplish alone, only come after they invent religion? In other words, was religion responsible for our evolution? If yes, then how would we know otherwise?

          ETA: iirc Neanderthals had “religious” type rituals.

        • Religion is an evolutionary process, and evolutionary processes are gradual changes over time. So I suspect primitive religious beliefs help suppress free-riding a little bit. As those beliefs became wide-spread, their advantage was lost, and new stronger/better religious beliefs would develop. I absolutely believe religion has affected human evolution and genetics, as those who were able to believe in the supernatural the best did the best.

        • Sample1

          Alaskans enjoy the highest per capita consumption of ice cream in the US. This wasn’t always so and may not be in the future. Is that indulgence an example of evolutionary selectivity? If we transplanted infants of ice cream gluttons from Alaska to Arizona would we expect even more Cold Stone Creamerys in that state to supply the predicted evolutionary needs of those transplants? Your understanding of evolution and religion seems to suggest we should build more parlors. Or is there something more fundamental going on, something heritable, other than ice cream preferences? I think there is.

          What I’m getting at is there is much debate about whether religion is a Darwinian evolutionary process described by phenotypes and adaptations or whether religion is a spandrel, a byproduct of evolving brains, not necessarily required for survival; a free-rider to use your word. Religion is without question a nebulous term which also adds to the challenge. Some stop with that alone being a disqualification for now. I’m hyper vigilant about ascribing anything as an evolutionary adaptation without evidence. Because evolution like this is not observable directly we can only make guesses as to why a trait exists and we are spectacularly sloppy at doing that. It’s not that we should stop trying but where evidence is absent it only makes sense to be hesitant.

          as those who believe in the supernatural the best did the best

          Again, one level of observation closer to being in evidence would be agency detection rather than religion. Perhaps those with better agency detection survived more and reproduced. Religion could be argued as a being a byproduct of hyper agency detection. What I don’t see compelling is religion evolving first and then agency detection being the spandrel or byproduct.

          But evolutionary psychology is not my area and it’s a tricky field to just armchair this stuff. I’m only addressing a few things that seemed possibly problematic to me from your post.

          It seems to me you can make your desires known without even delving into evolution though. Do we really need to know the evolutionary underpinnings of ethics to support ethical standards today? I don’t think so. So I think your case for the individual, the group and for ethics is strong enough and risks being weakened through evolutionary speculation. In other words, if you’re right about evolution or mistaken will you change what you think is ethical today? I kind of doubt it.

          What does happen though are that there are religious apologists who try to link science and religion in all kinds of spurious ways to an end that favors religion. I’m not saying you are doing that. I don’t know you and this is only the second post I’ve read from you. I say this more for lurkers considering this site. I would love for you to be right. I’d like a contrary position to yours to be right. I don’t care who is right I’m only interested in something being right.

          The relationship between evolution and religion as a technology surely has a natural explanation, I’ll admit that is my bias. I’m a naturalist. I just don’t believe anyone really knows how it all came together for our species yet.

          Mike
          Edit done

        • Greg G.

          I think agency detection is far more basic that just a human trait.

          http://spiders-n-stuff.blogspot.com/2013/09/apple-maggot-fly-rhagoletis-pomonella.html

          http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Mu-YsNU0WeM/UoGBQaxPoII/AAAAAAAACLk/EWxRW-IURhI/s400/13-8-2-IMG_0161.jpg

          It seems to work in spiders, too. The trait of not attacking spiders bigger than you could be a genetic trait passed down to descendants but could be exploited by insects with a genetic hobby of imitating spiders.

        • I appreciate your thoughtful response. I tend to talk in a dogmatic style, so I want to be clear that I agree with all your caveats. From my point of view “religion as social technology possibly with evolutionary consequences” is compelling enough and fits with my own experiences running the Calgary Secular Church enough that I think it’s worth testing. My next project will assume that it’s true and design accordingly. If it flops, I’ll report back here. 🙂

        • Greg G.

          I tend to talk in a dogmatic style

          That is how you can exploit SIWOTI Syndrome. If you ask a question on the internet, you may or may not get an answer. But if you say something wrong, the internet is filled with people who are willing to correct you.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6e46c0922a867c18e3604db00715ac014cb5d7d350297a983055df90f1e50b98.png

          It works the same when you say something in a provocative fashion.

        • Sample1

          Good luck!

          Mike

        • Lark62

          Many parts of our planet are becoming uninhabitable due to global warming. Christians in America deny science and reality and block efforts to reduce global warming.

          This “may or may not be true belief” is harmful.

    • Michael Neville

      Believing in something because it makes you feel good can have deleterious effects. In your example the Christians removing plague victims meant that many of those Christians would die of the plague. “There’ll be pie in the sky when you die” doesn’t keep you from dying and, as Utah Phillips noted about the pie, “It’s a lie.”

      • I agree the belief was not useful for the individual who removed the body, but it was absolutely useful to the other individuals in their group. A group of committed believers ready to die for their cause _will_ cause their group to benefit, and religion excels at this. It’s almost like religion is a social technology designed to make individuals put the group first. Oh wait! That’s _exactly_ what religion is!

        • Lark62

          But does the belief cause the good behavior?

          Some humans are selfless and put the community first. The fact that these humans might ascribe their behavior to the dominant religion of their culture doesn’t make it true that the religion caused the good behavior.

          Look at the evidence. Christianity produces a lot more selfish jerks than selfless heroes. Before christian belief can be credited with causing generous and selfless behavior, it must produce that result consistently.

        • Evolutionary processes (and the processes I’m describing absolutely are evolutionary) do not work that way. All that is required is that they give a community an advantage. Religion doesn’t turn everyone in to a self-less saint. But it doesn’t need to. It just needs to tun more in to selfless saints than the alternative. And that is what it has done in the past.

        • Grimlock

          […] But it doesn’t need to. It just needs to tun more in to selfless saints than the alternative. […]

          It seems to me that this is given that selflessness is an advantageous strategy, which would be context-specific, yeah?

        • Grimlock

          […] Before christian belief can be credited with causing generous and selfless behavior, it must produce that result consistently.

          A more moderate proposition might be worth considering. For instance that Christian belief can, given certain biological and cultural factors, consistently produce selfless behaviour.

          In that case, it won’t necessarily be consistent through a society, yet it might still be the case that Christian belief can be credited with causing the behaviour. (Of course, a reverse hypothesis – that Christian belief given other biological and cultural factors consistently produces selfish and obnoxious behaviour – seems equally plausible.)

      • I think that was in the original lyrics to the song “The Preacher and the Slave”, since it is all about that. Or at least it was commonly sung that way from what I recall. The IWW, like a lot of radical leftists, were not fond of religion as this was frequently used to keep people down in their view.

        • Michael Neville

          Some covers of “The Preacher and the Slave” have “That’s a lie” and some don’t. Here’s a cover from the movie Joe Hill that doesn’t have it. The song starts at 2:10.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hruSHRsZ1JU

        • I guess it wasn’t in the lyrics, from what I’m seen. Rather it was part of a call and response refrain. Also it was originally “Long-Haired Preachers”.

    • Lark62

      Without belief in imaginary deities, people still manage to do good things.

      Yet for every case of christians doing good because of their fake beliefs, there are dozens of them causing harm.

      Christians also believed that Jews caused the plague and should be slaughtered. They believed the wrong kind of christian should be tied to a pole and burned alive. Today, they lie about global warming because “god gave us dominion” and that means we can turn the planet into a garbage dump.

      • Greg G.

        that means we can turn the planet into a garbage dump.

        Yes, Jesus will be back like a thief in the night any day now to clean things up. I remember that they thought it would be about 1988 because Israel re-formed in 1948 and a generation was 40 years. Now it’s this year because a generation is 70 years.

        • Ctharrot

          I have a great-uncle who is an amazing guy in many respects, but has always been deep into End Times flapdoodle, especially stuff from Hagee and Van Impe. He used to tell me to prepare my soul for the Second Coming, because this was the year. 1978. Then 1979. And 1980. You get the idea.

          I noticed the pattern of results pretty early on, but it never seemed to bother him. He hasn’t rejected Revelation or the teachings of fear-mongering con-men like Hagee or the prophecy silliness. He just keeps adjusting, rebooting, and declaring that the end is just around the corner.

        • Lark62

          Yes. At the end of the millennial and the dawn of the new millennial, christians were convinced Jesus’ return was imminent. And I’m speaking of the first millennial, circa 999-1000. Jesus’ return has been expected every year for 2000 years. You’d think they’d catch on eventually.

        • Greg G.

          Maybe as far back as the Hasmonean times when the Book of Daniel was written, circa 165 BC.

  • John MacDonald

    Bob wrote: “Maybe the appeal is Christianity’s promise of an afterlife. ”

    We know how important that belief in an afterlife can be because we know how much a depressive view of the afterlife can weigh on people. Classicist Jacob Burckhardt said the Greeks were more unhappy than most people realize. A young Nietzsche attained an auditor’s transcript off this lecture and treasured it as his most prized possession.

    Regarding the ancient Greek view of the afterlife, Homer writes, “Life-giving earth has buried them” and details how Achilles, a great hero of the Iliad, would rather “live working as a wage-labourer for hire by some other man, one who had no land and not much in the way of livelihood, than lord it over all the wasted dead” (Homer, 11.380, 624-28).

    • sandy

      “Maybe the appeal is Christianity’s promise of an afterlife. ” Of course that is the golden carrot for christianity along with the threat of hell as the alternative. The promise of an afterlife was a driving force for Roman soldiers in the latter years of their reign. My christian friends live for the afterlife.

      • Lark62

        Slaveowners in the South used the promise of an afterlife to keep slaves under control. “Life may be hard now, but heaven will be great.”

        False promises of heaven are just another tool for manipulators and manipulation.

        OTOH, slaves used heaven as code for escaping to Canada. “Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to take me on home” was as much about the underground railroad and traveling in this life.

      • Kevin K

        That is such a sad statement. It’s entirely true, of course. But what that means is that there are literally millions upon millions of people denying themselves simple human pleasures (or worse, engaging in guilt trips) in a lifelong exercise in futility.

        When I dismissed the notion of an after-death experience, I truly became free.

    • Kevin K

      Which Greeks? You know there were dramatically different Greek cultures back in the day…right?

      Compare and contrast the Pythagorean worldview versus the Epicureans versus the Spartans versus the Platonists. There’s almost zero overlap in that particular Venn diagram.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Valid point. I read it as the Greeks that believed particular things about the afterlife, but clarification would be nice, just to know who these Greeks were. I could research, but ave too much on at the moment.

        • Kevin K

          I was just reading a book about Plato, which is why this is front-and-center in my mind. “Homer” (aka, crowdsourcing) was several hundred years before the Socratic/Platonic era. To declare the Homeric conception of after-death represents Greek thought would be like us declaring that the Puritans represent the sum total of theological thought in the Americas.

        • Nocturnal

          Without a doubt, except I’d qualify it slightly by saying that while Homer was indeed outdated, his works (or the works attributed to him, at any rate) were believed to be very important in a child (at least male children), to the point boys learnt long passages by heart and were expected to be acquainted with the contents of at least The Iliad and The Odyssey.

          While the Puritans, in our days, carry very unsavory associations that go beyond merely being outdated and straight into being outrageous.

          In other words, your analogy holds but I would just like to add that the cultural importance given to Homer throughout the Platonic era, and way after that as the Romans became quite fond of both epic poems, was much deeper and had positive associations that the Puritans simply do not have in today’s world (apart from the handful of nutters who would gladly burn witches at the stake).

        • Greg G.

          I think Dennis MacDonald mentioned that an inventory of books owned by an ancient library listed something like 800 copies of Odyssey and 700 copies of Iliad. The next highest number was about 90 copies of Euripides’ Bacchae.

          I think the author of Mark intended that educated readers would recognize the passages with borrowings from Homer.

  • Kevin K

    Yeah, the “hope” when used in this context by Christians (maybe Muslims, too? dunno, maybe) always has the implied and unstated codicil.

    Hope that I get the nice kitchen upgrade in my after-death apartment, and not the over-heated basement unit with the bad super.”

    Around these parts of the Bible Belt, a lot of the church reader boards also talk about being “saved”. Saved from what, exactly? Oh yeah, saved from the over-heated basement unit in the bad building.

    • Ignorant Amos

      According to Ricky Gervais in “The Invention of Lying” the Man in the Sky has a mansion for everyone to look forward to…stick that after-death apartment, even with kitchen up-grade, and cram it. I’m with Gervais…a mansion it is for me…soz, my imagination got the better of me for a we mo….an apartment will do rightly //s.

      • Kevin K

        There is a gospel song called Your First Day in Heaven, and it speaks of “mansions left and right” and “streets paved with gold”. It’s a fun song to sing, but the theology is dopey as all get-out.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Appealing to the gullible of course…all part of the brainwashing process and infection of the mind virus.

        • Greg G.

          But it makes a good joke. A rich man was dying and wanted to take it with him so he made a deal with God. He was given a large trunk and was permitted to take whatever he put in it so he filled it with gold bullion. When he arrived at the Pearly Gates, St. Peter asked see what he brought. Peter was stunned and asked, “Why did you bring pavement?”

  • Clement Agonistes

    [Belief in the afterlife] is deeply consoling if believed, but you really shouldn’t believe it simply because it’s consoling. For example, say I believe that a diamond the size of a refrigerator is buried in my backyard. If you ask me why I believe that, I would reply, well, it makes me feel good, it gives my life meaning. That’s clearly a crazy answer.

    Those are several good points Harris makes there. IF the only reason a person believes is for the comfort, that isn’t really a solid reason to believe in something. Does that really happen? I doubt if there are many people who only believe for the comfort.

    Of course, if one suspected there were a refrigerator-sized diamond in the backyard, there is a way to find out. Analogizing something tangible with something intangible isn’t a very good analogy. The presumption is that there is no diamond, so the rational person won’t bother investigating. One could theoretically have something of enormous value sitting mere feet away, but the assumption that it does not exist left one ignorant of the treasure. We could know if there was a diamond out there, but we’ll never know with absolute certainty that there is no God. Here, it is just assumed there is no God. It is as much an assumption as what theists are doing.

    If believing makes a person feel good and gives meaning to life, doesn’t that imply an absence of both of those? I mean, what is the alternative – feeling bad and meaningless? A person comes to you in pain, and your response is, “Hey, suck it up, pal!”?

    As a species, we have a unique perspective. We are aware of our mortality. We crave meaning to our lives. Throughout all cultures, there is a sense that there is a control beyond nature. We can find comfort in ways other animals cannot. We NEED comfort.

    • Thanks4AllTheFish

      “If believing makes a person feel good and gives meaning to life, doesn’t that imply an absence of both of those? I mean, what is the alternative – feeling bad and meaningless?”

      So in your either-or world, a person who is absent supernatural beliefs can’t feel good and has no meaning to their life? I think the article is clear in saying that there exists the capability to feel good and have meaning in one’s life without inventing a supernatural entity. I know it’s only anecdotal, but literally millions of adults worldwide somehow struggle through their meager existence without ever requiring the comfort of an imaginary friend.

      “As a species, we have a unique perspective. We are aware of our mortality. We crave meaning to our lives. Throughout all cultures, there is a sense that there is a control beyond nature. We can find comfort in ways other animals cannot. We NEED comfort.”

      Many of us bring meaning to our own lives simply by living life meaningfully. Living every day knowing that it may be your last should be incentive enough for most mature adults to make what little time they have on this spinning rock, as meaningful and fulfilling as humanly possible. To me I find it extremely sad that believing in some undefined, indistinguishable, invisible higher power is the only way in which a person can find meaning and purpose in their life. So much needs to be done and so many could be helped if people quit living in dependence on the hope that some higher power will eventually step in and make everything perfect again. You want a better world, start making it that way.

      • Clement Agonistes

        “If believing makes a person feel good and gives meaning
        to life, doesn’t that imply an absence of both of those? I mean, what is
        the alternative – feeling bad and meaningless?”

        So
        in your either-or world, a person who is absent supernatural beliefs
        can’t feel good and has no meaning to their life? I think the article is
        clear in saying that there exists the capability to feel good and have
        meaning in one’s life without inventing a supernatural entity. I know
        it’s only anecdotal, but literally millions of adults worldwide somehow
        struggle through their meager existence without ever requiring the
        comfort of an imaginary friend.

        Bob specified that these are “frail people”. He said we don’t want to give hope to hopeless people. So, given people who are not strong – like atheists – what is the alternative for people who need meaning, yet don’t find it in . . . . . . the other man-made meanings? I’m not the one who set up this either-or scenario. This is Bob’s fabrication. I am just asking what would be substituted for the meaning they find in the supernatural. Do we simply declare them to now be non-frail people (because we wish it to be so)?

        “As a species, we have a unique perspective. We are aware
        of our mortality. We crave meaning to our lives. Throughout all
        cultures, there is a sense that there is a control beyond nature. We can
        find comfort in ways other animals cannot. We NEED comfort.”

        Many of us bring meaning to our own lives simply by living life meaningfully.

        Well, isn’t that a wonderful little bon mott for the kitchen wall? How is that ANY different than believing in an imaginary friend? By fiat, we declare our lives to have meaning, and – like magic – they do. My point above relates to why ANY human being, theist or atheist would feel the NEED for meaning. Two apes: One needs meaning; the other doesn’t. The one who needs meaning survives to reproduce while the other dies because . . . . . . . nature selects for meaning? These things seem more like a survival negative than a benefit. It worked for us, but no other analog can be found in the Animal Kingdom? If you just close your eyes and wish hard enough, it will be true for you. it looks like religion to me.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          “Bob specified that these are “frail people”. He said we don’t want to give hope to hopeless people.”

          No, that isn’t what Bob said. He said “there’s no point in attacking a frail person’s worldview, and I have little argument with someone who clings to a delusion they need to get them through the day. It’s the rest of humanity that I’m asking to throw away their crutches.”

          “…what is the alternative for people who need meaning, yet don’t find it in . . . . . . the other man-made meanings? I’m not the one who set up this either-or scenario. This is Bob’s fabrication. I am just asking what would be substituted for the meaning they find in the supernatural.”

          Pretty much everything else since there is no empirical evidence the supernatural exists. If you can’t find meaning to your life without making things up, maybe you should just roll over and accept that life is meaningless OR you could find some some actual activity that puts meaning into your life or someone else’s.

          “How is that ANY different than believing in an imaginary friend? By fiat, we declare our lives to have meaning, and – like magic – they do.”

          Fair enough,..how does believing in something that is incorporeal, something that does not actively interface with anything in the natural world and only exists in the imagination somehow create meaning in any empirical way? If someone works to alleviate suffering in a children’s hospital, or provides food, clothing, or shelter to those who are hungry, cold or exposed to the elements and those things provide the giver and recipient a reason for living, is that not meaningful in some way? Who are we and who is your chosen god to tell us what is meaningful in our lives. Each individual will determine for themselves whether or not they are leading life in a meaningful fashion. No magic or imaginary spirits required.

          “Two apes: One needs meaning; the other doesn’t. The one who needs meaning survives to reproduce while the other dies because . . . . . . . nature selects for meaning? These things seem more like a survival negative than a benefit. It worked for us, but no other analog can be found in the Animal Kingdom? If you just close your eyes and wish hard enough, it will be true for you. it looks like religion to me.”

          I don’t know whether apes need meaning or not. I don’t expect you do either. But studies have shown that animals locked in small cages with no external stimuli tend to wither and die much quicker than those who live in the wild. Just because we evolved in a different manner than many others in the animal kingdom doesn’t make us special and certainly doesn’t invalidate their purpose for being here. Life is its own purpose and maybe it doesn’t require meaningfulness, only survival skills. Humans lack many of the physical attributes to compete against lions or bears or sharks but our evolutionary advantage manifested itself with the ability to create complex social structures. Maintaining those social structures is a joint effort that benefits us all when applied properly. I expect people most thrive when presented with new challenges and they stagnate when only facing rote repetition. Frankly, if you want to call that religion, I couldn’t care less. I call it progress.

        • Ignorant Amos

          No, that isn’t what Bob said. He said “there’s no point in attacking a frail person’s worldview, and I have little argument with someone who clings to a delusion they need to get them through the day. It’s the rest of humanity that I’m asking to throw away their crutches.”

          Clement has no issue with lying for Jesus…he has a history of it.

          As for a meaningful life…the cheeky bastard has some nerve. We’re not the ones treading water, while arse licking an imaginary invisible man in the sky in anticipation of an eternal reward that was made up and sold by ancient snake oil salesmen who knew next to nothing about anything while on the take to survive.

          Clement has this idea that atheists have no meaning in their lives because they don’t believe in his flavour of god. Other believers will assert the same and include Clement in that group of having no meaning. He doesn’t get it. He is delusional.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          I don’t know why folks like Clement tend to push my buttons. I guess it is their way of stating things in declarative sentences as if they hold the final word on everything. No one knows everything least of all those who have only read the bible and all those apologist books that hope to confirm its veracity. I suppose everyone must do what they have to do, but to me, chasing a delusion seems like a pretty non-meaningful way to fully experience the wonder of life that abounds all around us.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And the one’s who have not read the Bible, but take others word for it, are even worse,

        • Otto

          Pastors and Priests use to use declarative sentences when I would ask them about God, and then I would say something like ‘how do you know that’, and invariably they would say ‘that is what I think’ or ‘that is what I believe’….ok, so what is with the declaratory sentence as if they know that as a fact. That would always drive me nuts.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          I hear ya.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I don’t know why folks like Clement tend to push my buttons. I guess it is their way of stating things in declarative sentences as if they hold the final word on everything.

          Dude, Bob’s thesis is that since we KNOW God does not exist, we need to take away God as a crutch when people need comfort in difficult times. God is a “delusion”; an imaginary figure who does not exist in reality. It is an impossible knowledge that is the premise of his article. Apply your same standard of declarative statements to 90% of the posts here and see if they ALL push your buttons. It’s only when someone with a POV you disagree with does the same thing that you object.

          Guys: All I ask of you is to apply the same standard across the board.

        • Otto

          Look Clement, I already told you that we don’t believe the claims due to a lack of foundation. Bring some reasonable foundation and you could change our minds. There may be a Deistic god, but you are claiming there is a very specific god with specific attributes. You need to substantiate THAT claim. We reject ALL theism, whether it is Judaism, Christianity, Islam or Hinduism or any other theism. That IS being consistent. What you are claiming is that ONE is right and the others are wrong, and yet the ONE that you claim is right does not have any more reasonable evidence than the others…that is not applying the same standard across the board.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Look Clement, I already told you that we don’t believe the claims due to a lack of foundation.

          Where did I say that?

        • Otto

          >>>”Bob’s thesis is that since we KNOW God does not exist”

          That is not Bob’s thesis imo.

        • Susan

          That is not Bob’s thesis imo.

          Of course that’s not Bob’s thesis. As Clement is unable to do a single thing to support his position (and goodness knows, we’ve begged him to countless times), his only strategy is to shift the burden.

          He tried this a while back, failed miserably, and now he’s back, having hit the reset button.

          I fucking hate the reset button.

        • You are correct.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I agree. It was the premise of the thesis contained in the remainder of that sentence that you chose to edit out.

          Was your intent to deceive, or is your reading comprehension that bad?

        • Otto

          If you agree that even that part is NOT part of Bob’t thesis than it does not matter if I left off the rest of the sentence because THAT incorrect part invalidates everything else.

          Are you so dishonest as to knowingly start a sentence with a false statement and then think that anything that follows has any validity?

        • Susan

          Are you so dishonest as to knowingly start a sentence with a false statement and then think that anything that follows has any validity?

          Yes.

        • Clement Agonistes

          So bizarre. OK, is the point you are struggling with whether Bob was asserting that God is real? His theory was that people should not put hope in God because . . . . . God is not real – they are putting their hope in something that does not exist. Now, if there was a chance that God did exist, well, then there might be some point in having hope. God’s existence and hope in God are directly related. Without God, hope in God is pointless. What am I missing here?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Without God, hope in God is pointless. What am I missing here?

          What about all the other god’s?

          Without Shiva, hope in Shiva is pointless. Do you think Shiva exists? Do you think people who put their hope in Shiva are being rational?

          Why YahwehJesus and not Shiva?

          Do you think Shiva worshipers think it is rational for YahwehJesus worshipers to put their hope into YahwehJesus?

        • Clement Agonistes

          Without God, hope in God is pointless. What am I missing here?

          What about all the other god’s?

          Without
          Shiva, hope in Shiva is pointless. Do you think Shiva exists? Do you
          think people who put their hope in Shiva are being rational?

          Doesn’t matter to the topic. Ditto. Don’t care – that’s their business.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh it matters to the topic alright.

          I see you still can’t read for shite. I asked YOU what YOU thought.

          That you can’t answer without making an arse of your position, tell’s us all exactly what we need to know.

          When you work out in your head why all those eejits finding hope in a belief in Shiva are being irrational, perhaps the penny will drop as to why we atheists believe all those eejits finding hope in a belief in YahwehJesus are being irrational.

          Do yourself a huge favour and take “The Outsider Test for Faith”.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          And here’s a link to the test, to save CA a google search: http://www.debunking-christianity.com/2009/03/outsider-test-for-faith_20.html

        • Otto

          Bob is talking about a specific version of God with very specific attributes and you do not seem to want to deal with the substance of what he is saying imo. Bob is saying we see no evidence for a version of God with those attributes and pretending like there is, when there is no reason to think there is…is futile and a waste.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “From a false antecedent, anything follows”

          From a mathematical logic class too long ago now.

        • Ignorant Amos

          How does the omission of rest of your comment change your assertion that Bob’s thesis is that since we KNOW God does not exist…? When it isn’t.

          The thesis is that believing because it is consoling, just isn’t good enough.

          Steve Jobs believed that homeopathy would better cure his cancer…he was consoled with the belief that homeopathy was a better way to go, rather than conventional medicine, which had he sought from the outset, would likely have saved his life. By the time he decided to go down the conventional route it was too late. Guess what, Jobs died.

          Something consoling, but detrimental, is dangerous.

          Why can’t you get that?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Derail. And your ‘reply’ is a non sequitur and obtuse in the extreme.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          “Dude, Bob’s thesis is that since we KNOW God does not exist, we need to take away God as a crutch when people need comfort in difficult times. God is a “delusion”; an imaginary figure who does not exist in reality. It is an impossible knowledge that is the premise of his article.”

          Well, dude, I just reread Bob’s post and oddly enough I couldn’t find where he said “we KNOW God does not exist”. However, if you can provide empirical evidence of his existence in reality, we’re all ears. That would really, really solidify your argument.

          “Apply your same standard of declarative statements to 90% of the posts here and see if they ALL push your buttons. It’s only when someone with a POV you disagree with does the same thing that you object.

          Guys: All I ask of you is to apply the same standard across the board.”

          You are in an atheist blog, you know. The difference between many of the declarative sentences you hear here and those of a religious bent is that ours are anchored in the naturalistic world, backed-up by empirical evidence and scientific peer review. Yours are from allegorical texts written by clerics from second and third-hand sources and all of whom thought demons caused disease, the Earth was flat and the center of the universe. Does that seem like an even exchange deserving of the same standard to you?

        • Clement Agonistes

          I just reread Bob’s post and oddly enough I couldn’t find where he said “we KNOW God does not exist”.

          Analogy #1: You submit your resume for a job that DOES NOT EXIST.
          Analogy #2: Refrigerator-sized diamond that DOES NOT EXIST.
          Analogy #3: You are told you are warm, but that IS NOT TRUE.
          Analogy #4: You are warned of a predator that DOES NOT EXIST.

          Hope is false because . . . . . there is no God.
          God is a crutch (false hope) – throw it away.
          “When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion.”

          It’s his theme throughout. I’m on the verge of recapitulating the entire blog. If we DON’T know that God does not exist, then it is possible that we would be cheating these people out of hope.

          Hope, BTW, cannot be measured by the pound or the inch. It is a concept, and is a man-made construct. Like God, we cannot demonstrate it by natural means. We just accept that it exists.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          Wow. You really don’t see the difference between anecdotal reference and declarative statements. Quelle surprise!

          Just because something may be possible is no reason to create an entire infrastructure around it unless there is something to be gained for those creating that infrastructure. Regardless, the whole infrastructure could turn out to be a house of cards should the truth ever come to light. How fair do you think that would be to crutch holders?

          I fail to see what point you have been trying to make here. What is your ultimate informational goal that you are trying to impart to us because as yet, I have been unable to discern that? Is this some effort to show us that atheism is a religion? Do you believe atheism is somehow invalid? Is this about some obscure definition of meaningful? Is this some effort to bring us to a realization that humans are some special mysterious compilation of ancient godly architecture? Is this your way of trying to legitimize belief as if it were truth? Quit beating around the bush and justify your case, whatever that case is.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Wow. You really don’t see the difference between anecdotal reference and declarative statements. Quelle surprise!

          OK, an anecdote means it really happened to Bob, right? I didn’t get that from my reading. I think he may even have been quoting from other people’s comparisons.

          The point of an analogy is to help clarify a point the author is making. Bob’s point was that people should not be investing hope in God because – as the analogies clarified – God does not exist.

          I tried to make several points:
          1) No one is arguing that the sole reason a person should be a Christian is for comfort in difficult times. Bob is arguing a point no one is making.
          2) Proving the existence of something tangible is different than proving something intangible. Their natures are different and one should not automatically expect the proofs to be identical. I pointed to the analogy of the (non-existent) refrigerator-sized diamond.
          3) If someone is searching for meaning and something that makes them feel better (in difficult times), that implies that they don’t have meaning now, and don’t feel good. 4) Simply “taking away that crutch” (Telling them there is no hope) isn’t going to make them stronger. It goes against human nature. You might be causing more harm than good.

          IMO, even from a secular POV, each of these points should be super-easy for all of us to agree on.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope. Hope is real.

          No ‘god’s required.

        • Clement Agonistes

          E-V-I-D-E-N-C-E…show it.

        • Otto

          Hope for what exactly?

        • Clement Agonistes

          Just Hope. Show me a couple of pounds of it. I need to be able to hold it in my hands in order to believe it really exists.

        • Otto

          So what is your point?

        • Susan

          Just Hope.

          What do you mean?

          Show me a couple of pounds of despair. Or politics. Or boredom. Or blue.

          I need to be able to hold it in my hands in order to believe it really exists.

          Then you’ll have to dismiss democracy, contempt, ambition, indifference and all kinds of abstract nouns.

          The argument from abstract nouns.

          Very impressive.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’ve seen it all now.

          How to be so asinine with just the one head…impressive indeed.

        • epeeist

          Just Hope. Show me a couple of pounds of it.

          So you don’t accept the existence of the thing (I use the word advisedly) that Christians are always blathering on about, namely “love”?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Not until you can put a couple of pounds of it in his hands he won’t.

          The woo-woo doesn’t seem to get abstract concepts.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You don’t understand evidence, it seems.

          You can’t carry wind, you can’t smell sunlight, you can’t wear manure scent as clothing, you can’t use a musical performance as a tent, yet all exist, and can be measured and quantified.

          So, in the same fashion, show the quantifiable attributes of your ‘god’. NOT of your / others *belief* in ‘god’s, as that’s evident…attributes of the actual ‘god’ that a neutral party would admit A. actually exist, and B. can be demonstrated to apply to the ‘god’ you’re postulating.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You don’t understand evidence, it seems.

          I understand the nature of evidence – when tangible evidence should be expected and when it shouldn’t. This is the entire problem with that whole “evidence” evasion atheists love so much – what would be the nature of evidence for God? Well, it might be similar to the evidence for Hope (or any other concept).

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don’t you know what an abstract noun is then?

          http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-abstract-nouns.html

        • Clement Agonistes

          Crap, Amos, all you did was define one concept with another. You might as well say it is “unreal”. Saying that hope is abstract is not evidence of its existence. It is something subjective that can only exist in the mind.

          If I said the evidence for God was abstract, would you say, “Oh, yeah, I see what you mean – God is real.”?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Excellent…welcome to my web said the spider to the fly.

          First, that’s not what theist believers mean when they make personal god claims. But, whatever.

          Define what you mean when you say God?

          You might as well say it is “unreal”.

          What do you mean by “unreal”?

          Saying that hope is abstract is not evidence of its existence. It is something subjective that can only exist in the mind.

          Agreed. Evidence for abstractions is tentative and subjective at best. And irrelevant. If you say you “hope” to win the lottery, why would that have any relevance? It will have no effect on the outcome of the lottery.

          The term abstraction also applies to uses of language. Abstract language is said to include terms that refer to entities other than physical objects and events, for example, “justice” and “freedom” as opposed to terms that refer to actual physical things, like “chair” and “car”.

          We know what people mean when they say hope. Or any of the list of abstract nouns. Words have meanings in common parlance.

          Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.

          I “hope” my family will be healthy. That has no relevance to their actual health.

          No one with a brain cell thinks hope interacts in the world physically by answering prayers, influencing outcomes, causing miracles.

          This is just more of your deflection and obfuscating mindwankery.

          If I said the evidence for God was abstract, would you say, “Oh, yeah, I see what you mean – God is real.”?

          Whaaa? The word hope is the abstract, not the evidence for it.

          If you want to claim God is an abstraction, say like “God is love”, go for it. The word is real, but that is irrelevant.

          I’m happy enough with God be nothing more than an abstraction. It make God a deistic entity at best.

          So God seems to have been squeezed to the last, most untouchable place. God appears to be nothing more than an abstraction, invisible to science. Invisible to humanity.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2016/07/28/god-as-an-abstraction/

          But I don’t think that’s what most people believe about the anthropomorphic gods of most religions.

          I’m an igtheist, or Theological non-cognitivist, if ya prefer..the very word God is so ill defined that it is meaningless…something you appear to have supported with this latest nonsense.

          https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Ignosticism

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          As you ask, so it is given: Google Scholar search on ‘hope’, not one item of which primarily cites religious faith: https://www.google.com/search?q=google+scholar+research+on+hope&rlz=1C1GGRV_enUS798US799&oq=google+scholar+research+on+hope&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i64.8959j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

        • Clement Agonistes

          A Google Search results? THAT is your evidence? Hey, this is a great day for every Christian apologist you guys have made fun of for the last 10 years – Google Search results are evidence of existence. So, google “god” and let’s see if any results pop up. If they do, then God exists.

          Honestly, . . . . . .

        • epeeist

          A Google Search results?

          Read it again, this time for comprehension. It isn’t a “Google search” but a “Google Scholar search”, this references published material including peer reviewed papers on the search terms.

          Compare say, a Google search for gravitational microlensing with a Google Scholar search for the same terms.

        • Clement Agonistes

          It’s like presenting a list of books in a library and implying the answer is in there somewhere. It’s not a coherent argument. It looks like the Gish Gallop you guys complain about so much

          . . . . . . when you are not the one using the tactic.

        • epeeist

          It’s like presenting a list of books in a library and implying the answer is in there somewhere.

          No, it’s like presenting a list of books whose title contains specific terms. Now as it is I wouldn’t have presented such a simple search as the OP, I would have qualified it, limiting to such areas as psychology and sociology. This would have been more than adequate to show the existence of “hope” both with and without religious connotations.

          Now if you want to get into whether one or to take a realist or nominalist attitude to the existence of “hope” then that is another matter.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Apply your same standard of declarative statements to
          90% of the posts here and see if they ALL push your buttons. It’s only
          when someone with a POV you disagree with does the same thing that you
          object.

          Guys: All I ask of you is to apply the same standard across the board.”

          You
          are in an atheist blog, you know. The difference between many of the
          declarative sentences you hear here and those of a religious bent is
          that ours are anchored in the naturalistic world

          “Many”, yes – about 10% by my calculation. I think i am being generous. It could be 99% that are speculative at best and poorly-thought-out opinion at worst.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          That’s at least 10% more than those of theists. You are certainly entitled to your opinion of us but a little introspection on your part might disclose the bias that causes your lack of understanding.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Did I claim that theists aren’t the same? (No.)

          Your assertion was that it bugs you when people use declarative sentences. Well, only when it is people who don’t share your opinions.

        • epeeist

          “Many”, yes – about 10% by my calculation.

          You did a calculation? Show your working.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          CA is showing the typical fundagelical statistical method of pulling numbers out of his nether region here…and it shows.

          E-V-I-D-E-N-C-E…show it.

          I don’t believe you, because you’ve shown yourself to be untrusworthy and given to lying for advantage.

        • Max Doubt

          “God is a “delusion”; an imaginary figure who does not exist in reality.”

          If you believe a god exists, but are unable to objectively differentiate between that god and any other figment of your imagination, then that is the only reasonable tentative conclusion. Gods meet all the criteria we use to describe something as a figment of the imagination, and don’t have any unique characteristics that would otherwise distinguish them from figments of the imagination. There’s no reason to consider gods something else.

          “All I ask of you is to apply the same standard across the board.”

          Then you will agree that gods are best explained as figments of the imagination, eh?

        • Clement Agonistes

          LOL. It’s really fun watching how quickly the lightweights go running for safety. We can have fun with this topic without anyone having to agree on the existence of God or not. Just enjoy the conversation.

        • Susan

          It’s really fun watching how quickly the lightweights go running for safety.

          It’s hilarious that you would have the audacity to refer to people as lightweights when you have provided nothing of substance in all your visits here.

          Also hilarious that you think anyone would “run for safety” from you.

          You’re dishonest, evasive and firing blanks.

        • “Fun”? Suddenly the alarm bells are ringing.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You are participating here because you DON’T enjoy this? Yes, by all means – “Someone is enjoying themselves. Set off the alarms!!!

        • Ignorant Amos

          More bad reading comprehension…it never ceases.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          More like we’re pulling weeds of poisonous thought.

          If they grow, they choke out progress and peace.

        • epeeist

          It’s really fun watching how quickly the lightweights go running for safety.

          Says the lightweight who ran for safety after abandoning a slew of topics.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I have run every topic to the ground, taking months to do so. What I am referring to is you (et.al.) always running for your “out” at the first hint of a thought-provoking topic. You want to change a difficult topic to your “safe” topic. Aside from being fallacious reasoning, it is boring.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I see a bunch of assertions with zero evidence to back them up.

          If you’ve got it, show it.

          Otherwise, keep being a chew toy 🙂

        • Ignorant Amos

          He was busy in Croydon…lot’s of reset buttons there needing pushed.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I’m seeing a particularly distasteful and mealy-mouthed case of projection there, CA.

          Why not try to engage the point, rather than just throwing out insults to try to derail the conversation?

        • Susan

          since we KNOW that God does not exist

          Define “God” and “know”.

          an imaginary figure who does not exist in reality

          It’s the reasonable position to take. I mean “magic” might exist in reality and the magic beans I’m selling you might be magic. You can’t absolutely KNOW they’re not. But I would be a dishonest asshole to make it your burden to prove that they’re not if I can’t support my claim that magic exists and that my beans are magic.

          I wouldn’t do that because I’m not a dishonest asshole.

          This concept has been explained to you countless times (and Max just explained it quite clearly above) but you continue to be dishonest don’t seem to grasp something so basic, no matter how clearly it’s explained.

          It’s only when someone with a POV you disagree with does the same thing that you object.

          No. It’s when people claim that entities exist that are in every way indistinguishable from imaginary entities that I (and others here) object.

          All I ask of you is to apply the same standard

          No. On the contrary. What you ask is that we accept your special pleading.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Dude, Bob’s thesis is that since we KNOW God does not exist, we need to take away God as a crutch when people need comfort in difficult times.

          Which God? Where does Bob say he knows?

          I’m sure the following had wished the crutch was taken away…

          https://www.masskids.org/index.php/religious-medical-neglect/cases-of-child-deaths

          God is a “delusion”; an imaginary figure who does not exist in reality.

          Until you can show otherwise and explain your method of verification, we have no reason to believe it is otherwise.

          It is an impossible knowledge that is the premise of his article.

          What do you think is the premise of the article?

          Just because believing in a particular woo-woo is consoling, doesn’t make that belief true or give it any veracity.

          Steven Pinker said if you are being chased by a tiger, it may comfort you to believe it’s a rabbit, but it is a tiger and it’s going to eat you.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjeD-9LcfWM

          Apply your same standard of declarative statements to 90% of the posts here and see if they ALL push your buttons.

          Are other beliefs and gods true because they are consoling to the believers of every other religion that is, or has ever been? Of course not.

          It’s only when someone with a POV you disagree with does the same thing that you object.

          Whaaa? This is an atheist forum with a particular penchant for criticizing Christianity in it’s many guises. Of course when a Christian pitches up with a POV we disagree with, which Christian POV’s invariably do, we are going to object to it. Otherwise we’d still be Christians.

          That’s not to say that those of other faiths who pitch up on the rare occasion, don’t get the same kick-back. They do.

          So, a Hindu comes along and declares his religion is genuine because he get’s great comfort and solace from his beliefs in difficult times. Will you agree with him? I think not.

          Guys: All I ask of you is to apply the same standard across the board.

          Feckin’ irony meters are exploding around here like Billy-oh today.

          Wishful thinking doesn’t cut it….

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86N5htL_SOE

        • Clement Agonistes

          Dude, Bob’s thesis is that since we KNOW God does not exist, we need to take away God as a crutch when people need comfort in difficult times.

          Which God? Where does Bob say he knows?

          Wait, so there is SOME God that Bob does believe exists? I was under the impression that he didn’t believe in any of them.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nope.

          Bob doesn’t KNOW a god doesn’t exist. In the same way you don’t KNOW that other gods don’t exist.

          The preponderance of evidence is of such a weakness, that it lends itself to the absence of belief in gods. And living life that there isn’t one is the rational way forward. Bob can’t KNOW, but he thinks it more rational not to believe. That’s where his arguments stem from.

          If I’m wrong, am sure Bob will jump in a correct any error.

          Now, when we consider the specific attributed characteristics of certain gods, we can say that they can’t exist logically.

          An omniscient, omnipotent, and omni-benevolent god is a logical impossibility. Lot’s of Christian’s believe in just such a god.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Bob doesn’t KNOW a god doesn’t exist. In the same way you don’t KNOW that other gods don’t exist.

          Yeah, but I’m not writing a blog.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So what?

          If you’re going to waste our time here, be a worthy challenger or be a catnip toy.

          Your choice.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What ta fuck has that got to do with anything?

        • Which does what to support your original claim that I say we know God doesn’t exist?

          You really need to reread your comments first before posting.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Absolutely nothing – Amos changed the subject. I have to work with what you guys give me.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The fuck you did.

          There’s such a thing as ‘correction’…but you seem to be Gish Galloping, shooting from the hip.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Amos did fuck all of the sort…you just can’t fucking read properly ya idiot.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “Dude, Bob’s thesis is that since we KNOW God does not exist”

          I missed the part where you provided evidence of your PhD in telepathy.

          Until then, I dare you try to find, ANYwhere in Bob’s oeuvre where he claims that we ‘KNOW’ that ‘god’ doesn’t exist.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Clement has this idea that atheists have no meaning in their lives because they don’t believe in his flavour of god. Other believers will assert the same and include Clement in that group of having no meaning. He doesn’t get it. He is delusional.

          I never tire of the irony of seeing you guys gripe about reading comprehension and straw men. Did I say atheists have no meaning in their lives? No, I didn’t. In fact, I addressed the craving without commenting at all whether people satisfy that craving or not. You are 2 factors removed from comprehending what was written.

          I have asserted several times in this conversation that meaning is man-made, which very much falls in line with what you guys say. I was even told in response that people could just make something up. If theists are just making it up, and atheists are just making it up, I ask, what’s the difference – it’s ALL a delusion. The atheist who is true to his philosophy would say there is no meaning in life – it just IS. As soon as the philosophy gets in the way, you guys just cast it aside and adopt theist values. Atheism just becomes another flavor of God.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I never tire of the irony of seeing you guys gripe about reading comprehension and straw men. Did I say atheists have no meaning in their lives? No, I didn’t. In fact, I addressed the craving without commenting at all whether people satisfy that craving or not. You are 2 factors removed from comprehending what was written.

          Well, I understood your “two apes” comment to infer that of the majority of Christians we get around here. That without having God in ones heart, life is meaningless. The fact is, on a cosmological scale, life is meaningless. As individuals we make our lives meaningful…for the most of us, it is parochially so. Religion and gods are not necessary and this is in evidence.

          Taken along with this comment…

          If believing makes a person feel good and gives meaning to life, doesn’t that imply an absence of both of those? I mean, what is the alternative – feeling bad and meaningless? A person comes to you in pain, and your response is, “Hey, suck it up, pal!”?

          Which says to me that not believing implies an absence of both feeling good and a meaning to life.

          Christians equate atheism with nihilism. Two I’ve engaged with recently insisted on it. If that is not what you meant, or believe, and if I’ve got it wrong and that’s not your position, then I apologize for the misrepresentation. Mea culpa.

          I have asserted several times in this conversation that meaning is man-made, which very much falls in line with what you guys say.

          But then I don’t understand your argument. If an atheist can feel good and have meaningful lives, what need is there for the crutch of religion? It seems to me that it is superfluous and unnecessary…and can be very detrimental to lots of people in lots of ways that are not good or meaningful to those who buy into it.

          I was even told in response that people could just make something up.

          Without citation of context, I can’t comment on that assertion. Make what up?

          If theists are just making it up, and atheists are just making it up, I ask, what’s the difference – it’s ALL a delusion.

          What is it that atheists are making up in order to give themselves meaningful lives and a feel good factor?

          The atheist who is true to his philosophy would say there is no meaning in life – it just IS.

          What is the atheist philosophy when one is writing back home?

          Ah…so I was right. You too conflate atheism with nihilism. Which nihilism?

          The universe gives zero fucks for life’s meaning. We will probably be gone just as quick as we appeared. Life’s meaning is what we make it. No god’s required.

          “In the long run, entropy will spell the end of everything in the universe and the universe itself, but we don’t live in the long run. We live now. We live in Brooklyn, so doing our homework matters. And so, too, does doing our duty to ourselves, our loved ones, our community, our species and our planet.” ~Michael Shermer

          As soon as the philosophy gets in the way, you guys just cast it aside and adopt theist values. Atheism just becomes another flavor of God.

          Which philosophy? Which theist values?

          You’ve come out with some nonsense in the past, but I think you’ve peaked with that one.

          Sean Carroll nails it in this 7 minute 20 second video.

          https://www.thepowerofscience.org/meaning-life-sean-carroll/

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          Excellent!

          CA continuously asserts that anytime an atheist says they have meaning or purpose in their life, they are philosophically disingenuous and merely co-opting on theism. When exactly did theism get a patent on meaning and purpose?

        • Otto

          About the same time they got the copyright on winter solstice celebrations.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          Hubris,… breakfast of Christians!

        • Greg G.

          Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah!

        • Ignorant Amos

          CA continuously asserts that anytime an atheist says they have meaning or purpose in their life, they are philosophically disingenuous and merely co-opting on theism.

          He is the one being disingenuous. Life is just a stop gap on the way to eternity according to believers. It’s nonsense. I can imagine suicide had to be made a sin to stop self martyrdom and a fast track to the great beyond. There is no money to be made in that scenario. Some believers didn’t get the memo though.

          When exactly did theism get a patent on meaning and purpose?

          Not just any old theism, his particular flavour.

          I’m perplexed that he can’t see that all the other religions that are contradictory to his own, can make the same claim of giving meaning and purpose in life

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          ramen, brother.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Well, I understood your “two apes” comment to infer that of the majority of Christians we get around here. That without having God in ones heart, life is meaningless.

          Your understanding is kind of the issue, isn’t it? The 2 apes comment related to the context of my comment about how natural selection would choose desirable characteristics. It’s tough to imagine how meaning is a desirable survival characteristic when it seems like a negative. As an aside, grammatically, “infer” is what the reader does and “imply” is what the author does. You inferred something that I did not imply.

          I never said that one cannot have meaning without having God in your heart. I agreed with T4ATF that atheist can make their own meaning . . . . . . which makes that flavor of atheism no different that theism in that respect.

          If believing makes a person feel good and gives meaning to life, doesn’t that imply an absence of both of those? I mean, what is the alternative – feeling bad and meaningless? A person comes to you in pain, and your response is, “Hey, suck it up, pal!”?

          Which says to me that not believing implies an absence of both feeling good and a meaning to life.

          Seen through the prism of your past conversation with other Christians, I can see how that might bias you toward a different interpretation. But, no, that wasn’t what I was saying, and I think the totality of my context would have made that clear. Mine was a generic comment about the fact that humans need meaning at all. People NEED these things because it is their nature to need them. You can’t just say to them, “Don’t need this” any more than you can tell a depressed person to not have depression.

        • Susan

          It’s tough to imagine how meaning is a desirable survival characteristic when it seems like a negative.

          Define “meaning” and explain why it’s a negative.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Your understanding is kind of the issue, isn’t it?

          Indeed…stating the obvious really.

          The 2 apes comment related to the context of my comment about how natural selection would choose desirable characteristics. It’s tough to imagine how meaning is a desirable survival characteristic when it seems like a negative.

          Yeah, that’s what I thought. Who says anything about “meaning” being a negative?

          As an aside, grammatically, “infer” is what the reader does and “imply” is what the author does. You inferred something that I did not imply.

          Indeed, me being the reader of your comment inferred that you implied that atheists lives are meaningless without gods. I still see nothing that convinces me that my initial inference was wrong.

          But I apologized for my error if that was the case. What do you want, blood?

          I never said that one cannot have meaning without having God in your heart. I agreed with T4ATF that atheist can make their own meaning . . . . . . which makes that flavor of atheism no different that theism in that respect.

          You are doing it again. That flavour of atheism that make their own meaning are no different from theism. And those other flavours of atheism that I take you don’t think make their own meaning? Are you implying that their lives are meaningless, sure looks like it to me.

          Seen through the prism of your past conversation with other Christians, I can see how that might bias you toward a different interpretation.

          The meaning you theists are talking about, and the meaning atheists talk about, I don’t think they are the same.

          According to Christian philosopher WLC, life has no meaning or purpose without God.

          http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=12992

          So my bias, such that it is, is well founded. Unless you disagree and life can be full of “meaning” without gods…then the argument is moot.

          But, no, that wasn’t what I was saying, and I think the totality of my context would have made that clear.

          Nah…not that clear at all.

          If believing makes a person feel good and gives meaning to life, doesn’t that imply an absence of both of those? I mean, what is the alternative – feeling bad and meaningless?

          The dichotomy still seems apparent.

          Mine was a generic comment about the fact that humans need meaning at all. People NEED these things because it is their nature to need them. You can’t just say to them, “Don’t need this” any more than you can tell a depressed person to not have depression.

          This is a straw man of your own making. Who is making this argument here. Who is saying people don’t need meaning?

        • Greg G.

          I never tire of the irony of seeing you guys gripe about reading comprehension and straw men. Did I say atheists have no meaning in their lives? No, I didn’t.

          Irony? You whinge that you were misrepresented for saying something you didn’t say…

          The atheist who is true to his philosophy would say there is no meaning in life – it just IS.

          Then you flat out say it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Hoist by his own petard…yet AGAIN!

        • Clement Agonistes

          . . . . . which still isn’t saying that atheists don’t have meaning in their lives. To be sure, there probably are people who don’t seek meaning in their lives (psychopaths?). They would be a tiny percentage. Humans crave meaning, and atheists are human. However, as a philosophy, atheism has to argue that meaning be a man-made construct, like hope. No, we don’t need to be a theist to fabricate meaning. But, it has to come from somewhere (culture) and it is inconsistent with the philosophy. It might be more of a comment on advocating for a philosophy that one doesn’t fully embrace oneself.

        • Greg G.

          Humans crave meaning, and atheists are human. However, as a philosophy, atheism has to argue that meaning be a man-made construct, like hope.

          It’s like searching for true happiness. When you aren’t searching for it, you look back on your life and realize you were truly happy. Likewise, a person can not see a meaning of life, just live their life in the moment. Then they can look back and recognize the meaning their life had… or not. It doesn’t matter whether they do or not.

          The “meaning of life” may be an invented mirage, a philosophical construct. We have an inborn will to live, just like other animals. It is powerful for survival and, thus, reproduction. We don’t really need to justify it. But if you are told that there is a meaning to life, you may want one. It’s like your will to live is being exploited when they tell you that you have a soul that might have an afterlife. So what most people call “the meaning of life” is what they value. A person might value their family and friends. They actually exist. A religious person might value the church, which is where their family and friends are. They actually exist. A religious person might value their deity. That’s just sad.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Bob specified that these are “frail people”. He said we don’t want to give hope to hopeless people.”

          No, that isn’t what Bob said. He said “there’s no point in attacking a frail person’s worldview, and I have little argument with someone who clings to a delusion they need to get them through the day. It’s the rest of humanity that I’m asking to throw away their crutches.”

          What is the assumption we make about people who use crutches? They need them, right? They can’t walk without the help of crutches. They are weak; frail, too. We must crush their delusion when they need comfort; when they are at their weakest. We know with absolute certainty that there is no God, and the fact that these people disagree with us must be rectified. Even though they perceive comfort from their belief, this cannot be allowed. We must jerk their crutches from them . . . . . . because we know what is best for them.

          “…what is the alternative for people who need meaning, yet don’t find it in . . . . . . the other man-made meanings? I’m not the one who set up this either-or scenario. This is Bob’s fabrication. I am just asking what would be substituted for the meaning they find in the supernatural.”

          Pretty much everything else since there is no empirical evidence the supernatural exists. If you can’t find meaning to your life without making things up, maybe you should just roll over and accept that life is meaningless OR you could find some actual activity that puts meaning into your life or someone else’s.

          OPTION A: The Bitter Truth: Life has no meaning. “Suck it up and stop your whining.” For the atheist, this option at least has the virtue of being consistent with the philosophy. Explain this one to the grieving person and see if you don’t get something back like, “Tell me more about this Jesus fellow“.

          OPTION B: Do what the theists do and just pretend. Given a choice of theism or theism, I’m choosing theism every time. The only alternative to man-made meaning is no meaning at all. For the person who needs meaning, atheism is not an option.

          “How is that ANY different than believing in an imaginary friend? By fiat, we declare our lives to have meaning, and – like magic – they do.”

          Fair enough,..how does believing in something that is incorporeal, something that does not actively interface with anything in the natural world and only exists in the imagination somehow create meaning in any empirical way? If someone works to alleviate suffering in a children’s hospital, or provides food, clothing, or shelter to those who are hungry, cold or exposed to the elements and those things provide the giver and recipient a reason for living, is that not meaningful in some way? Who are we and who is your chosen god to tell us what is meaningful in our lives.

          You ask, “Who is God to tell us what has meaning?”, right after rattling off meaningful things borrowed from theism. Again, I ask how that is any different? It looks identical to me.

          The common ground here is that both atheist and theist say meaning is in our DNA, which leads to the next point:

          “Two apes: One needs meaning; the other doesn’t. The one who needs meaning survives to reproduce while the other dies because . . . . . . . nature selects for meaning? These things seem more like a survival negative than a benefit. It worked for us, but no other analog can be found in the Animal Kingdom? If you just close your eyes and wish hard enough, it will be true for you. it looks like religion to me.”

          I don’t know whether apes need meaning or not. I don’t expect you do either. But studies have shown that animals locked in small cages with no external stimuli tend to wither and die much quicker than those who live in the wild. Just because we evolved in a different manner than many others in the animal kingdom doesn’t make us special and certainly doesn’t invalidate their purpose for being here. Life is its own purpose and maybe it doesn’t require meaningfulness, only survival skills.

          So, for either view, it has to be in the DNA. Either God put it there, or evolution did. MAYBE meaning is not necessary. That sure doesn’t seem to be the case. And, if meaning were a survival advantage, it should be present in multiple species. It has nothing to do with the purpose of other animals being here, but with their ability to perceive their meaning and purpose. There is certainly no evidence of anything anywhere close to the human level of craving meaning.

          I mentioned “apes” because we evolved from an ape ancestor. If survival of the fittest is the rule, then there must be a survival advantage to craving meaning in one’s life. The ape who craved meaning passed that characteristic on to its offspring. By all outward appearances, it is a survival negative. We are left with a very scientifically unsatisfying, “Well, it must just be a side effect of intelligence.”

          If this has an evolutionary origin, we ought to see it all over the place. Animals should be inventing religions, working in hospitals and providing clothing to naked animals.

        • Susan

          Bob specified that these are “frail people”. He said we don’t want to give hope to hopeless people.

          No. He said this:

          I agree that there’s no point in attacking a frail person’s worldview, and I have little argument with someone who clings to a delusion they need to get them through the day.

          I see you are still having the same old problems with reading comprehension.

          the other man-made meanings?

          Caring about other humans, other earthllngs, your friends, your family, your work, your art? Humans have done this throughout history and across the globe.

          Most of them have done it without your pet superstition. There is nothing inherently meaningful about believing in Yahwehjesus’s magic beans. It’s just another superstition. Without indoctrination in childhood, most people don’t seem to feel their lives lack meaning without Yahwehjesus.

          This is very important, though. What do you mean by meaning?

          How is that ANY different than believing in an imaginary friend?

          Well… it’s about finding meaning in relationships with a world that actually exists. That seems to be a key difference. Rescuing a homeless cat is… I don’t know… more meaningful to me than worshipping an imaginary being.

          Even more, it’s meaningful to the cat. It finds love and food and shelter. If you don’t think those are meaningful, try living without one or more of them.

          Your two apes rant is meaningless. Until you define what you mean by meaning.

        • epeeist

          I see you are still having the same old problems with reading comprehension.

          Deliberately so?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Dishonestly mining for purpose seems to be the apologists go-to for straw manning in the hope that no one notices.

        • Greg G.

          Dishonestly mining for purpose seems to be the apologists go-to for straw manning in the hope that no one notices.

          Can we call it “straw-mining”?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I have a penchant for hybrids, so why not indeed.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Hybrids have vigor! 🙂

        • Ignorant Amos

          We shouldn’t create a crutch for people who don’t need it, then pretend that without it they will fall down.

          It’s like a drug pusher giving heroin to a child at the school gates and then reaping the benefits of the sales once the kid becomes dependent.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Just how does one determine who needs this crutch and who doesn’t? Bob’s only criteria seem to be women, children, and the elderly (but, just the women). I mean, that’s some pretty funny stereotyping there.

          People who need comfort are in a bad way. They aren’t turning to God because science has the answers.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Just how does one determine who needs this crutch and who doesn’t?

          You don’t get it yet, do ya?

          No one “needs” the crutch. No more than they “need” heroin before getting hooked. But once hooked, it is very hard to get off. And dependency can be very detrimental to parts of living.

