Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Looking for Darwin

Intelligent Design is nothing less than Creationism in Drag: it is an attempt to pass off Creationism as a science, without ever mentioning the word God. The principal modus operandi of its proponents is to attack what it perceives as the two main weaknesses of the Darwinian world-view. Namely, (i) the fossil record is imperfect, and (ii) it’s impossible to conceive how really complex organs like eyes could be the process of an apparently random and uncontrolled biological process like Natural Selection; that is, half an eye, by its very nature, would be as useless as half a kidney: so how could these complex structures have been constructed as a series of steps as evolutionists seemed to be suggesting?

Except that the Creationists’ arguments are a superficial and nonscientific treatment of the evidence. Indeed, there are gaps in the fossil record, but the fossil record is nothing if not supportive of the Darwinian view of evolution – where one form can be seen to change over time, where simple can be seen to become more complex. Similarly, with complex organs such as eyes, it is being at best mischievous to suggest that the Darwinian view of evolution implies such structures came into being all at once (the Creationists are fond of likening the probability of evolution producing an eye as being similar to the probability of a tornado going through a junkyard and assembling a bus). But that’s just ignorant bluster: evolution doesn’t happen as a single event (in contrast to Creation), but as a long series of steps – some small, some big – that occur over long periods of time. And, yes, it is possible to discern a series of steps whereby simple light receptors have been modified in succeeding groups of animals, culminating ultimately in the vertebrate eye.


Of course, the telling thing for supporters of Intelligent Design, for proponents of so-called Scientific Creationism, is that they have no testable hypotheses, nothing they can hold up and potentially test to validate their view of the world. They lack that basic requirement of any science. They are, therefore, left believing in God and his ability to create the world in six days as an act of faith. Call that intelligent, if you will.
Lloyd Spencer Davis
I've just finished Looking For Darwin, a fast-paced mix of science and travelogue by Otago University's Lloyd Spencer Davis, who follows in the footsteps of the author of Origin of the Species to throw light on the whys and wherefores of life on our small planet.

Regrettably you won't find this one on Amazon, as it's only published in NZ. But be of good cheer ye Northern Hemisphere types, there's a website to accompany the book that's well worth checking out. I particularly enjoyed the comments about ID, but the anecdotes about far-flung places from the Galapagos Islands to Antarctica make this anything but a dry academic read. A helluva book.

66 comments:

The Hairless Ape said...

Once one can put the Genesis 1-11 mythologies to rest, you loose the compulsive need defend the indefensible, such as Creationism and Original Sin.

The implications of that paradigm shift are staggering and liberating, and few there be that find it, among fundamentalists.

Questeruk said...

“the Creationists are fond of likening the probability of evolution producing an eye as being similar to the probability of a tornado going through a junkyard and assembling a bus). But that’s just ignorant bluster:”

Hi Gavin,

The origin of this idea I believe was from the well know scientist Sir Fred Hoyle, who was prepared to question the 'party line' on the origin of the universe.

In his book ‘The Intelligent Universe’ Hoyle wrote:-

"A junkyard contains all the bits and pieces of a Boeing 747, dismembered and in disarray. A whirlwind happens to blow through the yard. What is the chance that after its passage a fully assembled 747, ready to fly, will be found standing there? So small as to be negligible, even if a tornado were to blow through enough junkyards to fill the whole Universe."

I don’t have the book to hand, but I believe that is an accurate quote.

Of course Fred Hoyle was for years an atheist, but even so realised the near impossibility of life ‘creating’ itself by chance.

Because of this he slowly came round to the view that some form of higher power was the only possible explanation for life and the universe.

I think the above quote was more aimed at the original step of ‘non-life’ to ‘life’, rather than evolution itself.

Anonymous said...

I don't like to argue, but I like to see a good argument. When a COG speaker responds to a scientific conjecture with a statement like 'Get real!' I usually end up disappointed. And as far as I know, HWA never revealled how he chopped down the 'trunk of the evolutionary tree' after his intensive research in Portland Public Library.

Coincidently, I just watched an episode of Star Trek: DS9 in which Keiko refused to include Bajoran religious beliefs in her science lesson on the worm hole.

PG10 said...

Heretic! Now we will be bombarded by numerous articles from Bob Thiel trying to debunk evolution and Darwin. Don't you know Meredith is FAR more intelligent than Darwin!

How can we forget the embarrassingly ignorant evolution arcticles by GTA. Whale of A Tale describes exactly Armstrongism and Intelligent Design!

Anonymous said...

fhell kakdluoiudiua lkijjiud iohiafid lkuieiueecv67679

iaouidiuoi akieonaiwblmm
popiafipid euipoeopierrea

fksjioeiuoela eiouieccnbjuaourvjouew

akujfdueoiuioeiou

Above= Random typing.

Randomness ever producing meaningful order? Come now, are you really that gullible?

The genetic code "randomly typed" itself into existence??

Folks, if you can have "faith" in that, you have more "faith" than I do in the primal source of God.

Lussnheide

Lyle said...

