When It Comes to Marriage Equality, Wisdom Doesn’t Necessarily Come with Age

After Dannika Nash published her open letter to the Christian church about being anti-gay, and after a back-and-forth between her and one of the church’s defenders, Dr. Michael Brown (the defender of the church’s bigotry) has directed his attention at me.

Dr. MIchael Brown

First, he takes issue with my tone. Dannika was admittedly nicer than I would have been — I don’t argue that — but he goes after commenters, too:

If you’ll look at the comments following my article on the Charisma site, you’ll see that the vast majority of readers, including young people, found my tone to be gracious and respectful, which is exactly what I intended. In contrast, most readers commenting on your blog shared your perspective, some of them apparently adding their comments to the Charisma site as well, with comments like this: “This is one of the most vile, condescending, repugnant pieces of [mild expletive deleted] I have ever read.”

Isn’t this fascinating? Two different sets of readers with two different worldviews and two different sets of presuppositions perceive the identical words in two totally different ways. This underscores how easy it is to misread or misunderstand written communication. As far as my article was concerned, I absolutely intended it to be respectful and gracious, and there was no condescension in my heart when I wrote it.

Amazing, isn’t it? The Christians on Charisma’s (heavily monitored and filtered) comment thread were so much nicer toward Brown’s anti-gay rhetoric than the commenters on this (monitored but rarely censored) site.

This isn’t a misreading or misunderstanding of written communication. This is we’re-sick-of-your-’I’m-such-a-nice-Christian’-bullshit. You can’t fight against equal rights and expect us to get taken in by your smile.

You think those comments are mean-spirited? Well, I think it’s far worse that anyone could vote to prevent loving gay couples from getting married.

Then, Brown goes into this notion than we can all learn something from his generation. First, here’s what he said before:

To be totally candid with you, I always listen to young people and ask for their insights, and I’m sure that your generation cares a lot about fairness and justice and equality. But could it be that my generation is not totally ignorant about these things? Could there be a reason that one of the Ten Commandments says, “Honor your father and your mother” — or is that outmoded now too? Is there no wisdom we can impart to you about marriage and family and gender?

This isn’t about age. This is about using age as a stand-in for wisdom. Those two things are not as correlated as Brown wants everyone to think. His generation of Christians is very ignorant (and outmoded and just plain wrong) when it comes to equal rights, women’s rights, science education, sex education, and the list goes on.

Sure, there are exceptions, but, as Dannika showed, even many younger Christians are realizing their parents and pastors don’t get it.

When Brown’s generations of Christians put as much passion into banning divorces as they do banning gay marriage, I’ll take their claims about marriage more seriously. Until then, they’re pretty much hypocrites on the matter.

Here’s what Brown says about his age now:

Perhaps you overreacted to what I wrote? May I also ask if you, as a high school teacher, expect your students to show you a certain level of respect? And, all things being equal, are most people wiser when they are 40 years old and have had many more life experiences than they were when they were 20?

Respect, sure. We should respect others, regardless of age. I respect you, too. But I don’t expect my students to believe everything I say unless I’ve earned that right. And Christian adults have not earned the right to tell anyone else what to do when it comes to marriage. Certainly, their irrational obsession with gay marriage hasn’t helped anyone take them seriously.

Older people may be wiser in certain areas. But that doesn’t extend to all areas and it definitely doesn’t extend to all people.

Finally, Brown explains what can’t be misinterpreted:

… yes, I’m convinced that, all things being equal, it would be better for a child to be raised by his or her mom and dad than to have two moms or two dads and be cut off from one of the biological parents.

I would argue kids are better off with parents who love them, regardless of gender.

But I’m only 30, so what do I know…

Brown’s heart may be in the right place, but his conclusions (and those of people who share his faith) have hurt too many people. He wants marriage limited to straight people like him, while I want marriage extended to two people who love each other, something he doesn’t care about because yada-yada-the-Bible-said-so.

Brown, much like Mike Huckabee and (I’m sure) many other Christian pastors, are great to have conversations with. I don’t doubt their sincerity or good intentions. (Indeed, I’ve sat on many stages with Christian pastors and had public discussions.) But their narrow-minded, Biblically-based viewpoint on marriage is no less prejudiced or bigoted just because they say it without screaming at you.

We should oppose them and fight their absurd views without backing down, and we need younger Christians to join us in the battle.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://profiles.google.com/rbh.third RBH Third

    This isn’t about age. This is about using age as a stand-in for wisdom. Those two things are not as correlated as Brown wants everyone to think.

    Right. Age gives one the opportunity to acquire wisdom, but it in no way guarantees that someone will take advantage of that opportunity. Many of my generation (I’m 72) haven’t taken advantage of the opportunity.

    • 3lemenope

      Quite so. One needs time to accumulate experiences, and experiences are the sinews of eventual wisdom, but two things can go wrong. First, a person can go out of their way to avoid novel and/or uncomfortable experiences (the ones most important for developing wisdom), either because they find them uninteresting or they find them threatening. Second, a person can draw either no lesson or the wrong lessons from an experience, such that even though they have a life rich with experiences, they manage not to get anything useful out of them.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        There is a causal connection between age and wisdom. There is not, however, a correlation.

        • Tom

          I prefer the phrase “necessary but not sufficient.”

    • SecularPatriot

      Many of your generation believe Glenn Beck is the height of journalism.

      • Xuuths

        And that the bible is the height of literature (and science, and medicine…).

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    I don’t think Brown’s heart is in the right place. In the past he has compared being gay to pedophilia and has said that there is some gay conspiracy to make sure that we do not know anything about the “gay agenda.”

    • Anna

      Yes, he’s said some pretty nasty things:

      http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/profiles/michael-brown

      This is interesting:

      Brown wrote in A Queer Thing Happened to America: And What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been, a 691-page critique of homosexuality he self-published in 2011.

      691 pages? That sounds a tad obsessive. I wonder if we have another George Rekers on our hands.

      • sunburned

        Haggard’s Law?

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          The louder a man rages against homosexuality, the higher the chances of him being forced out of the closet in an embarrassing scandal?

  • Spuddie

    In this case being older means one can say ridiculous bigoted things in a more calm and measured manner than a younger more excitable person.

    • Reginald Selkirk

      You kids get off my lawn!

      • Spuddie

        Good point.

        • Reginald Selkirk

          Respect Mah Authoritah!

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    I’m 58 now. Am I wiser than when I was 40? Am I wiser than when I was 20? Nope. I was pretty dumb then and I’m pretty dumb now.

    • dcl3500

      LOL I am ten years younger than you and I will agree with the dumb then, dumb now part, for me that is, but I think wisdom and being dumb are not necessarily the same thing. :) I mean, I made dumbass mistakes then and I still make dumbass mistakes.

      • allein

        I just make different dumbass mistakes. ;)

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          Exactly. I expect my dumbass mistakes when I’m 50 to be entirely different to the dumbass mistakes I’m currently making in my 30′s.

    • phranckeaufile

      I’m much more aware of how dumb I am than when I was 40. Maybe that’s wisdom.

    • Kinky F.

      When you were 20 I bet you never called yourself dumb. I bet you thought you were the smartest/greatest/best…..

      When you were 40 I bet you began to think a little about your omnipotence of your 20s, and reflect on it with a sense of bittersweet….

      Now that you are 58, you know enough to say you were dumb ‘back then’….that my friend is wisdom….good on ya!

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Any time they start whining about tone, you know they’ve already lost on content.

  • Anna

    I started commenting over there not not realizing how deep this man’s involvement with the anti-gay movement was. He’s definitely familiar with their talking points, and I don’t buy his routine for a second.

    … yes, I’m convinced that, all things being equal, it would be better for a child to be raised by his or her mom and dad than to have two moms or two dads and be cut off from one of the biological parents.

    There’s no ambiguity there. I asked him point blank if he thought heterosexual relationships were superior to homosexual relationships and if having a mother and a father was superior to having two mothers or two fathers. His answer to both of those questions was “yes,” yet he denies that such comments are bigoted or hateful. In his mind, I suppose, they can’t be bigoted or hateful, and I’m the one who’s wrong for perceiving them that way.

    And then of course I got the old “you’re not tolerating my intolerance” routine, during which he informed me that he could just as easily call me hateful and bigoted for expressing that I find his comments hateful and bigoted.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Could there be a reason that one of the Ten Commandments says,
    “Honor your father and your mother” — or is that outmoded now too?

    Could there be a reason the Ten Commandments say nothing about slavery, and treat women as property?

    • Jasper

      There’s a question I’ve often wanted to ask a Christian, but for some reason have never get the opportunity. It starts simply:

      “Why doesn’t the Bible advise people to not own other people?”

      I would mostly expect the Christian to say something along the lines of how it was slow progress to civilize people, and the rules were written for their respective time, etc.

      Wouldn’t it have been good to just add “Don’t own people” somewhere, anywhere, in the Bible?

      If you think they wouldn’t listen to the bible, then what’s the point of having the Bible as a guide?

      BUT, if it had those three words in it – “Don’t own people”, and only one person, in the entire history of the Bible ever listened to it, and let one person EVER, free… would that not have been worth having three little words (or however many it would be in Aramaic)?

      .. so why aren’t they there?

      • Jasper

        And not to mention, the Bible is 3.5 bazillion words long. Clearly, word count was not an issue.

      • Glasofruix

        Well, according to the wholly babble it is actually ok to own people.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          According to most Christians I’ve had this out with (there was one on here just a few days ago)

          Slavery in the bible benefited the slave, by giving them a way to pay off their debts. And it protected them from being killed by their master, or even having their teeth knocked out!. So slavery was in actual fact, a whole lot of protections.

          Kind of like how my mother told me that many slaves in the loved their masters and hated abolition.

          • GCT

            Those Xians are lying.

            The Bible did not protect slaves from being beaten. It only protected them from death so long as they didn’t die right away from being beaten, but lingered on for a couple days before dying. And, the paying off of debts was only for Jews that sold themselves into slavery. All others were fair game for lifetime servitude.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              Yes, thanks. I got the beating part wrong on my later rant on this very thread, although wrong “in the bible’s favor”.

      • allein

        I would mostly expect the Christian to say something along the lines of how it was slow progress to civilize people, and the rules were written for their respective time, etc.

        I’ve seen this question posed in comments on various blogs and whatnot, and yes, that is exactly the answer the religious commenters give.

        • Reginald Selkirk

          I would mostly expect the Christian to say something along the lines of
          how it was slow progress to civilize people, and the rules were written
          for their respective time, etc.

          Yes, some Christians do use this excuse and it makes no sense to me. God gave them other rules they couldn’t follow, such as banning adultery. Many people, including Christians, still have trouble with that one, but there it is in the Bible, and in the 10 commandments.

        • Duke OfOmnium

          The problem is that this answer reduces the bible to a product of its place and time. And that’s perfectly acceptable, unless it was written to be timeless and universal (as christians say it is).

          • allein

            exactly.

      • Tom

        Treating slavery as inherently wrong would come uncomfortably close to raising some serious problems with the notion that we are all god’s property to do with as he pleases, upon which pretty much the entire bible is predicated. If it’s inherently immoral for a person to own other people, then why shouldn’t that apply to the alleged person known as god?

        • DisThoughts

          You, sir. Are a genius.

        • Sue Blue

          Also, they’d have to come up with another way to justify subjugating women and treating them like property of men – a type of slavery that still persists today, even in America. We can’t upset the status quo!

        • M J Shepherd

          I second the genius comment. You just blew my mind.

        • Anna

          Sadly, I don’t think it troubles them at all. They just give their deity a special exemption. Since they believe their god invented morality, anything it does is automatically moral. That’s how they get away with excusing genocide and slavery and eternal torture and all the rest.

        • 3lemenope

          Ephesians 6:5-8 practically gives the game away with an endorsement of an analogy that reduces to, in essence, slaves should serve their masters as their masters serve God.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rocky-Morrison/100001552602936 Rocky Morrison

        Actually, it does. But people don’t want to love their neighbor as themselves, so we have the world we live in.

        A world where atheists have killed and enslaved millions, and have not been doing anything inconsistent with atheism in doing so.

        I have long supported Equal Rights for ALL Human Beings.

        I look forward to the day with atheists do too!

        • DavidMHart

          I’m not sure what you’re even talking about here. No behaviour is ‘inconsistent’ with atheism unless it is behaviour that would only make sense if you believed in one or more gods. But no behaviour is inconsistent with theism either unless it is behaviour that would only make sense if you believed the number of gods was zero. The difference: religious people have quite often used their religious beliefs to justify slavery and genocide. This has been the motivating force behind such delights as the Spanish Inquisition, much of the genocide of Native South and Central Americans by the Conquistadors, the European Wars of Religion and of course chattel slavery in the USA. Supporters of utopian ideologies that are not explicitly religious (but are divorced from reality in the same kinds of way) have also used their (usually political) beliefs to justify slavery and genocide. This has been the driving force behind such hilarities as Stalin’s terror, Hitler’s holocaust (although that was certainly inspired by centuries of Christian hatred of Jews) and the Kim dynasty’s hermetically sealed famine state.

          But no atheist that I’m aware of has ever tried to justify slavery and genocide on the grounds that no gods exist. Ever atrocity committed by an atheist that I’m aware of has been committed by an atheist who happened to also believe something that was as preposterous as the daftest of religions, and none have been committed by one whose commitment to honestly investigating reality and revising their opinion in the light of new evidence.

          So I’m not sure what your point is here. Most of the outspoken atheists that I’m aware of do in fact support equal rights for all sentient human beings (and quite a lot will happily extend some important rights to sentient non-humans as well). If you think that being an atheist logically commits you to favouring a policy of genocide and slavery, you must be drinking some pretty powerful kool-aid.

          • Stev84

            Hitler, Stalin, Mao and the Kims also created ersatz-religions with them being praised and worshiped all the time. The Kims are taking it the absolute extreme. The dead ones are literally gods. The oldest is the “eternal president” and has shrines built all over.

        • Baby_Raptor

          Is this bad snark, or are you really that dumb?

        • GCT

          You support equal rights while at the same time sneering atheophobic and bigoted things at atheists? Make up your mind.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Timothy-R-Alexander/1850774621 Timothy R Alexander

      Honor your father and mother doesnt mean you have to agree with things they think say. The way he means it would mean we would have made no progress since biblical times. Now that I say it outloud I’m pretty sure thats his goal

    • Seamus Ruah

      Deuteronomy 21:18-21.

  • Beth

    I can’t wait to get old! Then I can spout stupid shit (well, stupider shit) and no one will be allowed to question me!
    My generation is the best! Get off my lawn you wipper snappers! Don’t let ‘those’ people sit at my lunch counter!

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Biological parents.

    I recall hearing in 2000 how “gay marriage would be the beginning of the end of society, because family is the cornerstone unit in greater society”

    I wonder if the institution of adoption has had any hand in the destruction of society.

    • Stev84

      Let’s ask the two kids in Pennsylvania who were subjected to faith healing how having two biological parents of the opposite gender went for them. Oh wait….we can’t. They’re dead.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Brown asks, “Could there be a reason that one of the Ten Commandments says, “Honor your father and your mother”?

    I thought Nash anwered this point well in her own response to Brown (about a different but related point): “Which fathers and mothers? Luther? Calvin? Augustine? The Pope? Mark Driscoll? John Piper? Rob Bell?”

    Brown also reasserts the all-time champion non sequitor on this issue: “I’m convinced that, all things being equal, it would be better for a child to be raised by his or her mom and dad than to have two moms or two dads and be cut off from one of the biological parents.” Putting aside the question of whether Brown’s correct about this or not, it does not tell us why gays and lesbians should uniquely be barred from civil marriage (or even adoption).

    • Anna

      It’s not even an argument. Gay men and lesbians have been having children openly since the 1970s. No one can stop those children from existing by denying their parents the right to be married. It’s not like the lack of legal marriage acts as a deterrent. Has there ever been a same-sex couple that decided not to have children because they knew they wouldn’t be allowed to get married? Not that I’ve ever heard of.

      The anti-gay detractors know this, but they use children as pawns in their movement. And as a daughter of lesbian moms, I find it highly offensive for them to tell me that my family is inferior and that I shouldn’t have been born. They’re not concerned about children of gay parents except when they’re using us to try to score political points. They’re much more intent on punishing our parents for the “crime” of daring to live outside of their religious rules.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        If I had a child, I’d rather it go to a loving gay couple than into foster care. (But, being childfree, this isn’t gonna happen. Just a hypothetical.)

        • Anna

          When I was younger and not in a position to parent, I always planned to choose adoption in case of an unintended pregnancy, and my first choice would have been a same-sex couple. Never had to follow through on that, but it was certainly what I’d decided to do.

          Which reminds me of another problem with the anti-gay movement. They talk about adoption as if the evil, scary gays are swooping in and taking away straight people’s children, when in fact the only way an adoption can happen is if a) a birth mother chooses to place her child with a gay couple, or b) a child has been taken removed from the care of the biological parents and is legally free for adoption.

          They never talk about the fact that women choose of their own free will to place their children with gay and lesbian couples, that they also choose to donate their eggs or carry children for gay couples, and that men also choose to donate sperm. Families with two mothers and two fathers are formed with the express consent of the people donating genetic material or placing an already-existing child into the family.

    • jdm8

      They need to understand that biology doesn’t mean parentage. There’s quite a few heterosexual men and women that are at best sperm donors or incubators with regards to raising a child. Religionists seem to rather have children without parents than have a parent of any different set of beliefs on sexuality.

    • Randomfactor

      Yeah. That reason is STATED in the commandment: “that thy years be long.” It says NOTHING about taking their word for anything.

      Furthermore, if I had a parent who acted like Brown, MY years would be longer if I simply ignored his advice. He is neither my father, nor is he the young lady’s father. Maybe there’s a reason the commandment does NOT say to respect your elders–and HE is a large part of the reason why not?