          Bob’s only criteria seem to be women, children, and the elderly (but, just the women). I mean, that’s some pretty funny stereotyping there.

          You really can’t read for comprehension. Why don’t you go and read the OP again…S-L-O-W-L-Y…and just maybe you’ll grasp what Bob actually said and in context. Then maybe, just maybe, you’l be able to stop writing the shite you think a comment says, focus more than it actually says.

          People who need comfort are in a bad way.

          Why are they in a bad way? What is this “bad way” you talk of?

          They aren’t turning to God because science has the answers.

          They are turning to God because they have been brainwashed that it is the crutch they need…like heroin, they think it helps, because they’ve become dependent.

          It’s Catch-22.

          We non-believers know there is no need for it, because most of us once had the crutch, realized we could stand up better without, so threw it away. At a time of need, we don’t need to turn back to that fix, we realized it was nonsense…a placebo at best. We seek comfort in reality.

          Now, no one here is declaring that for those that find comfort in whatever woo-woo takes their fancy, have to give it up. Just stop foisting it on those folk around you that have no interest in the nonsense.

          But here’s the thing. Religion isn’t meant to be a comfort blanket. It has just turned out that way. You are undermining your own position by admitting it as such. There are religious comfort blankets of all sorts of stripes, and they work every bit as well as your particular stripe when adherents seek comfort. And that means there is nothing particularly special about yours to all those outside looking in.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nobody needs the crutch.

          Some people are fooled into believing they need it.

          We need to stop the hucksters from lying to people about needing the crutch.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “How is that ANY different than believing in an imaginary friend?”

          Evidence.

          Next question?

        • Clement Agonistes

          You know, this “evidence” thing has gotten to be such a cliche with you that I doubt you even recognize the incongruity of using it in the context of this discussion.

          If the atheist is just making it (meaning) up, what “evidence” is there to point to? None, of course. But the fact that y0u would go running to this go-to escape so early in the conversation is like some sort of self-parody.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          It’s only a cliche because it’s so true.

          IF you could provide evidence, you’d nullify that position.

          Sooooo, when are you gonna do it?

        • Greg G.

          At points in time, there have been legends of the cockatrice, the gorilla, the yeti, extra-terrestrial beings in space-craft, and the bigfoot. In the case of one, it all changed because of evidence for gorillas.

          There are two types of theistic religions: those that have no evidence for the existence of their gods and those that have evidence of the existence of their gods but no evidence that those “gods” are actually gods.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The evidence for the Loch Ness Monster is so overwhelming that it just must exist.

          Compared to that of Jesus, Nessies evidence of existence is mountainous.

    • Otto

      >>>”It is as much an assumption as what theists are doing.”

      No it is demonstrably not the same. You have created a false equivalence. A theist is not just ‘assuming there is is some generic God’ a theist assumes there is a specific God with specific attributes and interacts with the known universe in specific (and not so specific) ways. Most atheists around here are not just ‘assuming’ there is not a God, we are rejecting the premise, and specifically the theistic premise, of God. I have no idea if there is a Deistic god, but by definition why would I?

    • Greg G.

      If you need a god thingy to give meaning to life, you are doing life wrong.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Uh, ALL species have a unique perspective.

      It’s only humans whose language we can understand so far, that’s all.

      • Clement Agonistes

        So, you are thinking that a sparrow has a totally unique perspective that, say, a chickadee or a titmouse? And, a bass has a totally different perspective than, say, a perch or a sunfish? Or, a clam has a wildly different perspective than an oyster or mussel?

        Every survival characteristic has multiple animals with that same characteristic. . . .. . . . . . . Then, we have Man.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          “Then, we have Man”,…and the duck-billed platypus.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Duck” bill. (Otter-footed, egg-laying, beaver-tailed, . . . . . )

        • Greg G.

          The platypus is an aquatic, egg-laying, milk-producing animal. It is more unique than humans are.

        • Susan

          Don’t forget the males have a venomous spur.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platypus_venom

        • MR

          Wow, you learn something new every day. I did not know that platypodes were apologists, too!

        • Greg G.

          When I visited a Buddhist temple outside Sydney last January, we saw a sign warning about snakes. Right under it was a lizard which my sister-in-law took a wide berth around. I thought it was neat. I was going to try to grab, thinking about the only venomous lizards were in the western hemisphere. Then I figured that if there was an unidentified venomous lizard anywhere in the world, it would be in Australia. I decided I didn’t really want to catch that lizard. This is the one. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d15d5bbe26f42b79e58429ffc02210bbda43c45d743287bba780cca746cc78a0.jpg

        • Michael Neville

          Australia has more species of venomous snakes than any other continent. However the two types of poisonous lizards, the Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) and the Mexican beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum) are native to North America.

        • Clement Agonistes

          And, NO other animals have venom?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Unique COMBINATION…like the combination of features of humanity that seem to give you airs…at the same time you seem to be interested in rejecting any fruit of science that disturbs your childish, superstitious worldview.

        • Greg G.

          They have venomous spurs on their feet. Does any other animal have that?

        • Clement Agonistes

          Zhangheotherium quinquecuspidens is the only one I can think of off the top of my head, but you used the present tense (“have”), so, no.

        • Susan

          What’s your point?

          (I don’t know why I’m bothering to ask. You’ve been asked before. When we can actually get an answer out of you, it usually only serves to make your point less and less clear, but I’m asking anyway… and while I’m at it, I’ll ask you for the third time… )

          What do you mean by “meaning”?

        • Clement Agonistes

          I note that you are asking the same question that others have asked. Are you able to see my answer to them?

          As to “meaning”, as always, when you play the Definition Game, I invite you to shop dictionaries for the definition most favorable to your slant, and I will go with that.

        • Susan

          I note that you are asking the same question that others have asked.

          Yes.

          Are you able to see my answer to them?

          I am able to see that you haven’t answered with an actual point.

          As to “meaning”, as always, when you play the Definition Game

          It’s not a game. You are pretending to have a massive point (one that you won’t clarify) that hinges on “meaning” and you haven’t defined the term.

          I will provide a link but based on your history, I doubt you’ll engage it.

          https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/meaning/

          I invite you to shop dictionaries for the definition most favorable to your slant, and I will go with that.

          What do you mean by “meaning”?

          You are the one appealing to it.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’ve fallen for this before, but i am a sucker. Smart Money says this is but the beginning of the Fallacy of Endless Questions, and you will never get around to going anywhere with it, but:

          To me, Meaning is the way things ought to be; the significance/purpose of our lives beyond mere existence.

          Tying that back to my early comment, I think humans are unique in our awareness that life should have meaning, and if Meaning were a beneficial trait, we should not be the only ones. Similarly, Hope and belief in the supernatural are also integral to our nature, and should not be eliminated.

        • Susan

          I’ve fallen for this before.

          You haven’t fallen for anything. You bandy grand terms about that you neither define nor support and you get called out on it and without defining nor supporting those terms, you call up an imaginary fallacy (for which you provide no link) rather than define and support your terms.

          To me, Meaning (note mine the irrelevant capitalization) is the way things ought to be

          How ought things be?

          This adds nothing. As I predicted, you didn’t bother to acknowledge or address the very difficult subjects of meaning.

          I think humans are unique in our awareness that life should have meaning,

          I don’t care if you think it. You haven’t shown it. You haven’t even addressed the subject.

          As usual, you are making shit up.

          Anything but face the very obvious request that you define what you are claiming and support it on the subject of your particular god.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’ve fallen for this before.

          You haven’t fallen for anything. You bandy grand terms about that you neither define nor support and you get called out on it and without defining nor supporting those terms, you call up an imaginary fallacy (for which you provide no link) rather than define and support your terms.

          Everybody, you included, know what the conversation is about. You only feign ignorance as a means of diverting the conversation from a direction you do not like. There is no satisfying the demands you make – you will see to that. These are not sincere requests you make. I treated you as if you were serious, knowing there was little or no chance that you were serious.

          I invited you to provide your own definition in order to mover the conversation forward. As always, you decline the offer because it is not your intention to move things forward, but to bring the conversation to an end. That invitation is open-ended. If you change your mind or I have read you wrong, bring something to the table; define the terms.

          To me, Meaning (note mine the irrelevant capitalization) is the way things ought to be

          How ought things be?
          This adds nothing. As I predicted, you didn’t bother to acknowledge or address the very difficult subjects of meaning.

          If someone says they are seeking meaning in their life, ask them if they think life is the way it ought to be.

        • Susan

          Everybody, you included, know what the conversation is about.

          No. So far, we can only guess. How many times have you been asked what your point is?

          There is no satisfying the demands that you make.

          My requests that you clarify your definitions, make a coherent point and support it are pretty standard stuff in discussions.

          If someone says they are seeking meaning in life, ask them if they think life is the way they ought to be.

          That would be a strange question in response. The obvious question would be “What do you mean?”

          A question that they might answer but you so far haven’t.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Everybody, you included, know what the conversation is about.

          No. So far, we can only guess.

          You’ll have to forgive me, Susan, I’m still new to how things work around here. I didn’t realize you were the spokesman for what everyone else here thinks.

          There is no satisfying the demands that you make.

          My requests that you clarify your definitions

          The tip of the iceberg. . . . . .. a VERY large iceberg.

          If someone says they are seeking meaning in life, ask them if they think life is the way it ought to be.

          That would be a strange question in response. The obvious question would be “What do you mean?”

          Really? THAT’S how you would respond? Because it’s not a common subject people bring up in conversation. It would have to be someone who felt comfortable telling me something that private. It would probably be said with an edge of desperation. This would be someone I care about, and playing your Endless Questions game would be the last thing that would occur to me. that would be on par with Ignorant Amos’ “What the fuck is wrong with you” sensitivity.

          You are a terrible conversation partner.

          Look, we are well past the Silly Time (after the real conversation has been run to the ground). I’m moving on.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I didn’t realize you were the spokesman for what everyone else here thinks.

          Well at least 5 of us thinks she has a point. I suspect there are a number of others reading who also agree. So to that end, Susan’s inclusive editorial “we” is spot on.

        • Greg G.

          My requests that you clarify your definitions

          The tip of the iceberg. . . . . .. a VERY large iceberg.

          You are talking about imaginary stuff. It is important that you clarify what you are imagining.

        • Clement Agonistes

          As I have pointed out, all concepts are imaginary – they exist only in the mind. So, I’ll grant you that. I had hoped we could discuss this whole matter in the realm of common sense reality – what everyone understands hope, meaning, etc. to be. Everyone knows these things. That said, I invited both Susan and Amos to define the terms on their own grounds. Amos’ Children have meaning in their lives, but Amos needs me to define what the term means? And, rather that take that opportunity, both came at me with name-calling — there never was any interest in my answer or in having a discussion.

          I find you to be a reasonable person, capable of conversation. Look, I’ll throw it open to you, as well: Go shopping for definitions in any dictionary you want. Pick the definition that is most friendly to your slant, and I’ll discuss whatever impact that provides. Let’s just GO somewhere with this (and tie it back to Bob’s comments).

        • Otto

          I tried to go there, I pointed out Bob was talking about existential meaning. Maybe you didn’t see it but I said…

          Obviously Bob is referring to existential meaning in these blog posts. It is not clear that is what you are referring to specifically. I agree people have a want, and maybe even a need, for meaning. I don’t think that is necessarily the case with existential meaning.

          I was trying to get you to acknowledge and/or help differentiate between a basic meaning people need and a more complex existential meaning. It seems like all the definitions of meaning are getting conflated and we are talking past each other. I think if you want this to GO somewhere at some point this needs to be addressed.

        • Susan

          Maybe you didn’t see it but I said…

          He saw it. I keep hoping to have an honest discussion with Clement. I’m sure not going to have one with Laurence.

          But if you glance through his history and read all the responses to his whataboutery, it’s impossible to not see that he’s seen it.

          I think if you want this to GO somewhere at some point this needs to be addressed.

          This is the point where he will accuse you of a made up “Fallacy of Endless Questions”.

          Maybe not. Let’s see how he responds.

          You have a couple of things going for you. You’re not a girl. Also, you conceded “meaning” without asking him to define it.

        • Otto

          Agree on all points. Lawrence I put about a half a notch above Frank, really all he does is repeat “Jesus” over and over again with no substance. He assumes Jesus and all that the Bible says (as he interprets it) and expects that we should do the same. He is a troll. Clement I find to be at least to be trying to make an effort though it is hard to tell how much.

          I do think most people want some meaning, I don’t think most people go through their days wrestling with some existential angst, sure some do, but I think most people are just trying to figure out how to deal with all the myriad of real problems in daily life. Existential meaning is a luxury to think about when and if there is time.

        • MR

          Clement I find to be at least to be trying to make an effort though it is hard to tell how much.

          I just see a dishonest troll stringing everyone along, just like he was doing months ago.

        • Otto

          I will wait to see how he responds to this question.

        • Susan

          I will wait to see how he responds to this question.

          Still waiting?

          I know it’s the internet and two days is the blink of an eye on the internet but Clement has a thousand questions he hasn’t answered in his history here.

          His main goal seems to be burden shifting and pointing at squirrels.

        • Otto

          Yep still waiting. To be fair I think he has made only one post on Bob’s blog since I asked that question, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt until he shows back up.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I do think most people want some meaning,…

          Clement is switching between need, hope, purpose, belief, meaning, etc., but not defining what it is that he thinks it is that thing is that humans need, and demonstrating the need for a god in order to find it. Let lone his particular flavour of god or woo-woo. And no matter what he says, the veracity of a god or religion isn’t fortified by by a need, hope, purpose, belief, meaning, etc., so his position is a bunch of wank.

          …I don’t think most people go through their days wrestling with some existential angst, sure some do, but I think most people are just trying to figure out how to deal with all the myriad of real problems in daily life.

          Correct. The existential angst only kicks in when the bullshit is pointed out and the individual needs to do something radical in order to get right, or else.

          Existential meaning is a luxury to think about when and if there is time.

          Indeed. And at the end of the day it is still nothing more than an omphaloskepsis [naval gazing] exercise. Like you say, a luxury that the majority of the humans on the planet can ill afford in their everyday lives and engaging in while trying to eek out an existence.

          Meaning and purpose is dealt with at a more physical and local level. No gods or woo-woo necessary.

        • Greg G.

          As I have pointed out, all concepts are imaginary – they exist only in the mind. So, I’ll grant you that.

          There is a qualitative difference between concepts of things based on perception and concepts of things based on imagination. Trees that bear fruit can be in the first category while trees that bear fruits that transmit major philosophical insights to the person who eats said fruit is in the second category. Balrogs and gods are in the second category.

          The Meaning of Life and how it relates to the Grand Scheme of Things seems to belong to the second category. There is no Grand Scheme, it’s just life. When you need a god that you have only imagined as a basis for a Meaning of Life, you undercut the whole shebang.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Trees are tangible. Fruit is tangible. Hope is not tangible. We do not need to define “tree” in order to have a common sense conversation about trees. Likewise, we do not need to agonize over the definition of “hope” (meaning, etc.) in order to discuss it on a common sense level. Susan was not asking for definitions in order to have a common sense discussion. All of us understand what hope is.

          Your conclusion about a Grand Scheme, of course, gets back to the issue of God’s existence. We will never agree on that topic. My hope (that word, again) is that we can discuss other issues like Bob’s article.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That said, I invited both Susan and Amos to define the terms on their own grounds. Amos’ Children have meaning in their lives, but Amos needs me to define what the term means? And, rather that take that opportunity, both came at me with name-calling — there never was any interest in my answer or in having a discussion.

          You are an unadulterated liar.

        • Susan

          I didn’t realize you were the spokesman for what everyone else here thinks.

          I have observed your interactions with others. Most people are asking you what your point is. Because you don’t make one, some flounder around trying to have an honest discussion with you (maybe they’re new at you) and you tell them that’s not what you’re saying.

          You showed up strawmanning Bob, blatantly saying the opposite of what he said, claiming that he wants to take crutches away from those who need them, despite him stating in plain words that he does not want to do that.

          This was pointed out and you have persisted in your lie. This is not the first time you’ve done this.

          You tried to conjure up some vague attack on an atheist position based on “humans” and “meaning”. Again, you did nothing to support the existence of the gods that atheists don’t believe.

          Rather than strawman you, I asked you to clarify.

          Rather than see that as an honest effort to communicate, you accused me (once again) of an imaginary fallacy of “a thousand questions” for asking an ordinary question, entirely relevant to your language.

          You brought up “oughts” without showing how that was connected to meaning at all.

          Of course, that sets off red flags as it’s standard apologetics to equivocate broad terms like “meaning”. The term “mere chemicals” is also a red flag. Why not just say that thoughts are based in chemical reactions? Because you have no idea how brains work, can show nothing but chemical reactions and somehow think you can imply that our lives are meaningless because chemicals.

          You didn’t explain what an “ought” is or how it is connected to whatever definition of “meaning” you are trying to use.

          You claimed humans are unique ’cause “meaning” without showing that meaning is unique to humans and ignored the fact that all species are unique. That’s what makes them species.

          You suggested that because humans need “meaning” that we need superstitious belief. Without showing that superstitious belief is particularly meaningful.

          You referred to a “gene” for “meaning” which just shows your ignorance in two major categories, biology and philosophy.

          You strawmanned “Dawkins” again because he’s a “popular atheist” who teaches his children that there is no meaning in life. Which is bullshit.

          You have ignored all of the substantial points that countless commenters have made in response to your inadequacy on countless subjects.

          And just hit repeat.

          it’s not a common subject that people would bring up in conversation

          No kidding. It’s a forced thought experiment that has no connection to any point.

          It would have to be someone who felt comfortable telling me something that private. It would probably be said with an edge of desperation.

          Maybe. Maybe not. If I cared about them, I would ask them what they mean. I certainly wouldn’t ask them “if life is the way it ought to be”. It doesn’t make any sense. It would mean I wasn’t listening.

          In your thought experiment, I would ask a single, simple question aimed at understanding what they were trying to say and you see that as Endless Questions. Because you’re not interested in real questions or real answers. I know this because you ignore both and/or respond with hostility to both.

          We are well past the Silly Time (after the real conversation has been run to the ground)

          It’s not just with me, Clement. You don’t seem to want to have a real conversation with anyone. Not with Bob, not with epeeist, not with Ignorant Amos, nor with countless others. You just seem to want to make shit up and not support it.

          I’m moving on.

          No, you’re not. You never move on. You just hit the reset button.

        • Pofarmer

          Basically you seem to be saying, David Hume, he is not.

        • Susan

          David Hume, he is not.

          He is not even Aristotle. Or Thomas Aquinas.

          But, yes.

          That would make for a much shorter comment.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You showed up strawmanning Bob, blatantly saying the opposite of what he
          said, claiming that he wants to take crutches away from those who need them, despite him stating in plain words that he does not want to do that.

          This was pointed out and you have persisted in your lie.

          He said we should not take hope away from the frail, giving a vague definition of “frail” as being elderly, grieving Grandma and children with cancer – no demand from you that he define ANY of his terms. “The rest” of theist humanity, well, they just perceive the need for hope, using it as a crutch.. Again, we have no demand for definition from you.

          And, it is a “false” hope since . . . . . . . the (undefined) desired result NEVER happens. Well, that most assuredly is not true. Yet, you call me a liar, not Bob. The hope of theists is that things will be set right, if not in this world, then in the next. Do you demand that Bob prove there is not “next world”? No, because when you agree with the premise, you don’t ask any tough questions. There is no passionless analysis. There is name-calling and logically fallacious arguments.

          I have not asked any of you to accept the existence of God in my arguments. I posited that religion has a genetic component – an idea shared by atheists. I even suggested that it was a side effect of Man’s unique intelligence, and had to fight for 2 weeks in a filed attempt convince you guys that Man was uniquely intelligent. I posited that the need for hope and meaning are also innate. I have asked you to examine your own arguments with the same standard you do those you disagree with. You have fought that tooth-and-nail. You’d rather attack the messenger than think.

          You are a transparent manipulator, Susan. It is amusing up to a point. It has a shelf life. Once the amusement is gone, there is nothing of value there. We’ve reached the limit of your amusement value. Bring something to the table, and we’ll talk.

        • Susan

          He said we should not take hope away from the frail, giving a vague definition of “frail” as being elderly, grieving Grandma and children with cancer

          No. He was very specific. He gave several case in which taking away false hope might do more harm to the individual than good. He said:

          Christians make much of their religion’s precious gift of hope, but these same pointed questions could be asked about that as well.

          What’s the harm with Christian hope?
          Christians will point to elderly people who’ve been Christians all their lives. What’s the harm in their believing that they’ll soon be in heaven, reunited with loved ones? Surely you don’t want to attack Grandma’s Christian beliefs at her age.

          Another example is someone living in abysmal circumstances—a child soldier in Somalia or a child prostitute in Thailand, say. Or someone in a Third World prison or a young mother with a disease that will shortly kill her. Christianity could give hope when things are hopeless.

          I agree that there’s no point in attacking a frail person’s worldview, and I have little argument with someone who clings to a delusion they need to get them through the day. It’s the rest of humanity that I’m asking to throw away their crutches.

          Nothing vague. He covered many points where the problems with false hope aren’t necessarily outweighed by the value of false hope.

          Then, he went on to talk about the problems that outweigh false hope. You, (as is your habit), utterly failed to engage with the substance of the article and acted like he wanted to take crutches away from people who can’t walk without them.

          no demand from you that he define ANY of his terms.

          See above. This is where Bob’s work is so much better than yours. He doesn’t strawman and ignore substance. You do. You ignored the entire article and pretended he said something he didn’t say.

          the hope of theists is that things will be set right

          Give me an example. I’m sure you’ll give me shit about that. For pointing out that “theists” is too broad a term and “be set right” is too broad a term and for asking for clarification. In normal, respectful discourse, someone who can provide an example just does so.

          In Clementland, it’s an egregious act to ask for an example.

          I have not asked any of you to accept the existence of God in my arguments.

          You could have if you could have defined it and supported it. Instead, you tried a really bad version of the Cosmological Argument, failed badly, and ran away, now returning to make more bad arguments.

          . I posited that religion has a genetic component – an idea shared by atheists.

          No. You pretended that humans were special, that some generic concept of human “meaning” was special and flailed badly when asked for clarification. Then, you alluded to “atheist parents” who had taught their children that “life is meaningless”. After much pressing, you had nothing but a strawmanning of an argument by Richard Dawkins which argued the opposite.

          I even suggested that it was a side effect of Man’s unique intelligence, and had to fight for 2 weeks in a filed attempt convince you guys that Man was uniquely intelligent.

          It failed because “man” is not a species and “man” is not “uniquely” “intelligent”.

          You’d rather attack the messenger than think.

          Hmmm…… and all you do is attack me when I ask you to clarify and support what you are thinking.

          For instance…

          You are a transparent manipulator, Susan…. Bring something to the table and we’ll talk.

          I have and you want to talk about anything but.

          Bob has and you want to talk about anything but.

          Epeeist has and you want to talk about anything but.

          Otto has and you want to talk about anything but.

          Ignorant Amos has and you want to talk about anything but.

          Greg G. has and you want to talk about anything but.

          Just for starters.

          In a less dysfunctional comment system, for instance one that just provided the back and forth history of dialogue, it would be obvious that you have brought nothing to the table and aren’t interested in talking.

          It’s Disqus. Although it takes more work, I encourage people to peruse through your comment history to notice that you have provided nothing of substance so far.

          It’s strawmanning and then handwaving and then hostility toward people who respond.

        • Clement Agonistes

          He said we should not take hope away from the frail, giving a
          vague definition of “frail” as being elderly, grieving Grandma and
          children with cancer

          No.
          He was very specific. He gave several case in which taking away false
          hope might do more harm to the individual than good. He said:

          Christians make much of their religion’s
          precious gift of hope, but these same pointed questions could be asked about that as well.

          What’s the harm with Christian hope?
          Christians
          will point to elderly people who’ve been Christians all their lives.
          What’s the harm in their believing that they’ll soon be in heaven,
          reunited with loved ones? Surely you don’t want to attack Grandma’s
          Christian beliefs at her age.

          OK, “Grandma” – Check Box #1.

          Or someone in a Third World prison or a young mother with a disease
          that will shortly kill her. Christianity could give hope when things are
          hopeless.

          [Checking Box #2: “Dying Children”.]

          Nothing vague. He covered many points where the problems with
          false hope aren’t necessarily outweighed by the value of false hope.

          Then, he went on to talk about the problems that outweigh false hope. You,
          (as is your habit), utterly failed to engage with the substance of the
          article and acted like he wanted to take crutches away from people who
          can’t walk without them.

          The vagueness is that we have to draw a line between the frail, theists (who don’t need hope), and (strong) atheists. Someone, somewhere has to be the arbiter of where this line is drawn. This is your specialty. This is where you are at your susan-est. There is a near-infinite question chain awaiting Bob on this.

          Yyyyeeeaahhhh . . . . . . not so much.

          And, here we have that glaring logical fallacies – Circular Reasoning.

          A. Hope in the existence of God is a false hope.
          How do we know it is false hope? Because . . . .

          B. There is no God.
          How do we know there is no God? Because . . . .

          A. Hope in the existence of God is a false hope.

          Rinse. Repeat.

          the hope of theists is that things will be set right

          Give me an example. I’m sure you’ll give me shit about that. For pointing
          out that “theists” is too broad a term and “be set right” is too broad a
          term and for asking for clarification. In normal, respectful
          discourse, someone who can provide an example just does so.

          In Clementland, it’s an egregious act to ask for an example.

          This is why I am convinced you are not sincere. Is there anything more basic to the concept of hope than wanting things The Way They Are Supposed To Be? One of the foundational cornerstones of Bob’s Theology is that God MUST make things TWTASTB. If God does not, then that proves there is no God.

          However, you did not ask me for a summary of a core issue. You asked for an example where people might want things set right. I’m going to lift one out of Bob’s article:

          What’s the harm in their believing that they’ll soon be in heaven, reunited with loved ones

          So, loved ones are dead. Surely, we can sympathize – if not empathize – with the loss of people one loves (co further clarification is necessary?). I’d throw in the bonus example of the health problems of a small child – It’s not right that the child should be ill and not have a full lifespan. Heaven holds the potential of joy and health.

          So, there is your “shit”. It’s such common sense that I can’t help but think you are pranking me.

          I have not asked any of you to accept the existence of God in my arguments. You could have if you could have defined it and supported it.

          We knew that I would have to support the notion that hope is innate in humans? I tried to support it by pointing to it as a side effect of Man’s intelligence – a page right out of Atheist 101. Then, I had to support that as well. Then, . . . . . I finally got to “So what?” . . . . but not from everyone.

          . I posited that religion has a genetic component – an idea shared by atheists.

          No. You pretended that humans were special, that some generic concept of
          human “meaning” was special and flailed badly when asked for
          clarification. Then, you alluded to “atheist parents” who had taught
          their children that “life is meaningless”

          The “meaning” thread was to point out that the need for meaning is similar to the need for hope – everyone recognizes both, and they would be off-shoots of Man’s intelligence (another needless thread). If it is genetic, then it springs from DNA. If we have a chemical reaction that explains it, then there is a natural explanation – it is not a plea to a supernatural explanation. Therefore, it SHOULD be an easy point for atheists to grasp – I was not asking atheists to accept the existence of God as a premise.

          I even suggested that it was a side effect of Man’s unique
          intelligence, and had to fight for 2 weeks in a filed attempt convince
          you guys that Man was uniquely intelligent.

          It failed because “man” is not a species and “man” is not “uniquely” “intelligent”.

          A definition game for terms we all understand. Look at the absurdity of this – I now have to support the assertion that you are a member of a species. This HAS to be a prank.

        • Ignorant Amos

          No improvement in your ability to read for comprehension ya lying, disingenuous, oxygen thieving piece of crap.

          I’ll not waste time on all of your fuckwittery that has been refuted ad nauseam at this point.

          Just the last sentence should suffice.

          Look at the absurdity of this – I now have to support the assertion that you are a member of a species.

          Susan said…

          “It failed because “man” is not a species and “man” is not “uniquely” “intelligent”.”

          In response to…

          I even suggested that it was a side effect of Man’s unique intelligence, and had to fight for 2 weeks in a filed attempt convince you guys that Man was uniquely intelligent.

          The problem is that you bandy about terms with no understanding for their meanings. If you knew what you were talking about, you’d know that “Man”, capitalized or not, is not a species. Homo sapiens is the species. And Homo sapiens sapiens is the sub-species with the intelligence you believe so unique. The genus homo…human being, is where the term “Man” derives, and it is the inclusive name of a number of human species…dolt.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo

          Homo sapiens sapiens are not “uniquely” intelligent no matter how long you bang your fuckwittery mantra. The human level of intelligence might be the highest in the animal kingdom, but intelligence is not unique to humans, nor even homo sapiens sapiens, though the other groups of intelligent “Man” have now gone extinct.

          You are a Dime Bar pulling shite outta yer arse without any support, and getting a new one tore every time.

          This HAS to be a prank.

          Only in your feeble mind…and we all know the reason why.

        • Clement Agonistes

          No improvement in your ability to read for comprehension ya lying, disingenuous, oxygen thieving piece of crap.
          I’ll not waste time on all of your fuckwittery that has been refuted ad nauseam at this point.
          Just the last sentence should suffice.

          Look at the absurdity of this – I now have to support the assertion that you are a member of a species.

          Susan said…
          “It failed because “man” is not a species

          Once again, Amos, you put me in my place.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s not hard…you make it as simple as shooting fish in a barrel ya idiot.

        • Susan

          And, here we have that glaring logical fallacies – Circular Reasoning.

          A. Hope in the existence of God is a false hope.
          How do we know it is false hope? Because . . . .

          B. There is no God.
          How do we know there is no God? Because . . . .

          A. Hope in the existence of God is a false hope.

          Rinse. Repeat.

          And we are back where you began. You are shifting the burden.

          How many times have you been asked to define “God” and support its existence?

          You can’t. You have dodged every request that you do so.

          You’ve spent all your time on this thread insinuating (without supporting it) that superstitious belief is beneficial to humans and pretended that Bob wants to remove that superstitious belief even when it’s beneficial.

          IF there is no coherent definition for “God” and IF there is no support for it, then it looks in every way like false hope.

          Like snake oil. Like a pyramid scheme. Like homeopathy. Like psychics communicating on behalf of your dead loved ones. Like someone claiming to lift a curse that someone else put on you.

          IF you can’t support your claims about whatever you mean by “God”, then it is as good as false hope.

          It is as good as my Immaterial Snowflake Fairies.

          As I said, you don’t move on. You hit the reset button.

          We don’t need to “know” there is no “God” in order to assess false hope.

          We only need to note that people who claim it exists can’t define it nor support it.

        • Clement Agonistes

          And we are back where you began. You are shifting the burden.
          How many times have you been asked to define “God” and support its existence?

          I’ve lost count. But, the relevant part of your question is that it is yet another attempt to change the subject when the discussion of the actual topic isn’t going the way you would like it to go. We were discussing Bob’ article, and specifically his assertion about hope. I point out that his assertion is not logical. You reply with a demand that I prove God’s existence . . . . . . to your satisfaction (that ship sailed a long time ago).

          The only “burden” on you is the voluntary one that you apply the same standards to your own side’s arguments that you apply to those you disagree with. You have declined that “burden”. End . . . . of. . . . discussion.

          The burden on me was to show that Bob’s assertion was not logical. I did that, and you opted to end that discussion. This looks like one of the easiest calls ever – this discussion is over.

        • Otto

          If I said ‘I have hope that the invisible pixies in my garden will provide me with food’, and you replied ‘It seems like you are hanging your hat on something that does have any evidence of existing, and therefore the hope you are counting on is false’…sure I could say ‘you don’t know that for certain’…but at what point can you reasonably judge such a hope to be invalid? Is absolute certainty necessary to make a judgement, or can we reasonably come to a conclusion about such a claim without it?

          I will agree Bob does not have absolute certainty regarding such claims, does that mean he has no grounds at all to come to a conclusion?

          I also will agree that in making such a statement Bob does carry a burden of proof, I think he does address much of that burden in the general overall topic he covers with the blog. But if making absolute statements about things that are not completely 100% certain is a problem, why are people in religion allowed to make those types of statements without any push back from you? What certainty do they have that there is the ‘hope’ that they claim?

        • Clement Agonistes

          at what point can you reasonably judge such a hope to be invalid? Is absolute certainty necessary to make a judgement, or can we reasonably come to a conclusion about such a claim without it?

          I think what you are pointing to is the millions of judgements we make on a daily basis which are doing the best we can with the information available. We are not immobilized by the need for absolute certainty. We can make decisions. It might be more the difference between “fact” and “opinion”.

          I also will agree that in making such a statement Bob does carry a burden of proof, I think he does address much of that burden in the general overall topic he covers with the blog.

          I agree. One should not isolate one aspect a much greater topic and assert that it settles the matter.

          . . . . . like consolation. Forgive my ill manners, but what I see happening here is lots spin. Bob takes aspects of Christianity one at a time, and stretches the truth right to the breaking point for each. The last time I dropped by, it was the timing of the writing of the NT. Bob took a quote from a source that was well outside the mainstream of scholarship, speaking as if that source was the Last Word on the subject. It wasn’t untrue – the source did say that. But, it wasn’t being completely honest, either. So, we have a body of evidence that supports his POV, yet as a body stretches the truth until the narrative isn’t true. The goal isn’t to discover the truth.

          why are people in religion allowed to make those types of statements without any push back from you? What certainty do they have that there is the ‘hope’ that they claim?

          None. Like Bob, all of us – atheist and theist alike – do not know with certainty. Like Bob, both sides have proper grounds for their conclusions. I have stated that I think there is a natural explanation for the existence of hope in the supernatural. Am I certain of that – no. But it seems to be ubiquitous among humans throughout time, culture, and geography. From a practical POV, what else can we offer people for whom science offers nothing? The best argument I have ever seen for atheism is the Ricky Gervais movie, “The Invention of Lying”, where he invents heaven for his dying mother. . . . . . but then everyone else believes him.

          And, doggone it, sometimes hope does succeed. Sometimes things do get better. But, in the end, we all die.

          As to push back, thanks to you guys, I do apply the same standard to my own side’s arguments (OK, well in a gentle sort of way). I don’t argue with Xians on his website because I’ve got my hands full with you guys. In Xian groups I participate in, I use your points to ask tough questions. IMO, any Xian group I am in, they will benefit from the input of atheists. So, yeah, bad arguments get pushback.

        • Otto

          >>>”I agree. One should not isolate one aspect a much greater topic and assert that it settles the matter.”

          I am not convinced that is being done.

          >>>”But, it wasn’t being completely honest, either. So, we have a body of evidence that supports his POV, yet as a body stretches the truth until the narrative isn’t true. The goal isn’t to discover the truth.”

          Having spent more than my fair share of time listening to Christian Preists and Pastors I can say that the goal was not to discover the truth, it was to assert all the claims as if they were true. Never once was Christian history addressed, never once were the building blocks ever put in place, all they did was show you the narrative and preach that is was true. I don’t think there is anything wrong with pointing out the stuff that is conveniently ignored within the worldview.

          >>>”both sides have proper grounds for their conclusions.”

          If I actually thought that was true I would still be a Christian.

          >>>”But it seems to be ubiquitous among humans throughout time, culture, and geography.”

          What humans really crave is answers to questions, we will make the answers up if necessary. Just because made up answers have been disseminated throughout history does not mean people necessarily crave for hope in the supernatural. And if people do want ‘hope in the supernatural’ I contend that has more to do with a want to feel like we are not powerless in the many situations that we are powerless. I think your Ricky Gervais example would apply to that.

          >>>”As to push back, thanks to you guys, I do apply the same standard to my own side’s arguments (OK, well in a gentle sort of way).

          To give you some credit I agree with you, you are willing to engage in discussion with us and I certainly appreciate that. I know we talk past each other all too often, but I do see effort on you part.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “I agree. One should not isolate one aspect a much greater topic and assert that it settles the matter.”

          I am not convinced that is being done.

          It’s a blog. He has to produce multiple entries every week. I had expected that you would point out that theists do the same things, and that I would be forced to agree with you.

          Having spent more than my fair share of time listening to Christian
          Preists and Pastors I can say that the goal was not to discover the
          truth, it was to assert all the claims as if they were true. Never once
          was Christian history addressed, never once were the building blocks
          ever put in place, all they did was show you the narrative and preach
          that is was true. I don’t think there is anything wrong with pointing
          out the stuff that is conveniently ignored within the worldview.

          I’m going to have to agree with you on that one, too. I would have pointed out how frequently they will quote some source without ever questioning its accuracy. Alas, that is a part of the human condition – most people are terrible at this kind of thing (and arrogantly think others are terrible at it).

          You guys talk atheism all the time, and at a high level. You are capable of crafting a solid argument. The vast majority of atheist have no intellectual basis whatsoever for their belief. I don’t engage them on the topic for that for that very reason. Likewise, theists present some absolutely awful rationales. I do engage them on it, and never cease to be surprised by the blank stares I get back.

          A person who knows what they believe and why is a thing of beauty. . . . . . a rare thing of beauty.

          “both sides have proper grounds for their conclusions.”

          If I actually thought that was true I would still be a Christian.

          And if quiche were really delicious, I would not have spit it out in my napkin. Different strokes for different folks. You are going to find things persuasive that I do not, and visa versa. We try to set up a repeatable procedure that is reliable for determining what is true and what is not, but we are hopelessly human. Ultimately we always run into a wall and are on our own. Surely, you have heard of theist who used to be atheists? They say the same thing you do.

          What humans really crave is answers to questions, we will make the
          answers up if necessary. Just because made up answers have been
          disseminated throughout history does not mean people necessarily crave
          for hope in the supernatural. And if people do want ‘hope in the
          supernatural’ I contend that has more to do with a want to feel like we
          are not powerless in the many situations that we are powerless. I think
          your Ricky Gervais example would apply to that.

          Again, I am going to agree (especially with the part where you agree about Gervais). I have stated that I think there are many aspects of being human which are innate – craving hope, meaning, love – and I did not mean to short-change truth. The craving for truth incorporates so many of those.

          In the movie, people were 100% honest, and it was hilarious to imagine how much we would hate people for being like that. The very nature of hope is that it only exists when it shouldn’t. If I have a cure for the disease, I do not need hope. If my relationship is solid already, I do not need hope. If my job is secure, . . .

          There is a theory among Christians that people turn to God in times of hardship. When things are going great, they feel in control, and pride kicks in. When we are powerless – out of control – we want to think there is some other control out there operating. Again, I think this is human nature. Human nature can certainly have a natural explanation, the way we attribute animal behavior to instinct. It could also be that God has planted an awareness in each of us.

          To give you some credit I agree with you, you are willing to engage in
          discussion with us and I certainly appreciate that. I know we talk past
          each other all too often, but I do see effort on your part.

          I don’t want to only talk to bobbleheads. I know that they think already. IF I crave truth, complacency is the enemy. As I have said before, I am grateful to you guys for what you have done for me.

        • Otto

          >>>” I had expected that you would point out that theists do the same things, and that I would be forced to agree with you.”

          Well you are right, everyone does this. I just don’t think Bob is declaring it is settled. He is offering his opinion and then it is up for discussion.

          I would also agree that there are many atheists that just don’t believe and have never really investigated one way or the other…and of course vice versa as you have pointed out.

          >>>”Surely, you have heard of theist who used to be atheists? They say the same thing you do.”

          I have, though I can’t say that I have heard one who has given a reasonable (to me) argument as to the change. I still like to hear their reasons for doing so just like I enjoy hearing about a person changing from theism to atheism. For myself I ended up an atheist not because the atheist argument won, what happened was the Christian narrative failed. I then took a more skeptical position on religious claims and my atheism was a natural outcome of that.

          >>>”There is a theory among Christians that people turn to God in times of hardship. When things are going great, they feel in control, and pride kicks in. When we are powerless – out of control – we want to think there is some other control out there operating. Again, I think this is human nature. Human nature can certainly have a natural explanation, the way we attribute animal behavior to instinct. It could also be that God has planted an awareness in each of us.”

          I agree with all that. And your last line is very interesting to me personally, it was what I ‘hung my hat on’ when I still was a believer. Why couldn’t that be the case? It certainly could be I admit, I just have no reason to think it is, but that certainly propped up any faith I had for a long time.

          Also I need to see the Gervais movie, I know the premise but have not seen it.

          >>>”I don’t want to only talk to bobbleheads. I know that they think already. IF I crave truth, complacency is the enemy.”

          I completely agree. I know it gets contentious here and I appreciate theists like yourself that are willing to engage in good discussions and not just trade insults. I rarely post on Christian sites because I really only want to engage with people who want to have a decent discussion and I am not looking to ‘troll’ people I don’t happen to agree with. When people like yourself come here open to the discussion it helps me. Most of the people in my life are Christians and they are people I care about, this helps me understand the weaknesses and strengths of my position.

        • Clement Agonistes

          ” I had expected that you would point out that theists do the same things, and that I would be forced to agree with you.”
          Well you are right, everyone does this. I just don’t think Bob is declaring it is settled. He is offering his opinion and then it is up for discussion.

          I think you are exactly right. He just presents it as an assumed fact that does not require proof.

          Also I need to see the Gervais movie, I know the premise but have not seen it.

          You will thank me. Big laughs. Great stuff.

        • Otto

          Well the proof he offers is that the claims of Christianity do not comport to reality when the two can be compared, of which he has written extensively. Does that mean he has absolute certainly? Well you would have to ask him, but I am guessing it is more like the analogy I made about the pixies in the garden in that there is no evidence or logic that could lead one to such a conclusion other than saying “well you can’t prove otherwise”. I find that line of thinking incredibly weak and pandering, though it is true that the claim cannot be refuted with demonstrable cenrtainty.

          >>>”You will thank me.”

          I have put it on top and will try and find it tonight.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Well the proof he offers is that the claims of Christianity do not
          comport to reality when the two can be compared, of which he has written
          extensively. Does that mean he has absolute certainly? Well you would
          have to ask him

          Seriously? “Ask him”? As if that opportunity hasn’t been under his nose multiple times. Even I can give you his answer – “You don’t understand what I was saying” . . . . . with no clarification. Clear communication would quickly destroy that assertion. He can’t afford to clarify without admitting I did understand. I’ve been through this with surrogates. Evasion is the order of the day.

          Someone – Greg, I think – explained to me a while back that the nature of this group is agnostic – you guys don’t say with certainty, but await disproof of your default (my paraphrase). Surely, we all know better. You have all been exposed to the best arguments theism has to offer, and find none of them persuasive. Barring supernatural intervention, nothing will change.

          Bob’s articles are mostly devoted to taking those arguments and reassuring you that they are bad arguments. And, yeah, sometimes it takes modifying those claims just enough to make it possible to cast enough doubt on them. THAT is my gripe. If one occupies the high ground of Truth, there is no need to modify the other sides’ claims. Sometimes his defining of Christian claims sound like the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon by the time you finally get back to something solid (Well, bacon is a breakfast meat, some people eat cereal for breakfast, rye is a cereal grain, whiskey is made from rye, therefore Kevin Bacon is made of whiskey.).

          Each of us is responsible for our own decision-making. Gazillions of decisions are made without absolute certainty. The norm is to make decisions without complete knowledge. We would be immobilized if we had to wait for complete knowledge. Two people can look at the exact same set of data and come to opposite conclusions. Saying the data is insufficient is meaningless to our ability to make decisions. Surely, this is a given that we all take for granted?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Seriously? “Ask him”? As if that opportunity hasn’t been under his nose multiple times. Even I can give you his answer – “You don’t understand what I was saying” . . . . . with no clarification.

          More lies.

          Clear communication would quickly destroy that assertion.

          Spoooiiiinnng! There goes another one.

          He can’t afford to clarify without admitting I did understanding.

          What? Ya mean like your understanding of the Great Commission and the divine power promised to the disciples in order that they be sucessful in the promotion of it ya mean?

          I’ve been through this with surrogates. Evasion is the order of the day.

          That’s why you are so expert I suspect.

          Someone – Greg, I think – explained to me a while back that the nature of this group is agnostic – you guys don’t say with certainty, but await disproof of your default (my paraphrase).

          Ah…Greg’s a liar too then?

          Surely, we all know better.

          No…you think you know better…until your own hypocrisy jumps up and bites ya in the arse.

          You have all been exposed to the best arguments theism has to offer, and find none of them persuasive. Barring supernatural intervention, nothing will change.

          Which theism? How does your complaint fit yerself when you are placed in the same position regarding other theism’s?

          And it’s not just theism…supernatural woo-woo and a lot of other extraordinary claims also.

          Bob’s articles are mostly devoted to taking those arguments and reassuring you that they are bad arguments.

          You think we have restricted our investigations to Bob’s blog…how very quaint.

          And, yeah, sometimes it takes modifying those claims just enough to make it possible to cast enough doubt on them.

          And until you can demonstrate that Bob is doing just that, then you are lying again.

          THAT is my gripe. If one occupies the high ground of Truth, there is no need to modify the other sides’ claims.

          When you demonstrate where Bob has misrepresented or modified a theist argument, then your gripe can be addressed.

          Sometimes his defining of Christian claims sound like the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon by the time you finally get back to something solid (Well, bacon is a breakfast meat, some people eat cereal for breakfast, rye is a cereal grain, whiskey is made from rye, therefore Kevin Bacon is made of whiskey.).

          Show us? Stop using bullshit analogies that make you look like the tit ya are. You have leveled a lot of charges, but your charges so far, are just a lot of hot air and bluster without supporting evidence.

          Each of us is responsible for our own decision-making.

          Correct…and that decision making has consequences when wrong.

          Gazillions of decisions are made without absolute certainty.

          Absolute certainty is not required. A reasonable expectation based on prior probability can be sufficient. We use a concept called Bayes Thereom in our decision making…most of the time, automatically. But BT is GIGO dependent. Which is the reason we get decisions wrong.

          The norm is to make decisions without complete knowledge. We would be immobilized if we had to wait for complete knowledge.

          But who makes a decision based on zero knowledge, or rubbish knowledge. That’s what you expect. But you don’t accept that rubbish evidence when it comes from a different flavour of woo-woo to your own. You are a two-faced hypocrite.

          Two people can look at the exact same set of data and come to opposite conclusions.

          Indeed. Data is not always evidence, but when you look at the data that convinces all those other woo-woo believers, you aren’t convinced of the conclusions they draw. Their data is unconvincing because you think it is weak…remove the beam…and see why to use, your data is equally crap.

          Saying the data is insufficient is meaningless to our ability to make decisions.

          But saying the data is insufficient, or of a poor quality, is not meaningless to our ability to make important decisions. Again, you do it when it comes to other belief systems.

          Surely, this is a given that we all take for granted?

          You just don’t get it yet, do you. When your evidence is shite, or non-existent, we are not obliged to give any consideration to the existence of your particular god thingy, anymore than you give to other religions god thingy…when you get that important detail to sink into that space between yer ears, the penny will drop.

        • Otto

          >>>”Evasion is the order of the day.”

          That accusation is a two way street. I have pointed out to you twice in your discussion about ‘meaning’ that that the ‘meaning’ people want can be more basic than the existential variety, and that assuming all people need/want ‘existential meaning’ is imo conflating the issue. You haven’t responded to either post on the subject. I do think Bob is being clear on what he is saying, I do not think you are being clear in your response as to what you are saying.

          >>>”Barring supernatural intervention, nothing will change.”

          That is because the best arguments theism has to offer are terrible, I don’t think you understand how much the former Christians here really have wrestled with the issue. I personally went to great effort to try and find something in Christianity I could believe in, I did not want to leave, but at some point I had to admit I did not believe what I was being told. I was honest with myself and I finally let go. I gave Christianity every chance and it failed every time. I honestly thought I should raise my children in a faith so I made an effort, but then I looked and saw how the sausage is made and I can’t un-see it.

          >>>”Bob’s articles are mostly devoted to taking those arguments and reassuring you that they are bad arguments. And, yeah, sometimes it takes modifying those claims just enough to make it possible to cast enough doubt on them. THAT is my gripe.”

          Give me an argument and tell me why it is a GOOD argument. I am a big boy, I can tell you what I think without being reassured by Bob. I see the modification being done by theists, the argument is presented and when a salient issue is raised about it the weaseling begins, meanings of words are conflated to try and make everything fit, etc. I am over 50 years old Clement and most of those years were spent as a self-identifying Christian. Sure I had doubts, and I addressed those doubts by talking to Priests, etc. The answers given to my doubts were always awful. The best they did was to try and placate me, the issues were never met head on. Sure you can say Bob misrepresents Christian claims, and that accusation does hold a bit of water, but not for the reasons you seem to think they do. Christian claims are all over the place, it is impossible not to misrepresent the claims because there is no consistency WITHIN Christianity. That is not a problem for the atheists to address, that is a problem for the Christian world view. Every time an atheist addresses an issue some Christian can of course say “that is not what I believe”, and while that may be true, there is some Christian that DOES believe that. As the old joke goes, ask 10 Christian theologians a questions and you will likely get 10 different answers. I don’t see that as an atheist problem to have to overcome. So yes many of us agnostic atheists have taken the position of the ‘null-hypothesis’, I am not going to believe a God claim until such time that the God claim being made can be shown to actually comport with reality, if it can’t… I have no reason to believe it, and arguing that a God claim can’t be dis-proven is not enough to actually think it is true.

          “The norm is to make decisions without complete knowledge.”

          Of course I agree with this. But I then go back to a basic question…what reason do I have to think any Christian claim is in fact true? What reason do I have to think any God-Allah…etc. claim is true? It is not just that some knowledge is incomplete, it is that some claims lack ANY reasonable foundation. There is no there there…but if you think you can show otherwise I will listen.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Evasion is the order of the day.”

          That accusation is a two way street. I have pointed out to you twice in your discussion about ‘meaning’ that that the ‘meaning’ people want can be more basic than the existential variety, and that assuming all people need/want ‘existential meaning’ is imo conflating the issue. You haven’t responded to either post on the subject. I do think Bob is being clear on what he is saying, I do not think you are being clear in your response as to what you are saying.

          IMO, I explained that (meaning) in posts to other participants. I went to the dictionary and stole their definition. The entire point of the discussion of the need for meaning was to point out that it is as basic as the need for hope in God. It is wishful thinking to believe one can just reason it away. It is innate. The need for meaning was an analogy that ran away with the topic. I mentioned Avicii committing suicide because his life lacked meaning. It isn’t trivial.

          IMO, Bob could not have been more clear about what he was talking about. It’s certainly possible that he had something else in mind, but his words were crystal-clear – hope in God is a false hope, just as hope in that job opening that does not exist is a false hope.

          He starts with the analogy of the false hope of an offering a job that doesn’t exist. Next up is Grandma, who hopes to be reunited with her loved ones in heaven. Of course, there is no reunion; no heaven, because there is no God. Then, there is the young mother with a terminal illness – yeah, let frail people like that have false hope that things will be made right in the next world. I mean, this one really, really sucks for them. Bob quotes Sam Harris about the refrigerator-sized diamond in the backyard – there is no diamond, of course, just as there is no God. In general, we’re not easily delude. But in the case of religion . . . . .

          The man has a way with words. Others here have suggested the nuance that he is ONLY addressing generic false hope. If so, he’d have left out God (I didn’t even attempt to count how many references there were to God). 90% of the article would have been an aside to that main thrust.

        • Otto

          >>>”It isn’t trivial.”

          I don’t think it is either, I think it is being over generalized in this discussion. I wasn’t looking for a definition, I was trying to get the types of meaning people want/need to be part of the discussion.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The example I used with Susan was the friend who comes to you, distraught because they are seeking meaning in their life – what do you say to that person? Well, you don’t start with “Define your terms.” I analogized to Amos that you don’t tell a person with Depression to “Cheer up” (although Amos asserted it works sometimes). People don’t know what it is, only that they don’t have it. T4ATF said we can just make up meaning. To some degree, he is right. In the Dawkins interview with Gervais, Ricky said he found meaning in his work. Great, that worked for him – where does that fit in on your definition? There is the cliché of the man climbing a mountain in the Himalayas to ask the guru, “What’s the meaning of life?”

          “Du-uh – work.”

          I don’t care what level one wants to discuss. The “seeking” is the point. Other animals are driven by survival instincts. Humans have this massive burden of all these concepts that can drive them to suicide. We need hope, meaning, love, and a host of others. The best wild guess is that we have these as side effects of some important other survival trait(s). It’s not just for the frail; it’s for us all. To say people don’t need these and can simply talk themselves out of it is begging for trouble.

        • Otto

          Meaning is very subjective. I am going to explain to my friend that they need to look inward and find what matters to them. I would then give them examples of what other people find meaningful in their lives and discuss why. I would go over what the person has found meaningful in the past and what has changed. Basically I would be a friend. Am I missing something? There does not seem to be a one size fits all “meaning” for humans.

          I do think there are animals that want meaning, albeit it is more basic type.

          >>>”The best wild guess is that we have these as side effects of some important other survival trait(s).”

          My guess is that it is an emergent property of being able to be more self-aware. Since we are self-aware we ask questions…those questions inevitably leads to more questions. Some questions can me answered and some can’t. Some people are comfortable with “I don’t know”…some aren’t.

          I will certainly agree that people want meaning in their lives…that wasn’t the question that Bob raised. Bob raised the issue of false hope and whether it is positive in the long run.

          One thing I have noticed is that regarding the hope issue Bob raised is that you keep asking everyone to prove the hope is actually false, but you don’t seem interested in trying to show it is true. Nor do you address whether the ‘hope’ religion offers is a good thing, or specifically the ‘hope’ Christianity offers.

          >>>”To say people don’t need these and can simply talk themselves out of it is begging for trouble.”

          Isn’t the answers religion offers an attempt to “talk themselves out of it”?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I will certainly agree that people want meaning in their lives…that wasn’t the question that Bob raised. Bob raised the issue of false hope and whether it is positive in the long run.

          Not as much fun as building an army of straw to thrash at though, is it?

        • Otto

          If he didn’t he would have to agree with the point…and that just will not do!

        • Ignorant Amos

          The example I used with Susan was the friend who comes to you, distraught because they are seeking meaning in their life – what do you say to that person?

          You don’t tell them to go home a pray, everything will be okay, when you know it won’t be.

          You don’t tell them that they should give all their money to a snake oil salesman for a cure that cannot be demonstrated as effective, at the expence of a cure with a proven track record.

          Well, you don’t start with “Define your terms.”

          And Susan didn’t suggest you should, so that’s another disingenuous implication.

          I analogized to Amos that you don’t tell a person with Depression to “Cheer up” (although Amos asserted it works sometimes).

          But I can demonstrate that telling a person with depression to cheer up can be effective. The case of Paige Hunter who places notes that essentially are saying, “cheer up” have been instrumental in “cheering up” suicidal individuals to the point of thinking twice. Why couldn’t any god’s do that.

          Northumbria Police Ch Supt Sarah Pitt told The Newcastle Chronicle that it was an “innovative way to reach out to those in a dark place”.

          She added: “We thought it was important to applaud the work Paige has been doing and the help she has given those in Sunderland who are going through a mental health crisis.”

          https://www.babble.com/parenting/paige-hunter-teen-bridge-notes-suicide-support/

          My partner has fibromyalgia among other ailments, a side effect is depression, a “cheer up love” can be enough to lift her, even a wee bit. I’ve suffered depression in the past myself…something is better than nothing.

          People don’t know what it is, only that they don’t have it.

          How do they know they don’t have it if they don’t know what it is? You are being silly again.

          T4ATF said we can just make up meaning. To some degree, he is right. In the Dawkins interview with Gervais, Ricky said he found meaning in his work. Great, that worked for him – where does that fit in on your definition?

          Yeah…Gervais said a lot more than that though, didn’t he…but all the other stuff he said is inconvenient for you.

          There is the cliché of the man climbing a mountain in the Himalayas to ask the guru, “What’s the meaning of life?”

          “Du-uh – work.”

          There’s the disingenuous cunt in ya at work.

          “Du-uh – what else?”

          I don’t care what level one wants to discuss. The “seeking” is the point. Other animals are driven by survival instincts. Humans have this massive burden of all these concepts that can drive them to suicide. We need hope, meaning, love, and a host of others. The best wild guess is that we have these as side effects of some important other survival trait(s). It’s not just for the frail; it’s for us all. To say people don’t need these and can simply talk themselves out of it is begging for trouble.

          The straw man appears again.

          But beliefs in God is not necessary in order to have the need for hope, meaning, love, and a host of others…even the beliefs in the right god according to you…so pah!

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Barring supernatural intervention, nothing will change.”
          That is because the best arguments theism has to offer are terrible, I don’t think you understand how much the former Christians here really have wrestled with the issue.

          When I talk with people like that , I really don’t know what to say. Atheist who converted to Christianity – mostly – speak about that supernatural moment. Amos brought up the role of the Holy Spirit, and I can’t explain why some hear it and others don’t. Calvinists say that’s just the way it is – there is a list, and they weren’t on the list. That is a very unsatisfying explanation. Andrew Klavan says of his conversion that he had been reading the works of great atheist minds, and their answers were so unsatisfying that he had to reject his own atheism. He just couldn’t not-believe. Like you guys, he described it as a liberating moment. The stories are the same, only the plots are reversed.

          I agree that Christianity is all over the place. However, taking the claims of some group which represents less than 1% of Christians is more than just stretching the truth. One of the most thought-provoking columns by an atheist was the one which called Jesus’ prayer for a united church the greatest unanswered prayer in history. The fact that Jesus would even have to pray for such a thing is troubling. OTOH, He did have to pray for it. I don’t think we should limit this topic to just Christianity – why are there so many religions? Now, THERE’S the big payoff. No more nibbling about some preacher in KC whose meds ran out last week. No more arguing against claims that can only be found after an hour-long search of the internet.

          For me, it comes down to one fundamental question: “What SHOULD it look like if there is a God?” If this were a scientific hypothesis, how would we approach it? The Hypothesis is easy “God exists”. Next, research the topic – there’s certainly no dearth of material. Then we hit the wall – the Experiment. You can’t conduct a proper experiment unless you would be able to distinguish success from failure. Both atheists and theists starting writing comedy material at this point.

          For me, it isn’t any one thing. It is the totality of data points. Suppose I picked one reason that was a metaphorical pebble. It can easily be dismissed; it’s laughable. That’s what Bob does so well. So, all I’ve got is one tiny pebble, and the movement of the scale is imperceptible. Then I start adding more pebbles, some of them larger than others.