It is too bad that the scientists do false smear campaigns against ID instead of looking at the evidence. Someone who espouses ID intelligently won't mention gaps in the fossil record. They also will not speak of macro-features like eyes. ID got its start with micro-biologist Michael Behe. He was studying single cell organisms and found that the “motor” which powered the cell's flagellum was irreducibly complex. This is a fancy term which means that it is a mechanism with so few parts (atoms) that the process of evolution would not work to make it. No one has yet been able to explain a mechanism for an evolutionary pathway for these flagellum motors.

I find it interesting that post is said the ID presents no testable hypotheses. The scientific problems of ID are identical to that of Macro-evolution. Macro-evolution also presents no testable hypotheses. You can not conduct a repeatability study on the Battle of Waterloo any more than you can do a repeatability study on dinosaurs. I don't put my whole faith in ID, but I do find it humorous that those attacking the scientific grounds for ID have the exact same problems with Macro-evolution. It can be said of both sides, “Evidence is not proof”.

Anonymous said...

"...you loose the compulsive need (to)defend the indefensible..."

And that is the primary root of Creationism/ID- it's all about the Bible. Religious types who say they reject evolution primarily due to lack of evidence are liars. They reject evolution because of their religion, nothing more. They rejected evolution (and the ability to think critically) the moment they started "believing" in their god.

Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5585125669588896670

A 67min video on Evolution & Intelligent Design. Worth watching.

Anonymous said...

"No one has yet been able to explain a mechanism for an evolutionary pathway for these flagellum motors."

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/09/flagellum_evolu.html


http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB200_1.html


Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

"It is too bad that the scientists do false smear campaigns against ID instead of looking at the evidence."

What evidence????



Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

All I can say is it,s only a matter of time and you will all see the Creator coming in great power and glory.Jesus was the one that did the actual creating and He says "For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" and also No more shall every man teach his neighbor and every man his brother, saying Know the Lord for they shall know Me from the least of them to the greatest of them says THE LORD. That time is much shorter than you think. I am praying for you all.

Anonymous said...

"I find it interesting that post is said the ID presents no testable hypotheses. The scientific problems of ID are identical to that of Macro-evolution. Macro-evolution also presents no testable hypotheses."

"Evolution is observable and testable. The misconception here is that science is limited to controlled experiments that are conducted in laboratories by people in white lab coats. Actually, much of science is accomplished by gathering evidence from the real world and inferring how things work. Astronomers cannot hold stars in their hands and geologists cannot go back in time, but in both cases scientists can learn a great deal by using multiple lines of evidence to make valid and useful inferences about their objects of study. The same is true of the study of the evolutionary history of life on Earth, and as a matter of fact, many mechanisms of evolution are studied through direct experimentation as in more familiar sciences."

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/misconceptions_faq.php#b6


Paul Ray
Paul Ray

Bamboo_bends said...


An excerpt from Richard Dawkins's book River Out of Eden



There is a river out of Eden, and it flows through time, not space. It is a river of DNA - a river of information, not a river of bones and tissues: a river of abstract instructions for building bodies, not a river of solid bodies themselves.

The information passes through bodies and affects them, but it is not affected by them on its way through.

I speak of a river of genes, but I could equally well speak of a band of good companions marching through geological time. All the genes of one breeding population are, in the long run, companions of each other. In the short run, they sit in individual bodies and are temporarily more intimate companions of the other genes sharing each body. Genes survive down the ages only if they are good at building bodies that are good at living and reproducing in the particular way of life chosen by the species. But there is more to it than this. To be good at surviving, a gene must be good at working together with the other genes in the same species - the same river. To survive in the long run, a gene must be a good companion. It must do well in the company of, or against the background of, the other genes in the same river. Genes of another species are in a different river.

The feature that defines a species is that all members of any one species have the same river of genes flowing through them, and all the genes in a species have to be prepared to be good companions of one another. A new species comes into existence when an existing species divides into two. The river of genes forks in time. From a gene's point of view, speciation, the origin of new species, is "the long goodbye." After a brief period of partial separation, the two rivers go their separate ways forever, or until one or the other dries extinct into the sand. Secure within the banks of either river, the water is mixed and remixed by sexual recombination. But water never leaps its banks to contaminate the other river. After a species has divided, the two sets of genes are no longer companions. They no longer meet in the same bodies, and they are no longer required to get on well.

There are now perhaps 30 million branches to the river of DNA, for that is an estimate of the number of species on earth. It has also been estimated that the surviving species constitute about 1 percent of the species that have ever lived. It would follow that there have been some 3 billion branches to the river of DNA altogether. Today's 30 million branch rivers are irrevocably separate. Many of them are destined to wither into nothing, for most species go extinct. If you follow the 30 million rivers back into the past, you will find that, one by one, they join up with other rivers. The river of human genes unites with those leading to other major groups of mammals: rodents; cats; bats; elephants. After that, we meet the streams leading to various kinds of reptiles, birds, amphibians, fish, invertebrates.


