Undefended Claim Behind “I Simply Lack Belief”

Cute_Hidden_Eyes_804455114Suppose, for a moment, that I claimed to disbelieve in gravity and insisted on being given a good reason why I should believe in it. You, being in a generous mood, agree that we should have reasons for what we believe and precede to point out that gravity explains a number of things in our everyday experience quite nicely.

I counter with the idea that we can’t really trust our everyday experience. The senses can deceive us, the rigorous measurements taken by scientists simply assume that their eyes are working correctly when they read instrument panels, and that their ears are reliable when getting a second opinion from their colleagues. And, anyway, what kind of person needs to believe in gravity to know that things fall in the first place. That’s just obvious. Not everything in the universe gets sucked toward the Earth, I say, so that just shows how silly your concept of gravity actually is.

At this point, part of you might be tempted to ask me if I were taking heavy medication or suffered a blow to the head recently.

But this weird rant about gravity isn’t fundamentally different from a very common reaction to moral arguments for God’s existence. Many think it is enough to simply deny moral experience without giving any reason to deny this experience while trusting sensory experience.

All this usually climaxes with a one-liner to the effect that only a terrible person would need the Bible to tell her that murder is wrong. No amount of pointing out that God is being proposed to explain the fact that murder is wrong; the whole argument is intended for people who already agree that it is. To throw out this silly meme is to get the point precisely backward.

The same goes for those who insist that theists’ concept of morality is all about rewards and punishments issued by God. This is nothing at all like what the moral argument concludes. In fact, the only thing this argument says about rewards and punishments is that they are sometimes correct, and sometimes wrong.

I suspect that these kinds of reactions pass for reasonable responses, in a way that my gravity example does not, for essentially this reason:

Modern, western, post-enlightenment culture is simultaneously enamored with what it calls “openess” and “relativism” and perfectly willing to be horribly judgmental toward those cultures which don’t preach these same values.

The one who insists that there is a real, underlying reality to moral truth can be dismissed or mocked, but not answered. It is taken for granted that this person simply does not understand that moral intuitions can be explained in terms of socio-biological evolution.

In reality, whether they can or not has nothing to do with the argument.

This would, really be no different than explaining gravity in terms of theories about mass hallucination. Even if they were, they don’t answer the question “does gravity actually exist?”, they simply attempt to discredit the evidence while equally undermining the evidence for any other view.

But philosophy should explain our basic experience in life, not to dismiss it as an illusion. To do the latter is simply to throw out evidence when it doesn’t fit the theory. To do the former, however, leads us well away from the materialism that has become an unquestionable dogma for far too many.

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147 responses to “Undefended Claim Behind “I Simply Lack Belief”

  • myatheistlife

    If we got rid of gravity completely we know what should happen. What should happen if we get rid of god completely?

    • john zande

      Crickets, crickets, crickets…

      • myatheistlife

        I was kind of surprised by that

      • Debilis

        John, I’m not up all night staring at my computer.

        Please give me a little time to sleep now and again.

        • john zande

          You can rest when your dead

        • Debilis

          I’m starting to wonder if anyone here is actually interested in logic. I’m not getting much focus on it, anyway.

        • john zande

          “I’m starting to wonder if anyone here is actually interested in logic”

          That’s quite a statement coming from a person who believes in a magical, invisible, inaudible sky being 🙂

        • Debilis

          Again, mockery isn’t logic.

          I’m really looking for the logic, here–or even an acknowledgement that I don’t, actually believe in the kind of thing you describe (if you don’t understand classical theism any better than this, it’s no wonder that you don’t accept it).

          Really, is that the best that the New Atheists have? Demand evidence (but can’t give a decent standard), avoid presenting their own views, and mocking something that only shows of ignorance of what theism actually is.

          I’ve read more reasonable atheists, who present cases that I can respect, but this gives me nothing like a good reason to change my view.

        • john zande

          Please Debilis, don’t try and inflate theism to something it is not. It is the creative residue cast off from human Terror Management. Nothing more, nothing less.

          If there was a single grain of truth in your religion it would have (nay, SHOULD HAVE) emerged independently at least twice on the planet. That never happened, nor will it ever happen.

        • Debilis

          If you’re going to claim that this is what theism is, you need to defend that claim.

          Really, I could make all kinds of claims about what atheism is, but I don’t think you’d accept being told what your position is from me. Why should I allow you to dictate my position?

          But I’m simply going to avoid giving the obvious responses to your demand about multiple origins. Rather, I’m going to point out that we aren’t discussing “my religion” we’re discussing the fact that no one has given me the slightest bit of evidence for a single secular view.

          That remains true, regardless of the number of times one attacks theism.

        • john zande

          What do you even mean: evidence for a secular view? It appears to me to be an absurd string of words, up there with Oxygen is a handy atmospheric gas.

        • Debilis

          If you literally don’t understand the terms of the conversation, it’s hard to imagine how you can feel that you’ve a more clear idea than your opponents.

          As you are not religious, you take a secular view of ethics, meaning of life, etc. I’m trying not to insist that you take a particular one (as you’ve done with me)–but you take some view, and it is clearly secular.

          What evidence do you have for that view?

        • john zande

          Nope. Still not following you. You’re still not making any sense. You name the Meaning of life, but any answer is entirely dependent on the individual. That’s to say, there is no one answer so the question is patently absurd. I don’t even think there could be just one answer for any single person. There is an amalgam of things from which any person can find meaning: family, pets, country, business, art, getting the Guinness World Book of Records for longest burp in human history…

          Perhaps it would help me if you answered how your life would change if you accepted that your Middle Eastern god was a human fabrication; a cultural myth? What would seriously change for you? How would your life alter? Would you walk to your local shops differently?

        • Debilis

          The belief that the meaning of life “is entirely dependent on the individual” is a modern, western, mostly caucasian concept. It is not a universal accepted fact.

          As such, I was wondering if you had any evidence in support of it.

          That is one way that my life would change if I became convinced that there were no God, I’d have to accept some secular view on these issues.

          So it is important, then, that at least one of them have some evidence in support. If none of them do, then a “lack of evidence” can’t be the reason why people reject belief in God.

        • john zande

          Who says it’s a western thing? Please, don’t make ridiculous statements.

        • Debilis

          Quite a few people. This is why I didn’t run into the idea when I was in Asia–different cultural assumptions.

          But the point isn’t whether it is western or not, the point is that it isn’t some unquestionable truth. As such, I wanted to know what evidence you have in support of the idea.

        • john zande

          What people? Please don’t be so vague.

        • Debilis

          I could get into that, but I’d rather as you why on earth are you so fascinated by a tangent.

          I’m requesting evidence that your view is actually true, and you want to know exactly who it was that claimed that it is specific to your culture. Why shouldn’t I ask you to stop being so vague about why you’re so confident that your view is a universal position–not in any way the result of cultural influence.

          That being the case, do you have any evidence for your view–or does it rest on the idea that it is true until someone proves to you that Asian culture doesn’t take the same approach?

        • john zande

          I don’t think you can go into it. I think you, like Mark earlier, just lied hoping no one would call you out on it.

          Now, I’m getting extremely bored with this. Either give me the examples of “secular” things i asked for, or this is going to end every soon.

        • Debilis

          If you want to defend the claim that your position is universal, I’ll respond.

          What I’ll not do is try to prove this vast claim false while you question the disproof–as if questioning my counter makes your claim correct.

          So, feel free to “call me out” but, while you’re at it call yourself out on the idea that belief in meaning is purely individual. Where is the evidence for that? Is there a reason to think that it is true?

          I don’t know why I should be required to give you examples of secular things. I’d thought that this was your job. Here’s the situation as clearly as I can put it:

          I take it that you are a materialist. Is there any evidence for that view? Is there a reason to think that it is correct?

          Or, if you’re not a materialist, is there any evidence for the position that you do take on that issue?

          I also take it that you’re a moral relativist–you’ve essentially said so. The closest thing to evidence I’ve received is the claim that people have a genetic predisposition toward empathy. I don’t remotely see how this is evidence for relativism.

          I’d actually agree that it is good evidence for nihilism if one presumes materialism. All you’d have to do is defend materialism to have defended this view.

          But, if you can’t defend materialism, then you shouldn’t be taking a relativistic approach to morality–at least, not while insisting that beliefs should be supported.

          This is what I need to see supported in order to have a reason to eschew theism for a secular position.

        • john zande

          What on earth are you talking about? You’re seriously not making any sense at all. Defend materialism? Didn’t i give you a clear example of empathy in monkeys: an observed sense of fair play in primates. Morality is not complicated, so i’m utterly baffled why you are trying to confuse the matter. I’ve provided examples of functioning societies… why are you ignoring these?

          Now, i have “defended” my position, i’ve demonstrated that something like morality is simple to explain, yet i’m still waiting for you to give me just ONE example of something which (in your mind) isn’t from the material world.

          I’m starting to think you can’t provide a single example…

        • Debilis

          I realize that you don’t understand what I’m saying. I’ll try to state it more clearly. Please try your best to read this closely.

          Here it is:

          Yes, I’m aware that you referenced studies of primates. I agree that they have empathy and a concept of fairness.

          I even agree that this is evidence that people have a genetic disposition to be empathetic and believe in fairness.

          Where I get stuck is in seeing any reason to think that this means morality is the same thing as this genetic disposition. I don’t see any reason to think so–and have no idea why you keep jumping to that.

          Also, if morality is simply empathy and a belief in fairness, it is not rational; it is simply instinct. It may be a useful instinct, but any appeal to morality is simply an appeal to emotion–by your account.

          Why is this important? Because you claim to practice morality. But this means that you believe in a code of ethics based on an instinct, an emotion.

          But this undercuts all the “belief without evidence” rhetoric thrown against theism. That is exactly what you’re saying about morality.

          But, I’ve presented several things that are non-material. We’ve had debates about them in the past. For now, my argument against materialism is the fact that (regarding morality) it breaks down into the contradiction I’ve just described.

        • john zande

          You’ve not presented a single thing. List three, please.

          Why are you talking about genetics? Think brain capacity, that is where the capacity for empathetic thought comes from. And you are a foolish manchild if you don’t think empathy is the root of morality.

        • Debilis

          I’ve mentioned the fact that atheists each have a specific set of working answers to the same basic questions that realigns are posed to answer.