          You mentioned that you are 50, and most of that as a Christian. I’ve got 10 years on you, and it wasn’t until about 5 years ago that it began to click for me. Yeah, I was raised as a Christian, but it wasn’t real to me. Heck, in my college years, I might as well have been an atheist. Like you, I thought my kids should be raised with those values. But, you know, Little League Baseball teaches some nice values, too. I’ve got a big old pile of rocks on that scale now, but it’s my scale, not yours. What clicked with me is just hot air for you. I get what you are saying – I could easily be the one saying it at a different time in my life. It makes sense to me. It fits reality like a glove.

        • Otto

          >>>”Andrew Klavan says of his conversion that he had been reading the works of great atheist minds, and their answers were so unsatisfying that he had to reject his own atheism.”

          I get that he didn’t find their answers satisfying, but the question I would have would be what are the reasons for believing the claims of whatever religion he went with. Those are separate issues in my mind.

          >>>”However, taking the claims of some group which represents less than 1% of Christians is more than just stretching the truth.”

          What claim exactly?

          >>>””What SHOULD it look like if there is a God?”

          That very much depends on the attributes of the God being discussed.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I forget where it is, but there is a video Klavan did with an atheist in which he goes through all of this. His reason for choosing Christianity was that it fit reality and what God should be the best. If you can find the video, it would clarify much of this for you. The (objective) morality angle seemed to be his primary focus.

          “What SHOULD it look like if there is a God?”
          That very much depends on the attributes of the God being discussed.

          This ties in nicely with Klavan’s interview. We have to know what to expect in order to construct an experiment. We don’t. Each of us has our own theology. Many of Bob’s arguments start with “If God is X . . . (then why do we see Y)”. Klavan expected a personal mind determining perfect morality.

          “However, taking the claims of some group which represents less than 1% of Christians is more than just stretching the truth.”
          What claim exactly?

          The example that quickly comes to mind is the expectation of God restoring amputated limbs. Amos researched the internet to find a Christian who arguably made the claim Bob cited.

        • Otto

          I will find try and find it, but I have no idea how Christianity and reality can mesh without some large mental leaps.

          As to perfect morality: What metric is used to determine that the supposed morality is in fact perfect?

          I can’t speak to the amputated limbs issue without more information but I will say that something seems off.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “something off”. – Worst Pun Ever?

          I thought Klavan made his case (about morality) well. However, my atheist friend got a totally different understanding from it. Your mileage may vary. His “metric” was that we all know there is something better than what we are/see, morally. There is an ideal that we have an awareness of, but don’t know the details. Morality requires a knowledge of good and bad. it requires making a choice between the two. The ability to make a choice requires a mind. That mind would be God, and the fact that He gives us an awareness of that ideal means He takes a personal interest in each individual. I may not have done him justice, and you will not agree with his thesis, but that is how Klavan arrived at his conclusion. Each assumption follows from the previous and leads to the next.

          IMO, there are mental leaps to be made no matter what explanation we choose. Name-calling and obscenities fill in the “gaps”.

        • Otto

          >>>”His “metric” was that we all know there is something better than what we are/see, morally.”

          No he claimed there has to be a ‘perfect morality’ somewhere…and my question is by what metric is perfect morality measured? It is like saying that because golfers know that they could be better golfers, somewhere someone must be the perfect golfer. It is complete nonsense.

        • MR

          Right. Besides, the concept of “perfection” can be gleaned with simple math, no “awareness of an ideal” is required. If a state can be “better” with one change, and making a second change can make it even “better,” and so on, step by step, it’s easy enough to imagine an ideal state where no more changes are needed. I can arrive at the concept of a “best” state or a state of “perfection” without having prior knowledge of it simply by imagining increments of “better” until no more change is needed [without gaps].

        • Otto

          Add to that that ‘better’ requires some particular perspective. It is a value statement and value statements are not really objective. You have to start from a foundation of what the goal is…and we know that in general humans want safety, security, and peace for themselves and the people that we care about. It is not hard to figure out that morality helps achieve that goal. I don’t like it when my stuff gets stolen, and so therefore me and the other people that don’t want their stuff stolen form a society that rewards and punishes people that don’t steal and steal respectively. The idea that such a situation requires a ‘perfect non-thief’ is mindbogglingly stupid.

        • Ignorant Amos

          At least now I know I’m more perfect than God.

          There are lots of things I’m perfect at not knowing…but poor God can’t not know something if he’s omniscient…and if he can’t not know something, then there is something he can’t do, which means he ain’t omnipotent.

          So God is neither omniscient or perfect…poooof goes the Christian God.

        • At least now I know I’m more perfect than God.

          And won’t that put a little spring in your step today? You should thank Clement.

        • Greg G.

          But like climbing a mountain, you can keep going up but you must be careful because you may reach a point where you are on a mound and cannot go up further without going down. Once you reach the summit, you might say, “Oh, shit! There’s a taller mountain over there! Damn local maxima.”

        • MR

          It’s still just another step in the process. The mountain doesn’t have to exist for you to imagine one more foot. My point is that perfection doesn’t have to exist for you to arrive at the concept. I can [arrive at] the concept of a perfect being without the necessity of one existing.

        • Otto

          But a perfect being would be more perfect if it existed!

          Checkmate atheists.

        • MR

          Just another step.

        • Susan

          I can [arrive at] the concept of a perfect being without the necessity of one existing.

          Of course, you can.

          Add to that, that you can only assert it. You can just say “I imagine a perfect being” without filling in the details. Ask you for a metric by which you measure that being’s perfection and you say the being itself is the metric. So you have empty language and an imaginary concept.

          If they could provide a metric by which to measure a “perfect being”, there would be no need for a perfect being, the very thing they claim is necessary. You would have the metric. No need for a being.

          THIS is why we always have to ask theists to define their terms. Because all they tend to have when they choose subjects like this is meaningless goo. And they don’t like honest questions about it. Because there’s nothing there when questions are asked.

          The being is neither necessary nor sufficient.

          Also, it is indistinguishable from other imaginary beings.

        • MR

          You can just say “I imagine a perfect being” without filling in the details.

          Yes, but Clement is claiming that you can only have “awareness of an ideal” because God gives you that awareness, so simply saying “I imagine a perfect being” is only possible because “He [God] gives us an awareness” of a perfect being [himself]. My understanding of the argument is that we can’t be aware of a perfect being if we’ve never experienced one[, therefore one must exist].

          My point is that one can arrive at the concept of a perfect being, or any “ideal,” logically with simple steps. A “perfect” life doesn’t have to exist in order for me to do a simple mental exercise. My life is bad, but it can be better if a, now my life is good, but it would be better if b, now it’s better, but it would be even better without z, From that simple exercise, I can imagine a state (or being) where I no longer need to make changes. I can logically deduce a “perfect” state; I don’t need to have prior awareness (Plato) or be given awareness from some external source (God).

          [edits]

        • Susan

          My point is that one can arrive at the concept of a perfect being, or any “ideal,” logically with simple steps

          I agree. It’s like one of the concepts of infinity. No matter what the number, add one.

          I can logically deduce a “perfect” state; I don’t need to have prior awareness (Plato) or be given awareness from some external source (God).

          Agreed again.

          I was just pointing out that “God” is neither necessary nor sufficient for that concept.

        • MR

          I was just pointing out that “God” is neither necessary nor sufficient for that concept.

          Well, I was hoping that was my point. 😉

        • Susan

          I was hoping that was my point. 😉

          Of course it was. Sorry to blather on. I was just elaborating.

          Nothing new.

          Euthyphro’s Dilemma covered this a very long time ago.

          No one has solved it. They just pretend they have by avoiding it.

        • epeeist

          From that simple exercise

          Is subject to a Zeno type attack.

        • Greg G.

          That’s what I was thinking. One could approach perfection asymptotically.

        • MR

          An infinite number of steps? A finite number is sufficient for me to conceive of the idea without invoking infinity.

        • epeeist

          How would one know whether one had reached a perfect state? You might be at a local rather than global maximum.

        • MR

          Sigh…, I’m not trying to reach a perfect state, only the concept of one.

        • Greg G.

          Is a perfect being perfect in mercy or perfect in justice?

        • MR

          It doesn’t matter for me to be able to imagine the concept.

        • Greg G.

          I can imagine the perfect being in a vague sort of way but when I try to model it with consistent details, it doesn’t actually work. A step toward perfect mercy is a step away from perfect justice, for example. As more attributes of perfection are added, the harder it is to keep them consistent with one another, like trying to approach the speed of light. The closer you get, the more energy that is required to make a small increase that doesn’t quite get to light speed.

        • MR

          I never said it was real or that a perfect being is logically consistent. We aren’t even talking about the same thing. Maybe an ideal only needs three attributes. I can imagine that. I can arrive at the idea.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          a problem with the supposedly more prefect world of mathematics is that one can cook up examples where a minimum/maximum doesn’t exist (it’s a reason why one introduces the notion of infima and suprema in the first place), so the existence of minima or maxima needs to be proven. the identity function over the reals is a simple counterexample (just not something one would model mountain ranges with).

          a nice simple example of how simply assuming the existence of a maximum or minimum can go wrong is perron’s paradox: “Let N be the largest integer. If N > 1, then N^2 > N, contradicting the definition of N. Hence N = 1” (wikipedia).

          he mentioned this parapdox in a paper with the telling title “Zur Existenzfrage eines Maximums oder Minimums.”, where he also mentions dido’s problem, steiner’s incomplete proof of it, and dirichlet’s principle (it’s funny that dirichlet apparently criticized steiner’s proof but was less troubled about existence in the case of his own principle).

        • Clement Agonistes

          Here’s part of what he said (the part, I think, you are referencing):

          Where does this morality come from? How do I know Why do I know it’s right not to cheat on my wife? Because I gave my word. Why do I know my word should reflect my action. They’re living in a world religion made to some degree. You don’t know what you believe and why you believe it.”

          “Because when you say something is morally better than something else, it means it is closer to an absolute moral good. If there is no such thing as good, then you can’t be morally more good than something else. Think of it as a line. If there is no good or bad, you can’t be on that line.

          So, we make a moral statement like, “It’s immoral to cheat on my wife.” We know that one thing (loyalty) is better than another (cheating). Loyalty is closer to an absolute moral good, and cheating is farther away. HOW do we know those are the case? We need to know why we have these ideas about what good or bad are. It’s possible that it is purely subjective – we can make them be whatever we want them to be. That is where the Marquis de Sade came in – he did whatever pleased him with no regard for harming other people. The ability of other people to protect themselves from him was the only limit.

          In case this goes on for a while, I transcribed some more of what Klavan said as a reference:

          Because when you say something is morally better than something else, it means it is closer to an absolute moral good. Ultimate moral good is going to have certain qualities. It’s going to have to be conscious. Goodness is always a conscious choice. A hurricane isn’t bad because it kills people. It has no choice. It’s going to have to be rational. And then you start getting to the point of God. There’s going to have to be some connection, because you know what He knows. So that thing that you said – you do have an innate construct; a moral law within. It implies a God.

          Klavan gets to Christianity because, “Everything that I believed was explained by the Gospel.”

        • Otto

          >>>”They’re living in a world religion made to some degree. You don’t know what you believe and why you believe it.”

          Really? He thinks all atheists just assume that conclusion and have not really thought about it? That is rather dismissive and condescending, to say the least. Yes religion codified that morality in its own way, but has he thought of the implications of just ‘assuming that God wants us to act that way’? Basically that is just telling people to act a certain way, “God wants us to act that way”…that is not acting with morality, that is being obedient.

          >>>””Because when you say something is morally better than something else, it means it is closer to an absolute moral good.”

          Bullshit, I can argue something is better without there being an absolute best. That is a weak argument and I already addressed that point in my golfer analogy.

          >>>”” If there is no such thing as good, then you can’t be morally more good than something else. Think of it as a line. If there is no good or bad, you can’t be on that line.”

          Who is arguing that there is no such thing as good or bad, those are value statements and each person can say what they think is good or bad based on their perspective. Additionally religion does not overcome that problem, it just attempts to mask it.

          >>>”We know that one thing (loyalty) is better than another (cheating).”

          I don’t want to be married to someone that cheats, do you? Do you think my wife does? If I cheat don’t you think my wife is likely to cheat as well? This is basic stuff, within morality there is a selfishness, it is a necessary and good type of selfishness. I don’t want to be murdered so I choose to associate with people that feel the same way. Again I addressed this issue already and you did not even address what I said. That is an example of why Susan and Amos get angry with you…you pretend like what was said did not even happen.

          >>>”That is where the Marquis de Sade came in – he did whatever pleased him with no regard for harming other people. The ability of other people to protect themselves from him was the only limit.”

          Well then if God instills morality how come he (de Sade) didn’t get any? How come there are serial killers and other miscreants all over the place? Again the religious answer does not actually answer the question.

          And of course people and society have to protect ourselves from these people…God never does it. “God helps those that help themselves” is really a statement about how God does NOT participate in our protection, etc.

          >>>”Ultimate moral good is going to have certain qualities. It’s going to have to be conscious. Goodness is always a conscious choice.”

          All he is doing there is conflating people being able to make value judgments as a group with some non-defined and non-demonstrable “Ultimate moral good”. It is begging the question and can be dismissed out of hand.

          >>>”Klavan gets to Christianity because, “Everything that I believed was explained by the Gospel.”

          The Bible and the Gospels is a Rorschach test…one sees in it what one wants to see. See Fred Phelps, etc.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “They’re living in a world religion made to some degree. You don’t know what you believe and why you believe it.”
          Really? He thinks all atheists just assume that conclusion and have not really thought about it? That is rather dismissive and condescending, to say the least. Yes religion codified that morality in its own way, but has he thought of the implications of just ‘assuming that God wants us to act that way’? Basically that is just telling people to act a certain way, “God wants us to act that way”…that is not acting with morality, that is being obedient.

          I want to back up just a bit to recap how we got here. You had pointed out why you had left Christianity – the arguments were just terrible. OK, here we’ve got your mirror image – Klavan saying the same thing. Is it any more dismissive and condescending? More to the point, how can people look at exactly the same evidence and come to such polar-opposite conclusions?

          In your golfer analogy, of course, we have “par” – a clearly-defined standard. One’s score is compared to the objective standard of par.

          “” If there is no such thing as good, then you can’t be morally more good than something else. Think of it as a line. If there is no good or bad, you can’t be on that line.”
          Who is arguing that there is no such thing as good or bad,

          That wasn’t the point of that sentence. The point was the line. It goes both ways, indefinite lengths. Good or bad would merely be points on the line. We all understand those points. He is building on what is already known as the foundation for his next statement – the line. If it is all subjective, then we might be declaring something bad to be good – the Nazi analogy of eliminating people who are unhealthy for society.

          “We know that one thing (loyalty) is better than another (cheating).”
          I don’t want to be married to someone that cheats, do you? Do you think my wife does? If I cheat don’t you think my wife is likely to cheat as well?

          If we both cheat, and know that the other person is cheating, then it isn’t really cheating. The point would be betrayal of a trust (a promise) in a core relationship. If morality is subjective, then I can betray anyone and declare my behavior to be good.

          “That is where the Marquis de Sade came in – he did whatever pleased him with no regard for harming other people. The ability of other people to protect themselves from him was the only limit.”
          Well then if God instills morality how come he (de Sade) didn’t get any? How come there are serial killers and other miscreants all over the place? Again the religious answer does not actually answer the question.

          1) That gets to the Problem of Evil – why would a good God permit evil? I agree with you guys that this is the single best argument for atheism. However, there are at least some plausible answers.
          2) And, if there is no God, aren’t we still faced with the problem of “evil” (it’s subjective) people? The point the MdS brought up was that if morality is subjective, then pleasing himself at the expense of other people is not only No Big Deal, but moral – what he should do. We still need answers. de Sade had an answer.

        • Otto

          >>>”OK, here we’ve got your mirror image – Klavan saying the same thing. Is it any more dismissive and condescending?”

          Yes, because I am not saying that Christians have not thought about it, Christians HAVE thought about it, they have put an enormous amount of time and energy into the question. I am not dismissing their argument for a lack of effort. Do you not see the difference? What Klavan did was to say that atheists don’t know why they believe what they believe (I think he was specifically talking about their moral foundation). That is certainly not the case as a broad brush statement any more than if I was to say “Christians don’t know why they believe Jesus rose from the Dead”, if I said that it would be a shitty thing to say AND it would not be a true general statement even if I could point to some Christians as examples, because there are plenty that DO understand why they believe that. Does that explain the issue here?

          >>>”More to the point, how can people look at exactly the same evidence and come to such polar-opposite conclusions?”

          One side is grounded in fallacies and flawed conclusions based on that evidence.

          >>>”In your golfer analogy, of course, we have “par” – a clearly-defined standard. One’s score is compared to the objective standard of par.”

          Yes par is a standard, but it is not a perfect standard, there are better scores than par. Klavan is arguing the standard has to be perfect when obviously there is no foundation for such a statement. It is a bald assertion.

          >>>”If it is all subjective, then we might be declaring something bad to be good – the Nazi analogy of eliminating people who are unhealthy for society.”

          Is there no other way to argue that eliminating people is itself unhealthy for society other than to point to God? If that is all that is keeping you from killing people I certainly hope you keep believing in God. For myself I have other reasons that don’t need God as an explanation.

          >>>”If morality is subjective, then I can betray anyone and declare my behavior to be good.”

          Morality does not have to be either completely subjective OR objective, it can be inter-subjective….or it could be objective with a grounding in the circumstances we find ourselves in. Either of those options do not require a God.

          Additionally isn’t picking a God a subjective endeavor? So isn’t the morality associated with whatever God is picked ALSO subjective? Again, the religious answer does not get around the problem that you and Klavan claim it does.

          1) An answer being plausible does not make it true, especially if that plausibility is based on the framework of “you can’t prove it isn’t”…which seems to be your goto response.
          2) That is why we have prisons, for people that think it is OK to harm other people. It doesn’t matter if de Sade made up his own person morality, the rest of society has a say in it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          >>>”If it is all subjective, then we might be declaring something bad to be good – the Nazi analogy of eliminating people who are unhealthy for society.”

          Is there no other way to argue that eliminating people is itself unhealthy for society other than to point to God? If that is all that is keeping you from killing people I certainly hope you keep believing in God. For myself I have other reasons that don’t need God as an explanation.

          Clement doesn’t get it that that’s exactly what the Christian Nazi’s did do. The believed that eliminating a section of society was a good thing, because they believed those people were detrimental to the society overall. They were not doing a bad thing…what they were doing was for the greater good. And belief in the Christian God and theology was used as the ends to that means.

        • Otto

          Exactly.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “OK, here we’ve got your mirror image – Klavan saying the same thing. Is it any more dismissive and condescending?”
          Yes, because I am not saying that Christians have not thought about it, Christians HAVE thought about it, they have put an enormous amount of time and energy into the question. I am not dismissing their argument for a lack of effort. Do you not see the difference?

          No. Sincerely, no. My experience here is that I am told that I am an (f-ing) idiot, I “don’t get it”, “haven’t thought it through”, . . . . . the list is a long one. Granted, that’s not you, but your argument here is that you DID think it through and that is why you rejected theism. If that carries weight, then so should every mirror image.

          And, one of the lessons I’ve learned here is that Christians have not “run it to the ground.” They need to know why they believe what they believe.

          And, I don’t think Klavan is saying atheists haven’t given it thought. If there was an implicit comment about lack of thought in what he was saying, it’s also present in your testimony about how thought lead you to atheism.

          “If it is all subjective, then we might be declaring something bad to be good – the Nazi analogy of eliminating people who are unhealthy for society.”
          Is there no other way to argue that eliminating people is itself unhealthy for society other than to point to God?

          Emphatically, no. There was a popular movement among academics in the early 20th century to eliminate selected races and religions. Not all advocated violence, but there nevertheless was a disproportionate representation of atheists among those pushing this. Revolutionary France, Russia, and China all pushed to eliminate religion, imprisoning and executing people on that basis alone.

        • Otto

          >>>”No. Sincerely, no. My experience here is that I am told that I am an (f-ing) idiot, I “don’t get it”, “haven’t thought it through”, . . . . . the list is a long one. Granted, that’s not you.”

          Then don’t bring it up to me, if people do that then you can call them out. I addressed something you quoted from Klavan and explained why I had a problem with it. I didn’t even address my criticism to you, I addressed it to what Klavan said and why it is a problem. I then went on to to say that I think many Christians have thought about the issue deeply, obviously by saying so I disagree with my fellow atheists when speaking in generalities like that, but regardless being dismissive of one whole group as having not thought about their basis of what they believe is wrong, don’t you agree?

          >>>”If that carries weight, then so should every mirror image.”

          I give Klavan and other Christians credit for thinking long and deep about the issue…BUT I don’t give them credit for the conclusions and the reasoning used…those are two seperate issues

          >>>”And, I don’t think Klavan is saying atheists haven’t given it thought.”

          KLAVAN: “They’re living in a world religion made to some degree. You don’t know what you believe and why you believe it.”

          I see him saying atheists don’t know why they believe certain things are wrong, and he is saying atheists don’t understand that the reasons why atheists think some things are wrongs is because such things are grounded in God…and atheists don’t even know that they are basing their morality on God. Tell me if you think my interpretation of what is quoted was wrong

          >>>”Emphatically, no. There was a popular movement among academics in the early 20th century to eliminate selected races and religions.”

          And you are saying there were NO secular arguments against ANY of that? The ONLY arguments against that behavior were based in religion? I call complete and utter bullshit on that.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I give Klavan and other Christians credit for thinking long and deep about the issue…BUT I don’t give them credit for the conclusions and the reasoning used…those are two seperate issues
          >>>”And, I don’t think Klavan is saying atheists haven’t given it thought.”
          KLAVAN: “They’re living in a world religion made to some degree. You don’t know what you believe and why you believe it.”
          I see him saying atheists don’t know why they believe certain things are wrong, and he is saying atheists don’t understand that the reasons why atheists think some things are wrongs is because such things are grounded in God…and atheists don’t even know that they are basing their morality on God. Tell me if you think my interpretation of what is quoted was wrong

          I think Klavan is saying something very similar to what you are saying. Your nuanced position is that Christians devoted quantity to thought, but not quality. Klavan used the phrase elsewhere, “running it to the ground”. One can devote enormous thought to an issue without exhausting all of its implications. He asserted that SOME atheists had done this, and came to the conclusion that morality is whatever they want it to be – there is no objective standard. They were content with that dismal truth. Moral Relativism has a lot of currency in atheist circles. It’s one thing to state it, but quite another to live it. I get a lot of “you sick fuck” moral indignation here. A number of atheists argue that mankind would be better off morally, without theism at all. How does one even arrive at such statements if all morality is whatever the individual says it is? Most of us are going to give up running it down at some point and settle for a reassuring comfort zone.

          I say “us” because I don’t think most Christians have run their POV to the ground either. Ask them what they believe and why and watch for the blank states. Klavan is stating what every human being should do. The world is full of Christians who say it, but don’t live it.

          You edited out a part of my comment that was a big part of the point I have been making here. You pointed to your own experience as if it had weight. You devoted high quality thought to Christianity and concluded it was wrong. implicit in that is the idea that if every Christian did the same thing, they’d come to the same – wise – conclusion. Here, you clarify that their conclusion was wrong, and their reasoning was bad. You are insulted that you understand Klavan to be saying something similar about you. Sauce for the goose – if one carries weight, so should the other. It’s an argument from anecdote. I give your personal experience weight, but no more than those going the opposite direction. It is ultimately a wash as an argument.

        • Otto

          >>>”He asserted that SOME atheists had done this, and came to the conclusion that morality is whatever they want it to be – there is no objective standard.”

          There is an objective standard, reality. We all share a common space, and there are constraints in this reality that we all share, life (and all the things necessary for it), death, etc. and whether we like it or not we are all playing the same ‘game’. The game we are all playing is essentially the game of ‘society’, we all know that life is easier if we work together on some level. So once that is agreed upon the question becomes how is ‘working together’ on some level best achieved…and bango…morality is born. Morality only matters in a social setting, if I am a hermit living in a cave moral questions become moot. Once other people are introduced, because we are animals, moral questions get messy, but over time (in our case a looong time) things start getting sorted out.

          If a God is used as a basis for morality, which God are we going to use and why? How do we determine that what “God” says is actually moral? (Euthyphro dilemma). How do we sort out new issues as they come up? What do we do when two people claim that God says we should act a certain way and those two people don’t agree with each other on ‘what God says’? Can you answer ANY of these questions?

          If God is going to be used for a Moral system all these questions need to be answered, but at this point I see no way any of these questions can be answered with anything resembling ‘objectivity’.

          Theists claim religious morality is objective, considering that hardly anyone agrees on questions of religion I have no idea how that could actually be the case. Religious morality is NOT objective, in fact religious morality is actually THE most subjective type of morality. Religion is completely relative, religious morality is therefore relative. The issue of Moral Relativism IS NOT SOLVED by inserting religion, it is actually accentuated.

          >>>”You devoted high quality thought to Christianity and concluded it was wrong.”

          I didn’t decide it was wrong, I concluded Christianity was internally inconsistent and did not match with reality. I think this is a point where we are talking past each other. One part of Christianity does not mesh with other parts. I tried to make the pieces fit, but it was like trying to put 2 pieces of pipe together but the connectors were both ‘male’ ends. When I asked different fellow Christians how to make the pieces fit I got different answers, and often they contradicted each other. Now when I talk to Christians they still can’t answer the questions and make the pieces fit.

          I finally realized why that is…because Christianity is not objective…it is completely subjective. I don’t have a problem with Christianity being subjective, I don’t care if Christians find more personal peace and meaning through being Christians…if they would only just admit that it is subjective and stop claiming it is objective.

          IF you and other Christians are going to keep saying it is objective, then I am going to ask you to show your work, explain to me how it is objective…and I seriously don’t think that is too much to ask.

        • Susan

          My experience here is that I am told that I am an (f-ing) idiot, I “don’t get it”, “haven’t thought it through”, . . . . . the list is a long one.

          And yet your comment history here doesn’t show that.

          It shows that you shamelessly misrepresent people and continue to do so even when it’s pointed out to you.

          It shows that you make claims, and never support them when asked to do so.

          You are doing that with Otto in this exchange.

          It shows that you accuse people of being unable to accept any evidence when you provide no evidence.

          It shows that you ignore every substantial response to your claims.

          You accused me repeatedly of things of which I am not guilty and for which you offered no support and after a year of that, I explained that every time you did that, I would tell you to go fuck yourself.

          You continued to do so, so I did.

          You are lying to Otto.

          In order to distract him from the point.

          Good on Otto that he’s not letting you do that.

        • Jim Dailey

          “Is there no other way to argue that eliminating people is itself unhealthy for society other than to point to God? If that is all that is keeping you from killing people I certainly hope you keep believing in God. For myself I have other reasons that don’t need God as an explanation.”

          It seems to me that you are asserting that you can supply an irrefutable, timeless rational proof that it is never appropriate to “eliminate people.”

          Aren’t you bolstering the case for objective morality by making this assertion?

        • Otto

          I would be happy to answer that question.

          Except I have determined by reading enough of your posts that you are not interested in honest discussion and attempting to have one with you is fruitless.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Am surprised at ya…Clement is interested in honest discussion?

          All the interactions with Clement have been fruitless. Not once has he conceded a point when he has been well and truly refuted. All he does is ignore and double down.

          I see no difference in the two of them. Maybe that’s just me though?

        • Jim Dailey

          Clement is way smarter than I am. Surely you see that?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Given the lack of smarts Clement has, that’s not something I’d be boasting about if I were you.

          That said…there isn’t the thickness of a Rizla paper between the two of ya when it comes to honesty, as far as I can tell.

        • Jim Dailey

          Clement is showing the logical inconsistencies in Otto’s arguments pretty effectively.

          As far as “honesty”, I do not see where that plays any part in their discussion. In addition, I do not recall interactions where I was less than fully honest.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Clement is showing the logical inconsistencies in Otto’s arguments pretty effectively.

          I suppose you can support that claim with some examples?

          As far as “honesty”, I do not see where that plays any part in their discussion.

          Why does his “honesty” only apply to his discussion with Otto?

          In addition, I do not recall interactions where I was less than fully honest.

          All that means is that you may not have been aware that you were being less than fully honest.

        • Jim Dailey

          “I suppose you can support that claim with some examples?”

          It is too big of a pain in the ass for me to scroll, copy and paste. I am doing this on an iPhone. Besides, if you do not see something that appears readily apparent to me, I doubt I can persuade you anyway.

          “Why does his “honesty” only apply to his discussion with Otto?”

          I am trying to stay within the bounds of this thread.

          “All that means is that you may not have been aware that you were being less than fully honest.”

          Could be, I suppose. We all need to watch out for that – yes?

        • Ignorant Amos

          It is too big of a pain in the ass for me to scroll, copy and paste. I am doing this on an iPhone. Besides, if you do not see something that appears readily apparent to me, I doubt I can persuade you anyway.

          That’ll be a no then. How difficult can it be given there are so many of them? No matter. If you can’t support your assertion it can be dismissed out of hand as being a disingenuous claim. That’s an example of you not being fully honest.

          I am trying to stay within the bounds of this thread.

          Sub-thread ya mean?

          You are making a non sequitur. My comment was a generalisation on Clements behaviour of being dishonest. not interlocutor specific. If you’d read for comprehension you’d have grasped that.

          Though I believe Otto could still probably cite where Clement has been less than honest in their discussion to date.

          Could be, I suppose. We all need to watch out for that – yes?

          Absolutely. And when anyone detects that flaw in any of my comments, I welcome being called out on it. In that way I can strive to remedy the problem. Clement, on the other hand, doesn’t.

        • Otto

          I view Jim as far more of a Troll, your millage may vary.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m not all that au fait with Jim Dailey and his commenting history is blocked, so I was relying on your appraisal of his honesty, or the lack thereof.

          My comparison was being made on the point of being dishonest, not trolling.

          Since my initial comment, I’ve seen Jim at work…and he is every bit as dishonest as Clement.

          Time will tell if he is more of a troll. But it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

        • Otto

          Jim has shown himself to be a complete asshole, plain and simple. I view Clement as being wrong, but he has not been an asshole to me.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Aye…am beginning to get that impression of him now myself.

        • Susan

          It seems to me that you are asserting that you can supply an irrefutable, timeless rational proof that it is never appropriate to “eliminate people.”

          It seems to me that you are making that up.

        • Susan

          The ability to make a choice requires a mind.

          Sure.

          That mind would be God

          Whoa!

          Show your work.

          the fact that He gives us an awareness of that ideal

          And you wonder why people stop you in your tracks and ask you to think things through.

          He takes a personal interest in each individual.

          Except for almost all individuals in the hundreds of millions of years of life on this planet.

          there are mental leaps to be made no matter what explanation we choose

          Sure. It’s leprechauns.

          Everything’s equal. Mental leaps, you know.

        • Greg G.

          Morality requires a knowledge of good and bad. it requires making a choice between the two. The ability to make a choice requires a mind.

          Sometimes it requires a choice between bad and worse, or good and better. Sometimes it requires playing the percentages according to the situation. A choice is not always clear cut.

          That mind would be God,

          Absolutely not! People from all parts of the world make moral choices. Usually they agree on the right moral choice. Don’t kill your friends. Don’t steal from your friends. Don’t deceive your friends. Even monkeys and dogs get this.

          Where folks disagree is when they try to imagine what their imaginary god thingy would want. Christians have gone to war over whether the god thingy’s name is God or Allah, and whether one should give money to the pope and his minions.

        • BlackMamba44

          Morality requires a knowledge of good and bad.

          And we can thank the serpent for that. God didn’t want his creations to have that knowledge.

        • Pofarmer

          Then Klavan is as dumb as you are. We find the beginnings of what humans would call “morality” in pretty much all mammals. We’re related to and intangled wit every other piece of life on this planet. That’s way cooler and more interesting than your lame theology.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I thought Klavan made his case (about morality) well.

          Of course you did…confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance does that…what you’ve failed to do is explain why…but that is your modus operandi of course.

          However, my atheist friend got a totally different understanding from it.

          Did your atheist friend give you a reason why? Did you even ask your atheist friend? Or did you just make that bit up for full effect?

          Your mileage may vary.

          Yeah…and a bet Otto will back up why.

          His “metric” was that we all know there is something better than what we are/see, morally.

          But offers no support for this assertion. Or why the reason is a god.

          There is an ideal that we have an awareness of, but don’t know the details.

          Spirituality…no god’s required.

          Morality requires a knowledge of good and bad. it requires making a choice between the two.

          Indeed, but since those are subjective terms, the morality based on them is subjective too. Is it good or bad to wipe out a whole people, bar the keeping of the virgin girls as sex slaves?

          The ability to make a choice requires a mind.

          Here we go again. What sort of mind is required in order to have the ability to make choices?

          That mind would be God, and the fact that He gives us an awareness of that ideal means He takes a personal interest in each individual.

          Nonsense asserted without evidence, remains just nonsense.

          “That mind would be the hive mind of Space Ponies, and the fact that They give us an awareness of that ideal means They take a personal interest in each individual.”

          Demonstrate I’m wrong.

          I may not have done him justice, and you will not agree with his thesis, but that is how Klavan arrived at his conclusion.

          What difference does it make if he is erroneous?

          Each assumption follows from the previous and leads to the next.

          At least you are admitting to it all being assumptive…that’s an advance if only a little.

          Faith is part and parcel of that process. Faith as in a strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof [evidence].

        • Ignorant Amos

          I can’t speak to the amputated limbs issue without more information but I will say that something seems off.

          It’s the disingenuous antics of Clement and his misrepresentation of others…it’s more than off, it’s so rotten it is rank.

        • Otto

          I found a video with Dave Rubin where Klavan briefly went over what you are talking about, I am guessing this is the one. I have to tell you I was less than impressed. Klavan thinks he has answered the ‘morality’ question and claims atheists run out of answers when enough questions are asked. He thinks religion generally, and his version of Christianity specifically (he doesn’t say which one), answers that issue. I don’t think his answer actually answers the issue. Nor does he demonstrate that his answer actually is in fact true, he even mentions that that was the only ‘leap of faith’ he made (I think there were probably more). He says for instance that an atheist could not explain to a Nazi why they shouldn’t lock up the Jews (I don’t agree with that), but that he can explain it through his religion. But what if the Nazi in question said “my religion says I should lock up and exterminate the Jews”? Guess what, Klavan’s religious answer just got voided by that one religious statement from the Nazi, now they are at loggerheads again. Neither side is going to be able to convince the other because they both think God is on their side of the issue. This is a common problem with religious objective morality, the God that one picks is also subjective and so therefore any morality ‘discerned’ from that God is also subjective. The bottom line is Klavan thinks he has solved a problem that he has not actually solved.

          Klavan seems like a decent guy and I think I would enjoy talking with him, but I have a whole host is issues with things he said in that 1/2 hour interview. In general he claims atheism falls apart when enough questions are asked, and I would argue if I asked him enough questions about his religious philosophy it is equally susceptible to falling apart. It isn’t enough to ‘have answers’ to questions, the answers need to be demonstrated to be true, if the answers cannot be demonstrated to be true…”I don’t know” becomes a much better answer.

        • Greg G.

          What part of “there is insufficient evidence to warrant belief in god thingies” falls apart under questions? It only falls apart under answers in the form of evidence.

        • Otto

          “Can you prove there is NOT God thingies?” is about the only one I can come up with.

          I love the term ‘God thingies’.

          I get the feeling after watching the video that Klavan took the ‘hard atheism” position when he identified as an atheist, he seemed to think that agnosticism and atheism are mutually exclusive. That was one of many issues I had with what Klavan said.

        • Greg G.

          I am drawing a blank on the name but I stole that from someone who stops by occasionally and makes some wonderful arguments.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I found a video with Dave Rubin where Klavan briefly went over what you are talking about, I am guessing this is the one. I have to tell you I was less than impressed. Klavan thinks he has answered the ‘morality’ question and claims atheists run out of answers when enough questions are asked. He thinks religion generally, and his version of Christianity specifically (he doesn’t say which one), answers that issue. I don’t think his answer actually answers the issue. Nor does he demonstrate that his answer actually is in fact true, he even mentions that that was the only ‘leap of faith’ he made

          Yes, that’s the one. I had forgotten how long it was and that it was 10 minutes into it before he gets to our point of interest. I apologize for that. In reply to your point here, I’m not sure he is saying Christianity is the final answer, only the superior one. I have ripped off his phrase “running it to the ground” because so many of us quit without thinking topics all the way through. I describe my own faith as a “process” because I have not finished “running it to the ground” (and probably never will). When he ran atheism to the ground, he arrived a point where he ran into a wall. He could not continue on as an atheist because the logical implications were unacceptable. It is not outrageously persuasive, but it makes sense.

          He says for instance that an atheist could not explain to a Nazi why they shouldn’t lock up the Jews (I don’t agree with that), but that he can explain it through his religion. But what if the Nazi in question said “my religion says I should lock up and exterminate the Jews”? Guess what, Klavan’s religious answer just got voided by that one religious statement from the Nazi, now they are at loggerheads again.

          I took his point to be something like, “Is there anything in atheism that rules out genocide?” Well, atheism says nothing about anything. The Christian Nazi can easily point to principles of Christianity that prohibit even cussing at other people, much less murder, much less genocide. FTM, what was the ratio of Nazi Christians to Nazi atheists – 1:1? The Nazi Christian would be a hypocrite. The Nazi atheist would not be. If Klavan can say with absolute certainty that child abuse is immoral, where does that come from? His atheism? Well, no, it can’t be that. It has to come from someplace else. Given a choice, Christianity made more sense to Klavan.

        • epeeist

          Well, atheism says nothing about anything.

          To be blunt, bollocks. It says things about the existence or otherwise of gods. What it doesn’t do is entail particular positions on other subjects, for example one could be a socialist, libertarian or conservative atheist, one could follow consequentialist, deontological or contractualist ethics, one could be a metaphysical naturalist or substance dualist.

          what was the ratio of Nazi Christians to Nazi atheists – 1:1?

          In that organisations such as the German Freethinkers Society were banned by the Nazis then one suspects a rather larger ratio than 1:1

          The Christian Nazi can easily point to principles of Christianity that prohibit even cussing at other people, much less murder, much less genocide.

          They could if they wanted to cherry-pick what Jesus was reported to have said and ignore the passages about coming with a sword and turning families against one another.

          The Nazi atheist would not be.

          Because of course the Nazi atheist wouldn’t have morals at all, you only get morals if you are religious.

          So where do Christians get their morals from? From the bible or, given that the ethical system in the bible is so inadequate, from those developed by Plato and the neo-Platonists and espoused by Augustine or from Aristotle, as espoused by the Scholastics.

        • Otto

          >>>”I’m not sure he is saying Christianity is the final answer, only the superior one.”

          Regardless, it is not, it is literally worse.

          >>>”He could not continue on as an atheist because the logical implications were unacceptable.

          What is illogical about looking at theistic claims and saying “I don’t believe this”? Atheism is just an answer the question “do you believe in a personal God”…that is all it is, nothing more. There is no philosophy, there is no ritual, there is no logical implications unless the specific theistic claim can logically support itself, in which case only then would atheism be ‘illogical’.

          >>>”I took his point to be something like, “Is there anything in atheism that rules out genocide?” Well, atheism says nothing about anything.”

          Well there is nothing in atheism that would rule out genocide, but there is nothing in theism that rules out genocide either… until we start talking about a specific theism. That does not mean an atheist cannot logically defend being against genocide, but they are going to have to use some other foundation for it beyond atheism.

          >>>”The Nazi Christian would be a hypocrite.”

          So Martin Luther was a hypocrite too than right? Martin Luther advocated for treating Jews essentially the same way the Nazi’s did.
          And if Martin Luther was a hypocrite than a whole lot of your Christian brothers and sisters are hypocrites going back thousands of years. Christians find all kinds of reasons to treat other people like shit and they refer to their religion to justify it. Jesus chased Jews around the temple with a switch turning over tables, etc. Is that treating people with love? If you are going to so narrowly define Christianity in only the way you see it, then there are not all that many True Christians™ out there. Additionally any of those fake Christians can cite chapter and verse for their horrible views, I have heard them do it, I guarantee you Fred Phelps knew his Bible and would have no problem explaining why God Hates Fags to you. You may not agree with him but you would not be able to say he can’t justify that view within his religion.

          >>>”If Klavan can say with absolute certainty that child abuse is immoral, where does that come from?”

          Ummm…empathy. I don’t know why that is hard. I am sure Klavan would respond by saying “but where does empathy come from?”…and I would answer it seems to be through evolution. My cat has shown empathy and self sacrifice…I am not even kidding.

          But for arguments sake let’s say I can’t answer that question at all…show me where empathy comes from the Christian God, and show me that it can only come form the Christian God, because that is what Klavan is asserting and he certainly didn’t support that argument in that video. If he can’t demonstrate his claim to be in fact true how in the world can you or him say that makes more sense? I will say this again and I really hope you let this sink in…arguing that “atheists can’t prove it doesn’t” is NOT a valid argument that it does in fact come from God. That is a horribly fallacious position and does not in any way make sense.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “I’m not sure he is saying Christianity is the final answer, only the superior one.”
          Regardless, it is not, it is literally worse.

          As opposed to . . . . “figuratively” worse? Or just plain “worse”? Note how as we veer off into editorial, the hyperbole increases?

          “He could not continue on as an atheist because the logical implications were unacceptable.
          What is illogical about looking at theistic claims and saying “I don’t believe this”? Atheism is just an answer the question “do you believe in a personal God”…that is all it is, nothing more.

          I think you could leave out the “personal” there. What you described sound more like Deism.

          As a fun aside, I looked up the definition of “Deism” in my father-in-law’s college dictionary c. 1959. It sounded like Christianity. Then, I looked it up in my own college dictionary, and it had dropped some of the Christian attributes. Lastly, I looked it up online – it is unrecognizable from the 1959 version. You would think word definitions would be something objective that couldn’t change that much. Yet, . . . .

          Well there is nothing in atheism that would rule out genocide, but there is nothing in theism that rules out genocide either… until we start talking about a specific theism.

          Well, we are talking about a specific theism – Klavan’s and why he chose it.

          At the beginning of that transcription, Klavan made some comment about “religion” and atheists. I think it was in response to a question like, “Why can’t atheists have morality?”. He agree they do, and suggested (by my understanding) something along the lines of coming from culture, and our culture has religious origins.

          And if Martin Luther was a hypocrite than a whole lot of your Christian brothers and sisters are hypocrites going back thousands of years.

          I’ll do you one better – EVERY Christian is a hypocrite EVERY day. OK, maybe not on the topic of murder, but there are still Christian communities attempting genocide in parts of Africa. Christians seemed to embrace wholesale slaughter during the Religious Wars of Europe. There was no shortage of hypocrisy. I think you are also going to find examples of Christians rationalizing their murder based on scripture. But, as you guys point out, scripture can be contradictory and nuanced. When Jesus says, “Love your enemies”, it’s tough to get around that.

          I find the claim that morality, or empathy, or whatever comes from God to be no more implausible than saying it came from evolution. FTM, I don’t see why the 2 would have to be exclusionary. Klavan has to satisfy his own criteria and you have to satisfy yours.

        • Ignorant Amos

          As a fun aside, I looked up the definition of “Deism” in my father-in-law’s college dictionary c. 1959. It sounded like Christianity. Then, I looked it up in my own college dictionary, and it had dropped some of the Christian attributes. Lastly, I looked it up online – it is unrecognizable from the 1959 version. You would think word definitions would be something objective that couldn’t change that much. Yet, . . . .

          No Shit Sherlock!

          And you’ll never believe this, words can have more than one definition, fancy that, who’d have thought it, eh?

          And yet you are the one that gets bent all outta shape when asked to provide the definition for a word you are using.

          And get this…you’ll never believe it, but some words and terms mean the complete polar opposite to what they once did do…go figure.

          https://www.rd.com/culture/opposite-words-funny/

        • Ignorant Amos

          I find the claim that morality, or empathy, or whatever comes from God to be no more implausible than saying it came from evolution.

          We know…and yet folk with no god belief, or a belief in another god you don’t believe exists, or those that went before your God was invented, had morality and empathy. While you can’t demonstrate that it comes from your God…imagine that.

          FTM, I don’t see why the 2 would have to be exclusionary.

          We know…you’re stupid.

          Klavan has to satisfy his own criteria and you have to satisfy yours.

          Oh no…it doesn’t work like that. You brought Klavan up as evidence you have an argument on this issue, ya haven’t, and Klavan’s story does nothing to change that.

        • Susan

          I find the claim that morality, or empathy, or whatever comes from God to be no more implausible than saying it came from evolution.

          And yet evolution is demonstrated.

          And “God” is not.

          What do you mean by “God” and how is it connected to morality or empathy? This is the part you never connect. But you know that. It’s been pointed out before.

          You might as well say it came from Immaterial Snowflake Fairies.

        • Otto

          >>>”As opposed to . . . . “figuratively” worse? Or just plain “worse”? Note how as we veer off into editorial, the hyperbole increases?”

          No there was no hyperbole intended. If one person says the Earth is a ball and one person says the Earth is flat both are wrong, but one answer is demonstrably worse.

          >>>”I think you could leave out the “personal” there. What you described sound more like Deism.”

          No, what I said had nothing to do with Deism. A theistic God is personal in that it has specific attributes that the person has ascribed to it.

          >>>”You would think word definitions would be something objective that couldn’t change that much.”

          Dictionary’s report on common usage of words, it is not so much objective as inter-subjective. Interestingly I think that a dictionary would be a good analogy for morality. Words gain use among the population and then that spreads, and then people later get it in their heads that the definitions have just always been that way and are therefore objective.

          >>>”Well, we are talking about a specific theism – Klavan’s and why he chose it.”

          Yes, in Klavan’s version of Christianity that is the case, but not everyone’s version of Christianity comes to the same conclusions, as an example Martin Luther and his view of Jews.

          >>>”He agree they do, and suggested (by my understanding) something along the lines of coming from culture, and our culture has religious origins.”

          Our culture has roots in religious aspects, it also has roots in secular aspects. The culture we are in is not rooted specifically from religion only.

          >>>”I’ll do you one better – EVERY Christian is a hypocrite EVERY day. ”

          Fair enough, but then pointing at the Nazi Christians and leveling the hypocrisy label on them as if they are different than other Christians really doesn’t hold water. My point was Christians CAN get around “Love your enemies” quite easily and have done so for centuries. If you want to understand HOW they get around it you would have to ask them, my guess is that they just point to another verse somewhere else. The fact that “Love your enemies” tops your Christian ideal does not mean that others in the religion do the same.

          >>>”I find the claim that morality, or empathy, or whatever comes from God to be no more implausible than saying it came from evolution.”

          We have tons of reliable evidence that evolution is a real thing, we have no reliable evidence that God is a real thing, so that statement is a non-sequitur.

          >>>” I don’t see why the 2 would have to be exclusionary.”

          That was exactly the rationalization I used to prop up my Christian belief for quite awhile so I do completely understand why you would say that.

        • Clement Agonistes

          No there was no hyperbole intended. If one person says the Earth is a ball and one person says the Earth is flat both are wrong, but one answer is demonstrably worse.

          Let me guess – “Not yours”? Your conclusion is really heavy on opinion, there. At the risk of suggesting another experiment, do we have any examples where atheists controlled a society to compare with (there’s a veiled barb there, because obviously we do)?

          “I think you could leave out the “personal” there. What you described sound more like Deism.”
          No, what I said had nothing to do with Deism. A theistic God is personal in that it has specific attributes that the person has ascribed to it.

          When I think of a personal God, I think of a God that is a person; that can have a relationship with another person. Maybe I’m wrong, or maybe another word choice would have been better on your part. I’ve never seen an atheist insert that (or any, FTM) word.

          “I’ll do you one better – EVERY Christian is a hypocrite EVERY day. ”
          Fair enough, but then pointing at the Nazi Christians and leveling the hypocrisy label on them as if they are different than other Christians really doesn’t hold water.

          What I was pointing out was that we have a solid basis for saying the Nazi Christian chose to elevate “Nazi” over “Christian”. No doubt, a determined person can rationalized away the conflict, but the inescapable truth is that a Nazi atheist would not have needed determination to square his philosophy with his actions.

        • epeeist

          but the inescapable truth is that a Nazi atheist would not have needed determination to square his philosophy with his actions.

          You really are a dishonest cunt. I note you didn’t care to take up this very point in my response to you on this very point from the other day.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Oh, no. Not only am I a woman, but I am a dishonest one!

          It’s tough to take any comment that begins with name-calling seriously. That is a tactic that people with bad points use. Intellectually, it makes no sense, but has an enormous emotional appeal to the user. So, yeah, your were going to have to make a pretty good argument in order to get a reply on that post. If I remember, you picked some atheist group and presented it as the last word on the topic. You dodged my question, which was probably your goal anyway. It looked like a waste of both our time to try to make something useful out of it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh, no. Not only am I a woman, but I am a dishonest one!

          Ah…yes…definitions and context again…the stupid it burns,

          cunt:- “an unpleasant or stupid person” …or both.

          The dishonest bit goes without saying.

          It’s tough to take any comment that begins with name-calling seriously.

          It’s tough to take someone that focuses so much on tone trolling while ignoring relevant points against their position seriously.

          That is a tactic that people with bad points use.

          But the fact of the matter is, those of us who have employed name-calling as descriptors of your performance and behavior here, have also made good points that you have repeatedly ignored. The fact of the matter is, you’ve been roundly refuted in all you’ve engaged, but think that tone trolling gives you an out. It doesn’t, it just makes your position even more untenable, and makes you look an even greater tit each and every time ya do it. But don’t stop…I’m enjoying the train wreck in slow motion.

          Intellectually, it makes no sense, but has an enormous emotional appeal to the user.

          Well, if you engaged in honest and ingenuous discussion, folk might not get so frustrated and resort to calling you what it is you are displaying. There comes a point when folk are just playing with a chew toy.

          So, yeah, your were going to have to make a pretty good argument in order to get a reply on that post.

          I can’t imagine why you think epeeist is likely to give a fiddlers fuck…no reply is better than the lying dross you pump out anyway.

        • epeeist

          It’s tough to take any comment that begins with name-calling seriously.

          If you read through my posts you will note that I rarely swear. This time it was precipitated by your sophistry, lack of intellectual integrity and crass dishonesty.

          If I remember, you picked some atheist group and presented it as the last word on the topic.

          Except of course I didn’t. So either poor comprehension or dishonesty on your part.

          You claimed that “The Christian Nazi can easily point to principles of Christianity that prohibit even cussing at other people, much less murder, much less genocide”. Because of course Christians have never blamed the Jews (as a people) for the death of Jesus from the Gospel of John onwards, there never was need for Pope Benedict to exonerate the Jewish people for the death. Jews were never ghettoised by Christians, never subjected to pogroms by them or forced out of the countries in which they lived. No Christian ever produced a book called On the Jews and Their Lies. No Christian ever accused a Jew of killing children to make matzos.

          As ever you make unfounded assertions ignoring any evidence counter to your claims.

        • Michael Neville

          If you read through my posts you will note that I rarely swear.

          We’ve noticed but we accept it as a harmless foible on your part.

        • Clement Agonistes

          If I remember, you picked some atheist group and presented it as the last word on the topic.

          Except of course I didn’t. So either poor comprehension or dishonesty on your part.

          Here’s the exchange i was referring to:

          “what was the ratio of Nazi Christians to Nazi atheists – 1:1?

          In that organisations such as the German Freethinkers Society were banned
          by the Nazis then one suspects a rather larger ratio than 1:1”

          I understood that you were picking the “German Freethinkers Society” and making it the sum total of Nazi policies on atheism. You quoted my (rhetorical) question, and this was the reply to it. I don’t think that is poor reading comprehension nor dishonesty on my part. I do think your answer was purposely deceptive.

          Nazis also banned and.or persecuted Christian groups as well, with vastly more members than the GFS.

          By way of clarification, atheism – itself – is a clean slate. Xianity has all that moral writing. Once a person rejects Xianity, one can write anything in its place. No one can say to an atheist, “You hypocrite. The Bible says don’t do X, yet you do X.

        • epeeist

          I understood that you were picking the “German Freethinkers Society” and making it the sum total of Nazi policies on atheism.

          Either comprehensions or dishonesty problems again I see:

          In that organisations such as the German Freethinkers Society

          To make it explicit, I offered the GFS as an example, certainly not the “sum total of Nazi policies”. It really isn’t difficult to find that some 94.5% of the German population were Christian and only 1.5% non-religious.

          By way of clarification, atheism – itself – is a clean slate.

          As has been said before, atheism is simply the lack of belief in the existence of gods and does not therefore entail any particular system of ethics. But this is different from saying that atheists are not moral, which is the intimation put forward by some theists. In actuality if one takes a Kantian view of ethics the Christian could be considered as less moral than the atheist given that their actions are done either by expectation of gain or fear of punishment.

          Xianity has all that moral writing.

          Except, as I noted, the “moral writing” is all too often derived from the ethics of Plato and Aristotle. Christianity certain doesn’t provide anything that could be considered a normative ethical theory.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I understood that you were picking the “German Freethinkers Society” and making it the sum total of Nazi policies on atheism.

          Either comprehensions or dishonesty problems again I see:

          In that organisations such as the German Freethinkers Society

          To make it explicit, I offered the GFS as an example, certainly not the “sum total of Nazi policies”. It really isn’t difficult to find that some 94.5% of the German population were Christian and only 1.5% non-religious.

          Your first comment is fair – I did brush past the “such as”. Was the experience of the GFS typical of atheists under the Nazis?

          You say it isn’t difficult to find the 94.5% figure. Here’s where I found it:
          In 1933, prior to the annexation of Austria into Germany, the population of Germany was approximately 67% Protestant and 33% Catholic; while the Jewish population was less than 1%.[1][better source needed][2] A census in May 1939, six years into the Nazi era[3] and after the annexation of mostly Catholic Austria and mostly Catholic Czechoslovakia[4] into Germany, indicates[5] that 54% considered themselves Protestant,[not in citation given] 40% Catholic,[not in citation given] 3.5% self-identified as “gottgläubig”[6] (lit. “believers in God”, often described as predominately creationist and deistic),[7][not in citation given] and 1.5% as “atheist”.[6]

          So, pre-Nazi Christians were 100%, and six years later they are 94.5%- a net loss. Pre-Nazi, atheists didn’t even show up on the RADAR, and after six years of being banned, they are 1.5%. The same article says members of Hitler’s inner circle, Martin Bormann and Goebbels were radically anti-church, while Himmler was a paganist. It goes on to say:
          Hitler attempted to create a unified Protestant Reich Church from Germany’s 28 existing Protestant churches. The plan failed, and was resisted by the Confessing Church. Persecution of the Catholic Church in Germany followed the Nazi takeover. Hitler moved quickly to eliminate Political Catholicism. Amid harassment of the Church, the Reich concordat treaty with the Vatican was signed in 1933, and promised to respect Church autonomy. Hitler routinely disregarded the Concordat, closing all Catholic institutions whose functions were not strictly religious. Clergy, nuns, and lay leaders were targeted, with thousands of arrests over the ensuing years.

          By way of clarification, atheism – itself – is a clean slate.

          As has been said before, atheism is simply the lack of belief in the existence of gods and does not therefore entail any particular system of ethics. But this is different from saying that atheists are not moral, which is the intimation put forward by some theists.

          Let me hasten to point out that neither Klavan nor I have made such an argument. Both of us argue that atheists’ moral must come from someplace else. I had hoped that we all agreed on this point. Klavan argues that, to some extent, atheist morals come from religion. I argue that they come from culture – in the case of Western nations, Western culture, which is deeply rooted in Christian values. I am befuddled that this plain truth is so offensive.

        • epeeist

          So, pre-Nazi Christians were 100%, and six years later they are 94.5%- a net loss.

          Not necessarily so, if you read reference 20 you will see that it shows 62.7% Protestant, 32.5% Catholic, 0.8% Jewish and 4% other or irreligious in 1933. Now if my arithmetic is correct then this would mean that 95.2% of the population were Christian.

          The 1939 census (reference 5) gives 54% Protestant, 40% Catholic, 3.5% Gottgläubig (believers) and 1.5% irreligious. Again, simple arithmetic gives 94% Christian.

          Oh, and “irreligious” is not the same as “atheist”.

          Klavan argues that, to some extent, atheist morals come from religion.

          And his basis for this claim is? How does he account for the ethical systems of Buddhism and Confucianism?

          Western culture, which is deeply rooted in Christian values

          Tell me, where does the idea of “Christian virtues” come from?

        • Clement Agonistes

          So, pre-Nazi Christians were 100%, and six years later they are 94.5%- a net loss.

          Not necessarily so, if you read reference 20 you will see that it shows 62.7% Protestant, 32.5% Catholic, 0.8% Jewish and 4% other or irreligious in 1933. Now if my arithmetic is correct then this would mean that 95.2% of the population were Christian.

          The chart, “Religious Statistics of Germany 1910 – 1939”, that reference 20 referred to had it at 67/33%, adding up to 100%. The quote at the beginning to the article had those same percentages.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You do know that not all Germans in Nazi Germany were Nazis…..right?

        • Clement Agonistes

          Hey, I said as much to epeeist earlier, my comprehension-challenged friend.

        • Otto
        • epeeist

          Yeah, don’t expect a reply on this one. He said that “Nazi Christians” could “easily point to principles of Christianity that prohibit even cussing at other people, much less murder, much less genocide” to which I gave examples of anti-Semitism in Christianity going back as far as the Gospel of John.

          He dropped the topic like a hot brick.

        • Otto

          Jesus and the money changers in the Temple. Nuff said.

        • Susan

          I said as much to epeeist earlier, my comprehension-challenged friend

          It seems like only yesterday, you accused him of being arrogant for explaining physics to you.

          And now, you are pretending that he claimed that all Germans in Nazi Germany were Nazis.

          He did not.

          It all started with your bullshit comment :

          but the inescapable truth is that a Nazi atheist would not have needed determination to square his philosophy with his actions.

          Not believing Yahwehjesus exists gives you no information on one’s moral philosophy.

          Any more than not believing pyramids have magical powers does.

          So, fuck off about “his philosophy”.

          Believing Yahwehjesus exists gives you no information either.

          The Jews rejected their own god and killed Jesus was a popular sentiment.

          That’s the problem with mythological beings. . They don’t ground anything. They can want anything you say they want.

        • Ignorant Amos

          …said as much…

          You think you said as much, that ain’t the same thing as you did…and you didn’t even say as much either.