Francis Crick and James Watson, the unravelers of the molecular structure of the gene, should be honored for as many centuries as Aristotle and Plato. Their Nobel Prizes were awarded "in physiology or medicine," but this is almost trivial. Our whole understanding of life has been revolutionized as a direct result of the ideas that those two young men put forward in 1953. Ever since Watson-Crick, molecular biology has become digital.

Watson and Crick enabled us to see that genes themselves, within their minute internal structure, are long strings of pure digital information.

What is more, they are truly digital, in the full and strong sense of computers and compact disks. The genetic code is not a binary code as in computers, nor an eight-level code as in some telephone systems, but a quaternary code, with four symbols. The machine code of the genes is uncannily computerlike. Apart from differences in jargon, the pages of a molecular-biology journal might be interchanged with those of a computer-engineering journal. Among many other consequences, this digital revolution at the very core of life has dealt the final, killing blow to vitalism - the belief that living material is deeply distinct from nonliving material. Up until 1953, it was still possible to believe that there was something fundamentally and irreducibly mysterious in living protoplasm. No longer. Even those philosophers who had been predisposed to a mechanistic view of life would not have dared hope for such total fulfillment of their wildest dreams.

Anonymous said...

Lussnheide said:

"Randomness ever producing meaningful order? Come now, are you really that gullible? The genetic code "randomly typed" itself into existence?? Folks, if you can have "faith" in that, you have more "faith" than I do in the primal source of God."

This is the standard Creationist response - and reveals their lack of reading in science. The problem with Intelligent Designers is that they seem willfully ignorant of the scientific work that flatly contradicts the premise they so earnestly want to validate. May I recommend Victor Stenger's (yes, he is the brother of Ambassador College's former Registrar William Stenger) book HAS SCIENCE FOUND GOD?

You may be surprised what some of the cutting edge findings in physics appear to lead to.

There could very well be a Higher Power, Cosmic Intelligence, God, or however you would envision such a Force or Power or Being - but after reading Stenger's book, chance and randomness no longer seem the incredulous proposition that Creationists so often caricaturize it to be.

Anonymous said...

it's an established fact that life comes only from pre-existing life.

the evidence of that is all around us.

can anyone provide evidence of life coming from something that is not alive?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

And as far as I know, HWA never revealled how he chopped down the 'trunk of the evolutionary tree' after his intensive research in Portland Public Library.



Anonymous,
Nameless,
Knowledgeless,

I think it was explained in an older edition of the Autobiography, but may have got deleted in the newer edition.

The evilutionists (TM) claimed that the simple fossils were found in the older layers of the earth, and that the complex fossils were found in the newer layers of the earth.

The problem was that sometimes some of the simple (supposedly older) fossils were in layers ABOVE some of the complex (supposedly newer) fossils.

How, then, did the evilutionists (TM) know which layers of the earth were older and which layers of the earth were newer? Why, they just assumed that the layers with the simple fossils were the oldest and that the layers with the complex fossils were the newest.

It was all based on their preconceived theory of evilution (TM). Since the evilutionists (TM) already knew what they really desperately wanted to believe, it was easy to fabricate evidence to support it.

But then, if there really were anything to the evilutionary (TM) theory, its supporters would not have had to make up all the nonsense and deliberate frauds that they have over the years. It is these fabricators and their faulty theory that have had to evolve to try to survive.

Some may not like to hear it told so bluntly, but these evil (no TM) people really are just a bunch of scum who never evolved beyond wanting to stick their dinks up each other's butts. If you doubt this, just read any of their latest books!

Anonymous said...

Another anonymous said -

fhell kakdluoiudiua lkijjiud iohiafid

That is not quite correct. Although the analogy to a monkey at a typewriter writing meaningful text may illustrate the enormity of the task, it does not correspond to random change and natural selection.

Random changes may occur, some are kept, others are discarded - meaning some live, some die out. You throw the dice, if it's a good throw, you can continue, if not, you have to quit the game.

I think HWA was close to this idea with his racist rants about "pure bred" Noah, genetic mutations making other races, and the "sin" of interracial marriage.

Corky said...

Questeruk said...

Of course Fred Hoyle was for years an atheist, but even so realised the near impossibility of life ‘creating’ itself by chance.

Life probably didn't create itself by "chance" and it didn't have to begin here either. There is the entire universe and about 14 billion years to work with (that's 14 thousand millions of years). Almost incomprehensible time.

It could also be that life can't help but happen - all the laws of the universe are not known. So, who can say that life happened "by chance"?

There could very well be superior beings to humans in the universe, but that wouldn't make them gods, just superior beings.

SmilinJackSprat said...

14th century Rabbis, e.g. Nachmanides, knew the universe was ancient, that God had imbued Creation with a wisdom of its own, including creative powers, that the days of Genesis were precise, that time as humanity knows it began only with Adam's creation (on the 6th day), and that students of Torah would have to wait for science to explain how all this fit together. Creationists generally ignore this material. It's a dirty shame, because the impression is made, by Creationists, that Holy Writ cannot be taken seriously, which is lamentably untrue.