          The response, so far, as been a confusion that I’m somehow denying any particular theory about the biological origins of empathy.

          To clarify once again, I’ve not denied this, I’ve asked for a reason to think that empathy is the same thing as morality. This is the issue that has not yet been addressed.

          Simply reasserting your position and calling names does not address the logical issues.

        • john zande

          Please Debilis, I asked you to present three examples.

          Can you, or can’t you?

        • Debilis

          I genuinely don’t know what you want me to present examples of.

          Theism–or evidence for theism? We’ve been over the fact that this is a different topic. We’ve had that conversation elsewhere (where I did present examples). I want to talk about secular views.

          The fact that secular views have undefended claims? I’ve done that.

          I pointed out that you (like all secularists) have a particular view of morality that is, as of yet, undefended. I also pointed out that your view is irrational by your own standards. Last, I’ve pointed out that there are good reasons to reject materialism in general (referencing arguments from mind and the contingency of matter, among others).

          So, yes, I can present examples of the point I’m making–but were you trying to shift to another topic? If not, respond to those examples.

          If so, I have been given no evidence whatsoever for the secular view you embrace, good reason to reject it, and clear signs that those who embrace it have no evidence to offer (even as they loudly demand evidence of others).

        • john zande

          You said you had examples of things not found in a “material” sense; therefore, things outside the material universe… things which seem to think contradict a material view of the universe. I’m asking you name three. Is that so hard? Sounds like it might be…

        • Debilis

          I’ve done that quite a few times on this blog.

          For details, check the sections on the Cosmological Argument and the Argument from Mind. If you wish to debate those points, feel free to leave comments there.

          But this topic is altogether different, and I seem to keep getting subject changes. Is your ignoring the questions there a reason for me to think that they might be hard to answer? That seems to follow you logic above.

          Really, I need to see some kind of support for your idea that morality reduces to empathy/belief in morality. Studies showing humans have empathy and belief in morality aren’t evidence for this.

          Also, since you’ve proposed the idea that we should accept morality on the grounds that (according to your view) it is an instinct, I need a reason why we shouldn’t likewise practice religion.

          If morality is simply one instinct among many, by what means do you choose which instinct to follow?

          And, last, how is a view based on following moral instincts consistent with requiring evidence for beliefs?

          Requesting examples of non-material entities does not answer these objections. Rather, it is simply a subject-change.

        • john zande

          No, no, no. I’m not going to troll through your blog looking for it. For goodness sake, JUST LIST THREE THINGS!

          Is that seriously so difficult? THREE WORDS!

        • Debilis

          I could say the same, is answering the actual topic seriously so difficult?

          If you are going to refuse to defend your view, I see no reason why I should repeat the ways in which I’ve already defended mine.

          I really can’t imagine that you’ll be satisfied with “THREE WORDS”, as you put it. Personally, I suspect that I’ll be treated to demands that I further support that list.

          But that is simply a subject change, which is what I usually get in response to my challenges of materialism. It seems that we’ve completely abandoned any defense at all of materialism.

          Is this tacit admission that there is no defense against the challenge I’ve named? If so, then item number one on the list seems to be the commitment to ethics you yourself hold.

          And, really, all we need is one item to dismiss materialism. Three is an arbitrary number.

          Or, can I chose three different moral claims? What about the wrongness of rape, the rightness of helping those in need, and the wrongness of child abuse?

          I’ll call that my list of three things.

          Now, in treating me to a list of demands that I prove that those things are outside of materialism, could you please explain how it is that your moral theory isn’t based on the naturalistic fallacy?

        • john zande

          Is that it? I’m afraid you’re going to have to do much better than that. I’ve already proved you wrong by demonstrating that empathy/morality rose (evolved) naturally inside higher order organisms without any Oogity-Boogity Woo.

          Sorry, but a colossal fail right there.

          So, you haven’t been able to name a single thing, and I’m still utterly baffled about what you’re actually asking. I have asked you repeatedly to explain your question and you have failed to do so at every opportunity. This, of course, leads a rationally minded person to believe you have no idea what you’re asking.

          Perhaps I’m wrong? Maybe you do? If so, I’d hope you’d be able to articulate it in such a way that a fellow human being could understand. Please, use examples because you’re obviously having a hard time using the English language.

        • Debilis

          You are free to pass judgment, but it seems to get us nowhere.

          I simply don’t see where you “proved” that empathy and morality are the same thing. Rather, you offered a study about empathy, and began replacing its conclusions about empathy with the term “empathy/morality”. I asked for a logical reason why we should do this, and haven’t yet received an answer.

          Second, I don’t know what particular technical meaning you personally assign to the term “Oogity-Boogity Woo”, but the use of silly words to describe positions I’ve not claimed (and probably don’t accept) is simply a debate trick–not a reason to accept materialism.

          That that’s the major point here. This topic isn’t about what I have or haven’t proved. It is about materialism.

          So, you need further clarification about the question?

          Most briefly, I want to know why you write as if empathy and morality are the same thing–what reason you can give for thinking that they are.

          Here’s the full clarification:
          All of the evidence you’ve given speaks strictly about empathy. I’ve seen nothing at all about morality, unless we simply assume that morality is empathy. But that is to ignore the question I was asking in the first place.

          That is, I wanted to know where this conclusion that a person should do something because it happens to be empathetic comes from. Why should people be empathetic?

          Because it is an instinct? We have quite a few instincts, not all of them nice.

          Because it makes society run more smoothly? It doesn’t always, and people aren’t always interested in making society run more smoothly (Are those people wrong? Then explain why.).

          Because there is darwinian advantage to it? There’s darwinian advantage to many things–not all of them moral.

          We seem agree that people should be good to one another. The question is, what makes that true? What is the explanation of the fact that people should be good to one another?

          So, rather than referring to other positions with baby-talk, please offer a reason to accept your own position.

        • john zande

          Empathy: the ability to place yourself in someone else’s shoes, to understand and sympathise with their position. Morality is nothing but an extension of this. I do not rape because 1) I can understand how abhorrent it would be to be raped, and 2) understand the negative impact that action would have on the larger society. I do not steal because I can 1) sympathise with the shop owner, and 2) understand the negative impact that action would have on the larger society.
          It’s really quite plain to see how empathy and morality are simply interchangeable. The ability to predict the consequences of our actions on others is the root of morality. It is a part of our ability to predict the future better than all other creatures… and that ability is housed almost entirely in the human frontal lobe. It took about 1,333 generations to grow and stopped expanding some 6,600 generations ago. It was and remains the last great addition to the human form; a synaptic universe where the vast majority of dopamine-sensitive neurons directly associated with reward, attention, short-term memory tasks, prediction, planning, incentive, and motivation are housed. It’s the region of the brain where children dream up imaginary friends and adults map out wars. It is the region where we cast our thoughts off into the future and play the prediction game. It is the region where we join the dots and make sometimes outlandish mistakes in causal associations. It is the region where expectation and its ugly cousin, apprehension, reside. It is the region where our superstitions are birthed and our fears find lodging. It’s where our gods take form and bed down, micromanaging this fantastic circus while dispensing tiny doses of dopamine to the hypothalamus like some self-medicating chemist in his own little shop of horrors. It is, Debilis, where our forever shifting moral map is laid out.

          To further prove this truth, our nearest cousins, the apes, also have this skill, albeit to a less developed stage… which is, in and by itself, even further proof the thing you say is external is, in fact, entirely natural.

          Now, I am desperately bored with this. I have proven you wrong, so unless you can actually present something which clearly cannot be explained by natural means then this conversation is over and you have been soundly defeated.

        • Debilis

          Empathy is, in most cases, an excellent emotional motivator for acting morally.

          This does not mean that it is synonymous with morality any more than any emotional motivator is synonymous with the action it motivates.

          Nor do I need more explanation about theories regarding the evolutionary history of human emotion. I’ve read them. I understand them. I’m not objecting to them.

          I’m objecting to the idea that an evolved emotional response equates to “you should do this”.

          Is there any logical reason why one ought to listen to one’s evolved emotional responses? If not, then more explanation of dopamine, neural activity, selection for cooperative behavior, etc is simply beside the point.

          If so, is there a reason why this doesn’t equally support the religious impulse?

          So, I’m not arguing with the idea that humans have been hard-wired by evolution to feel empathy for one another. I’m arguing with the idea that empathy is morality–or that there is any logical connection between “you feel empathy” and “you ought to behave in this particular way”.

          This simply keeps missing the point; I suspect that this is why you are bored. You don’t seem to have understood the content of my objection.

          So, please don’t simply explain again that empathy can motivate ethical behavior, and that it is a product of evolution. Please explain how either of these things could possibly equate to “here’s a logical reason to behave in a particular way–that doesn’t rest on appeals to emotion”.

          In fact, let me make this as clear as possible:

          How is this a reason that could possibly persuade a rational and open-minded sociopath to be moral? I see no reason why that person wouldn’t simply shrug and say “I simply don’t feel that emotion”.

          But, if this doesn’t persuade a person who doesn’t feel that emotion, then it is an appeal to emotion–not a rational argument.

          It doesn’t matter at all that the appeals to emotion often do motivate moral behavior–or that some emotions are preferred by natural selection.

          And, even if (in some strange alternate reality) this were a rational reason to be moral, then it would equally support religious belief.

        • john zande

          I have demonstrated to you the natural mechanism.

          You have not demonstrated anything.

          Unless you can produce something tangible as evidence, like i have, this conversation is over.

        • Debilis

          You have made an argument that empathy results from a natural mechanism, this is true.

          I’ve demonstrated that this is not an argument about morality, but empathy (meaning that my point stands–we’ve seen no evidence for secular morality).

          I don’t know if you’d call that tangible (or why “tangible” is a criterion in the first place), but you’re free to leave.

          I’m not demanding that you stay, I’m simply requesting evidence that is actually relevant to the question I asked. If you can’t or won’t provide that, I agree that you may as well leave.

        • john zande

          I can elaborate. If this afternoon i decided not to believe in the physical laws of thermodynamics it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference to the universe. The laws would still be in place whether i liked it or not. They are, to the best of our definition, pretty much fixed for now.

          Is that the “Secular” world you’re talking about?

        • Debilis

          No. I’m talking about your concept of morality and meaning in life.

          Let’s say (to grab a popular prejudice) that you believe that morality is subjective and that meaning in life is simply a matter of individual fulfillment. This is a form of nihilism.