          As near as I can find is this comment….

          Nazis also banned and.or persecuted Christian groups as well, with vastly more members than the GFS.

          Which is true, but if you think that those Christians the Nazis persecuted were all non-Nazis, then you are wrong. So, no you didn’t say as much at all. But maybe I’ve missed it and you did say as much elsewhere. Citation or ya didn’t.

          From what I gather, you are insinuating that the rise in atheism in Nazi Germany because of the Nazis was a bad thing. Maybe the fact that such a Christian oriented party, and the inhumane antics they were carrying out in the name of YahwehJesus, was what drove those people away from their faith. Seems very plausible.

          This nit-picking about figures is more of your attempt to slew the point.

          If there were atheist Nazis, their numbers would’ve been negligible. The vast majority of Nazis were Church going Christians.

          Being an atheist in Nazi Germany was to be a member of a proscribed group. If one was stupid enough to be an atheist Nazi, it was prudent to keep that secret.

          Atheist Nazis were not putting Jews into gas chambers and ovens, it was Christians doing that.

          It amazes me the comments that you give rise to reply to are of such relevance as to not matter, yet you never answer the important issues put to you. Yet another example of your disingenuous lying.

        • epeeist

          The chart, “Religious Statistics of Germany 1910 – 1939”, that reference 20 referred to had it at 67/33%, adding up to 100%.

          Ah, so what obviously happened was that while Germany was 100% Christian in 1933 some Jews and atheists moved there in order to allow the Nazis to send the Jews to the gas chambers and to ban the organisations that the atheists had set up.

          As it is, even if you take the 1939 figures the Christians outnumbered the irreligious by over 60:1. This being so it is highly unlikely that the ratio of Nazi Christians to Nazi atheists was 1:1.

          But this is the minor point in the discussion. I note that you have not tackled the major points, namely Klavan’s evidence for ethics to come from religion or where the idea of “Christian virtues” came from.

        • MR

          Ah, so what obviously happened was that while Germany was 100% Christian in 1933 some Jews and atheists moved there in order to allow the Nazis to send the Jews to the gas chambers and to ban the organisations that the atheists had set up.

          Damned migrant atheists.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Yes, it’s time to move away from a direction that is not helping you. The same chart listed Jews as <1%. I provided a quote from that Wikipedia article showing that 70% of SS officers – the hard core of Nazis – left their Christian churches in order to be in the organization. There was no 60:1 ratio of Christians to atheists. You would be left to nit-pick as to whether "Pagan Occult" was sincere.

          Yesterday, I presented a lengthy quote from an atheist author saying essentially the same thing that Klavan says. Pointing out this obvious truth did not cast some sort of hypnotic spell on him to make him renounce his atheism.

        • Otto
        • Ignorant Amos

          I provided a quote from that Wikipedia article showing that 70% of SS officers – the hard core of Nazis – left their Christian churches in order to be in the organization.

          Did you read that before posting?

          So 30% of SS officers – the hard core of Nazis – didn’t leave their Churches to join the organization? Wait a wee minute, leaving ones Church wasn’t necessary to join the organization then? See a problem?

          Again, they left organised Christianity, but the remained God believers…where did they get their morals, or lack thereof, from?

          There was no 60:1 ratio of Christians to atheists. You would be left to nit-pick as to whether “Pagan Occult” was sincere.

          Nah…even if your SS nonsense were all atheists nonsense was granted…you are still way off on your 1:1 fuckwittery.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schutzstaffel#SS_membership_estimates_1925%E2%80%9345

        • Clement Agonistes

          Here is the quote:

          Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers-SS or SD members withdrew from their Christian denominations, changing their religious affiliation to gottgläubig, while nearly 70% of the officers of the Schutzstaffel SS did the same.[32]

          It mentions 2 arms of the SS – one with no Christians at all, and one in which 70% of its members withdrew from their Christian churches. It does not tell us the what the makeup of the other 30% was. It could be that 100% were Christians and 7-out-of-10 dropped out, or it could be that the 30% were non-Christian to begin with.

          I don’t follow the significance of your cite, other than about 1% of Germans were these hard-core, predominantly non-Christian Nazis.

        • Susan

          I don’t follow the significance of your cite

          It’s pretty basic. You don’t show that it was necessary to leave a christian church to be an SS member.

          Also, they didn’t drop out to be atheists. They dropped out to be “god believers”.

          They were persuaded by arguments for a non-christian god.

          And as IA points out, even if it were granted that they all dropped out to be atheists, you still don’t get 1:1.

          SS was only a small part of Nazism.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I don’t follow the significance of your cite

          It’s pretty basic. You don’t show that it was necessary to leave a christian church to be an SS member.

          Did you follow his link? All it showed was the growth of the SS over time. I don’t follow how you got that conclusion out of that information.

          As to your point, these overwhelming number of (presumably ambitious) officers certainly seemed to think it would advance their careers. Judging by their actions, it is at least suggestive that is the case.

          Also, they didn’t drop out to be atheists. They dropped out to be “god believers”.

          Yeah, and that is kind of a vague term, isn’t it? You are usually a stickler for that kind of thing. On the surface, it sounds like Deism – belief in a Creator, but not much else. Given that Himmler was a Pagan Occultist, I’m thinking that is probably what it means. It has the feel of people with secular concerns, going through the motions of insincere religious beliefs.

          And as IA points out, even if it were granted that they all dropped out to be atheists, you still don’t get 1:1.
          SS was only a small part of Nazism.

          I mentioned the 1:1 ratio in response to a point about Christian Nazis and the (inferior) morals of Christians. It was a comment about the premise of Nazism as support for that conclusion. For my purposes, if atheists found Nazism more appealing than Christians did (disproportionately joining the party compared to the population as a whole), that makes my point. I picked 1:1 in jest. to make that point.

          That said, this is a fun exercise. So, Nazi Party members – at their peak – were about 10% of the German population. According to AI’s chart, SS members were about 10% of that number. I found the first number surprisingly low and the second surprisingly high BTW. I have no data for Nazi Party religious affiliation. I am presuming that the most extreme Nazis – the SS – would show the most extreme example of the overall tendency of Nazis with regard to religion.

          So, while the German population as a whole only lost a little Christian percentage, among those exhibiting the strongest Nazi beliefs, Christianity lost enormous support. The number on the Christian side of the atheist/Christian ratio took a big hit. if it were granted that all Christians dropping out of Christian churches became atheists, the number on the atheist side of the ratio would increase. Yeah, it MIGHT not get to 1:1, but it would be FAR from that of the population as a whole. It’s enough for statistical significance.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, and that is kind of a vague term, isn’t it?

          Nope…not vague at all. They believed in God.

          You are usually a stickler for that kind of thing. On the surface, it sounds like Deism – belief in a Creator, but not much else.

          Or non-clerical Christianity.

          After Nazi Germany had surrendered in World War II, the U.S. Office of Strategic Services published a report on the Nazi Master Plan of the Persecution of the Christian Churches. Historians and theologians generally agree about the Nazi policy towards religion, that the objective was to remove explicitly Jewish content from the Bible (i.e., the Old Testament, the Gospel of Matthew, and the Pauline Epistles), transforming the Christian faith into a new religion, completely cleansed from any Jewish element and conciliate it with Nazism, Völkisch ideology and Führerprinzip: a religion called “Positive Christianity”.

          Adolf Hitler’s religious views are not a difficult case. Hitler was baptized Catholic as a baby. Hitler was an alterboy in his youth. He regularly went to church as an adult, and contrary to popular belief, was never excommunicated after he died. He had the Christian moniker “Gott Mit Uns” meaning ‘god with us’ put on many nazi uniform belt buckles.

          Given that Himmler was a Pagan Occultist, I’m thinking that is probably what it means.

          That’s because you are stupid, and rather than go and find out, you’ll just pull stupid shite from yer arse.

          Himmler did have neo-pagan beliefs…but he formed a hybrid paganism that included elements of the Völkisch movement, Christianity, and God as the supreme creator.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V%C3%B6lkisch_movement#Influence_on_Nazism

          https://www.jstor.org/stable/4547272?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

          The historic example which Himmler used in practice as the model for the SS was the Society of Jesus, since Himmler found in the Jesuits what he perceived to be the core element of any order, the doctrine of obedience and the cult of the organisation. The evidence for this largely rests on a statement from Walter Schellenberg in his memoirs (Cologne, 1956, p. 39), but Hitler is also said to have called Himmler “my Ignatius of Loyola”. As an order, the SS needed a coherent doctrine that would set it apart. Himmler attempted to construct such an ideology, and to this purpose he deduced a “pseudo-Germanic tradition” from history. However, this attempt was not entirely successful. Höhne observes that “Himmler’s neo-pagan customs remained primarily a paper exercise”.

          He dislike just about everything about organised Christianity, but he was a believer, and he did not insist that SS members take his personal view of God belief.

          Many of the concepts promoted with the SS violated accepted Christian doctrine, but neither Himmler nor his deputy Heydrich expected the Christian church to support their stance on abortion, contraception or sterilization of the unfit – let alone their shared belief in polygamy for the sake of racial propagation. This did not however represent disbelief in a higher power from either man nor did it deter them on their ideological quest. In fact, atheism was banned within the SS as Himmler believed it to be a form of egotism that placed the individual at the center of the universe, and thus constituted a rejection of the SS principle of valuing the collective over the individual. All SS men were required to list themselves as Protestant, Catholic or gottgläubig (“Believer in God”). Himmler preferred the neo-pagan “expression of spirituality”. Still, by 1938 “only 21.9 percent of SS members described themselves as gottgläubig, whereas 54 percent remained Protestant and just under 24 percent Catholic.” Belief in God among the SS did not constitute adherence to traditional Christian doctrine nor were its members consummate theologians, as the SS outright banned certain Christian organizations like the International Bible Research Association, a group whose pacifism the SS rejected. Dissenting religious organizations like the Jehovah’s Witnesses were severely persecuted by the SS for their pacifism, failure to participate in elections, non-observance of the Hitler salute, not displaying the Nazi flag, and for their non-participation in Nazi organizations; many were sent to concentration camps where they perished.[66] Heydrich once quipped that any and all opposition to Nazism originated from either “Jews or politicized clergy.”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideology_of_the_SS

          The occultist bullshit is more of a myth.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occultism_in_Nazism

          It has the feel of people with secular concerns, going through the motions of insincere religious beliefs.

          Yeah…like a world full of hypocritical Christians ya mean?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I mentioned the 1:1 ratio in response to a point about Christian Nazis and the (inferior) morals of Christians. It was a comment about the premise of Nazism as support for that conclusion. For my purposes, if atheists found Nazism more appealing than Christians did (disproportionately joining the party compared to the population as a whole), that makes my point. I picked 1:1 in jest. to make that point.

          Another lie.

          And you have not demonstrated that there were any atheists in the Nazis…and given that to be one openly in the Nazis would be detrimental to ones well being, I doubt you’ll find many…. so any point you may think you made, is ridiculous and moot.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That said, this is a fun exercise.

          What’s most fun about it is that you have already admitted that atheists don’t get their morality from their atheism, so it must come from somewhere. Then you assert that atheist get their morality from a Christian centred world. So atheism is off the hook either way.

          So, while the German population as a whole only lost a little Christian percentage, among those exhibiting the strongest Nazi beliefs, Christianity lost enormous support.

          Only because you are stupid and can’t tell the difference between leaving a Christian denomination and leaving Christianity.

          The number on the Christian side of the atheist/Christian ratio took a big hit. if it were granted that all Christians dropping out of Christian churches became atheists, the number on the atheist side of the ratio would increase. Yeah, it MIGHT not get to 1:1, but it would be FAR from that of the population as a whole.

          Talk about flogging a dead horse. Just make stuff up and squint when looking at it so it makes sense.

          It’s enough for statistical significance.

          Nope.

          You are classing being a Nazi as only those card carrying members. And even then you get nowhere near 1:1 silliness.

          In his book The Nazi Party 1919-1945: A complete history, Dietrich Orlow wrote that early in the war, membership in the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (the full name of the Nazi party) surged to about 6.5 million.

          That’s about 10% of the population, but support for Nazism was around 35% at the polls.

        • Ignorant Amos

          They were persuaded by arguments for a non-christian god.

          And not even that…just not a Christian God that needed to be affiliated to a particular Christian denomination.

          There are millions of God believers today that are unaffiliated to any Christian denomination.

          Then there is this …

          A new [2018] Pew Research Center survey of more than 4,700 U.S. adults finds that one-third of Americans say they do not believe in the God of the Bible, but that they do believe there is some other higher power or spiritual force in the universe. A slim majority of Americans (56%) say they believe in God “as described in the Bible.” And one-in-ten do not believe in any higher power or spiritual force.

        • Greg G.

          A new [2018] Pew Research Center survey of more than 4,700 U.S. adults finds that one-third of Americans say they do not believe in the God of the Bible, but that they do believe there is some other higher power or spiritual force in the universe. A slim majority of Americans (56%) say they believe in God “as described in the Bible.” And one-in-ten do not believe in any higher power or spiritual force.

          <blushing> Shucks, I probably shouldn’t take all the credit because I still have so much more to do, but you’re welcome.

        • (Your humble reply seems to have been chopped up.)

        • epeeist

          Did you see this – https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/aug/09/report-damns-culture-of-acceptance-of-sexual-abuse-at-two-catholic-schools

          Another one to add to the list. The report in the Guardian is fairly explicit as to what went on.

        • Ignorant Amos

          “Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers-SS or SD members withdrew from their Christian denominations, changing their religious affiliation to gottgläubig,…

          At their height in 1944, the SD had 6,482 members.

          It mentions 2 arms of the SS – one with no Christians at all,…

          Nope…try and read your citation for comprehension? What it says is they withdrew from their Christian denominations, it says nothing about them withdrawing from Christian belief. It also says that they changed their religious affiliation to gottgläubig.

          Do you know what that word means? Nah…because if ya did, you wouldn’t be making such a cunt of yerself.

          It literally means “Believers in God”…that’s big “G” god.

          Google is your friend, but let me help…

          The 1943 Philosophical Dictionary defined gottgläubig as: “official designation for those who profess a specific kind of piety and morality, without being bound to a church denomination, whilst however also rejecting irreligion and godlessness.” In the 1939 census, 3.5% of the German population identified as gottgläubig.

          Now…

          The Nazis were not favourable towards religious institutions, nor did they tolerate atheism on the part of their membership: Gottgläubigkeit was a kind of officially sanctioned unorganised religion.

          So, as usual, your citation is evidence against you.

          …while nearly 70% of the officers of the Schutzstaffel SS did the same.

          So 70% of the officers of the Schutzstaffel SS did the same as the SD. In other words, they left their Christian denomination and became gottgläubig, literally “Believers in God”. I’m going out on a limb here and say it was still the Christian God…the one with the Jesus bit tacked on…given the Nazis distaste for Jews and all that.

          …and one in which 70% of its members withdrew from their Christian churches.

          But not the God of Christianity.

          It does not tell us the what the makeup of the other 30% was. It could be that 100% were Christians and 7-out-of-10 dropped out, or it could be that the 30% were non-Christian to begin with.

          What they were not, was atheists. So it is neither here nor there in regards to the nonsense you are pushing. But I’ll chuck you a bone…

          People who identified as gottgläubig could hold a wide range of religious beliefs, including non-clerical Christianity, Germanic neopaganism, deism, and pantheism. Strictly speaking, Gottgläubigen were not even required to terminate their church membership, but strongly encouraged to.

          As for numbers…

          The census of 17 May 1939 was the first time that German citizens were able to officially register as gottgläubig. Out of 79.4 million Germans, 2.7 million people (3.5%) claimed to be gottgläubig, compared to 94.5% who either belonged to the Protestant or Catholic churches, 300,000 Jews (0.4%), 86,000 adherents of other religions (including Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, neopagans and other religious sects and movements, 0.1%), and 1.2 million (1.5%) who had no faith (glaubenslos). Paradoxically, Germans living in urban areas, where support for the Nazi Party was the lowest, were the most likely to identify as gottgläubig, the five highest rates being found in Berlin (10.2%), Hamburg (7.5%), Vienna (6.4%), Düsseldorf (6.0%) and Essen (5.3%).

          Now let’s put this fuckwittery of yours to bed once and for all…

          Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler declared: “As National Socialists, we believe in a Godly worldview.” He insisted on the existence of a creator-God, who favoured and guided the Third Reich and the German nation, as he announced to the SS: “We believe in a God Almighty who stands above us; he has created the earth, the Fatherland, and the Volk, and he has sent us the Führer. Any human being who does not believe in God should be considered arrogant, megalomaniacal, and stupid and thus not suited for the SS.” He did not allow atheists into the SS, arguing that their “refusal to acknowledge higher powers” would be a “potential source of indiscipline”.

          Is that clear enough for ya? There were no atheists in the SS, they were not allowed. Give it up already ffs.

          I don’t follow the significance of your cite, other than about 1% of Germans were these hard-core, predominantly non-Christian Nazis.

          Of course you don’t, why would ya? You might have to be honest if ya admitted ya did.

          The SS personnel records show that most of its members who left the church of their upbringing, did so just before or shortly after joining the SS. The Sicherheitsdienst (SD) members were the most willing corps within the SS to withdraw from their Christian denominations and change their religious affiliation to gottgläubig at 90%. Of the SS officers, 74% of those who joined the SS before 1933 did so, while 68% who joined the SS after 1933 would eventually declare themselves gottgläubig. Of the general SS membership, 16% had left their churches by the end of 1937.

          They left their Churches, they didn’t necessarily leave Christianity, they certainly remained God believers, they certainly did not become atheists ya dolt.

          You have done nothing to show that they were non-Christians. They certainly were not atheists. But, giving you your nonsense that you consider they were atheists, it does nothing for your Christian Nazi to atheist Nazi ratio in any way helpful to your assertion. Most people in Nazi Germany were Christian’s…most Nazi’s believed in the God of Christianity…most of the most fundamentalist of the Nazi party, the SS, believed in the God of Christianity.

          This obfuscation exercise in splitting hairs over a % here and there, just shows your desperation. The data might not be exact, but that doesn’t get you to being right…how many times has this to be pointed out…The Relativity of Wrong.

        • epeeist

          Yes, it’s time to move away from a direction that is not helping you.

          ROFLMAO

          The same chart listed Jews as <1%.

          Ergo Germany could not have been 100% Christian. A large number of Jews came to Britain from Germany (the Association of Jewish Refugees estimates some 70,000). There are obvious examples of Jews leaving Nazi Germany, including Albert Einstein, Max Born, Kurt Gödel, Erich Korngold.

          As for the non-religious in Germany, there was a significant Communist party in place during the 1930’s, are you seriously suggesting that all their members were Christian. Going back to the German Freethinkers League, this had a membership of half a million in 1933, are you saying that all of these were Christian?

          In other words your claim that Germany was 100% Christian in the 1933 is obviously ludicrous.

          Yesterday, I presented a lengthy quote from an atheist author saying essentially the same thing that Klavan says.

          You did? And yet you don’t provide a link to it.

          As it is I don’t give a flying fuck what Klavan says, what I want to see is the actual evidence on which he bases the claim.

          Oh, and I note you still haven’t told me where the idea of “Christian virtues” comes from.

          EDIT: Missing word

        • Clement Agonistes

          Ergo Germany could not have been 100% Christian.

          You cited the chart. I was using the information you pointed to. These figures are the only evidence we have on this subject. I suspect we both have questions about their reliability. That is why I did not mention them until you cited them as support for your point.

          You brought up the Freethinkers League again. In another post, you asked why Hitler persecuted Catholics. IMO, he persecuted both organizations for the same reason – he wanted total control.

          Yesterday, I presented a lengthy quote from an atheist author saying essentially the same thing that Klavan says.

          You did? And yet you don’t provide a link to it.

          I’m missing something here. Both you and Susan made that point. I see people here providing links without discussing the significant of what is in those links. Is this a thing in this blog? I mean, the link would be significant if I had modified it to change what it said, but if that were the case, it would be super-easy to find the article yourself and show that. In the case of the Wikipedia quote, you and I were looking at the same article, yet you demanded that I show you the source for the source for the source. It looks more like a tactic than a genuine interest.

        • epeeist

          You cited the chart.

          No, I cited reference 20 in the article.

          I suspect we both have questions about their reliability.

          This being so why did you make the definitive claim that Germany was 100% Christian when anyone with a modicum of sense could see that this was hardly likely to be the case.

          You brought up the Freethinkers League again.

          As well as the Communist party to illustrate that there were non-religious people in Germany at the time. Not forgetting the various mentions of Jews, again to illustrate the fact that there were religious non-Christians in the country.

          All of this to show how ridiculous your claim that the country was 100% Christian was.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You cited the chart.

          No, I cited reference 20 in the article.

          You cited the stats. R20 shows they rounded.

          I suspect we both have questions about their reliability.

          This being so why did you make the definitive claim that Germany was 100% Christian when anyone with a modicum of sense could see that this was hardly likely to be the case.

          You mentioned the stats. I thought that meant you gave them credibility. I’m arguing on the turf you picked out.

          All of this to show how ridiculous your claim that the country was 100% Christian was.

          I am TOTALLY willing to go back to the time before you brought up those stats. The rest of the Wikipedia article more than makes my point.

        • epeeist

          Let’s go back to your original claim:

          So, pre-Nazi Christians were 100%, and six years later they are 94.5%- a net loss.

          There is no ambiguity here, you are claiming Germany was 100% Christian in 1933, not “approximately 100%” or “more than 99.5% Christian”. Let’s cast this into canonical form, it can be restated as:

          “In 1933 all Germans were Christian”. This being so all I need to do is find a single exception to show that your claim is false. In other words all I need to show is that there was at least one person in Germany at the time who was non-Christian.

          Now the chart you keep referring to gives 0.8% of the population as adhering to the Jewish religion (You inaccurately state “The same chart listed Jews as <1%.", someone who is ethnically Jewish need not necessarily follow the Jewish religion) then there must have been at least one non-Christian in the Germany of the time.

          Hence your claim is false and all of your wittering about the SS and inaccuracies is irrelevant.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Let’s go back to your original claim:

          So, pre-Nazi Christians were 100%, and six years later they are 94.5%- a net loss.

          No, that was not the original claim. My “claim” that started this whole thread was, “what was the ratio of Nazi Christians to Nazi atheists – 1:1?

          You replied:
          In that organisations such as the German Freethinkers Society were banned
          by the Nazis then one suspects a rather larger ratio than 1:1
          ” (The “atheist” side of the ratio would have had fewer raw numbers)

          I challenged the logic behind that comment on two points:
          1) The GFS was not representative of all atheists in Germany. You correctly pointed out that you did not claim all atheists in Germany were members of the GFS – it was just an example of what was happening overall to atheists.
          2) Christian groups in Germany were also subject to bans and other persecutions.

          That was when YOU introduced the now-suspect numbers being discussed. You said, “It really isn’t difficult to find that some 94.5% of the German population were Christian and only 1.5% non-religious.

          It was then that I quoted from the Wikipedia article that we both used in this discussion:
          In 1933, prior to the annexation of Austria into Germany, the population of Germany was approximately 67% Protestant and 33% Catholic; while the Jewish population was less than 1%.[1][better source needed][2] A census in May 1939, six years into the Nazi era[3] and after the annexation of mostly Catholic Austria and mostly Catholic Czechoslovakia[4] into Germany, indicates[5] that 54% considered themselves Protestant,[not in citation given] 40% Catholic,[not in citation given] 3.5% self-identified as “gottgläubig”[6] (lit. “believers in God”, often described as predominately creationist and deistic),[7][not in citation given] and 1.5% as “atheist

          It was then that I made the comment that you quoted at the beginning of this reply. I followed that sentence saying, “Pre-Nazi, atheists didn’t even show up on the RADAR, and after six years of being banned, they are 1.5%. The same article says members of Hitler’s inner circle, Martin Bormann and Goebbels were radically anti-church

          Your gripe here has been that atheists existed in Germany in 1933, but had such low numbers that rounding the Christian percentages made it look as if there were no atheists at all. IOW, in 1933 they “didn’t even show up on the RADAR”. Two of Hitler’s inner circle were atheists. If atheists were being persecuted, other ambitious Nazis would have used this against them to have Bormann and Goebbels removed. Instead, they were renouncing their Christianity – the raw number of Christians in the ratio was decreasing.

          You are nit-picking that if Christians went from 99% of the population to 94.5%, that doesn’t suggest that Christian persecutions had any effect, and that an (essential) doubling of the atheist population doesn’t suggest any thing about the effects of atheist persecution.

          You chose to make the census figures from 1933 and 1939 significant in determining the Christian: atheist ratio among Nazis. Even IA saw the flaw in that logic, noting that all Germans were not Nazis. At its peak, the Nazi Party only had about 10% of the German population. What was happening in the SS was a far better gauge of Nazi attitudes than the German population as a whole. There were few Christians in the SS. Relative to the general population, there would have been fewer Christians among Nazis. . . . . . and more atheists. If Nazism is the determinant of moral inferiority (I don’t accept Otto’s premise), then the case is stronger for Christian moral superiority than it is for atheism. Otto’s conclusion that atheism is the superior moral model (only I challenged this claim, BTW) is not supported.

        • epeeist

          No, that was not the original claim.

          You made the fucking claim that Christians made up 100% of the German population. Now you want to deny that you actually made it when we can actually see the fucking post where you made it.

          Not only are you a lying cunt you are also a fucking stupid cunt as well.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And he does it without even blushing.

        • Clement Agonistes

          It was then that I made the comment that you quoted at the beginning of this reply

          No, that was not the original claim.

          You
          made the fucking claim that Christians made up 100% of the German
          population. Now you want to deny that you actually made it when we can
          actually see the fucking post where you made it.

          In my post that you are responding to, I recapped that whole exchange, including an exact quote for the same source you were using that showed where I got the figure. You know that what you are claiming is not true.

          In the post you are responding to, I said, “It was then that I made the comment that you quoted at the beginning of this reply.” Not only did I not-deny it, I specifically agreed that I had said that. What you are claiming is demonstrably untrue.

          You also know that your assertion that it was the original claim is not true.

          You knowingly opted to say things which which you know are false – the very definition of a liar. Coating it with misogynistic insults only serves to show just what your true nature is.

        • Ignorant Amos

          misogynistic insults

          Wise up…you have shown the context of why you are a cunt…and yet, you keep supporting the the very reason why some are calling you a lying cunt.

          Cunt:- An extremely unpleasant or objectionable person (in US, especially a woman; in UK or Ireland, more usually a man).

          https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cunt

          Epeeist is an Englishman, I am an Irishman…we are both from the UK…get a grip.

          Swearing is good for you… yes you’ve heard right – time to let it all out! But first, find out the science behind why…

          Scientist and author, Emma Byrne outlines the fascinating science behind swearing: how it affects us both physically and emotionally, and how it is more natural and beneficial than we are led to believe.

          In a sparkling debut in the entertaining pop science vein of Mary Roach, scientist Emma Byrne examines the latest research to show how swearing can be good for you. She reveals how swearing has been around since the earliest humans began to communicate, and has been shown to reduce physical pain, to lower anxiety, to prevent physical violence, to help trauma victims recover language, and to promote human cooperation. Packed with the results of unlikely and often hilarious scientific studies— from the “ice bucket test” for coping with pain, to the connection between Tourette’s and swearing, to a chimpanzee who curses at her handler in sign language—Swearing Is Good for You presents a lighthearted but convincing case for the foulmouthed.

          Now piss off with your tone trolling fuckwittery.

        • epeeist

          Look fuckbag, you said “So, pre-Nazi Christians were 100%” which is plainly fucking false and only a fucking lying douchebag would try to defend what is utterly and absolutely a false fucking claim.

          As far as I am concerned you can go fuck yourself, preferably with a wire brush.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Hey, make it 99%. That works just as well for me, and your use of German census data is still a silly argument.

        • epeeist

          Hey, make it 99%

          No, that isn’t what the data in reference 20 shows.

          However, I am pleased to see that you acknowledge that your claim of 100% of Germans being Christian is false.

          Perhaps now we could move on to the other, major points I raised, namely what actual evidence does Klavan have for his supposition that morality derives from religion and where did the idea of “Christian virtues” come from.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Your science would point would sound more scientific if you would throw in a few more “fuck”s.

          For instance, look how much better this would look in a peer-reviewed journal: “However, i am fucking pleased to fucking see that you fucking acknowledge that your fucking claim of the fucking 100% of fucking Germans being fucking Christians is fucking false.”

          I mean, if that does convince them that you are right, nothing will.

          You have no major points, and that is why I just assumed you weren’t serious and didn’t respond to your that got us off on this rabbit-chase in the first place. Otto – at that time – at least was capable of civil, dispassionate conversation (hint).

        • Ignorant Amos

          You do better to not reply at all if this is what you have to offer…a mean talk about embarrassing oneself.

          Get’s you off answering the hard stuff I guess…

          “Perhaps now we could move on to the other, major points I raised, namely what actual evidence does Klavan have for his supposition that morality derives from religion and where did the idea of “Christian virtues” come from.”

        • Susan

          Your science would point would sound more scientific if you would throw in a few more “fuck”s.

          When you made claims about cosmology, epeeist tried using scientific language with you and was met with crickets.

          When you made claims about logic, epeeist tried using logical language with you and was met with crickets.

          You’re not a scientific journal.

          You have no major points.

          You’ve been here a very long time now, Clement.

          What major points do you have?

          Pointing at squirrels doesn’t count.

        • Clement Agonistes

          So, do you even remember why Klavan came into the conversation in the first place?

          And, how likely do you think it is that you’ll ever get back to addressing the original main point?

        • Susan

          do you even remember why Klavan came into the conversation in the first place?

          Because you mentioned him as an “ex-atheist” who had found Yahwehjesus through “logic” (even though his actual conversion story didn’t include that bit).

          Something about “morality” coming from “religion” (by which you seem to mean christianity, because you sure don’t count deists or pagans as “religion”.

          You didn’t even include a link originally. You handwaved to an “atheist”. Otto had to hunt it down.

          You still haven’t addressed virtue ethics, nor the fact that accepting a superstitious claim is no more a moral system than not accepting a superstitious claim.

          So once again Clement, what’s your point?

          I would think if you had one, you would have gotten to it by now.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The original topic was false hope – finding comfort from hope in God is a false hope.
          How do we know it is a false hope?
          We must know with absolute certainty that God does not exist.
          Show me convincing arguments that God exists.
          Is that how atheist come to believe God exists?
          Otto saw them all and is convinced that God did not exist.

          i do not think seeing arguments is how atheists come to be theists. They may give lip service to it, but when it actually happens, they describe it as something supernatural. An exception might be Andrew Klavan who read the works of atheists and they didn’t fit with his view of moral reality.

          Even in his example, that only got him to theism. You provided an account of how he got from theism to Christianity. If I recall it correctly, it had kind of a supernatural feel to it – he felt compelled to be baptized.

          So, why is it that some people have this supernatural, personal experience and some don’t? I don’t know. Bob provided a quote that said something to the effect that if one person experiences it, it is a delusion, but in many do, it is a religion. If it is a delusion, then the argument is that Christians are insane – the “gaslighting” argument that Otto didn’t like.

          All that said, we are still stuck with the reality that hope in God can only be false hope if we know with certainty that the hope can never be realized.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The original topic was false hope – finding comfort from hope in God is a false hope.

          No…it wasn’t. That is your straw man of the original topic. It is as stupid now as it was then…and still a lie.

          How do we know it is a false hope?

          When it doesn’t work. You were given oodles of examples of when it doesn’t work. Of course you completely ignored the evidence, because that is inconvenient for your nonsense position.

          We must know with absolute certainty that God does not exist.

          No we don’t. And nobody but you are make this idiotic assertion. Your God could exist and not give a fuck. Which if it does exist, seems to be the case.

          No, the problem with your logic is that not everyone places their hope in YahwehJesus. Must you know with absolute certainty that whatever they place their hope in must exist in order to know whether the hope is false or not? Of course not.

          Was Steve Jobs foolish for placing hope in homeopathy? Was his hope false? It appears that it was, and likely caused him his life.

          The web is littered with examples of folk placing hope in YahwehJesus and it ended up being false. But you ignore that.

          Show me convincing arguments that God exists.

          There aren’t any. That theists think there are doesn’t make it so. It just makes them gullible. You don’t even realize how ludicrous you are being. The burden is yours and you’ve failed to meet it.

          Show me convincing arguments that Space Ponies exists.

          Show me convincing arguments that Xenu exists.

          Show me convincing arguments that Shiva exists.

          Show me convincing arguments that Raëlian extra-terrestrials exist.

          There are people on this planet that believe the evidence for a flat-earth is convincing…doesn’t mean it is though.

          Is that how atheist come to believe God exists?

          Obviously not.

          Otto saw them all and is convinced that God did not exist.

          You’ve got this arse backwards as usual. It’s the arguments for no-gods existence that convinced Otto…and most of the rest of us.

          What evidence convinces you that Space Ponies, Xenu, Shiva and Raëlian extra-terrestrials don’t exist? When you work out what that is, then the penny will drop.

          So, why is it that some people have this supernatural, personal experience and some don’t?

          You haven’t demonstrated that the personal experience is supernatural.

          But anyway…let’s play DA.

          Why is it that those having this supernatural personal experience all don’t have the same one from the same supernatural source? Why is it that some who are convinced by the supernatural personal experience of one supernatural source, later get convinced by a different supernatural personal experience…and sometimes a different one from that again?

          I don’t know.

          We know ya don’t. But that doesn’t seem to be a problem. The multi-omni YahwehJesus is a problematic hypothesis under these circumstances.

          The emperors new clothes can be a very effective phenomena.

          I came to the conclusion that either the adults who “talked to Jesus” were lying to me, or consumed by delusions, or possessed some sense I lack. They were either cruel or crazy, or I’m the blind man wondering what is all this fuss about rainbows?

          But the coercion as a child to say you hear or feel this thing you do not is immense. On more than one occasion I lied about it and aped whatever Jesusy things the other kids were saying. I found it ironic that this building I was taken to every Sunday to instill in me morality was instead teaching me my first lessons in deception.

          Later in adolescence, I really dove into the Christian religion from a “how deep is the rabbit hole” perspective. There, I had to confront the fact that there are seemingly rational, functional adults who swallow hook, line, and sinker the idea that the universe was created 6,000 years ago by a violent sociopath who hates foreskins, gay people, and shellfish, and we must telepathically pledge fealty to its form as its own son, a flying zombie alchemist born of a virgin, which it sacrificed to itself because a rib woman was coerced by a talking snake into knowing right from wrong by eating a forbidden fruit, then the entire earth had to be flooded, including the numerous civilizations existing at the time that have uninterrupted historical records before and after such flood, killing every living human and animal, except, presumably, other people who had boats and fish, or else the sociopath who created us will ensure we all suffer for eternity, but it loves us.

          Roll out the apologetics.

          Bob provided a quote that said something to the effect that if one person experiences it, it is a delusion, but in many do, it is a religion.

          And for those Christians that find themselves in a dire predicament say that “God-made-me-do-it” as a defence, what happens to them?

          What’s your views on Raëlism? Or flat-earth belief? Or Scientology? Or Aghoriism? Or Pana Wavism? Or Universe People? Or the Aetherius Society? Or the Happy Science? Or Zoroastrianism? Or the Church of Maradonna (at least Maradonna is real)?

          If it is a delusion, then the argument is that Christians are insane – the “gaslighting” argument that Otto didn’t like.

          But not those that are delusional are insane, so your point is moot.

          And have you never heard of religious Compartmentalization?

          People compartmentalize their beliefs all the time. That’s particularly true of religious beliefs in modern society. Over the centuries, science has steamrolled religion. Faith has fervor, but science has evidence, technical power, and progress on its side. So religion has retreated to the margins. Today, if you’re a serious scientist, you can still believe in God. But you have to consign Him to the spaces unclaimed by science. You have to compartmentalize.

          http://www.slate.com/blogs/saletan/2014/02/06/creationism_science_and_religion_can_a_nasa_scientist_believe_in_the_resurrection.html

          Folk who claim to have been abducted by aliens are delusional, but not necessarily insane.

          As to “gas-lighting”…

          Religion: Gas-Lighting Children Since Time Immemorial

          What a terrible gas-lighting I and other children have suffered at the hands of organized religion! Surrounded by adults telling you unreal things are real and if you don’t sense them, it’s your fault for not “letting Him into your heart”. Deceiving yourself and others until you reach the age where you can rationalize, “Well, it’s not so much of a voice as it is a feeling…”

          https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/religion-gas-lighting-children-since-time-immemorial_us_587588cbe4b065be69099042

          All that said, we are still stuck with the reality that hope in God can only be false hope if we know with certainty that the hope can never be realized.

          No, “we” are fuck all of the sort and the reasons have been pointed out why this is bullshit have been pointed out to you ad nauseam, but you continue to ignore them because you have no intellectual integrity, lie, and disingenuously obfuscate at every opportunity.

          Do you use the emergency services, i.e. medical, fire, police?

          Of course ya do. Why?

        • epeeist

          You have no major points,

          Ah, so besides being wrong about 100% of Germans being Christian you are also unable to show any evidence backing up Klavan’s claims that morality derives from religion or show where “Christian virtues” come from.

          Got it.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Look, I added 67 and 33 and got 100. So, shoot me. The only relevance of the numbers was as they related to the ratio of Christians to atheists among Nazis. Your premise was that all Germans were a stand-in for Nazi Germans. The data told us that the number of Christians decreased between 1933 and 1939, while the number of atheists increased.

          You had claimed that the banning of the GFS was typical of gov’t policy against atheists, implying that the policy would negatively affect the number of atheists in the ratio. The data not only show the opposite, but also suggest that gov’t policy toward Christians negatively affected the number of Christians in the ratio.

          And, when we improve our stand-in to real Nazis, the data are even worse for your claim. Rather than admit your claim was not supported, you are reduced to name-calling and obscenities.

          . . . . . and gloating over a rounding error.

        • epeeist

          Look, I added 67 and 33 and got 100.

          In other words you claimed that in 1933 Germany was 100% Christian. And when it was pointed out to you that your claims was utterly and absolutely ludicrous and didn’t match the figures in reference 20 you doubled down and tried a whole stack of irrelevant waffle in order to try and shore it up rather than admitting you were wrong.

          Your premise was that all Germans were a stand-in for Nazi Germans.

          Nope, your premiss that in 1933 Germany was 100% Christian.

          You had claimed that the banning of the GFS was typical

          I claimed two things here:

          1. The GFS existed in 1933 (it was actually formed in 1881) and had 500,000 members. Hence this falsifies your claim of a 100% Christian Germany, as does the fact that the population had 0.8% of those who followed the Jewish religion;

          2. The GFS was banned by the Nazi authorities, as were other such organisations. However Christian organisations were not banned. Therefore the ration of Nazi Christians to Nazi atheists was likely to be higher than the 1:1 which you hypothesised about.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Your premise was that all Germans were a stand-in for Nazi Germans.

          Nope, your premiss that in 1933 Germany was 100% Christian.

          You had claimed that the banning of the GFS was typical

          I claimed two things here:1.
          The GFS existed in 1933 (it was actually formed in 1881) and had
          500,000 members. Hence this falsifies your claim of a 100% Christian
          Germany

          I had not made that claim yet. Are you a psychic? It is impossible for you to be responding to a comment I had not made yet. Just 2 days ago, I went through that timeline with you. You know what you are saying is not true.

          And, the “100%” comment was my SUPPORT, not my premise. My premise was that your claim was not supported by the data. It still isn’t, which is why you are forced to divert attention away from it instead of admitting a mistake.

          In your quest for the Truth, your personal pride takes precedence over the truth. You do more harm than good to your case. You call me a liar for saying 67+ 33 = 100, but continue to repeat things you know to be untrue. That speaks volumes about any argument you make.

        • epeeist

          I had not made that claim yet.

          In this comment you state:

          So, pre-Nazi Christians were 100%, and six years later they are 94.5%- a net loss.

          In other words you are lying yet again.

          Given that you habitually lie why should anyone take anything that you say seriously?

        • Clement Agonistes

          The issue isn’t whether I said it or not, it is WHEN I said it. You a are looking up the posts – just look at your post that was in response to, and you’ll see that it is the post you now claim was in response to this one. In THIS post, I quote you as saying:

          To make it explicit, I offered the GFS as an example, certainly not the “sum total of Nazi policies”. It really isn’t difficult to find that some 94.5% of the German population were Christian and only 1.5% non-religious.

          How can I quote you as saying something that you have not said yet?

          Here’s what you said this morning:

          I claimed two things here:
          1. The GFS existed in 1933 (it was actually formed in 1881) and had 500,000 members. Hence this falsifies your claim of a 100% Christian Germany

          You did not bring up the GFS in order to falsify the 100% stat. I hadn’t presented it to be falsified yet. You presented the GFS to address the “1:1” comment (which was not a claim).

          I have NEVER denied making the “100%” comment (as you are still claiming). I have not only agreed that I said it, I have offered to modify it to 99% since that still makes my point and it would remove this stumbling block for you. Apparently, giving you what you want is not enough.

        • epeeist

          You lie like Trump, simply saying things which are convenient regardless whether they are true are not.

          This was your claim:

          So, pre-Nazi Christians were 100%, and six years later they are 94.5%- a net loss.

          It does not matter when you said it, you are making the claim that Germany in 1933 was 100% Christian. This does not correspond to the facts and hence is not true.

          I have not only agreed that I said it, I have offered to modify it to 99%

          And once again we see your lack of concern for the truth, you wish to change one false figure for another, arbitrary figure that has no evidential backing rather than a figure that actually has a basis in reality.

          You lack any intellectual integrity whatsoever.

        • epeeist

          I note also you still have not tackled the other two points that I raised. The first one was Klavan’s idea that morals are derived from religion. Now if Klavan was saying that some ethical systems are derived from religion this is true but trivial and I wouldn’t argue against it. However if his claim is that all ethical systems are derived from religion then this is a different matter, let’s assume this is as a premiss:

          P1. All ethical systems are derived from religion;

          P2: Confucianism and Buddhism have ethical systems which are not religious in nature (see something like Karl Jasper’s The Great Philosophers for detailed exposition);

          C: P1 is false

        • Clement Agonistes

          I think Otto provided a link to the interview with Klavan. I provided a partial transcript of it. Susan provided a link in which Klavan explains his conversion to Christianity after the thought process in rejecting atheism. Did you get a chance to watch/read these?

          As I understood Klavan, he was saying that the implications of naturalism were that nature determined morality – that a person what nature tells them to do. This would not be an ethical system derived from religion. That did not fit with his (Klavan’s) concept of objective morality (He clarified that there are some things we all know to be wrong even if society said they were good.). After his rejection of atheism, Klavan converted to Christianity. So, it was not Christianity that lead him to his morality (quite the opposite). But, he stated that atheists are essentially living in a world religion to some degree.

          I presented the quote from John Gray saying pretty much the same thing about atheists living in a religious world.

          When asked if atheists could have good morals, Klavan agreed, saying that demonstrably atheists do.

          I did not understand P1 to be a premise of Klavan. I think he and Gray are saying that our ethics come from our society, and our society is monotheistic – Judeo-Christian-Islamic.

        • epeeist

          Did you get a chance to watch/read these?

          I am in a different time-zone to most people here, as such you cannot rely on me seeing posts from those on the other side of the Atlantic.

          As I understood Klavan, he was saying that the implications of naturalism were that nature determined morality – that a person what nature tells them to do.

          So he is a biological determinist who thinks we are completely controlled by nature. So where does he think things like art, literature and music come from? Or even science for that matter?

          That did not fit with his (Klavan’s) concept of objective morality (He clarified that there are some things we all know to be wrong even if society said they were good.).

          He thinks that objective morality exists? I presume he can demonstrate this. As for “society” saying things are good, society doesn’t say anything. From your simple exposition he sounds as though he is confusing “universal” and “objective” when it comes to morality.

          But, he stated that atheists are essentially living in a world religion to some degree.

          And his evidence for this would be?

          I did not understand P1 to be a premise of Klavan.

          Then we are back to my other alternative, that only some ethical systems and principles are derived from religion, sounds like a deepity to me.

          I think he and Gray are saying that our ethics come from our society, and our society is monotheistic – Judeo-Christian-Islamic.

          But as we have seen Judeo/Christian and Islamic ethical systems are inadequate and therefore they import from the likes of Plato and Aristotle, neither of whom were Christian. We also import from the Stoics, again not Christian as well as other societies, such as the Romans and the Norse both of which are sources for our laws and governments.

        • Clement Agonistes
        • epeeist

          I don’t do videos, the information transfer rate is far too slow.

          Give me a link to a paper containing his arguments.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Have you thought about upgrading to Windows 95?

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Susan

          The information transfer was pretty good in that case.

        • Greg G.

          I think he means that he can process more information by reading than someone can speak it.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I think it means that he is not genuine.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s a bit rich coming from you ffs.

        • epeeist

          Have you ever thought about reading a book. Once that consists of words rather than pictures and “charts”?

        • Clement Agonistes

          I have a crappy computer, and can load this video in about 20 seconds even with Discus gumming up the works.

          But, since you brought it up, Klavan has a book out that discusses this very topic in more detail. I thought it dishonest to use the “read a book” argument. I had provided a partial transcript of Klavan’s interview earlier. It may not have been sufficient to do justice to his argument. You seemed to be basing your understanding of his argument on my interpretation of it rather than the transcript, and you were mischaracterizing my understanding. The discussion was so far removed from the original data set that I felt any hope of genuine conversation required that both of us be looking at the same facts.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I have a crappy computer, and can load this video in about 20 seconds even with Discus gumming up the works.

          Your comprehension skills really suck.

          “I don’t do videos, the information transfer rate is far too slow.”

          A wee hint: It has fuck all to do with his computer.

        • epeeist

          and can load this video in about 20 seconds

          Loading the video isn’t the problem, it is the fact that the information content tends to be low and the delivery speed slow. Whereas my reading speed is much higher than average.

          You seemed to be basing your understanding of his argument on my interpretation of it rather than the transcript

          Your interpretation is all that I have seen.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I found a review of his book that quotes from the book and touches on this topic. It’s pretty close to what he said in the interview, and, I presume, more carefully worded:

          Here at last, however, was an atheist whose outlook made complete logical sense to me from beginning to end. If there is no God, there is no morality. If there is no morality the search for pleasure and the avoidance of pain are all in all and we should pillage, rape, and murder as we please. None of this pale, milquetoast atheism that says “Let’s all do what’s good for society.” What is society to me? None of this elaborate game-theory nonsense where we all benefit from mutual sacrifice and restraint. That only works when no one is looking; then I’ll get away with what I can. If there is no God, there is no good, and sadistic pornography is scripture.

          Hamlet said these things when he was pretending to be mad. … Shakespeare was telling us, it seemed to me, that relativism was not just crazy, it was make-believe crazy, because even the people that proclaimed it did not believe it deep down. If, after all, there is no truth, how could it be true that there is no truth? If there is no absolute morality, how can you condemn the morality of considering my culture better than any other? Relativism made no sense, as Shakespeare clearly saw.

          But the opposite is also true. That is, if we concede that one thing is morally better than another, it can only be because it is closer to an Ultimate Moral Good, the standard by which it is measured. An Ultimate Moral Good cannot just be an idea. It must be, in effect, a personality with consciousness and free will. The rain isn’t morally good even though it makes the crops grow; a tornado that kills isn’t morally evil — though it may be an evil for those in its way. Happy and sad events, from birth to death, just happen, and we ascribe moral qualities to them as they suit us or don’t. But true, objective good and evil, in order to be good and evil, have to be aware and intentional. So an Ultimate Moral Good must be conscious and free; it must be God.
          So we have to choose. Either there is no God and no morality whatsoever, or there is morality and God is real.

          After reading Sade, I abandoned atheism and returned to agnosticism. I couldn’t quite bring myself to follow my own logic to its conclusions. That is I couldn’t quite bring myself to accept the existence of God. But I knew the road to hell when I saw it and I chose to go home by another way.

          Why, after all, should the flesh be the ground floor of our interpretations? Why should we end our understanding at the level of material things? It’s just a prejudice really. the flesh is convincing. We can see it, feel it, smell it, taste it. It’s very there. It’s a trick of the human mind to give such presence the weight of reality. Men kill each other over dollar bills that are only paper because the paper has come to seem more real to them than the time and value it represents. In the same way, and for the same reason, people destroy themselves and everyone around them for sex: because sex has come to seem more real to them than the love it was made to express.

          … I was beginning to realize there was a spiritual side to life, a side I had been neglecting in my postmodern mind-set. Strip that spirituality away and you were left with a kind of “realism” that no longer seemed to me very realistic at all.

          It’s a flattering philosophy for intellectuals, no doubt. Endless analysis is what they’re good at. But the reductiveness and meaninglessness of the enterprise are creations of the enterprise itself. That is, you have to first make the assumption that material is the only reality before you can being to reason away the spirit.

        • Susan

          If there is no God, there is no morality.

          Why not?

          Also, why is there morality if there is a “God”?

          He seems to have skipped over this bit.

        • Clement Agonistes

          He explained it in the rest of that same paragraph. You edited out his “because” that answers your “why”.

        • Susan

          You edited out his “because” that answers your “why”.

          No. I didn’t “edit it out”. It’s right there in the comment to which I responded, in which you copy/pasted his “reasoning”.

          All he does (and it’s an old canard) is evade moral theory completely, point at a psychopath and claim that without “God”, everything leads there.

          But he shows no reasoning.

          Where is the reasoning?

        • Clement Agonistes

          Quote it, and we can discuss it. The fact that you can pretend it didn’t exist tells me how this is going to go, but I enjoy the comedy of your denials enough to put the group through this.

        • Susan

          Quote it, and we can discuss it.

          Sure. It’s unnecessary seeing as it’s in your copy/paste directly above my response to your comment.

          But I’ll edit it to add . Then, please answer the questions.

        • Otto

          Are you going to reply to me about how you apply your basic Christian morality to the questions of homosexuality?

          If you are not you should quit posting about how wonderful God based morality is because it obviously can’t even address basic questions.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Your question was about civil rights and marriage. I already addressed the issues. I think you are so deep into the rabbit hole that you don’t even understand what you are asking. I suggested discussing the Christian view on the morality of atheism to help clarify the point.

        • Otto

          >>>”Your question was about civil rights and marriage.”

          NO…my question was about how YOU apply your basic morality to the issues of civil rights and marriage.

          If a Christian Nazi used the same argument you are here about how the treatment of Jews/Homosexuals, etc. are political and civil rights questions and NOT questions of morality you would call him a hypocrite.

          >>>”I suggested discussing the Christian view on the morality of atheism to help clarify the point.”

          Yes you suggested we change the subject because I believe the implications of where I was going with the question made you REALLY uncomfortable.

          I am asking you to apply your basic Christian morality to a current issue and I am noting for all here you are refusing to address it. If you address my question I will address the Christian view on the morality of atheism…a subject I would be happy to talk about but not as a way for you to deflect from the question I asked.

        • Clement Agonistes

          If a Christian Nazi used the same argument you are here about how the
          treatment of Jews/Homosexuals, etc. are political and civil rights
          questions and NOT questions of morality you would call him a hypocrite.

          Your issue was about love – could I love a homosexual? But, that wasn’t the question you asked. The question you asked was whether I thought homosexual citizens should be treated as equal to other citizens. You meant one thing, but said something different. There is too much emotional baggage with the issue of homosexuality. That is why I suggested an analog to help us communicate.

          Yes you suggested we change the subject because I believe the
          implications of where I was going with the question made you REALLY
          uncomfortable.

          There is no discomfort. As I pointed out in my original response, I have ZERO problem loving an atheist. How much easier is it to love a homosexual? The fact that you would even say something like this demonstrates that you are not saying what you really mean to say. Make your words match your thoughts. I am in a position where I am guessing what you really mean. My guess is that you are asking whether I view homosexuality as a sin. If that is your point, i find in nowhere in you posts.

        • Otto

          >>>”our issue was about love – could I love a homosexual? But, that wasn’t the question you asked. The question you asked was whether I thought homosexual citizens should be treated as equal to other citizens. You meant one thing, but said something different. There is too much emotional baggage with the issue of homosexuality. That is why I suggested an analog to help us communicate.”

          Soooo…you think that treating people as equals under the law has NOTHING to do with showing them love? I would beg to differ.

          And no there is not ‘too much emotional baggage’ to talk about the subject. The fact that Christians behavior about loving their neighbors and enemies did not match their words was a major reason I took a good hard look at Christianity…as much as you talk like you are different Clement it is becoming very obvious you are really no different.

          >>>”There is no discomfort.”

          So answer the questions.

          >>>” As I pointed out in my original response, I have ZERO problem loving an atheist. How much easier is it to love a homosexual?”

          So atheists should be treated equally but homosexuals not so much? You aren’t making sense.

          >>>” My guess is that you are asking whether I view homosexuality as a sin.”

          Honestly it does not bother me at all if you think homosexuality is a sin. I don’t expect you to take a position that would go against your belief. What I am asking is how should homosexuals be treated using your morality? Should they be treated the same as every other person? Every person is a sinner in your view right? We all fall short of God right? If that is the case than why would some sinners be treated equally but certain others should not? I am trying to understand how you draw the line in your own Christian thinking.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The question you asked was whether I thought homosexual citizens should be treated as equal to other citizens. You meant one thing, but said something different. There is too much emotional baggage with the issue of homosexuality. That is why I suggested an analog to help us communicate.”

          Soooo…you think that treating people as equals under the law has NOTHING to do with showing them love? I would beg to differ.

          I can love a child or a Canadian, but still favor denying them the right to vote. If you are suggesting that constitutional rights are created by God, then yeah, gov’t should not infringe on those rights. Homosexuality should have no effect whatsoever on civil rights. But, frankly, I’m having a Tina Turner moment here – what’s love got to do with it? There is no mention in the Constitution or even the Declaration of Independence of love. I agreed with your list, except – as I said – for your definitional problem with marriage. . . . . but not because of love.

          What I am asking is how should homosexuals be treated using your morality? Should they be treated the same as every other person? Every person is a sinner in your view right? We all fall short of God right? If that is the case than why would some sinners be treated equally but certain others should not? I am trying to understand how you draw the line in your own Christian thinking.

          I’m trying to make sense of what you are saying here. OK, uh, sure, I should love everyone; I should love everyone equally (probably impossible, but certainly a goal). I am totally lost about what “line” you are talking about.

        • Otto

          >>>”I can love a child or a Canadian, but still favor denying them the right to vote.”

          We aren’t talking about children, we are talking about adults…we aren’t talking about giving specific citizen rights to non-citizens, we are talking about your NEIGHBORS.

          >>>”If you are suggesting that constitutional rights are created by God, then yeah, gov’t should not infringe on those rights. ”

          No I don’t think that…but you do.

          >>>”But, frankly I’m having a Tina Turner moment here – what’s love got to do with it?”

          I guess a Nazi Christian could make the same argument…ugh. I guess it is not hard at all for Christians to rationalize treating people as ‘less than’ because of their faith. You have no problem with it.

          >>>”There is no mention in the Constitution or even the Declaration of Independence of love.”

          There is a bit of a mention about equal treatment…but guess who is fighting against that?

          >>>”I agreed with your list, except – as I said – for your definitional problem with marriage. . . . . but not because of love.”

          Nope…can’t have that…because your religious belief is more important than treating people as equals…just like the Nazi Christians. If we can find religious reasons to marginalize one group we don’t like, why would you think it would be hard to do it to other groups…like Jews? If we can find one reason to deny a specific right to certain people, how hard would it be to come up with reasons to deny other rights? How exactly is your (Love God…Love other people…Love your enemies) morality going to stop that once that door is opened?

          >>>”I am totally lost about what “line” you are talking about.”

          Well when I was a Christian Clement I felt that regardless of MY personal religious beliefs all people should be treated equally under the law…no matter what, that is where I drew the line. I was trying to understand if your ‘simple Christian morality’ would lead you to the same conclusion. Apparently the answer is ‘no’. I think that is being hypocritical as it relates to that morality, but you have found a work around in your thinking…why should you be surprised when other Christians do the same thing but are willing to take it even farther?

        • Clement Agonistes

          “I can love a child or a Canadian, but still favor denying them the right to vote.”

          We
          aren’t talking about children, we are talking about adults…we aren’t
          talking about giving specific citizen rights to non-citizens, we are
          talking about your NEIGHBORS.

          Canadians are our neighbors. Children are our neighbors. Voting is a separate – civil rights – issue. It has nothing to do with loving them. You are not communication what you want to say. If homosexuals are being denied civil rights, it is because they are convicted felons – just like any other convicted felons.

          If we can find religious reasons to marginalize one group we don’t like,
          why would you think it would be hard to do it to other groups…like
          Jews? If we can find one reason to deny a specific right to certain
          people, how hard would it be to come up with reasons to deny other
          rights? How exactly is your (Love God…Love other people…Love your
          enemies) morality going to stop that once that door is opened?

          OK, now we are starting to crack the door enough to get a peek at your real point. You need to establish that what you claim is actually happening. Your argument here seems to be your prediction of something that might occur in the future, but you are finger-pointing about the present.

        • Otto

          Silly me to think equal rights (regardless of race, creed, religion, gender or sexual orientation) could be grounded in the Christian idea of Love your Neighbor-Enemies. Thanks for setting me straight.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You have been putting words in my mouth throughout this thread. I don’t know why I even bother trying to speak for myself when you do it for me so freely. Like I said, there is simply too much emotion in this for you in order to have a rational discussion. (What rights are being denied?)

        • Otto

          I think I have made my point. You tie yourself up in knots over what should be simple according to your Christian morality of Love.

          If you deny that gay people should be able to get married under the law that is not ‘Love’.

          I am not gay…there is no emotion on my part. I am showing you your own hypocrisy. You think that treating other people unequally based on your religion is OK. The Nazi Christians were no different.

        • epeeist

          Why didn’t you just give a link, then we could have seen who wrote it and in what context.

          As it is it makes an early, unsubstantiated assertion, “If there is no God, there is no morality”. The rest of the piece succeeds or fails on the truth of that statement. But without justification why should we accept it?

        • Clement Agonistes

          I didn’t give a link because we were discussing the contents of his interview. I had provided a partial transcript of that interview that was very similar to these excerpts from his book. You did not see the transcript. This was a better source. The excerpts didn’t have the conversational distractions the interview had. I wanted to make sure that you had the chance to see his argument directly instead of my summary of it. You mischaracterized my summary, and I thought maybe you had seen the original and had a different interpretation. Clearly, having his argument before you, has in no way changed your interpretation of his point. The data may change, but the conclusion would never consider the data in the first place.