  • dcl3500

    “….many other Christian pastors, are great to have conversations with. I don’t doubt their sincerity or good intentions. ”

    I have to disagree Hemant, I do doubt most of their sincerity and good intentions. I think those are just public displays they put on to con(vince) people that they care. Have known too many “good” christians to believe otherwise. There may be a few that truly do care about people, but they almost always turn out to be less firm in their devotion than their position would lead one to believe.

  • DKeane123

    He probably wouldn’t like the tone of The Pope Song.

  • Sven2547

    “I’m convinced that, all things being equal, it would be better for a child to be raised by his or her mom and dad than to have two moms or two dads and be cut off from one of the biological parents.”

    This continues to be one of the most nonsensical arguments for banning same-sex marriage I’ve ever seen. There are so many things wrong with it, all at the same time.
    1: This is a hypothetical argument against adoption, not marriage.
    2: Do we abolish something just because it’s less-than-optimal? Do we abolish family structures other than the idealized “nuclear family”? Of course not.
    3: Are two mothers and no fathers better or worse than one mother and no fathers? Do we abolish single parenthood? Of course not.

    Nothing about this line of argument is a valid reason to ban same-sex marriage.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      2: Do we abolish something just because it’s less-than-optimal? Do we abolish family structures other than the idealized “nuclear family”? Of course not.

      (even assumed for the sake of their argument the less than optimal)

      Death row inmates have successfully defended, in federal court their right to get married.

      FFS, Andrea Yates could get married if she wanted to!

      • Mairianna

        Right! And the whole “cut off from one biological parent” is absurd! If the biological parent has a legal right to the child, they aren’t “cut off” if one parent enters into a homosexual relationship. It happens all the time in those 50% of Christian heterosexual divorces: the child is “shared”.

        • Anna

          He’s talking about same-sex couples using sperm donors, egg donors, and surrogates. People with this belief system view children being conceived with other than the intended parents’ genetic material as some sort of discrimination against the children.

          It’s all tied into their belief that biology is best, no matter what. It doesn’t matter if adoptive parents or stepparents or other non-biological parents are loving, caring, supportive mothers or fathers. If they didn’t contribute half the DNA, they’re automatically considered inferior in some way.

          But of course, the double standard is always present. They never attack heterosexual married couples who use donor insemination or surrogacy. They never say that the law should discourage or prevent those families from existing. Even though heterosexual families with at least one non-biological parent far, far outnumber gay and lesbian families.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kellen.conner.5 Kellen Conner

            I have lost count of the number of friends I have who are better off with their step-parents then their biological ones. Or who have siblings that only share one parent with them. Hell, my own mother was adopted by her step-father, and he was the best part of both our childhoods. My bio-gramps has never even been missed.

    • allein

      Besides, all things are not equal, and never will be, so how ’bout we all just move into the real world?

  • Rain

    Could there be a reason that one of the Ten Commandments says, “Honor your father and your mother” — or is that outmoded now too?

    There’s a commandment about not making any graven images, so what about that mustache? Hypocrite…

    • Reginald Selkirk

      “Luke, I’m your father!”

    • baal

      Oddly enough, inre Rain’s quote of Brown is a good example of why I dislike rhetoric. You can’t deal with the packed in assumptions unless you head off down a long derail. Brown almost certainly knows the quoted argument is in fact irrelevant but enough of the words and concepts used overlap with the actual issue that it’s a dicey job splitting them.

  • ZenDruid

    Brown is not yet wise, since he is beardless. ;)

    Honestly, I was about six when I learned that there’s nothing stopping a grownup from being stupid, ridiculous, and/or idiotic. Matter of fact, ’twas a Baptist minister who tendered that most valuable lesson.

    I don’t buy into the commandment to summarily honor your parents. (This fool assumes parental privileges over anyone younger than him!?) The gospel of Thomas hints several times that the reverse is actually more appropriate.

    • onamission5

      He skipped bible study the day they went over Ephesians 6:4, apparently. It was my own parents’ least favorite bible verse to hear coming at them from their child’s lips so I can’t really blame him. Parent does something shitty, child recites “provoke not your children to wrath,” cue highly discomfited parent.

  • Rain
  • Stonyground

    I was only a teenager when I aquired enough wisdom to work out that the Bible was a mixture of ignorant barbarism and infantile stories about talking animals, magic food, and dead people coming back to life. I decided that there was very little in it that could be taken seriously and any moral advice that it gave should be viewed with deep suspicion. Dr. Brown seems to have reached late middle age without aquiring the wisdom that I had at age fourteen.

  • Stev84

    This is Michael Brown’s true face:
    http://www.glaad.org/cap/michael-brown

    So never be fooled by his smiles or calls for civility and respect

    • onamission5

      Oh, for fuck’s sake. Thank you for posting this.

  • Taz

    You don’t get it, Dr. Brown. We consider you a bigot. The problem we have is not with your respectfulness or politeness, it’s with your bigotry.

  • Beutelratti

    Respect has to be earned. I do not give my respect to people who have not earned it. Age is not a reason for respect, if you have not acted accordingly, you do not deserve my respect.

    If you want to stick with homophobic views because of a book full of ancient myths, then no, you do not deserve my respect. You are also not wise. You are being incredibly unwise, unkind and hateful despite of your age.

    If you want to coat your disrespectful and hateful views in nice words, you also do not reserve my respect. So respectfully, forgive me not when I tell you, fuck you and fuck your bigoted, hateful ways.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Respect is the default for me. You only have to be alive for me to respect you. You have to do something, as he has done, for me to lose respect.

      At least, that’s my goal.

      • Beutelratti

        I think we are talking about two different kinds of respect here. I generally agree with you. I respect everyone’s right to live and to have their own opinion, that is a given to me.

        However, the kind of respect Brown talks about seems to be that of “admiration” that is supposed to be given to older people or just generally people in a position of power. That kind of respect or admiration does not come from nothing, you have to work for it.

  • mikespeir

    “You can’t fight against equal rights and expect us to get taken in by your smile.”

    The money quote. The rest is commentary.

  • Tainda

    I’m in my 40s and you’re still a douche.

  • Sunny Day

    Welcome to the internet, prepare to be eaten alive and your pious bigotry exposed for the ugly self aggrandizement it is

  • http://twitter.com/Freemage69 Freemage

    I’m always reminded, in conversations like this, of Dan Savage’s comments about people in the Deep South (paraphrased from memory): “They were the nicest people to ever tell me I was going to Hell.”

  • Scott

    I don’t give a damn if his heart is in the right place, or if he intended to be ‘respectful and gracious’. The best line on this comes from just around the corner from here, at Slacktivist:

    Look, here’s the deal: It doesn’t matter if you think you’re a nice person. And it doesn’t matter if your tone, attitude, sentiments and facial expressions are all very sweet, kindly and sympathetic-seeming. If you’re opposing legal equality, then you don’t get to be nice. Opposing legal equality is not nice and it cannot be done nicely.

    • Slow Learner

      Fred Clark gives me hope for Christianity in general, and Evangelicalism in particular.

  • Rando

    My father is an ex-Klansman, who has told me, to my face, that he would actually hang both me and my then girlfriend, now wife, from a tree if he could get away with it. I won’t honor a man like that, not now, not ever, and neither Dr Micheal Brown, or the god he claims exists will change that.

  • JKPS

    This is really aggravating to read. My biological dad left when I was about four, and my step dad came into our lives soon after. Even before he and my mom married, he was my “dad.” But apparently, it was harmful for me to grow up in a loving environment with two loving parents, because one of them wasn’t my biological parent.

    Or is it not harmful, because there was a male and a female present? That doesn’t seem to be what he’s suggesting when he says “it would be better for a child to be raised by his or her mom and dad
    than…be cut off from one of the
    biological parents,” but if he only means that when it’s two gay parents in the picture, then he’s a hypocritical asshole. Shocker.

    • allein

      They just don’t think these things through to their logical conclusions..

    • Reginald Selkirk

      You know who else wasn’t raised by his biological dad? Jesus H. Christ!

      • allein

        But he was his own dad, so in a way…

  • ortcutt

    It’s not even a question of wisdom, it’s a question of evidence. Marriage equality does nothing to different-sex marriages. It gives same-sex couples the rights and obligations that we all think are great things for different-sex couples. I live in Massachusetts where we have had marriage equality since 2004. Everything is still great here (except for some “traditional values” religiously-motivated bombers). Nobody got divorced because Bill and Jim could get married. Multiple courts have already concluded that there is no rationale for marriage inequality other than animus against gay people.

  • judyv

    What makes me cringe is that I’m probably older than this Dr. Michael Brown, and I and a lot of other middle-aged people don’t hold the same views he does. Age has NOTHING to do with these kinds of views. Ossification does. Your outlook has turned to stone, Dr. Brown. That is nothing to be proud of.

    • Carmelita Spats

      Older means he’s just had more time to be dead wrong.

  • TiltedHorizon

    “But I’m only 30, so what do I know…”

    Which makes me 10+ years wiser than you. What does it mean that I agree with you?

  • Jordan Sugarman

    It’s really very simple: An argument should stand or fall on its own merits. Sorry, Dr. Brown, but your tone and self-perceived wisdom have no bearing on the content or value of your words.

  • Kinky F.

    Just where did this jackass get his PhD? Liberty? Bob Jones or some such other nonsensical “University”?

    Disgusting – but as one poster said, “do not be taken in by my smile while I fight agaisnt equality for all”

    The man is evil incarnate and deserves no respect nor courtesies. He is fighting an evil fight. He is, in a word, evil.

  • Mario Strada

    I am pushing 55. I must be terribly wise by now.

  • Carpinions

    Never mind the fact that, regardless of Mr. Brown’s ageist argument that age = wisdom, being anti-gay was socially acceptable and enforced in pretty much any way imaginable, even to the point of blanket labeling homosexuals as Communists 60 years ago as a part of anti-Communist hysteria. So were Mr. Brown’s forebears automatically more informed and experienced with this issue? I think he’d be at pains to explain how that could even be the case. Does he think every generation deals with every social issue from the beginning when they reach a certain age? And what of religious indoctrination against homosexuality? How does indoctrination, accepted bigotry, and deference afforded the majority translate into knowledge?

    He has nothing. There is no past, present, or future argument – from any perspective – that would or could morally or ethically excuse open hatred for homosexuals and/or the relegation of them to second class status.

  • onamission5

    Newsflash for Mr. Brown:
    I’m closer to your age than to Dannika’s, and I don’t expect my kids to “honor” me if I am trampling all over their basic civil rights, no matter how sweetly I think I am doing it. That right there is the whole problem with folks from your/our generation and generations prior, that we expect young people to acquiesce to us on the grounds that we’re old, whether we are right or wrong. This not a net positive. The whole respect your elders just for sake of age trope hurts relationships by barring the process of honest communication. Elders? Can be horribly wrong, and when we are wrong, people should feel free to say so no matter their age.

  • Myrmidon

    You know, this may have already been mentioned in the 81 comments but:

    Brown: “Isn’t this fascinating? Two different sets of readers with two different worldviews and two different sets of presuppositions perceive the identical words in two totally different ways. This underscores how easy it is to misread or misunderstand written communication.”

    Huh… like, say, the bible?

  • Frank

    Please! You have already lost.

    • Obazervazi

      Come on, that’s boring. You can troll better than that!

      • Frank

        The battle is won. What more is needed?

        • 3lemenope

          The battle is won is a similar way that if you call a tail a leg, a cat has five legs. For sufficiently ridiculous values of “won”, pretty much anyone can be said to have “won”. If what you’re doing is what winning looks like, I’d really much rather lose.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Lost what? Because the only people I see losing are the bigots…Pretty words in an echo chamber don’t count as a win, theocrat.

    • Beutelratti

      Funny coming from someone on the losing side of history. If our past has taught us anything then it is that social progress cannot be stopped. It doesn’t matter that bigots like you stay in the way, you will eventually be swept away by the waves of time and will become nothing more than a memory of a less pleasant time. So see, you have already lost.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    As I’ve grown older, (62) the acquisition of wisdom for me has been about becoming more vigilant for where I might be wrong, rather than becoming more self-assured that I’m right.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Yes! There are two ways to learn. We can gain some completely new knowledge, or we can correct something we were wrong about. And we tend to resist the latter tooth and nail!

  • Free

    The same word translated as “slave”, was also translated as “servant”, it was used to denote servility when addressing someone of higher rank, or social stature. So to use the term “slavery” as a Western idea is irrelevant, and anyone doing so is not being serious about going to the trouble to find out what is actually being defined. If a king was a vassal, he was the “slave” or (ebed) servant of the emperor. Common men/women, both free and debtor were called “ebed”, translated slave or servant. Also its worth noting that sometimes it was a choice of the slave, to sell themselves due to a debt they obtained, if they were Israelite, they were freed every week of years, their debt absolved. They were not simply viewed as property like the western idea of slavery, they had legal rights that protected their agreement as well as the masters investment. The debt/payment was a legal arrangement between the slave or the slaves parents, in which case the situation was an elevation or advantageous outcome for the slave, moving out of poverty. Using slavery as an argument against the Bible will only work if the other side has a surface reading of the Bible behind their belt or better yet, not willing to investigate and look for consistency. It is far too easy to make it an ambition to put God on trial and weave all of our prejudice against Him based on our current limited understanding.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      So if a ‘slave’ was married while ‘in service’, and had a child, what happened to the wife and child after the term of service was ended?

      And what were the consequences of beating a ‘servant’ so that the ‘servant’ was perhaps out of commission for a few days but recovered with no permanent damages?

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      They were not simply viewed as property

      Leviticus 24:46

      NIV
      You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      NLV
      You may give them to your children after you, to receive as their own. You can have them as servants forever. But do not make it hard for your brothers, the people of Israel.

      KJV

      And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.

      What fucking bible are you reading that says ‘slaves’ aren’t (in some cases) ‘property’?

      You say

      Using slavery as an argument against the Bible will only work if the other side has a surface reading of the Bible behind their belt or better yet, not willing to investigate and look for consistency

      Are you sure you’re not the one unwilling to investigate?

      People like you DISGUST me.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Really? Slavery apologetics?

      I thought only rednecks crammed tight in their churches dared do that.

    • GCT

      What you are spouting here are modern apologetics that are completely made up and ignore large tracts of the Bible in order to make it seem like the Bible is anti-slavery, when it simply is not. This is dishonest rhetoric and not based on anything except the desire to make Biblical slavery seem more just than it was.

    • Frank

      If you are looking for limited understanding you have come to the right place.

      • GCT

        More like they’ve already been to the right place for that, where they learned the apologetics (lies) that wouldn’t question their precious beliefs.

  • Godlesspanther

    And his response is yet another vile, condescending, repugnant pieces of crap.

    Is this asshole capable of writing something that could not be described as such?

    Didn’t think so.

  • James

    Atheists who advocate equality make me suspicious. One of history’s true consistent atheist, the Marquis de Sade, reasoned that republican manners required immorality to demonstrate equality. You sell equality, yet I fear we are simply buying immorality as a part of your master plan. Let’s test it anyway, would you sign my petition to allow me to marry my adult sister and father?

    • Beutelratti

      Oh wow, this one doesn’t liken homosexuality to bestiality for once. This time it’s incest. That is yet more proof that the “moral” side still hasn’t come up with any real argument against gay marriage other than “BUT THE BIBLE SAYS IT’S BAAAAAAAD!!!!!!1111!!!11!”

      • James

        I see epithet, evasion and distraction in this response, nothing else. Do you seriously propose the debate should proceed along these irrational lines?

        • Beutelratti

          No, James, you are the one who was distracting from the actual topic. You are the one comparing homosexuality to incest and declaring atheists to be immoral. That is a distraction. Name one good reason other than what the bible says that confirms your stance on immorality and homosexuality.

          You did not come here to debate, that is an evasion from your side. You came here to call atheists immoral.

          • James

            Are you going to sign my petition?

            • Beutelratti

              You don’t have a petition, James. Just a hypothetical “What if?”.

              That aside, the question of incest is a lot more complicated than you make it out to be. It is certainly not comparable to two persons of the same gender that are not related getting married because they are in love.

              A marriage is also a means of establishing a legal family bond between two people that are not biologically related. Brother, sister and parents are already biologically and legally related. So again, incest and homosexuality are two completely separate issues that you should not compare. Period.

              If a brother and sister want to marry and start a family of their own, should they? If they are aware of their biological relation and the consequences it could have on their offspring, why not? It is their decision, they are consenting adults. We don’t prohibit people with genetical abnormalities to produce offspring either.

              Should a parent be able to marry its child? I don’t know, and I’m not afraid to admit that. There’s a lot more to be considered in this relation than in the brother/sister-relationship.

              • James

                Thus, you also would deny marriage equality to certain people. So, equality is but a ruse.

                • Beutelratti

                  Uhm, I think the marriage equality movement has made it pretty clear that it is about consenting adults of the same gender. Demanding equality for homosexual couples does not mean that we automatically deny equality for brother/sister-couples.

                  And btw, I did not say I denied marriage equality to certain people, I said I do not know if a parent should be allowed to marry their child. Please read more carefully next time, will you?

                  You want to prove that we are not really about equality and fight for the right for incest couples to marry? Go ahead, it’s your right. Just what exactly does that mean for homosexual couples again? They should not be allowed to marry because we apparently deny marriage equality to certain people? Come again?

            • GCT

              Are you going to answer the question? What is immoral about gay marriage?

              • James

                You will 1st have to explain to me in a way that does not commit the “is/ought” fallacy how morality is real in an atheistic universe. Consistent atheists like Sade deny morality.

                • GCT

                  Morality is a concept that humans invented to explain actions that they approve/disapprove of. But, that’s neither here nor there. YOU made the claim that we have some master plan to push immorality on you. You have to back that up by telling us what it is that is immoral about gay marriage.

                • James

                  Then morality is neither absolute nor obligatory. No have no moral complaints against Christians who oppose homosexual marriage. You just gave up ethics and knowledge. I do not have to back up, apologize or even recognize anything you state.