          In that case, I’d want some evidence in support of that brand of nihilism–or at least nihilism in general.

          Whatever your actual views are, I’d like to see what evidence you have for them.

        • john zande

          Empathy is a natural attachment to all higher order creatures, and morality is simply a more complex extension of that truism. No social creature benefits for chaos, and that explains the core of morality. Sarah Brosnan and Frans de Waal at Emory University demonstrated this in their experiments with capuchin monkeys who clearly understood the fundamental nature of fair play. Read it and expand your horizons

          http://www.livescience.com/27637-monkeys-shun-selfish-others.html

        • Debilis

          This has nothing to do with the fact that primates display empathy. I agree that they do. That’s simply another topic. We are discussing morality, not empathy.

          You do claim that morality is nothing other than empathy, but this is only a claim. There is nothing in the cited study which makes that case. That is, it is simply insisting that a particular form of nihilism is true on the grounds that we all feel empathy.

          What I requested wasn’t an explanation or faith-statement of nihilism, but evidence that it is actually the case. How do you know that there is no objective truth value to moral statements?

        • john zande

          Just because you don’t want to see/accept the patently observable evolutionary root of empathy/morality is your problem, not mine.

        • Debilis

          I have never denied that there is an evolutionary root to empathy. What I’ve denied is that this somehow means that empathy and morality are the same things.

          The study talks about empathy, and you’ve replaced that with the “empathy/morality”. I’ve asked you why, and you keep punting to the study. It doesn’t support that addition.

          I asked about morality, not empathy. This has nothing to do with evolution.

          So, is there any evidence (at all) that morality and empathy are the same thing? Or, to put it differently, is there a reason why we should listen to our empathy, rather than some other impulse developed through evolution, when we find ourselves in conflict?

          Pointing out (again) that there is a genetic predisposition to empathy doesn’t answer these questions.

        • john zande

          What you have to try and explain/demonstrate is how your empathy/morality is somehow derived from something external.

          Can you?

        • Debilis

          There are at least three problems with this:

          First is the fact that it, again, equates morality with empathy–which is simply begging the question.

          Second is the fact that it is an argumentum ad ignoratium fallacy. Your position isn’t correct until I can demonstrate otherwise.

          Third is the fact that, in the past, you’ve made much about rejecting ideas which can’t produce evidence. As such, we need to see some evidence for your view that they are the same.

          If you’d like a theistic explanation of objective morality, there are other posts on that. Right now, I want to know more about the ideas that are, so I’m told, more evidenced based than my own.

        • john zande

          Evidence is everywhere. Ostracism from the group for bad behaviour is the greatest punishment any social creature can impose on another. In the wild its literally a death sentence. Have you ever seen videos of cities where order has broken down and looting is taking place? No one benefits from that, not even the looter, not in the long run.

          I asked you to show evidence for morality being external and you haven’t.

          Could you now please demonstrate this with examples.

        • Debilis

          This isn’t evidence for an approach morality, this is simply the reward/punishment system that atheists mock in their (highly distorted) view of theistic morality.

          Nor am I convinced that there are never immoral acts that benefit one. I’d like to see some evidence that this is as universal as you’re claiming.

          But, primarily, I’m not talking about personal, emotional, socially contingent motivations for behavior (such as fear of punishment). I’m discussing a rational approach to the idea of objective morality.

          If you claim that there is no such thing, and that morality is something different (empathy and self-interest), I need some evidence. To be clear, I don’t need evidence that empathy and self-interest exist, I need evidence that morality is the same thing as them.

          This is what I’ve not seen.

          But, if your response is simply to demand evidence of me, then this is an argumentum ad ignoratium stance. For all the demands I receive for evidence, I think that promoters of atheism should be more ready with evidence for their own views.

        • Arkenaten

          I’m starting to wonder if anyone here is actually interested in logic.

          This from someone who believes a narrative construct is a god and the creator of the universe?

          Smile…

        • Debilis

          I keep looking for the logic in that sound-byte, but all I see is “if you assume that my secular view (which I haven’t remotely defended) is so superior to the views of, say Leibnitz, Isaac Newton, or Francis Collins as to make the latter ridiculous, then this is a point.

          So, this rather proves my point. We need to keep in mind that there is a difference between logic and cheap mockery (whether you’re smiling or not).

    • Arkenaten

      What should happen if we get rid of god completely?

      An apple might fall on Debillis’s head and he would become an atheist?

      • Debilis

        Apparently, you are interested in my position–or, at least you seem to be very interested in the weird distortion that you take to be my position.

        A real answer is below. You can read it if you like–or simply assume that you know what my answer is. I’m not terribly concerned either way.

        • Arkenaten

          An interesting question to ask might be what was happening with morality before your god showed up in the Old Testament to teach ”us”?

          Or do you subscribe to the view that before Adam and Eve there was no morality or perhaps there were simply no humans?

          Straight answer would be nice, please.

        • Debilis

          Assuming my view, morality has always existed with God.

          But you’ll notice that’s another topic shift. You’ve insisted that I not quote the Bible, but you seem to be the one who can’t get off that subject. The post is about the fact that atheists do quite a bit more than lack belief.

          If you have an answer for my challenge, I’d be interested to hear it. But, so far, no one has–which leads me to suspect that there isn’t one.

          That being the case, I wonder how anyone can think that asking me off-topic questions can defend the atheism that hasn’t been able to defend itself when I raise that issue.

        • Arkenaten

          You see, you expect an answer to the question but always always take the position that your god comes first.
          You insert this entity and only then build an (unsubstantiated) argument form here.

          My challenge is perfectly straight forward but to answer it means suspending a certain amount of belief (either in the bible) or Creationism.

          If humans were around before Adam and Eve, where was your god and his morality?
          If they weren’t around…? well, you tell me.

          It is nit a topic shift but rather trying to level the playing fields. You cannot expect to uncover truth of any description if you are always fooling yourself by playing with a loaded deck.
          All you are doing is ( like the poker player) bluffing. And in this case the person you are bluffing is yourself.

          Answer the question and then we can proceed. Simple.

        • Debilis

          That’s actually not my answer. If you notice, my answer was conditional. This isn’t my reason for settling on this view–I’d have thought that would be obvious.

          And my challenge is perfectly straight forward as well. You can’t seem to even name your view–so I’m not sure why you’re so scandalized that I won’t completely abandon the actual topic.

          The playing field is level when both sides are presenting their views, but I seem to be the only one who’s presented anything.

          Really, this sounds like an attempt to distract me from the fact that you haven’t presented any evidence for your view.

          To jump on your poker analogy, then, put your own cards on the table. What’s your view of morality? You don’t seem to have breathed a word about it. How do I know you aren’t simply bluffing, then?

          Simply put, I’m not out to impress anyone who can’t offer me anything better. If you can’t even name your view, I’m not interested in answering off-topic challenges.

          It’s very simple: just name your view and provide more evidence than I have. If you aren’t simply bluffing yourself, that should only take two sentences. Easy.

        • Arkenaten

          You aren’t presenting your view, and THIS is the problem. What you ARE doing is tearing down any view ( namely that of atheists) that oppose your view, but haven’t stated what this view is.
          It is clever, as it allows you to avoid committing directly, and running the risk of being pinned.
          So I will offer you ‘your’ view and if you agree then I will tackle all the challenges, how’s that?

          Please. correct if this is wrong.

          ‘I, Debilis, am a Christian. I believe that the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth is divine, is God incarnate and is the Creator of the Universe”.

          Simply agree or not or state what IS you position.

        • Debilis

          Yes, that is exactly what I’m doing. It is also what you are doing.

          In fact, atheists do it constantly. The difference is that I do it sometimes, and defend my view at other times.

          I think it’s obvious that my approach is much more fair-minded than the utter refusal to ever discuss secular views, ever, for any reason.

    • Mark Hamilton

      If God doesn’t exist, then nothing would happen. If God does exist, then everything would change (if anything would exist at all). If you’re trying to imply that nothing would happen, then aren’t you simply assuming that God doesn’t exist instead of proving it?

    • Debilis

      If we got rid of God completely?

      Are you presuming that God doesn’t exist here or simply “lacking belief”.

      If the latter, you have to allow that it is plausible that all of reality would disappear if God did.

      If the former, you need to give me some reason why God doesn’t exist.

      That’s the answer to the question, anyway. But, more to the point, I don’t see what on earth it has to do with my post. Does it somehow point out that the a glib embracing of relativism is more rational than the argument against gravity?

      If so, please explain. If not, please address the topic.

      • myatheistlife

        Do what? Your post used gravity and god and I addressed it by using both myself. I apologize if that was too complex.

        Look, I’m asking the question here. You can answer it with a question if you like but that is a non-answer. I/we know what would happen if there was no gravity.

        What would happen if there were no god. What would happen to the universe and you and I if there were no god?

        You seem to answer that all reality would cease to exist if there were no god. If that is your answer please explain why you believe this to be true.

        I can explain why no gravity would cause what it would. I’m asking you to state what would happen if there were no god and why if you dare.

        What would happen if there were no god?

        • Debilis

          My post referenced gravity and morals, not God.

          Nor, even if I had used God would this be an answer to my question. I listed two possible ways that question could have been meant, and answered both of them.

          As I couldn’t tell what you meant, that seemed the reasonable thing to do.

          And I know that you feel that you are “asking the question here”. I generally assume that this is always what New Atheists feel, because they can always be counted on to avoid answering questions about their view–and claim that the topic is about my view–regardless of what the topic actually is.

          This is a pretty clear pattern.

          In any case, I’ve already answered that question. As with science (or anything else) the answer depends on the background conditions. If theism is the case for the background, then the first answer I gave. If not, then the second.

          This is simply demanding that I prove my position. And, frankly, if an elaborate argumentum ad ignoratium is all the defense the New Atheists can give for their views, I don’t see any reason to accept the secular position being pushed by the group.

          So, now that I’ve answered an off topic question, can we get back to the topic? Is there any evidence, whatsoever, for the secular view you hold? I suppose it’s fairly obvious that I suspect that all the insistence that you be the one to ask the questions is a way of avoiding the fact that there isn’t.

          But, I’m willing to be corrected on that. Just show me some evidence for your view.