          P1. All ethical systems are derived from religion;

        • Clement Agonistes

          I didn’t give the link because:
          1) They were excerpts from Klavan’s book. The source is Klavan’s book.
          2) Earlier, I had provided a partial transcript of the interview. They are essentially the same.
          3) The issue here was.

          P1. All ethical systems are derived from religion;

          and whether that was a correct characterization of Klavan’s premise. As you read these quotes, do you see that as his premise?

          As to your comment above, if you agreed with it, you could not be a Secular humanist. He walked the reader through his reasoning to arrive at that conclusion. We could start at teh P1 of that

        • Ignorant Amos

          See….me and Clement are simple….or should that be Clement and I are simple….in the company of our betters?

          Anyone here taking bets?

        • Susan

          Susan provided a link in which Klavan explains his conversion to Christianity after the thought process in rejecting atheism.

          And the link I provided had nothing to do with logic or a moral argument.

          I presented the quote from John Gray saying pretty much the same thing about atheists living in a religious world.

          A lot of gibberishy assertions that he doesn’t support.

        • Clement Agonistes

          And the link I provided had nothing to do with logic or a moral argument.

          . . . . . as I pointed out at the time.

          I presented the quote from John Gray saying pretty much the same thing about atheists living in a religious world.

          A lot of gibberishy assertions that he doesn’t support.

          Burn the heretic!!! He didn’t support it . . . . in the article. He is an author, ferpetesake. He writes about stuff. Heck, Amos went looking on the internet for trash about him. A rational person might spend some of that time reading his support.

          . . . .if they cared.

        • Susan

          …..as I pointed out at the time.

          No. If I recall correctly, I pointed it out by linking to his conversion story. After you’d handwaved toward an “ex-atheist” who had converted for “logical” reasons. When I did that, you explained that he converted to theism before christianity, without showing a bit of support for that.

          A rational person might spend some of that time reading his support.

          Because Clement Agonistes handwaved toward an “atheist who admits the truth”?

          I have wasted far too much energy following your squirrels and they always come up empty.

          All you have is burden-shifting, strawmanning and handwaving so far.

          Also, a notable pattern of pulling statistics out of your rectum and making accusations that you never defend.

          That is, you don’t support anything.

          ….if they cared

          You’ve got nothing, Clement.

          Nothing at all. And you don’t seem to care that you have nothing at all.

          You want to make it our problem.

          Why are you here?

        • epeeist

          Let’s also consider the origin of virtue ethics:

          1. Virtue ethics can be traced back to Plato and Aristotle in the West and Mencius and Confucius in the East

          2. None of these figures are Christian

          3. Both Augustine and the Scholastics (including Thomas Aquinas) incorporated virtue ethics into Christianity

          4. “Christian virtues” are therefore derived from non-Christian ethical systems

        • Greg G.

          . . . . . and gloating over a rounding error.

          It was not an rounding error. You were trying to compare a ballpark figure – a guesstimate – with precision statistics.

          When you see percentages that are multiples of one tenth, one quarter, one third or one half, it is a ballpark figure. 25% is not the same as 25.0%. The first is probably a rough estimate or based on a small sample size. It might be more than one fifth and less than a third or something between 20% and 30%. Maybe it is used on a web page because the author didn’t know how to make ¼. But 25.0% gives an air of precision that indicates something between 24.5% and 25.5%, though you should consider the source because it could still me a fantasy number.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The chart in question had 2 sets of data for 1933 (and 1939, FTM). It was based on census data. I just went with the quote, “the population of Germany was approximately 67% Protestant and 33% Catholic; while the Jewish population was less than 1%.” from the article and verified by the 2nd set of numbers in the chart. It could have been 66.7% and 32.5% for all I know. It makes no difference to the obvious conclusion that the percentage of Christians inside Germany decreased. The number of Christians inside Germany is a weak analog for Nazi Christians. What do you think?

        • Greg G.

          Then from that data set, you should have concluded that everybody who was not imprisoned in a concentration camp was either a Catholic or a Protestant, meaning all Nazis were either Catholic or Protestant.

        • Clement Agonistes

          . . . . . or that the numbers were not statistically significant early on.

          I’m not sure I follow your reasoning there. I think it goes something like, “Since all other demographic groups were imprisoned, then Nazis only had non-others to choose from. The data contradict that hypothesis. By 1939, atheists had gone from a fraction of 1% to 1.5%. Their persecution failed if the goal was to decrease their numbers. Most likely, it was Communist atheist (anyone want to talk about Christian Communist Party members?) who were being persecuted early on. By 1939, atheists would be more likely to be Nazis.

          The number of Christians, nationwide, had decreased, regardless of which set of data we use. I pointed out that those with ambitions to be officers were dropping Christianity like crazy. The 1939 data set shows something like 3.5% in some sort of new nazified deism-ish something-or-other. The gain of that group was primarily at the expense of Christianity, and fits nicely with the size of growth of that group in the SS. Deism has had a kind of Soft Atheism feel to me, but let’s not go there.

        • Greg G.

          By 1939, atheists had gone from a fraction of 1% to 1.5%.

          Maybe the atheists who reported being Catholic or Protestant earlier could no longer stomach making that declaration. Or maybe it was the question on the questionnaire was different. Maybe the sampling was different.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Those are certainly possible. Would you expect that to be the case if the experience of the GFS (gov’t persecution) was typical of what was happening to atheists?

        • Greg G.

          I checked your sources. You are throwing up numbers without understanding them. Your argument is absurd.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I want to understand. Can you clarify?

        • Greg G.

          You are comparing approximations from 1933 Germany with statistics from 1939 Germany. 1933 Germany does not include Austria. 1939 Germany does include Austria. Annexing another country will change the statistics. You would have to add Austria’s 1933 statistics to Germany’s 1933 statistics before you compare them.

          But the 1933 Germany approximations are not actually statistics. When you see 67% and 33%, you should not think those are accurate statistics. Those are far more likely to be approximations and guesstimates. When it is referring to numbers in the millions, they are unlikely to be 67% and 33%, and you should expect more significant digits if they were statistics.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You are comparing approximations from 1933 Germany with statistics from 1939 Germany. 1933 Germany does not include Austria. 1939 Germany does include Austria. Annexing another country will change the statistics. You would have to add Austria’s 1933 statistics to Germany’s 1933 statistics before you compare them.

          Again, I’m going to have to direct you to the chart, and the footnotes below it. You will note that the 2 sets of figures for 1933 show the exact same population, but the figures for 1939 have two different population totals that differ by 10 million (Austria had a population of 6.6 million and the Sudetenland, 3.1) . One is for the Weimar Rep. and the other is for Nazi Germany, including Austria. We want to compare apples with apples, so I am suggesting comparing Weimar Rep. (1933) with Weimar Rep.(1939).

          As an aside, why are there two sets of data for 1933? I understand why that is the case for 1939, but why 1933?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Population of Germany

          1933 = 65,362,115

          1939 = 79,375,281

          Your asserted increase in atheism at the expence of Christianity is pure speculation.

          By 1939, atheists had gone from a fraction of 1% to 1.5%.

          And the sources being cited don’t claim 1.5% declared themselves atheist, they declared themselves as having no faith…the two are not synonymous. So more ballix and lack of reading for comprehension. What sort of simpleton is going to declare themselves as an atheist on a census form in a place where atheists are not tolerated? Wise up Clement.

          The census of 17 May 1939 was the first time that German citizens were able to officially register as gottgläubig. Out of 79.4 million Germans, 2.7 million people (3.5%) claimed to be gottgläubig, compared to 94.5% who either belonged to the Protestant or Catholic churches, 300,000 Jews (0.4%), 86,000 adherents of other religions (including Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, neopagans and other religious sects and movements, 0.1%), and 1.2 million (1.5%) who had no faith (glaubenslos). Paradoxically, Germans living in urban areas, where support for the Nazi Party was the lowest, were the most likely to identify as gottgläubig, the five highest rates being found in Berlin (10.2%), Hamburg (7.5%), Vienna (6.4%), Düsseldorf (6.0%) and Essen (5.3%).

          Now you could say what sort of simpleton is going to declare themselves as a Jew on a census form in a place where Jews are not tolerated? But hiding ones Jewishness wasn’t that easy apparently. Especially as existing records detail ones ethnicity. And of course, the 1939 census pre-dates the Final Solution and the extent of the persecution that was ahead, so ignorance was bliss.

          Overall, of the 522,000 Jews living in Germany in January 1933, approximately 304,000 emigrated during the first six years of Nazi rule and about 214,000 were left on the eve of World War II. Of these, 160-180,000 were killed as a part of the Holocaust. On May 19, 1943, only about 20,000 Jews remained and Germany was declared judenrein (clean of Jews; also judenfrei: free of Jews).

          I pointed out that those with ambitions to be officers were dropping Christianity like crazy.

          And I pointed out why you either can’t read for jack-shit, or are lying. Yet you continue to repeat this nonsense.

          The 1939 data set shows something like 3.5% in some sort of new nazified deism-ish something-or-other.

          You are lying through your eye-teeth again. First, 3.5% were not all SS. And all it identified them as non-denominational. Many may well have remained Christians and likely did do.

          In Nazi Germany, Gottgläubig (literally: “Believers in God”), was a Nazi religious movement of those who had officially left Christian churches, but kept their faith in a higher power or divine creator. Such a person was called a Gottgläubige, plural Gottgläubigen, and the state of being gottgläubig was Gottgläubigkeit. The term implies someone who still believes in (a) God, although without having any institutional religious affiliation. The Nazis were not favourable towards religious institutions, nor did they tolerate atheism on the part of their membership: Gottgläubigkeit was a kind of officially sanctioned unorganised religion. The 1943 Philosophical Dictionary defined gottgläubig as: “official designation for those who profess a specific kind of piety and morality, without being bound to a church denomination, whilst however also rejecting irreligion and godlessness.” In the 1939 census, 3.5% of the German population identified as gottgläubig.

          The gain of that group was primarily at the expense of Christianity, and fits nicely with the size of growth of that group in the SS.

          Only by lying.

          The SS personnel records show that most of its members who left the church of their upbringing, did so just before or shortly after joining the SS. The Sicherheitsdienst (SD) members were the most willing corps within the SS to withdraw from their Christian denominations and change their religious affiliation to gottgläubig at 90%. Of the SS officers, 74% of those who joined the SS before 1933 did so, while 68% who joined the SS after 1933 would eventually declare themselves gottgläubig. Of the general SS membership, 16% had left their churches by the end of 1937.

          So, again…not everyone in the SS or SD…and none became atheist.

          The SS were still not atheists, so whatever way you want to try and cut this up, you still lose.

          Deism has had a kind of Soft Atheism feel to me, but let’s not go there.

          Complete fuckwittery…so yeah, let’s not go there ya dumb cunt.

        • Greg G.

          He seems to be having trouble understanding how Germany annexing Austria between 1933 and 1939 might change the demographics of Germany.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I think you are joking here, but sure, let’s have fun with it.

          Your hypothesis would be that since the non-Christian groups had been culled out, the only people available would have been Christians. The 1939 data contradict that hypothesis. There were other, non-Christian demographics that were now showing up in the stats. Atheist had gone from some decimal point to 1.5%. If the goal of persecuting the GFS was to decrease the number of atheists, it had failed. My bet is that most atheist persecution was aimed at the hated Communists (perhaps we can discuss the Christian:atheist ratio in the CP someday). These might not even be the same atheists from 1933.

          Then, there was the growth in the non-Jew Other demographic. It had also increased, mostly at the expense of the Christian demographic. A sizable chunk of them were the nazified, deism-ish gottglaubig BS.

          BTW, the concentration camps didn’t really get going until kinda late (1939+). There wouldn’t have been enough people in them to influence the census data.

        • Pofarmer

          What’s your fucking point? This is stupid.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Flailing about like a wounded fish outta water..

        • Ignorant Amos

          Atheist had gone from some decimal point to 1.5%.

          Nope…they didn’t…those declaring no faith did. Having no faith, doesn’t necessarily equate to no god belief.

          Then, there was the growth in the non-Jew Other demographic. It had also increased, mostly at the expense of the Christian demographic.

          Nope…can be explained by the increase in populstion and growing size of Germany over that 6 year period.

          A sizable chunk of them were the nazified, deism-ish gottglaubig BS.

          Nope..no sizable chunk…just a lie you keep repeating with no support whasoever.

          There were no atheists in the SS and I would doubt there were any openly out atheists in the the Nazis in general.

          You are flailing about all over the place, but you can’t make the connection. Your ratio crap is shot to smithereens…but you just keep on digging the hole…it a fun train wreck to watch.

          BTW, the concentration camps didn’t really get going until kinda late (1939+). There wouldn’t have been enough people in them to influence the census data.

          There were a variety of concentration camps…not all were death camps.

          No need to factor the numbers of German Jews that entered the camps as an effect on their numbers…Nazi Germany was hemorrhaging Jews by the tens of thousands over the pre-war 6 years of the Nazis. The numbers more than halved in that 6 year period with German Jews doing a runner.

          Hitler built concentration camps as soon as he got into power in 1933. The 1939+ saw the industrialization of the concept, but the folk going into them by that time weren’t, for the most part, Germans.

          The lead editors of the Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945 of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Geoffrey Megargee and Martin Dean, cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, operating from 1933 to 1945. They estimate that 15 million to 20 million people died or were imprisoned in the sites.

          Clearly not just the 120-180 estimated German Jews that perished in the concentration camps then.

        • epeeist

          He is talking utter bollocks (again). If you read the actual data you can see that the percentage of Protestants (Evangelischen Kirche) in 1933 was 62.7% while the percentage of Catholics (Römisch-Katholischen Kirche) was 32.5% which makes 95.2% of the total population. The rest (Sonstige) is 4.8%, which includes 0.8% Jews.

          You will notice that the table doesn’t include atheists, which may well mean that the question was never asked (compare the British Census, this allows “no religion” but doesn’t include “atheist” as an answer to “What is your religion”).

          You will note he keeps referring to “charts”, and not to the actual data. I don’t think he is capable of comprehending anything unless it has a picture; another thing he has in common with Trump.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The lies are hanging right out of him…such a prideful Christian…baby Jesus is gurning.

        • Greg G.

          My bet is that most atheist persecution was aimed at the hated Communists (perhaps we can discuss the Christian:atheist ratio in the CP someday).

          You have been given Hitler quotes about targeting atheists, not atheist Communists or Communist atheists.

          Why do you associate Communists and atheists? Read Acts 4:32-5:11. According to that, early Christians were as Communist as you could get? Why aren’t you advocating for life like that?

        • Clement Agonistes

          Hitler’s speech referred to the political alliances of the Catholic
          aligned Centre Party with parties of the Left, which he associated with
          Bolshevism, and thus, atheism
          “. – Wikipedia “Religious views of Adolph Hitler”

          On October 13, 1933, Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess
          issued a decree stating: “No National Socialist may suffer any
          detriment on the ground that he does not profess any particular faith or
          confession or on the ground that he does not make any religious
          profession at all.”[180] However, the regime strongly opposed “Godless Communism”[181][182] and all of Germany’s freethinking (freigeist), atheist, and largely left-wing organizations were banned the same year.

          – Wikipedia, “Religion in Nazi Germany”.

        • Greg G.

          So you are saying that the reason you associate Communists and atheists are because Hitler and the Nazis did?

          What about Ananias and his wife Sapphira in Acts 4:32-5:11? Do you think they deserved their fate?

        • Clement Agonistes

          It relates to may comment about Hitler’s motivation to persecute atheist in 1933, but not later. It’s an explanation about why the number of atheists grew despite the persecutions in his early years. I don’t think you can overestimate Hitler’s hatred of Communists. I’ve heard the hypothesis that he associated Jews with the Communists of the 20s.

          Now, if you want to change the subject to the Christian:atheist ratio in Communist Parties, bring it on.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But according to you and your source, Hitler and all the leading Nazis were atheists.

          Which is it?

          You are all over the place here like a mad woman’s shite ffs.

        • Clement Agonistes

          As I stated, their objection was to Communist atheists, not Nazi ones. It was left-wing atheist organizations that were banned in 1933. Six year later, there are more atheist than ever What is your interpretation of Hess’ comment?

        • Ignorant Amos

          As I stated, their objection was to Communist atheists, not Nazi ones.

          So being atheist had nothing to do with it then?

          But here again, your ability to read for comprehension comes into play.

          And taken in context with what Hitler and other leading Nazis were saying about atheists or the godless…it isn’t just certain atheists.

          It was left-wing atheist organizations that were banned in 1933.

          So it was their left-wing views that was the problem, not their atheism. Not too many right-wing atheists about. None in the SS.

          The oath of allegiance taken by the SS…as recorded in Himmler’s book…”Die Schutzstaffel als antibolschewistische Kampforganisation”….

          “Wie lautet Dein Eid ?” – “Ich schwöre Dir, Adolf Hitler, als Führer und Kanzler des Deutschen Reiches Treue und Tapferkeit. Wir geloben Dir und den von Dir bestimmten Vorgesetzten Gehorsam bis in den Tod. So wahr mir Gott helfe !”

          “Also glaubst Du an einen Gott ?” – “Ja, ich glaube an einen Herrgott.”

          “Was hältst Du von einem Menschen, der nicht an einen Gott glaubt?” – “Ich halte ihn für überheblich, größenwahnsinnig und dumm; er ist nicht für uns geeignet.

          Which translates to…

          “What is your oath ?” – “I vow to you, Adolf Hitler, as Führer and chancellor of the German Reich loyalty and bravery. I vow to you and to the leaders that you set for me, absolute allegiance until death. So help me God !”

          “So you believe in a God ?” – “Yes, I believe in a Lord God.”

          “What do you think about a man who does not believe in a God ?” – “I think he is overbearing, megalomaniac and foolish; he is not one of us.”

          https://archive.org/stream/DieSchutzstaffelAlsAntibolschewistischeKampforganisation/HimmlerHeinrich-DieSchutzstaffelAlsAntibolschewistischeKampforganisation193717S.#page/n13/mode/2up

          Six year later, there are more atheist than ever.

          That’s the lie you are peddling, none of your sources backs that up. The sources don’t say atheist, that’s just your interpretation.

          What is your interpretation of Hess’ comment?

          My interpretation is that along with “Godless Communism”, all of Germany’s freethinking (freigeist), largely left-wing organisations, and atheists, were all opposed by the Nazis.

          “However, the regime strongly opposed “Godless Communism” and all of Germany’s freethinking (freigeist), atheist, and largely left-wing organizations were banned the same year.”

          The punctuation marks either side of the word atheist are a dead give away.

          The comma is used in many contexts and languages, mainly for separating parts of a sentence such as clauses, and items in lists, particularly when there are three or more items listed.

          If, as you assert, it was only Communist atheists, Freethinking atheists, and right-wing atheists, that were being opposed…wtf is that none defined group of atheists doing on the list?

          But perhaps we differ on how we learn to read in English Language class on this side of the pond.

        • Clement Agonistes

          As I stated, their objection was to Communist atheists, not Nazi ones.

          So being atheist had nothing to do with it then?

          You are thinking that Hitler was OK with the God-ful Communists? It was a BS excuse. In public Hitler talks God; in private, he sounds like Amos. Jim Crow sounds like it is even-handed, but it was a BS excuse to target Blacks. The consensus of experts on Hitler agree he was an atheist, himself. He was not persecuting himself. He was not persecuting his immediate underlings.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You are thinking that Hitler was OK with the God-ful Communists?

          Whaaa? It’s your argument. If Hitler wasn’t okay with God-ful communists also…if there even was such a thing…then the atheist bit has fuck all to do with it.

          If their atheism was a non sequitur then just say so.

          It was a BS excuse. In public Hitler talks God; in private, he sounds like Amos.

          No, he didn’t…and you can’t demonstrate anything to the contrary.

          Go on…cite “Hitler’s Table Talk”…a double dare ya…you will be right royally torn a new one.

          Jim Crow sounds like it is even-handed, but it was a BS excuse to target Blacks.

          Irrelevant fuckwittery. Don’t care.

          The consensus of experts on Hitler agree he was an atheist, himself.

          Just because you assert something, doesn’t make it true. If you had any evidence for your lies, you’d present it…so far fuck all.

          He was not persecuting himself.

          Fuckwit. He wasn’t an atheist. Nowhere did he claim to be an atheist, while time and time again, in his writings and speeches, he claimed to be a believer. Both privately and publicly, he declared his belief in God.

          He was not persecuting his immediate underlings.

          Because they were not atheists. You haven’t done anything to demonstrate they were atheists, and have ignored evidence to the contrary.

          You are a disingenuous lying cunt with the intellectual integrity of a slug.

          But keep going, you are a case study to behold for sure.

        • Clement Agonistes

          It was a BS excuse. In public Hitler talks God; in private, he sounds like Amos.

          No, he didn’t…and you can’t demonstrate anything to the contrary.

          In Hitler’s early political statements, he attempted to express himself to the German public as a Christian.[8] In his book Mein Kampf and in public speeches prior to and in the early years of his rule, he described himself as a Christian.[9][10] Hitler and the Nazi party promoted “Positive Christianity”,[11] a movement which rejected most traditional Christian doctrines such as the divinity of Jesus, as well as Jewish elements such as the Old Testament.[12][13]
          In one widely quoted remark, he described Jesus as an “Aryan fighter”
          who struggled against “the power and pretensions of the corrupt
          Pharisees”[14] and Jewish materialism.[15]
          While a small minority of historians accept these publicly stated views as genuine expressions of his spirituality,[8]
          the vast majority believe that Hitler was skeptical of religion and
          anti-Christian, but recognized that he could only be elected and
          preserve his political power if he feigned a commitment to and belief in
          Christianity, which the overwhelming majority of Germans believed in.[16]
          Privately, Hitler repeatedly deprecated Christianity, and told
          confidants that his reluctance to make public attacks on the Church was
          not a matter of principle, but a pragmatic political move.[17]
          In his private diaries, Goebbels wrote in April 1941 that though Hitler
          was “a fierce opponent” of the Vatican and Christianity, “he forbids me
          to leave the church. For tactical reasons.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nothing in that screed is evidence that demonstrates Hitler was an atheist…so pah!

          Got evidence?

        • Clement Agonistes

          It was addressing your comment I quoted.

          You’ve made it clear that you do not think “atheist” and “irreligious” are synonymous. Every thesaurus ever disagrees with you.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It was addressing your comment I quoted.

          I know…let’s look at that comment you quoted.

          It was a BS excuse. In public Hitler talks God; in private, he sounds like Amos.

          No, he didn’t…and you can’t demonstrate anything to the contrary.

          Where in the screed you cited does Hitler “talk God”?

          Try reading for comprehension sometime, it’ll make you look less an arse.

          Even the bit about what most historians believe about Hitler, doesn’t mention God, it is his Christianity that is being questioned.

          Try harder.

          You’ve made it clear that you do not think “atheist” and “irreligious” are synonymous. Every thesaurus ever disagrees with you.

          Not necessarily synonymous…try harder.

          There are loads of people who believe/believed in God, but have/had given up on organised religions. I can’t understand why this is so feckin’ difficult for you.

          If they were all atheists in that group of irreligious, why does the source not cut to the chase and just not say so?

          You are floundering…your sources don’t get you to where you want, so you are forced to make shite up…keep going, it’s just more evidence of your disingenuous interactions. Your intellectual integrity is in the shitter already.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Seriously? You are going to try to weasel out by distinguishing between “talking God”, and “Christianity? I meant that he was pretending to be a Christian – talking about God as if he were a Christian. The quotes I provided said over and over that he was saying one thing in public, but another in private.

          BTW, it wasn’t that long ago that you were talking up his Christianity, citing as evidence:

          Adolf Hitler’s religious views are not a difficult case. Hitler was baptized Catholic as a baby. Hitler was an alterboy in his youth. He regularly went to church as an adult, and contrary to popular belief, was never excommunicated after he died. He had the Christian moniker “Gott Mit Uns” meaning ‘god with us’ put on many nazi uniform belt buckles.

          You even called him a “typical Christian”. And, you neglected to mention that all Nazis were excommunicated from the RCC in 1930.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Seriously? You are going to try to weasel out by distinguishing between “talking God”, and “Christianity?

          Yes, seriously. If you can’t tell the difference between “God talk” and “religion talk”…that’s your fuck up, not mine. The citation you provided makes no reference to him disparaging God.

          I meant that he was pretending to be a Christian – talking about God as if he were a Christian.

          And that’s not what you said, nor can it be demonstrated that that’s what Hitler was doing. You can’t have it both ways. Hitler was anti-Christian as an organisation controlled by not him. He was vocal about that in public and private, that’s not the issue.

          See, here’s the thing, there’d always been many Christianities. There is in excess of 45,000 versions out there today. For some reason you think that because Hitler was slating certain versions of Christianity, he was slating all versions of Christianity. Read your own source…

          “In Hitler’s early political statements, he attempted to express himself to the German public as a Christian. In his book Mein Kampf and in public speeches prior to and in the early years of his rule, he described himself as a Christian. Hitler and the Nazi party promoted “Positive Christianity”, a movement which rejected most traditional Christian doctrines such as the divinity of Jesus, as well as Jewish elements such as the Old Testament.

          “Positive Christianity”…did Hitler and the Nazis contradict themselves, absolutely…a well worn Christian trait.

          https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Positive_Christianity

          Now, to the official policy of the Nazis…

          The Party stands on the basis of Positive Christianity, and positive Christianity is National Socialism… National Socialism is the doing of God’s will… God’s will reveals itself in German blood;… Dr Zoellner and Count Galen have tried to make clear to me that Christianity consists in faith in Christ as the son of God. That makes me laugh… No, Christianity is not dependent upon the Apostle’s Creed… True Christianity is represented by the party, and the German people are now called by the party and especially the Fuehrer to a real Christianity… the Fuehrer is the herald of a new revelation. ~Hans Kerrl, Nazi Minister for Church Affairs, 1937

          And for some reason, you think that Hitler is the only person in history not allowed to change their position on what they believe about what and when. Yet all God believers do it with regularity.

          The quotes I provided said over and over that he was saying one thing in public, but another in private.

          No, they don’t …read them again. And there are quotes of Hitler supporting Christianity in public and in private. Hitler was a bit deranged apparently.

          The citation I provided that you copied above was to demonstrate the variety of views out there on Hitlers beliefs. His beliefs were all over the place, like Christianity itself. I also provided a citation from a recent book by an historian that claims Hitler to be a pantheist. And it makes a good case.

          You even called him a “typical Christian”.

          Well, I certainly could’ve, but given your penchant to quote-mine in order to dishonestly portray a different position, when you cite where I said it in which context, I’ll concede or call ya out.

          I’m betting the context will be a “typical Christian” as in a hypocritical liar who is a disingenuous self serving arsehole…because other than that, there aren’t any “typical Christians”.

          And, you neglected to mention that all Nazis were excommunicated from the RCC in 1930.

          I neglected nothing. It’s a moot point. When the topic of excommunication comes up, it is about those two cowardly bastard popes that were sitting in the Holy See during his rise and time in power, not what their underlings were doing in Germany.

          On September 1930, the Bishop of Mainz denied Nazi Catholics the sacrament…ipso facto excommunication.

          On February, 10th, 1931 the Bavarian bishops (among others) issued an internal pastoral directive (i.e. for clergy only) because the NSDAP was the second largest party in parliament since the elections of September 14th, 1930. (18,3% , about 6.4 million voters)

          So excommunicated in secret. Hmmmm.

          The Mainz document was a blanket excommunication. The Bavarian document only applied to a blanket excommunication of clerics, lay persons were to be judged on a case-by-case basis.

          On March 1933, the bishops of Fulda annulled the previous two documents. So pah!

          The point is, the Holy See never excommunicated Hitler officially. If the argument stands that all Nazis were ipso facto excommunicated in 1930, then why did the Holy See deem it necessary to excommunicate certain Nazi individual?

          Pius XII had his own super weapon which he could have utilized excommunication. Traditionally, however, excommunication has been used against those for their wrong beliefs, not their wrong actions. Excommunicating Hitler would probably have been pointless, but excommunicating all Catholics who supported his policy of extermination might have, at the very least, put reins on his policy. On the other hand, excommunication might have had the opposite result; many Catholics would have left the Church rather than reject their country.

          There has been much debate over the question of Pius XII using excommunication as a weapon against Nazism.

          Given the indifference of the fate of the German population toward the fate of the Jews, and the highly ambivalent attitude of the German hierarchy toward Nazi anti-Semitism, a forceful stand . . . on the Jewish question might well have led to a large-scale desertion from the Church.

          The pope knew that the German Catholics were not prepared to suffer martyrdom for their church; still less were they willing to incur the wrath of their Nazi ruler for the sake of the Jews whom their own bishops for years had castigated as a harmful influence in German life.

          Some writers suggest that excommunication would have done more damage to the Jews, to the half-Jews and to the Church. Obviously, the condition of the Jews could not have been worse. Rolf Hochhuth asserts that excommunication was the answer; he argues that Hitler backed down with each papal intervention. Furthermore, Pius XII excommunicated active communists, so why not Nazis?

          http://people.loyno.edu/~history/journal/1983-4/shelton.htm

          Like I said…”typical Christian” hypocritical liar who is a disingenuous self serving arsehole.

          See, every Catholic that has an abortion is automatically excommunicated. What is being asked is why the Pope never felt the need to make it official…like what he did with the Nazi for the heinous crime of marrying a Protestant?

          http://www.nndb.com/people/201/000025126/

          Of course Hitler did nothing that the RCC hadn’t been doing for centuries, so the whole idea of excommunication by the RCC is a bit rich.

          Anyway, It makes no difference what Hitler was saying about Christianity, or by extension, God if ya like, in public and private…he still wasn’t an atheist. You still haven’t made

        • Ignorant Amos
        • epeeist

          Six year later, there are more atheist than ever

          Really? Got evidence?

        • Pofarmer

          You know, quite honestly, it might not be all that surprising there would be more atheist in Germany 6 years later when people watched all the horrors that their Christian countrymen were doing.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The population was larger, and so was the demographic percentage. Is more necessary?

          Would this point have any relevance for you if I am correct?

        • epeeist

          The population was larger, and so was the demographic percentage.

          I asked you for some evidence, not for you to make something up.

        • Clement Agonistes

          More IS necessary.

          Population, 1933: 65,218,000
          Population, 1939: 69,314,000
          The population of Germany was larger in 1939 by 5,096,000.

          Percentage, 1933: 0.8%
          Percentage, 1939: 1.5%
          The percentage of German atheists increased by 0.7%.

          Putting the two together, that translates to an increase of roughly 356,000.

        • epeeist

          More IS necessary.

          Ah, so given that the population of the UK is larger now than in, say, 1980 then the number of Christians in the should be larger now than then, correct?

          Let’s look at some statistics.

          I am presuming that the 1939 percentage for atheists comes from Evans. Where did you get the 1933 figure from?

          EDIT: typo

        • Clement Agonistes

          Ah, so given that the population of the UK is larger now than in, say,
          1980 then the number of Christians in the should be larger now than
          then, correct?

          If the percentage stayed the same or increased, yes.

          I am presuming that the 1939 percentage for atheists comes from Evans. Where did you get the 1933 figure from?

          Both are from the census data cited in the Wikipedia article.

        • epeeist

          If the percentage stayed the same or increased, yes.

          The point is that the population and identity figures are not necessarily correlated, either can change without reference to the other.

          Both are from the census data cited in the Wikipedia article.

          This one? There is no mention of the percentage of atheists being 0.8% in 1933 in the article.

          As for the 1.5%, Evans gives this as the percentage of atheists while the census gives 1.5% as “irreligious”. As I have pointed out before “irreligious” simply means “without religion”, it does not necessarily mean atheist.

          Also if you want to take the census figures, then the 1933 value for “other or irreligious” is 4.0%.

        • Ignorant Amos

          As I have pointed out before “irreligious” simply means “without religion”, it does not necessarily mean atheist.

          He knows, but since that doesn’t fit with the fantasy between his ears, it is conveniently ignored.

        • epeeist

          His reading comprehension really is appalling, and the fact that he keeps referring to the pictures on the web page rather than the actual numbers is telling.

        • Clement Agonistes

          If the percentage stayed the same or increased, yes.

          The
          point is that the population and identity figures are not necessarily
          correlated, either can change without reference to the other.

          The percentages are not linked to a population increase, but the raw numbers would be.

          Both are from the census data cited in the Wikipedia article.

          This one? There is no mention of the percentage of atheists being 0.8% in 1933 in the article.

          As for the 1.5%, Evans gives this as the percentage of atheists while the
          census gives 1.5% as “irreligious”. As I have pointed out before
          “irreligious” simply means “without religion”, it does not necessarily
          mean atheist.

          Well, not if you want it to bad enough. Evans made the unpardonable sin of being objective. If only he’d know just how bad you would need to muddy the waters, I’m sure he would have seen it your way.

          Click on “irreligious” next to the 1.5% figure and it will link to a write up that, yeah, says it should not be confused with atheism, then scroll down to “Kinds of irreligion” #1 is Secular humanism – the belief that that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or a god. Familiar, no? it is a sect of atheism.

          #2? “Freethought”. You cited persecution of the Freethought movement as proof of Nazi persecution of atheists . . . . . not the “irreligious”.

          “Irreligious” is just a laundry list of sects of atheism, soft and hard.

        • epeeist

          The percentages are not linked to a population increase, but the raw numbers would be.

          Err, what? If the population increases by a certain amount it does not necessarily follow that the number of people associated with a particular attribute will change.

          Evans made the unpardonable sin of being objective.

          He did? How did he get to the figure of 1.5%?

          Secular humanism – the belief that that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or a god. Familiar, no? it is a sect of atheism.

          And the dishonesty kicks in again. As has been pointed out to you numerous times before atheism is a position on one question, non-belief in the existence of gods, but you keep on pressing the reset button and repeating the same thing as though nothing had been said.

          You have claimed that atheism has implications but when I asked you what these were you didn’t deign to reply.

          “Irreligious” is just a laundry list of sects of atheism, soft and hard

          Going to have to repeat it once more, you really are one of the most dishonest cunts I have seen posting on this site. You really have no intellectual integrity whatsoever.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The percentages are not linked to a population increase, but the raw numbers would be.

          Err, what? If the population increases by a certain amount it does not
          necessarily follow that the number of people associated with a
          particular attribute will change.

          Err, as specified, “If the percentage stayed the same or increased, yes.” (the comment you were responding to). As an example. 1% of a population of 600 would be 6, but 1% of 900 would be 9. The raw numbers would increase by 3 solely due to the population increase. As I said, the raw numbers are tied to the population, but there is no guarantee that the percentages would stay the same (or increase). One is linked to teh population; the other isn’t.

          Evans made the unpardonable sin of being objective.

          He did? How did he get to the figure of 1.5%?

          Clearly, like all the others, he is plotting against you behind your back. Like any normal, objective person without a horse in this race, he equated “irreligious” with “atheist”. When it suited your purposes, you did too, equating Freethinkers with atheists. I note you edited that point out of your comments on my post. Coincidence, right? We all know I am the dishonest one here.

        • epeeist

          As I said, the raw numbers are tied to the population

          The only numbers that are tied to the population are the numbers in the population, you have provided nothing which shows that the population and religiosity or atheism are correlated.

          Clearly, like all the others, he is plotting against you behind your back.

          So you are unable to answer the question.

          When it suited your purposes, you did too, equating Freethinkers with atheists.

          Given that its aim was to provide a public meeting-ground and forum for materialist and atheist thinkers in Germany then it would seem reasonable to do so.

        • Clement Agonistes

          When it suited your purposes, you did too, equating Freethinkers with atheists.

          Given that its aim was to provide a public meeting-ground and forum for materialist and atheist thinkers in Germany then it would seem reasonable to do so.

          Honesty isn’t even an option for you , is it?

        • epeeist

          Honesty isn’t even an option for you , is it?

          From this page.

          The German Freethinkers League (‘Deutscher Freidenkerbund’) was an organisation founded in 1881 by the materialist philosopher and physician Ludwig Büchner[1] to oppose the power of the state churches in Germany.[2] Its aim was to provide a public meeting-ground and forum for materialist and atheist thinkers in Germany.

          Dishonesty is obviously so embedded in your thinking that you can’t conceive of anyone else being scrupulous about the truth.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You are projecting.

        • Susan

          You are projecting.

          No. He is spot on.

          By the way, you said that if I included the crucial next paragraph in my comment, that you’d explain how logically there is no morality without Yahwehjesus, but that there is morality with Yahwehjesus.

          You said that you’d explain everything if I included that paragraph. I notified you that I edited my comment to include that paragraph.

          But you still haven’t explained the “logic”.

        • epeeist

          You are projecting.

          About having a fencer at the senior world championships, possibly.

          But when it comes to you and your dishonesty, absolutely not. It isn’t just me either is it, plenty of others (including someone who initially supported you) have come to the same conclusion.

        • Clement Agonistes

          And, the way we can know if something is true or not is by how many people say it. right? I mean, if I could find “plenty of others” who said exactly the opposite, then THAT would become the truth, right?

          And heck, let’s not stop there – let’s swing for the fences; let’s go for the whole ball of wax – theism vs atheism. If more people say theism is true compared to those who say atheism is true, then the issue is settled, right?

          Your first hint that your case was falling apart was when you could not present a factual argument and had to resort to name-calling. Your intellectual argument has only gone downhill from there. Look what you are reduced to now – name-calling combined with the argumentum ad populum.

          You have presented 2 arguments that are at odds with each other. You make massive leaps of logic that are not supported by evidence (or are flatly refuted by evidence). Your pride dictates what positions you take. You say things that you know are not true. You don’t have a reliable methodology for ascertaining truth.

        • Susan

          the way we can know if something is true or not is by how many people say it. right?

          As opposed to you just asserting it (“You are projecting.”) when epeeist provided an explanation of what freethinkers are from the page you linked.

          epeeist has simply pointed out that your indifference to evidence and habit of asserting things without supporting them has been pointed out by many people, mostly with accompanying evidence.

          You make massive leaps of logic that are not supported by evidence.

          Give us an example. While you’re at it, give us an example of you making any leap of logic that’s supported by evidence.

          (Hey! Just reminding you. You promised that if I linked to the second paragraph of that “ex-atheist who was convinced by logic”, then you would show us how morality relies on Yahwehjesus, but so far, you haven’t kept your promise. I’m accustomed to you making no case, whatsoever.)

          As to the rest, you are a lying liar who doesn’t feel any compunction about repeating your lies.

          Support something.

        • epeeist

          As to the rest, you are a lying liar who doesn’t feel any compunction about repeating your lies.

          Agreed, he is more ήπιος ανέντιμος than ήπιος πρωταθλητής (apologies to John Milton). The only thing he is actually champion at is lying.

        • Clement Agonistes

          the way we can know if something is true or not is by how many people say it. right?

          As opposed to you just asserting it (“You are projecting.”) when epeeist provided an explanation of what freethinkers are from the page you linked.

          Susan?! “Projecting” . . . what? Here is the comment I was responding to:

          Dishonesty is obviously so embedded in your thinking that you can’t conceive of anyone else being scrupulous about the truth.

          All he did was assert it. He had just provided a quote from Wikipedia showing that the GFS consisted of materialists AND atheists. Atheists didn’t even rate first-billing. Earlier in this thread, he asserted that the GFS – as an atheist organization – was an example of Nazi banning of atheists, with the implication (dishonest?) that the number of atheists in Germany would be decreasing, and the (dishonest?) implication Christian population would not be decreasing because they had Nazi support.

          Once “irreligious” was equated as meaning “atheist”, epeeist had to dump his previous assertion and make a different assertion about the SAME data – that the GFS was NOT atheist, but irreligious. It can’t be both. One assertion has to be thrown under the bus. When I pointed this out to him, his response was to name-call (a red flag for dishonesty), not to provide support for his assertion. All he had to do was to say that he was mistaken either originally, or now in order to be honest. But, that would be asking too much for someone who gives lip service to science.

          Note that you only “found religion” on the need for support when I was the one making an assertion. Note that I had provided support for my assertion in previous posts and he was the one ducking and dodging. There was not so much as a peep from you when it was your tribe member making assertions.

          I get it. You have a bias. We all do. The purpose of philosophy is to eliminate our human frailties from the process of discovering the truth. If you cast that aside at the first hint that your hypothesis might be imperfect, then what is the point – you don’t care what the truth is.

          Which is kinda my point All of us ultimately fall back on our hunches about what the truth is. But, we need to be self-aware that is what we are doing. Bob says hope in God is a false hope . . . . but that is just a hunch. It is an assertion without the necessary knowledge to state it as fact. EVERY conclusion about the ultimate truth we come to has premises that are just hunches. The Objective Truth eludes us. We insert a subjective truth based on subjective experiences. You guys just delude yourselves that you are not doing that.

          You make massive leaps of logic that are not supported by evidence.

          Give us an example. While you’re at it, give us an example of you making any leap of logic that’s supported by evidence.

          I provided examples in my response to epeeist – let me know if you missed it.

          Obviously, I do not think I am making and “leaps” of logic (LOL). One example of where you might think so would be SS officers being more representative of the number of Christians in the Nazi Party than the German population as a whole. Nazi Party membership was a requisite.

          Another would be equating “irreligious” with “atheist” I pointed out that the thesaurus calls them synonymous, and epeeist equated the 2 initially. IMO, any man-on-the-street without a horse in this race would too. Early on in this thread, epeeist presented public quotes as evidence that Hitler was Christian-friendly. After the consensus of historians was presented showing that was a farce, he had to retreat to “irreligious” as a fall-back position to avoid admitting Hitler was just some version of a weak atheist. He made an assertion, and then abandoned it without ever acknowledging the mistake.

          (Hey! Just reminding you. You promised that if I linked to the second paragraph of that “ex-atheist who was convinced by logic”, then you would show us how morality relies on Yahwehjesus, but so far, you haven’t kept your promise. I’m accustomed to you making no case, whatsoever.)
          As to the rest, you are a lying liar who doesn’t feel any compunction about repeating your lies.

          So, you don’t object to making assertions without support when it’s a non-tribe member, eh? (provide examples)

          1) It was your claim that I would go through Klavan’s quotes with you.
          2) I have been looking forward to doing what you promised on my behalf. I did not understand what you were saying you were going to do. I have been waiting for a lengthy post from you going through his logic point-by-point. Was there a link I was supposed to go to? Was it in that post? Did I miss a post?

        • Susan

          It was your claim that I would go through Klavan’s quotes with you

          It was your claim that Klavan was persuaded by logic.

          You then accused me of editing out a paragraph that explained his logic (even though that paragraph was there for all to see in the comment to which I responded.) You then said that if I were to include the paragraph, you’d explain Klavan’s logic.

          I edited to include the paragraph.

          I have been looking forward to doing what you promised on my behalf. I did not understand what you were saying you were going to do. I have been waiting for a lengthy post from you going through his logic point-by-point.

          There is no logic. Simply assertions.

          Here’s where you’re supposed to show the long-promised logic.

        • Clement Agonistes

          It was your claim that Klavan was persuaded by logic.

          Here is the exact quote of what I claimed that started the whole Klavan thread:
          Andrew Klavan says of his conversion that he had been reading the works
          of great atheist minds, and their answers were so unsatisfying that he
          had to reject his own atheism. He just couldn’t not-believe. Like you
          guys, he described it as a liberating moment. The stories are the same,
          only the plots are reversed.

          I edited to include the paragraph.

          Ah, OK, now I understand what you meant. You went back and changed your original post to include the deleted explanation.

          OK, let’s walk through it:
          Here at last, however, was an atheist whose outlook made complete
          logical sense to me from beginning to end. If there is no God, there is
          no morality. If there is no morality the search for pleasure and the
          avoidance of pain are all in all and we should pillage, rape, and murder
          as we please. None of this pale, milquetoast atheism that says “Let’s
          all do what’s good for society.” What is society to me? None of this
          elaborate game-theory nonsense where we all benefit from mutual
          sacrifice and restraint. That only works when no one is looking; then
          I’ll get away with what I can. If there is no God, there is no good, and
          sadistic pornography is scripture.

          The Marquis de Sade (“an atheist”) argued that there was no God, and, as a consequence, no morality. Therefore, logically, he threw out ALL pretense that we have a purpose in life to serve the good of society. He is talking about the MdS’s thought process.

          Now, in a different paragraph, Klavan explains how he got to theism:
          if we concede that one thing is morally better than another, it can only
          be because it is closer to an Ultimate Moral Good, the standard by
          which it is measured. An Ultimate Moral Good cannot just be an idea. It
          must be, in effect, a personality with consciousness and free will. The
          rain isn’t morally good even though it makes the crops grow; a tornado
          that kills isn’t morally evil — though it may be an evil for those in
          its way. Happy and sad events, from birth to death, just happen, and we
          ascribe moral qualities to them as they suit us or don’t. But true,
          objective good and evil, in order to be good and evil, have to be aware
          and intentional. So an Ultimate Moral Good must be conscious and free;
          it must be God.

          As I work through his reasoning, each conclusion has premises that lead to that conclusion. The logic is sound. The problem is the premises – are they true? Is “one thing better than another”? Is there an Ultimate Moral Good? Does knowledge of good and evil require a mind? Does that mind have to be free to choose good (or evil)?

          I understood that you were going to go through those quotes and show, step-by-step, to edit it and show where you disagreed with Klavan. You claimed he showed no reasoning, yet left it at that assertion. I assumed you were going to support your claim and was waiting for that post.

        • Greg G.

          Andrew Klavan says of his conversion that he had been reading the works
          of great atheist minds, and their answers were so unsatisfying that he had to reject his own atheism.

          That is illogical. The claim of atheism is there is insufficient evidence to support believe in gods. The only logical reason to believe in something is to have sufficient evidence for the existence of something.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Well, of course, there are variations on that theme. I don’t know if you have had the opportunity to read Klavan’s own words to make sure I am correctly characterizing his thoughts. If not, make sure I am getting this right. The specific author he references is the Marquis de Sade. The MdS was of the naturalist flavor of atheism. He was a hard atheist who made no allowance whatsoever for any God. Nature was all there was. Klavan asserts that the MdS believed that morality was not natural, and nature was to seek one’s own happiness.

          The argument against the MdS would seem to be that it is in our nature to behave morally. That gets into determinism and free will. I don’t see the evidence to make definitive conclusions about those.

        • Otto

          “As I work through his reasoning, each conclusion has premises that lead to that conclusion. The logic is sound. The problem is the premises – are they true?”

          No, you don’t get to declare that the logic is sound before figuring out whether the premises are true, because if the premises are not true than there is no logic involved. Utilizing logic requires sound premises. You are attempting to put the cart before the horse.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’m making a distinction between two parts of a logic statement. One is whether the conclusion follows, logically, from the premises. The other is whether the premises are factual. As an example, suppose I said:

          A. Bob weight 180 pounds.
          B. Bob drives a car.

          Therefore,
          C. Bob is a Methodist.

          All 3 statements could be true, but the conclusion does not follow from the two premises. it is bad logic even though all three are correct.

          Next:
          A. All planets are gas giants.
          B. The Earth is a planet.

          Therefore,
          C. Earth is a gas giant.

          The conclusion follows from the premises. But, one of the premises is factually wrong. I fault the information, not the logic.

          I cannot know whether Klavan’s premises are true, but I can know that his conclusion follows from them.

        • Otto

          I get what you are trying to get across, I do. And I think you fairly represented what you meant.

          But Klaven’c conclusion is… “An Ultimate Moral Good cannot just be an idea. It must be, in effect, a personality with consciousness and free will.

          Not only do I not know if the premises are correct, but I am not convinced the conclusion follows at all from the premises. The premises do not mention a ‘mind’ or ‘personality’ in the sense he is using it, i.e. God. So no, while I understand the distinction you are making I do not agree with it.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’m not confident of my interpretation of what Klavan is saying. That’s why I keep encouraging people to quote from what he is saying to make their case.

          The premises do not mention a ‘mind’ or ‘personality’ in the sense he is using it, i.e. God.

          Allow me to state what I think his progression is and see if it makes sense:

          1. Given a moral issue, we recognize one thing is better than another. This seems, to me, to be one of those Capt. Obvious observations. We may not agree on what is more moral than another, but we all have that sense that one thing is better than another.

          2. Since (1) is true, then anything “better” is closer to an ideal moral good. OK, that sure seems to build on #1. If something is “better”, then is is closer to “perfect” than it was earlier.

          3. If I am declaring one thing to be better than another, then a choice is being made. Klavan makes the point that a hurricane isn’t making a choice to be evil. A hurricane can’t decide to be evil. Only when a choice is made can evil – or good – be picked.

          4. Since 3 is true, then the ability to choose requires a mind. Klavan links consciousness, free will, and personality into this point. IMO, that equates with a mind – something that has an awareness of good and evil, and can freely choose between them.

          5. If 4 is true, then this Ultimate Moral Good – this perfect Objective Morality – is a person, but not a human because our morality is subjective and flawed. God is the only term that fits that description. Buddhists might call it “the universe” – a force that permeates everything.

          Pick that apart.

        • Otto

          Re: 1. We may argue one thing is better than another, but the situation makes a difference. I may agree stealing is worse than not stealing, but there are situations where not stealing is worse than stealing. There is not one ‘catch all’ answer for stealing. While in the general sense I don’t have a problem with this premise, I don’t like how the idea of ‘one thing is better than another’ is presented as all encompassing. There could be 1 situation with 2 different actions or inaction’s, both of which could be moral; could one be ‘better’ than another…maybe, maybe not.

          2. The idea that there is some moral ‘perfection’ is smuggled in here.

          3. I am fine with the idea that an ‘agent’ makes moral choices. Humans do that.

          4. I agree that moral agency requires something that can assign value and then make moral decisions. Humans have minds, so we are still ok here.

          5. Here is where it goes off the rails. There is no demonstration of Ultimate Moral Good, even though the idea of perfection was attempted to be smuggled in earlier. Then “this perfect Objective Morality – is a person” does not follow from the previous steps. Morality is dependent on there being some sort of society, morality is by nature ‘social’. There is nothing that points to morality being ‘A Person’ in the previous steps.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Re: 1. but
          there are situations where not stealing is worse than stealing. There
          is not one ‘catch all’ answer for stealing.

          Isn’t that still “one thing being better than another”? As I said, “ We may not agree on what is more moral than another, but we all have that sense that one thing is better than another.

          Klavan used a couple of examples to make his points. His main target seemed to be Moral Relativism. He used the example of the Holocaust to say that even if all of society said it was a good thing (culling out a threat to society?), HE would still know it was bad. Clearly, his sense in such a scenario would be different than that of 100% of the rest of the population. They would have a sense that murder was a good thing (we argue this in wartime).

          The other example was cheating on a spouse. Why was it bad? Well, it was because you gave your word that you would not do such a thing. The issue isn’t the cheating; it’s keeping a promise. But, then there is the problem of why keeping your word is good. This is that “running it to the ground” phrase he kept using – each answer brought up a new “why” question. That leads to his idea (2) of some ideal, perfect, objective good that we don’t know, but has to exist. Each answer to a “Why” question brings us closer to a final answer that doesn’t have a “Why?” after it.

          3. I am fine with the idea that an ‘agent’ makes moral choices. Humans do that.

          Great word choice there – so much better than mine. We can only understand things in human terms. A dog relates to us as if we were another dog. One of the great points atheists bring up is the idea of God being a human creation rather than the other way around. Wouldn’t they look the same?

          But, I digress – the point is that it makes sense because we are agents and we make moral choices. It is one of the aspects of being a “person”.

          [5] Morality is dependent on there being some sort of society, morality is by nature ‘social’.

          Wow. Home run! Great point. It is our interaction with other persons which makes morality necessary. As with cheating, there must be a “spouse”; murder requires a victim. If there were only one human being on Earth, could there be a wronged party? If God had personality, yes. A social relationship could exist. But, as you point out, we would have to make that leap of assuming God.
          That is a challenging point, and I don’t have an answer for it.

        • Otto

          >>>”As I said, ” We may not agree on what is more moral than another, but we all have that sense that one thing is better than another.”

          Yes, but better does not imply there is some perfect answer. Also I said that there could be 2 actions that are equally moral and one is not necessarily ‘better’.

          >>>”His main target seemed to be Moral Relativism. He used the example of the Holocaust to say that even if all of society said it was a good thing (culling out a threat to society?), HE would still know it was bad.”

          But he is still just expressing his opinion, stating as much does not mean he could. Heck I couldn’t even get you to tell me how to deal with what many consider to be a moral issue using your basic Love morality. What reason do I have to think Klavan can access an Ultimate Morality, he can’t demonstrate that moral perfection even exists, much less that he can know what it is. All he does is use an example that most people agree with and acts like it proves his point…it doesn’t.

          >>>”The other example was cheating on a spouse. Why was it bad? Well, it was because you gave your word that you would not do such a thing. The issue isn’t the cheating; it’s keeping a promise.”

          Well I don’t agree. The issue to me is that cheating on your spouse is at base level being deceitful and lying, it is violating a trust. You may think that is the same thing as keeping a promise but I don’t agree. And again it does not speak to some moral perfection, only that something can be argued to be better. It is not enough to say one action is better, he needs to demonstrate a moral perfection… which he has failed to do. Sometimes morality is picking the lessor of 2 evils, how would that mesh with some Ultimate Moral Perfection? That is a much harder question to answer in Klavan’s argument.

          >>>”That leads to his idea (2) of some ideal, perfect, objective good that we don’t know, but has to exist.”

          The “has to exist” part is just asserted. It is never explained why it has to exist or how that is actually determined other than just assuming that conclusion.

          >>>”One of the great points atheists bring up is the idea of God being a human creation rather than the other way around. Wouldn’t they look the same?”

          The issue is how can we know or tell the difference.

          >>>”But, I digress – the point is that it makes sense because we are agents and we make moral choices.”

          I have 2 cats, both are very docile and friendly. One is especially so, but if that cat hears the other is in distress he will immediately go to see what is happening and will attack the threat at his own peril. That seems to be a moral action, it is at least showing empathy and showing a willingness to act, if animals have evolved basic morality why would it be surprising that humans have as well?

          >>>”If God had personality, yes. A social relationship could exist. But, as you point out, we would have to make that leap of assuming God.”

          Very true…but Ultimate Morality suffers from another problem. If God has always existed, at some point God existed alone, if morality is social that would seem to create an issue for morality to have always existed.

          >>>”That is a challenging point, and I don’t have an answer for it.”

          I always appreciate “I don’t know”. Kudos

        • Clement Agonistes

          “As I said, ” We may not agree on what is more moral than another, but we all have that sense that one thing is better than another.”
          Yes, but better does not imply there is some perfect answer. Also I said that there could be 2 actions that are equally moral and one is not necessarily ‘better’.

          If we actually arrived at that better (more moral) behavior, either it could still be improved on, or it could not be improved on (be perfect).

          “His main target seemed to be Moral Relativism. He used the example of the Holocaust to say that even if all of society said it was a good thing (culling out a threat to society?), HE would still know it was bad.”
          But he is still just expressing his opinion, stating as much does not mean he could. Heck I couldn’t even get you to tell me how to deal with what many consider to be a moral issue using your basic Love morality.

          That’s a good example of what I was talking about in that first quote. I can say, yes, I should love everyone, but your sense is that loving them means I have to approve of their behavior. Both of us have a sense that there is “something better” that is a goal, but “We may not agree on what is more moral than another“. I assert that adultery is immoral even while I love the adulterer. You assert that the moral thing is not to deny the adulterer his civil right to commit adultery. We both sense something better, but don’t agree what it is.

          “The other example was cheating on a spouse. Why was it bad? Well, it was because you gave your word that you would not do such a thing. The issue isn’t the cheating; it’s keeping a promise.”
          Well I don’t agree. The issue to me is that cheating on your spouse is at base level being deceitful and lying, it is violating a trust. You may think that is the same thing as keeping a promise but I don’t agree.

          Sure, you see that the “trust” is that the other person will keep their word. In an open marriage, there is no “word” “trust” nor “cheating”.

          “That leads to his idea (2) of some ideal, perfect, objective good that we don’t know, but has to exist.”
          The “has to exist” part is just asserted. It is never explained why it has to exist or how that is actually determined other than just assuming that conclusion.

          I tried earlier to use the analogy of an objective truth to communicate this idea. I’m guessing it didn’t work then, but I’m going to try it again. Two people are arguing about what the truth is. They both understand that there is a truth, but they just don’t know what it is. Subjectively, each of them is convinced he knows the truth. Yet, obviously it is impossible for both of them to be right. The objective truth must exist.

          If we can understand something so obviously true for truth, why is it so hard to conceive of the same situation for morality? If one person says cheating is OK, but another says it is wrong, both cannot be right. Both understand that there is an objective morality, but believe they are the ones who possess it. The Moral Relativist says both are right.. . . . because there is no objective standard. If a person senses that one thing is more moral than another, then he cannot be a MR.

        • Otto

          >>>”If we actually arrived at that better (more moral) behavior, either it could still be improved on, or it could not be improved on (be perfect).”

          Is a perfect language possible? According to the logic you are using it should be…but how would we know at what point it is perfect?

          >>>” I can say, yes, I should love everyone, but your sense is that loving them means I have to approve of their behavior.”

          No…I don’t have to approve of what someone says to support free speech. So the same can be said of behavior…you don’t have to support someone’s action by allowing them the freedom to act. Which shows more love to your neighbor…allowing more freedom or less freedom?

          >>>”Two people are arguing about what the truth is. They both understand that there is a truth, but they just don’t know what it is. Subjectively, each of them is convinced he knows the truth. Yet, obviously it is impossible for both of them to be right. The objective truth must exist.”

          That does not prove that there is necessarily a ‘perfect’ morality. They can argue about what is better and the truth may be that one actually IS better…you are still attempting to smuggle the idea of perfection into existence.

          >>>”If we can understand something so obviously true for truth, why is it so hard to conceive of the same situation for morality?”

          Because arguing that one position is better than another is not the same as arguing one position is perfect. Is there a perfect political platform? Is there a perfect language? How would you show that there is? The argument that one is better than another does not support the claim that there is a perfect one…do you see the error you are making?

        • Clement Agonistes

          “If we actually arrived at that better (more moral) behavior, either it could still be improved on, or it could not be improved on (be perfect).”
          Is a perfect language possible? According to the logic you are using it should be…but how would we know at what point it is perfect?