                • GCT

                  Then morality is neither absolute nor obligatory.

                  False dichotomy. You’re really bad at this, aren’t you?

                  No have no moral complaints against Christians who oppose homosexual marriage.

                  Actually, I can. But, that’s another story. You still have to defend your assertion that there is something morally wrong about homosexual marriage. This is something you are avoiding like the plague. Where is your argument about how homosexual marriage is wrong?

                  You just gave up ethics and knowledge. I do not have to back up, apologize or even recognize anything you state.

                  A) I did no such thing.

                  B) Even if I did, you would still have to back up your assertions.

                  This is now intellectual dishonesty and cowardice. Have the intellectual fortitude to stand up for your position instead of hiding behind irrelevant bullshit and straw men.

                • James

                  Yes, you did. If morality depends on man then it is contingent. If it is contingent, it is not necessary. It is particular, not universal. It is relative to man, not absolute. You say I am wrong, I say you are wrong, that is as far as we can take it. Nothing transcends man to hold us accountable to an absolute standard. Nothing transcends man to reveal an absolute standard. An ethical decision, by definition, requires applying a standard to a situation by a person. If you get to define the standard, then I get to define the standard. If your group gets to define the standard, then my group gets to define the standard. See the problem yet?

                • 3lemenope

                  If morality depends on God or a God or Gods, it is still either contingent and/or arbitrary. The Euthyphro dilemma guarantees one or the other will obtain for any God-granted system of morality.

                • James

                  No, the Euthyphro dilemma is a false dilemma which misses the true and living God who is good by his self existing holy nature. Good is that which conforms to God’s nature. Plato did not consider this answer, but then again, he was a Greek pagan.

                • 3lemenope

                  Your fallacy card has hereby been revoked. Forever.

                  I didn’t think it was *possible* to cram that amount of special pleading into that short a space.

                • James

                  You are being tedious. Here I go, but I get real tired real fast of these kinds of “explain everything to me” discussions. Plato asked if the gods called good, good because of a standard outside of themselves in which case good did not depend on the gods. Or, is good, good simply because the gods declare it to be so. If the former, good exists independent of the gods and we do not need the gods to get to good. If the latter, then good is arbitrary, the gods could call evil good and that would make it good.
                  The true and living God is self existent, holy and good. Good is that which conforms to God’s eternal, self sufficient, self existing nature which he graciously reveals to his image bearer, man, who is capable of objectively, and propositionally receving this revelation. Plato did not consider this. God does not arbitrarily declare good and good is not outside of God.

                • 3lemenope

                  The true and living God is self existent, holy and good. Good is that which conforms to God’s eternal, self sufficient, self existing nature which he graciously reveals to his image bearer, man, who is capable of objectively, and propositionally receving this revelation. Plato did not consider this.

                  Of course Plato did not consider circular nonsense. This is not shocking. Of course, many thinkers since the days of Plotinus have considered this “solution”. Precious few consider it anything more than a transparent attempt to define the problem out of existence.

                • James

                  What is circular nonsense in an atheist’s universe? Don’t you have to get logic into your universe first? How are you going to do this given your base commitment to a reduction of everything to time, motion and matter? Logic is a set of abstract propositions. Logic makes sense in my worldview because logic presupposes God. How do you deny God and get back to logic? Do you observe logic in the natural world? Is logic material? Does logic depend on man’s mind? Did logic exist before man existed? Did man invent logic? Did he discovery it and if so, where and how? You have much to account for before we get anywhere close to the level of discussion you seek.

                • GCT

                  What is circular nonsense in an atheist’s universe? Don’t you have to get logic into your universe first?

                  This is especially stupid. Logic doesn’t come from some dictation by a god. It comes from reality and observation. We don’t claim the transitive property of mathematics works because god said so. We claim it works because we can observe that it works. Similarly, we observe that your circular blatherings get up no closer to any sort of answer to the question just as circular reasoning doesn’t ever seem to help in that regard.

                  Logic makes sense in my worldview because logic presupposes God.

                  This is also especially stupid. Is your god not capable of miracles – of changing the laws of the universe to suit his whims? This makes logic impossible. You can’t expect that what is true right now will be true tomorrow, because god could very well change his mind about how the universe should run. The existence of god actually makes logic untenable.

                  You have much to account for before we get anywhere close to the level of discussion you seek.

                  Actually, I’m afraid the roadblock is entirely on you. This is all, of course, down the rabbit hole and entirely off topic. You are trying so hard to discuss anything but the topic because we all see how bigoted you are.

                • James

                  You cannot induce logic from observation, this is a formal fallacy. See atheist philosopher G.E. Moore on the naturalistic fallacy. I agree it comes from reality, but now you have to explain what, apart from nature, makes it real, and how do you have access to it? You must remember that it is a universal which is abstract. It is not a material thing which you observe by the senses. How do you reliably get abstractions which have a reality outside of human minds, into human minds? Are these abstractions personal or impersonal? Are they authoritative, are we obligated to obey them?
                  Also, “it works” is not a test for truth. What works for you may not work for me. We do not observe “what works”. We observe what is, and decide whether it works or not. If bigotry “works” for bigots, does that make it true, or right?

                • GCT

                  Yes, you did. If morality depends on man then it is contingent. If it is contingent, it is not necessary.

                  No, I didn’t. This is a false dichotomy something is either independent of man and therefore universal, or dependent on man and therefore non-existent. It’s utter crap. If god comes down and gives his opinion about morality, that’s not objective. Yet, you would ignore the fact that we have things like reality that we can use as objective measures for things. Odd that.

                  Yet, this is all subterfuge and avoidance on your part. You made a claim that gay marriage is immoral. You have yet to even attempt to back up that claim. All of this is your attempt to be a dishonest shit. Why do I call you that? Because you are obviously attempting to avoid the responsibility for defending your obvious bigotry.

                • Antinomian

                  @GCT – My friend, debating this James character is like teaching Algebra to a poodle. This troll’s sole aim is to derail any honest discussion and with a display of its “christian values”. This idiot is nothing but a waste of your time and humanity’s space, air and resources.

    • GCT

      You sell equality, yet I fear we are simply buying immorality as a part of your master plan.

      Isn’t it kind of immoral to paint all atheists with a broad brush and act like a bigot?

      • James

        Like Humpty Dumpty, your words only mean what you choose them to mean. When you say marriage, you mean sodomy. Thus, I do not know what you mean by immoral and bigot.

        • Beutelratti

          Heterosexual couples do the sodomy too, you know. Both ways.

          When I say marriage, I mean a loving bond between two people that want to spent their life together and also happen to have sex. What do you mean?

          • James

            Ok, so I can marry and have sex with 1 adult child but not with 2. Seems arbitrary.

            • Beutelratti

              James, see my response below. And again, you are distracting and evading from the actual topic. Right now it is about homosexual marriage, not more, not less.

              Incest, bestiality and polygamy are completely separate issues.

            • GCT

              “Adult child?” That’s an oxymoron. Are you capable of actually forming arguments that aren’t nonsensical and vile hatred?

              • James

                According to Webster, you are wrong. According to Humpty, you are right, whatever right means.

                • GCT

                  Ah, I see. You’re secretly fantasizing about marrying your adult child? This all makes sense now. You’re mad that we are fighting for the rights of gays, but not for you to actually go and marry your child. Which one are you looking to marry? Is it your son or your daughter?

                • James

                  Not mad, just amused by the inconsistency.

                • GCT

                  No, you seem quite obsessed with this idea of marrying your daughter and quite upset with us atheists. You hate atheists and gays. Perhaps because we don’t condone your desire to marry your 10 year old daughter? Again, see a therapist, and I hope that you disclose this and the state takes an interest in the home environment you have put together for that daughter of yours.

        • GCT

          If you don’t know what bigot means, then look it up. Your atheophobic rants and broad-brush demonization of atheists are rank bigotry. You are a bigot. Plain and simple.

          Additionally, you are a bigot for your homophobia.

          If you don’t know the meaning of the word immoral, then you should not be using it, as you did when you started this sub-thread with your bigoted rant.

          Now, when I say marriage, I mean a contract between consenting adults that is recognized by the government and confers certain rights and privileges if the terms of the contract are met. What reason do you have to exclude gay couples from joining in such contracts, except that you evidently find gay sex (male on male sex that is) to be icky? You have yet to provide a reason to see it as immoral, or something that should be disallowed. And, no, your bigoted rants do not count as a compelling reason.

    • Myrmidon

      - Are you all legally consenting adults?
      - Can we codify an equitable system of handling insurance/childcare/divorce/death/etc in cases of polygamy?
      - Has such a system been, in fact, codified?

      If all three answers are ‘yes’, then go for it. Why should i care?

      • James

        That is how a consistent atheist should answer the question. Let’s push to the next level, why then should you care when homosexual marriage is opposed?

        • Beutelratti

          Why then should you care when homosexual marriage is supported?

        • GCT

          Because some atheists have more compassion, rationality, and common sense than you seem to have.

          • James

            That is an evasive and irrational response. I guess I pushed your atheism to far.

            • Beutelratti

              The only one being irrational in this whole discussion is you. It is irrational to compare homosexuality to incest and polygamy. They are separate issues. Just because you group them all together in the field of “immoral sexual behaviour” doesn’t mean that they are all the same.

              • James

                So you are unwilling to treat them equally, correct?

                • Beutelratti

                  Again, James, this is about marriage equality for homosexual couples. It has nothing at all to do with polygamy and incest. Those are completely separate issues that you brought up to prove what exactly? That you cannot separate between one and the other?

                • James

                  False reduction to gain a special pleading on your pet point is fallacious. I am attacking the argument that equality ethically obligates the acceptance of homosexual marriage. It does not because it is a false standard that cannot be extended to other issues such as incest and polygamy. Again, a rationalist would concede this point. The fact that you dig in demonstrates you are doing dogma, not reason.

                • Beutelratti

                  Oh boy, are you dense. It can be extended to polygamy or incest. It’s a completely different question if it should be though. And again, it has nothing to do with homosexuality.

                • James

                  If equality can and should be extending to polygamy and incest, then the question is resolved and there is no need to ask different questions. If the question is resolved on incest and polygamy, I will next ask if you will extend it to marrying a 10 year old. I will keep pushing until we find a point at which you will abandon equality as your absolute ethical standard for determining the issue.

                • GCT

                  And we will continue to point out that you are ignoring what we are saying and burning straw men.

                • James

                  How is asking you to clarify your position a straw man argument?

                • GCT

                  Because your “question” (calling it that is dishonest) is a red herring that’s not part of the argument that anyone is making.

                  Tell me, when did you stop beating your wife?

                • James

                  Sure it is, it is part of the argument I am making. I am asking you how far you are willing to extend marriage equality. When I push you to increasingly more extreme examples, you begin to dissemble and you speak out of both sides of your mouth. Thus, I ask for clarification.

            • GCT

              It’s neither evasive nor irrational. Your bigotry is irrational.

              Why should I care when rights are denied to others? Because I understand that rights denied to others negatively affects all of us. Apparently that’s a concept that you don’t understand.

              So, while you’re feverishly trying to deny gays equality and attacking atheists in your bigoted ways, we are working to uphold the rights of all, including you.

              • James

                What about the right of a 40 year old man to marry a 10 year old girl? Are you going to work to uphold that right? How far are you willing to extend “equality” before you dive off into ad hoc reasoning?

                • GCT

                  Is the 10 year old girl a consenting adult?

                  How far are you willing to extend your blatant hatred and bigotry in order to try and score points?

                  Or, maybe it’s all becoming clear now. Now only would you like to marry your own daughter, but now we learn that you are 40 and she’s 10? Is your Bible the only thing keeping you from violating your own daughter?

                • James

                  A 10 year old girl is not a consenting adult. Why is this relevant if marriage equality settles the ethical issue?

                • Beutelratti

                  It is relevant because marriage equality for homosexual couples is about just that: Marriage equality for homosexual couples.
                  You are constantly trying to make this about something that it’s not.

                • James

                  That would be a special pleading.

                • Beutelratti

                  Only when you assume that heterosexuality is in any way more morally acceptable or desirable than homosexuality. Which it is not.

                • James

                  How do you, an atheist, predicate morality without violating the “is/ought” fallacy? Atheist philosopher A.J. Ayer says it cannot be done. I think he is right.

                • GCT

                  There’s no need to violate the is/ought fallacy in order to come to moral ideas sans god. How do you get to morality, especially absolute morality, with the concept of a god? It’s actually much harder. Perhaps you should try to tackle easier problems first and stay on topic.

                • James

                  If you can provide a naturalistic foundation for ethics without violating the “is/ought” fallacy then by all means state it and do what no philosopher has ever done. Are you really going to demonstate how we can get a universal out of a particular? Alert the press.

                • GCT

                  If you can provide a naturalistic foundation for ethics without violating the “is/ought” fallacy then by all means state it and do what no philosopher has ever done.

                  Are you really that ignorant? It’s been quite a few times. Look up Humanism for an example.

                  Are you really going to demonstate how we can get a universal out of a particular?

                  Didn’t say that I would. You’re still operating under the false dichotomy of universal morality or nothing. You’re simply wrong about that.

                  And, I’ll note that you have once again ignored my question back to you. We all know you can’t answer it, but I’m going to point that out for all to see.

                • James

                  Disagree, the law of the excluded middle applies. There either is, or is not a universal foundation for ethics. There is no 3rd option. If it is not universal then it is not absolute, authoritative, obligatory, etc…. It is just a description of the way people think. Descriptions are not prescriptions or proscriptions. Hand waving and repeating over and over again, “yes they are” is not a rational argument.

                • 3lemenope

                  You just made every logician and ethicist reading your post cry. Who knows, maybe the post even gave them cancer. That would certainly cause tears.

                • James

                  And this is meant to be a rational response? What is the missing 3rd way between moral laws are either universal, or they are not?

                • 3lemenope

                  And this is meant to be a rational response?

                  Jokes are a rational response to absurdity.

                  What is the missing 3rd way between moral laws are either universal, or they are not?

                  Rather than recapitulate the entire history of metaethics, I’d simply suggest starting with what is meant by “universal”. The implications of that word vary widely in strength and quality; how it is meant in a given ethical system has a profound impact on the sorts of claims being made about that system. Must an ethical system’s precepts be metaphysically necessary to be called universal, more merely nomologically necessary? If only some elements of an ethical system meet the burden of necessity, and some are contingent, is the system still universal? Must the system apply to all beings? Merely all living beings? Or merely all sentient beings? Or merely all sapient beings?

                • James

                  I am not trying to predicate ethics on universals. My answer is ethics presuppose God. You reject God. My question to you, the atheist, is how do you get back to ethics once you reject God? I really do not care how you define “universal” because you will never define your terms in a way that allows you to move from descriptions to prescriptions. You will always commit the is/ought or naturalistic fallacies in your attempt to do so. You atheists call yourselves rationalists, I am simply using your rules against you.
                  Consider your response, “how it is meant in a given ethical system”. There are multiple ethical systems? Which one “ought” I to believe and which system tells me which system is right? You will always end up in an infinite regression spiral.

                • GCT

                  My answer is ethics presuppose God.

                  And, you are simply wrong about that. Your defense is contradictory and self defeating.

                  My question to you, the atheist, is how do you get back to ethics once you reject God?

                  The same way that everyone else does it, including you. To get your morals from the Bible, you have to pick and choose which verses to accept and which to ignore. Further, you have to figure out the correct interpretation of the verses, which we all know Xians cannot agree on. You don’t actually get your morality from god or the Bible. You get it from another source.

                  You atheists call yourselves rationalists, I am simply using your rules against you.

                  No, you’re not. You’re using a cartoonish version that has no bearing in reality and demanding that we follow your made up rules. When we try to explain why you are wrong, you simply dig your heels in further. You are not arguing in good faith. You are here to blather your stupid bigotries at us and try to make yourself feel smart. It is apparent to anyone who actually understands logic and rationality that you have no idea what you are talking about.

                  There are multiple ethical systems?

                  Well, yes, there are. Are you wholly ignorant of the fact that not every follows your specific idea of morality? In fact, not even all Xians agree with you.

                  Which one “ought” I to believe and which system tells me which system is right?

                  That’s a tough question that humanity has been dealing with for however long humans have been around. But, here’s the kicker: have we ever gotten any closer to figuring out which system is right be declaring that some god told us which system is right? Nope. You are really in over your head here.

                • James

                  It is not a tough question for me. I have a revelational worldview, not a naturalistic worldview.

                • GCT

                  Epic fail. Pathetic.

                • GCT

                  There either is, or is not a universal foundation for ethics.

                  OK, smart guy, let me ask you this.

                  When your god talked about how the Israelis should take slaves or rape the virgins of the people they conquered, was that right? Is slavery immoral? Just having to ask this question means you’ve lost. You can’t say that god changed his mind. You can’t say that it was moral then and isn’t now. You can’t say that it was written for the people of the time. IOW, the Bible itself is evidence against there being any morality if what you say is true, since your purported example of absolute morality is the Bible.

                  The problem you have is that your system is not absolute or universal (especially since it came from another sentient being supposedly). Your whole entire line of argumentation is self defeating.

                • James

                  First, provide warrant for your belief that morality is real, then I will gladly answer your question.

                • GCT

                  Epic fail. Pathetic. You know you’ve been beaten. Go away troll.

                • James

                  If truth is established by announcement, then I announce you lost. Careful, accurate thought is rigorous. I am sorry you do not have the stamina for it.

                • GCT

                  Go away troll. You’ve been beaten. You have yet to show any rigorous thought. That’s why you can’t answer a single question put to you. You must avoid because we all know how much of a lying bigot you are. Let the door hit you on the way out.

                • James

                  You do realize that when you reduce to name calling, you give bigots permission to do the same thing. Strange mindset for one obsessed with bigotry.