        • pancakesandwildhoney

          Actually, gravity is fairly complex concept, one that is not all that well-defined, so I doubt you could, in detail, explain to me what would happen without it, outside of saying that within the Earth’s gravitational zone objects will not fall downward toward Earth at an acceleration of 32.17 feet per second^2. Of course, if something is traveling at 25,000mph, as do objects that escape our atmosphere, they don’t fall downward anyways. In fact, as Feynman discovered, we can’t even talk coherently about magnetism lol, so trying to explain what it would be like without is a more difficult task then one realizes, I think.

          More to the point though I think you are making a faulty comparison. It’s apples and oranges. There is not a sufficient or relevant similarity between the items compared. A better analogy, though still not a very good one, would be what would happen if the multiverse–if one believes in such a thing–did not exist? What would happen if God–if one believes in such a thing–did not exist?

        • pancakesandwildhoney

          “what it would be like without gravity”

    • Frank Morris

      What would happen if we got rid of God completely?

      Excellent thought provoking question. To say “crickets, crickets, crickets” after 3 early morning hours is silly. This is one of the longest threads yet.

      I believe this question was asked as a scientific question, not a philosophical, theist or personal one, because of the comparison to gravity. Thus, my answer would be to substitute a term such as “higher level intelligence” or “universal intelligence” for the colloquial expression God.

      With that premise, it is highly likely that nothing would exist at all. According to many of our greatest scientists, for example Max Planck, there needed to be a powerful intellect (which he called “the Mind”) for all that we have experienced to exist.

      If we subtract this universal intelligent agency, gravity would not exist and matter certainly could no longer exist. The atomic structure of matter is a contrivance that is held together by intelligent will. All it would take to end all matter would be for the Mind to relax its will at any time.

      The answer to the question is that, without this higher level intelligent agency, nothing would exist. Nothing at all.

      • myatheistlife

        The idea that nothing would exist without a higher being seems to blatantly be without support other than blind supposition. You very clearly attribute things to such a being without evidence to do so. My question highlights the notion that you must be of the opinion that nothing can exist in an intrinsically meaningless existence, one devoid of a higher being.

        This is problematic thinking for those that do not understand evolution as truth for without a human mind here to consider the possibility of meaningful existence, all of existence is without meaning.

        If one does not understand evolution as truth, and insists on believing a creation story without evidence, the evidence speaks against this so belief in a higher power has to be contorted to account for the contradictory facts.

        The deist agnostic is in a better position if they believe a god set it in motion but left to attend matters elsewhere.

        Your answer states that if god sleeps, the universe fails to be as it is. On the face of it, this seems ok until the evidence is examined. It also strongly indicates that a higher being interacts with the physical world continuously for which there should be tests for the claims. Unless you have found ways to test this none have yet been discovered and all suggested tests fail to show a higher being as responsible for anything.

        So back to the question: if there is no evidence that a god keeps the universe from collapsing into chaos why would one suppose that nothing would be here at all if it were not for a being that cannot be shown to exist in the first place.

        That seems like a huge assumption based on logic which has no credible supporting evidence. That is to say there is no evidence of any worth to support your ideas. How is it that you find these ideas credible? What evidence do you find compelling?

        • Frank Morris

          myatheistlife, you sure make a lot of assumptions, so let me clear those up first.

          First, I am an evolutionist, so I don’t know where you came up with the topic of creationism, which wasn’t even my topic. Biology was my major in college and it is my primary interest in the decades since, so, yes, I understand evolution.

          I did not say nothing can exist in a “meaningless” universe. That doesn’t even make sense to me.

          It is a matter of science. Have you never heard of the fine tuning of the universe and the physical laws? Matter can not exist without teleology, most scientists say. All time, space, matter and energy came into existence at once.

          An intelligent agent created the universe. We don’t really have a name for the intelligent agency that did this, but I’m not sure why one would guess that this teleological force just kind of came and went. The same physical laws still exist.

          We don’t KNOW that the physical laws that keep matter in existence would go away if teleology went away, but that is the likeliest answer scientifically.

          The most compelling evidence for teleology, of course, is in biological organisms. Evidence for teleology in life is as compelling as it gets. Our knowledge of teleology in life does support the idea that the fine tuning of the universe may also be some type of teleological force. There really aren’t any other possible answers, other than the “infinite universes” desperation.

          Teleology is needed constantly to maintain life in an organism. When life’s teleological forces leave an organism, that organism is dead. I would suspect the same is true of the teleological forces causing the universe.

          That’s my answer to the question that was asked.

  • Ignostic Atheist

    I would imagine a theist would be more likely to disbelieve in gravity, because god might catch you if you jump off a building.

    This argument starts with the assumption of god, but fails to argue for its necessity. Why should I believe your god is the source of morality, when I can just as easily assume that morality is a product of empathy, social indoctrination, and co-option of intuitive evolutionary responses, and not have to assume an invisible, mysterious god at all?

    Why do we have to teach infants how to share and not to hit?

    • john zande

      Americal Theists believe in Intelligent Falling… It’s a competing theory to gravity developed by the Heritage Foundation

    • Debilis

      Greetings to you, and otherwise jumping right in.

      First, your argument regarding gravity shows a marked understanding of what theism actually is. I would think that anyone including the term “ignostic” in his/her username would be careful to not make declarations about what sort of entity God is–and how that entity might relate to the physical world.

      Regarding morality, theists have actually argued for God’s necessity, but that is, like the former issue, not the point.

      Rather, the point is that morality isn’t human attitudes and behavior. That is human belief in morality. And, as I would think atheists would be fond of pointing out, belief and reality are different.

      So, if moral reality is different from human belief in morality, this explanation isn’t sufficient. And saying that there is nothing more than morality than this is just to claim nihilism.

      But I’ll not get into nihilism until I know whether or not you’re claiming that.

      • Ignostic Atheist

        Rather, the point is that morality isn’t human attitudes and behavior. That is human belief in morality. And, as I would think atheists would be fond of pointing out, belief and reality are different.

        It is human belief in morality as much as your attributing morality to god is human belief in morality.

        All I need is a reasonable alternative explanation, unless you’re going to provide proof that your god exists and is also the basis for morality through his being or his commands. The difference is that my explanation is grounded in things which are studied, and yours is grounded in the concept of a god which never seems to show up.

        • Debilis

          If you’re simply denying morality, and claiming that it is only belief in morality that exists, then you are claiming nihilism.

          That’s fine, but it isn’t morality. As such, I’d say that the classic point that atheism entails nihilism remains unchallenged.

          But I keep getting these requests that I “provide proof” vs “an alternative explanation”. Demanding proof of one side and mere conjecture from the other is an argumentum ad ignoratium fallacy.

          But, if you want to claim that God “never seems to show up”, then you are claiming that all the arguments for God’s existence can be shown to fail. That’s a rather bold claim, and one I’ve never seen supported. Really, there are a number of professional philosophers (many atheists among them) that would be surprised to learn of this.

          So, yes, any time one approaches a subject demanding proof of one side, and refusing to look much at all into the claims of the other, the conclusion is foregone.

          But it should be obvious why this isn’t a reasonable approach.

        • Ignostic Atheist

          But, if you want to claim that God “never seems to show up”, then you are claiming that all the arguments for God’s existence can be shown to fail.

          No, I’m saying that I’ve never been shown compelling evidence. Just subjective feelings and weak syllogisms. Even if I had been shown all the arguments, I wouldn’t know that I had been. It’s quite an assumption on your part to jump to that.

          Demanding proof of one side and mere conjecture from the other is an argumentum ad ignoratium fallacy.

          No, so long as I have reason to believe that morality is emergent conscious behavior of individuals and society, an idea with no supporting evidence, especially one which postulates an unobserved supernatural being as its basis, cannot hope to unseat it. If you’re interested in a reasonable and researched look at evolutionary morality, you can try The Righteous Mind. It’s not a terribly easy read. I myself will have to go through it again sometime with a highlighter and stickies, breaking my personal rule on the desecration of literature.

          Keep in mind, I’m not saying it’s true. I’m saying that it presents a far more compelling picture than your position, and is, therefore, much more likely to be true.

          So, yes, any time one approaches a subject demanding proof of one side, and refusing to look much at all into the claims of the other, the conclusion is foregone.

          I haven’t seen any claims from you, just assertions that it is as obvious as gravity. If it is as obvious as gravity, it should be painfully easy to demonstrate.

        • Debilis

          As to the opening comment, fair enough.

          Still, I don’t agree with the idea that the arguments for theistic views are weaker than the arguments for secular views. As you are promoting a secular view, I’d be interested to know what superior evidence you have.

          I agree with your second position, but I simply don’t know what reason you have to think that morality “is emergent conscious behavior of individuals and society”. Surely, there are reasons to think that belief in morality is that. There are also reasons to think that belief in the physical universe are that.

          But I don’t know of any reasons to think that either morality or the physical universe, and not just the belief in them, are that.

          I’d also like an argument for the claim that a “supernatural being” is unobserved. Surely, many people claim to have observed it. That doesn’t make them right, but it doesn’t make them wrong, either.

          But I understand the concept of belief in morality as a product of evolution. It isn’t remotely that I can’t imagine the evolutionary advantages of cooperative behavior–it’s that I’m not talking about beliefs and behavior, I’m talking about whether or not there is any objective standard outside of beliefs.

          Evolutionary theories of moral development do not address that question.

          I’m also not sure what the difference between claims and assertions are. But I wasn’t claiming (or asserting) that any of this was “as obvious as gravity”. Rather, my claim is that humans have a basic sense of morality (which is true), and that basic experiences shouldn’t simply be dismissed because someone is incredulous about them.

          That was what the gravity example was meant to illustrate.

          And I think it is painfully easy to show that there is such a thing as morality–except to those who dismiss their own experience. Just as it is painfully easy to show that the physical universe exists, except to a solipsist.

          But, if morality exists (not simply belief in morality, but moral facts apart from belief), theism is a much better explanation of it than atheism.

          You’re free to insist that there is no morality, in this sense, but that is a position which needs defending–and appeals to socio-biological evolution don’t address that issue.

      • Ignostic Atheist

        The evidence is that we can explain how moral intuitions developed and how it is co-opted by society and culture to become the localized set of values it is today. It’s not guaranteed truth, but it is a coherent explanation which accurately reflects what we see in reality, and can be used to make predictions. Again, you can read it for yourself if you want in The Righteous Mind. I will make no attempt to explain it to you, as I can’t pretend to have grasped it well enough to argue for it.