          Again, at the point where it cannot be better. I think what you may be referring to is that idea of objective morality – I may sense there is no room for improvement, but who is to say I am right?

          ” I can say, yes, I should love everyone, but your sense is that loving them means I have to approve of their behavior.”
          No…I don’t have to approve of what someone says to support free speech. So the same can be said of behavior…you don’t have to support someone’s action by allowing them the freedom to act. Which shows more love to your neighbor…allowing more freedom or less freedom?

          Then we are back to the Marquis de Sade’s idea that no one can declare any behavior to be unnatural. If there are NO rules, then we have TOTAL freedom. We can harm ourselves or other people without any restrictions. By definition, morality is going to restrict freedom to act. We aren’t talking about freedom of speech Even FoS is limited – no one is obliged to listen; speech cannot infringe on other rights. You need to specify which rights you are talking about.

          “Two people are arguing about what the truth is. They both understand that there is a truth, but they just don’t know what it is. Subjectively, each of them is convinced he knows the truth. Yet, obviously it is impossible for both of them to be right. The objective truth must exist.”
          That does not prove that there is necessarily a ‘perfect’ morality. They can argue about what is better and the truth may be that one actually IS better…you are still attempting to smuggle the idea of perfection into existence.

          Perfection is Objective Truth. We KNOW there is Truth even if we do not know what it is. If those 2 people in my example are arguing about morality, there is going to be and OT about morality. Both people cannot be right. You can only know that at least one of them would be wrong because there is a Truth. It exists, independent of people. I don’t think this is smuggling; I think this is recognizing an undeniable truth.

          Because arguing that one position is better than another is not the same as arguing one position is perfect.

          Both cannot be right, but both could be wrong. It is not arguing that one must be right. Both people sense that one thing is better than another. “Better” means closer to best. Every time we appeal to people’s morality, we acknowledge that they must have a sense that one thing (mine) is better than another thing (yours). Your appeal to freedom depends on my moral sense that freedom is a good thing.

        • Otto

          >>>”Again, at the point where it cannot be better.”

          You don’t demonstrate that such a point exists, you merely assert it and then you merely assert the reason for it.

          >>>”Then we are back to the Marquis de Sade’s idea that no one can declare any behavior to be unnatural.”

          No…we are not…but regardless at best you are arguing from consequence and that is fallacious.

          >>>”By definition, morality is going to restrict freedom to act. We aren’t talking about freedom of speech”

          You mean there is no morality used in what people say? Really? So speech isn’t an action and verbally abusing someone without cause is not immoral?

          >>>”Perfection is Objective Truth. We KNOW there is Truth even if we do not know what it is.”

          Again, you are conflating truth with perfection, I reject your premise.

          >>>””Better” means closer to best.”

          Now you are just making up your own definition of words to try and make your square peg fit a round hole. I see no definition of better that means ‘closer to best’. Better is just a comparison…it is not proof of some perfection.

          Additionally I noticed you didn’t touch my points about a ‘perfect political platform’ or a ‘perfect language’…because you know to argue for such would be ridiculous.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Additionally I noticed you didn’t touch my points about a ‘perfect political platform’ or a ‘perfect language’…because you know to argue for such would be ridiculous.

          I didn’t mean to short-change you, but I was prioritizing more interesting points. I didn’t follow how those were analogous. I’ve never heard the concept of Objective Politics. It seems like a contradiction in terms. I could see how one might argue that political policies could produce a perfect society, but the society would be the analogy. With language, communication would be the objective goal, not the language. Your analogies did not clarify your point.

          “Again, at the point where it cannot be better.”
          You don’t demonstrate that such a point exists, you merely assert it and then you merely assert the reason for it.

          Your question was how we know when we have arrived at it. We know we have arrived when there is no room for improvement; where we no longer sense there is “something better”. Did I misunderstand the question?

          “Then we are back to the Marquis de Sade’s idea that no one can declare any behavior to be unnatural.”
          No…we are not…but regardless at best you are arguing from consequence and that is fallacious.

          Again, I felt that I was directly addressing your question: “Which shows more love to your neighbor…allowing more freedom or less freedom?” I spent an entire paragraph clarifying that sentence. If more love equates with more freedom, then logically total freedom equals total love. In order to love people, I can out no restrictions on their actions. Again, did I misunderstand your point?

          “By definition, morality is going to restrict freedom to act. We aren’t talking about freedom of speech”
          You mean there is no morality used in what people say? Really? So speech isn’t an action and verbally abusing someone without cause is not immoral?

          In my next sentence, I addressed just that topic. My point in mentioning free speech was the last sentence of that paragraph – what civil rights have you been referring to. What civil rights are being denied to homosexual people? You specifically mentioned free speech. I don’t think that is the one at issue. I’ve never heard of gay people being denied freedom of speech. You are begging the question.

          “Perfection is Objective Truth. We KNOW there is Truth even if we do not know what it is.”
          Again, you are conflating truth with perfection, I reject your premise.

          How can OT not be perfect? How could there be a flaw in it.? Please clarify. I don’t understand why they would not be equivalent.

          “Better” means closer to best.”
          Now you are just making up your own definition of words to try and make your square peg fit a round hole. I see no definition of better that means ‘closer to best’. Better is just a comparison…it is not proof of some perfection.

          Again, I am baffled by your logic here. We are standing on a line. “Better” is to our right. Which direction is “Best”? Clarify how my thinking is not right. Best is obviously better than any other position.

        • Otto

          >>>”I didn’t follow how those were analogous.”

          I contend morality is similar to language. 2 people can create a language, similarly 2 people can share moral ideas that they agree upon. Language is more effective when more people can communicate, similarly morality is more effective when a broader set of people can agree with the propositions. You would argue that is ‘subjective’…but it is not subjective anymore than a language is subjective. There is no perfect language, there is no Ultimate Language that all language derives from. Language evolves and is refined over time among groups of people, similarly morality seems to do the same. If I am right seemingly odd morality like historical slavery and genocide and denial of rights for women becomes more explainable. Slaves were property not people, so mistreating a slave was not immoral, same with women, other groups were seen as ‘less than’ so killing them all was not seen as horrific. Slowly these things changed, we realized (and are still realizing) we are all part of the same group. When more people are included as the ‘in’ group the more numbers of people buy into the morality. If your view is correct you have to explain why God didn’t just outlaw slavery, or just command that women be treated equally as men. You have to tie yourself into knots to get around that reality using rationalizations like ‘God couldn’t outlaw slavery because it was too ingrained in society’, etc. It is excuse making because your premise doesn’t fit the evidence. There is no perfect morality because the conditions humans find themselves in constantly change, and just like language it has to change to meet those conditions.

          I can get group of 5 year olds to cut a cake fairly, just tell the one cutting the cake he gets the last piece. The point is when we all realize we all share in this reality it is obviously in our own best interest to try and figure out how to share, and the process of figuring that out is morality, it isn’t perfect but it does get better…just like language.

          >>>”We know we have arrived when there is no room for improvement”

          When will there be no room for improvement for language? Does that mean language is “Objective”?

          >>>” If more love equates with more freedom, then logically total freedom equals total love. In order to love people, I can out no restrictions on their actions. Again, did I misunderstand your point?”

          Yes you completely misunderstood my point. The point is not that more freedom is more loving, the idea is the equalfreedoms and rights is shows more caring for all.

          >>>”What civil rights are being denied to homosexual people?”

          Fewer now than before…see how that works? 30 years ago gay people couldn’t get married, or adopt children…and it was perfectly OK to discriminate against them. Collectively our morality is changing to accept that they are part of the whole group, we are moving to treat them equally. Our collective morality continues to improve.

          The freedom of speech was an analogy…I wasn’t saying gay people were being denied that freedom, I was saying freedom of speech only works if everyone has it equally.

          >>>”How can OT not be perfect?”

          You are conflating truth with ‘perfect morality’…is there a perfect language? Would a perfect language ever be possible?

          >>>”Again, I am baffled by your logic here.

          That is because you only seem to think in terms of black and white…you seemingly have no concept of gray. You said “Better” means closer to best.” Look up the word better in any dictionary and show me one definition that says… “Better” means closer to best”. What you seem to be arguing is that we can’t explain a ‘better’ unless there is a ‘best’ and that is ridiculous.

        • Ignorant Amos

          >>>”What civil rights are being denied to homosexual people?”

          A can’t believe he asked that question.

          Being homosexual carries the death penalty in some parts of the world. In Uganda it carries a life imprisonment sentence which was heavily supported and lobbied for by some American Christians.

          One of the greatest minds of the last century was chemically castrated and was driven to suicide because of the laws of a Christian nation on homosexuality. Alan Turing, a hero of that same nation, albeit a secret one, was instrumental in winning WW2, was persecuted because of his sexuality. Some have suggested that his suicide was a state assassination because he was an embarrassment.

          Today, here in Northern Ireland, Gay people are denied the right to marry….that’s because of Christians and their fucked up stupid woo woo book.

          Not forgetting the uncounted individual incidents of bigotry occasioned on the LGBTQ+ community because the Christian religion has rotted the minds of so many of it’s individual adherents.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I contend morality is similar to language. 2 people can create a language, similarly 2 people can share moral ideas that they agree upon. Language is more effective when more people can communicate, similarly morality is more effective when a broader set of people can agree with the propositions.

          Thanks for the clarification. I see the analogy now. It still seems to me that the better analogy is morality to communication and language to actions. People sense the need for communication. Our own exchanges in the same language can be “better” – our actions fall short of an ideal goal.

          You bring up a “broader set of people”. I think this ties in nicely with Klavan’s (and Gray’s) point about atheists living in a religious world (morally). If we go back, say, 100 years, 90 – 100% of people in Western cultures were Christian. Their morality was based on Christianity (regardless of how Christianity came to possess it). There was broad agreement on what was moral. Even as Christianity has been phased out of those cultures, the moral framework has remained.

          When you make a moral appeal regarding some issue, you are going to make it on the grounds of a morality we all understand – Western. Your comments on slavery and women fit like a glove. Even in the Old Testament, there were restrictions on the treatment of both groups that was not present in the overall world. In Judaism, slavery was not a permanent state. Even non-Jewish slaves were to be treated humanely. Human sacrifice was rampant and ongoing in other cultures. It was “moral” to kill them for the good of society. Women were property just like slaves. You describe changes in attitudes as something that would have occurred anyway. I don’t think there is strong evidence for that. At a time when female babies were abandoned to die, Christians were made fun of for being “nothing but women” because they rescued the girls and they grew up Christian.

          I can get group of 5 year olds to cut a cake fairly, just tell the one cutting the cake he gets the last piece.

          The Marquis de Sade’s point was that human nature is to be selfish and do what ever brings happiness, even if it harms other people. If nature is all there is, then it is natural to please oneself. Morality has to come from outside of our nature.

          “We know we have arrived when there is no room for improvement”
          When will there be no room for improvement for language? Does that mean language is “Objective”?

          There will be no room for improvement for language when communication is perfect. The objective metric for language is perfect communication. Our actions will be perfect when there is no room for moral improvement. The object of our actions is morality. When we understand each other perfectly, we stop talking. When I find my keys, I stop looking for them. There is an objective goal.

          ” If more love equates with more freedom, then logically total freedom equals total love. In order to love people, I can out no restrictions on their actions. Again, did I misunderstand your point?”
          Yes you completely misunderstood my point. The point is not that more freedom is more loving, the idea is the equalfreedoms and rights is shows more caring for all.

          When you say one thing “is” another, I understand that as a statement of equality. Freedom = loving. Loving = freedom. I don’t see how you can say that is a misunderstanding, much less a “complete” misunderstanding. Your clarification here only clarifies my understanding.

          “What civil rights are being denied to homosexual people?”
          Fewer now than before…see how that works? 30 years ago gay people couldn’t get married, or adopt children…and it was perfectly OK to discriminate against them.

          FINALLY! Now, we get to the actual issue you were getting at. No, marriage is not a “civil right”. This is why I initially made the point about this being a political issue, not a moral one. If it were a civil right, then NO restrictions (other than reducing more important rights) could exist. At some point, EVERYBODY (except the Marquis de Sade) draws moral lines. We’re not going to be OK with a father marrying his teenage sons.

          “How can OT not be perfect?”
          You are conflating truth with ‘perfect morality’…is there a perfect language? Would a perfect language ever be possible?

          Here is the exchange my comment was referring to:
          ME: “Perfection is Objective Truth. We KNOW there is Truth even if we do not know what it is.”
          YOU: “Again, you are conflating truth with perfection, I reject your premise.”

          So, I wasn’t talking about “perfect morality”, but perfect truth. I couldn’t even get you to agree that there is an objective truth about an issue under debate. You stated that I was conflating OT with Perfect Truth. I asked how they could not be the same. Your reply is to change my premise, then merely assert that it is not true as if that settled the issue. We’re trying to work through this logically. Each point follows on the point before it and leads to the point after it. You are accusing me of conflating things without reason, then conflating things with out reason. You need to establish why a premise is in error.

          So, is there such a thing as an Objective Truth? If not, then truth is whatever we want it to be – neither of us could ever have any hope of being right or the other person being wrong. Asserting that there is no OT is a truth statement unto itself – it MUST be true, but if it is true, then it cannot be true because there is no truth.

          Logically, there must be OT. It must be without flaw. If it is flawed, then the flawed part is false, and cannot be part of OT. The flaw makes our candidate for OT less-than-perfect. OT must be perfect or it is not OT. Perfect Truth and OT are the same thing.

          Does this make sense to you? Does it seem like something “smuggled in”, or an integral part of what he truth should look like?

        • Otto

          >>>”Our own exchanges in the same language can be “better” – our actions fall short of an ideal goal.”

          I think before we go any further you need to explain what you think the goal is and why there is an ‘ideal’ for that goal. Also is the goal that you are arguing for objective or subjective or something else?

          >>>”Even as Christianity has been phased out of those cultures, the moral framework has remained.”

          Yes we are keeping the good stuff (things that are not specific to any religion) and getting rid of the crap.

          >>>”In Judaism, slavery was not a permanent state.”

          This is not true. There were separate clauses for Israelite slaves and foreign slaves.

          Lev. 25:45-46

          45 You may also purchase them from the foreigners residing among you or their clans living among you who are born in your land. These may become your property. 46 You may leave them to your sons after you to inherit as property; you can make them slaves for life. But as for your brothers, the Israelites, no man may rule harshly over his brother.

          >>>”You describe changes in attitudes as something that would have occurred anyway. I don’t think there is strong evidence for that.”

          Well you certainly don’t have evidence that Christianity brought about female suffrage or allowed women to own property, i.e. demand that women be treated equally to men, as a matter of fact there are plenty of verses saying women should not be treated equally…and that attitude continues within large parts of the religion, so maybe you would like to explain how those changes came about despite long held Christian attitudes about women…?

          >>>” If nature is all there is, then it is natural to please oneself. Morality has to come from outside of our nature.”

          Complete and utter bullshit. There are many, many examples of animals acting altruistically and selfishly. You don’t get to say all the bad stuff is natural but all the good stuff comes from outside nature without any justification for that claim what so ever. I can show you those examples and you will hand wave them away as ‘human perspectives applied to animals’…but then you claim any positive behavior (human or otherwise) comes from outside nature with no evidence or justification…just your say so, that is dishonest garbage.

          >>>”There will be no room for improvement for language when communication is perfect.”

          But you have yet to establish that is even possible… either for communication or morality.

          >>>”No, marriage is not a “civil right”. This is why I initially made the point about this being a political issue, not a moral one. If it were a civil right, then NO restrictions (other than reducing more important rights) could exist.”

          The ‘civil right’ in question is not marriage, the civil right in question is equality under the law. We DO have a civil right to be treated equally…AND I think it is a morally imperative that we treat people equally as well.

          >>>”If it were a civil right, then NO restrictions (other than reducing more important rights) could exist.”

          There are NO civil rights under the law that are UNRESTRICTED. All rights have restrictions and clauses and NONE are unequivocal. I have literally no idea where you got that from. It certainly isn’t supported anywhere in law or moral philosophy. Do you just make this stuff up?

          >>>”We’re not going to be OK with a father marrying his teenage sons.”

          I don’t remember arguing that we should…where in the world did you get that idea from?

          >>>”So, I wasn’t talking about “perfect morality”, but perfect truth.”

          But you WERE arguing that since there is perfect truth there must be perfect morality…and I reject that…that is the premise that is in error. Obviously I was not clear enough in what I meant.

          OK…give me an example of something that is Objectively True and explain how that truth was determined. Then give me an example of something Objectively Moral and how that was determined.

        • Susan

          OK…give me an example of something that is Objectively True and explain how that truth was determined. Then give me an example of something Objectively Moral and how that was determined.

          Good luck with that. I’ve lost count of the number of times Clement’s been asked that.

          He’s never answered.

        • Otto

          Golly gee that surprises me…I mean how could someone argue that these 2 concepts are equivalent short of such a demonstration? That would just make it an unwarranted assertion and that would be downright silly since the comparisons is of objective truth. /s

        • epeeist

          Do you just make this stuff up?

          Do you need to ask?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yes we are keeping the good stuff (things that are not specific to any religion) and getting rid of the crap.

          Clement seem’s to think that because a large part of the world was inhabited by Christians, their morality came from their faith…only the nice stuff mind you…the shitty stuff that has been weeded out wasn’t Christian morality to begin with.

          Of course huge tracts of the planet that were not Christians, lived by those same values too…so Clement, and those two atheist numpty’s whose philosophies he clings to…are talking bubbles.

        • Otto

          I completely agree. The funny part is that I don’t know of one piece of Christian specific morality that is positive.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s easy, because there isn’t any and Clement knows it.

        • epeeist

          Clement seem’s to think that because a large part of the world was inhabited by Christians, their morality came from their faith

          Yeah, been through that. I asked him where the Christian virtues came from, needless to say he didn’t reply.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I sen that…he doesn’t reply to comments that he can’t, because even lying isn’t going to give him an out.

        • epeeist

          Read this article in the Irish Times today.

          I understand that the weather forecast isn’t too good for the pope’s perambulations today. I wonder whether that will keep people away.

        • epeeist

          According to the BBC some 200,000 turned out for the mass in Phoenix park. Compare that with the 1.25 million who turned out for John Paul II in 1979.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Depressing reading that.

          And that Pope Francis can flap his gums as much as he wants, but he’s as bad as the rest of them.

          Cardinal Law only just jossed it last December in the Vatican where he remained a person in good standing in the Church and enjoyed sanctuary from prosecution by gaining a position that granted him Vatican citizenship.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Our own exchanges in the same language can be “better” – our actions fall short of an ideal goal.”
          I think before we go any further you need to explain what you think the goal is and why there is an ‘ideal’ for that goal. Also is the goal that you are arguing for objective or subjective or something else?

          The goal – in the analogy is to use language to achieve communicate.

          The ideal – would be communication in which all thoughts that the sender wanted to communicate. . . . were communicated with no misunderstandings or lack of clarity.

          Objective.

          “Even as Christianity has been phased out of those cultures, the moral framework has remained.”
          Yes we are keeping the good stuff (things that are not specific to any religion) and getting rid of the crap.

          And, as you say that, there is no threat whatsoever that acknowledging it has changed any of your core beliefs (your atheism is not threatened), right? John Gray, the not-Klavan person who said that too, is still an atheist. It is a truth that is 100% compatible with atheism. No one here should feel that acknowledging a truth is a threat.

          My Capt. Obvious statement from weeks ago was that morals must come from someplace outside of atheism since atheism says nothing whatsoever about morality. This is probably the most common source in the West. It has taken all this time to get to this obvious truth. I am grateful.

          “You describe changes in attitudes as something that would have occurred anyway. I don’t think there is strong evidence for that.”
          Well you certainly don’t have evidence that Christianity brought about female suffrage or allowed women to own property, i.e. demand that women be treated equally to men, as a matter of fact there are plenty of verses saying women should not be treated equally…and that attitude continues within large parts of the religion, so maybe you would like to explain how those changes came about despite long held Christian attitudes about women…?

          Well, suffrage, itself, is a fairly new concept, male or female. Your statement sounds like saying the men voting did not lead to women voting. It was the moral shaming of the Constitution that brought it about in the US. Again, things we take for granted as moral are fairly unique to Western culture.

          However, we still have that problem of scientifically showing that morality would have developed as it is without Christian influence. We can point to other cultures where it did not. We can point to the role of Christians in democratic efforts. It borders on impossible to show Alternative History (what MIGHT have happened) with any degree of authority.

          “If it were a civil right, then NO restrictions (other than reducing more important rights) could exist.”
          There are NO civil rights under the law that are UNRESTRICTED. All rights have restrictions and clauses and NONE are unequivocal. I have literally no idea where you got that from. It certainly isn’t supported anywhere in law or moral philosophy. Do you just make this stuff up?

          Did you understand what I said in the parentheses?

        • Susan

          The ideal – would be communication in which all thoughts that the sender wanted to communicate. . . . were communicated with no misunderstandings or lack of clarity.

          If that were true, then we wouldn’t run into accusations of red herrings when we asked things like “What are you claiming and how do you support it?”

          What language does (other than communicate) is evade, misdirect, lie, create propaganda, manipulate and provide all kinds of other communicative misunderstandings.

          Is there a perfect language that doesn’t allow for this? What is it? Japanese? Ojibwe? Spanish?

          Objective.

          Lol.

          there is no threat whatsoever that acknowledging it has changed any of your core beliefs

          No one is threatened. You cherry picked an “atheist” as though him being an atheist would make his assertions true. You didn’t show how he supported them and they don’t seem to be well supported.

          IF it were true, I’m sure many people here would be happy to accept that “religion” (by which you mean christianity) has provided morality. But it doesn’t seem to have done so. Pointing at a guy whose case doesn’t seem solid enough for you to communicate it is just more classic Clementine handwaving.

          My Capt. Obvious statement from weeks ago was that morals must come from someplace outside of atheism since atheism says nothing whatsoever about morality.

          Yes. They do. You have to show that they depend on christianity. You’ve been asked countless questions on that subject and have answered none of them.

          Well, suffrage, itself, is a fairly new concept, male or female.

          Yes. And christianity is a 2000 year old concept. The Nicene Creed doesn’t seem to have any connection to morality whatsoever.

          We can point to other cultures where it did not.

          Give me an example of a culture without morality.

          It borders on impossible to show Alternative History (what MIGHT have happened) with any degree of authority.

          Yet, you claim “christianity” gave us “morality”.

        • epeeist

          Yet, you claim “christianity” gave us “morality”.

          I asked him how Klavan accounted for the ethics of Confucius and the Buddha, crickets…

        • Susan

          I asked him how Klavan accounted for the ethics of Confucius and the Buddha

          Several times, if I recall.

          crickets

          Add it to the list.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The ideal – would be communication in which all thoughts that the sender wanted to communicate. . . . were communicated with no misunderstandings or lack of clarity.

          If that were true, then we wouldn’t run into accusations of red herrings when we asked things like “What are you claiming and how do you support it?”
          What language does (other than communicate) is evade, misdirect, lie, create propaganda, manipulate and provide all kinds of other communicative misunderstandings.
          Is there a perfect language that doesn’t allow for this? What is it? Japanese? Ojibwe? Spanish?

          I agree with your rhetorical questions – there is no perfect language. I analogized language to our actions – are our actions perfectly moral? No. But, we know our actions could be better. The use of an analogy, itself is an effort to improve communication- to communicate a thought that is not being received by the receiver.

          A purposeful lack of clarity, for instance, would be analogous to immoral behavior. Subjectively, someone might feel that not communicating is better than communicating. “LOL”.

          There is no threat whatsoever that acknowledging it has changed any of your core beliefs

          No one is threatened. You cherry picked an “atheist” as though him being an atheist would make his assertions true. You didn’t show how he supported them and they don’t seem to be well supported.
          IF it were true, I’m sure many people here would be happy to accept that “religion” (by which you mean christianity) has provided morality. But it doesn’t seem to have done so.

          I picked an atheist who said the same thing Klavan said because of the knee-jerk rejection of anything a theist says in this forum. It doesn’t make his assertion true, but it does remove one obstruction to communication.

          As an example, when I pointed out that atheism says nothing about morality, there were a variety of misunderstandings. I said one thing, but several other things were communicated. People have in their minds, “Here is what the theist is going to say.” Even when I say something they agree with, they hear something else. Removing the theist baggage might take away that template for some people. Otto brought up his own experience and I brought up Klavan’s for similar reasons.

          Well, suffrage, itself, is a fairly new concept, male or female.

          Yes. And christianity is a 2000 year old concept. The Nicene Creed doesn’t seem to have any connection to morality whatsoever.

          We can point to other cultures where it did not.

          Give me an example of a culture without morality.

          It borders on impossible to show Alternative History (what MIGHT have happened) with any degree of authority.

          Yet, you claim “christianity” gave us “morality”.

          Your claim would be that absent Christianity, the same morality would exist. We can use other cultures as our Control Groups. If universal suffrage did not develop there, it at least suggests that the hypothesis of your AH is not valid.

          I am not claiming that other cultures do not have morality. I am making 2 claims:

          1) All humans have a basic level of morality that comes from God – General Revelation, if you will.
          2) Western culture modifies that basic level of morality because of Christian teachings.

          In terms of suffrage, the appeal in the US was that all men are created equal. Once that principle was accepted, the Amendments to include ex-slaves and women were inevitable.

        • Susan

          I analogized language to our actions. There is no perfect language.

          You also tried to sneak in that language’s “purpose” was to “communicate clearly”.

          But you did so without showing that you have reading comprehension in one language, let alone that you understand more than one language, let alone that you understand the issues linguists face, let alone that “language” is uniquely human.

          A dragonfly with a giant eye on the back of its neck is a form of language to the predator. It is saying “I am a bigger predator than you.”

          It works often enough that it survives long enough for its progeny to survive.

          Subjectively, someone might feel that not communicating is better than communicating. “LOL”.

          “Someone” might “feel” it but those who have followed the discussion can just note that “language is objective” is just another claim on your itinerary that you can’t support and that you feel no responsibility to report.

          That is why I “Lol”d. You can’t be serious. Another subject about which you show no interest but upon which you make a claim that you insist we disprove. This has been going on for far too long now.

          Show something.

          Your claim would be that absent Christianity, the same morality would exist.

          No. You claimed that “morality” comes from Yahwehjesus. I don’t accept that claim. You have not supported it.

          I am making 2 claims:

          K.

          All humans have a basic level of morality that comes from God – General Revelation, if you will.

          Then,clarify what you mean by “basic level of morality: and show that it comes from Yahwehjesus.

          Western culture modifies that basic level of morality because of Christian teachings.

          Western culture is so much more than “christian teachings”. :”Christian teachings” according to you is defined by the NIcene creed (which is a supernatural claim and demonstrates no moral model, whatsoever.

          the appeal in the US was that all men are created equal. Once that principle was accepted, the Amendments to include ex-slaves and women were inevitable.

          Lol.

          I lol because once again, you’ve made a claim you can’t (and based on our experience here) won’t suppport.

          When your unsupported claims back you into a corner, rather than do some work, you just add more unsupported claims and soldier on.

          Not very hard work if you can sleep at night.

          I couldn’t if I were you.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You also tried to sneak in that language’s “purpose” was to “communicate clearly”.

          Seriously? I “sneaked” that in?

        • Susan

          Seriously?

          Again, you ignore all the substance and make no effort to support your claim.

        • Clement Agonistes

          A simple “No.” would have done. What other purpose you perceive for language?

        • Susan

          A simple “No.” would have done.

          If a simple “No.” perfectly communicated what I was trying to say, obviously I would have used it.

          It didn’t so I didn’t.

          Now, how much longer are you going to keep us in suspense?

          You must be about to show the necessary connection between Yahwehjesus and morality.

          Any second now.

        • Ignorant Amos

          IF it were true, I’m sure many people here would be happy to accept that “religion” (by which you mean christianity) has provided morality. But it doesn’t seem to have done so. Pointing at a guy whose case doesn’t seem solid enough for you to communicate it is just more classic Clementine handwaving.

          It is obvious how stupid Clement is being, yet he won’t let it go.

          He seem’s to be oblivious to the fact that morality existed way before Christianity and Judaism. And the morality of Christians and Jews gleaned from their respective religions has left a lot to be desired at many times.

          Yet, you claim “christianity” gave us “morality”.

          A claim that he continually refuses to support…other than provide the unsupported claims of others, like they matter…because they have some atheist swami or some such rot.

        • Sample1

          Every cult, ahem, religion known to man has simply copyrighted whatever mores existed prior to its territorial conquest. And when morals developed from that point on, within the copyright, it was simply operating by the same trial and error method that operated before the copyright police arrived.

          That’s at least plausible. Got to hand it to the Jews, they claimed the very hand of the minor war god Yahweh etched morals into tablets from on high. Of course, the other deities and cultures are probably are still litigating copyright infringements. Oh wait, they can’t. Something called genocide was ordered.

          Mike
          Edit done.

        • Susan

          A claim that he continually refuses to support.

          Add that to the list too.

        • Otto

          >>>”The goal – in the analogy is to use language to achieve communicate.”

          I meant the goal of morality and the corresponding ideal.

          So then the question would read….I think before we go any further you need to explain what you think the goal to morality is and why there is an ‘ideal’ for that moral goal. Also is the moral goal that you are arguing for objective or subjective or something else?

          >>>”My Capt. Obvious statement from weeks ago was that morals must come from someplace outside of atheism since atheism says nothing whatsoever about morality. This is probably the most common source in the West. It has taken all this time to get to this obvious truth. I am grateful.”

          I don’t know what you are grateful for, I long ago in this discussion said that Christianity was a delivery system for some long held obvious morals that Christianity itself co-opted, IOW Christianity gave us nothing positive that humans on the whole did not already know.

          Atheism is the lack of belief that theism is true…so of course any atheist would have to get morals elsewhere…something I have also said repeatedly.

          >>>”However, we still have that problem of scientifically showing that morality would have developed as it is without Christian influence.”

          I have never argued that Christianity has not played a significant part of shaping our morality in the West…sometimes positively and sometimes negatively.

          >>>”Did you understand what I said in the parentheses?”

          I may not have understood what you meant, maybe you would like to clarify…because if you meant what I NOW think you meant I don’t see how your statement makes any sense…so it would probably be best for you to re-state it before I respond.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Did you understand what I said in the parentheses?”
          I may not have understood what you meant, maybe you would like to clarify…because if you meant what I NOW think you meant I don’t see how your statement makes any sense…so it would probably be best for you to re-state it before I respond.

          My statement was:
          If it were a civil right, then NO restrictions (other than reducing more important rights) could exist.
          Your response was:
          There are NO civil rights under the law that are UNRESTRICTED.

          The restriction on civil rights would be if they reduced more important rights. The joke is that “your right to punch ends at my nose”. In my same original post, I clarified that everyone draws moral lines somewhere (again, with the exception of MdS-types, psychopaths, etc.). I even gave an example where marriage would not be extended because of that line-drawing – a parent marrying multiple of his own children. No other rights would be affected, yet it would not be allowed.

          Also, marriage requires a license – a universal restriction unrelated to other rights. Driving is also not a right.

          Clarified?

        • Otto

          Yes…now explain to me why the rights of homosexuals should be restricted in the case of marriage under the law as it applies to what you wrote.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Premise # 1 is not factual. No rights of homosexuals are being restricted.

        • Otto

          Not anymore…and if it was up to you gay marriage would still be illegal…isn’t that right?

        • Clement Agonistes

          I think you mean in certain states in the USA, and certain countries in the world. If it were up to me, marriage would be as it has always been defined, and we’d have civil contracts for homosexuals.

          Marriage is still not a right for anybody – homo- or heterosexual. Calling something a right does not make it so.

        • Otto

          Again….the ‘right’ is to be treated equally under the law. If the law calls it marriage for one group it is marriage for another.

          And your ‘loving’ bigotry is duly noted.

        • Clement Agonistes

          As i have said repeatedly, I can love a person without having to approve of every action they take. A civil contract grants all the same privileges that marriage provides.

          Marriage is not a right. A person does not need permission (a marriage license) from gov’t in order to exercise a right.

          Are you OK with parents marrying their children?

        • Otto

          >>>”A civil contract grants all the same privileges that marriage provides.”

          Ah, separate but equal, where have I heard THAT before?

          >>>”Marriage is not a right.”

          You just can’t deal honestly with a point I make.

          >>>”Are you OK with parents marrying their children?”

          And what does that have to do with ANYTHING I have said?

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Not being honest”? Where in the Bill of Rights is marriage? I have pointed out the characteristics of rights, pointing out how marriage fails to qualify. You are the one who isn’t dealing with the points the other person made. I point out that marriage is not a right, and your proof that marriage is a right is that I am not honest. You’re not dealing with the substance of what I said, but attacking me personally. That is fallacious logic. it has no place in a genuine conversation.

          You said marriage is a right, and it cannot be denied to citizens. If that is the case, then we cannot deny it to children who want to marry their parents.

        • Otto

          >>>””Not being honest”? Where in the Bill of Rights is marriage?”

          The right is to be treated equally under the law…which is about the 4th time I have explained that to you, having to explain that 4 times and never having you deal with the point I make IS dishonest.

        • Clement Agonistes

          It is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution. That means it is a subjective interpretation – reading it into the Constitution. The SC decision was 5-4, meaning 4 of our best minds did not see what you see – there is room for disagreement without being dishonest.

          I have specifically dealt with your assertion, pointing out the definition of “right” and pointing out characteristics of marriage which do not satisfy that definition. You have not addressed those points. Accusing me of dishonesty for not doing what I HAVE done is not warranted. Accusing me of dishonesty because my interpretation is different than yours is not warranted. Accusing me of dishonesty for doing what you are doing is hypocrisy.

          We certainly know you do not like even hints of accusations, yet you fling them out with abandon for the facts. Throughout these exchanges, my theme ha been subjecting your own views to the same standard you subject mine. it is a moral appeal based on your values of empathy (you don’t like it) and fairness (same standard). It’s time to walk the walk, Otto.

        • Otto

          >>>”It is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution.”

          You mean like the Holy Trinity in the Bible? Equal protection under the law is in the 14th amendment, sure you can say that is a subjective interpretation but I think it is pretty clear. All interpretations of the Constitution is subjective the way you are using it. Additionally I would argue regardless of the Constitutionality equality under the law should be a goal regardless.

          >>>” The SC decision was 5-4, meaning 4 of our best minds did not see what you see”

          The SC has a long history of coming up with convoluted reasons to keep the status quo and establish the legality of slavery, of marginalizing women and other minorities, etc.

          Regardless of what the SC rules…the question to address in my mind…is treating people equally under the law closer to “loving your neighbor”? I think the answer should be obvious…the fact that you don’t seem to think so tells me all I need to know about your ‘basic and straight forward’ morality.

          >>>”there is room for disagreement without being dishonest.”

          The dishonesty is that I have argued the equality point every time you have said that marriage under the law is not a right…and it took till now for you to even attempt to address what I said and instead continued to pretend I was arguing that marriage is a right under the law…and you eve continue to do so in this post.

          >>>”Accusing me of dishonesty for doing what you are doing is hypocrisy.”

          Nope…because you are misrepresenting my position though I have clearly stated it many times.

          >>>”I have specifically dealt with your assertion, pointing out the definition of “right” and pointing out characteristics of marriage which do not satisfy that definition.”

          And now you go back to to an irrelevant argument I have not made…ugh.

          >>>”We certainly know you do not like even hints of accusations, yet you fling them out with abandon for the facts.”

          I accused you of dishonestly ignoring arguments I have made in favor of you arguing against points I have not made because those are the arguments you would prefer to address, and I have accused you of misrepresenting my position even after I have clearly stated my position…you have done both.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “there is room for disagreement without being dishonest.”

          The
          dishonesty is that I have argued the equality point every time you have
          said that marriage under the law is not a right…and it took till now
          for you to even attempt to address what I said and instead continued to
          pretend I was arguing that marriage is a right under the law…and you
          eve continue to do so in this post.

          EVERY single time I have addressed this issue, I have been 100% honest. It is NOT a right. What you have “said” is that it IS a right . . . . . period. You have equated loving a person with approving of their behavior. You have NOT addressed points I have made. If not addressing points defines honesty, then you have more to answer for than I do.

          “Accusing me of dishonesty for doing what you are doing is hypocrisy.”

          Nope…because you are misrepresenting my position though I have clearly stated it many times.

          This is a claim. Show me where I have misrepresented your position. Support your claim.

          “I have specifically dealt with your assertion, pointing out the
          definition of “right” and pointing out characteristics of marriage which
          do not satisfy that definition.”

          And now you go back to to an irrelevant argument I have not made…ugh.

          Show me what argument I am making that you have not made. Support this claim.

        • Otto

          >>>”EVERY single time I have addressed this issue, I have been 100% honest. It is NOT a right. What you have “said” is that it IS a right . . . . . period.”

          No… I have said equality under the law is the right…period.

          >>>”You have equated loving a person with approving of their behavior.”

          No…I have said treating people the same regardless of beliefs is more loving than discriminating against groups based on religious convictions. Discrimination is not loving your neighbor…except in your twisted world somehow.

          >>>”You have NOT addressed points I have made.”

          Name one.

          >>>”This is a claim. Show me where I have misrepresented your position. Support your claim.”

          You continue to say that I said marriage is a right…I haven’t…saying I said Klavan was lying about his atheism…I didn’t. Those are just a couple examples.

          >>>”Show me what argument I am making that you have not made. ”

          That marriage is a right, I have not made that argument ONCE, what I have argued is that if marriage is allowed for heterosexuals that equality demands we allow homosexuals to marry, EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW…seriously what is wrong with you?

        • Clement Agonistes

          “… wrong with me”? Why, I disagree with you, of course. And, clearly, something is wrong with all of those legal minds who disagree with you, too.

          That marriage is a right, I have not made that argument ONCE

          YOU: “explain to me why the rights of homosexuals should be restricted in the case of marriage under the law
          ME: “Premise # 1 is not factual. No rights of homosexuals are being restricted.
          YOU: “Not anymore.

          I question whether you even understand what a right is. Being treated equally under the law IS a right; an entitlement. Quite obviously, if it is not a right, then they were being treated equally under the law.

          No…I have said treating people the same regardless of beliefs is more
          loving than discriminating against groups based on religious
          convictions. Discrimination is not loving your neighbor…except in your
          twisted world somehow.

          And I pointed out that I can love my young children, or even those convicted of felonies, and yet still deny them the right to vote. Even with real rights, they are not applied universally.

          You have NOT addressed points I have made.”

          Name one.

          The one about children, above. The one about parents marrying multiple of their children. (Yeah, that’s 2, but I’m anticipating the next diversion)

          “This is a claim. Show me where I have misrepresented your position. Support your claim.”

          You
          continue to say that I said marriage is a right…I haven’t…saying I
          said Klavan was lying about his atheism…I didn’t. Those are just a
          couple examples.

          1. You are “supporting your claim by making other claims. You need quotes. Note that I backed up my claim about “rights” in this post with direct quotes from you in context.

          2. I addressed your point about Klavan in another post. If his account of what happened is honest, then your claim that he “picked” the MdS cannot be true.

        • Otto

          >>>”YOU: “explain to me why the rights of homosexuals should be restricted in the case of marriage under the law”
          ME: “Premise # 1 is not factual. No rights of homosexuals are being restricted.”
          YOU: “Not anymore.”

          Now they are being treated equally under the law, before they weren’t.

          >>>”I question whether you even understand what a right is. Being treated equally under the law IS a right”

          Yeah I have said that more than a few times.

          >>>”And I pointed out that I can love my young children, or even those convicted of felonies, and yet still deny them the right to vote.”

          Children are not allowed to make binding contracts, so that is a dodge. Felon’s have done something egregiously illegal and rights are limited for citizen’s that do that. Neither of those examples honestly address the point.

          >>>”The one about children, above. The one about parents marrying multiple of their children. (Yeah, that’s 2, but I’m anticipating the next diversion)”

          And what makes either of those relevant?

          It would be like if I brought up a woman’s right to vote and you countered with “but 8 year old girls can’t vote”. That is you just not addressing the issue.

          1. Your quotes are not in context. The quotes don’t support what you are saying. I have never argued the ‘right’ is to marriage, I never said Klavan, etc. was lying. When you brought them both up I clearly clarified the points and yet you won’t deal with what I said.

          2. I have had it with you not dealing with what I said…my patience with you is coming to an end.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “YOU: “explain to me why the rights of homosexuals should be restricted in the case of marriage under the law”
          ME: “Premise # 1 is not factual. No rights of homosexuals are being restricted.”
          YOU: “Not anymore.”

          Now they are being treated equally under the law, before they weren’t.

          You stated that you had not made the argument that marriage was a right. Here, you stated it twice.

        • Otto

          No…that is the conclusion you assumed twice…and you refuse to deal with any clarification, instead you want to continue to beat your horse after it is dead.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Explain to me why the rights . . . . in the case of marraige…”

          In reply to “No rights. . . .”, you said “Not anymore [was the right to marriage being restricted]”

          Your only “clarification” was to accuse me of dishonesty for asserting you said this. You know what you are saying is untrue. I have shown you how what you are saying is untrue. Yet knowing it is untrue, you continue to say it. You are being hypocritical.

        • Otto

          So rather than deal with what I said to clarify my position, a position I have held for more than 20 years, you STILL want to argue about whether I said marriage itself is a right.
          This is exactly why discussion with you is futile. Susan and Amos was right and I now regret saying that I thought you were interested in honest discussion. I was wrong to defend you.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You’re a good person Otto. You give the other person the benefit of the doubt and take them on face value regardless of what others have to say. That is an admirable quality.

          Susan had a fair bit of experience with Clement. I tend to have a bit of a nose for these things and make my mind up fairly quickly. I’m rarely wrong, but I wish very often I was, even just a wee bit. Then the frustration gets the better of me then…well then you already know my form. I wish I had the patience to suffer fools gladly like many others here, yerself, Susan, Greg, Bob, epeeist, etc., but I don’t have the same level of nous, so I go quickly to mockery and ridicule.

          Any, doffs cap for the tolerance and patience you have displayed on this interaction.

        • Otto

          I try and figure out of the person is sincere but we just disagree, or if the person is disingenuous. In my job I can’t afford to prejudge, I am always working to try and make sure that I am not doing that as much as possible, so even when my instinct tells me one thing I try and get it confirmed. After all the discussions with Clement my suspicion is that he is self-aware enough to try and come off as genuine, even though he isn’t. I also think people tend to be a mixture and if I can show I am willing to be genuine I am hoping the other person follows suit. Once I have determined that is not the case the gloves come off.

          I appreciate your sentiments…thank you

        • Ignorant Amos

          I left most of my diplomacy capabilities and keeping a nice face back in my military days…all that must have worn me down.

          I appreciate your sentiments…thank you

          I also call it as I see it…not always to my benefit too.

        • Susan

          I try and figure out of the person is sincere but we just disagree, or if the person is disingenuous.

          Honestly, so do I. I had a long history with Clement during which he had demonstrated repeatedly that he was disingenuous. He was also disrespectful and insulting, accusing me (and others) of things that he could not support.

          You hadn’t had much history with him at that point.

          Now you have.

        • Greg G.

          You’re a good egg, Noonan. She needs you. Pick up that Kleenex!

        • Otto

          Tanks fer nuttin!

        • epeeist

          Susan and Amos was right and I now regret saying that I thought you were interested in honest discussion.

          No, he never has been. In fact the only thing that Clement Agonistes is champion at is dishonesty.

          He lies like Trump, his only interest is what is convenient and useful at the moment, any commitment to intellectual integrity is completely lacking.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Article 16.

          (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
          (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
          (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

          http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

          Same sex marriage, heck, sexual relationships with members of the same sex, is not an equal human right everywhere and it’s because of religious cunts like you…

          Among the first to voice opposition for the declaration, in early December 2008, was the Holy See’s Permanent Observer at the United Nations, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, who claimed that the declaration could be used to force countries to recognise same-sex marriage: “If adopted, they would create new and implacable discriminations. For example, states which do not recognise same-sex unions as ‘matrimony’ will be pilloried and made an object of pressure.”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_at_the_United_Nations#Opposition

          Stick yer religiously based morality up yer hole, it stinks just as bad.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “And I pointed out that I can love my young children, or even those
          convicted of felonies, and yet still deny them the right to vote.”

          Children
          are not allowed to make binding contracts, so that is a dodge. Felon’s
          have done something egregiously illegal and rights are limited for
          citizen’s that do that. Neither of those examples honestly address the
          point.

          Both are examples of groups who are denied their rights. Both are examples of people who can be loved AND denied their rights. That is specifically what you were asking for.

          “The one about children, above. The one about parents marrying
          multiple of their children. (Yeah, that’s 2, but I’m anticipating the
          next diversion)”

          And what makes either of those relevant?

          They are examples where you did not (and still aren’t) addressing points I made. When you (wrongly) accuse me of this, you say I am being “dishonest. You have one standard for those you disagree with and another for yourself.

          1. Your quotes are not in context. The quotes don’t support what you
          are saying. I have never argued the ‘right’ is to marriage, I never said
          Klavan, etc. was lying. When you brought them both up I clearly
          clarified the points and yet you won’t deal with what I said.

          2. I have had it with you not dealing with what I said…my patience with you is coming to an end.

          1. Is yet another unsupported claim by you. I gave direct quotes, in context. If you assert they were not in context, show your work.
          2. Damn. I’m going to miss beating my head against the wall!

        • Otto

          >>>”Both are examples of groups who are denied their rights.”

          No it is not, and the fact that you have to stretch the truth to try and make your point is telling.

          >>>”hey are examples where you did not (and still aren’t) addressing points I made.”

          Your points are not relevant, hence there is no need to address them.

          >>>”Damn. I’m going to miss beating my head against the wall!”

          The wall you are beating your head against is of your own construction.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Both are examples of groups who are denied their rights.”

          No it is not, and the fact that you have to stretch the truth to try and make your point is telling.

          Both are examples of groups who are not treated as equals under law – your gripe. 16-yr-olds in one state might possess the “right” to be married, while being denied that privilege in other states.

          What is telling is your tactic of wrongly calling other people dishonest for doing what you are doing.

          Look, we’ve reached the end of the line here. We stopped communicating some time ago. Get in your last digs, and let’s call it.

        • Otto

          Comparing the rights of adults to the rights of minors is dishonest…we stopped communicating because you have to try and bring things in to the discussion as comparable that are not comparable in an effort to win a point and not address the issue presented.

          See ya Clement…there is no reason for you to come back around until you actually want to present an argument FOR your position instead of only trying to poke holes in ours, a good argument does both.

        • Susan

          A minor correction:

          until you actually want to present an argument FOR your position instead of only trying to poke holes in ours attack strawmen.

        • Greg G.

          Much better.

        • Susan

          And I pointed out that I can love my young children, or even those convicted of felonies, and yet still deny them the right to vote

          On what basis are they not considered equal under the law when it comes to voting? Homosexuals seeking marriage are not felons or children. They are consenting adults.

          The one about parents marrying multiple of their children.

          Who has sought that right? On what basis is it denied? It’s not a consensual contract between consenting adults.

          On what basis would you deny law-abiding consenting adults equal rights to enter into legal marriage contracts?

          Your examples are bullshit.

        • epeeist

          Your examples are bullshit.

          To use a phrase I have used before, “enough straw to contain an infinite number of Edward Woodwards”. And then he whines when he is accused of being dishonest.

          The same could be said of Klavan, why choose the Marquis de Sade as the exemplar for atheism when someone like the Baron d’Holbach is an almost exact contemporary.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The same could be said of Klavan, why choose the Marquis de Sade as the exemplar for atheism when someone like the Baron d’Holbach is an almost exact contemporary.

          Because that wouldn’t fit their weaseling narrative and it fucks their hypothesis right up.

          One of my favorites, and also a contemporary of de Sade, is French-American atheist philanthropist Stephen Girard. The man saved the U.S. government from financial collapse.

          Childless, he devoted much of his fortune to philanthropy, particularly the education and welfare of orphans. His legacy is still felt in his adopted home of Philadelphia.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Girard

          Would that Klavan had thought about the actions of the lesser famous Girard when contemplating his fuckwittery, might he have had a different outcome?

          No matter, Klavan and Clement are dickheads and their mindwankery doesn’t get them to where they want to be…and Clement knows it.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The one about parents marrying multiple of their children.

          Who has sought that right? On what basis is it denied? It’s not a consensual contract between consenting adults.

          On what basis would you deny law-abiding consenting adults equal rights to enter into legal marriage contracts?

          I specifically advocated for a legal contract as an alternative – your premise is wrong. Otto countered by referring to a SC case that said “equal” was sufficient.

          I am talking about between consenting adults. Granted, not many have sought polygamy or incest, but all citizens are equal under the law, right? Numbers would be irrelevant, right?

          Your examples are bullshit.

          Oh, well why didn’t you say that earlier? NOW, your case is so much stronger.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I specifically advocated for a legal contract as an alternative – your premise is wrong.

          You missed the bit about marriage…”legal marriage contract”…like what every other consenting adult is permitted.

          I am talking about between consenting adults. Granted, not many have sought polygamy or incest, but all citizens are equal under the law, right? Numbers would be irrelevant, right?

          When polygamy and incest are rights permitted under the law to one group of adults, they should be permitted under the law to all. That’s equality.

          As it is, they are not. So still, equality.

        • Susan

          Oh, well why didn’t say that earlier? NOW, your case is so much stronger.

          I explained why your arguments were bullshit. I made the case.

          So, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve asked you to show a connection between any “God” and morality.

          You’ve still provided nothing.

          Is this going to be like the Powerball odds?

          Do I have to ask 292 million times and hope that I’ll strike gold?

        • Ignorant Amos

          At least in one of the 292 million times, you’ll hit pay dirt and will definitely strike gold.

        • Greg G.

          Not only that, there is a 4% chance of getting your money back.

        • Those against same-sex marriage often toss out examples from the bin they put SSM into: bestiality, incest, pedophilia, and so on. They ignore the part about those other things causing harm and SSM not.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And I pointed out that I can love my young children, or even those convicted of felonies, and yet still deny them the right to vote. Even with real rights, they are not applied universally.

          You’re one dumb fucker.

          Nobody gives a fiddlers about whether you love them or hate them, that is a non sequitur ffs.

          Try and work out what equal means ya cretin?

          Equal rights means if one child is entitled to it, all children are entitled to it. If your kids came home from school and said they had been discriminated in school because their Da was a fuckwit religidiot…they would not be being treated equal to their peers. Equal rights means that if some children were permitted to vote, all of them are permitted the vote.

          If some felons are permitted to vote, then equal rights means they should all be granted the vote…none should discriminated against for any reason. Felons are not permitted to vote…not just some of them, all of them in a society with equal rights.

          When women were not permitted the vote, they were being discriminated against because of their sex….they didn’t have equal rights to a man because of sexual discrimination.

          When heterosexual adults are permitted to marry and homosexual adults are not, they are being discriminated against based on sexuality…they are not being granted equal rights…how fucking hard is this for you ya dumb cunt?

          And get this…the US is not the centre of the universe. There are places around the world that deny the rights of homosexuals to marry because of Christian religious fuckwittery. That includes the country where I live…gays are not being treated equally to their adult peers.

          I wish ta fuck you’d get your bigoted head out of your arse and learn something, or do us all a favour and fuck away off with your unsupported religious rot.

        • Greg G.

          They fought for those rights and had to fight against Christians who were restricting their rights. Why did those Christians oppose them getting married, refusing to grant marraige licenses, and refusing to bake cakes for them?

        • Otto

          All done out of the love Jesus commanded.

        • Clement Agonistes

          As I have stated repeatedly, marriage is not a right. I do not accept the premise of your question. If wishing something to be true made it so, then I just got great evidence for God’s existence. Your emotions get the better of you.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bullshit lying bastard…and now we know yer a bigoted cunt too.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_the_United_States

          And the US is not the whole world either, ya knuckle-dragging moron

        • Clement Agonistes

          Christianity gave us nothing positive that humans on the whole did not already know.

          >>>”However, we still have that problem of scientifically showing that morality would have developed as it is without Christian influence.”
          I have never argued that Christianity has not played a significant part of shaping our morality in the West…sometimes positively and sometimes negatively.

          You are making a nuanced distinction between your first claim (nothing positive) and your second (sometimes positive). Can you clarify?

        • Otto

          I have repeatedly stated what I think on this to you. So I guess I will have to say it again.

          In Christianity things like murder and stealing are wrong, but Christianity did not come up with those concepts, though they DO promote them. Therefore Christianity HAS had an impact on promoting positive morality.
          Christianity has promoted the ‘golden rule’ extensively in some cases, it did not come up with the concept. Through the promotion of the golden rule people have been able to link other concepts, like treating people equally, etc. That is a positive outcome.

          Christian specific morality is not positive, the idea that people should suffer if they do not ‘think’ the right thoughts for instance. Or the idea that suffering will bring people closer to Jesus.. are 2 that come to mind.

        • Susan

          I guess I will have to say it again.

          Every time you do, he gets to avoid having to support his position.

        • Otto

          Yep…guilty as charged.

          But it is a really enjoyable point to make for me…;)

          As a personal note on that issue, I clung to Christianity far longer than I should have because even though I didn’t believe in a lot of the bullshit, I thought Christianity had some redeeming qualities that were only taught through Christianity, so I like to point this one out for anyone that might feel the same.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You’re dealing with a cretin…waste of space.

        • Clement Agonistes

          the idea that people should suffer if they do not ‘think’ the right
          thoughts for instance. Or the idea that suffering will bring people
          closer to Jesus.. are 2 that come to mind.

          Thanks for those comments, Otto.
          1. I don’t think it is so much suffering for thinking about doing bad things. Every actions exists as a thought before it exists as an action. If we avoid entertaining thoughts about doing bad things, we’ll do fewer bad things. There are several times where Jesus uses hyperbole to make a point.
          2. The second example would take some leaps that I don’t think you would make, . . . . but I would. If Jesus is moral, then being more like Jesus – closer to him – would result in better moral behavior. In my own life, when things are going good, I tend to get cocky and assume I’ve got the world by the delicates. When things are going badly, I cry out for help. I think the same is true for organizations and cultures. When we suffer, we get closer to Jesus. Is being closer to Jesus in our best interest, or that of people around us. I say yes. It gives me empathy for others who are suffering. And, if there is an afterlife, being closer to Jesus is the miracle drug that saves lives.

          When we talk about Alternative History, i think we are talking about Roman culture as the template for Western culture. Were there differences between Roman morality and Christian morality? if they were identical, then I haven’t a leg to stand on. If there were differences, then those would be the Christian-specific morals that we’d look at.

        • Otto

          1. When I said that I was referring to not being of the ‘right’ religion…or no religion. But yeah Jesus did say that THINKING about sin is the same as DOING sin…so there is that too. That wasn’t just saying bad thoughts lead to bad actions, that was saying the thoughts themselves were equally sinful.

          2. Sure you can interpret it and spin it to get something positive out of it…I won’t argue that, but it has been interpreted in awful ways by people who are just as devout as you. Unfortunately Jesus wasn’t clear enough in his communication…hmmm.

          >>>”And, if there is an afterlife, being closer to Jesus is the miracle drug that saves lives.”

          Yeah, that is also the thing, acting decently isn’t good enough. I could act just as decently as any Jesus believing Christian…but that isn’t enough, I also have to believe Jesus is my Savior to get that treat…that goes back to #1.

        • Clement Agonistes

          1. I still think that is was hyperbole – as I said in my previous post. Jesus uses that tool a number of times. But, assuming this isn’t one of those times, then it would hardly be the first time a Christian would sin. Are Christians going to suffer for their sins? If Jesus is saying that sinful thoughts, like all other sins, should be forgiven, then no.

          2. hmmmmm . . . . . Jesus would be perfect in His communication? Otto, that would be a statement of your own theology. I have never heard such a claim from a Christian. Given that so many claims are made, I don’t rule it out, but I’ve never heard it. I’ve yet to run across a Christian who claims to understand everything there is to know about Jesus. Look. I’m just reporting my own personal experience and my observations about human nature.

          I could act just as decently as any Jesus believing Christian…but
          that isn’t enough, I also have to believe Jesus is my Savior to get that
          treat…that goes back to #1.

          The belief is that one cannot enter heaven with sin – one has to be free of it. Now, Jesus can remove all of that sin as if it never existed. But, one would have to ask Jesus for that.

          If you don’t think you’ve ever done anything wrong that would need to be removed, then you wouldn’t ask.

          If you don’t believe that Jesus exists, then there would be no one IYO to ask.
          If you don’t believe that heaven exists, why would you ask?
          If you don’t believe being with God is a good thing, there would be no motivation to ask.

          So, believing Jesus can save you from death is a nice summary, but there is more to it. If Jesus saves you from death, that is probably a little better than a Scooby Snack, and if sin can be forgiven, then it doesn’t matter if it is just thought.

        • Otto

          1) Let’s stick to the point I was making because I think 2 different things are getting confused.

          If Jesus is not accepted as Lord and Savior even when that person has been given the chance to do so what does Christianity in general say will happen to that person? The point is that what a person thinks should not lead to punishments or rewards, that is establishing thought crimes.

          2) If God is perfect and God wants to communicate with humans, yeah I expect that communication to be unambiguous. That is just logical. I have no doubt you have never heard such a claim from a Christian because what we see does not match that…they would never argue such a point. Christians have to come up with reasons why the communication IS ambiguous…even though doing so contradicts the premise of God being perfect.

          >>>”The belief is that one cannot enter heaven with sin – one has to be free of it.”

          And the only way to be free of sin is to believe in Jesus…so thinking a thought, or not thinking a thought, is a basis for reward or punishment. That is an immoral concept. It is establishing a thought crime.

          >>>”So, believing Jesus can save you from death is a nice summary, but there is more to it.”

          Regardless, it still breaks down to whether you think the right thing. If 2 people live identical lives and one believes in Jesus and the other does not the only difference is the thoughts in their head.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The point is that what a person thinks should not lead to punishments or rewards, that is establishing thought crimes.

          You threw in “rewards” there. That would not be a thought crime. It would, however get to the topic of sincerity – would you get credit for doing or saying the right thing when you felt the opposite?

          But, eliminating rewards, that leaves us with your original point – sins of thought. For this scenario to work, we would have a person who, other than thinking bad thoughts, had behaved perfectly – never sinning. As a hypothetical, it is fun, but in reality – my point – it doesn’t happen. ALL people sin. The Christian would be forgiven for all sin, both of action and thought.