One cannot understand the Genesis creation account without access to ancient Hebrew, Kabbalah, and Einstein's discovery of Relativity. With them, it all fits together like clockwork -- each clock running its own relative speed -- all of which one might presume was understood by the Creator and worked into Scripture. Or do we think God wasn't aware of Relativity when He gave Moses the Torah?

Yes, the Torah of Moses is that sophisticated. Awesome is far too small a word for it.

Bamboo_bends said...

Anonymous said (in all lower case)...
it's an established fact that life comes only from pre-existing life.

the evidence of that is all around us.

can anyone provide evidence of life coming from something that is not alive?


Click here for that very thing!

Its all in the encoding of information.

VonHowitzer said...

f hell kakdluoiudiua lkijjiud iohiafid lkuieiueecv67679

i aoui d iuoia kieonaiwblmm
pop iafipid euipoeo pierre a

fksjio eiuo e la eiou ieccnbjuaourvjouew

akujfdu eoiu i oeiou

Hey Luss!

You need a better example of randomness than just scrabbling some letters off a keyboard.

First of all, the randomness is affected by the use of (I'm assuming) a standard QWERTY keyboard. Since QWERTY was designed to place the most commonly used keys at your fingertips (literally), your "random selection" would be naturally biased towards those letters.

I've added some spaces to what you typed. Note that there are a few words that were created, so that one could say that by the "Lussenheide Code" the grave warning "hell pop pierre" was found.

Note also that the combination of the vowels ioue is very frequent, sometimes in the same order, sometimes with slight variations.

There was only one inclusion of numbers, which shows a conscious effort was made to include them - hardly a result of random choice. No upper case letters were selected, which again, shows a lack of true randomness.

Perhaps the number pad might have proven to be more useful.

KMS

Anonymous said...

Another anonymous said -

Anonymous,
Nameless,
Knowledgeless


Herb chopped down the tree because Darwin used Lyle's geology? It definitely led to some wrong conclusions, but it's at best only a loose brick.

PS: I hope you were lowering yourself to name-calling.

Juan Rheinland said...

Bamboo Bends axed:

"can anyone provide evidence of life coming from something that is not alive?"

How about members of RCG leaving church after one of Dave Pack's sermons?

Questeruk said...

In response to

“can anyone provide evidence of life coming from something that is not alive?”

Bamboo_bends provided a link for ‘that very thing’




Interesting article – but---

What is actually being done? A synthetic genome is being built, using as building blocks existing blocks of genome.

It states it’s a three step project – they are currently working on step two.

What is step three (which they have not attempted as yet)? Referring to the announcement regarding the second step, I quote the article:-


“…is the second step leading to the next experiments to transplant a fully synthetic bacterial chromosome into a living organism and “boot up” the cell”.

So what they are hoping to attempt to achieve is to use an already existing cell (i.e. already living), and transplant into it the constructed genome, which itself was constructed from already existing parts of genomes.

This might well be a scientific advance, but the project is in no way even TRYING to produce life from something that is not alive.

I think we need to read what is said, not what we would like it to say. That should be the first step of science.

Jared Olar said...

That's nice, KMS. So, is it your contention that Luss' gibberish is intelligible language?

XCGMouse said...

If the synthetic genome whatever succeeds - performed by living,intelligent, purposeful organisms - i.e. people; wouldn't that be a demonstration of intelligent design?

Bamboo_bends said...

Questeruk said...

Interesting article – but---

What is actually being done? A synthetic genome is being built, using as building blocks existing blocks of genome.


Wrong!

They used "dead" chemicals artificially sequenced in the same order as "existing blocks of genomes". They reproduced the coding from a completely synthetic (read -> "its dead Jim") source.

They recreated the coding artificially. DNA is digital information in a 4 base pair code.

See my previous posts regarding quantum logic of the qubit, its a 4 value logic system.


It states it’s a three step project – they are currently working on step two.

What is step three (which they have not attempted as yet)? Referring to the announcement regarding the second step, I quote the article:-


“…is the second step leading to the next experiments to transplant a fully synthetic bacterial chromosome into a living organism and “boot up” the cell”.

So what they are hoping to attempt to achieve is to use an already existing cell (i.e. already living), and transplant into it the constructed genome, which itself was constructed from already existing parts of genomes.

This might well be a scientific advance, but the project is in no way even TRYING to produce life from something that is not alive.



Wrong. Mycoplasma genitalia is a type of bacteria with no cell wall. There is no encoding for cells because they don't have cell walls.
Mycoplasma pneumonia is not affected by many traditional antibiotics (like penicillin) because there is no cell wall.

They are starting from the simplest forms of DNA and working upwards.

If they can do this, they will figure out how to encode a cell wall. In the interim is just easier to use an existing cell wall for more complex life forms. No cell was used in this experiment because M. Genitalia has no cell wall. Its a very simple life form.

The belief there is some internal "vitalizing" force inherent in life, that is passed down mother to child, is a mistaken concept. There's nothing magic about life.

There is something quite remarkable about how life defies entropy at the quantum level, creating ever growing complexity (at least until the organism dies). If you're going to look for a external vitalizing "force" or "source", that's where to look.

Anonymous said...