        Surely, there are reasons to think that belief in morality is that. There are also reasons to think that belief in the physical universe are that.

        But I don’t know of any reasons to think that either morality or the physical universe, and not just the belief in them, are that.

        What the hell is this? Or rather, “that”.

        I’d also like an argument for the claim that a “supernatural being” is unobserved.

        An argument that something hasn’t been seen. Classic burden of proof.

        But, I will entertain you. Observations of your god took place exclusively in ancient times, as testified by your bible. Since the Pentateuch is considered by Bible scholars, even those who set out to validate it, to be mythology, you can fairly safely rule out the basis of Yahweh as an actual god. This, of course, calls into question Jesus’ claims for being the son of that fake god. But, let’s forget about that. Jesus trotted around doing miraculous things in front of crowds for years, and yet the first historical note we have is decades after his supposed death, that there existed a group of people that believed he did so.

        Moreover, miracles are terribly common. As Sam Harris enjoys saying, the Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba has performed many of the miracles ascribed to Jesus, and you certainly wouldn’t be compelled to put stock into his divinity.

        Rather, my claim is that humans have a basic sense of morality (which is true)

        I agree that we do, but probably not as you view it. Again, as I asked earlier, why do we have to teach infants how to share and not to hit? If morality has a source separate from that infant’s body, it should not have to be taught.

        And I think it is painfully easy to show that there is such a thing as morality–except to those who dismiss their own experience.

        I’ve not said there isn’t. I’ve said that I have no reason to believe that the source of morality is a god, or more specifically, your god.

        But, if morality exists (not simply belief in morality, but moral facts apart from belief), theism is a much better explanation of it than atheism.

        I have given the research done towards evolutionary morality. If you are unwilling to consider that these might be facts about humans, then that is your close mindedness.

        Or, it is possible you are defining morality as being supernatural by suggesting that it can be anything more than an idea, a word used to represent good actions and the pursuit of accomplishing those good actions.

        You’re free to insist that there is no morality, in this sense, but that is a position which needs defending–and appeals to socio-biological evolution don’t address that issue.

        If you are defining morality as a source of knowledge of what is right, which exists external to humanity, then yes, I do think that morality by your definition does not exist. Again, I have no reason to think it does while I have an explanation which does the job with what we already know, and doesn’t assume there is a god somewhere who made it so, just for the sake of avoiding complicated thinking. You, on the other hand, need to show to me that 1) there is a god, 2) he is the basis of morality, and 3) that his basis of morality is worthy of following.

        • Debilis

          I understand the argument. The problem is that one could equally give an explanation as to how belief in the physical universe might have arisen even if one didn’t actually exist.

          So far, I’ve not been given a reason that this can be used to dismiss one’s moral sense, but not one’s sense of the physical.

          “That” refers to the psychological traits alone, as opposed to there being some external reality to which these senses point.

          But it is actually false that “observation” of God is limited to ancient reports. Setting aside the fact that many living people claim to observe more than the physical, God is the conclusion of several lines of argument. I’ve actually never argued for the existence of God on the basis of “observation”, but always via rational argumentation.

          And, of course, claiming the things you claim about God (that such an entity should be observable in a physical sense, that the Pentateuch is particularly relevant, etc.) contradicts ignosticism.

          I also disagree that, if morality were external to humans, it would not have to be taught. We need to teach gravity. We need to teach optics and perspective. This does not mean that our sense of touch and sight don’t reference any external reality.

          Yes, I’m defining morality essentially the way you name. And this is nihilism. You’re free to that position, but need to defend it. The argument against morality you offer works just as well to “show” that the physical universe doesn’t exist.

          So, unless you’re also a solipsist, you need to offer a reason why one should accept our physical senses without accepting our moral sense.

          But I don’t need to establish the reality of God before giving a separate argument from morality. The argument for morality presents God as a conclusion; it covers all three of the criteria you name.

          The only objection I’ve received is the claim that morality does not exist on the grounds that belief in morality can be explained without it. My response has been that belief in anything can be explained away in this matter. To apply it here, but not elsewhere, is simply a bias in favor of materialism.

        • Ignostic Atheist

          You keep making a point of saying “belief in”, as if it is the belief that matters. Beliefs are reflections what what an individual thinks is true. I could show you how any ridiculous belief might arise, just lend me a particularly gullible person.

          The existence of literature detailing a reasonable source of morality is not why I believe. It is the existence of the evolutionary mental structures detailed within that literature and verified through testing that inspires belief.

          And, of course, claiming the things you claim about God (that such an entity should be observable in a physical sense, that the Pentateuch is particularly relevant, etc.) contradicts agnosticism.

          I bet that felt good. It won’t last. You know how it is that people claim to be atheistic with regard to… or agnostic concerning… Well I’m ignostic when it comes to the vague bullshit that Christians put out when they’ve been cornered. The Christian god has been relatively well defined, and with those attributes you can safely say that he isn’t real.

          So, unless you’re also a solipsist, you need to offer a reason why one should accept our physical senses without accepting our moral sense.

          Because our senses all work when we’re born, whereas morality parallels development of the brain.

          But I don’t need to establish the reality of God before giving a separate argument from morality.

          The second claim of the argument from morality states that (The Christian) god is the best explanation for the phenomenon of morality. Alternatively, in the negative form: If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist. Since I have an explanation in the form of evolutionary morality, this claim is in question, thereby putting the conclusion into question. You’ve been arguing for some time now that you don’t need to prove anything, but guess what, ya do.

          The argument for morality presents God as a conclusion; it covers all three of the criteria you name.

          1) there is a god – Derived from the (in question) conclusion
          2) he is the basis of morality – The second claim, not a conclusion, and most importantly, no supporting evidence has been given yet by you
          and 3) that his basis of morality is worthy of following – Derived from your ass, you didn’t even pretend to support this.

          So, with that, I am finished. You’ve gone all this way to say nothing except, “Nanana, I’m right and I don’t have to prove anything because the argument from morality, so there!”

        • Debilis

          I agree that belief isn’t all that matters. I’d thought that this was my point–you are simply discussing how belief arises, whereas I was discussing whether or not the belief was true.

          And, yes, we can give any number of conjectures as to how a particular belief might arise apart from its being true. But, unless you’re willing to apply the same logic to the physical universe, that isn’t a reason to dismiss a basic sense of reality–common to humanity.

          Regarding the issue of ignosticism, I really didn’t mean to make you angry. I do apologize. I really meant that as a serious point. What you call “vague” is actually much closer to my position than what you seem to be calling “Christian”. As such, you at least claim to be ignostic toward my position.

          But I’m not convinced that a basic moral sense is lacking at birth (I’d be interested to know your reasons for thinking this), as opposed to something that (like our senses) we learn to use over time. Nor do I see any reason to think that something that doesn’t develop until later is automatically false. That seems a non sequitur.

          The second claim of the argument for morality is that some God is the best explanation of it. No version of it that I’ve ever encountered is specific to Christianity.

          I honestly don’t know who told you otherwise, but that person was simply wrong.

          But, for the record, I’ve never argued that I don’t need to prove anything. I’ve only ever argued that I don’t need to prove more than the person who takes a secular approach to life.

          Regarding your three points:
          1) It seems that we agree on this
          2) That is supported by the support of the various arguments. It has traditionally been defended in any number of ways. I’ve not mentioned them because they aren’t relevant to the topic.
          3) This is covered by the defenses of 2), but one would have to read the literature to understand why.

          Finally, you are free to leave if you’d like. But, if you choose to stay, I feel that you should also address the topic at some point. The secular view you take has gone completely undefended.

          That being the case, the most you could have gained here is to say that my view isn’t any better defended than yours (though I’d say it is much more so). I really need something like a defense for views that are presented as obviously superior to mine.

          If they are so superior, it shouldn’t be very hard.

  • Arkenaten

    I don’t really believe there is any way to prove whether a Creator god exists or not. However, the evidence put forward by those that do believe in such an entity does not warrant any serious consideration.
    And those that are emphatic that the narrative biblical character of Jesus is this Creator entity have never offered a single piece of reasonable or verifiable evidence to support their case.
    So, under the circumstances, it is perfectly reasonable to reject all claims of gods, creators, man-gods etc out of hand which , to date, all appear to be be man made..

    • Debilis

      You are allowed that opinion, but if you are actually claiming that this is a reasonable view, then you need to answer my challenge.

      That is, what is your evidence for your view of life and morality, and how is it better than the evidence in favor of theism?

      If you can’t answer that, then all the dismissal of theistic evidence won’t help defend atheism. It really is very simple.

      • Arkenaten

        I do not need to offer evidence at all. Why?

        How arrogant you truly are.

        The religious inserted a deity into the framework of life and claimed it is ”Truth’, and often forced this position on unwilling people across the globe. They still do, for that matter, albeit more subtly.

        Atheism does not need to be defended. Only paranoid religious people feel the need to cry such nonsense because their own position is so glaringly untenable, as witnessed by the numbers of different religions and multitude of sects withing these religious cults. Christianity is the perfect example, with over 40,000 denominations and counting.
        And the character Jesus did not even found ‘Christianity’ either, now did he? That was that other twerp, Saul of Tarsus
        Truly, what an un-holy mess!
        Lol

        You claim the moral high ground. You claim morality begins with your god and yet you (or anyone else) has EVER offered a single verifiable piece of evidence to back your position.

        Tell me, then, why I , or anyone else for that matter, should lend any credence to the diatribe you espouse or the source documents you base this crap on?

        • Debilis

          All this refusal to offer evidence is definitely a sign that you don’t have any.

          But, no, theists didn’t “insert” a deity into the framework. Rather, we have different frameworks. I don’t see any evidence at all for your view of ethics, meaning of life, etc. You seem to think that mine is just like yours, but with God added to it–that is wrong, pure and simple.

          Nor to I claim the moral high ground. I’ve claimed that you’ve not “you (or anyone else) has EVER offered a single verifiable piece of evidence” to support a secular view of ethics.

          Mostly, the response I get is “let’s change the subject to your view and demand that you support it”. Is it really any wonder that this smells fishy to me?

          So, it’s simple, give me a piece of verifiable evidence for your view, and I’ll match it. If I can’t, I’ll concede that you’ve completely won, and abandon my view. You’ll have de-converted me.