                • GCT

                  I do realize that you are a bigot and I will call you such.

                • James

                  That is fine so long as you realize you have given up the right to complain when people call you names. Viva equality!

                • GCT

                  I have done no such thing. When I actually act like a bigot, you can call me one. Until then, I’m simply calling a bigot a bigot. You have demonstrated your absolute hatred of atheists and gays here and your sneering and ugly bigotry from the start. Accurately describing what you are is simply describing reality.

                • James

                  You must presuppose a universal (bigotry is wrong) to describe this reality. Do you concede that universals are real apart from man’s mind and if so, what is the sufficient reason for universals?

                • GCT

                  No, I don’t have to presuppose anything. I know that your pastor told you that was the case, but you need to learn how to actually argue it is true besides simply claiming it is true with no backing.

                  There is a definition that goes with the word, “bigot,” which is a concept that humans came up with. You fit the definition, hence you are, in fact, a bigot. No need to invoke any sort of universal anything (not that invoking your god would solve that problem if it were one, as has been pointed out to you – something you are wholly unable to account for yourself).

                  Face it, you’re outmatched and losing badly on all fronts. Plus, your bigotry has been laid bare for all to see. You are the abuser. You are the one that hates gays and atheists. You are the person with your jackboots on the necks of those you hate, all the while claiming that they drove you to it. Have you no shame?

                • James

                  If it is a concept defined by humans, then humans can define it to describe your conduct, not mine. See the problem yet?

                • GCT

                  They could, and then it would be accurate to try to call me a bigot. But, it’s not, and it’s not a problem. If we were to take it as a problem, then language literally ceases to work. This is one of your worst arguments yet.

                  Again, you are the abuser. You are the bigot. Have you no shame?

                • James

                  Well, it is a problem. Try going to a muslim country which follows sharia, stand in the plaza and play your “bigot, bigot, bigot” game and you will quickly find out that your language does not work like you think it does. Nor should it “work” if there are no objective, universal, authoritative standards by which to judge and evaluate language. Even man’s language must be obligated to a standard outside of himself if we hope to save language. What is your Savior outside of yourself?

                • GCT

                  You are the abuser. You are the bigot. You are the one attacking gays. You should be ashamed.

                  All this blather about universals is a red herring, illogical, and doesn’t even rise to the level of wrong.

                • James

                  Logic is a universal. You just used a universal to deny universals.

                • GCT

                  It’s not universal, it’s derived from empirical reality. I’ve already explained that to you.

                • James

                  If it is not universal, then why do you think it applies to me? If it is derived from empirical reality, where did you last see, hear, smell, touch or taste logic? If it is derived from material things, then how do abstract principles get into material things before you “derive” them out by the power of your mind? Does logic exist before a human mind “derives” it out of material stuff? Does logic “really” exist outside of thought? What happens if I ignore logic, does it have authority to make me obey it? How does it know whether I am ignoring it? If it is derived from empirical reality, then why did one of history’s smartest atheists, G.E. Moore state that it cannot be derived from nature. You have lots of explaining to do before I buy into this logic thing you are selling.

                • GCT

                  If it is not universal, then why do you think it applies to me?

                  Because it’s an accurate description of reality. I know that you seem to not care what is true, but you should.

                  If it is derived from empirical reality, where did you last see, hear, smell, touch or taste logic?

                  I’ve already pointed out ways that we learn these things. You’re not listening, because you’re a troll.

                  But, let’s take your argument to its logical conclusion, shall we? Anything that is descriptive in nature and/or defined by humanity is not universal according to you. And, if it’s not universal, then it’s crap. By this logic, you’ve thrown out logic, reason, all definitions, mathematics, and even your god. Your position is self defeating and leads to absurdity. When you can come up with a position that doesn’t self destruct by your own rules, then maybe you can talk tough. Until then, you’re simply a bigoted troll.

                • GCT

                  Because what is being advocated is the ability for consenting adults to enter into a contract.

                  BTW, you didn’t answer my other question. Seriously, you should seek some help. It’s probably not healthy to want to marry your 10 year old daughter.

                • James

                  Now you advocate the equal right for consenting adults to enter a contract? What if the contract is to kill someone. Does equality take us there?

                • Beutelratti

                  And another slippery slope…

                • James

                  Actually it is not. A SS argument would posit you are wrong because it will lead to, yada, yada, yada. I am forcing an extension on you which is a valid form of argument. You make an absolute claim, “there should be an equal right for consenting adults to enter a contract.” I extend to murder for hire to see if you really mean what you just said. A rational person would respond, “no, I need to modify and qualify my statement.” An irrational person says something akin to “slippery slope.”

                • GCT

                  Where is the consent of the murdered party in the contract? This is utterly ridiculous. You have no intention of acting with any sort of intellectual honesty or good faith. The efforts that you are exerting in order to twist and turn and hope to justify your hatred and bigotry and truly astounding.

                • GCT

                  FFS. Can you at least try to argue in good faith?

                • Beutelratti

                  Have you ever heard of the concept of consent? Apparently not.

                • James

                  Sure, I have heard of the concept. What does it have to do with marriage equality? Live by marriage equality, die by marriage equality.

                • Beutelratti

                  Marriage equality for homosexual couples is about marriage equality for homosexual couples. Homosexual couples are consenting adults that love each other and want to get married, just like consenting heterosexual couples do. Marriage equality in a nutshell.

                  What you are trying now is to discredit the marriage equality movement because it does not always state that it is the marriage equality for homosexual couples movement although it is abundantly clear to everyone even on the opposing side.

                • James

                  Ok, lets make homosexuals’ marital rights equal to the incestuous and the polygamous and deny them the right to marry.

                • Beutelratti

                  That’s already the case in most places.

                • James

                  Agree. And, it is the law in those places. On what basis do you claim those laws are immoral and should be abandoned? Equality doesn’t cut it for me for the reasons I have stated.

                • GCT

                  Hey fucknut, we’ve already been over this ground many times now. Perhaps you could try a sliver of honesty?

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      There’s a very simple stop on your slippery slope.

      “Does the state have an interest in regulating such unions?”

      Breeding of close family members leads to an increase in homozygous allele combinations, which leads to an increase in diseases linked to recessive genes.

      Legal recognition of polyamoury is an issue when so many legal benefits are tied to marriage. Are all spouses covered under a single spouse’s social security? We have other legal issues we’d have to work out.

      When it comes to same gender, or even trans-gender- basically any two adults who aren’t closely related, nobody has been able to demonstrate any reason why the state should not recognize such marriages. As long as the state is in the business of regulating marriage, there must be a reason NOT to recognize a certain marriage before it can be denied.

      It really is very simple, which is why your silly arguments are losing fast.

      • James

        You miss the point. When you exclude family and polygamy, you deny marriage equality. I understand you give reasons other than equality for your distinctions. You cannot deny that you, like Christians, deny marriage equality and thus the appeal to equality is a ruse. Equality cannot be extended to provide the ethical answer for incestuous and polygamous marriage, therefore, it is a false standard. A rational person will see this. Christians have reasons for denying marriage to homosexuals. Read the sociological data, it is bleak. Read your 3rd paragraph. If disease prevention is a sufficient rational basis for prohibiting incestuous marriage, then it is a sufficient rational basis for prohibiting homosexual marriage. I oppose homosexual marriage for the same reason I do not enable alcoholics. Of course, if I hated the alcoholic, I would tell him he has an equal right to imbibe and to call anyone who states otherwise a bigot.

        • GCT

          Equality cannot be extended to provide the ethical answer for incestuous and polygamous marriage, therefore, it is a false standard.

          This would only be true if we had to claim that all fruits are the same, when we know that apples and oranges are different fruits. But, it’s not like I expected you to actually be rational or honest in your bigotry.

          Christians have reasons for denying marriage to homosexuals.

          “The Bible says teh gheys are icky” is not a compelling reason for the state to disallow it.

          Read the sociological data, it is bleak.

          Which data would that be? That homosexuals have a higher occurrence of suicide because they are bullied by assholes/bigots like you? Or, are you referring to the false data that assholes/bigots like you on your side of the divide regularly trot out no matter how much it’s been debunked?

          If disease prevention is a sufficient rational basis for prohibiting incestuous marriage, then it is a sufficient rational basis for prohibiting homosexual marriage.

          Are you naturally obtuse or do you have to work at it? The “disease prevention” being discussed is for offspring. There is not disease passed to offspring from homosexual couples. Despite what you might think, their children will not catch the gay cooties.

          I oppose homosexual marriage for the same reason I do not enable alcoholics.

          Then, to be consistent you are for prohibition, correct? Oh, wait, you aren’t? Then, that makes you a liar.

          Of course, if I hated the alcoholic, I would tell him he has an equal right to imbibe and to call anyone who states otherwise a bigot.

          Ah, yes, and people who protest the KKK are the real racists! The fact of the matter is that you are the bigot here, both towards gays and atheists.

          • James

            I hope to find a consistent atheist some day. You claim to be rationalists, yet you argue by epithet. You claim to follow the evidence where ever it leads yet you ignore the evidence such as the sociological data and the explosion of STDs in the homosexual community.

            • GCT

              What evidence? Provide it. You don’t get to simply claim that there’s all kinds of evidence and then leave it at that. All the evidence that I’ve seen comes under at least one of the following categories:

              1) Is false and completely made up in order to feed hatred and bigotry against gays

              2) The data has been manipulated and twisted to fee hatred and bigotry against gays

              3) The data is a result of causal factors that have nothing at all to do with being gay, except that often it is the result of anti-gay hatred and bigotry (i.e. bullying that results in higher rates of teen suicide).

              If you have data that doesn’t fit at least one of those categories, let’s see it. Then, please argue as to why it creates a compelling case to deny marriage rights to consenting adults that happen to be the same sex.

              Lastly,

              I hope to find a consistent atheist some day.

              We are being consistent. Your ever more shrill and desperate attempts to rant and rave about how much you hate gays and atheists don’t make us inconsistent.

              • James

                Does not the “gay” community argue that homosexuality is immutable because no one would voluntarily choose such a miserable lifestyle?

                • GCT

                  This is just what I was talking about (see categories 2 and 3). Thanks for playing.

                • James

                  So why enable their misery?

                • GCT

                  Perhaps I’m using words that are too big for you? Do you not understand what “causal factors” are or how they might not have anything to do with being gay, except in the sense that they are the targets for abuse by assholes like you? IOW, if gays are less happy, it’s because of the abuse that asshole bigots like you heap upon them. You are the one responsible for this. This puts the lie to your fake concern for their well being.

                  Oh, and BTW, if you really cared about STDs in the gay community, then you would push for stable relationships…like marriages. Duh.

                  No one is fooled by your schtick. We can all smell your hatred and your bigotry from miles away.

                • James

                  Argument by epithet and gratutious assertions are irrational. You do realize there are people who have escaped this lifestyle, they are very happy about it, they write books about it, and they blame themselves and their alienation from God for their miserable conditions while in bondage to this lifestyle. Blame shifting never impressed me much.

                • GCT

                  Argument by epithet and gratutious assertions are irrational.

                  As if your arguments are substantial in any respect? Pointing out your bigotry is not meant to be an argument, it’s stating what appears to be a plain fact based on your words here (the evidence, so to speak). That you continue to ignore the arguments we are making doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.

                  You do realize there are people who have escaped this lifestyle, they are very happy about it, they write books about it, and they blame themselves and their alienation from God for their miserable conditions while in bondage to this lifestyle.

                  Oh, here we go with the ex-gay propaganda. There are numerous issues with such examples, like the fact that none of them ever actually kick their attraction to people of the same sex…but don’t let facts get in the way of a good, old-fashioned bigoted and homophobic rant.

                • James

                  Are you familiar with the “black swan” argument? All it takes to refute the universal proposition that all swans are white is one black swan. All it takes to refute the proposition that homosexuality is immutable is one black swan, one person who escaped. Many have, their books are available. Homosexuality is not immutable, it is a behavoir. People are responsible for their behavoir. If homosexuals are miserable, they ultimately have no one but themselves to blame. I get no pleasure from this truth, in fact, it is part of why I want to avoid enabling homosexuality.

                • GCT

                  So, are you choosing to be heterosexual?

                  And, once again you’re ignoring the actual data. People don’t become ex-gay. They are still gay, they simply force themselves to commit to someone of the opposite sex. Let’s also not forget that sexuality is not a binary scale. There are people who are attracted to both sexes or none. Honestly, you should be embarrassed.

                • James

                  Well, I’m not. Sex is a behavoir and yes people choose their behavoirs. Consider the alternative, if people have no choice, then we cannot ethically evaluate their behavoir. Also, ex-gay people claim they are ex-gay. I choose to believe them.

                • 3lemenope

                  I choose to believe them.

                  I somehow get the impression this choice wasn’t hard for you.

                • James

                  Correct, I generally find the parsimonious conclusion to be the less “hard for” me choice.

                • 3lemenope

                  And it’s totally a coincidence that this conclusion happens to accord with your preferred beliefs.

                • James

                  Are you suggesting that preferred beliefs disqualify consistent conclusions? Yikes, that would create an epistemic nightmare.

                • 3lemenope

                  That’s clearly not what I’m suggesting.

                • James

                  I have no idea what you are suggesting. I do not do arcane well. All people carry biases, I am not excluded. My ethical duty is to correspond my beliefs to the truth. If they do not correspond to the truth, then I change my beliefs.

                • GCT

                  Bullshit.

                • GCT

                  So, you didn’t choose to be heterosexual, but you’re sure that people choose to be gay? What kind of mind powers do you have to be able to understand what other people desire?

                  Consider the alternative, if people have no choice, then we cannot ethically evaluate their behavoir.

                  I’m not the one saying that we should condemn people for being gay, you are…bigot.

                  Also, ex-gay people claim they are ex-gay. I choose to believe them.

                  Except, they don’t claim that. They claim that they still have attractions to the same sex.

                • GCT

                  Actually, this comment of yours is so vile, it deserves a little bit more from me.

                  First of all, the black swan argument doesn’t work here. If you find one person who claims that they chose to be gay, it doesn’t mean that all other people who are gay therefore chose it. And, even if they did choose to be gay, it makes no difference to the argument that they should have equal right to marry the person they want to marry. Period. This whole choice vs. non-choice thing is a red herring and non sequitur.

                  If homosexuals are miserable, they ultimately have no one but themselves to blame.

                  This part, however, is truly vile. This is victim blaming 101. How dare you. I’m sure all the gays who have been beaten, harassed, and everything else they’ve had to endure all asked for it, huh? It couldn’t possibly be the fault of asshole bigots like you that do these things, no it’s the gays asking for it. You are the one that is harming them. You are the one that is abusing them. Then, when they cry out in pain from the jackboot you are applying to their neck, your response is that it’s their fault…they made you do it after all. You’re a despicable human being.

                • James

                  Argument by epithet is irrational. The black swan argument absolutely works to refute the argument that homosexuality is an immutable characteristic. The fact that they choose to be “gay” does make a difference to the legal argument, assuming you know your Constitutional law, which apparently, you do not. Also, I am not blaming the victim, I am blaming the perpetrator. If I become a drug addict, I have no one to blame but myself. You somehow think this means I advocate abuse, violence or oppression of “gays”? Come on, you are really overstewing the pot.

                • GCT

                  Argument by epithet is irrational.

                  I’ve already answered this. I’m not saying that you are wrong because you are a vile and evil bigot. I’m saying you are those things and you are wrong for other reasons…and incidentally, part of the reason you are a vile and evil bigot is because you are wrong and happy to be so. It’s not argument by epithet. It’s epithet by conclusion of your erroneous arguments, of which this is just one more example.

                  The black swan argument absolutely works to refute the argument that homosexuality is an immutable characteristic.

                  No, it doesn’t, for the reasons I’ve already outlined.

                  The fact that they choose to be “gay” does make a difference to the legal argument, assuming you know your Constitutional law, which apparently, you do not.

                  No, it does not, for the reasons I’ve already outlined. Even if one chooses to be gay, the state still has no compelling reason to deny equal access to marriage laws for gay couples.

                  Also, I am not blaming the victim, I am blaming the perpetrator.

                  Fuck you. You claim that gays choose to be gay and therefore bring misery upon themselves. You are the perpetrator of their misery. You are the abusive asshole bigot. You are the fucknut that is trying to make gay people miserable. You are the one that then turns around and claims that they made you do it. You are the problem. You. Not them, you.

                  You somehow think this means I advocate abuse, violence or oppression of “gays”?

                  Yes, yes I do and for good reason. You are the abuser. You are the oppressor. You may not physically use violence against gays by your own hand, but you support it. Then, when it’s done, you turn around and claim that it’s the fault of the gays for being harassed, abused, oppressed, etc. You are a vile bigot – an evil, nasty man (who may have a dangerous obsession with 10 year old girls, especially his own daughter).

                • James

                  Are right and wrong real? Are they material things which we observe in nature? Are they abstract things which exist outside of our minds? Are they authoritative, are we obligated to obey what is right, to avoid what is wrong? You have lots of explaining to do before you earn the right to throw around a word like “wrong”.

                • GCT

                  Typical fundamentalist bullshit. You can’t even put forth a coherent answer to any of your questions, but you ignore it when we do.

                • James

                  Atheistic philosophers ask the same questions. The division is not between Fundamentalists and everyone else, it is between thinking people and lazy people.

                • GCT

                  And you would be the latter. We’ve already provided answers, which you refuse to accept or even read. We’ve asked you questions showing how your arguments fall apart, which you refuse to answer or acknowledge. You’re a bigoted troll. Go away.

                • James

                  Have you now? Then humor this bigoted, lazy troll by stating your answer in condensed form in reply to this response.

                • GCT

                  Morality is a human concept to describe behaviors. Duh. I said that a long time ago. You’re free to claim that this means that you can murder and rape and do whatever you want, because it didn’t come from your god, but that just underlines how much of a moral monster you actually are.