"They rejected evolution (and the ability to think critically) the moment they started "believing" in their god."

Are you an atheist?

VonHowitzer said...

"is it your contention that Luss' gibberish is intelligible language?"

Jared:

From time to time Lussenheide makes a valuable contribution here, so I overlook the occasional "hell pop pierre".

KMS

Anonymous said...

"Are you an atheist?"

I prefer the term, "normal."


Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

I prefer the term, "normal."

I am not at all surprised to see what you've come to. You were known for egregiously poor thinking skills. But your lack of emotional control was also evident and no doubt affected your ability to reason soundly.

We will do what we can for you. Take care.

camfinch said...

"I am not at all surprised to see what you've come to. You were known for egregiously poor thinking skills. But your lack of emotional control was also evident and no doubt affected your ability to reason soundly."

Examples?

Anonymous said...

"I am not at all surprised to see what you've come to."

Of course, no religious person ever is. It's like the newscaster interviewing the next-door neighboor of a serial killer:

'I always knew something was weird about that guy.'


"You were known for egregiously poor thinking skills. But your lack of emotional control was also evident and no doubt affected your ability to reason soundly."

I can only guess that you are referring to my rejection (upon use of critical thinking skills)of all things Armstrong- you are probably from the CEM Forum.


"We will do what we can for you. Take care."

Captain Anon,

Honestly, save your breath and your brain cells. Praying is a waste of time, and life is so, so much better now that I don't live according to the dictates of an ancient religious text supposedly inspired by an imaginary being.

If you prefer, you could send me condolence cards and money. I'll even accept Wal-Mart gift cards.


Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

What, you mean all these self-righteous Armstrongists that have flooded the blogs lately are from Dart's splinter? I thought there was an increase in the fugue state of the gen-pop over here recently.

(There, now they can all bash me, for calling it "Ron Dart's splinter".)

larry said...

Paul Ray,
Just remember, this life is a temporary phenomenon. It will be over sooner than you think.

Anonymous said...

"Just remember, this life is a temporary phenomenon. It will be over sooner than you think."

Yes, life is very, very short.

Your point? That just in case there does exist an imaginary being who may or may not punish me for not accepting his or her existence (without offering any proof whatsoever, I might add), I had better get with the program and start praying?

Which imaginary being should I start worshiping, and why?


Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

"life is so, so much better now that I don't live according to the dictates of an ancient religious text supposedly inspired by an imaginary being"

Why? Because you can now engage in all the behavior that you once thought sinful, without feelings of guilt?

Well, at least you were sensible enough to recognize that if you leave the CG, it makes no sense joining the other churches. There really is no good alternative when one abandons the truth, so I understand your dilemma.

Anonymous said...

Eternal hellfire and damnation? Really Larry?

Say what you will against the earlier incarnation of Armstrongism, at least all we faced was the prospect of the second death.

Now that Junior and Weazell have found Jebus, the carrot of "kingdom come in our lifetimes" is gone, and the stick has gotten bigger (eternal hell, pitchforks and demons yadda yadda yadda).

Did they really think that would keep us brainwashed sheeple in perpetual fear, and still lining their pockets?

Yes. They probably did.

Anonymous said...

"Why? Because you can now engage in all the behavior that you once thought sinful, without feelings of guilt?"

Typical brain-dead response parroted by all Christians when encountering the fact that morality does not spring forth from their deity.

If by guilt you mean the idea that I am inherently wretched and evil no matter my actions, then yes, I feel no "guilt."

Do I feel guilt if I wrong or hurt someone? Of course, why wouldn't I? I feel guilty because I have harmed myself or someone else- NOT because I have "wronged" an imaginary being named Jebus or Thor.

You see, most Normal (those who do not believe in imaginary beings)people are much more moral than Christians. For Christians readily admit that there is no inherent good or morality in them- only at the command of their deity do they practice morality.

Without their imaginary god to explain proper behavior, they don't know right from wrong.

Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

"Well, at least you were sensible enough to recognize that if you leave the CG, it makes no sense joining the other churches. There really is no good alternative when one abandons the truth, so I understand your dilemma."

But I did not stop believing in imaginary beings upon leaving the COG's- I rejected Armstrongism but not Christianity in general. But the course that I had set by applying critical thinking skills to Armstrong didn't stop there. I soon applied normal, healthy human reasoning to my belief in imaginary beings. Only now am I truly free.

Paul Ray

larry said...

Paul Ray,

Methinks thou doth protest too much.

Corky said...

larry said...
Paul Ray,

Methinks thou doth protest too much.

methinks you do too.

Anonymous said...

Without their imaginary god to explain proper behavior, they don't know right from wrong.

You jump the gun here. You first need to establish that right and wrong (morally speaking, in an absolute sense) exist without God. This you cannot do. For without God (an Intelligent Designer), there is no purpose to life, and without purpose, all value systems are equal.