          But, if you can’t give me a verifiable piece of evidence for your view, you need to admit that it’s simply playing with a stacked deck to demand it of me.

        • Arkenaten

          You are within your right to reject the atheist viewpoint on any subject.
          However, if you wish me to defend my view then state what is YOUR view.
          I have offered an example of how you can begin this, and it might be worth opening an About page with a similar statement.
          That way, visitors will know exactly what they are dealing with before entering into dialogue.
          You KNOW I am an atheist and i have already stated what my view/standpoint is is: I shall repeat it, for your benefit.

          There is currently, no way to to establish if ‘God’ exists or not.
          ( Please Note” I am NOT saying 100% categorically there is no Creator deity)

          However, based on the evidence presented by those that believe in this God, and in this context, the Christian god, Yahweh/Jesus I can reject the/your notion of god (s) out of hand.

          If you, or any other Christian has evidence that you feel is convincing enough,( convincing enough to make me reconsider my position) then feel free to present it. Truly, I would welcome the opportunity.
          After all, you, like I, consider yourself intelligent and must have been convinced by something yes?

          There….cards on the table.

        • Debilis

          I agree that you aren’t claiming 100% certainty (nor am I, for that matter).

          But you do seem to believe that the probability of this being true is lower than the view that you take. I’m interested in what evidence you have for your view.

          I’ve already talked about reasons to believe in my view. You’ve dismissed them. Rather than repeat that conversation, let’s se what you have that leads you to believe that your view is more likely to be true.

          Those are the cards you still haven’t put on the table. Can we please see those?

        • Arkenaten

          This is the point that you don’t seem to be able to grasp, or simply refuse to do so, and it is why the non believer visitors to your blog ultimately get pissed off and leave.
          Atheism is generally regarded as the default position for humanity. It certainly was “in The beginning…” ( pun intended)
          When gods were introduced this position was challenged.
          Obviously someone at some point in time suggested that the lightening and thunder were made by a form of god. And things probably went ( downhill) from there.

          As humans became more intelligent and we began to understand what really caused thunder and lightening we were able to rationalize more and more away from the need to believe in gods.

          Of course, many people still do believe but this, sadly, has a lot to do with cultural inculcation.
          evident from the fact there are thousand upon thousand of gods worshiped across the globe.

          The Christian Power base is vast and there is a lot tied up in it ( and other religons) so there is tremendous pressure to continue to believe, as an about face would make the religious look very, silly indeed.

          As for the atheist position. It hasn’t really changed since the first human mumbled,
          “Ug?”
          The evidence for gods is as weak now as it was then, and that is quite simply all there is to it.

          The core ingredient for the religious is ‘Faith’.
          Acceptance of that for which there is no verifiable or valid evidence for.

          You accept, I do not.
          Though am quite willing to accept your world view should the evidence for what you claim be compelling.

          And it is only fair that if you expect me to believe in your god, then you must demonstrate on terms I am able to comprehend and accept.

        • Debilis

          However atheism is regarded, it is your view of morality, meaning in life, etc. that I wanted you to defend. Or are you claiming that those are also, somehow, a default position?

          I’ll not get into the reasons why I don’t accept your claims about religion. Really, all I’m interested in is support for your view.

          So, you have a view on the big questions of life that you feel is superior to any religious view? Excellent! What is your evidence?

        • Arkenaten

          Of course you wont get into the reason why you don’t accept my claims for religion. You are a coward, and if you attempted to your belief would be exposed for what it is.

          So, to the support for my view…..

          As atheism is the default position of humanity; and based on religious doctrine it precedes it by ( let’s round up) 100,000 years, then whatever meaning there was to life preceded your god, Yahweh, and his human manifestation , the narrative construct, Jesus of Nazareth.

          As humanity seemed to have gotten on all right for 98,000 or so years without any intervention whatsoever it would appear, based on the evidence, that this god of yours is either a Johnny-come-Lately with no real interest in his creation or, and this of course is merely a shot in the dark, he’s, like every other god humanity has come up with: Man-Made.
          Now I realise that suggestion must have almost almost knocked your socks off, right, but it is worth considering, don’t you think?

          I mean, I’ll be very honest, if it turned out that your god was real and only made an appearance after 97/8,000 years and then again as a human and decided he was going to intervene and tell me what to do,and insist I worshiped him else i would be going to Hell for eternity, I would. I’m afraid, tell him to go and fuck himself and the donkey he rode into town on, and quite likely anyone who also insisted this god was real.
          I would , at the very least, require some pretty hard evidence before I gave any credence to such an arsehole. I’m funny like this. It;s a character flaw, I realise, not being a mindless sheep, but there you go.
          ‘Tis a cross I have to bear.

          Because, you see, there is no evidence of a non;god, so I cannot produce anything for you, sorry, old bean.

          I can’t tell you where my morality comes from, other than evolution, or whatever the science guys say.

          Smile…you mention Big Questions. Er… what big questions had you in mind?

          Anyway as humans did all right before Yahweh ( and his missus) turned up, I reckon they will do all right when people have had enough of him and shown him the door, don’t you?

          Amen to that, right?

        • Debilis

          Call me a coward if you like. Or, better, actually go to the posts where I spell out my beliefs and defend them. Either way:

          Atheism is not the default position for humanity: and the materialism you’ve constantly supported certainly isn’t. I’ve never seen any evidence for this, and much reason to reject the idea.

          In fact, given the cross-cultural prevalence of religious belief for nearly all of human history, one would think that theism was the default position for humanity.

          Nor does being the “default position for humanity” make a thing true. It’s simply irrelevant.

          I don’t know where you get this idea that the God I believe in didn’t arise until a few thousand years ago. That’s marginally correct at best, according to my view.

          Of course, I’m sure you’ll lecture me some more about what my view actually is, but I assure you, as your only source of data on that subject, this is mistaken.

          Again, the God I’ve defended has never told anyone to insist on worship based on the threat of Hell. You really seem to have got the wrong God here. I agree with you that this one doesn’t exist.

          But my complaint isn’t that you’re requesting evidence. I think people should request evidence. Rather, it’s the fact that you seem to have completely embraced a specific secular position on morality and meaning in life without the ability to give me any evidence at all for it.

          If you are “funny like that” and demanded evidence for it, why can’t you tell me what it is?

          You can’t tell me what morality is, whether it is objective or not, what is the point to life? These are precisely the questions that the God that I’ve actually been talking about is relevant to.

          If you don’t know anything about these issues, then you’ve not even been dealing with the right God (but we knew this already).

          But I completely agree that people can be good without believing in God. People can be good without having any idea why they should be good.

          That doesn’t mean there isn’t an answer to that question. And dismissing it–then getting angry at a completely different God–doesn’t make that approach any less ignorant. It only makes it willfully ignorant.

          So, you have no idea what morals are, or what meaning in life might be there to be found? In that case, you have no idea whether or not the God I’ve been discussing exists.

          Do you want to learn about these subjects? You might find a reason to lean one way or the other.

        • Arkenaten

          Let’s first establish which god it is you worship, as, for some reason,you feel the one I have identified you with is erroneous.
          You are a Christian. Ergo , the god you worship; the god that demands you must worship or be forever damned, is Yahweh/Jesus. The deity you will find in the fallacious texts pf the Old and New Testament, c collectively known as the bible.
          If you have any doubts in this regard, or feel you worship a god by another name/s, then for this god’s sake please, once and for all, state the name of the god

          Until such time as you supply the name of the god you worship I will have to assume that it is Yahweh/Jesus, the narrative construct , that is claimed to be responsible for the Ten Commandments.
          And this ‘arsehole ‘; is really not moral at all. ( though he does have a few moments)
          But he does exhibit many immoral human characteristics.

          I don’t need to have an answer for where morality derived. It is only important o religious folk as a means of justifying their god. And again, which god? What a conundrum.
          I have stated that morality is considered part of the evolutionary process, a necessary trait for our survival, ( and of many other mammals apparently) or at least this is what ( more or less) the science guys have surmised.
          Are you denying this? And if so, where do you glean your data to refute biologists and other eminent scientist in relevant fields?

          This scientific view may change over time as more evidence becomes available but, and I wish to stress, the evidence (so far) of morality being from a god, let alone the man-god you genuflect to is non existent

          If, according to you, theism is the default position of humankind, then which god are you referring to, as there are millions?

          Obviously, they cannot all be right, but they can all be wrong.
          And bearing in mind the (Non) evidence you present for the god you worship I would say the chances that you are right and the millions of people who worship different gods or no gods at all is about nil.

          In fact, based on the lack of evidence for your case, atheism is the most plausible answer all round.

          Oh, and I did not say I have no idea what morals are, or what meaning in life might be found.

          Do not presume on me too much; you begin to come across as a real prat.

          I have offered you the reasons for my worldview, laid it out as best as I am able, yet for you, it is still not good enough and you shy away from any question that might oblige you to make a direct answer.

          Yes, you are a coward, and evasive and quite possibly dishonest as well.

          In fact the perfect apologetic Christian.

          Well done, your hubris must be a source of great comfort for you.

        • Debilis

          You are discussing a straw man. I’ve be describing my God for some time–if you haven’t any better an idea as to what I believe than this, a simple name isn’t going to fix the problem. Rather, I suspect that we’re looking for a name less to understand and more simply to mock that name.

          But this is all beside the point, the topic isn’t about what particular God I believe in. It is about the fact that materialist atheists, such as yourself, don’t have any evidence for the particulars of their worldview.

          Of course you need to answer the question of where morality derived if you want to defend your view of morality as better evidenced than mine.

          Saying that religious people are only interested in that in order to defend their view of God is no different than saying that you’re only interested in the question of which God I believe in as a means of promoting your atheism. Even if it were true, it’s no different than what you are doing.

          And it isn’t. I need to see some evidence for a view, but I’m not being given any.

          But you do assert that there is evidence, so what is it?

          You really make a big deal about evidence when it comes to my view, now that the topic is your view, we really ought to see some evidence.

          The only thing you say is that your view is plausible based on a lack of evidence for other views. Of course, you’ve not shown that there is a lack of evidence for other views. But, far more importantly, it is irrational to argue from a lack of evidence.

          After all, I could equally say that my view of ethics and meaning in life is most plausible on the grounds of the lack of evidence for all secular views.