                  Glad to see you admitting that you’re a bigot though. Nothing more to see here I guess. Bye bye bigot troll.

                • James

                  If morality is nothing more than a human concept to describe behaviors then it is subject to man’s control. You just gave us a might makes right ethic. Whoever has the power to control the manner in which behaviors are described, controls morality. Morality is always subject to man, subject to change, subject to abuse. I find it odd that atheists retreat to this explanation and then plop down on it with glee. I think you are forgetting that you are a minority and you just gave the majority permission to do to you whatever they can get away with. Talk about moral monsters!

                • GCT

                  If morality is nothing more than a human concept to describe behaviors then it is subject to man’s control. You just gave us a might makes right ethic.

                  Sigh. You must be doing this on purpose, because no one can be this wrong consistently. Relying on ‘godsaysso’ is the very definition of might makes right. Duh.

                  Morality is always subject to man, subject to change, subject to abuse.

                  Are you denying that our concept of morality has changed over the years? It wasn’t that long ago that your so-called Xian morality would have been telling us all about how the races shouldn’t mix in marriage.

                  I find it odd that atheists retreat to this explanation and then plop down on it with glee. I think you are forgetting that you are a minority and you just gave the majority permission to do to you whatever they can get away with. Talk about moral monsters!

                  So, you are that dense, or did you sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night? I’ve done no such thing. That would be reserved for your god and his pronouncements to attack unbelievers. You see, people who have a modicum of compassion and common sense realize that scorched earth tactics don’t work, which is why enlightenment values (non-theistic no less) incorporated the ideas of secularism and protection of minorities against majorities (which apparently we desperately need due to bigoted assholes like you).

                  OTOH, here is you telling us all that you only act in accordance with what is moral because you think your sky daddy is telling you that you have to do so (of course, being a bigot is not moral unless we define morality by the might makes right say so of your god). Apparently, you think that people who don’t murder because they understand reciprocity, compassion, etc are inferior to people who don’t murder because they fear cosmic punishment and see no reason not to murder without that eternal threat hanging over them. What was that about moral monsters again? Oh yeah, that would be you, you vile bigot.

                  Come on back when you have at least a rudimentary understanding of the concepts we are discussing.

                • James

                  The standards have not changed. Ethical decisions involve the application of a standard to a situation by a person. The applications change, but the standards do not. If universal standards are not real, then you cannot do morality. You can poke out your lower lip, stomp your feet, pout, etc…. You cannot correspond your moral judgments to an authoritative standard which obligates man. You cannot correspond your truth claims to an authoritative standard which obligates man. Do you admit that you have never corresponded your moral judgments and truth claims to an authoritative standard which obligates man?

                • GCT

                  The standards have not changed. Ethical decisions involve the application of a standard to a situation by a person. The applications change, but the standards do not.

                  So, when did the Bible change to say that slavery is not OK?

                  Do you admit that you have never corresponded your moral judgments and truth claims to an authoritative standard which obligates man?

                  No one is obligated to be moral, which is why I’m not saying that you have to not be a bigot. But, I can certainly call you out on it and point out how much of a bigoted asshole you are.

                  Again, you don’t even seem to have a rudimentary grasp on the subject. Where is your authoritative standard and how does it become so? If you ever actually answered a single question, your “answer” would be god, but that doesn’t work for all the reasons I’ve outlined time and again.

                  You’ve been out-thought, out-maneuvered, and defeated over and over, and yet you’re still working away in the hole digging deeper and deeper, completely unaware of the first rule of holes. You are the bigot. You are the oppressor. You are the asshole. You are the troll. You are the abuser. Have you no shame? Do you really need your god to tell you not to rape and murder people? That’s vile and heinous. You should be ashamed at yourself.

                • James

                  How can you say you defeated me in the absence of a standard by which we can objectively measure who won and who lost? Also, the Bible’s standard on slavery has not changed. It has always been subject to God’s revealed will.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Then has God’s revealed will changed, or is it still ok to keep the children of your slaves as permanent property?

                  And if God’s revealed will changed, then how do you objectively determine that God’s latest revealed will isn’t that you should pray facing Mecca five times per day? Or avoid caffeine?

                • James

                  Cite the verses where he revealed this and we will talk about them.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  sigh

                  It’s not like ‘we’ (this blog) haven’t had that conversation before.

                  “Those rules only apply to the Hebrews”

                  which makes me wonder why it is that Hebrews can buy and sell their daughters, or beat their slaves so long as they don’t kill them or knock their teeth out

                  “Because God wants it that way”

                  “God didn’t invent slavery, he was only regulating it and making it not so bad. Man chose slavery by sinning”

                  Ya, God prohibits mixing crops and makes cursing your parents a death sentence, but he ‘regulates’ slavery.

                  I’m sure you know we’re talking about Exodus 21. (except for the crops part)

                  All I can say is, I’m glad I don’t feel constrained by the morality in that book, and that society is capable of evolving better morals than that. Heck, we actually let our women vote nowadays! Of course, not all Christians agree with that development.

                  But if God’s word is what keeps you from stoning my son for getting mad at me, then please, continue your cherry picking.

                • James

                  God does not command making children of slaves permanent property in Ex 21. Ex 21 does not mention caffeine or Mecca. Keep lookin and while you are looking, see if you can find for us an authoritative standard, which does not presuppose God, by which we can morally judge the conduct you condemn.

                • GCT

                  See if you can find an authoritative standard with god in the picture. That challenge has been put to you multiple times, and you can’t answer it. Thus, your whole entire line of argumentation falls apart. You lose. Good bye bigot troll.

                • James

                  Sure I can. God is revealed in every concept and perception. He is specially revealed in Scripture. He is consummately revealed in Jesus.

                • GCT

                  If you can, then do so. But you haven’t.

                  God is revealed in every concept and perception.

                  No, he is not. There is no need to invoke god for explaining why something falls to the ground when dropped. There’s no need to invoke god for the transitive property. There’s no need to invoke god for evolution. There’s no need to invoke god for anything. Inserting god into anything is an illogical, irrational, and unwarranted jump.

                  He is specially revealed in Scripture.

                  Which god? Which scripture? Why can’t people agree on which god it is if this god is all-powerful and special revealed. Those scriptures were written by men, not god.

                  He is consummately revealed in Jesus.

                  Give us some evidence that god exists first. Give us evidence that Jesus existed. There are no first hand accounts of Jesus. None. Now give us some evidence that if Jesus did exist, anything he supposedly said is actually what he said. Now give us some evidence that Jesus was divine and part of god, and in the process work out all the logical issues that come with that and with the god concept. You can’t do it. You’ve been reduced to silly sound-bytes. Oh wait, that’s all you’ve ever had.

                • James

                  We are not ready to discuss these topics. You believe man is not morally obligated, thus man is not obligated to be right. Why do you want to discuss whether Christian truth claims are right when you do not believe right is real? Settlement of this basic issue is a precondition to the more advanced issues. Why should I discuss what is true with someone who does not believe anything is true? We must first disabuse you of your false epistemology.

                • GCT

                  We are not ready to discuss these topics.

                  You are not, because you either don’t have the intellectual capacity, or you don’t have the intestinal fortitude to act in an honest manner.

                  You believe man is not morally obligated, thus man is not obligated to be right.

                  Not what I said…which I already told you. But, hey, it just proves that you can’t handle the discussion. The grown-ups are over here. Go away when you meet our level of maturity.

                  Why do you want to discuss whether Christian truth claims are right when you do not believe right is real?

                  Even if we adopt your bullshit assumptions, your arguments still fail. Face it, your bullshit is weak sauce.

                  Why should I discuss what is true with someone who does not believe anything is true?

                  Because nothing can be true unless it is universal, right? Oh yeah, you keep saying that you’re not saying that, but then you keep saying it. I never said nothing is true, that is your mistake based on the same assumption you keep making and then lying about making when you claim you aren’t making it. You are pathetic.

                  So, how do you know if anything is true when your god is in the equation? Your god can literally undo any truth you think you have and turn it into untruth based on his whim. So, how can you claim that anything is true? Seems the person with the horrible epistemology is you.

                • James

                  I will only respond to the last paragraph since it is the only thing I find in this response that approaches a rational discussion. God cannot deny himself or his nature. Thus, the world he created and actively governs is stable. He cannot undo truth, to do so would be to deny himself. God cannot become “not God.”

                • GCT

                  LOL. Then god is unable to create miracles, intercede in prayers, and toss out that whole Jesus rising from the dead thing. You’ve just described a deistic god that simply set everything in motion and sat back and now does nothing. There’s no morality in that, there’s no evidence of that, and there’s no Xianity in that.

                  In order to save your god, you’ve tossed your god in the rubbish bin. Good job. You lose, yet again.

                • James

                  Conclusory. How does the statement “God cannot deny himself” rule out miracles? Ruling out God rules in indeterminism which destabilizes everything. How do you get stability into the universe apart from a supernatural sufficient cause?

                • GCT

                  You ruled out miracles yourself when you claimed that the universe must be stable due to god. Miracles are instability. You are defeated your own argument once again. Don’t you get tired of being wrong?

                  Ruling out God rules in indeterminism which destabilizes everything. How do you get stability into the universe apart from a supernatural sufficient cause?

                  It seems to be an emergent property of the universe. There’s no need for there to be a god for gravity to work. When we figured out gravity (to the extent we have it figured out) we never had to invoke god and we still don’t. What part of that don’t you understand? There is no contingent need for us to have a god. You can’t simply assert that god must be there because you say so and expect anyone else to take it seriously.

                • James

                  Miracle and instability are different words, different concepts. What justifies treating them as synonyms? To state that stability is an emergent property of the universe is to hypostatize the universe. How does an impersonal universe maintain stability? Maintenance of stability is a personal characteristic. Also, we do have to presuppose God to explain gravity. Gravity is an a priori. No one has a universal experience of gravity. What makes the a posteriori world of experience obey a prioris like gravity, math, and stability? Finally, “contingent need” is an oxymoron.

                • GCT

                  Miracle and instability are different words, different concepts. What justifies treating them as synonyms?

                  A stable universe doesn’t simply change on the whim of a being…that would be instability. You don’t get to have it both ways.

                  To state that stability is an emergent property of the universe is to hypostatize the universe. How does an impersonal universe maintain stability?

                  No, it’s not. It’s simply observation of what seems to be the case. We may not have all the answers, but that does not give you license to simply insert god. That would be the god of the gaps fallacy, and it doesn’t actually answer anything. It simply multiplies the questions without providing answers.

                  Maintenance of stability is a personal characteristic.

                  Hmmm, really? The Earth maintains a pretty stable orbit around the sun, so that must mean the Earth is sentient. Rocks don’t move on their own, so they must be sentient. This is even more ridiculous than a lot of your other assumptions/assertions, but maybe not the most outlandish.

                  Also, we do have to presuppose God to explain gravity.

                  Let’s see now. I drop items, I record the speed at which they fall, I use ramps to change the setup, I use circular motion and then extend it to planets, and eventually I come to a relationship that holds up, which leads to an equation which works. Nowhere in that process did I need to invoke god. Nowhere in the process did I have to presuppose god. Nowhere in that process was god used, invoked, or necessary. Nope, sorry, no need for god, no matter how much you sputter and spit and spew out that it’s necessary. You have yet to show that it’s necessary. All you can do is assert and hope that reality skews in your favor. It does not. Science doesn’t need god.

                  What makes the a posteriori world of experience obey a prioris like gravity, math, and stability?

                  Seriously? You want to know why people fall when they jump off cliffs? It’s because we are part of the natural world and subject to the same rules as everything else in the universe. Gravity is simply an emergent property of the universe. Math is a description of reality. Stability is also an emergent property. We are not outside of the natural world, we are part of it. Nowhere do I need to insert any god in order to explain that. God is a completely superfluous proposition that neither answers questions nor makes any rational or logical sense.

                • James

                  Stability and change are not antonyms. As for the rest, naturalistic fallacy. You cannot move from particulars to universals. You state the universe is stable. Do you have universal experience of stability and of the universe? If not, how do you induce to this conclusion? Same for gravity, do you have universal experience of gravity? If not, what justifies your conclusion that gravity, like stability, is an emergent property of the universe? What you are doing is taking a limited experience and then you generalize it. What justifies your generalizations? If God exists, and permits such generalizations, then they are authorized. You deny God, so what justifies your generalizations.

                • James

                  I previously explained that God cannot deny himself. Do you wish to respond to what I say or only your characterization of what I said. If you are only interested in having a discussion with yourself, then why am I a necessary party? I am interested in knowing how you predicate truth, since you appear to affirm it is real.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free.

                  The ‘going free’ part only applies to adult men. It doesn’t apply to women, or children born into slavery. And the option for the man to remain a slave forever to be with his family doesn’t change the family’s condition. They remain slaves. I suppose you could nit that the owner didn’t have to keep the women and children as permanent property, but then I’d like you to find a citation by which the master couldn’t keep them if he wanted to. Seems the same thing to me. If the women and children don’t have the right to go free after six years like the men do, then from my ’21st century view’ that’s messed up. Again, I’m glad we’re no longer living by the standard of Exodus, and have to say a god that would ever dictate that makes me sick.

                  You might want to get checked for Anton-Babinski’s syndrome. But please don’t drive to the doctor’s.

                  Prayer towards Meccas is in The Holy Qu’ran, 2:144 http://quran.com/2/144

                  And God’s official word on caffeine (sorry, it’s actually ‘hot drinks’ my mistake)

                  http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/89.1-21?lang=eng#0

                  Or do you not think God was revealing his will through Muhammad and Joseph Smith?

                  If not, then I’d love to know by what objective measure you accept the revelations of the prophets Abraham and Jesus, but reject the revelations of Muhammad and Joseph Smith.

                • James

                  So you prefer to give the husband the ability to rip the children from their mother when it was his choice to break up the family? Maybe your preference is to give the husband the power of choice to take both his wife and children. What happens to them if he changes his mind a week later and dumps them? The husband knew the rules going into the arrangement. The rules provided social security to the wife and the children. This was a human rule that frankly is not that much different from what happens in modern family courts. Laws still determine who gets the kids and laws force the parents to provide support under pain of contempt. As for the Bible, the Koran and the Book of Morman, you do realize all 3 cannot be correct, they cancel each other out. If the Bible is true, the Koran and the BOM are false.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  So you prefer to give the husband the ability to rip the children from their mother when it was his choice to break up the family?

                  Why can’t the entire family go free after both adults have served their 6 years? Oh ya, women don’t have that option.

                  The rules provided social security to the wife and the children.

                  Without any consideration for their will. Do you even have a citation for what age male children go free? Or do they remain slaves until death as ‘social security’?

                  As for the Bible, the Koran and the Book of Morman, you do realize all 3 cannot be correct, they cancel each other out. If the Bible is true, the Koran and the BOM are false

                  Ding! Ding! Ding! Folks, We Have a Winner!!!

                  Please, accept my congratulations! I didn’t think it would happen, but after several days, You Sir, have won!

                  I’ll even pay for this to be inscribed on a trophy if you want to send me your mailing address via facebook.

                • James

                  They all go free in the 7th year with a lot of parting gifts if they are Hebrews. Dt 15:12-14. The female slaves in Ex 21:4 are slaves from surrounding nations. Lev 25:44. The master is charged with their welfare which is not to be jeopardized by the whims of the husband. Therefore, the law prioritized welfare over will, but don’t all laws do this? Why are you ringing the bell? Stating that 3 propositions cannot be harmonized proves all three cannot be right, it does not prove that each are wrong. Hence, my statement, if the Bible is right, the other 2 are wrong.

                • GCT

                  Your apologies for slavery are just as sickening as your blatant bigotry. They also expose your lie about universal morality.

                • James

                  Argument by epithet is irrational. If you want to be rational you have to address the argument. You simply characterize the argument from a safe distance in order to dismiss it.

                • GCT

                  You’re the one defending slavery. Fuck off.

                • James

                  Actually, I am defending God’s word.

                • GCT

                  Yup, defending god’s word, which was that slavery is OK. Hence you are defending slavery. That your god is OK with slavery doesn’t seem to bother you in the least? Bigot.

                • James

                  Cite the verse you have in mind I will discuss it with you. I will not discuss your characterizations, because they are irrelevant.

                • GCT

                  You’ve already seen enough verses. Are you going to now contend that those verses in the Bible do not support slavery right after defending the slavery in those verses. Fuck off you lying bigot.

                • James

                  I have learned from years of experience that if you do not force the atheist to cite the actual verse, they will never deal with the actual verse. Instead, they will only speak of their distorted mischaracterization of the verse. Thus, I require a little discipline in thes discussions. I will be happy to discuss verses with you, but only on these terms.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  if they are Hebrews

                  The female slaves in Ex 21:4 are slaves from surrounding nations.

                  As I said at the top: “Those rules only apply to the Hebrews” response will come. You see that as some kind of justification. Like it’s ok buy buy a girl from a Canadian or Mexican father. And I can find some American guy down on his luck and hire him for six years. And I can beat the shit out of him if I feel like it, so long as he doesn’t die right away. And I can ‘give’ him that Canadian woman I bought. And at the end of six years, he can either go free leaving her and the kids behind, or pierce his ears and declare himself mine forever.

                  Or heck, I could just buy a Canadian family in the first place and just keep them forever. Their kids can be my kids’ property.

                  We are going to fundamentally disagree on the relative merit of that vs. what we have generally in 21st century society (and in the US in particular, although I don’t know that you’re American).

                  Therefore, the law prioritized welfare over will, but don’t all laws do this?

                  Currently in the US one does not have the ‘right’ to commit suicide. And any other ‘right’ has some kind of restriction when it impacts others. The 2nd amendment doesn’t give you the right to build a garage nuke. But I think more important is the Welfare vs. Will balance. In America, we don’t allow fathers to sell their daughters so that the daughter will be provided for. I would say that’s a Will over Welfare right.

                  if the Bible is right, the other 2 are wrong

                  I rang the bell because it was an important statement. You’ll finish the thought. I’m sure you already have, but I know the ‘if’ is still something you’re just typing, not really considering.