Do I feel guilt if I wrong or hurt someone? Of course, why wouldn't I? I feel guilty because I have harmed myself or someone else

Why should that make you feel guilty? Why should you care about others, or yourself? Well even if that's just what you've decided for yourself, you cannot expect others to choose the same set of values you have chosen. Therefore, if someone wants to rape your wife, you cannot say he is worthy of punishment. You would have no basis to say he is wrong. His pursuits simply allow him to have a value system that says nothing is wrong with rape if he gets to have some pleasure. Your pursuits might say otherwise, but there is no reason to say your pursuits are what he should subscribe to.

Anonymous said...

But I did not stop believing in imaginary beings upon leaving the COG's- I rejected Armstrongism but not Christianity in general

Oh yes I know. I didn't mean to imply otherwise. But when you reject the truth of the CG, then it makes sense to reject Christianity. And when you reject Christianity, it makes sense to reject religion. That leaves you with either agnosticism or atheism.

Anonymous said...

"Methinks thou doth protest too much"


'For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon." The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.'

Anonymous said...

"But when you reject the truth of the CG..."

What "truth?" What "truth" does the CG have that other Christian sects don't?


Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

"You first need to establish that right and wrong (morally speaking, in an absolute sense) exist without God."

Will this do? If that isn't good enough for you, I also recommend this.

Anonymous said...

"That leaves you with either agnosticism or atheism.

Or some particular shade of grey in between. Ever heard of Jung? Spare me from his fan club, they're as cultic as we ever were, but a lot of his stuff about archetypes and the human imagination (please note I do not buy into the dualistic "collective unconscious" BS), is fascinating.

Anonymous said...

"You jump the gun here. You first need to establish that right and wrong (morally speaking, in an absolute sense) exist without God."

I will do no such thing. It is no different than asking you to establish that the world was NOT created by a magic leprechaun who pulled the universe out of his hat. It's a ridiculous question, and you, as a believer, have the responsibility to provide evidence for your outrageous claim that morality came from a supernatural being named Jehovah in the first place- and without Jehovah, the human mind will never, ever come to understand simple moral concepts. I'm not the one claiming a magic dragon in my garage. You are.


"For without God (an Intelligent Designer), there is no purpose to life, and without purpose, all value systems are equal."

Care to provide some evidence to back up that little gem? Isn't purpose to life a bit subjective from individual to individual? I honestly have more purpose to my life now than I did when I believed in imaginary beings.



"Why should that make you feel guilty? Why should you care about others, or yourself? Well even if that's just what you've decided for yourself,..."


It's called empathy. Caring. Something Christians have to be taught.



"...you cannot expect others to choose the same set of values you have chosen. Therefore, if someone wants to rape your wife, you cannot say he is worthy of punishment. You would have no basis to say he is wrong."

Why not?? Why do I need a supernatural being to write a moral code (a moral code which all of humanity has acknowledged, even in the absence of the Bible)in order to demand accountability of another human who has wronged me?


"His pursuits simply allow him to have a value system that says nothing is wrong with rape if he gets to have some pleasure. Your pursuits might say otherwise, but there is no reason to say your pursuits are what he should subscribe to."

The vast majority of people know right from wrong. Some people choose to act contrary to this. It's a choice, not a complete lack of understanding.

Here's your problem- morality exists in human culture. Always has, always will. Even in cultures that haven't been exposed to the Judeo-Christian "value system."

I really don't want Christian neighbors. What if they forget what their god taught them and revert to their previous amoral state??




Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

Paul,

Sigh.

Of course morality exists. I never suggested otherwise. But then, I believe in God. The issue is, how does one demonstrate any basis for morality without the existence of God?

If you say something is right or wrong, is it just from your perspective, or is there any basis for you to say it should apply to others too?

Isn't purpose to life a bit subjective from individual to individual?

And this is your problem. Since it is subjective, then one's moral values must be subjective too. So for you, it is wrong to rape someone; for another, it is perfectly alright, as it aligns with his subjective purpose.

You had asked me to provide evidence for my argument that without God there is no purpose, and without purpose all value systems are equal. If you try to demonstrate morality apart from God, the truth of my argument will be evident.

...in order to demand accountability of another human who has wronged me?

I just don't get what basis you have for saying someone has wronged you. I can understand you might feel pain and even think something wrong was done. But from the other man's perspective, you might simply be nothing, even an object to be destroyed. Why should your estimation of yourself be taken over the other man's view of you?

Btw, I'm glad you still denounce homosexual practice.

Anonymous said...

"The issue is, how does one demonstrate any basis for morality without the existence of God?"

I provided links to information that meets that requirement above. I note, anon, that you chose not to answer any of that infomation presented.

Or did you even bother to read it at all?

Anonymous said...

"Of course morality exists. I never suggested otherwise."

You misunderstand- morality exists. God doesn't. Therefore...


"The issue is, how does one demonstrate any basis for morality without the existence of God?"

But it's sorta irrelevant- God doesn't exist.

"If you say something is right or wrong, is it just from your perspective, or is there any basis for you to say it should apply to others too?"

Yes, there is a basis. It's a common understanding built on individual and societal experience over time. Man developed morality, it didn't come from an imaginary being named Thor, or Jupiter, or Jehovah.