          There’s nothing you say about religious views, in fact, that I couldn’t also say about your view until you offer some evidence.

          But I’ll try not to assume what you believe–but that is a bit of the pot calling the kettle black, isn’t it? You’ve demanded that you know what I believe. You’ve demanded that you know what my motivations are for writing things. If that makes someone come across as “a real prat”, you may want to stop doing it.

          So, you’ve not offered me any evidence for my view. You’ve only insisted that you don’t need to. But I need to see some real-live evidence before I can have a rational reason to accept your view.

        • Arkenaten

          The challenge you face is this: you do not accept scientific evidence where it comes into conflict with your core beliefs.
          If you were open to reason and faith played no part in what you believe then the likelihood of us having this discussion would be almost nil.
          And I wonder, what the point of your atheist bashing posts are for?
          Are you not secure in your faith? If so, why do you not rather proclaim it instead of tacitly vilifying non believers?

          Your difficulty is that while you claim to hold all the Aces for plausible evidence, a large part of your belief is based on Faith.
          The evidence for your world view embraces faith. Faith without evidence.

          “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
          Sound familiar?
          Jesus is encouraging us NOT to inquire after hard core evidence. Accept or reap the consequences, which are so colorfully explained in so many passages throughout scripture.

          It isn’t that non-believers have no evidence, but you do not accept the evidence they have.
          And the lack of evidence rather falls to the believer, hence the need for faith and a major reason why so many Christians eventually leave their respective church and embrace atheism. For them, nothing adds up.
          Non believers do not claim to have all the answers, but those they do have, are a lot more plausible than variations of “God did it”.
          Ask a deconvertee….from any religion….they’ll explain it a lot more eloquently than I can!

          I do not need to justify when i say “I don’t know” but this does not stop me ( or anyone else) from continual inquiry, now does it?
          By accepting that a god did it, and worse, a particular god, and in your case, Jesus, almost obliges one to limit inquiry as the answers to life’s “Big Questions” have supposedly already been answered.
          See various religious texts for answers on the theme of Creation and Rules for Humans to Live by.

          To put aside rational thought is anathema to me.
          I will not posit a deity then work around this like some CS Lewis clone.

          So, in conclusion, the believer does NOT have any evidence for their worldview; what they have is based on hearsay (scripture) and faith brought about by inculcation and cultural pressure (apathy?)

          The atheist has a little more evidence, but where there worldview falls victim to ignorance it presents an opportunity to learn rather than fear.
          And this is the reason why Christians etc need apologetics: to minimalize the encroaching doubt that is ever present in a world that is slowly but surely sloughing off millenia old religious dogma.
          I am pleased to note that, for the religious believer It appears to be a losing battle.

        • Debilis

          Actually, the challenge I face is making it clear to you that we aren’t discussing my views. The topic is about your views–we’ve given much more time to mine in the past.

          In fact, I’d simply echo your statements back at you. If you were so confident of your beliefs, and had evidence, why would you spend time on a theist’s blog attacking my beliefs?

          The same answer would apply to me.

          But you do have this to say:
          “It isn’t that non-believers have no evidence, but you do not accept the evidence they have.”

          I don’t recall the moment where you presented anything you even claimed was evidence, then denying that this was evidence. Rather, I asked for it, and got a subject change.

          This is why you haven’t yet realized that my plan isn’t to deny that any particular thing is evidence. Rather, my plan is to figure out what actual standard of evidence non-theists are using.

          My guess is that, once there’s a clear standard on the table, there will be evidence for theism based on it–we’ll see if that’s the case when we get there.

          First, I want to see your evidence. I can definitely relate to people simply denying that something is evidence–I get that constantly from zealous atheists who won’t tell me what standards they’re using.

          So, no you don’t have to justify an “I don’t know”, but you do have to justify a “but I’m going with this, and mocking your answer”.

          Nor does theism limit inquiry. Or, at least, you’d need to justify that as it is a claim (definitely not an “I don’t know” statement). But it definitely limits inquiry to simply say “I don’t know, and you shouldn’t propose answers”. Refusing to answer a question is even more an affront to inquiry than answering it too hastily.

          And this is why, if you refuse to put aside rational thought, you should have some reason for the positions you take on morality, meaning, and other metaphysical issues. You’ve refused to bring them out for examination, or to present any evidence at all.

          That is dogmatism. Rational thought would willingly offer evidence.

          But you make quite a few claims in your final two paragraphs. Are you ready to offer evidence in support of those claims? They definitely are a lot more than an “I don’t know”, and need to be justified.

          You simply misunderstand what theism is. I suspect that this is because there are some things about your own view that you’ve never thought to question.

          Disagree? Then present the evidence.

        • Arkenaten

          First, I want to see your evidence.

          Okay, pin your ears back as you appear not to be listening.I have offered evidence on numerous occasions, so let us be clear.
          1. Morality — Evolution. Consult a biologist. There is plenty of evidence for this from those who are vastly more qualified than I am so please do not ask technically related questions in an attempt to make me out to be an idiot on this subject as I will most definitely be one.

          2. Meaning of life – This is unanswerable and in context is purely subjective.

          3. Evidence of ‘no God’. – or non evidence of god ( which even sounds ridiculous simply typing it.)There is no evidence of ‘no god’. This ( so far) cannot be ascertained)

          What else is there?

        • Debilis

          Okay, ears pinned back. Here we go.

          1. All I can say here is, pin your own ears back. Biologists are not experts in morality. If you’re claiming that they are, you need to offer a reason to think that.

          What you’re talking about is a theory about how people might have come to believe in morality, not a position about morality itself.

          So, you don’t need to talk about biology at all. You need to talk about morality–not human instincts.

          But, if you’d rather insist that what biologists have found to be part of our instincts should be accepted by all of us–then would you agree with this?:

          If biologists could show that theism is a natural, biological tendency in humans, we should be theists? If not, why should we be moralists on these grounds?

          2. How do you know this is “purely subjective”? Do you have any evidence for this? You say that all evidence is archeological, but it is hard for me to imagine what archeological evidence led you to think this.

          3. I didn’t ask for evidence for this. But I’ll note that you agree that there isn’t any. That is far more significant than most atheists seem to think.

          But, what else is there? Lots of things.

          What about evidence for your materialism? What about an evidence based response to Rosenberg’s proof that the human mind can’t be physical (in case you think he’s biased, Rosenberg is a passionate atheist, as is Nagel, who wrote a similar proof).

          What about the origin of the universe? What is your evidence based answer to the idea that its cause can’t be physical?

          There are (many) others, but the point here isn’t to simply go through all the topics. Rather, I’m looking for what you consider to be valid evidence. I expect that there is evidence for God based on it.

          Your argument for morality seems to equally defend theism, as a case in point.

        • Arkenaten

          I have stated repeatedly that the meaning of life type questions you continually whine on about,there is currently no evidence.
          But to posit a deity is merely one huge chuffing cop out and nothing more than a god of the gaps theory. (And that you believe in your piss willy man god Jesus of Nazareth is even more ridiculous, especially as there is no evidence for this character. None.)
          Tyson is most eloquent on the matter of God of the Gaps and I would trust his judgment over some tin pot religious person an day of the week.
          You can postulate your nonsense and rant on about lack of atheist evidence till the cows come home.
          I have offered what evidence i am able (considering my extreme lack of academic qualifications) and referred you to experts who are eminently more qualified to answer than i am. And , naturally you reject these people and come back again and again with the same jerk-off asinine questions.

          Your continual evasion of ordinary questions pertaining to your own Christianity are a sham.
          I have noted before that you are a coward, and until you have the decency to answer simple questions than I shall stand by this belief.

          You really have no desire to search for truth, otherwise you would have no need for faith.
          You are a fraud and your posts demonstrate nothing but an inner insecurity.

        • Debilis

          I’m aware that you’ve “stated repeatedly” that your position is correct. What I need is support: evidence and logic.

          But you’ve claimed elsewhere to not be adding things to my theology or trying to define my position for me. As such, you need to stop telling me that positing a deity amounts to something completely different than what I’m actually positing.

          This is simply a straw man approach. If you insist on arguing against a version of theism I don’t actually believe in, you may as well have that conversation with yourself.

          So, in case I’ve not made this clear, I don’t remotely believe in a God of the gaps–I’ve never claimed this and never argued based on this idea. There is no reason at all for you to be arguing against the idea here, when no one in this conversation believes that.

          But you’ve not referred me to experts in the nature of morality. You’ve referred me to biologists. I agree with their biological claims, but we were discussing a completely different topic. I even explained what the difference was.

          If you wish to contribute to the discussion, you need to respond to this explanation–or reference experts in the nature of morality specifically.

          But I’m not interested in armchair psychology about myself. And, frankly, I don’t see why you are. If you don’t think I’m listening to you, feel free to leave. But staying here only to avoid discussing the actual topic seems strange.

          So, to repeat the content, my argument isn’t with the idea that the biologists you name and their account of how ideas about acceptable behavior might have arisen in humans. That strikes me as fairly plausible. My argument is with the idea that this is all there is to morality. The studies are completely silent about that.

          If you’d like to discuss that, do so. If not, there doesn’t seem to be a good reason to respond at all.

        • Arkenaten

          It is unreasonable for you to upbraid me for criticizing a version of theism you do not support when you do not state what version of theism you do
          This is like saying, “I am holding a marble in my hand. Guess what color it is.” Then, for the next twelve months every colour marble I suggest you say ”Nope?”
          Why not simply state your case or refer me to a link that explains the theism you follow/believe?
          Surely there are others who hold similar views as you?
          I cannot honestly believe your understanding is unique.

          My argument is with the idea that this is all there is to morality.

          This is where I am confused.
          You consider biological claims ”fairly plausible” yet dispute/ask if this all to morality?

          What does this mean? Truly. I am now baffled

          If you accept evolution is responsible for hair or eye colour for instance, what is your dispute with morality being part of evolution.?

          If you can be more succinct ( not ambiguous) in the way you ask the question, I promise not to be hostile with my answer.

        • Debilis

          I’m going to leave the opening three paragraphs of your comment, not because they are on topic, but because they illustrate the topic rather well.

          That is, this is exactly what I’ve accused the New Atheists of doing. I’ve gotten absolutely no defense of their worldviews–and utter refusal to even tell me what those views are.