                  It’s actually not completely correct. It is certainly possible for both the OT and Qu’ran to both be true. (Well, actually I don’t think either can be true, but at least they don’t contradict each other). Likewise, the Book of Mormon assumes both the OT and NT are both true and builds on them.

                  But more generally, smart thinking Jews, Christians, Muslims and Mormons all read the same books (you did read all four, right?) and come to different conclusions. Usually people come to the same conclusion as their parents, but not always. And of course there’s Mahabharata (or at least the Gita). And the Egyptian Book of the Dead is pretty cool.

                  They can’t all be true. But they could all be false.

                • James

                  I did not and will not give you a “these rules only apply to Hebrews” justification. You suggested that the Hebrew women and children are not emancipated after 6 years. I simply pointed out that you are wrong. I also fail to see how the actual text leads to the hysterical results you posit. If you will cite the actual text and give your reason why you think it leads to these results, I will interact with you. I will not interact with your characterizations because they are irrelevant. Give reasons, not emotional spasms.
                  With regard to the books, complete your square of opposition. They can’t all be true, they could all be false, and one of them can be true. The Bible is sui generis, it is the only book that presents a revealed personal absolute. None of the other books present a revealed personal absolute. A revealed personal absolute is the precondition for reality, knowledge, ethics, logic, etc…. Therefore, the Bible is necessarily true.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  You suggested that the Hebrew women and children are not emancipated after 6 years. I simply pointed out that you are wrong.

                  I didn’t bother to make the distinction, since I think it’s irrelevant. The fact that you think it’s a relevant part of the discussion is part of why I have, as you put it “emotional spasms”. Call it what you want, talking to people who think the Hebrew angle matters makes me angry.

                  Therefore, the Bible is necessarily true.

                  Then we are in a sad state of affairs. All we have to do is believe Him and we get to go to heaven. Or we can choose hell. That’s quite a ‘free will’.

                  Now if you’ll excuse me, any more of this ‘love’ and I’ll need dental caps.

                • James

                  Yes you did. Stop dissembling. You asked why the entire family was not emancipated and then you asserted that the women did not have the option. You were wrong. Moreover, if it is irrelevant, why did you raise the issue? Are you here for a rational discussion or just to make irrelevant noise? God and his word makes you angry. I get it. It seems to be the most I can get out of atheists. My question is why should anyone care what makes you angry? Can you correspond your anger to an authoritative standard for ethics which justifies and gives warrant for your anger? A child can throw an angry fit, why should we be impressed that you can also?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  The female slaves in Ex 21:4 are slaves from surrounding nations.

                  you asserted that the women did not have the option. You were wrong.

                  God doesn’t make me angry. God doesn’t exist. God’s word doesn’t make me angry, God doesn’t exist.

                • James

                  You are going to prove God does not exist?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  If God exists and cares anything about us, then, God either understands and evaluates us on the fullness of our lives and characters, or God is your asshole who burns people for eternity for being skeptical of his existence. I’m comfortable with the former, and frankly I can’t do anything about the latter. Being afraid of Hell wouldn’t make me believe something I don’t think is true.

                  So I’ll carry on trying to know more tomorrow than I do today, and making someone else’s life a little better than it was yesterday.

                • James

                  Much better and thank you for the clarification. No one can disprove God (no possible path from particulars to a universal negative) so the most you can say is you choose not to believe in God and you have no interest in pursuing whether your belief is correct because if he does exist, you hate Him. This is fine so long as you admit you are being arbitrary, self-referential, self-indulgent, and irrational. Your likes and dislikes are irrelevant to existence claims. BTW, God evaluating us on the fullness of our lives and our character is not good news for any of us because he will judge us by perfection. There is another path, only one, but no one around here seems much interested.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  so the most you can say is you choose not to believe in God

                  I can’t ‘choose’ to believe in God anymore than you could ‘choose’ to not believe in God. Hopefully either of us could be swayed by sufficient evidence to the contrary, but that’s not exactly a choice. Under torture, one can say they see four lights when they actually see only three, but their underlying belief hasn’t changed.

                  you have no interest in pursuing whether your belief is correct

                  You seem to assume I have never spent any time on the question. It’s not a priority for me to peruse anymore. Having reached your own closed conclusion, I’m guessing you have no interest in pursuing whether your belief is correct. We’re not that far apart on that. I just think I’m right. You know you’re right.

                  admit you are being arbitrary, self-referential, self-indulgent, and irrational

                  Boy, you want to add a lot of baggage onto that. Are you sure you don’t want to add cry-baby too?

                  Your likes and dislikes are irrelevant to existence claims.

                  As are yours.

                • James

                  This from the guy who was just crying over how the mean God of the OT violated wills in Ex 21. Now we find out we do not have the power of choice and cannot be held responsible for our beliefs. I despair of finding a consistent atheist.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Wait, weren’t you the one who chose to be straight? I guess God gave you more free will than he gave me. Lucky you.

                • James

                  He gave us both enough free will to leave us morally responsible for our thoughts, actions, attitudes, decisions and words. Again, consider the alternative, if we have no free will, then our choices cannot be ethically evaluated. If our choices cannot be evaluated, then all this spleen venting you have displayed over the last several days makes no sense. Do you judge that I am responsible for my words, beliefs, actions, attitudes etc…?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  I judge you responsible for continually trying to load the conversation with phrases such as ‘crying’ and ‘spleen venting’. I think the verbiage is your choice. I also judge you responsible for comparing one’s right to not live in bondage with one’s ability to change their belief in something absent some evidence for a contrary belief. I evaluate you more interested in trying to ‘score points’ then coming to any real understanding of anyone else’s position.

                  And by what objective standard do I make all these judgments and evaluations? They just came to me. Maybe there is a god after all…

                • James

                  Good grief you are all over the board. First you complain about God violating free will. Then you excuse yourself from responsibility by denying that your beliefs are formed by choice. Now you have the right to choose not to live in bondage. Yesterday you accuse me of having a neurological disorder, today you have a hissy fit because I am busting you for your hyperemotional responses. Maybe I do have a neurological disorder, I am certainly getting dizzy. How am I suppose to understand your position when you keep changing it? Land the plane.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  I feel the same way about how you keep dancing around with non-sequiters.

                  But this one:

                  Then you excuse yourself from responsibility by denying that your beliefs are formed by choice.

                  I believe it is morally wrong to steal. When I find a lost wallet, I choose to make sure it gets back to its rightful owner intact.

                  I don’t see any changing position there. I just see hear you flipping out over planes.

                • James

                  Excellent. We have established that you choose your beliefs. Thus, you are responsible for your beliefs and your beliefs can be ethically evaluated. Knowledge on the other hand is justified, true beliefs. How do you justify the truth of your beliefs?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  We have established that you choose your beliefs.

                  We have? I believe 1+1=2, but that’s not a choice, and I don’t see how it can be ethically evaluated. Do you want to prove that God has to exist for me to know that 1+1=2, or that God has to exist for me to decide that stealing is wrong?

                  How I ‘justify’ the truth of my beliefs depends a great deal on the particular belief.

                  Since you’ve already been over this in excruciating detail with GCT, I predict I’m not going to understand how you think God has to be involved, and you’re going to ‘know’ I’m irrational and inconsistent for not seeing why God has to be involved.

                  Can we just cut to the chase and do something more productive with our lives?

                • James

                  1 + 1 = 2 presupposes God is actually one of my favorite arguments for God. Alas, it is premature because you have changed your position on choice for the 4th time today. If we do not choose our beliefs, no one can prove anything to anyone. Our beliefs just happen to us like the color of our eyes. Do you judge and criticize blue eyed people for not having brown eyes?

                • GCT

                  1 + 1 = 2 presupposes God is actually one of my favorite arguments for God.

                  Why? It’s a non sequitur. It’s a horrible argument, because it doesn’t work, and you have no way to support it besides simply asserting it and then relying on sound bytes from your pastor. You are ill-equiped for this exchange and not honest enough to actually engage in good faith.

                  If we do not choose our beliefs, no one can prove anything to anyone.

                  OK, this is just irredeemably stupid. Try to believe in Zeus all day tomorrow if you think you can simply choose your beliefs. And, that has little to do with proving anything. Your insistence on spewing the same sound bytes over and over while never actually listening to anything anyone says is why no one can prove anything to you. It’s because you are not open to having your beliefs challenged.

                  Our beliefs just happen to us like the color of our eyes.

                  He’s not said that, it’s just more of your lies. When you have to lie about what other people have said, you should realize that you’ve lost and be ashamed for acting like such a cad.

                • James

                  Was Godel stupid and ill equipped? Do you even know who he was and what he proved? Can a set which contains all sets contain itself?

                • GCT

                  Was Godel stupid and ill equipped?

                  What in the world are you talking about? Why are you bringing Godel into this? Did Godel claim that 1+1=2 presupposes god? If so, then it was a horrible argument when he made it too. That doesn’t mean that you are not ill-equiped for this exchange and not honest enough to actually engage in good faith.

                • James

                  Because Godel demonstrated that we cannot prove why math works.

                • GCT

                  Bwaaaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah….

                  Oh man, you are full of stupid and it’s hilarious.

                  What, we don’t understand something, therefore god? Bwaaaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha….

                  That bit of stupidity made my day.

                • James

                  Do you suggest by this response that you have answered Godel? If not, what justifies your reliance on the truth of something which is unproven? Again, if God exists and he promises us a world which will support us (“seed time and harvest”) then we have a basis on which to trust that we can generalize our limited experiences to universals.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  (sorry if this is a dupe, disqus acting up)

                  He’s not said that

                  What we have here, is fail’re to commun’cate.

                  And it’s not going to improve. Somewhere between Us and James, things are becoming so completely distorted that we say “white” and hear back “you said black”.

                  If we can’t agree on a shared communication, there’s really no point in carrying on discussion.

                • GCT

                  Agreed. The fault lies entirely with James as well, as he cannot bring himself to deal with our arguments in good faith. He’s so wedded to his hatred and bigotry towards us that he can’t bring himself to even listen to anything that we say. No matter what we say, he sees it as confirmation of whatever he thinks we should be saying. It’s quite sad really to see such a waste of any human mind, especially in the service of hatred, bigotry, abuse, and oppression.

                • James

                  Now you are just whining. It does bring Gandhi’s statement to mind. First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. Truth always excludes its opposition. The truth will set you free.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  I’ve heard that same phrase applied to the gay rights movement.

                  The problem is, just because people ignore, laugh and fight you doesn’t mean you’re right or will win. It just means that in the case that won, you can look back and point to when you were ignored, laughed at, and fought against.

                  It’s much like Einsteins

                  Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds

                  Doesn’t mean that just because you face violent opposition, that you are a great spirit.

                • James

                  I know. I am just poking the 2 of you in the ribs because of all your excessive self-congratulatory posting.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  By what standard do you judge ‘excessive’? Is there a scripture for that?

                • James

                  That would be the 9th Commandment.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  You want me to give my best strawberries to God?

                  What does God need with a strawberry?

                • James

                  No idea how this has anything to do with the 9th Commandment. Has the dissembling bug bit you again?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  9th Commandment, one of the 10 Commandments. Those things written on stone tablets that Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai, right?

                  8) Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Festival remain until morning

                  9) Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God

                  10) Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk

                  Or do you mean those other commandments- the ones not actually written on stone, unless placed in front of some courthouse or something?

                  Is it still “false witness” if someone really believes what they’re saying? Because I’ve been wondering about you and Exodus 20:16 myself.

                • James

                  You are wigging out on me again. You asked for the standard, I gave it to you. Your response above is off topic, irrelevant and histrionic. I will respond to your last question, because it is a fair question. The answer, of course, is “yes”. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. We all have a duty to conform to the law. The sincerity of our beliefs mitigate, but do not absolve.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  I’m having fun at your expense. It’s not 100% ethical IMO, but there are mitigating circumstances. I’ve long ago given up any hope of meaningful dialog with you. We might as well be speaking Swahili and Korean to each other.

                • James

                  That is fair, I have done the same to you. I actually agree with your dialogue point, in part. If 2 people have antithetical worldviews and no common authority exists between them, why dialogue? Settle your disputes by the law of the jungle. Again, bad news for you, my side out numbers your side. On the other hand, if we share a common authority, dialogue makes sense, even when it becomes tough sledding. My worldview asserts we do have a common authority, your worldview denies that we have a common authority. What amazes me is you assert your worldview, deny mine, yet you continue to dialogue with me. Nuts isn’t it? It is almost as if you have more faith in my worldview than your woldview.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  your worldview denies that we have a common authority

                  There are an awful lot of human constructed laws that apply to both of us equally (assuming you’re an American, but even if not).

                  And hey, a few of them even show up in your world view. Fancy that.

                  Perhaps you don’t understand my worldview as well as you think you do. The fact that you keep making incorrect assertions about my worldview makes me think that might be the case.

                • James

                  You are equivocating “common authority” unless you seriously posit that some man made law resolves our dispute over our core beliefs.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  I bet I could find someone else who agrees with you wholeheartedly on this “common authority” but will disagree with you on some point that this “common authority” dictates.

                  How useful is that?

                  I don’t actually disagree on the common authority. I just don’t think it comes from God, and I don’t think we’ve figured it out yet. It’s a long process. We’ve (in principle, not in practice) gotten past slavery. Who knows, maybe some day our descendants will look back on us in horror for having kept chimpanzees in cages and destroyed their habitat.

                • James

                  Well, I think we agree that we do not share the same brain. Our minds are separate. Your thoughts do not govern my thoughts, my thoughts do not govern your thoughts. So are all thoughts loose and discrete? Do we ever escape subjectivity and personal bias? If we cannot correspond our thoughts to something good and perfect outside of us, then what are the implications for knowledge and ethics? Do we ever really know anything and are we ever justified in distinguishing good from evil?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Do we ever really know anything and are we ever justified in distinguishing good from evil?

                  You’re sure the Bible is the work of the Good God and not a trick by the Evil God? Maybe it’s a test to see if we can figure out good on our own?

                  We can plain brain-in-a-jar forever.

                • James

                  I will go one better than that, we are both sure. You are suppressing that knowledge, I am not.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  addendum: “Again, bad news for you, my side out numbers your side.”

                  However, “your side” can’t decide on the particulars. Is it moral for a woman to go out of the home with her hair uncovered? Even for people who insist that there’s an absolute God given morality can’t agree on what that is. So they still come to “the law of the jungle”.

                • James

                  Everyone has trouble deciding on particulars. The question is whether we have standards to apply to the particulars. I say we do, you say we don’t. I am speaking of necessary, authoritative standards. Your position gives up knowledge, my position saves knowledge.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  My position assumes the knowledge is there to be found. Your position is waiting for clarification that I seriously doubt will ever come.

                • James

                  Progress. I agree it is there to be found. How do we find it and where does it come from? Please do not step back into the induction trap, I weary of explaining why we cannot reason from particulars to universals. Maybe you can convert to Platonism before full throated theism. Are you in touch with an ideal world of forms from which knowledge originates?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Since you earlier stated that you’re sure of what I’m suppressing perhaps you can tell me. I’ll go get my popcorn.

                • James

                  Alas, regress.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  awright awright, I think we have a process that is quite effective in gaining knowledge. And it doesn’t involve divine revelation, because that’s missing the all important corrective mechanism.

                • James

                  “…, we have a process that is quite effective in gaining knowledge,” hypostatizes “process” and begs the question of knowledge. How do you know that which you gain is knowledge? Come to think of it, how do you prove what knowledge is without assuming knowledge in the premise? Is there a path from “no knowledge” to “knowledge”? Also, you suggest my worldview lacks a corrective mechanism? What happened to all that anger against the God who holds everyone accountable for everything they think, say and do? How does your “process” correct me? Does it catch all my mistakes? If it doesn’t catch all our mistakes, could you be mistaken, and uncorrected, in your assumptions about your “process”? Just playing the gadfly, not trying to start a fight.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  I don’t mean to dodge, but most of that seems rhetorical. I hesitate to assume your motivations after chastising you for doing that to me, but it seems like you really want/need something you can rely on absolutely. And because you want that something, that to you proves that it exists. I could be way off here, but that’s my general gist. I just don’t feel bothered by a universe that doesn’t come with a mission statement.

                  A quote from Fenymen comes to mind.

                  I have approximate answers and possible beliefs in different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything, and of many things I don’t know anything about, but I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose which is the way it really is as far as I can tell possibly. It doesn’t frighten me.

                  I’m sure you have numerous working corrective mechanisms in the entirety of your worldview. I just don’t think faith is one gives you reliable answers, that’s all.

                  I posit that being able to listen to A Space Oddity, recorded in space, is pretty cool, and is due to the repeated application of the scientific method. We had to gain a lot of knowledge to be able to do that. And the extremely pious Newton didn’t work out the basic laws of motion through prayer.

                  I don’t mean to appeal to authority, but since you did mention Godel a while back, I should point out that there are numerous ‘great thinkers’ on both sides of this question, so I think it would be foolish to dismiss the opposition out of hand. That said, I have a higher degree of certainty that the god described in the OT is non existent than I do that some god that programmed the starting conditions of the universe doesn’t exist.