"Isn't purpose to life a bit subjective from individual to individual?"

And this is your problem. Since it is subjective, then one's moral values must be subjective too."

No it's not. My concept of my purpose in my life has nothing to do with morality. Two individuals may have two different ideas as what their purpose in life, yet both know on some level that killing and stealing tennis shoes is wrong.


"So for you, it is wrong to rape someone; for another, it is perfectly alright, as it aligns with his subjective purpose."

No. Both I and the other person know on some level that raping someone is wrong- either through human empathy, direct experience, or societal norms that were developed by man through empathy or experience.

"You had asked me to provide evidence for my argument that without God there is no purpose, and without purpose all value systems are equal. If you try to demonstrate morality apart from God, the truth of my argument will be evident."

But I don't believe in God. The onus is on you. You are the one claiming a magic dragon hidden in your garage.

"I just don't get what basis you have for saying someone has wronged you. I can understand you might feel pain and even think something wrong was done. But from the other man's perspective, you might simply be nothing, even an object to be destroyed. Why should your estimation of yourself be taken over the other man's view of you?"

And this is what is so chilling. You simply can't comprehend that human beings can create moral codes without the intervention and guidance of an imaginary being, and that this created moral code needs no blessing or grounding from an imaginary being to be valid. Your view is amoral, and frightening. It also shows a refusal to acknowledge reality.

"Btw, I'm glad you still denounce homosexual practice."

I did? I don't remember denouncing anything this week.


Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

You simply can't comprehend that human beings can create moral codes without the intervention and guidance of an imaginary being, and that this created moral code needs no blessing or grounding from an imaginary being to be valid

Human beings (including atheists) can create moral codes. That is not the issue. But if I've not made myself clear by now, then no point trying again.

You suggested that everyone knows rape is wrong. Unless you have gotten into the mind of rapists, how can you make such a claim? Just because you feel that way? Yes I know, you have become your own god so naturally you feel people would see things your way. But don't forget that just as how you've made yourself your own god, each person can do the same. Don't be surprised to find these other gods disagreeing with you.

As to the homosexuality comment I made, I thought you implied it. You keep arguing that we all know right from wrong regardless of the veracity of the bible or the existence of God. So we all know homosexual practice is abominable.

Anonymous said...

I provided links to information that meets that requirement above. I note, anon, that you chose not to answer any of that infomation presented.

Purple,

Yes I read the info at the wiki link. The other was a link to a book on amazon so I could not read that, although the reviews seem to indicate it is not really what I'm looking for.

As to why I didn't bother to respond to your post, I thought after you thought about it some more, and saw more of my response to Paul, that you'd realise that what you provided doesn't address my challenge. How does the ubiquitous concept of the golden rule demonstrate a basis for absolute morality?

Or is your point that the golden rule is the basis itself? Well you might think it is a good concept, and I would agree with you, but if some disagrees, on what basis would you say he is wrong?

Also, how does anything you directed me to, instruct one on whether there is anything morally wrong with homosexuality? How about killing animals -anything wrong with that? What would be the basis for saying whether any of these things is wrong?

Anonymous said...

One other thing I had intended to say to Paul, regarding the assertion that everyone knows right from wrong. Hitler seemed to have thought it right to eliminate certain races. On what basis could one condemn Hitler for such a view? Or do we know that deep down Hitler knew he was wrong and felt guilty about it?

Anonymous said...

"Yes I read the info at the wiki link. The other was a link to a book on amazon so I could not read that, although the reviews seem to indicate it is not really what I'm looking for."

You should be able to read an excerpt from the book. Since it's "not really what you're looking for", of course you're not going to, which is fine.

As for the Wiki link, it indicates that "the golden rule" was held by many peoples, in many cultures, over many tens of thousands of years (But then, you probably don't believe the earth existed more than six thousand years ago, so you probably blocked that part out.), and by many different religions --- suggesting not that the ethic of reciprocity, or the golden rule, if you like, persists solely because of the Christian religion --- but it exists in spite of all religions, not just as a result of the fairly recent orthodox Christian religion.

This has been proven by neuroscience studies, notably the one published in the Mirror Neurons book that I linked to on Amazon (the one that was "not really what [you were] looking for").

"And this is what is so chilling. You simply can't comprehend that human beings can create moral codes without the intervention and guidance of an imaginary being, and that this created moral code needs no blessing or grounding from an imaginary being to be valid. Your view is amoral, and frightening. It also shows a refusal to acknowledge reality."

I agree with Paul. The fact that you cannot envision, nor empathize with, a morality that is endemic to the human species as a whole, instead of just your blind god's enthralled portion of it, is truly disturbing. What if you found yourself one day without faith? Would you then go out and start raping/etcetera, as you seem to indicate from your comments?

Asking the next question, do you then believe that all atheists and agnostics, those of us who are in your estimation "without god", are somehow deserving of immoral acts by you and other Christians, merely because you believe and we do not?

It is consistent with cultic activity that the members of closed high-demand religious groups see no moral problems or "twinges of conscience" with lying, deceiving, or otherwise misrepresenting themselves to those "outside of the pale" (i.e., outside of their religion/nonbelievers).