          We’re getting into the theological weeds here. You had mentioned that you were a Christian for a long time. You should be familiar with what I am saying here. If our otherwise perfect person had committed just one – unforgiven – sin, that would be enough to prevent entrance into heaven. Paul discusses this at length in Romans – no one is perfect enough to earn their way into heaven. Sins of thought would be irrelevant. Why are you discussing an irrelevancy?

          2) If God is perfect and God wants to communicate with humans, yeah I
          expect that communication to be unambiguous. That is just logical. I
          have no doubt you have never heard such a claim from a Christian because
          what we see does not match that…they would never argue such a point.
          Christians have to come up with reasons why the communication IS
          ambiguous…even though doing so contradicts the premise of God being
          perfect.

          “That is just logical” – I love that line. Uhh, based on . . . .what? This is YOUR theology, Otto. You are propping up your own theology to be the argument of Christians, and then knocking it down. You are arguing against your point, not ours. No, Christians do not have to defend your argument.

          “The belief is that one cannot enter heaven with sin – one has to be free of it.”

          And
          the only way to be free of sin is to believe in Jesus…so thinking a
          thought, or not thinking a thought, is a basis for reward or punishment.
          That is an immoral concept.

          An integral part of belief in Jesus is that Jesus can forgive our sins. They would be thinking (or saying aloud), “Jesus forgive me.” Yeeaaahhh, “belief” is a thought. It is bizarre to me that you view this as immoral. Morality is relative, IYO, right? Not everyone is going to share your beliefs about morality. Yet, you are passing moral judgement based on people’s thoughts. The head spins. . . . .

        • Otto

          >>>”You threw in “rewards” there. That would not be a thought crime. It would, however get to the topic of sincerity – would you get credit for doing or saying the right thing when you felt the opposite?”

          Ask Pascal…or any of the Christian pastors that tell their congregants to “fake it till they make it”

          >>>”For this scenario to work, we would have a person who, other than thinking bad thoughts, had behaved perfectly – never sinning.”

          No, all we need is someone who has not accepted Jesus…I said every other factor is the same… “If 2 people live identical lives and one believes in Jesus and the other does not the only difference is the thoughts in their head”.

          >>>”The Christian would be forgiven for all sin.”

          Yep…great moral system ya got there, be as crappy a person as you want as long as you sincerely tell your God you are really, really, sorry before the end, than everything is hunky dory…as if just thinking the right thoughts will absolve you of wrong doing.

          >>>”Sins of thought would be irrelevant.”

          Well, all thoughts except for the thought that Jesus wasn’t God, THAT thought is just unacceptable.

          >>>”Uhh, based on . . . .what?”

          Uhh…based on God is perfect. God being perfect is your theology…I am just carrying that theology to its logical conclusion…except your theology than comes up with excuses for imperfect communication…as if that makes any sense.

          >>>”It is bizarre to me that you view this as immoral. Morality is relative, IYO, right?”

          And IYO morality is objective…and yet objectively you cannot make sense of that…you can only do it subjectively. Funny how that knife cuts both ways.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yep…great moral system ya got there, be as crappy a person as you want as long as you sincerely tell your God you are really, really, sorry before the end, than everything is hunky dory…as if just thinking the right thoughts will absolve you of wrong doing.

          Which is why Hitler is basking in Heaven, while Anne Frank is burning in Hell.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But we atheists don’t sin. Otto is playing DA. We don’t have the problem with that nonsense that you have. And it is pure fuckwittery.

          Sin is sometimes described as an offense against God or as violating an individual’s relationship with God. By these definitions, I‘m pleased to say that this atheist is sinless. There is no such thing as sin for atheists, if sin is about doing something that displeases an imaginary figure. However, sins can be whatever religious figures say they are. Eating meat on Friday used to be a sin for Catholics, but no longer is. ~Herb Silverman

        • Ignorant Amos

          The difference is between “gave us” and “shaping or morality”.

          What moral positive did Christianity give us that humans didn’t previously have?

          As to the second part…

          “Religions certainly do provide a framework within which people can learn the difference between right and wrong.” ~ Prof. Thomas Dixon

          …but they are not necessary.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You could always try and learn something…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtPRLoZBT5o

        • Ignorant Amos

          Their morality was based on Christianity…

          What morality was based on Christianity?

          …(regardless of how Christianity came to possess it).

          This is pure ballix.

          What about the shite bits of morality in that Christian world view that the non-Christians ignored?

          Of course you’ll only claim the good stuff for your woo woo…the bad stuff that your woo woo plagiarized you are happy to forget about.

          There was broad agreement on what was moral.

          And was everything that was broadly agreed was moral in this Christian world, actually moral? What about 200 years ago? Or 300 years ago? What about 500 years ago? Or 1000 years ago?

          Will you own all the stuff that was broadly agreed was moral in this moral Christian utopia you imagine existed…warts and all?

          Even as Christianity has been phased out of those cultures, the moral framework has remained.

          Nope…the shitty stuff is being weeded out, the good stuff we are keeping, doesn’t owe it’s existence to Christians or Christianity.

          The human species is maturing…slowly…and as it is doing so, the religious ballix is getting ditched, while the secular stuff is being kept, built upon, and revised.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Again, I am baffled by your logic here.
          That is because you only seem to think in terms of black and white…you seemingly have no concept of gray. You said “Better” means closer to best.” Look up the word better in any dictionary and show me one definition that says… “Better” means closer to best”. What you seem to be arguing is that we can’t explain a ‘better’ unless there is a ‘best’ and that is ridiculous.

          The only place there is no gray is at Best or Worst. I conceive of Better – a gray area on the Best side of Neutral (perfect grayness), and Worse – a gray area on the Worst side of Neutral. Your “seemingly” doesn’t stand up to even the most superficial of scrutiny.

          The first dictionary I went to defines better as.

          ADJECTIVE
          of a more excellent or effective type or quality.

          and best as,

          ADJECTIVE
          of the most excellent, effective, or desirable type or quality.

          One is “more” excellent; the other is “most” excellent. They are variations on “excellent”. “Better” is superior to some others by comparison. “Best” is superior to ALL others.

          You used the analogy of language. Language must communicate, and ideally do so perfectly. “Better” communicates one thing, and “best” communicates another. Both communicate a level of excellence. The parties attempting to communicate must both have the same meaning for the words they are using. Not only do these words not have the same meaning for you as they do for me (and the dictionary), you conclude that my understanding of them is “ridiculous”, it is so far removed from the reality you perceive. I’d like to dismiss that as the hyperbole that comes with these kinds of discussions, but it could be that there is a barrier between us that could be insurmountable. There is so little common ground that agreement on even trivial things such as word meaning is impossible.

        • Otto

          >>>”The first dictionary I went to defines better as.

          ADJECTIVE
          of a more excellent or effective type or quality.”

          You just proved my point. Better is defined as “more excellent”…it is NOT defined as “closer to best” as you stated. We can all argue that certain art is ‘better’ than other art WITHOUT an objective ‘best’ art. Determining whether something is better does NOT necessitate a BEST as an ideal to explain that something is BETTER… as YOUR personal definition of ‘better’ implies. You literally just made that up.

          >>>”There is so little common ground that agreement on even trivial things such as word meaning is impossible.”

          Again…you made up the definition of ‘better’ to suit your argument…that isn’t a ‘me’ problem that is a ‘you’ problem.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I think you are putting a LOT of effort into making a razor blade slip between these meanings. You are trying to make a distinction between “more” and “closer to”. You are working hard to avoid communicating – metaphorically taking our ball and going home.

        • Susan

          I think you are putting a LOT of effort

          It seemed relatively effortless to show that you are trying to force a meaning that doesn’t exist in order to make a point you haven’t made.

          into making a razor blade slip

          You mean he’s nitpicking? Classic.

          You’re making stuff up Clement.

          You are working hard to avoid communicating.

          Sproing!!!!

        • Clement Agonistes

          You are using the “I am rubber; you are glue” argument of a child.

        • Susan

          You are using the “I am rubber, you are glue” argument of a child.

          You mean the “Sproing!!!!”?

          I lost count of the direct, pertinent questions that you’ve avoided answering here in your commenting history.

          So, yes. It’s ironic that you would accuse Otto of working hard to avoid communicating.

          Also, as usual, you avoided the substance of my post. And of Otto’s.

          And of nearly everyone else’s.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Your response is to double-down on the argument of a child. “No, I’m not using the argument of a child, you are.”

        • Otto

          You are the one that is trying really hard to make ‘better’ proof that there is an Ultimate Best…if we could only just find it, like some buried treasure we have lost the map to. You try and smuggle in concepts constantly because it is the only tool you have to attempt to support your position, fallacies be damned.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Let’s try an exercise. Let’s take 5 conditions:
          A) More Excellent
          B) Less Excellent
          C) Most Excellent
          D) Least Excellent
          E) Neutral

          Now, arrange them on a line in the most logical organization.

          Just to keep things moving, I see 2 possibilities based on word meaning
          1. D,B,E,A,C
          2. C,A,E,B,D

          (A) More Excellent is going to be closer to (C) Most excellent than any of the other degrees of excellence.

          There is no “smuggling” going on. There is an enormous effort on your part to deny the meanings of words that we all understand.

        • Otto

          I will answer this as simply as I can.

          Does there need to be an Ultimate Best painting to compare 2 pieces of art? Or Ultimate Best house to compare houses?

          You are the one saying there needs to be an Ultimate Best morality to compare morale systems and I think that is hogwash.

        • Clement Agonistes

          A painting is not the concept – beauty is. We sense that beauty exists, yet what is the evidence for it? There are huge numbers of people who will tell you they have a spiritual experience when they experience something of great beauty. I’ve even seen atheists stating those moments were as close as they ever got to thinking there might be something that transcends the natural world.

          Now, my attempt in that post was to clarify why I view “more excellent” as being closer to most excellent than the less excellent choices. I think you were game-playing to pretend you did not grasp the definitions in the first place. if we can’t even agree on trivial word meanings, there’s not much hope on the larger concepts. In Ultimate Communication, both sides WANT understanding.

          Behavior is not a concept. Morality is. A painting is not a concept. Beauty is. Concepts are not observable. They only exist in a mind. You evidence for real things is that they must be observable. You need observable evidence. There will be no observable evidence of a concept. Yet, we know they are real because we experience them.

          An artist would have beauty in his mind before the first brush stroke. How would he know that each brush stroke or color was in harmony with that idea? In your mind, you have morality. How would you know that each action would be in harmony with that idea? Our actions are the expression of our concept of morality. Each “brush stroke” (action) is either in harmony with excellent, or not.

          Klavan observed that for morality to exist, a choice must be made between good and bad. Choosing must take place in the mind. The action comes after the choice. The action is not morality itself. We put a modifier – “good” or “bad” – in front of the action to define its morality.

        • Otto

          “A painting is not the concept – beauty is.”

          That is an irrelevant distinction for your argument. You took the position that if there is a better morality that there MUST be an Ultimate Morality. To correlate the analogy to beauty you would have to show that if there is something that is more beautiful, there HAS to be something that is MOST beautiful. You have failed to do either. Until you do there isn’t anything else to talk about.

          The ball is in your court Clement, support your argument properly or this discussion is over.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “One of the great points atheists bring up is the idea of God being a human creation rather than the other way around. Wouldn’t they look the same?”
          The issue is how can we know or tell the difference.

          That sounds like the same thing to me. If they are identical in every way, how can we tell the difference? We agree?

          “But, I digress – the point is that it makes sense because we are agents and we make moral choices.”
          I have 2 cats, both are very docile and friendly. One is especially so, but if that cat hears the other is in distress he will immediately go to see what is happening and will attack the threat at his own peril. That seems to be a moral action, it is at least showing empathy and showing a willingness to act, if animals have evolved basic morality why would it be surprising that humans have as well?

          Scientifically, we can’t just impose our own perspective on other animals. I can interview another person, and ask them why they did what they did. If I interpret another person’s actions I at least can maintain that one human is a good stand-in for another. We cannot interview the cat, nor are we good stand-ins for them. It may just be a pack instinct.

          “If God had personality, yes. A social relationship could exist. But, as you point out, we would have to make that leap of assuming God.”
          Very true…but Ultimate Morality suffers from another problem. If God has always existed, at some point God existed alone, if morality is social that would seem to create an issue for morality to have always existed.

          There are some theology issues there(Christian trinity?), but if God can create, He can create morality also.

        • Susan

          There are some theology issues there

          Theology… the subject without an object.

          if God can create, He can create morality also

          Again, you don’t define “God” nor do you make any support for “Him” existing, let alone creating anything.

          We can’t interview the cat.

          No. We can observe their behaviours. We can’t interview other humans whose language we don’t speak, either.

          We can note that we are members of a very small and very fuzzy branch on a very old bush of life on Earth.

          There is no “Ultimate Morality”. If there were, it certainly can’t be credited to an imaginary being who is supposed to be responsible for natural selection.

          Any agent who created natural selection out of metaphysical nothingness, is either incompetent, a sociopath, or a psychopath.

          So far, it appears to be nonexistent (which would, at least, let it off the hook for natural selection.).

        • Otto

          >>>”That sounds like the same thing to me. If they are identical in every way, how can we tell the difference? We agree?”

          Occum’s Razor

          >>>”Scientifically, we can’t just impose our own perspective on other animals.”

          So let me get this straight…you dismiss my argument because you think I am imposing human perspective on animals but you have no problem using the human perspective of morality as evidence of an Ultimate Morality and therefore a God…but THAT isn’t a problem. You are stacking the deck.

          >>>”but if God can create, He can create morality also.”

          That is basically a tautology…you might as well say that “if God can do anything, than therefore God can do anything”.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “That sounds like the same thing to me. If they are identical in every way, how can we tell the difference? We agree?”
          Occum’s Razor

          “The simplest solution tends to be the right one.”? I’m not sure how this applies to this comment. Did we have agreement, and then you moved on to a different topic. My claim was that humans creating God would look just like God creating Man, You seemed to be arguing a distinction between them looking alike and not being able to tell the difference. We’re on our third post now for one of those Capt. Obvious moments.

          My digression related to your comment, “Humans do that.” IF there were a God, we could only understand Him in human terms – in this case, making moral choices. Just as humans make choices, we attribute to God the ability to make choices also. Maybe we are just imposing our own understanding on God. However, if Man were created in God’s image, we would expect some similarities like this. Since we can’t tell the difference, one proposition is just a plausible as the other. It doesn’t settle anything.

          “Scientifically, we can’t just impose our own perspective on other animals.”
          So let me get this straight…you dismiss my argument because you think I am imposing human perspective on animals but you have no problem using the human perspective of morality as evidence of an Ultimate Morality and therefore a God…but THAT isn’t a problem. You are stacking the deck.

          I think “scientifically” may be the crucial word there. EMOTIONALLY, oh, yeah, impose away. I’m the guys who is making the “feelings” argument. If it feels like cats are altruistic, have at it – impose away. I took you to be the scientific guy who needs solid evidence and logic, not feelings.

          There is a nice analogy there, however. We have “created” our pets in our own images. We have chosen (“un-natural selection”, if you will) animals who had desirable (human) traits and selected those for breeding. The dog that looks “lovingly” into our eyes passes on that trait to its descendants. The Marquis de Sade’s point was that our instinct; our nature is to be self-centered.

          “but if God can create, He can create morality also.”
          That is basically a tautology…you might as well say that “if God can do anything, than therefore God can do anything”.

          Yeeeeaaahhhh . . . . your premise was “If God . . .” That is why I called it a theological issue – your knowledge of the nature of God. If God existed alone, and there was no other person to have a relationship with (and therefore morality), then the moment God created another person, morality would have been created simultaneously. Creating one creates the other.

        • Otto

          >>>””The simplest solution tends to be the right one.”? I’m not sure how this applies to this comment. Did we have agreement, and then you moved on to a different topic.”

          No…same topic. You are taking the position that morality is created by God…similar to the way long ago lightning was attributed to some god. I am taking the position that morality emerges through societal interaction. Using Occum’s Razor which is the simple answer?

          >>>”Since we can’t tell the difference, one proposition is just a plausible as the other. It doesn’t settle anything.”

          No…because my proposition is based on something we both agree exists…the natural world. Your proposition adds something that has not ever been demonstrated to exist…the supernatural world. Therefore one is more plausible. Every time a God has been used to explain some observation and later we actually learned the real cause…it wasn’t a God. While that does not prove in and of itself that a God does not exist, the plausibility of the two propositions is not even close to being the same. How can you calculate the plausibility of something being the cause or creator of something else when you cannot even demonstrate that the first ‘something’ is real?

          >>>”If it feels like cats are altruistic, have at it – impose away. I took you to be the scientific guy who needs solid evidence and logic, not feelings.”

          The cats are real, the behavior displayed happened, we can argue about whether my interpretation of the behavior is reasonable but it is not based on ‘feelings’.

          >>>”The Marquis de Sade’s point was that our instinct; our nature is to be self-centered.”

          I seriously don’t give a shit what de Sade thinks…I don’t see him as an authority on the subject so I don’t know why you keep bringing him up.

        • epeeist

          Using Occum’s Razor which is the simple answer?

          The better formulation of Ockham’s razor is Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate, “Plurality is never to be posited without necessity”. Can we explain morality without the addition of a “god” entity? Yes, in which case there is no necessity to include such an ad hoc addition.

          EDIT: Typo

        • Ignorant Amos

          EDIT: Typo

          A very important one on this occasion…I did a double-take at the email notification…ha!

        • That reminds me of the way to boil water: put a pot of water on a hot stove. Then give the water one stir, clockwise, with a magic spoon. Now wait–your water should begin boiling in a few minutes.

          God as an explanation is as unnecessary as the magic spoon.

        • epeeist

          Yeah, we had an igtheist “joke” the other day:

          Straight man: How many igtheists does it take to change a magic lightbulb?

          Igtheist: What’s a “magic lightbulb”?

        • Clement Agonistes

          “The simplest solution tends to be the right one.”? I’m not sure how
          this applies to this comment. Did we have agreement, and then you moved
          on to a different topic.”

          No…same topic. You are taking the
          position that morality is created by God…similar to the way long ago
          lightning was attributed to some god. I am taking the position that
          morality emerges through societal interaction. Using Occum’s Razor which
          is the simple answer?

          OK, then you did change topics. Here is the conversation I was referencing:

          ME: “One of the great points atheists bring up is the idea of
          God being a human creation rather than the other way around. Wouldn’t
          they look the same?”
          YOU: “The issue is how can we know or tell the difference.”

          ME: “That sounds like the same thing to me. If they are identical in every way, how can we tell the difference? We agree?”

          It had nothing whatsoever to do with whose claim is true or not, merely that the evidence would be identical. You were arguing THAT point with me. I said, “They look the same.” You disagreed – they don’t look the same. The issue isn’t that they look identical; it’s that you can’t tell the difference. We are saying the same thing in different words. “We agree, right?”

          As I said in that post, I was referring to your comment, “Humans do that.” I was throwing a bone to you that the characteristics of God resemble those of humans. Does God resemble us or Do we resemble God. Since the evidence is identical, there’s no way to know. Atheists make a good argument here.

          Sometimes it feels like you are just knee-jerk disagreeing with anything I say without considering its merits. You should be high-5ing me on this one for being able to see your side of it.

          All Occam’s Razor does is give some sort of general rule for problem solving. It is not very good logic. It merely picks the solution with the fewest moving parts. In the case of the topic you chose above, the simplest solution is, “God did it.” it only has one assumption. The option is a highly complicated social evolution taking thousands of years and uncountable assumptions. You DO NOT want to go here. I don’t (go there) because the logic is so weak.

        • Otto

          >>>”ME: “That sounds like the same thing to me. If they are identical in every way, how can we tell the difference? We agree?”

          Look…you made the pivot after you wrote that from “they look the same” and agreeing that you couldn’t tell one over the other to … “both are equally plausible”. Don’t blame me for that…you opened that door if you go back and read what you wrote. I was refuting YOUR claim that they are equally plausible. Saying that we can’t distinguish one from the other does not lead to the conclusion that both our positions are therefore equally plausible…the evidence is not identical.

          You are not promoting some deistic version of God…you are putting forth a very specific version of God. Thousands and thousands of Gods have been postulated, and logically only one religion could possibly be right, IOW all but one would be man made…but it is also possible they are ALL man made…so no….it is not equally plausible. Logically we have vast amounts of evidence humans create Gods, we have no evidence a God or Gods created humans.

          >>>”Sometimes it feels like you are just knee-jerk disagreeing with anything I say without considering its merits.”

          Sometimes it seems you make one argument I can potentially agree with to try and smuggle in another unsupported concept later in the point you make, like you did here. And then you blame ME for picking that apart and pointing out the problem.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Your conclusion is driving how you define the facts that lead you to your conclusion. Take away the conclusion, and there are no facts to lead to it.

          Your logic is sound – IF those are truly facts, your conclusion logically follows. You don’t know if your facts are really facts, or just your wishful thinking. Your own methodology must use the same criteria you demand of those who disagree with you. If you “run it to the ground”, there is a hunch as the foundation of your beliefs. You know what you believe, but you do not know why you believe it.

        • Susan

          Your logic is sound- IF those are truly facts

          Why are you explaining a deductive argument to Otto when he isn’t making one?

          He was responding to your claim about equal plausibility.

          But let’s go over his facts:

          1) You are not promoting some deistic form of “God”. True.
          2) You are putting forth a very specific form of “God”. (Although, to be clear, though you reference Yahwehjesus as “God”, you’ve never defined it or supported it. Still, your endless allusions show that you are clearly talking about it.) True.
          3) all but one would be man made…but it is also possible they are ALL man made. True.
          4) Logically we have vast amounts of evidence humans create Gods, True.
          5) we have no evidence a God or Gods created humans. True.

          So, when Otto responded to your claim, he did so with an inductive argument. Because you claimed that two positions are equally plausible.

          Otto showed you a long list of facts and explained why they aren’t.

          Now, it’s your turn. Show that they are.

        • Clement Agonistes

          But let’s go over his facts:1) You are not promoting some deistic form of “God”. True.

          You didn’t even make it through your first claim before saying something unfactual. I have been having this conversation with Otto for weeks now, and you STILL don’t grasp what it was about. You have been participating in the discussion, yet are blind to the topic.

          We have been discussing how Klavan got from atheism to deism. This particular sub-thread came from an aside complimenting a good point that atheists make.

        • Susan

          We have been discussing how Klavan got from atheism to deism

          You never provided anything showing that Klavan went from atheism to deism.

          I linked his conversion story at least once:

          https://jamesbishopblog.com/2017/01/26/how-an-atheist-jew-andrew-klavan-became-a-christian/

        • Clement Agonistes

          As I pointed out to your 2 months ago, there were two phases to his conversion:
          1) From atheist to theist
          2) From Deist to Christian.

        • Susan

          there were two phases to his conversion:
          1) From atheist to theist
          2) From Deist to Christian.

          More unsupported bullshit.

          You have provided exactly nothing to substantiate that claim.

          But what else is new?

        • Clement Agonistes

          Susan, I showed you that these two events occurred at different times. his accounts are in no way similar – they are describing two different events.

        • Susan

          I showed you

          I don’t recall that. Could you link to it?

          If linking is a problem (I explained how to do that a few times, “right-clink on the time stamp of the comment and copy/paste it into your comment box”), could you just repeat it?

          Also, I await your logical connection between morality and Yawhehjesus. You claim there is one. Why don’t you show it?

          Could you link to that too

          Or just repeat it if I missed it?

        • Clement Agonistes

          When we discussed this earlier, I pointed you to Otto’s link to the interview. I provided a partial transcript of that interview. I also provided these excerpts from a review of Klavan’s book in which he went over this same material:

          Here at last, however, was an atheist whose outlook made complete logical sense to me from beginning to end. If there is no God, there is no morality. If there is no morality the search for pleasure and the avoidance of pain are all in all and we should pillage, rape, and murder as we please. None of this pale, milquetoast atheism that says “Let’s all do what’s good for society.” What is society to me? None of this elaborate game-theory nonsense where we all benefit from mutual sacrifice and restraint. That only works when no one is looking; then I’ll get away with what I can. If there is no God, there is no good, and sadistic pornography is scripture.

          Hamlet said these things when he was pretending to be mad. … Shakespeare was telling us, it seemed to me, that relativism was not just crazy, it was make-believe crazy, because even the people that proclaimed it did not believe it deep down. If, after all, there is no truth, how could it be true that there is no truth? If there is no absolute morality, how can you condemn the morality of considering my culture better than any other? Relativism made no sense, as Shakespeare clearly saw.

          But the opposite is also true. That is, if we concede that one thing is morally better than another, it can only be because it is closer to an Ultimate Moral Good, the standard by which it is measured. An Ultimate Moral Good cannot just be an idea. It must be, in effect, a personality with consciousness and free will. The rain isn’t morally good even though it makes the crops grow; a tornado that kills isn’t morally evil — though it may be an evil for those in its way. Happy and sad events, from birth to death, just happen, and we ascribe moral qualities to them as they suit us or don’t. But true, objective good and evil, in order to be good and evil, have to be aware and intentional. So an Ultimate Moral Good must be conscious and free; it must be God.
          So we have to choose. Either there is no God and no morality whatsoever, or there is morality and God is real.

          After reading Sade, I abandoned atheism and returned to agnosticism. I couldn’t quite bring myself to follow my own logic to its conclusions. That is I couldn’t quite bring myself to accept the existence of God. But I knew the road to hell when I saw it and I chose to go home by another way.

          Why, after all, should the flesh be the ground floor of our interpretations? Why should we end our understanding at the level of material things? It’s just a prejudice really. the flesh is convincing. We can see it, feel it, smell it, taste it. It’s very there. It’s a trick of the human mind to give such presence the weight of reality. Men kill each other over dollar bills that are only paper because the paper has come to seem more real to them than the time and value it represents. In the same way, and for the same reason, people destroy themselves and everyone around them for sex: because sex has come to seem more real to them than the love it was made to express.

          … I was beginning to realize there was a spiritual side to life, a side I had been neglecting in my postmodern mind-set. Strip that spirituality away and you were left with a kind of “realism” that no longer seemed to me very realistic at all.

          It’s a flattering philosophy for intellectuals, no doubt. Endless analysis is what they’re good at. But the reductiveness and meaninglessness of the enterprise are creations of the enterprise itself. That is, you have to first make the assumption that material is the only reality before you can being to reason away the spirit.

          This is vastly different than his account of his conversion to Christianity. It doesn’t even mention Jesus or Christianity, and only mentions God in citing the claims of atheists. You dismissed it with a wave of the hand. Smart money says you’ll do it again.

          Of course, Klavan never claimed that.
          Neither you nor Klavan has shown any connecton between Yahwehjesus and moralty. You both just assert that without Yahwehjesus, there is no logical connection to morality.

          You keep trying to change the subject. Let’s just stick with the one being discussed. Otto earns a lot of capital by engaging in civil conversation. You would be far more likely to get your evasions addressed if you could fake being sincere.

        • Susan

          It doesn’t even mention Jesus or Christianity, and only mentions God in citing the claims of atheists

          Right. So, in this case, “God” doesn’t mean a christian god. Though christians refer to “God” when they’re talking about a christian god.

          It sure doesn’t sound like a deist god.

          Otto earns a lot of capital by engaging in civil conversation.

          He has been no more successful in getting you to support your claims than anyone else here.

          You would be far more likely to get your evasions addressed if you could fake being sincere.

          Go fuck yourself.

          You’re the one evading. And you’re insincere.

          What is the connection between Yahwehjesus (whom you call “God”) and morality?

        • Clement Agonistes

          It doesn’t even mention Jesus or Christianity, and only mentions God in citing the claims of atheists

          Right. So, in this case, “God” doesn’t mean a christian god. Though christians refer to “God” when they’re talking about a christian god.

          It sure doesn’t sound like a deist god.

          My claim was that this event Klavan is describing precedes his conversion to Christianity. All he is describing is why he could no longer be an atheist. The God he speaks of would have been generic. Please, you asked for this text. Compare it to the account you provided of him becoming a Christian. If they are identical, then I am wrong – I WILL apologize.

          OTOH, if they are different – and both of us know they are – then you are wrong. You WILL never apologize, and will continue making personal attacks while ignoring the information you asked for. That’s what you did the first time I pointed your error out to you, and that’s what you are doing now.

        • Susan

          All he is describing is why he could no longer be an atheist.

          Again, his conversion story doesn’t show that he went through the steps you claim he went through.

          Neither one of you define “God”.

          As far as I can tell, his conversion story is completely illogical and he added in a book (that I’m not going to read because the paragraphs you linked just look like the same unevidenced, and illogical reasoning that have been repeated countless times, often after the fact, for an audience that doesn’t question any stage of thinking) that without “God”, there is no morality.

          If you can’t show a connection between Yahwehjesus and morality (and you cant. You haven’t no matter how many times you’ve tried to pretend there is one but utterly failed to show one when pressed).

          Then…

          show a connection between a deist god and morality.

          Define your terms and support it.

          The God he speaks of would be generic.

          A generic god is not a deist god.

          Nor is it Yahwehjesus.

          If you (or Klavan) are claiming that any “God” is necessary and/or sufficient for morality, then you will have to define “God” and show it.

          Neither of you have done that.

        • Clement Agonistes

          All he is describing is why he could no longer be an atheist.

          Again, his conversion story doesn’t show that he went through the steps you claim he went through.

          Susan, i don’t know how I can make this any more plain to you than I have. He tells TWO different stories:

          1) How he quit being an atheist and became a theist.

          2) How he came to be a Christian.

          You have read both accounts. They are not the same. They are 2 different events. His conversion story to Christianity does not include his rejection of atheism because it is not relevant to the different story.

          1) I went to the grocery store.

          2) I went to the mall.

          Susan: “Well, why doesn’t you mention groceries in your story about going to the mall?”

          “Because i wasn’t getting groceries at the mall.”

          As far as I can tell, his conversion story is completely illogical

          Then that sounds like a claim worthy of support. I just spent (am spending) considerable time deconstructing your previous claim. It should be your job to support your claim, not mine to show how it contrasts with the facts. I get that you view everyone else as burden shifting because that is what you do. It would be nice i, on occasion, you did more than making unsupported claims about the tactics of others.

          Demonstrate how you are rational. Demonstrate a sincere respect for evidence. Make a logical argument. You don’t have to do it all the time, just once in a while.

          If you can’t show a connection between Yahwehjesus and morality

          You keep saying this, and I keep thinking you will come to realize how illogical this is to the ongoing conversation. Klavan is not discussing Y/J in the account we are discussing. He is discussing God in generic terms – theism contrasted with atheism. He is establishing that there is an objective morality, and it demands a mind – Generic God.

          show a connection between a deist god and morality.

          Define your terms and support it.

          I’m not going to play the definition game – it is unending and pointless. Unless you can make a logical case for doing so, we’re going to have to assume an understanding of the English language on your part.

          Klavan showed that connection, and I can’t get you to address it in a logical manner.

          The God he speaks of would be generic.

          A generic god is not a deist god.

          Nor is it Yahwehjesus.

          There is more complexity to Y/J, I’ll agree. I have pointed out several times that he is not leaving atheism for Y/J in the account we are discussing.

          Classic deism is theism. That is all Klavan needed.

        • Susan

          de·ism
          ˈdēˌizəm,ˈdāˌizəm/Submit
          noun
          belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. The term is used chiefly of an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries that accepted the existence of a creator on the basis of reason but rejected belief in a supernatural deity who interacts with humankind.

          the·ism
          ˈTHēˌizəm/Submit
          noun
          noun: theism
          belief in the existence of a god or gods, especially belief in one god as creator of the universe, intervening in it and sustaining a personal relation to his creatures.

          That is all Klavan needed.

          But he shows no logical connection.

          Neither do you.

          Why is any “God” necessary or even sufficient for morality?

        • Clement Agonistes

          de·ism
          noun
          belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator

          noun: theism
          belief in the existence of a god or gods, especially belief in one god as creator

          Are you distinguishing between the 2 terms to show that deism is not theism? if so, this may be the Worst Definition Shopping Ever. This is yet another example of the pointlessness of playing the Definition Game with you.

          Is there a Part 2 where you address the other 90% of that post?

        • Susan

          this may be the Worst Definition Shopping Ever

          Well, somebody’s got to go shopping for definitions. You never provide them and insult people when they ask you to do so.

          I didn’t dig deep. They were the first definitions.

          Is there a Part 2 where you address the other 90% of that post?

          My god, you’re a hypocrite. You are notorious for ignoring the substance of people’s comments while providing none of your own.

          As I said, neither one of you define “God”. Neither one of you shows the necessity of “God” in moral reasoning nor that it’s sufficient.

          What are the chances you’ll do so in the next comment? Very, very, very, very, very low based on the pattern.

          He is establishing that there is an objective morality, and it demands a mind – Generic God.

          He never establishes that there is one nor does he show how it demands a mind, nor that that mind exists nor how it can provide morality.

          Neither have you.

          Generic God

          What attributes does Generic God possess and what is its connection to morality?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Is there a Part 2 where you address the other 90% of that post?

          I nearly choked when I read that bit of shite.

          Irony meters exploding all over the web.

          Clement is a past master at ignoring comments or portions of comments that fuck his assertions right up…what a hypocritical twat.

        • Susan

          You WILL never apologize, and will continue making personal attacks while ignoring the information you asked for.

          It’s not a personal attack. I just continue to point out that you (nor Klavan) have ever shown a logical connection between any definition of “God” and morality.

          And I continue to ask you to do so.

          But you don’t.

          I’m going to bet that if you respond to this post, you won’t.

          I might be wrong. Although it’s based on reasonable expectations based on prior evidence. (As a great teacher used to say, though I’m certainly not the best student he ever had.)

          Here’s your chance to prove me wrong by defining “God” and showing a connection between it and morality.

          You keep acting like there is one.

          But you never show your work.

        • Clement Agonistes

          It’s not a personal attack..

          I’m sure you meant “Go fuck yourself.” in the good sense.

        • Susan

          I’m sure you meant “Go fuck yourself.” in the good sense.

          Of course I didn’t. I explained quite clearly when and why I would do that.

          Now, show a logical connection between “God” and morality.

        • Sample1

          Mike,
          The Christian faith is mathematically correct according to moral absolute. (would recommend the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas). Kathleen Ann

          A recent reply. How do I begin? I guess a pair of speedos and swim cap because I’m diving right in. Will be borrowing heavily from your style. And so I thank you for that.

          Mike

        • Otto

          Where the hell does math come into play with morality?

        • Sample1

          Here, take my hand and let me show you through that door up ahead. Now that you’re here, you can see two kinds of math. See that chalkboard under the cherubim (never mind their shapeless bodies, they were creations of the third day) see where it shows 2+2=4? That’s math based on moral absolute.

          Got another minute? See that trapdoor? Follow me. Now that we’re here, pardon the smoke and flames, take a look at that chalkboard, the one showing 2+2=5. Here in this cellar lies abstract algebra. Satan’s teachings and morally relativistic, not morally absolute.

          Mike

        • Otto

          Oh my…

        • Are there objectively true moral facts? I’ve seen no evidence of them.

          I’m not sure what you’re saying about 2 + 2 = 4. Are you saying that it wouldn’t be that way except for God? I’ve seen no evidence of that, either.

        • Otto

          I think that was all sarcasm.

        • Sample1

          Hi Bob,
          The blockquote about math and morality was a cut and paste about someone else, not me. I was just posting it here mainly for Susan as I will have to employ her modified Socratic method should the math/morality person continue to engage me.

          The moral/math person’s, ahem, logic seems to essentially be, what I like and understand is from my god and what I don’t like and/or understand is probably from Satan. That’s a whole train carriage of luggage to unpack just to get started and I’m not sure I’m up for that.

          Susan and I and Ignorant Amos had a friend called Quine who would have to cut to the chase with such folks and simply ask, “got evidence?” They never do. Good way to prevent long drawn out discussions that will just end with the believer hitting the reset button anyway.

          Cheers,
          Mike

        • Ignorant Amos

          As sharp as a knife that Quine fellow.

          I wonder how he’s getting on…a lot of good stuff on his blog… http://quinesqueue.blogspot.com/

        • Sample1

          Yeah, I really miss his input. I learned forcing arguments from him and map/territory fallacies. He was so good at spotting formal fallacies. He also deftly handled LB.

          The latest comments on his blog seem to be from 2016. It’s been a very long time since he’s been active on Disqus.

          I bet he’s fine but, and this is my opinion, I suspect he found that he wasted too much time in forums so he got on with living elsewhere. That’s my perception.

          Wherever he is, fools will part ways before his stride not knowing why and not caring to investigate as he looks ahead and keeps on walking.

          Mike

        • Ignorant Amos

          A hope yer right about his getting on with things. Wasting time on the internet is definitely a major issue I have, fer sure.

        • Greg G.

          Typing is the only exercise I get.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yep…that’s also part of my problem too.

        • epeeist

          I suspect he found that he wasted too much time in forums so he got on with living elsewhere.

          He got involved with a start up company about the time he essentially he gave up his blog. Don’t know what he is currently doing

        • Greg G.

          Like when you see a train coming down the tracks about to hit a car with five people in it but if you throw the switch, it will hit the car with only one person in it. Everyday stuff like that.

        • Otto

          What conclusion?

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Man created God.”

        • Clement Agonistes

          Look…you made the pivot after you wrote that from “they look the same” and agreeing that you couldn’t tell one over the other to … “both are equally plausible”. Don’t blame me for that…you opened that door if you go back and read what you wrote. I was refuting YOUR claim that they are equally plausible. Saying that we can’t distinguish one from the other does not lead to the conclusion that both our positions are therefore equally plausible…the evidence is not identical.

          I made no pivot. I have been saying exactly the same thing the entire time we have been on this aside(n that wasn’t the main point).

          One MUST know that there is no God before one can assert what you assert. Your support” for your assertion is that queasy “thousands of gods” fallacy. Not only is your premise flawed, but your conclusion does not even logical follow from your premise. And, it does not even address the issue at hand.

        • Otto

          Premise 1) Humans have created many different Gods to worship.
          Premise 2) There is no evidence that rules out Jesus Christ being one of those human created Gods
          Premise 3) There is no evidence that any God created humans

          Conclusion 1: We know it is possible for humans to create Gods, Jesus Christ as God could be a human construct.
          Conclusion 2: We don’t know if it is possible that God(s) could create humans.

          I didn’t have to claim “there is no God” for any of that.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Premise 1 is OK. The other two are not factual, but opinion. However, your conclusion could still follow from those.

          Conclusion 1 starts with a restatement of Premise 1 (which is unnecessary), and ends with a “could be”. You are establishing plausibility, which you have with any hypothesis. Either hypothesis, I maintained, could be true. You need a solid conclusion which can only come from your premises.

          Conclusion 2 was a restatement of my claim – “we can’t know with certainty (they look the same).” I, of course, welcome this conclusion, but it is not the conclusion you want. You are correct, that in an absence of evidence, we don’t know – it does follow.

          Your prior conclusion was, “I was refuting YOUR claim that they are equally plausible. Saying that we can’t distinguish one from the other does not lead to the conclusion that both our positions are therefore equally plausible…the evidence is not identical.

          Your premises and conclusions did not refute my claim, but re-affirmed them. Your premises about evidence affirmed that they are identical. The absence of evidence is proof of . . . . an absence of evidence.

          You just assumed yourself to be right. That is the biggest obstruction for any person trying to ascertain the truth. Our methodology must remove our bias from that process. The facts must lead to the conclusion, not the other way around.

        • Otto

          Re: Premise 2 & 3

          If you have any evidence that specifically and non-controversially refutes those feel free to let us know. Of course I know Christians and theists claim to have evidence but all the evidence presented is at best of the completely undetermined and unclear variety.

          >>>”Either hypothesis, I maintained, could be true.”

          Either hypothesis could be true I agree, that does not mean the plausibility of each are equal in respect to the information we currently have.

          >>>”I, of course, welcome this conclusion, but it is not the conclusion you want.”

          It makes no difference what I want, I can’t be certain, I have never claimed to be certain. I can only work with the information at my disposal and right now and that leads to me putting the answer solidly in the ‘I don’t know’ bucket. I have no problem with that. You are the one that seems to have a problem with it. Since I don’t know, I think it is only rational to withhold belief until at least the preponderance of the evidence is met, the standard is met if the proposition is more likely to be true than not true.

          >>>”Your premises and conclusions did not refute my claim, but re-affirmed them.”

          No, not at all. The plausibility of religions making God is not only known it is completely confirmed. The plausibility of God(s) making humans is completely unknown…we have no idea if it is even possible, much less plausible. It is possible that God(s) creating humans is impossible. We know with certainty that humans creating Gods IS possible.

        • Clement Agonistes

          If you have any evidence that specifically and non-controversially refutes those feel free to let us know.

          Wait . . . . . “non-controversial” evidence? LOL. You do grasp that is is “controversial” because you choose to make it so, right? You’ve stacked the deck so you cannot be proven wrong.

          But, I can “feel free to let all of the group know”. So, I have that working for me. LOL.

          “Either hypothesis, I maintained, could be true.”Either hypothesis could be true I agree

          At that point, the rest of the sentence and any sentence after that are meaningless – the logic has failed. And, we still haven’t dealt with the fact that the conclusions did not logically follow from your premises. You aren’t even “smuggling” assumptions in there – they are totally unmentioned, but are assumed.

          As I am writing this, it reads as being harsh. That is not my intent. A good rule of thumb is to pretend it was a theist presenting a similar argument. Would you nod in agreement that he nailed it? i don’t think you would have uploaded this if you had viewed it through the prism of someone who has the opposite bias. You would – rightly – rip me a new one if I made that many leaps.

          that leads to me putting the answer solidly in the ‘I don’t know’
          bucket. I have no problem with that. You are the one that seems to have a
          problem with it. Since I don’t know

          “Your premises and conclusions did not refute my claim, but re-affirmed them.”No, not at all. The plausibility of religions making God is not only known it is completely confirmed.

          The plausibility angle is a good one. We ask, “What is the probability of something supernatural happening?” The answer is a gazillion-to-one. If we were gambling, we bet on the most probable (probably giving odds). In the context of God, however, that is meaningless. We ARE talking about something improbable in nature. The supernatural isn’t found in nature. . . . . virtually at all. It is Reverse-Pascal’s Wager.

        • Otto

          >>>”You do grasp that is is “controversial” because you choose to make it so, right?”

          You have no evidence that points in one direction…that isn’t my fault, and that isn’t stacking the deck. In this discussion you have the burden to argue your claim. At this point your are like a prosecutor arguing a murder case and you can’t even produce a body or show anyone was even killed, and then you cry that the deck is stacked because you have nothing…it is rather pathetic.

          >>>”At that point, the rest of the sentence and any sentence after that are meaningless – the logic has failed.”

          It could be true that someone was killed…the problem is there is no reason to think so. Again…not my problem.

          >>>” i don’t think you would have uploaded this if you had viewed it through the prism of someone who has the opposite bias.”

          You keep thinking we have an equal burden…you have never understood the entire burden is on you because it is your claim.

          >>>”We ask, “What is the probability of something supernatural happening?” The answer is a gazillion-to-one. If we were gambling, we bet on the most probable (probably giving odds). In the context of God, however, that is meaningless.”

          Why because you define God as all powerful?

          If I define a Wizard as being able to shoot fireballs from his fingers, but I can’t produce a Wizard and I can’t show anyone can shoot fireballs from their fingers, how in the world re we going going to assign ANY kind of probability to that proposition being true? Then if I said ‘well by definition Wizards CAN do that so therefore even though I can’t produce a Wizard, or evidence of fireballs coming from fingers…you can’t prove they DON’T exist…so therefore the probability of both our positions is equal!’

          You would rightfully laugh at my ‘logic’….

          consider me laughing.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “You do grasp that is is “controversial” because you choose to make it so, right?”

          You
          have no evidence that points in one direction…that isn’t my fault,
          and that isn’t stacking the deck. In this discussion you have the burden
          to argue your claim.

          We are both making claims here, Otto. Not to get all Susan on you, but you are burden shifting here; trying to wriggle out of your own predicament. The “non-controversial” business was the very kind of thing you accuse me of doing. A little self-awareness here would go a long way.

          “At that point, the rest of the sentence and any sentence after that are meaningless – the logic has failed.”

          It could be true that someone was killed…the problem is there is no reason to think so. Again…not my problem.

          You present your logic for your position, then when I point out that it is far removed from logic, you bail. If you cannot recognize your own logical errors, can you recognize Klavan’s?

          “We ask, “What is the probability of something supernatural
          happening?” The answer is a gazillion-to-one. If we were gambling, we
          bet on the most probable (probably giving odds). In the context of God,
          however, that is meaningless.”

          Why because you define God as all powerful?

          Wow. Not even close. Because, I define God’s existence as an improbable fact in a reality that is limited to nature. We have no reference for the likelihood of God existing. Just how plausible is God? It’s kind of like asking how plausible it is that you are wrong. If you are correct that nature is all there is, then God is impossible. If you are wrong, then God’s non-existence is impossible. From a logical standpoint, arguing probability is meaningless since all premises are meaningless.

        • Otto

          >>>”We are both making claims here, Otto.”

          No we both are not. And you never listen when me or Susan explain why it is not the same.

          >>>”then when I point out that it is far removed from logic”

          You just say it is removed…you don’t actually present logical argument as to why I am wrong other than misrepresenting my position….like you did when you said I was making a claim above.

          >>>”We have no reference for the likelihood of God existing.”

          Pretty much what I have been saying…and yet you say the probability of Jesus being God is the same as Christianity being man made…so you have no foundation for that claim, it is nice you have now admitted it.

          >>>”If you are correct that nature is all there is…”

          There is another claim I have never made. All this time and you STILL don’t understand the point almost everyone here has tried to get across to you.

          >>>”If you are wrong, then God’s non-existence is impossible.”

          And for no less than a third time in this post you are attributing to me a position I have not taken.

          >>>” From a logical standpoint, arguing probability is meaningless since all premises are meaningless.”

          So you are backtracking from you earlier position.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “We have no reference for the likelihood of God existing.”

          Pretty
          much what I have been saying…and yet you say the probability of Jesus
          being God is the same as Christianity being man made…so you have no
          foundation for that claim, it is nice you have now admitted it.

          Again, I’ve got my work cut out for me without you fabricating arguments on my behalf. “Jesus” is a doctrine that appears long after out current topic. A far as I am concerned, we are talking about Deity X. What are the odds that ANY deity exists? You agree that we have no way of calculating the odds, yet make your claim on the basis of probability.

          The odds of winning the Powerball lottery are something like 350 million:1. Yet several times each year, somebody wins the Powerball lottery. It happens despite the improbability. Mere improbability is meaningless since improbable things happen.

          If you are correct that nature is all there is…”

          There is another claim I have never made.

          So, the supernatural is part of reality? Because the demand is constantly being made that I use nature to prove God’s existence. If there is something more, then that demand is off the table.

        • Otto

          >>>”Again, I’ve got my work cut out for me without you fabricating arguments on my behalf. “Jesus” is a doctrine that appears long after out current topic. A far as I am concerned, we are talking about Deity X. What are the odds that ANY deity exists?”

          I have no idea…but I do put the odds of Deity X much higher than Christianity being true. Deity X is just a non-defined, non-evidenced god. I would agree that a generic deity is a possibility…but what is the point of even arguing for such a god? It is true that there either is a Deity X god or there isn’t, that is a true dichotomy, that doesn’t make their probabilities necessarily equal. I have no idea how one would calculate that.

          “The odds of winning the Powerball lottery are something like 350 million:1.”

          But the probability that SOMEONE will win is obviously much, much higher. We know someone will win at some point, we can calculate that…we cannot calculate Deity X winning at this point because we don’t have enough information to plug into an equation.

          >>>”So, the supernatural is part of reality?”

          I am not arguing that the supernatural is part of reality…I am saying all that I can go on is the natural. There are people that are philosophical naturalists, i.e. people that believe the natural is all there is. I am not a philosophical naturalist. I am a methodological naturalist, i.e. that nature is all we can study, it is all we have to go on.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Again, I’ve got my work cut out for me without you fabricating
          arguments on my behalf. “Jesus” is a doctrine that appears long after
          out current topic. A far as I am concerned, we are talking about Deity
          X. What are the odds that ANY deity exists?”

          I have no idea…but I do put the odds of Deity X much higher than Christianity being true.

          You have no foundation for that claim, it is nice you have now admitted it.? You have no idea, but you know what the odds are? I’ve been trying to make the point that if we don’t know what the odds are, arguing on the basis of probability is pointless. I just can’t get you to admit it.

          YOU inserted “Jesus” into the conversation – why? It was not the topic. It was not a part of the topic. The topic was Klavan’s rationale for becoming a theist.

          When we are developing a philosophy for determining truth, “probably” is not good enough. We want a methodology which will be perfect.

          “The odds of winning the Powerball lottery are something like 350 million:1.”

          But
          the probability that SOMEONE will win is obviously much, much higher.
          We know someone will win at some point, we can calculate that…we
          cannot calculate Deity X winning at this point because we don’t have
          enough information to plug into an equation.

          So (addressing your irrelevant point), let’s try a proposition:

          I assert that I have the winning Powerball ticket.

          You reply that there are millions of Pb tickets, and therefore I cannot have the winning ticket.

          Is your logic sound or not?

          1. There are millions of Pb tickets.

          2. Mine is but one of those millions.

          3. There may not even be a winning ticket.

          4. Probably (350:1) it is not the winning ticket.

          Therefore:

          CONCLUSION: I do not have the winning ticket.

          Every one of those premises is true. Does the conclusion follow – logically – from the premises?

        • Otto

          >>>”I’ve been trying to make the point that if we don’t know what the odds are, arguing on the basis of probability is pointless.”

          No…you said the probability was equal…only much later did you switch to saying ‘arguing on the basis of probability is pointless’.

          >>>” The topic was Klavan’s rationale for becoming a theist.”

          Klavan became a theist? Just a theist … or did he become a Christian? Of course it is part of the conversation, and it should be.

          >>>”So (addressing your irrelevant point), let’s try a proposition:

          I assert that I have the winning Powerball ticket.”

          With Powerball we can ascertain that there is a game to potentially win…we can’t even get that for with religion…it could be the case there is no lottery (correct religion) AT ALL.

          The whole point of this is that you and Klavan say there HAS to be an Ultimate Morality…and yet every argument you have attempted, or you have attributed to Klavan, is fundamentally flawed. Neither one of you have actually presented a positive argument for your position, every argument consists of saying “well if there is no Ultimate Morality than it is just relativistic”…that is not a valid argument, it is just an argument from consequence and does NOTHING to actually show he is correct.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “I’ve been trying to make the point that if we don’t know what the odds are, arguing on the basis of probability is pointless.”

          No…you
          said the probability was equal…only much later did you switch to
          saying ‘arguing on the basis of probability is pointless’.

          Just as a refresher, this is what i said:

          One of the great points atheists bring up is the idea of God being a human creation rather than the other way around. Wouldn’t they look the same?>/i>”

          You brought up the probability argument.

        • Otto

          Here is also what you said…

          My digression related to your comment, “Humans do that.” IF there were a God, we could only understand Him in human terms – in this case, making moral choices. Just as humans make choices, we attribute to God the ability to make choices also. Maybe we are just imposing our own understanding on God. However, if Man were created in God’s image, we would expect some similarities like this. Since we can’t tell the difference, one proposition is just a plausible as the other. It doesn’t settle anything.

          You claimed the probabilities were equal…and then later said talking about plausibility was meaningless.

          http://disq.us/p/1v2zqkk

        • Clement Agonistes

          I said, “one proposition is just a plausible as the other.” You quoted it above. I did not bring up probability; you did. You are confusing “plausibility” and “probability”. I said probability was meaningless.

          You were nit-picking that “look the same” and “can’t tell the difference” were 2 different topics. You didn’t even address my points.

        • Otto

          >>>”You are confusing “plausibility” and “probability”. I said probability was meaningless.”

          You are picking nits, “plausibility” and “probability” are synonyms.

          https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/plausibility?s=t

        • Clement Agonistes

          Had you accused me of nit-picking, you’d have a point. You asserted – as fact – that I said “probability”. You cannot back up that claim.

        • Otto

          Ok you win…you never presented the idea that both conclusions were equally probable because you didn’t use the word ‘probable’, you used ‘plausible’…do you have any idea how silly and dishonest you sound?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I have no idea…but I do put the odds of Deity X much higher than Christianity being true.

          “You have no foundation for that claim, it is nice you have now admitted it.?

          Oh there’s foundation for it okay, that you don’t know what the foundation is, doesn’t surprise me.

          You have no idea, but you know what the odds are?

          He may have no idea what the exact odds are, but probability doesn’t need him to know the exact odds. Try learning something.

          Let’s use an example a lot of regulars on here could give you. On the balance of probability, the regulars here could tell you that the odds are that there is a better than 50% chance I will have a drink of alcohol in the next week. That’s odds of >50:1, which is a good bet. There are those here who could refine the odds further, but that’s not necessary for my example. How do they reach that conclusion? They use Bayes Theorem.

          I’ve been trying to make the point that if we don’t know what the odds are, arguing on the basis of probability is pointless.

          Just because you say so, doesn’t mean it is so. You do it all the time without thinking. You don’t think the odds of Shiva existing are very high. You’d put the odds of Deity X existing rather than Hinduism being true…you’ve already done it. Pick any religion not Christianity and apply the same.

          Now from an atheist perspective, a deist deity has better odds of existing than any other particular theistic deity, but that’s not to say those odds are much greater, and who cares anyway? No god, and a deistic god, look very much the same.

          I just can’t get you to admit it.

          No bloody wonder, because you are talking shite….AGAIN!

          When we are developing a philosophy for determining truth, “probably” is not good enough.

          Whether it is good enough or not, “probably” is all we’ve got. Nothing is known to be true for certain. Some will say mathematics, but there is even a problem in there too. Enter solipsism

          We want a methodology which will be perfect.

          When you find one, write your paper, get it published, and collect your prize.

          As for your bullshit logic analogy which is a straw man…no surprise there then?

          Therefore:

          CONCLUSION: I probably do not have the winning ticket.

          That’s based on exact odds of winning the lottery. The odds of winning the Power Ball Lottery are 1 in 292.2 million. Compare that to the odds of hitting 3 consecutive holes in one in golf are 1 in 156.25 million. Wouldn’t you raise your eye brows if someone claimed to have hit 3 holes in one in the same game. It has happened, but the odds are that most probably not.

          The odds of gods existing are even worse…a particular one even worse again. None yet so far, so the probability is as close to zero.

        • Greg G.

          Compare that to the odds of hitting 3 consecutive holes in one in golf are 1 in 156.25 million. Wouldn’t you raise your eye brows if someone claimed to have hit 3 holes in one in the same game.

          I have done that playing Putt-Putt.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Kim Jong Il fired in 11 holes in one on his first round of golf ever. That’s getting nearer the odds of a gods existence…but not the Christian god, that one is logically not able to exist, as you keep pointing out.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “So, the supernatural is part of reality?”

          I am not arguing
          that the supernatural is part of reality…I am saying all that I can go
          on is the natural. There are people that are philosophical naturalists,
          i.e. people that believe the natural is all there is. I am not a
          philosophical naturalist. I am a methodological naturalist, i.e. that
          nature is all we can study, it is all we have to go on.

          My next sentence – literally – was, “ Because the demand is constantly being made that I use nature to prove God’s existence.” Nature is all that you will accept to prove God’s existence. You claim that nature is all we have to go on. You are splitting hairs and not doing a very good job of it. This is the kind of thing that gets me called “dishonest”.

        • Otto

          >>>”Nature is all that you will accept to prove God’s existence. You claim that nature is all we have to go on. You are splitting hairs and not doing a very good job of it. This is the kind of thing that gets me called “dishonest”.”

          If you have something else I can go on I am all ears, you keep saying there is and then produce nothing but bad arguments.

          The only way I know of that we can get information about our reality is through our 5 senses, i.e. natural means, if you have some other way that I am missing please let me know.

        • Susan

          If you have something else I can go on I am all ears, you keep saying there is and then produce nothing but bad arguments.

          (He’s not going to do that. He will just keep pretending you are biased. He’ll claim it,not support it and then make more bullshit claims claims he doesn’t support when you call him on it.)

          Any lurker who wants to consult “Clement’s” comment history, is free to correct me.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Nature
          is all that you will accept to prove God’s existence. You claim that
          nature is all we have to go on. You are splitting hairs and not doing a
          very good job of it. This is the kind of thing that gets me called
          “dishonest”.”

          If you have something else I can go on I am all ears, you keep saying there is and then produce nothing but bad arguments.

          The only way I know of that we can get information about our reality is
          through our 5 senses, i.e. natural means, if you have some other way
          that I am missing please let me know.

          Great, then let’s go with that and do away with this hypocritical nonsense that you are claiming something else.

          While we’re at it, let’s do away with that trite “let me know” tactic. Heck, let’s throw out the ad hominem “dishonest” as long as you are expressing concern about bad arguments.

        • Otto

          So no argument against my point…so now tell me how you determine that there is anything supernatural or anything besides nature using your 5 senses.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Your point is absurd. You are arguing that natural evidence is all there is. It’s a difference without a distinction.

        • Otto

          Natural evidence is all we have to go on…you are the one saying there is more…but when asked to present what that ‘more’ is, you come up empty.

          To argue that there is more than the natural world without presenting anything to back up that claim is the definition of absurd, i.e. “utterly or obviously senseless, illogical, or untrue; contrary to all reason or common sense; laughably foolish or false”

        • Susan

          Because the demand is constantly being made that I use nature to prove God’s existence.

          No one has made that demand. It’s just another version of you shifting the burden.

          You have been asked repeatedly “What are you claiming and how do you support it?” by me and you avoid claiming anything specific and supporting anything.

          Nature is all you will accept to prove God’s existence.

          Nope. You still haven’t defined “God”. And you’ve provided nothing to support whatever you mean by the term.

          You are splitting hairs

          Nope. Nor nitpicking. It’s pretty standard stuff and you don’t seem to be able to provide anything.

          This is the kind of thing that gets me called “dishonest”

          Yep. That and a lot of other things. Things like misrepresenting people from the get go. Things like shifting the burden by claiming that Bob claims that “there is no ‘God'”.

          Things like going on the attack when asked to define your terms. :

          Like equivocating on a dime.

          Like pretending Otto is making a deductive argument when he is pointing out how incredibly weak your efforts at induction are.

          I could go on.

          But I’ll bet you’ll ignore at least 90% of this comment and hit the reset button.

          Based on the pattern you’ve stuck to for over a year.