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaOC9danxNo

                • James

                  Of course I want/need something to rely upon absolutely, I am human and such is the human condition. Wants, however, do not prove existence claims. Proof is a funny thing. How do you prove anything without assuming at the outset that something can be proven and thus falling into circularity? I assert that careful epistemology humbles us and I credit you and Fenymen (I am unfamiliar with him/her) for starting to move in that direction. I am already there, if God does not exist to control the world on which I depend, I cannot know anything, I cannot even sustain my own existence.
                  I also agree that math, science, language, etc…, work. I do not claim you have to be a Christian to do math, science, language, etc…. I do claim that we cannot solve how math, science, language, etc…, work so as to give unaided warrant for our faith in the fact that they do work. If a good, absolute personal God is in control of everything so as to insure that the universe works to enable our mathematical, scientific, reasoning enterprises, then we have warrant to rest in our faith that reason works. If we are adrift in a sea of random change, we lack warrant. Yet, those who deny God do not act and think consistent with the conclusion that we lack warrant for everything. Instead, the unbeliever constructs counterfeit warrants (what the Bible calls idols) to justify thought, morality, reality, etc…, apart from God. This never works, these efforts always lead to contradiciton. A consistent atheist really would not be an atheist because atheists claim to know things such as God is disproven/unproven.
                  Intelligence is a human condition and I have not and will not argue that I am right because I and/or my team is smarter. I also reject the notion that I have dismissed opposing views out of hand. I take particular care to understand the arguments skeptics make against Christianity.
                  Finally, a little apologetics. You do realize that when Fenymen states, “I’m not absolutely sure of anything,” there is no path back from that statement to “but I don’t have to know an answer.”

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  How do you prove anything without assuming at the outset that something can be proven and thus falling into circularity?

                  We’re both assuming we’re not a brain in a jar. I’m also assuming there’s no God for much the same reason. Whether there is or not, things work for me as if there isn’t. You keep saying things like:

                  If we are adrift in a sea of random change, we lack warrant. Yet, those who deny God do not act and think consistent with the conclusion that we lack warrant for everything.

                  I (and many others) simply disagree. I’m not sure how else to put it. Your position seems patently obvious to you, and mine seems patently obvious to me. I, like most humans and a great many other species, have evolved empathy. I care about other life. That compels me to do many of the things your Jesus talks about (and not do some of the things your Yeweh commands).

                  Feynman is Richard Feynman http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Feynman

                  Finally, a little apologetics. You do realize that when Fenymen states, “I’m not absolutely sure of anything,” there is no path back from that statement to “but I don’t have to know an answer.”

                  I fail to see a problem there. Feynmen has a extremely high degree of certainty about some things, but will never know if he’s a brain in a jar. He’s also ok with not knowing if he’s a brain in a jar.

                  A consistent atheist really would not be an atheist because atheists claim to know things such as God is disproven/unproven.

                  Just because you think God is proven doesn’t mean God is proven. I don’t think God is disproven, only unproven.

                • James

                  I challenge your move from we both assume we are not a brain in a jar to assuming there is no God for the same reason. We assume we are not brains in jars because we would have no warrant for truth claims about reality if we were. Your disbelief in God does not work the same way, in fact, as I have argued, it works in reverse. Your disbelief functionally puts your brain in a jar. You lose warrant for your truth claims. Thus, you retreat into subjectivity giving me autobiography on what an empathetic person you are. I am sure you are but can you prove warrant for your belief that empathy is good, not evil? I want to provide meaning to your empathy, atheism makes your empathy irrelevant.
                  As for Fenymen, is he absolutely sure he has an extremely high degree of certainty about some things? Is he absolutely sure he will never know if he’s a brain in a jar? Is he absolutely sure he’s ok with not knowing whether he is a brain in a jar. Are you absolutely sure God is unproven? If yes, I will go right back to demanding that you provide a nontheistic warrant for belief in absolutes (universals). If no, how is this even a meaningful statement?
                  Last, I do not argue and will not argue that I think God is proven, therefore God is proven. I would have to be God to do that.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  “I want to provide meaning to your empathy, atheism makes your empathy irrelevant.”

                  You want to, yes.

                  But I think you agree that that meaning doesn’t depend on your desire.

                  You think (I think) it’s inconsistent to live a life of purpose if we don’t assume the universe has a purpose. I don’t.

                • James

                  I agree that meaning does not depend on my desire. I disagree that living a life of purpose is consistent with assuming the universe has no purpose. I understand that subjectively you can believe anything you wish, up is down, right is left, good is bad, empathy is murder, etc…. However, for purpose to be real, it has to attach to something outside of yourself. Do you live a purposeful life? What obligates me or anyone else to acknowledge that your life has purpose? If the answer is nothing, then what is the difference between saying your life is purposeful and saying your life is not purposeful? If the answer is something, what is it?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  I don’t see any difference between the subjective nature of our life purposes. You feel yours is backed up by a particular religious doctrine. Ok. I know it makes you feel better (not that that’s your reason for choosing that doctrine I realize) but most people on the planet are comforted by having a purpose provided by a different doctrine.

                  So we’re back to “who’s right”? The person who thinks they have an ultimate arbiter? Or the person who doesn’t?

                  How is my life purpose different from not having a life purpose? (or a “life not purposeful” was your wording) Cogito ergo sum. I’ve thought about it, therefore it is.

                • James

                  I am fascinated by your answer because you encoded the right answer in your response. Neither of us can be right unless there is an ultimate arbiter. Have you read Dr. Russel’s critique of Descartes? The atheist, Russel was right, cogito ergo sum proves nothing, it is circular. Rene assumed his existence to prove his existence.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  If we can’t agree on an arbiter, does it exist? And if it does, then how is not knowing if it exists or which it is different from it not existing?

                  I agree Descartes is circular reasoning, and if I was actually trying to prove something to you with that statement it would be faulty. But Russel (and I haven’t read that piece so I’m going on general knowledge of Russel) didn’t feel it appropriate to make up an arbiter either.

                  I know you’re not making it up. But to me, (and many humans) it appears exactly as if you are.

                • James

                  Whether we agree or disagree has no bearing on existence. We neither agree God into, or out of existence. He either does, or does not exist. There are consequences to both. If he exists, the universe has an ultimate upon which to predicate. If he does not, the universe (setting aside that we can no longer speak of a universe) does not predicate. If he does not exist, “knowing” does not exist either. That is the difference. If God does not exist, that which you call knowing is not real. If he does exist, “knowing” is real, let the disgreeing, arguing, flame throwing and hopefully eventual solving and resolving begin for we now have an ultimate on which to predicate knowledge. Remember, knowledge is justified, true belief. We have to get warrant into the universe before we can speak of knowledge. The proper question is whether there is a difference between knowledge is real and knowledge is not real. I say there is a difference, surely you agree.

                • GCT

                  Well, it had to come to threats sooner or later.

                • James

                  Is it an immoral threat when a doctor tells a patient you have to take this medicine or you will die? Where do you draw the line between threat and a “you do not want to go there” warning?

                • GCT

                  It’s not very nice, because James isn’t able to comprehend such things. But, keep doing so. I see no need to be nice to a bigoted troll.

                • GCT

                  That’s your problem that he’s violating wills, as it destroys the least weak response to the problem of evil. You must be trying to look ridiculous because no one can be just this naturally good at being so.

                • James

                  Evil has to be real in order for there to be a problem of evil. Is evil real? What standard defines it? I am most eager for your answer because once we find the standard, I intend to correspond it to atheism and homosexuality to determine if they are evil.

                • GCT

                  Evil has to be real in order for there to be a problem of evil.

                  No, actually it doesn’t, depending on your definition of what constitutes something that is real. You will, of course, contend that it is only real if there’s a universal standard. This is, for the umpteenth time, wrong.

                  For there to be a problem of evil, we need only look at your argument and take your assumptions to show that they lead to absurdity. They do. This is why there is no problem of evil for atheists and why Xians cannot escape the problem of evil. This is anther rabbit hole though, and not worth going down since no Xian has ever adequately answered the problem of evil and you are not going to do so here.

                • James

                  If evil is not real, then there is no problem of evil. Now had you stood in a worldview in which evil is real, I would have resolved the problem of evil by stating that God has a morally sufficient reason for the evil He allows. This solves the logical problem. A lot of psychological problems remain, but psychology does not determine truth.

                • GCT

                  If evil is not real, then there is no problem of evil.

                  Already dealt with you lying sack of shit.

                  …God has a morally sufficient reason for the evil He allows. This solves the logical problem.

                  Nope, not by a long shot. You have no evidence that god has morally sufficient reasons for allowing children to be raped, murdered, or starve to death. You’re simply asserting that it’s the case and claiming job done. That’s actually your number one problem. You think that you can simply assert things and they become true and reality must adjust to your assertions. Thus, you can’t argue in good faith with us, because all you know how to do is make assertions. When you assertions are challenged or even shown to be wrong, you have no answer because you’ve simply assumed them true and cannot countenance being wrong. It’s arrogant in the extreme of you and intellectually dishonest.

                  A lot of psychological problems remain, but psychology does not determine truth.

                  Wow, that’s incredibly stupid of you. You can’t even follow your own assertion without adding some stupid shit that completely negates your assertion…and you don’t even see it because you’re just way over your head and too stupid.

                • James

                  Well let us put you to the test. Spell out each step of the problem of evil and explain how it leads to the conclusion that the God of the Bible does not exist. I then will demonstrate that the simple, bare, unsupported assertion that God has a sufficient reason for the evil he allows defeats the argument. It really is that simple. I understand the psychological challenge of evil, however, the logical argument is a howler.

                • James

                  The problem of evil is a formal proof against the existence of God. If you insert “God has a morally sufficient reason for the evil he allows” the form problem disappears. The conclusion, therefore the God of the Bible cannot exist no longer flows from the premise. It is that simple.

                • GCT

                  Much better and thank you for the clarification. No one can disprove God (no possible path from particulars to a universal negative) so the most you can say is you choose not to believe in God and you have no interest in pursuing whether your belief is correct because if he does exist, you hate Him. This is fine so long as you admit you are being arbitrary, self-referential, self-indulgent, and irrational.

                  This doesn’t even rise to the level of wrong. No one can disprove the nebulous concept of god, but certainly we know that certain god concepts are logically inconsistent and therefore not true. That said, that’s above and beyond the scope of effort needed to be rational and atheist. The burden of proof lies not upon the atheist, but upon the theist. No theist has ever provided one scintilla of supporting evidence for the idea of god. The irrational position, therefore, is to have theistic belief, as it is belief in the face of zero evidence. Rejection of the god assertion, in the face of no evidence, is the rational position.

                  Further, to call a lack of belief “self-indulgent” is the height of arrogance. What is more self-indulgent, a rational position based on evidence that god doesn’t exist, or your belief that god not only exists, but loves you and favors you and tells you his inner desires and plans and what is and is not moral/good/true/correct/etc? Fuck your blatant religious privilege.

                  BTW, God evaluating us on the fullness of our lives and our character is not good news for any of us because he will judge us by perfection.

                  This is an inhumane concept brought about by Xianity that has caused untold suffering. Why do you hate humanity so much?

                • James

                  Sorry, but you gave up your “right” to speak of proof, knowledge, logic, rationality, burden of proof, evidence, arrogance, love, inhumanity, and hartred the moment you said that man is not morally obligated. “Right” went out the window with that comment.

                • GCT

                  I’ve said nothing about moral obligation. I’ve talked about obligations, not moral obligations. I’ve explained this to you multiple times and you keep ignoring it because you are too dishonest to engage in a rational discussion. So, fuck off bigot.

                  You want to talk about all of those things? You’ve been soundly trounced on all of those things. You have no leg to stand on with any of those things, as I’ve pointed out many times here. And, that’s especially true for the parts about love and inhumanity, when you are the oppressor and abuser. You are a horrible human being.

                • James

                  What is an amoral obligation and exactly how does it obligate me?

                • GCT

                  Still being dishonest I see. It’s all evasion on your part. You can’t actually handle the arguments put forth, so you make shit up (lie) so that you can deflect from the obvious short-comings of your own bald and unsupported assertions.

                  And, this is all trying to whitewash the fact that you are an unabashed bigot who hates gays and atheists (and probably women and people of color too).

                • James

                  So is your judgment of me amoral or moral?

                • GCT

                  You are immoral, which sort of comes with the territory of being a lying, abusing, oppressing bigot.

                  The burden of proof still lies upon you to support any of your assertions about god’s existence and his role in logic, rationality, etc. You can try all you want to shirk your responsibility, but it only makes you look foolish and we can all tell that you are unable to back up your claims.

                • James

                  Immoral presupposes moral. You denied moral obligations yesterday and this morning. Did you convert within the last hour?

                • GCT

                  I did no such thing. You keep saying I did, but it’s not true. The more you continue to lie about it, the worse it looks for you. You don’t have the capacity to even be honest in a single comment out of…how many have you posted here without honesty? I think the only honesty you’ve shown is your intense hatred of atheists and gays.

                • James

                  “Humane”, autocorrect got me again.

                • GCT

                  Because reality exists. Because the empirical world exists. Besides, who says objectivity doesn’t exist. Once again, you don’t even have a rudimentary knowledge of the topic. Objective is not the same as universal. Oops. Go learn something and then come back.

                  Lastly, the Bible’s standard on slavery has not changed, yet you’ll find very few Xians who now say it’s OK, even though the Bible clearly claims it is. Oops. Again, go learn something and then come back.

                  Bigot.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              This has nothing to do with atheism. This has to do with you, for some strange reason, caring what other people do with their lives that has no affect on you or on society.

              You are convinced that you are somehow rational, and that the rest of us are inconsistent and hypocritical.

              Fine. Life goes on. 30 years ago most Americans disproved of people of vastly different skin tones getting married. In 30 years your position will be viewed with the same disdain that most Americans now have of segregationists.

              Good day, and don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

              • James

                Has no affect on society??? I thought your group was trying to change laws prohibiting homosexual marriage. Are you guys starting a revolution or not?

                • GCT

                  How does allowing homosexuals to get married change society? I’d love to hear about it. Please tell us all how allowing consenting gay adults to get married will irreparably harm civilization. Oh, and please try not to use the same arguments that were used in favor of miscegenation laws.

                  No one is going to force anyone into a homosexual marriage, just as people are not forced to marry other people with different skin pigmentation. I still would not allow you to marry your 10 year old daughter though, and I still think you should see someone about that urge.

                • James

                  If you change the law prohibiting homosexual marriage, you change the society. Irreparable harm to civilization? Doubt it, but I do not accept the premise that laws are not legitimate unless they are designed to prevent irreparable harm to civilization. There are many good reasons for the laws we have which fall short of your “sky is falling” hysteria.
                  I am glad that you join me in denying marriage equality by denying my right to marry my 10 year old daughter. I guess that makes us both bigots.

                • GCT

                  If you change the law prohibiting homosexual marriage, you change the society.

                  Any change to any law changes society by that low bar you’ve set. Therefore, I suggest you advocate that we never change a single law if you’re really concerned about society changing at all. I mean, who cares if there’s rampant discrimination as long as we make sure society doesn’t change (thus propagating more rampant discrimination and bigotry and continuing to abuse the victims of your bigotry and hatred).

                  I am glad that you join me in denying marriage equality by denying my right to marry my 10 year old daughter. I guess that makes us both bigots.

                  How does that make me a bigot? Your insistence that any and all arrangements must be allowed for any sort of marriage equality or else bigotry is a false dichotomy. I understand that you are doing it on purpose in order to blunt the fact that you are, in fact, a bigot, but it’s dishonest at the very least. Your hatred for gays is oozing from every post you make and your obvious bigotry is glaring. You don’t get to make up some example about how much you want to marry your own 10 year old daughter, ignore all the ways in which it is not at all the same, and then pretend that I share in your bigotries.

                • James

                  You asked how allowing homosexual marriage changes society. I answered your question. I did not say we should never change a single law, you are putting those words in my mouth to make a straw man argument. As for discrimination, all laws discriminate. You have discriminated today in what you have written. Discrimination can be either good or bad. You claim discrimination against homosexual marriage is bad because it denies marriage equality and I have effectively demonstrated that you also deny marriage equality. You now want to ad hoc your ethics, which is fine so long as you realize that you have lost “equality” as an ethical absolute.
                  Also, I do not think either of us are bigots, I am simply giving you some of your own medicine for your gratuitous use of that word. Live by epithets, die by epithets.

                • GCT

                  You asked how allowing homosexual marriage changes society.

                  Actually, I would contend that it doesn’t change society. Society changes the laws, not the other way round.

                  I did not say we should never change a single law, you are putting those words in my mouth to make a straw man argument.

                  Oh really? If we use your argumentative style, you claimed that gay marriage should be opposed because it will change society. Therefore, you think changing society is bad and should be opposed. Hoist by your own petard?

                  As for discrimination, all laws discriminate.

                  Especially the ones that say that one can not discriminate? Wow, but you are dumb.

                  You have discriminated today in what you have written.

                  Oh, so now we have a bait/switch conflation argument. Why am I not surprised?

                  You claim discrimination against homosexual marriage is bad because it denies marriage equality and I have effectively demonstrated that you also deny marriage equality.

                  It’s only effective in your mind. The actual argument is that the state has no compelling reason to restrict these types of arrangements. But, again, don’t let the facts get in the way of your bigoted and homophobic rants.

                  You now want to ad hoc your ethics, which is fine so long as you realize that you have lost “equality” as an ethical absolute.

                  Never claimed it was an “ethical absolute.” That’s more lying on your part and more straw burning. You’re not a master debater, you’re just engaged in masturbatory hatred.

                  Also, I do not think either of us are bigots, I am simply giving you some of your own medicine for your gratuitous use of that word. Live by epithets, die by epithets.

                  I will use that word, when it’s appropriate, and it is overwhelming appropriate here. From your broad brush strokes against atheists to your obvious hatred of gays, you are a bigot. It’s plainly evident in what you’ve written. That you can say claim the paper/glue defense that most people stopped using in the 2nd grade doesn’t impress me.

            • onamission5

              You know where incidence of STD infection is really on the rise? Amongst heterosexuals in retirement homes. You know what part of the population tends to be the most religious? The elderly.
              Wrap your brain around that one.

              • James

                Looks like the elderly are practicing their equal rights.

    • 3lemenope

      Consistency is a foolish thing to pursue to the exclusion of other qualities.

      • James

        Nonsense statement. If it is true (we do not have to be consistent) then it is false (we do not have to be consistent with this silly aphorism).