You also seem to indicate that you believe all atheists (of which I and Paul number among, if I am not mistaken) are thieves and liars and murderers, etcetera. Now, you can't look into the whites of my eyes here, this being the Internet and all, but I assure you, I am neither a liar nor a thief nor a murderer. And I don't need a Sky Buddy to tell me not to do those things.

I, alone, am responsible for my actions. And their consequences. And so are you. Unfortunately, you can avail yourself of the convenient cop-out "the devil made me do it".

Which is the other side of the morality question few Christians dare to address, when it's brought up. Do you have the theological fortitude to do so, anon?

Anonymous said...

Anon,

Your whole view is built on an assumption for which you provide absolutely no supporting evidence. I think providing evidence that there is a god(s) would benefit this discussion and take out it out of the realm of the absurd. Because right now, it's silly. Imagine if I, in all seriousness, asked you to "prove" that there can exist morality in the absence of the Great Magic Pumpkin, and also ask, in all seriousness, to provide a basis for my abhorrence to murdering small children because you just can't understand why I wouldn't want to if there is no Great Magic Pumpkin to order me not to.


Paul Ray


Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

because you just can't understand why I wouldn't want to [murder small children]

This is not the issue. (Purple, pay attention). I don't argue that you cannot choose to be kind and affectionate to everyone you encounter because you are an atheist. So stop misrepresenting me. What I have argued, is that you have no basis for saying that another atheist who might choose to be mean and even rape "decent" folks is wrong/evil. That is, you have nothing to show why your personal preference to be kind is the correct way to live as opposed to what this other might choose.

Sure you have your feelings. But why are your feelings better than another's?

Imagine if I, in all seriousness, asked you to "prove" that there can exist morality in the absence of the Great Magic Pumpkin

If you argued that there exists a Great Magic Pumpkin which absolute morality depends on, then it would be logical for you to pursue this line.

Anonymous said...


As for the Wiki link, it indicates that "the golden rule" was held by many peoples, in many cultures, over many tens of thousands of years (But then, you probably don't believe the earth existed more than six thousand years ago, so you probably blocked that part out.), and by many different religions --- suggesting not that the ethic of reciprocity, or the golden rule, if you like, persists solely because of the Christian religion --- but it exists in spite of all religions, not just as a result of the fairly recent orthodox Christian religion


I'm sure you cannot point to anything I said which would suggest the golden rule is a result of Christianity. Neither can you point to anything I said to suggest it doesn't exist in most all religions.

But I don't see how this addresses my challenge. Most people have believed in a god. Does that demonstrate a god exists? I'm sure you'd say no. So just what is it you're saying that makes the golden rule right? If a man chooses to go against it, why would that be a bad thing?

I noticed you failed to answer my questions about issues such as homosexuality and animal killing.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon,


"So stop misrepresenting me. What I have argued, is that you have no basis for saying that another atheist who might choose to be mean and even rape "decent" folks is wrong/evil."

I'll misrepresent you as long as I wish, especially since you are ignoring the underlying issue here- your belief in the Great Pumpkin (God). But as far as having no basis to declare another person's actions as evil, sure I can. Why can't I?? Especially when the actions I declare evil are evident to all humanity, and have been for thousands and thousands of years, by society at large. I can look at murder, weigh the effects, and declare it evil/wrong, ect. Why can't I, just because Joe Blow doesn't? He's wrong. I know he's wrong. I don't need the Great Pumpkin to stand behind me and thunder, "Yes, Paul is right! Killing is a bad thing." And given that the person who thinks it's perfectly okay to murder is such a small minority (we call those special few psychopaths) it renders your point irrelevant. And the majority of those who do murder do know its wrong. Of course, you know all of this. But your belief in the Great Pumpkin commits you to weasel around
in pseudo-intellectual wranglings.


"If you argued that there exists a Great Magic Pumpkin which absolute morality depends on, then it would be logical for you to pursue this line."

And your reaction would be? It's bad question to ask of you, because you would find the situation perfectly plausible, because you yourself believe that morality can only come through your Great Pumpkin (God).


Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

I can look at murder, weigh the effects, and declare it evil/wrong, ect. Why can't I, just because Joe Blow doesn't? He's wrong. I know he's wrong.

LOL! I guess like how most people know God (or a god) exists.

Anonymous said...

I'll misrepresent you as long as I wish

Another classic. I guess there is nothing morally wrong with that. LOL.

Anonymous said...

"Another classic. I guess there is nothing morally wrong with that. LOL."

Duh, I am an Amoral Atheist, after all.


Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

"LOL! I guess like how most people know God (or a god) exists."

No, not at all. You see, in stating that murder is wrong, we can collect data and analyze it and come to a conclusion. On the other hand,
people "knowing" that god(s) exists is backed up by nothing. Nada. No data or evidence to sift through. Nothing. Just "belief."


Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

http://ironwolf.dangerousgames.com/blog/archives/563


Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

http://ironwolf.dangerousgames.com/blog/archives/563


Totally irrelevant to my challenge.