        • Susan

          LOL

          You could have just said “No.”

          You do grasp that is is “controversial” because you choose to make it so

          And we can add another unsupported assertion to your mountain of unsupported assertions.

          You’ve stacked the deck so you cannot be proven wrong.

          You lying hypocrite. Mr. “Bob claims that God doesn’t exist.”

          I can “feel free to let all of the group know”. So, I have that working for me. LOL.

          LOL’s are just fine if you use them. You’ve certainly used them before. More than once.

          At that point, the rest of the sentence and any sentence after that are meaningless – the logic has failed. And, we still haven’t dealt with the fact that the conclusions did not logically follow from your premises.

          No. The “logic” has not failed. Otto is not making a deductive argument. It’s just another fantasy of yours. Another dishonest effort to shift the burden.

          A good rule of thumb is to pretend it was a theist presenting a similar argument.

          So, I tell a theist that my Immaterial Snowflake Fairies are like, totally, responsible for everything I want to give them credit for. I provide no model, no logic and no evidence. The theist says “I don’t believe you. I can’t even accept that Immaterial Snowflake Fairies exist.”

          Would you nod in agreement that he nailed it?

          Yes. No matter how many times I said that he couldn’t prove that Immaterial Snowflake Fairies don’t exist, his response would be correct and fair. .

          i don’t think you would have uploaded this if you had viewed it through the prism of someone who has the opposite bias.

          I couldn’t fairly or accurately accuse him of bias. Unless I provided models, logic and evidence, his response would be appropriate.

          In the context of God, however, that is meaningless.

          Of course, it’s not meaningless. There is no context of “God”. You have never defined it, let alone supported it. You have provided no context. No model. No logic. No evidence.

          No context.

          You are just shamelessly making shit up.

          Cheating from the get go, cheating through the middle game, and trying to cheat to win an end game.

          Pigeon poop.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Since we can’t tell the difference, one proposition is just a plausible as the other. It doesn’t settle anything.”
          No…because my proposition is based on something we both agree exists…the natural world. Your proposition adds something that has not ever been demonstrated to exist…the supernatural world. Therefore one is more plausible. Every time a God has been used to explain some observation and later we actually learned the real cause…it wasn’t a God.

          So, the question before us is how to tell the difference between whether God created Man with a personality similar to God’s, or whether Man created a God who looked like a human. Your assertion is that since the only evidence that exists is natural, and God is not natural, then Man must have created God, like a work of fiction. Is that right?

          I suspect you have forgotten the topic and are arguing “Does God Exist”. Now, since God is supernatural, the only hope we could have for observing evidence of the supernatural would be for it to interact with the natural world – manifest itself in a natural way. But, once it manifests itself in a natural way, then it becomes a natural event, and can’t be evidence of something supernatural. IOW, heads – you win; tails – I lose. You’ve rigged the results to always support your conclusion. You are stacking the deck.

          “If it feels like cats are altruistic, have at it – impose away. I took you to be the scientific guy who needs solid evidence and logic, not feelings.”
          The cats are real, the behavior displayed happened, we can argue about whether my interpretation of the behavior is reasonable but it is not based on ‘feelings’.

          If you observed the exact same behavior, and stated that the cat was behaving that way because it is concerned about the situation in North Korea, you would have the same basis. My argument is the science. How does science determine what a cat thinks? If science is our gold standard, then let’s go all the way with it. Let’s not go with science when it comes to proving God and then become Doctor Doolittle when we supernaturally read the minds of cats.

          “The Marquis de Sade’s point was that our instinct; our nature is to be self-centered.”
          I seriously don’t give a shit what de Sade thinks…I don’t see him as an authority on the subject so I don’t know why you keep bringing him up.

          OK, Klavan “brought up” the MdS early on in this exchange. The MdS’s writings about the implications of naturalism and the non-existence of any objective morality were the inflection point in Klavan’s rejection of atheism. Either nature is all there is, or it isn’t. We’ve been discussing this topic for weeks now.

          You “brought up” the child eating cake. the child’s natural proclivity to eat as much as he wants, with no regard for the other children. The MdS’s natural proclivity was to please himself with no regard for other people. In order to overcome the child’s nature, you have to introduce another factor – he eats the last piece. The child’s self interest is now described as morality. The child is still self-centered.

          In the same way, we can use genetics to breed pets that display human-like attributes. It doesn’t mean that the animals are thinking through the deep aspects of life and philosophy; it means their behavior is dictated by their genes. The atheist who says nature is all there is would argue that Natural Selection has bred us to think what we think and display the behaviors we display. The theist would merely substitute one God – Natural Selection – for another – God.

        • Susan

          So, the question before us is how to tell the difference between whether God created Man with a personality similar to God’s, or whether Man created a God who looked like a human.

          As you’ve never defined “God”, it’s not much of a question. Anyway, you mean some version of Yahewehjesus.

          As humans have created countless gods with human attributes, then unless you can demonstrate that your pet deity exists, it seems likely that Yahwehjesus is just another invention of humans. As you have done exactly nothing in all of your comments to distinguish it from all the other gods who are human inventions, there is no reason to take it any more seriously than all those other gods.

          You’ve rigged the results to always support your conclusion. You are stacking the deck.

          The problem is not with our standards. It’s with christian claims of Yahwehjesus. They are unsupported and apparently unsupportable.

          I suspect you have forgotten the topic and are arguing “Does God Exist”

          Oh, yes. We wouldn’t want to bring that up, would we? Imagine if you would define it and support its existence. Then, what? But you call that a red herring and do nothing but point at squirrels.

          If you observed the exact same behavior, and stated that the cat was behaving that way because it is concerned about the situation in North Korea,

          A cat can show altruistic tendencies without having the capacity to be concerned about North Korea. So can a human, for that matter.

          Let’s not go with science when it comes to proving God and then become Doctor Doolittle when we supernaturally read the minds of cats.

          No one’s “supernaturally” reading the minds of cats. One can observe altruistic behaviours in other species. You are pretending that we have magically come by ours. But you ignore the evidence, handwave it away as the product of “genes” and pretend that we are somehow special and that genes play no role in our behaviour.

          The MdS’s writings about the implications of naturalism and the non-existence of any objective morality were the inflection point in Klavan’s rejection of atheism.

          The MdS was a psychopath. The implications of naturalism are not that every being would be a psychopath. So, it’s a strawman. Your ignorance about other species is not an argument.

          Nor do you show how Yahwehjesus provides morality. It is neither necessary nor sufficient. You have been asked countless times in countless ways to show what Yahwehjesus has to do with altruism and how all we have is the Marquis de Sade without Yahwehjesus, but you’ve provided exactly nothing.

          Factory farming, habitat destruction, homosexual rights, reproductive rights… give us the objective answers and show how you know they are objective.

          The theist would merely substitute one God – Natural Selection

          Natural selection is not a god. It is a very strongly supported scientific model.

          It is clearly defined and well supported.

          “God” is the last thing on earth you want to define or support.

          So, where should we put our confidence?

        • Otto

          >>>”Your assertion is that since the only evidence that exists is natural, and God is not natural, then Man must have created God, like a work of fiction. Is that right?”

          Close…I think I stated it pretty clearly in the last post. We have mounds of evidence humans have created Gods and no evidence any of them created humans…where does that evidence lead?

          >>>”I suspect you have forgotten the topic and are arguing “Does God Exist”.”

          No…you are trying to prove God exists by claiming there is an Ultimate Morality and you were using that as justification for believing in a God. I am pointing out both your points lack any grounding.

          >>>”But, once it manifests itself in a natural way, then it becomes a natural event, and can’t be evidence of something supernatural.”

          But that is exactly what Christianity claims, Jesus is a manifestation of God on Earth and he did Supernatural acts and THAT is evidence of the Supernatural…so your assertion that this is representation of my position is really a straw man. I am not arguing that if something supernatural happens it would be therefore natural, I have never argued that…you continue to make things up yourself.

          >>>”If you observed the exact same behavior, and stated that the cat was behaving that way because it is concerned about the situation in North Korea, you would have the same basis.”

          This is so stupid I have no reason to reply to your ignorance here other than to say it is rather ironic that you claim to know the behavior of a God you can’t even demonstrate to exist. much less observe the behavior of said God…and you chide me for holding a baseless position. At least cats exist and any human can observe their behavior…you are too funny.

          >>>”How does science determine what a cat thinks?”

          Maybe you could ask a scientist that studies animal behavior how they do their job. I presented an actual observation and presented a reasonable explanation though I didn’t say with certainty I was correct. You hand waved it away because you cannot admit even the possibility that it could be correct.

          >>>”Let’s not go with science when it comes to proving God and then become Doctor Doolittle when we supernaturally read the minds of cats.”

          Well let’s start with the basics…I can show you a cat. Now it is your turn to show me a God.

          >>>”The MdS’s writings about the implications of naturalism and the non-existence of any objective morality were the inflection point in Klavan’s rejection of atheism. Either nature is all there is, or it isn’t. We’ve been discussing this topic for weeks now.”

          Yes…Klavan used the MdS as if he represented all atheist thought…it is ridiculous and it is a straw man to continually prop up his position as if it is mine. I don’t give a shit what the MdS said concerning the topic because I no more agree with him than I do you.

          >>>”The MdS’s natural proclivity was to please himself with no regard for other people.”

          And how did the ‘other people’ respond to MdS? The MdS did not care to live under social rules so he was removed from society. It did not seem to work out to well for him. That is rather similar to a pack of wolves removing a wolf from their pack. Lions do the same thing…oh but we can’t talk about animal behavior…sorry I forgot.

          >>>”It doesn’t mean that the animals are thinking through the deep aspects of life and philosophy”

          That isn’t a claim I made.

          >>>”The theist would merely substitute one God – Natural Selection – for another – God.”

          Natural selection isn’t a God…you only want to try and falsely make that our position…how many more things are you just going to proclaim by fiat?

        • epeeist

          how many more things are you just going to proclaim by fiat?

          And once more, do you really need to ask that?

        • Otto

          My only defense is to say the questions are rhetorical….;)

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Your assertion is that since the only evidence that exists is natural, and God is not natural, then Man must have created God, like a work of fiction. Is that right?”
          Close…I think I stated it pretty clearly in the last post. We have mounds of evidence humans have created Gods and no evidence any of them created humans…where does that evidence lead?

          I wanted to make sure I was not misrepresenting your point.

          The evidence leads to the conclusion that humans have had a lot of different opinions about the nature of God(s). I’m OK with using the shorthand of describing them as different Gods, but if we are going to go into it any deeper than that superficial layer, it becomes a theology of doctrines, and your point becomes invalid – people could be perceiving the same supernatural something.

          “I suspect you have forgotten the topic and are arguing “Does God Exist”.”
          No…you are trying to prove God exists by claiming there is an Ultimate Morality and you were using that as justification for believing in a God. I am pointing out both your points lack any grounding.

          I think that is a fair comment, but if we were discussing proving God through morality, we should stick to that topic, not go running back to the safe place of “evidence”. There may well be other valid reasons for rejecting the existence of God, but they have their own special place, and we are having trouble corralling the topic before us. Klavan’s rationale for adopting theism was morality. You have been saying his was not a valid basis. If so, let’s discuss it, not some other topic.

          “If you observed the exact same behavior, and stated that the cat was behaving that way because it is concerned about the situation in North Korea, you would have the same basis.”
          This is so stupid I have no reason to reply to your ignorance here other than to say it is rather ironic that you claim to know the behavior of a God you can’t even demonstrate to exist. much less observe the behavior of said God…and you chide me for holding a baseless position. At least cats exist and any human can observe their behavior…you are too funny.
          >>>”How does science determine what a cat thinks?”
          Maybe you could ask a scientist that studies animal behavior how they do their job. I presented an actual observation and presented a reasonable explanation though I didn’t say with certainty I was correct. You hand waved it away because you cannot admit even the possibility that it could be correct.

          I was hoping for something along the lines of attaching electrodes to the cat’s head and using neuroscience to know the cat’s thoughts.
          I don’t think that kind of sophistication exists, but maybe you had something. If we have no idea how scientists would determine such a thing, and are just making that Science Of The Gaps leap to just assume the knowledge exists, then we are substituting subjective interpretation for real objective science. ANY opinion becomes as valid as any other in the absence of real science. This is your wheelhouse. I shouldn’t have to be the one pointing this out.

        • Otto

          >>>”Klavan’s rationale for adopting theism was morality. You have been saying his was not a valid basis. If so, let’s discuss it, not some other topic.”

          I am fine with that. I think Klavan’s premise that somehow theistic morality is ‘better’ is flawed because he assumes that it is anchored in a God that cannot be demonstrated. Going back to this point you made frames the problem with that….

          >>>”I’m OK with using the shorthand of describing them as different Gods, but if we are going to go into it any deeper than that superficial layer, it becomes a theology of doctrines, and your point becomes invalid – people could be perceiving the same supernatural something.”

          Yes it does become theology when a specific God is ascribed to…and that theology and its corresponding morality is all over the place. It does not appear to be people seeing the same thing and just using different ways to explain it. As one of my fellow atheists here has pointed out, what is the Ultimate Morality of a Bacon Cheeseburger? Is the burger ok but no bacon, or is the bacon ok but no burger? Or is the whole thing off limits? The point is that in effect religious morality suffers from the exact problem that Klavan laments about … it is in practice moral relativism. So it is not enough to point at secular morals and say that they are subjective, Klavan has to actually show his morality is NOT subjective. He has to show his morals are in fact in some tangible way different and more objective…not just assert it. The bottom line is I don’t see that he has overcome the problem he claims he has.

          On the other hand if we are going to just point at some deistic or non-defined God whose morality is also undefined…than really what is the point?

          >>>”I was hoping for something along the lines of attaching electrodes to the cat’s head and using neuroscience to know the cat’s thoughts.”

          Scientists have done some pretty in depth studies on morality in animals…though in my opinion some of these examples are troubling as is pointed out by Greg who wrote what follows.

          Chimpanzees demonstrate something like human morality. Scientists put chimpanzees in cages where one would receive an electric shock if the chimp in the other cage took the food. The chimps were reluctant to take the food, even if the other chimp was a stranger. One chimp went days without eating. That chimp appears to have been more moral than the humans who designed the experiment.

          Capuchin monkeys were taught to retrieve a rock and they would get a piece of cucumber. When they saw another monkey getting a grape for doing the same thing, a piece of cucumber wasn’t good enough and the monkey would throw a fit (and the cucumber at the experimenter). They discovered that the monkeys ranked the rewards almost exactly with the price of the fruit and vegetables at the supermarket, showing their tastes aligned with humans. It show that they have a sense of fairness.

          A similar experiment was done on dogs where a dog would do a trick without getting a reward. But if the dog saw another dog getting a treat, the first dog would want a treat, too. But the quality of the treat didn’t matter to the dog. They had a sense of fairness, too, but it wasn’t as well-developed as primates.

          I think this shows that the basics of morality (fairness, empathy, etc) are plainly evident in other species.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “The MdS’s writings about the implications of naturalism and the non-existence of any objective morality were the inflection point in Klavan’s rejection of atheism. Either nature is all there is, or it isn’t. We’ve been discussing this topic for weeks now.”
          Yes…Klavan used the MdS as if he represented all atheist thought…it is ridiculous and it is a straw man to continually prop up his position as if it is mine.

          To the contrary, Klavan praised the MdS for “running it to the ground”. Klavan found the MdS and a handful of other famous historic atheist authors to be exceptions. He DID NOT say they were typical.

          And, I am NOT saying you agree with the MdS’s conclusion. The issue would be whether morality is anything we want it to be – including nothing at all – or whether it is something else. The absolute best naturalist case is that it is some sort of survival instinct, like taking care of newborns. That requires more than mere musing about plausible origins. When we say morality is purely subjective; relative, that has a LOT of implications.

          “The MdS’s natural proclivity was to please himself with no regard for other people.”
          And how did the ‘other people’ respond to MdS? The MdS did not care to live under social rules so he was removed from society. It did not seem to work out to well for him. That is rather similar to a pack of wolves removing a wolf from their pack. Lions do the same thing…oh but we can’t talk about animal behavior…sorry I forgot.

          As in nature, the only restriction on pleasing oneself is the actions of others. Had the MdS’s victims been able to overpower him, he would not have been able to harm them. What stopped him WAS the actions of others – he was put into prison. We need laws to protect ourselves from other people’s nature.

          “The theist would merely substitute one God – Natural Selection – for another – God.”
          Natural selection isn’t a God…you only want to try and falsely make that our position…how many more things are you just going to proclaim by fiat?

          (That should have read “atheist”, but I think you read through that error to my meaning.)
          In terms of the origin of morality, if there is no God, then morals must have a survival benefit; a natural origin in our genetics.

        • Otto

          >>>”To the contrary, Klavan praised the MdS for “running it to the ground”. Klavan found the MdS and a handful of other famous historic atheist authors to be exceptions.”

          I don’t think the MdS DID run it to the ground, he chose a form of morality akin to solipsism. The MdS just decided that what he liked was the only thing that mattered. You and I both agreed that morality is at its root social, and the MdS took that out of the equation. I think Klavan used him as an example and claimed the MdS ‘took it to the ground’ to poison the well, IOW he picked him because he thinks it proves his point…and it doesn’t.

          I have children, I have raised them without religion, they have empathy for other people and animals, they have a sense of fairness. I never once had to use anything religious to explain the difference between right and wrong. I can logically tell them why not stealing, not hurting or abusing other people or animals, not killing or raping…is ultimately in their best interest as well as the interests of the people and things they come into contact with. Not one piece goes back to Christianity or any religion, it wasn’t necessary, and in fact I would argue they were far better served without it.

          >>>”The absolute best naturalist case is that it is some sort of survival instinct”

          That is an outdated premise. While we don’t know why animals have other basic moral traits like empathy, the fact is that they do.

          >>>”What stopped him WAS the actions of others – he was put into prison. We need laws to protect ourselves from other people’s nature.”

          Yeah like a pack of wolves kicking out another member, that behavior is seen in nature and there is no reason to think religion is necessary of responsible for the group taking action against a rogue member.

          And we need the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to stop people from using their religion…their supposed Ultimate Morality…to traipse on the basic rights of others too. Religion certainly has not solved that problem on its own.

          >>>”In terms of the origin of morality, if there is no God, then morals must have a survival benefit; a natural origin in our genetics.”

          I would agree, but just because we may not understand what that is exactly now, is not justification to pretend that the origin is therefore God. Just like the logic… “I don’t know why lightening comes from, therefore Thor casts it from his Hammer” … is fallacious, so is your and Klavan’s position on morality.

        • Pofarmer

          How long can this go on? Good Grief.

        • Otto

          Looking at the history of the general discussion…thousands of years.

        • Pofarmer

          good point.

        • Otto

          You have a point too though…I just wish he would even attempt to answer a few specific questions….we will see

        • Pofarmer

          He’s not contributing a damn thing. All he’s doing is being ignorant and redundant.

        • Otto

          I think I am going to try and focus on one particular point

        • Susan

          I think I am going to try and focus on one particular point.

          Because that’s always been so successful when it comes to Clement.

          He’ll ignore you. Of just make up new shit.

          You’ll note that he still hasn’t acknowledged epeeist’s questions about other moral systems.

          And that as much as he wants to credit Yahwehjesus with everything (without support), he won’t define his deity and support it.

          This is not new. It’s been going on for over a year.

          He is allergic to focus.

          But, hey. Good luck my friend.

          Remember. HIs claim. HIs burden.

          He’s completely disinterested in any facts about logic, morality, cosmology and life history.

        • Otto

          I certainly don’t think I will be successful. I also think you are right on every count, but if this is going to continue it needs to be narrowed down to him making a case for his claim. I think I have answered enough of his questions.

        • Susan

          if this is going to continue it needs to be narrowed down to him making a case for his claim

          I agree. I agreed more than a year ago.

          He never has.

          It doesn’t look like he ever will.

          Yes. You have answered enough of his questions.

          Consult his commenting history.

        • MR

          I see Clement is still winning this game.

        • Susan

          I see Clement is still winning this game.

          Of course he wins. Because the game consists of asserting shit without supporting it.

          It begins with strawmanning and shifting the burden.

          It continues because its response to charitable questions like “What are you claiming and how do you support it?” are called hostile.

          When someone asks him to define “God” and show how it is necessary for anything, he accuses people of nitpicking. And provides nothing.

          When he makes statements about cosmology and is corrected on them, he accuses people with expertise of “showing off”. And provides nothing.

          When he makes statements about logic and is corrected on them, he accuses people with expertise of “showing off”. And provides nothing.

          When he makes statements about planetary life and is corrected on them, he dismisses the corrections.

          He doesn’t bother to learn a thing on any of those subjects.

          Then, he handwaves towards “ex-atheists” who became christians based on “logic” but can’t show logic. That is, he provides nothing.

          Then, he says his statements are “equally plausible”… and provides nothing.

          Ask him to support one fucking thing and he calls it nitpicking.

          This is apologetics.

          Deeply dishonest.

          And intellectually lazy.

          But you know…. Jesus!

        • Otto

          His whole position boils down to ‘I don’t like the implications of what I think atheism is…therefore I am right’.

        • Susan

          His whole position boils down to ‘I don’t like the implications of what I think atheism is…

          No. His position began with and repeatedly asserted that Bob claimed that “God doesn’t exist”.

          That carried through and still does that that is the “atheist position”.

          As often as he’s been corrected, he maintains that position.

          As often as he’s been asked to define “God” and support it, he hasn’t. He calls those simple requests “red herrings”.

          It’s like pulling teeth.

          Still, he pretends that cosmology, logic and the history of life on earth supports him.

          Also, that Western history supports him.

          Also, “morality” which he’s never defined.

          …therefore, I’m right.

          He’s shifted the burden since he got here, alluded to “True christianity”, claimed the “Nicene Creed” is what defines it, claimed morality is based on it, claimed HItler is an atheist, pointed at “atheists” and “ex-atheists” who can’t find a moral compass without Yawhehjesus, ignored requests that he show that Yahwehjesus is any sort of compass at all…

          He is asking us to disprove his version of my Immaterial Snowflake Fairies (who, by the way, are responsible for logic, morality, language, and the creation of the universe) and has done nothing to connect it logically or evidentially to any of those subjects.

          In short, he thinks we haven’t been through the standard carousel of apologetics over and over.

          He refers to atheism as “a core belief” though it’s been explained repeatedly that it’s a single stance on a single claim.

          You might as well say that not believing in magic beans is a core belief (which has been pointed out countless times).

          He is intellectually lazy and dishonest.

          He has pretended that naturalism can only produce psychopaths, ignoring herds, packs, pods, flocks and even rat colonies. That is, despite all the evidence.

          He is huffing the fumes of Yahwehjesus belief.

          He can’t show that it exists, nor that even if it exists, it is moral.

          He doesn’t care. As long as he goes to heaven.

          It’s that nonsensical and cold-blooded.

        • epeeist

          ‘I don’t like the implications of what I think atheism is

          Rather, ‘I don’t like the implications of what I assert atheism is.

        • Otto

          Yes…that is why I said “I think”…meaning what Clement thinks atheism is…because he makes it something it is not to create the implications he doesn’t like.

        • Otto

          If winning means shitting on the Chess board…yep.

        • MR

          Winning means giving him a platform when he’s demonstrably and repeatedly dishonest.

        • Otto

          If he gets a platform to be dishonest I am not sure I would agree that is winning.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ya left off the “//s”…Clement will think he has scored a point…that’s how he thinks…and I use that term lightly.

        • MR

          I didn’t mean any sarcasm.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah…now I get it…he’s still wining the “not contributing a damn thing and all he’s being is ignorant and redundant” game.

          I read your comment in light of Otto’s craping on the chessboard comment.

          Duhhhh! Silly me.

          Now that comment deserves an upvote even more than my perceived ignorance. Ya nailed it.

        • MR

          Don’t forget dishonest. That’s always the tripwire for me. What’s the point of treating with someone you know is going to be dishonest? His isn’t debate and argument. I didn’t say he was winning the argument, I said he was winning the game. He plays by his rules: tactics. He wins because we allow him to use tactics instead of argument. It’s all just mental masturbation at this point and we keep falling into the same stupid trap with him.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Time for him to go into Q Quine’s Troll Petting Zoo for a time out.

        • epeeist
        • Clement Agonistes

          “To
          the contrary, Klavan praised the MdS for “running it to the ground”.
          Klavan found the MdS and a handful of other famous historic atheist
          authors to be exceptions.”

          I
          don’t think the MdS DID run it to the ground, he chose a form of
          morality akin to solipsism. The MdS just decided that what he liked was
          the only thing that mattered. You and I both agreed that morality is at
          its root social, and the MdS took that out of the equation. I think
          Klavan used him as an example and claimed the MdS ‘took it to the
          ground’ to poison the well, IOW he picked him be
          cause he thinks it proves his point…and it doesn’t.

          In both cases, you are painted into the corner that the corner that the person is lying. Klavan tells how he came to reject atheism, and your conclusion is that he never was an atheist, and created a fictional story to serve his theism. The MdS lays out his case for naturalism, and your conclusion is that he also is lying (although there is that problem that he doesn’t mind lying). That seems like an easy way to dismiss difficult facts. You attack the person rather than deal with the content of their arguments.

          I have children, I have raised them without religion, they have empathy
          for other people and animals, they have a sense of fairness. I never
          once had to use anything religious to explain the difference between
          right and wrong. I can logically tell them why not stealing, not hurting
          or abusing other people or animals, not killing or raping…is
          ultimately in their best interest as well as the interests of the people
          and things they come into contact with. Not one piece goes back to
          Christianity or any religion, it wasn’t necessary, and in fact I would
          argue they were far better served without it.

          That’s great, but it kinds sidesteps the issue. Klavan’s question is “What do you believe, and why do you believe it.” The “what” is that there is no God, but the “why” gets tougher. Why is empathy a good thing? Why is fairness a good thing? Would you have a different set of values if you were raised in, say, 1000 A.D. Burma? Or 250 B.C. Mali? How do you know you are not just doing what you accuse the MdS of doing and just finding a rationale for what you are going to do anyway?

          “The absolute best naturalist case is that it is some sort of survival instinct”

          That is an outdated premise. While we don’t know why animals have other
          basic moral traits like empathy, the fact is that they do.

          “Outdated”? How? Our behavior can be explained by something else other than nature? Other than evolution?

          “In terms of the origin of morality, if there is no God, then morals
          must have a survival benefit; a natural origin in our genetics.”

          I would agree, but just because we may not understand what that is
          exactly now, is not justification to pretend that the origin is
          therefore God. Just like the logic… “I don’t know why lightening comes
          from, therefore Thor casts it from his Hammer” … is fallacious, so is
          your and Klavan’s position on morality.

          But, it’s “outdated”, right? I mean, animals and morality, right? If we don’t understand it, then the atheist is pretending also. Until we do understand it, no conclusion can be reached. We know Thor’s hammer is not the explanation because we apply the Scientific Method to the hypothesis and it failed. Klavan applies the same process to naturalism, and it can’t explain morality. His logic was as solid as that disproving the Thor hypothesis. You have no evidence for you conclusion, but just assume that you are right because . . . . .Thor.

        • Otto

          >>>”Klavan tells how he came to reject atheism, and your conclusion is that he never was an atheist, and created a fictional story to serve his theism.”

          I never said he wasn’t an atheist…I never even thought it. I think he used poor reasoning and a poor example of what he thought was the necessary conclusion for atheism. It would be like if I cited Ayatollah Khomeini as an example of the necessary culmination of all religious thought and morality.

          >>>”The MdS lays out his case for naturalism, and your conclusion is that he also is lying”

          No…I think he was wrong…like Klavan is wrong. Believe it or not I can think people are wrong without thinking they are automatically lying.

          >>>”That seems like an easy way to dismiss difficult facts. You attack the person rather than deal with the content of their arguments.”

          Wow…that is interesting. You attack me and my position by accusing me of thinking these people are lying, when I have never once said that, and then dismiss my opinion because of it.

          >>>””What do you believe, and why do you believe it.”

          Depends on the question.

          >>>”The “what” is that there is no God”

          Nope…all this time on the atheist board and you still have no understanding of what most of us think about our actual position of an overall God. I would explain it to you again but I have no confidence you would get it.

          >>>”but the “why” gets tougher.”

          Again…nope. That is again rather straight forward.

          >>>”Why is empathy a good thing? Why is fairness a good thing?”

          Because it helps us be social animals, it helps us bond and it helps us work together. A colony of ants is a formidable force, a single ant is not.

          >>>”Would you have a different set of values if you were raised in, say, 1000 A.D. Burma? Or 250 B.C. Mali?”

          I suspect I would, I suspect you would too.

          >>>”How do you know you are not just doing what you accuse the MdS of doing and just finding a rationale for what you are going to do anyway?”

          How do you know you are not doing the same with your religion?
          And what do I need a rational for? What is it that I am going to do anyway that would need such a justification?

          >>>””Outdated”? How?”

          That all individual behavior can just be boiled down to a survival instinct. Behavior is not that simple IMO…but if you are really interested go ask someone who has studied it more than me.

          >>>”We know Thor’s hammer is not the explanation because we apply the Scientific Method to the hypothesis and it failed.”

          No, you missed the point. The point is that when we don’t know the answer to a question the worst thing we can do is just make up an answer. Granted we all do it to some extent or another but it is not something to be proud of.

          >>>”Klavan applies the same process to naturalism, and it can’t explain morality.”

          Yeah, he made up an answer to explain something he otherwise couldn’t…kinda what I just said.

          >>>”His logic was as solid as that disproving the Thor hypothesis.”

          No, he is doing the exact same thing as the Thor hypothesis…he can’t explain something so he inserts a God as if it answer the question…and it doesn’t.

          >>>”You have no evidence for you conclusion”

          There is plenty of evidence that morality could potentially be explained naturally. You are the one that says it can’t…and you postulate an answer that you have no evidence for…God. My conclusion is that I have no reason to think God is necessary or sufficient for explaining morality…you say it is. Feel free to make YOUR case. And here is a pro tip…you can tear down the natural position for morality all day and all night but that is not evidence FOR your position. At some point Clement you actually have to provide evidence FOR your position and not just pretend that you are right if you poke enough holes in your opposition. I keep waiting for you to actually present a case FOR your position, when all you really do is say ‘you can’t explain morality…therefore God did it’. That is no different than what a Young Earth Creationist does.

        • epeeist

          And here is a pro tip…you can tear down the natural position for morality all day and all night but that is not evidence FOR your position.

          False Dichotomy: number 3 in the all-time hit list for theists…

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Klavan tells how he came to reject atheism, and your conclusion is that he never was an atheist, and created a fictional story to serve his theism.”
          I never said he wasn’t an atheist…I never even thought it. I think he used poor reasoning and a poor example of what he thought was the necessary conclusion for atheism. It would be like if I cited Ayatollah Khomeini as an example of the necessary culmination of all religious thought and morality.

          You pointed to your own (de)conversion story. If someone who has one set of beliefs can be convinced by logic that an opposite belief is true, it gives credibility – it show an open-minded, non- biased approach. Klavan’s account is the opposite. Does that show open-mindedness also?

          Well, no, because “Klavan is poisoning the well. Klavan picked the MdS because Klavan had a point to make. It is like a Muslim Ayatollah.” It would have to after the fact that Kalvan the Christian goes back and fabricates his account for those to be true. Either he is giving us an accurate account or he is not. If he is conniving to change the facts, then your account is no more credible than his – I could just as easily dismiss your account as an after-the-fact fiction in defense of atheism. You are attaching the messenger, not the message; the substance of what he is saying.

          Klavan’s account was that the MdS – and other prominent atheist thinkers – talked him out of atheism. The other naturalists were saying the same thing. I think your point is that the MdS carries emotional baggage that the others might not. For our purposes, I can put aside such emotional baggage and discuss the topic dispassionately. Can you? if not, let’s attribute the to Hume, and then discuss them.

          “The MdS lays out his case for naturalism, and your conclusion is that he also is lying”
          No…I think he was wrong…like Klavan is wrong. Believe it or not I can think people are wrong without thinking they are automatically lying.

          You stated that the MdS just decided that what he liked was the only thing that mattered. His version was that he thought it through, then decided feeling guilty about sexual behavior was not logical. From there, he just expanded on his conclusion. He laid out a logical case for his conclusion. You claim that his behavior did not arise from his conclusion, but the other way around. You are dismissing his claim without giving him the benefit of the doubt. A quick question would be whether he wrote about his conclusion before or after his behavior. If his writing preceded his behavior, your claim has a problem. If not, then clearly he has no guilt about lying. Either way, you are speculating about support for your claim.

          “That seems like an easy way to dismiss difficult facts. You attack the person rather than deal with the content of their arguments.”
          Wow…that is interesting. You attack me and my position by accusing me of thinking these people are lying, when I have never once said that, and then dismiss my opinion because of it.

          I did not dismiss your opinion, but the logic behind it. I even allowed that the MdS could be lying. But, it is undeniable that your are not addressing their substance, but their character. Their ideas should stand or fall on their own merits.

        • Otto

          >>>”You pointed to your own (de)conversion story. If someone who has one set of beliefs can be convinced by logic that an opposite belief is true, it gives credibility”

          That statement right there shows you didn’t listen to what I said.

          I also have laid out why I think the MdS was wrong but you haven’t listened to that either, and instead of actually dealing with what I said you want me to continue to deal with the ideas of the MdS…in other words you don’t seem to care to deal with my thoughts, you just want to keep him as the center of the discussion. Nope…

          >>>”I did not dismiss your opinion, but the logic behind it.”

          You accused me of saying both Klavan and the MdS were lying and based everything else on that fabrication. Either admit you were wrong or I am done with this line of discussion.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Why is empathy a good thing? Why is fairness a good thing?”
          Because it helps us be social animals, it helps us bond and it helps us work together. A colony of ants is a formidable force, a single ant is not.

          Yet, ants – social animals – do not have empathy and fairness. An ant, by itself, cannot survive. It is indisputably a social animal. People can – and do – live by themselves as self-sufficient animals. We’re not THAT social. A sociopath is incapable of empathy or fairness, yet survives and functions at a high level. You are skipping the intermediate steps for answering the question. Why is it a good thing to do like the Bible says and treat other people the way you want to be treated? “It’s good because I think it is good.” is not running it to the ground.

        • Otto

          >>>”A sociopath is incapable of empathy or fairness, yet survives and functions at a high level.”

          Kinda goes against your idea that God endows us with morality.

          >>>”Why is it a good thing to do like the Bible says and treat other people the way you want to be treated? “It’s good because I think it is good.” is not running it to the ground.”

          And you and Klavan’s answer of “because God said so” isn’t running it to the ground….heck that isn’t even acting morally, that is being obedient. You and your God have reduced humans to dogs just doing tricks for a treat.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “A sociopath is incapable of empathy or fairness, yet survives and functions at a high level.”

          Kinda goes against your idea that God endows us with morality.

          Yes, it does go against my idea . . . . . and yours about the MdS being a product of his environment.

          “It’s good because I think it is good.” is not running it to the ground.”

          And
          you and Klavan’s answer of “because God said so” isn’t running it to
          the ground….heck that isn’t even acting morally, that is being
          obedient. You and your God have reduced humans to dogs just doing tricks
          for a treat.

          Of course, Klavan never claimed that. You are putting words in his (our) mouth(s) in order to shoot down an easier argument that wasn’t being made.

          Good science means asking “Why?” until there is nothing left to ask why about. You quit very early in the process. Atheists, it would appear, are big on science until it gets in the way.

          Intuitively, you know what good morality is. Your frustration is that you should be able to rationally defend your position, but can’t.

        • Susan

          Of course, Klavan never claimed that.

          Neither you nor Klavan has shown any connecton between Yahwehjesus and moralty. You both just assert that without Yahwehjesus, there is no logical connection to morality.

          Neither of you has demonstrated the need for one, so Otto was forced to guess.

          Divine Command Theory is a key apologetic so it’s a fair guess. Until you provide something else, his guess is better than anything you or Klavan have offered.

          The rest of your comment is just more squirrels.

          So, are you finally going to show the logical connection between Yahwehjesus and morality?

          Stating that it’s the only explanation is not the same as showing it.

          Your frustration is that you should be able to rationally defend your position, but can’t.

          There you go again. Shifting the burden.

          Your claim is that Yahwehjesus is both necessary and sufficient for morality.

          Go.

        • epeeist

          You both just assert that without Yahwehjesus, there is no logical connection to morality.

          His claim is universal, thus a single counter-example will show it to be false.Are there non-Christian societies that have ethical codes? Yes. Were there pre-Christian societies that had moral codes? Yes.

          His assertion is false, case closed.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Are sociopaths the exception or the rule?

          Yet, ants – social animals – do not have empathy and fairness.

          Dumb fuck.

          Cooperation is subject to cheating strategies that exploit the benefits of cooperation without paying the fair costs, and it has been a major goal of evolutionary biology to explain the origin and maintenance of cooperation against such cheaters. Here, we report that cheater genotypes indeed coexist in field colonies of a social insect, the parthenogenetic ant Pristomyrmex punctatus. The life history of this species is exceptional, in that there is no reproductive division of labour: all females fulfil both reproduction and cooperative tasks. Previous studies reported sporadic occurrence of larger individuals when compared with their nest-mates. These larger ants lay more eggs and hardly take part in cooperative tasks, resulting in lower fitness of the whole colony. Population genetic analysis showed that at least some of these large-bodied individuals form a genetically distinct lineage, isolated from cooperators by parthenogenesis. A phylogenetic study confirmed that this cheater lineage originated intraspecifically. Coexistence of cheaters and cooperators in this species provides a good model system to investigate the evolution of cooperation in nature.

          http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/276/1656/567

          Why don’t you read something before flapping your gums?

          https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=7Uz9AAAAQBAJ&pg=PA219&lpg=PA219&dq=ants+ostracised+from+the+colony&source=bl&ots=fe7rHqYuRA&sig=7A7lIWZ21MDRPzI7Vie5mUfMLIk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjysqXM7JLdAhVMIsAKHWCAC60Q6AEwEHoECAsQAQ#v=onepage&q=ants%20ostracised%20from%20the%20colony&f=false

          An ant, by itself, cannot survive.

          And for the majority of humans, the same is true…can you guess why?

        • Otto

          Your citation is well met.

          The funny thing is I wasn’t even trying to say that ants have morality…just that social species have to have cooperation between its members. Cooperation in humans is going to require a certain amount of morality to function. Clement obviously disregards the larger point in favor of focusing on minutia…and you still were able to show he is full of shit…lol

        • Ignorant Amos

          The funny thing is I wasn’t even trying to say that ants have morality…just that social species have to have cooperation between it members.

          Oh I know that alrite…but funny fucker Clement was at his work again with more of his “look over there, squirrels” bullshittery. I can’t let that fly when I know he is being a dumb fuck. We owe it to everyone to hold the soles of his feet to the flames and show him up for what even you have eventually been convinced he is in the end.

          Cooperation in humans is going to require a certain amount of morality to function. Clement obviously disregards the larger point in favor of focusing on minutia…and you still were able to show he is full of shit…lol

          Indeed. It’s who he is, and it’s all he has got. He’s beyond reproach. So at this point there is nothing to be done other than enjoy the craic and engage in the exercise of shooting fish in a barrel. He’s such a gift.

        • Susan

          Why is it a good think to do like the Bible Confucious says and treat other people the way you want to be treated?

          What one doesn’t wish for oneself, one ought not to do to anyone else; what one recognizes as desirable for oneself, one ought to be willing to grant to others.

          You have been invited to make your case repeatedly. And as always, you evade and shift the burden.

          You are claiming Yahwehjesus is necessary for morality.

          You have provided exactly nothing to support that claim. No logical connection whatsoever.

          Just dishonesty and ignorance.

        • Sample1

          Ignorance people can find ways to handle, work with. But dishonesty? That’s a tough cookie.

          I think you are doing what one can only effectively do against dishonesty. Pointing it out.

          A thousand seedless watermelons for you or a +1 in this case.

          Mike

        • Susan

          A thousand seedless watermelons for you

          Thank you. 🙂

          Now, what am I going to do with all this watermelon?

        • Sample1

          You could claim divine perfection or godhood for yourself. A thousand melons is clearly evidence for the metaphysical interplay only a thousand can have with you. If others can’t see that truth, just explain why 999 falls short of godhood and how 1001 melons proves the existence black and white spotted demons.

          Or you can rent a trebuchet and a launch them at bales of hay. Lovely pigs will enjoy cleaning up the mess and be nourished to boot.

          Mike

        • Clement Agonistes

          “You have no evidence for you conclusion”
          There is plenty of evidence that morality could potentially be explained naturally

          Well, “when you find that, let us know.”

        • Otto

          Why…you wouldn’t listen anyway.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Welcome to my world, Otto.

        • Otto

          No, I have dealt with your actual points…I didn’t just make stuff up to suit my needs. There may be times I misunderstood you but you can’t say I didn’t attempt to understand you, on the other hand you just make shit up…like you did when you said I called Klavan and the MdS liars….which I never did. You are intentionally dishonest.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I will grant that you have done a far better job of trying to understand what I am saying. My recurring theme is that you apply one, single standard to all arguments. When you say that I make shit up, it is true that you are not using the word “liar”, but that is what you are saying.

          You stated that Klavan picked the MdS because it proved his point. That is a claim that needs support. It Is an ad hominem fallacy because your are attacking the person’s motive, not considering his substance.

          In order to “pick” the MdS, Klavan would have needed to know in advance that he would reject atheism – “his point”. But, it was the argument of the MdS (along with other atheists who we are ignoring) that brought Klavan to rejecting atheism. There was no “point” until AFTER the argument. Either Klavan is mistaken about the timeline, or he is “making up shit”.

          If he is mistaken, then he has an entire book, multiple published writings, and that interview in which he describes one of the most important, memorable points in his life. He would not be mistaken about such an important event. You did not say he made a mistake. You stated – as fact – that he “picked” the MdS on purpose. Klavan had a point, and chose the MdS in order to make that point. You . . . chose . . . that . . . . narrative.

          Now, we both know that you have no evidence to support this narrative. You don’t have fact, and the logic – as I pointed out – can’t be made to work.

          What am I supposed to do when you do something like that? Do I just spot you the occasional fallacious argument because you are a nice guy? Do I pretend that you are “dealing” with the subject matter and address the claim (which I did)? You’ve brought this up 3 times now. I can’t just ignore it. Now, you are accusing me of making shit up.

          These kinds of conversations are going to have frustrations. At some level, we can never agree on the final conclusions each of us possesses. We can discuss the middle ground, but we’ve got to put our emotions aside and realize that we will be offended when our ideas are attacked. Sadly, neither of us is perfect. Some ideas will deserve to be attacked.

        • Otto

          >>>”When you say that I make shit up, it is true that you are not using the word “liar”, but that is what you are saying.”

          You are arguing against points I have not made, you wrongly think they are my points, whether that is intentional to some extent or you are just mistaken is for you to know. It certainly feels like a bit of both from my end.

          >>>”In order to “pick” the MdS, Klavan would have needed to know in advance that he would reject atheism”

          But Klavan could have used any number of secular or non-religious people and their ideas of morality as examples. He chose the MdS….why? Why pick the most narcissistic and self centered person that you can think of to represent the thoughts of a whole group? He could have picked Ingersall, or Thomas Paine, or any number of other people…but he didn’t. Whether intentionally of unintentionally he poisoned the well.

          >>>”If he is mistaken, then he has an entire book, multiple published writings, and that interview in which he describes one of the most important, memorable points in his life.”

          Again, I am not arguing he was mistaken in relating his experience, I am saying he was wrong to pick the worst of the worst to represent the group. He very well may have come to his conclusion honestly, but that does not mean his conclusion was correct or that he used sound reasoning to get there.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “In order to “pick” the MdS, Klavan would have needed to know in advance that he would reject atheism”

          But
          Klavan could have used any number of secular or non-religious people
          and their ideas of morality as examples. He chose the MdS….why? Why
          pick the most narcissistic and self centered person that you can think
          of to represent the thoughts of a whole group?

          In the account he gave, I understood him to be pointing to the MdS as someone who stated the case clearly and logically, and then walked the walk. Without God looking over his shoulder, there was no reason to be anything other than his nature. Every child is born selfish. Our nature is to be selfish. Whatever made the MdS happy was nature.

          Klavan mentioned reading other atheists. His gripe seemed to be that they would give voice to the same opinion, but then not act on it. They didn’t make sense. The MdS did makes sense. That is why he didn’t use them as examples. It was when he read the MdS that it clicked – the MdS made prefect sense. He was the inflection point for Klavan. Klavan would have to be misrepresenting what actually happened. He had to “pick” him because there was no other inflection point.

          He very well may have come to his conclusion honestly, but that does not
          mean his conclusion was correct or that he used sound reasoning to get
          there.

          Then that is what we should be discussing instead of Klavan’s motives.

        • Otto

          Any chance you are going to get around to making an actual argument FOR your claim of objective morality?…If you are just going to argue from consequence I think we are done.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’ll use your evasion: I am not arguing there is objective morality; I am arguing there is not subjective morality. Therefore it is your obligation to show me evidence that I will reject sight unseen. You have stacked the deck and use miserable logic. I have tried, but cannot change either of those.

        • Otto

          >>>”I am not arguing there is objective morality; I am arguing there is not subjective morality.”

          Yeah I know…you have been using a fallacious argument from consequence…pointing that out is not stacking the deck. If you want to use a fallacious argument to affirm your conclusion that is your prerogative.

        • Susan

          I understood him to be pointing to the MdS as someone who stated the case clearly and logically

          But you haven’t shown the logic. Neither has he. You’ve just pointed to a a guy who makes a standard apologetic whose logic doesn’t escape Euthyphro’s horns.

          Show the logic. How many times will you be asked and how many times will you avoid?

          Klavan mentioned reading other atheists.

          Which ones? Why should we consider their moral opinions solid just because they’re atheists?

          No. He chose a psychopath and equated it with not believing in gods without showing any logic.

          Without God looking over his shoulder

          Define “God”, show that it exists and explain how it “looking over your shoulder” is useful to any moral theory. How does it escape Euthyphro’s horns?

          It sounds very Big Brothery. Again, just assertions without any logical link. When you’ve got some logic, provide it. Until then, there is no reason to take it seriously.

          Then that is what we should be discussing instead of Klavan’s motives.

          That is what Otto and I keep desperately asking you to discuss. But you won’t.

          Ready now?

          Then define “God”, and show how it’s logically necessary and sufficient for morality.

        • Pofarmer

          No. He chose a psychopath and equated it with not believing in gods without showing any logic.

          So, through the vagaries of disqus, I can’t find the Klavan quote Clement posted and I’m not wading through his comment history unnecessarily. But, Klavan says, and I’m gonna paraphrase, that he looked at the philosophical schools and didn’t like the idea that, on naturalism, there was no reason, philosophically, for morality to exist and he went into some kind of existential angst. It seems like to me that he did the same thing that our vaunted metaphysicians like to do, in that they didn’t then to and look to empirically either prove or disprove their claims. Because, if Klavan had actually looked around, he would have understood that the philosophical argument quickly runs up on the rocks of evidence. We see morality all around us, in species from ground shrews to cats, to wolves to cattle to priairie dogs to primates to humans. There’s pretty much a continuum of morality on the planet starting, probably, at the things that encourage reproduction at the cellular level. So, philosophy can’t explain it? So what? Maybe that’s not the kind of question Philosophy is equipped to understand. It just seems like another case where someone confused themselves and managed to conclude God, because they liked the philosophical conclusions whether or not those conclusions were actually grounded, in, ya know, facts.

        • Pofarmer

          Patricia S. Churchland.

          “Braintrust”

          Among others.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I haven’t given it a fair chance yet, but at first glance it looks like trying to dismiss complex thoughts as mere neurochemicals dictated by DNA. I didn’t get much resistance to the idea of morality requiring a mind. I hope that means we agree on that point. I suspect our differences will boil down to whether random chance was the only factor determining our DNA.

          I will give her hypothesis more careful consideration.

        • Pofarmer

          I haven’t given it a fair chance yet, but at first glance it looks like
          trying to dismiss complex thoughts as mere neurochemicals dictated by
          DNA.

          No, she’s demonstrating that other species besides humans observe some of the same reactions to the same stimulus that we do and attempting to find the causal mechanisms. At any rate, what if some of the behaviors that you’re trying to attribute to “complex thoughts” really do boil down to neurochemical reactions?

          I didn’t get much resistance to the idea of morality requiring a mind

          How does morality matter if something doesn’t have neurons? Morality is an idea, a description of behaviors.

          I suspect our differences will boil down to whether random chance was the only factor determining our DNA.

          See, that’s so bad it isn’t even wrong. Loosen up the God Googles so the blood can get to your brain. Thanks.

        • Susan

          it looks like trying to dismiss complex thoughts as mere neurochemicals

          You guys just can’t resist putting the editorial term “mere” or “just” in front of things without justification. Try having a complex thought without neurochemistry involved. Try it. I dare you.

          I didn’t get much resistance to the idea of morality requiring a mind.

          Because without minds, morality is meaningless. On a planet of nothing but mindless rocks, morality doesn’t apply.

          But that does’t mean it requires an imaginary mind.

          whether random chance was the only factor determining DNA

          Who claims that? “Random chance” is a standard apologist’s phrase that reeks of ignorance about the processes involved and tries to be a dig at the same time.

          But it’s silly.

          https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Random_chance

          Whether you accept Churchland’s intensive research or not, you have done nothing to show a single thing between any definition of “God” and morality.

          You’ve been asked and asked.

          LIke a creationist, you’re ignorant about all the relevant subjects and think that if you can attack, dismiss, not accept the scientific models, then your model wins by default.

          Of course it doesn’t.

          You’ve been asked repeatedly to show a connection between any “God” and morality and you’ve produced exactly nothing.

        • Clement Agonistes

          it looks like trying to dismiss complex thoughts as mere neurochemicals

          You
          guys just can’t resist putting the editorial term “mere” or “just” in
          front of things without justification. Try having a complex thought
          without neurochemistry involved. Try it. I dare you.

          It’s not you saying that – it’s just the chemicals.

          whether random chance was the only factor determining DNA

          Who
          claims that? “Random chance” is a standard apologist’s phrase that
          reeks of ignorance about the processes involved and tries to be a dig at
          the same time.

          But it’s silly.

          https://rationalwiki.org/wi

          No one claims mutations are random? How can a mutation that never occurred be acted on by natural selection? And – seriously – you are quoting an atheist apologist website as your authority?

          Whether you accept Churchland’s intensive research or not

          Forget me – does science accept her research (no matter how hard she worked at it)?

        • Ignorant Amos

          And – seriously – you are quoting an atheist apologist website as your authority?

          Atheist apologist site…wise up ya Dime Bar.

          Argumentum Ad Hominem : the fallacy of attacking the character or circumstances of an individual who is advancing a statement or an argument instead of seeking to disprove the truth of the statement or the soundness of the argument. Often the fallacy is characterized simply as a personal attack.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Forget me – does science accept her research (no matter how hard she worked at it)?

          Who accepts that bullshit of Klavan’s you keep foisting at us as if he is an authority on something or other?

        • Pofarmer

          does science accept her research (no matter how hard she worked at it)?

          Every problem, ever solved, has had a naturalistic answer. So, that’s kinda the way to bet.

          Her conclusions are based on tons of other research. It’s really a compilation.

        • Susan

          No one claims mutations are random?

          You claimed that “random chance” was the “only” factor.

          Which is a strawman. That seems to be all you have.

          And you continue to dodge requests that you show a necessary link between any “God” and morality. .

        • Ignorant Amos

          And you continue to dodge requests that you show a necessary link between any “God” and morality.

          Because he can’t. Because there isn’t one. He’s well and truly screwed into the deck. But like all the rest of them, he just won’t give up the ghost on it.

          Maybe some day he’ll come to terms with his position, realize his errors, and look back and think…wow, wasn’t I a cock, but am better now. I doubt it of course, but there is plenty that have…so never give up hope.

        • Pofarmer

          . Try having a complex thought without neurochemistry involved.“

          Are you sure we aren’t witnessing it?

        • Greg G.
        • Ignorant Amos

          Now that’s funny.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Would you have a different set of values if you were raised in, say, 1000 A.D. Burma? Or 250 B.C. Mali?”

          I suspect I would, I suspect you would too.

          Some would be the same, and some would be different. The ones that would be different have their core in Western, Christian culture. You say fairness and empathy are good things, but if you would not have had those values in some other culture, would they still be good? That is what I think Klavan means by knowing why you believe what you believe.

        • Otto

          >>>”Some would be the same, and some would be different.”

          I have no idea how you would argue that a person raised in 2015 in Hong Kong could be the same as someone who lived in 250 B.C. Mali.

          >>>” You say fairness and empathy are good things, but if you would not have had those values in some other culture, would they still be good?”

          Fairness and empathy have been valued in many, many cultures, certainly not in every culture though.

          But my point is that fairness and empathy leads to more stable societies, quite a lot of people value living in a stable, peaceful society so it should not be surprising that fairness and empathy are valued. Valuing fairness and empathy can actually be selfish, but it is a positive type of selfishness because it benefits the group and therefore also benefits individuals.

          If I am born in a society that does not allow slavery, what are the chances that I will be a slave? If I am born in a society that values equality what are the chances that I will be in a marginalized group?

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Some would be the same, and some would be different.”

          I have
          no idea how you would argue that a person raised in 2015 in Hong Kong
          could be the same as someone who lived in 250 B.C. Mali.

          I’m not making that argument. You asked about values – some values would be the same, and other values would be different.

          But my point is that fairness and empathy leads to more stable societies

          IN THE SPIRIT OF FUN: Fairness and empathy are thoughts. It is immoral that some societies would be punished for thought crimes.

          SERIOUS: My point is that whatever values you hold now are just products of the time and location you live in. You state them with seriousness, even teaching them to your children. Yet, in another time or place, what is “true’ would not be true. Would you even be an atheist in another time and/or place? Klavan’s point was that something bad would be bad, no matter what the time or place – there is an objective truth.

        • Otto

          >>>”I’m not making that argument. You asked about values – some values would be the same, and other values would be different.”

          Duh

          >>>”IN THE SPIRIT OF FUN: Fairness and empathy are thoughts. It is immoral that some societies would be punished for thought crimes.”

          Gee, I don’t remember saying either of those things are, or should be, required by law or force. So rather than actually addressing the point I did make, you just deflected to something I didn’t say, but it was just all IN THE SPIRIT OF FUN amiright?

          >>>”My point is that whatever values you hold now are just products of the time and location you live in…..Klavan’s point was that something bad would be bad, no matter what the time or place – there is an objective truth.”

          And does he ever support that claim or is this just another argument from consequence…because that is what it looks like…ugh.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Clement doesn’t get it…who gives a fuck what Klavan thinks? He doesn’t think for everyone and his thinking is fucked up. He supports none of his navel gazing nonsense.

          Klavan’s point was that something bad would be bad, no matter what the time or place…

          But that has never been the case…what part of this crap can Clement not grasp? He’s an arse-crank.

        • Pofarmer

          Klavan applies the same process to naturalism, and it can’t explain morality.

          The problem is, it probably can. It hasn’t been asking the question all that long.

          Read some Patricia Churchland, if you’re actually interested.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And we need the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to stop people from using their religion…their supposed Ultimate Morality…to traipse on the basic rights of others too. Religion certainly has not solved that problem on its own.

          I watched a documentary on the KKK. They are on the rise apparently. The “pastor” of a chapter being interviewed claimed he gets his racial bigotry from YahwehJesus via the pages of scripture in the Bible. I sat speechless and gobsmacked as I watched the indoctrination of these Christians…very young children included. Christian morality in action.

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t know if you’ve seen or heard of the FX show “Justified” with Timothy Oliphant. At the beginning the main antagonist, Boyd Crowder, is in the KKK and they make it pretty clear how it’s Bible related. At some point in the next season Boyd changes again and starts his own little religious band of outlaws. By the end of the show, he’s an atheist, but he finds Jesus again, conveniently, in Prison. I thought the show did a great job of highlighting fundagelical beliefs and actions without being super heavy handed about it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I haven’t seen that. I like Timothy Oliphant from his “Deadwood” days.

          I’ll give it a whirl and binge watch it…thanks for the referral.

        • Otto

          Oh yeah, the KKK has always been a Christian organization that says their bigotry is ordained by God since their foundation. That is part of their fascination with crosses.

        • Susan

          I get what you are trying to get across, I do

          What do you think he was trying to get across?

          I think you fairly represented what you meant.

          What do you think he meant?

        • Otto

          He meant that in his opinion (not mine) the conclusion matched with the premises, though he admitted the premises are without foundation, so I don’t know why that would matter, but to him it does. I agree that the premises are without foundation but I disagree that the conclusion would even follow from the premises even if the premises could be shown to be true. He thinks if the premises could be shown to be true the conclusion would logically follow. Nope.

        • Susan

          I cannot know whether Klavan’s premises are true.

          You can’t show that they’re true. Neither can he.

          I can know that his conclusion follows from them.

          Yahwehjesus exists follows from those premises? No.

          Even if the premises are true. And there’s no reason to think they’re true.

          Thus concludes the “moral argument” for Yawhehjesus.

          Got anything else?

        • Susan

          You went back and changed your original post to include the deleted explanation.

          Because you insisted. I didn’t delete anything. I blockquoted directly from your copy/paste and stopped about where “Klavan’s explanation” went right off the rails.

          You insisted I include the following paragraph (even though that paragraph was included in the copy/paste you provided and to which I responded.) I notified you that I had edited it in because you insisted it was some necessary step in the process.

          Christ on a Cracker, Clement.

          ” Andrew Klavan says of his conversion that he had been reading the works
          of great atheist minds, and their answers were so unsatisfying that he
          had to reject his own atheism.

          Yet,when I looked up his conversion, it bore no resemblance to your description of it.

          And it makes no sense. It skips over the step of defining a specific god that atheists don’t accept exists (because it’s not defined or supported)and showing that it exists. Instead, we have assertions. .

          As I work through his reasoning, each conclusion has premises that lead to that conclusion.

          The logic is sound.

          The logic can only be sound if the argument is valid and the premises are necessarily true.

          IF…THEN…? That’s all you have? If I’m right, then I’m right? That’s what you’ve been putting off for days?

          the problem is the premises – are they true?

          Yes. Huge problem. Now, either you or he has to show that the premises are true. If you’re both going to rely on such a primitive argument, the premises must be true.

          I’m going to guess that this is where you’ll po