        • 3lemenope

          One day you’ll realize that actually real objects in the really real world do not obey propositional logic neatly or cleanly. A person can stand in a doorway, extend their stance and be both inside and outside a room. A person can dip one hand in freezing water and the other in boiling water and be, at once, both hot and cold. Hence mereological complexity. A person can utter a statement that is made to apply to some subset of the universe of possible statements, or only over a given spatio-temporal interval, or only to objects sharing a given metaphysical or accidental quality. Hence modal complexity.

          Once you introduce mereology and modality to your logics, you might be able to approach the really real world with something effective at describing it. In this case, when the assertion is made that consistency is not a value that should be pursued at the expense of other values, a contradiction does not arise, because the assertion contains two modal steps insulating it from self-reference (it applies only to a collection of held beliefs, and it only applies when consistency is acting rivalrously with the values that inhere in a member of that collection).

          Failing to recognize the operative force of the modalities in play corrupts your attempted apagogic refutation, because it causes it to contain a flagrant equivocation in its use of “consistent” from the original use. You stripped out the modal qualifiers to attempt to portray my statement as universally applicable (“we do not have to be consistent”), and then tried to show ad absurdum that this use leads to a contradiction. Given that the original statement cannot possibly be used in the way you use it in the refutation, the refutation fails.

          • James

            Objects do not obey propositional logic period. People do. The law of non-contradiciton is properly basic to logic, that is, logic never gets off the ground without it. I understand qualifications, but your aphorism is not qualified, it is silly and poorly worded. Try writing in the active voice, should help.

            • 3lemenope

              Several paraconsistent logics are dialethic; they tolerate contradiction. The law of non-contradiction is only properly basic to classical propositional logic. You can certainly be forgiven for assuming the entire universe of possible logics was entirely contained by the tiny corner you have been shown.

              On the other hand, not being able to read a sentence heavy with modal qualification as anything other than a universal is unforgivable. You just ignored “…to the exclusion of other qualities” utterly. Blaming your ignoring half of the damn statement at issue on a verb voice problem verges on contemptible.

  • Anna

    You guys, why is everyone feeding the troll? He’s managed to derail the entire comment section and take it down the path of insanity. Anyone comparing same-sex marriage to pedophilia and incest really shouldn’t be given the time of day.

    • GCT

      I’m doing it out of some potentially misplaced notion that such obvious atheophobic and homophobic bigotry should be pointed out and shown to be obvious rubbish. I also find that if you push hard enough, you get the gems to come out, like James’ idea that gays get what they deserve when they are abused, harassed, etc. Hopefully, anyone following along that may be on the fence saw that and saw how it was laid bare and realizes that they don’t want to be on the side of that asshole.

      • Anna

        Fair enough, although I do worry that giving them attention encourages them to keep coming back. Hopefully “James” will be one of our short-lived visitors.

        • GCT

          James has been trounced on all fronts by everyone who has addressed him. If he does come back, it’s because he’s too blinkered to understand how soundly his non-arguments have been defeated. He should be ashamed at coming on here armed only with a superficial understanding of dishonest talking points from bigots.

          • James

            How are you going to prove this is true? You still have the nasty little problem of not being able to correspond your beliefs to abstract universals.

            • GCT

              I have the nasty little problem of not being able to live up to straw men version of my arguments. No, wait, that’s your problem for not being able to argue against anything but straw men. Your little sound bytes that you gained from whatever bigoted website you went to have been soundly trounced, and you don’t have the knowledge or where-with-all to actually defend them anyway. You’re way out of your league and you’re either too privileged/bigoted or too stupid to realize it.

              • James

                I simply ask you to explain how you know this is true. A 4 year old can call people names, providing warrant for beliefs is more difficult.

                • GCT

                  I’ve already done so. That you prefer the 4 year old’s tactic of putting your fingers in your ears and claiming that you can’t hear me doesn’t make my points any less compelling.

                  You are the bigot. You are the oppressor. You are the the abuser. People like you are abusing, oppressing, harassing, and attacking gays (and atheists). You are responsible for violence against gays. You are responsible for gays being bullied into taking their own lives. You. You and your bigot ilk are the ones who are responsible for these things. You are killing people with your actions. You are brutalizing people. You are violently attacking people. You. You are the bigot. You are the oppressor. You are the abuser. You.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              Kind of like the nasty little problem of not being able to correspond “free speech” to abstract universals?

              • James

                Not a problem for me. I have a worldview by which I can evaluate free speech by corresponding it to an authoritative standard.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  You mean you can find authoritative standards to match your worldview.

                • James

                  Yep.

                • GCT

                  No, actually, you can’t.

                • James

                  I can, but the more interesting question is “can you?” What is your standard and how does it obligate me?

                • GCT

                  Show me your authoritative standard then. Where is it? How do you know it is real? How do you know it is authoritative? How does it obligate me?

                  Face it, you cannot answer any of the questions that you demand from us. Your ideas are self defeating and wrong.

                  And, you’re a bigot, abuser, and oppressor as well as a troll.

                • James

                  God is the standard. I know He is real because without Him, you can not prove anything. Denial of God always puts the denier in a false worldview which fails to supply the necessary preconditions for reality, knowledge, and ethics. Your worldview is nihilism, you deny universals.

                • GCT

                  God is the standard.

                  This literally makes no sense. How is it proper to claim that some entity is the standard for how one should conduct oneself? What do you mean by god? Whose god? How do they know which god is real and whether their interpretations of this god are correct? This does not answer the question, you fail.

                  I know He is real because without Him, you can not prove anything.

                  Logic fail for circular reasoning. If logic is required by god, then you have just violated the rules of logic to show that it is the case.

                  But, really, what you’ve just said is not even wrong as I’ve already pointed out. Logic is descriptive of reality. When you posit an entity that can literally warp reality at any given time, then all bets are off. With god, logic can not exist, because we can’t be certain that the codified rules of logic will hold from moment to moment. Your argument fails yet again.

                  Denial of God always puts the denier in a false worldview which fails to supply the necessary preconditions for reality, knowledge, and ethics.

                  Wrong again. Science, which is the study of reality, has no need for god. In fact, it only works when one disregards the question of the existence of god. Once someone adds god to the equations, science breaks down and cannot operate (excepting claims of the works of god on the real world that don’t ever seem to actually show god, i.e. prayer studies). Just like with logic, once you add god, you can’t do science because you can’t know that reality will work the same from moment to moment. With god in the equation, you literally could jump off a cliff and fly away if god wills it.

                  Same goes for knowledge.

                  As for ethics, you run right into the Euthyphro Dilemma, which you have no answer for, as well as all the other issues that I’ve brought up that you’ve ignored. Simply repeating what your pastor told you is a shit argument and doesn’t make it any more right than it was when it was shredded previously in this very comment thread (as well as in countless other places).

                  Your worldview is nihilism, you deny universals.

                  A) That is not what nihilism means.
                  B) I’m not a nihilist.
                  C) Atheism need not lead to nihilism unless you make the assumption that it must and then claim that your assumption must be true, which is a logical fail (begging the question).

                  If logic comes from your god, why must you completely toss it out the window in order to make every argument you have?

                  Bigot.

                • James

                  Didn’t you just state that no one is morally obligated? This means “right” is not real. Why do you continue to insist you are right and I am wrong. It also settled the homosexual marriage argument, no one is morally obligated to support it. The right God is the one who meets the necessary preconditions for universals and there is only one such God. The God of the Bible is Sui generis. He is revealed so He authoritatively interprets Himself and we correspond out beliefs to His self disclosure. I already answered Euthyphro. I already answered repeatedly that universals are the necessary precondition for logic. Science predicates on regularity thus there must be a regulator. And you are a nihilist except for when you want to vent your moral indignation, then you become quiet the Puritan.

                • GCT

                  Didn’t you just state that no one is morally obligated? This means “right” is not real.

                  Nope, not what I said. Your insistence that anything that is not universal is not real is really stupid, as I’ve continually pointed out. And, I’ll note that you completely ignored my full takedown of your position. I’ll take that as a concession that you’ve lost.

                  It also settled the homosexual marriage argument, no one is morally obligated to support it.

                  You are not obligated to support it. You are an immoral bigot, however, for not supporting it.

                  The right God is the one who meets the necessary preconditions for universals and there is only one such God.

                  Actually, there are no such gods, as I pointed out when I destroyed your argument.

                  I already answered Euthyphro.

                  No, you didn’t. You said something completely meaningless and then pretended that you had answered it.

                  I already answered repeatedly that universals are the necessary precondition for logic.

                  No, you’re repeatedly asserted that. I’ve repeated tried to disabuse you of your faulty notions to no avail, since you only have the ability to parrot what your pastor told you.

                  Science predicates on regularity thus there must be a regulator.

                  Wrong. Besides, I’ve already addressed this. Your god cannot be the regulator since you claim that your god can change the universe at his whim. You can’t do science with your god in the equation. Epic logic fail on your part.

                  And you are a nihilist except for when you want to vent your moral indignation, then you become quiet the Puritan.

                  At no point have I advocated nihilism. Don’t get mad at me because you don’t understand the terms and arguments you are trying to use.

                • James

                  You are employing what some call the Taxicab fallacy. You keep jumping back and forth between inconsistent positions to avoid being pinned down. You deny stating that man is not morally obligated and then in the same response you agree that no one is morally obligated to support homosexual marriage. Which is it? I am here to have a ration discussion. I get real tired, real fast of catch me if you can games.

                • GCT

                  Sigh, do you really not understand the difference between obligation and moral obligation? No one is obligated to be moral. They, however, would not be moral. It’s a simple concept and I have trouble thinking that you can’t understand it. No, it’s all part of your dishonesty. You’re not here to act in good faith. You’re here to display your bigotry and try to score points by trolling. Fuck off.

                • James

                  Actually, I do need to address Euthyphro because it bites you. Plato argued that if good is good simply because the gods say it is good, then good is arbitrary. You claim good is good because man says so. This is even more arbitrary. At least the gods have the divinity thing going for them.

                • GCT

                  Um, no. What he argued was that if good is good regardless of what any god says, then there’s no need for god in morality. If good is good only because god says so, then it’s not universal, it’s relative to that god’s whims.

                  Nor did I say that good is good only because man says so. You need to actually address my arguments instead of burning straw.

                • James

                  Fine. Then provide the sufficient reason for good which does not rely on God or man.

                • GCT

                  Good is a concept that doesn’t exist without entities to determine what is good or not. That’s quite different, however, from saying that good is only good because man says so. Like I’ve said a couple times now, you don’t seem to have the capacity to actually hold this discussion. Perhaps you should run some of this by your pastor to see if he can give you further sound bytes. They might work better, although I doubt it.

                • James

                  I actually agree in part with your first sentence. Good presupposes personality, a person must determine what is good or not. The problem is your use of the plural, “entities”. This leads to infinite regression because if good is many, it never unifies. You and I are perfect examples. We have both determined what is good, but our determinations are in conflict. If God does not exist, then we have no authority for resolving our differences. Only God can save “good”.

                • GCT

                  Bullshit. How does god resolve anything? This is simply might makes right. god is mighty, therefore he is right. Most of us have understood that to be bullshit since grade school. Apparently you’re still stuck in the mindset that whoever has the might makes the right.

                • James

                  God doesn’t make right, He is right.

      • James

        Where did I say “gays get what they deserve when they are abused”? What I said was gays (just like everyone else) are responsible for their own misery. Misery and abuse are different words, different concepts.

        • GCT

          You’ve just contradicted yourself and proved my point, bigot. Now, be gone with you troll. Don’t you have any shame?

          • James

            Misery is an emotional state. No one can control another persons emotional state. Controlling emotions can be difficult, but we are all responsible for doing so.

            • GCT

              Emotional states don’t happen in a vacuum. If someone is miserable because they are being bullied, harassed, treated as a second class citizen, etc, it is due to the actions of others – namely bigots like you.

              You are the abuser. You are the harasser. You are the bigot. Have you no shame?

              • James

                So is bigotry justified because gays, atheists, whomever provoke the bigot’s emotions or is the would be bigot responsible for controlling his emotions?

                • GCT

                  WTF are you talking about? You are the one arguing that you are justified in being a bigot towards gays because it’s their fault that you feel icky about it. It’s not their fault. It’s your fault.

                  You are the oppressor. You are the bigot. You are the abuser. Blaming the victims afterwards for your bigotry is just adding evil upon your already substantial tally.

                • James

                  I am talking about your chronic inconsistency. You deny universal standards to escape accountability and then you assert universal standards to judge others. This works until you meet someone who understands the nature of contradiction. Then you are in trouble.

                • GCT

                  You know nothing of contradiction, as you can only make bald assertions that don’t match reality. I’ve not made any statements based on universal standards, that’s all been a straw man by you. No matter how often I tell you this, you ignore it. You’re a bigoted troll that has no interest in acting in good faith or with any honesty or integrity. I think you’ve made that point rather clear here, so why keep nailing it home and making sure to beat that dead horse (namely that you have nothing to offer but bigoted and dishonest bullshit)?

                • James

                  You really don’t get it do you? You fail to understand that by admitting that you have “not made any statements based on universal standards,” you have just undermined everything you say and your words become meaningless. Why should I or anyone care what you say and think if your words correspond to nothing other than your own thoughts? When you call me a bigot, it is no more meaningful that stating, “I like the color blue.” You are simply voicing your thoughts, nothing more. I know you want to say important things, but in order to do so, you have to correspond your words to something bigger than yourself. Who will save your words?

                • GCT

                  You really don’t get it do you?

                  LOL.

                  You fail to understand that by admitting that you have “not made any statements based on universal standards,” you have just undermined everything you say and your words become meaningless.

                  Only according to the rules that you place on what I say but don’t hold yourself to. If everything must be universal, then I can safely disregard everything you say too, based on your own arguments. IOW, your arguments are self defeating. You’ve lost, and you keep digging the hole deeper and deeper because you’re too stupid to realize that you should stop.

                  When you call me a bigot, it is no more meaningful that stating, “I like the color blue.”

                  Yet, you seem to be upset that people are calling out your bigotry. Why is that? Don’t like being the “bad guy?” Then, perhaps you should stop hating gays and atheists.

                  You are simply voicing your thoughts, nothing more.

                  Nope. I’m using an accurate descriptor for your ideas and actions. Again, this line of argument from you is self defeating.

                  You are the abuser. You are the oppressor. You are the bigot. You are the asshole. You are the troll. Have you no shame for the real damage that you cause in this world? Have you no shame for the real pain that you cause? Have you no shame for brutalizing and abusing gays and atheists? If you universal god and his universal law is true, do you think you’ll be going to heaven or hell for being a bigot and for abusing people?

                • James

                  I did not say everything is universal. If everything was universal, then particulars would be illusory. My position is that we must overcome the problem of the one and the many and account for both universals and particulars. My worldview does this, yours does not. The irony is you have become the big it’s best friend. You have permitted their conduct by denying universals.

                • James

                  Meant bigot, autocorrect beat me to the draw.

                • GCT

                  I did not say everything is universal.

                  Actually, you did…unless you wish to now claim that you were engaging in special pleading, which would also destroy your argument. IOW, you lose by logic fail yet again.

                  My position is that we must overcome the problem of the one and the many and account for both universals and particulars.

                  That’s bullshit and we both know it. Your position is “godsaysso as he told me.” You are basically claiming to have divine revelation of the exact things that god wants and doesn’t want and pretending that it’s binding on all of us. You’re compounding your abusive bigotry with the worst hubris imaginable (as well as your mangling of logic, rationality, and reason). Your arguments are low hanging fruit, which is funny because you actually seem to think they are good.

                  My worldview does this, yours does not.

                  Not. Even. Wrong.

                  The irony is you have become the big it’s best friend. You have permitted their conduct by denying universals.

                  Sigh. So, let me get this straight. You supposedly have god on your side, but you’re bigoted, which is totally cool, because god’s on your side. But, I point out that you’re a bigot and that makes me the bigot’s best friend (for fighting against bigotry and pointing out that your god belief sanctions it and makes no sense)…why exactly? This makes no sense. This is like saying people who protest the KKK are really doing them a favor…somehow.

                  Do you really deny that you are a bigot? You are a textbook bigot. You’ve made sweeping generalizations about large swathes of people based on stereotypes and your personal ick factor. You’ve denied autonomy to people based on stereotypes and your personal ick factor. You’ve denigrated minority groups based on them being part of a minority. You’ve excused ugly privilege and abuse directed at the minority and claimed that it’s the minority’s fault. You are a despicable human being who seems obsessed with having sex with his own 10 year old daughter. You are the oppressor. You are the abuser. You are the bigot. I am not your friend. Go fuck yourself.

                • James

                  Kindly point me to where I said everything is universal.

                • GCT

                  It’s the crux of your arguments. You continue to claim that anything that is not universal can be safely discarded. This cuts both ways, as I have shown. You need to actually go beyond your pastor’s sound-bytes and do some study before you continue to embarrass yourself.

                  Oh wait, you don’t get embarrassed by this stuff, obviously. You’re certainly not embarrassed by being an open bigot and abuser.

                • James

                  I am not going to play the reading comprehension game where I have to explain over and again what I have said. I clearly stated that we have to account for both universals and particulars in order to overcome the problem of the one and the many. I will discuss this with you if you wish.

                • GCT

                  I know what you’ve said. You’ve said contradictory things. I’ve pointed out that you’ve contradicted yourself…many times. Your response seem to be, “Nuh uh.” Well, color me impressed by your verbal skills.

  • Buzzsaw

    Jesus always seemed just a little bit gay to me anyway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=599181133 Chelsea Frost

    I asked Brown for a reference from the Bible where jesus condemns homosexuality. All he could do was sputter and post videos of himself.

    • Anna

      I didn’t get much from him either, and he seems to have stopped responding to me. For someone so involved in the anti-gay movement, Brown has surprisingly little to fall back on.


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