          I’ve actually said quite a bit more about my understanding of theism than you’ve said about your view–so I’m not sure why you’re so frustrated on this point.

          Even more, the best way for me to give you a real understanding is to start with the questions that theism is an answer to. (This is the main thing–New Atheists tend to have a very hard time grasping the fact that theism isn’t a scientific hypothesis.)

          And that is what we’re doing here. Let’s get to the questions:

          1. What is morality?
          Is it only instinct and opinion, or is there objective truth to moral claims?

          The biological claims are about belief in morality, not about morality itself. I should think that a passionate atheist would be fond of pointing out that belief in a thing is different from the issue of whether or not it is true.

          So, evolution is responsible for many traits of humans (some say all, but I expect that both culture and free will play a part) . What it does not do is tell us whether or not our beliefs are true.

          It would be completely silly to say that the physical universe isn’t really true–that it is just this thing that we are evolved to believe in. But, no doubt, we were evolved to believe in it.

          I’m sure someone can’t present conjectures about how such a thing might have survival value outside of its being true, but that doesn’t remotely mean that there is no physical universe.

          The same is true with morality. Simply saying “here’s a theory about why people might believe in this without there being any external truth to it” doesn’t show that the actual experience is false.

          2. What is the rational view?

          It also puts one in an irrational position. Anyone who claims that morality is nothing more than a product of evolution, if she claims to be moral, is claiming to believe something irrationally. On this account there is no logical/rational reason to be moral, it’s simply an instinct.

          As such, it is belief without evidence–the very thing New Atheists claim is anathema to their thinking.

          And, if one sees this, and tries to find a rational stance on the issue, one will be getting closer to understanding what classical theism actually is.

        • Arkenaten

          So, evolution is responsible for many traits of humans (some say all, but I expect that both culture and free will play a part) . What it does not do is tell us whether or not our beliefs are true.

          Let’s start simple. It’s easier for me. to tackle this in bite size chunks.

          If you accept ( believe) that eye colour is a result of evolution, then why not morals?
          If you don’t accept that eye colour is a result of evolution how did it come about?

          Please, try to keep it concise.

        • Debilis

          The short answer is that this would only explain belief in morals. They wouldn’t be a rational reason to behave in any particular way.

          First, this means that these wouldn’t be morals by the standard meaning of the term.

          Second, this would mean that all belief that one should or shouldn’t behave in a particular way is irrational. Those who accept these kinds of morals simply cannot say that they only believe things based on evidence.

        • Arkenaten

          So what you are basically saying, is, Morality comes from God, sort of, ”The Buck Starts here,” sort of thing, right?

          Do you consider this absolute?

        • Debilis

          No, actually. All I was saying is morality doesn’t come from anything physical. Once we see that, we can discuss which nonphysical thing is the explanation of morality.

          Who knows? Maybe you’ll have a great argument for platonism. For now, the point is that materialism contradicts morality.

        • Arkenaten

          Now I am reallyconfused. You have stated previously that morality resides with God ( damned if I can find where you wrote this) or something very similar, and now you are saying it comes from something non physical. Surely in context ( this is the same ( god – nonphysical) you are referring to your God, yes?

          I consider myself materialist and moral.

        • Debilis

          No, I’m not referring to God. I’m referring to the non-physical.

          That non-physical thing that is the basis of morality might turn out to be God, or something else. That’s another topic.

          If I were to say “my keys are not in this room”, it doesn’t make much sense to say “so, you’re saying that your keys are in the kitchen”. No, I’m not. I may also happen to think they are (and I may not), but that’s not what I said. I said “they aren’t in the room”.

          The same thing here: I’m saying that morality can’t be explained by the physical alone. If that is true, then morality and materialism are incompatible with one another.

          And that means that a moral person should reject materialism. What other view that person accepts in place of materialism–that’s a different conversation.

        • Arkenaten

          So if you are unable to identify this non physical thing and refuse to label it god, but still claim it cannot be explained by the physical alone, then what is it and how do you know it IS, especially as you have previously stated that morality resides with your god.

          In effect, what you are saying is, I believe but have no evidence for this belief.

        • Debilis

          If you reread my comment, you’ll notice that I never claimed to be unable to identify anything.

          But I don’t know why it should bother you even if that were true. Atheists, I’ve been told repeatedly, are okay with not knowing. As such, we don’t need to know exactly what this non-physical thing is just yet–we can leave that for further investigation.

          Right now, the important thing is that we’ve shown materialism to be false.

          So, instead of trying to tell me what it is I believe (and getting some very basic things wrong, by the way), let me know if you agree that materialism is false.

          And, if not, give me a reason why it is true.

        • Arkenaten

          Sorry for the bold type. Wasn’t ”shouting” .

          I forgot to close a bracket.

        • Debilis

          That’s completely understandable.

          I’ve made the same mistake quite a few times.

        • Arkenaten

          However atheism is regarded, it is your view of morality, meaning in life, etc. that I wanted you to defend. Or are you claiming that those are also, somehow, a default position?</blockquote.

          Okay, here is the question/s in your words. So there is no misunderstanding on my part. ( I hope)

          My view of morality.
          Answer: I believe It is part of (the) human makeup/evolution, probably a form of survival trait.
          Evidence: Ask an expert in any relevant field. Maybe a biologist?

          Meaning IN (of) life.
          This is one of those odd questions that is full of ambiguity; a bit like , Why are we here or do you consider human beings have a specific purpose?

          No, I do not believe they have a specific purpose as this would tacitly suggest an outside influence.

          Meaning of/to life is different and largely subjective although it can be tied to purpose.
          But for an individual who is born with crippling brain damage and confined to a bed and has no control over his or her faculties how would one define this individual's meaning of life if there is no independent thought?

          The best answer I could offer is to try to fulfill one's human potential.

          There. I have tried to be as honest and open as I am able.
          I know of no other way to meet your request for evidence of my worldview on these points.
          If these answers are not what you are looking for then please elaborate and I will try to expand on my answers/evidence, okay?

        • Debilis

          If you think that this is all that morality is, are you moral? Do you believe that murder is wrong?

          If so, I’d like to see evidence that murder is wrong, not simply that you have an instinct that it is.

          Unless, of course, you’d accept an instinct as a valid reason to believe in God.

          The same goes for the subjectivity of the meaning of life. I agree that the answer is a valid one. Now, let’s get to evidence.

          I’m not aware of any secular evidence that fulfilling one’s potential is more meaningful than not fulfilling it. Please let me know if you have any.

          But, if there isn’t any evidence for that, I don’t see reason to accept that view over theism.

        • Arkenaten

          blockquoteIf so, I’d like to see evidence that murder is wrong, not simply that you have an instinct that it is.blockquote

          This comment says it all, I believe.
          You are an effin idiot.

        • Debilis

          I can’t claim to know why you wrote this, but I can’t think of a good reason that anyone would.

          It certainly wasn’t because you’re sharing a logical or rational reason why I’m wrong–or are showing that your position is more rational.

          That being the case, feel free to contribute to the content of the discussion or leave. Personal jabs are pointless at best, and it looks like I’m going to have to start deleting them again.

        • Mark Hamilton

          Bravo Debilis! You had to hang onto that bull for a long time, but it looks like Ark is finally out of steam. I must congratulate you on your infinite patience.

        • Arkenaten

          Lol…you think I don’t revel in the mindless ramblings of idiots like you?

          You cheer from the sidelines as if this is some sort of high stakes poker game.
          Your little ra- ra philosophical dribbling are no different than the diatribe espoused by the likes of Ken Ham. Honestly, what do you truly believe you have achieved by all this nonsense?

          Common sense, honesty, and integrity are hallmarks of decent human character, none of which you and your nonsensical ilk ever display.
          If there was an inkling of any of these qualities present then people such as William Lane Craig would up sticks and sod off once and for all.

          The facts are humans are moving away from all forms of god belief and especially religion, and the Yahwehist nonsense you cling so dearly to is slowly but surely being eroded.
          The Pentateuch is fiction and has been acknowledged as such by almost every recognized secular scholar and archaeologist on the planet. And that is not some fallacious meme put out there by Nasty Rotten Atheists hell bent (sic) on conspiracy theories, either.

          It is, therefore, only a matter of time before religious Castles Made of Sand drift into the sea.

          It is a natural progression. Why do you refuse to see it?

          That the religious have to continually fight tooth and nail to hold on to the nonsense they ”believe” merely makes me ( and no doubt others) shake my head in bafflement.

          Really, it is all just so very, very silly.

          Truly , you are such a fool and have absolutely no comprehension about how such dialogue makes the “defenders of the faith” look.

        • Frank Morris

          Ark, actually, according to a very recent poll, belief in God is holding steadily at just over 90% of the adult population, with belief in other religious concepts, such as heaven and spirits, on a sharp rise in recent decades.

          In the meantime materialism in the scientific community is taking a major beat-down, especially the intense stupidity of Darwinism. The entire falsehood of materialistic causes of life is in a shambles.

          I’d say things are going the opposite direction of what you say they are.

        • Arkenaten

          And would you care to provide a citation?

        • Frank Morris

          Pew poll December 2013

          http://religions.pewforum.org/pdf/report2religious-landscape-study-key-findings.pdf

          The second poll listing down pertains to conception of God.

          “more than nine-in-ten Americans
          (92%) believe in the existence of God or a universal spirit,”

        • Arkenaten

          This is a survey of the USA. Not the world.

  • Howie

    Hey Debilis: While my own conclusions may be different from yours, you make some interesting points here and I’d like to get a better idea of your perspective. I think you are delving somewhat deep into epistemological and “metaphysical” questions for which solid conclusions seem difficult to come by, as can be seen in polls of philosophers. But I don’t think the discussion is entirely useless.

    First, do you believe that the fact that there seems to be an objective law of gravity necessitates the existence of a God? why or why not? I’ve seen theists vary on this which is why I ask.

    Are there any experiences that we have that are ok to be explained as being subjective, or do all of our experiences need to be explained by objective reality outside of the differing feelings of people? If there are both subjective as well as objective experiences what criteria could we use to distinguish between them?

    I have some ideas on these but I’m not so sure I have great answers to these questions myself.

    • Debilis

      I definitely agree that these are muddy waters. While I (obviously) have my positions, I completely agree that there are intelligent and reasonable people who take different views.

      Really, I think we all simply need to question our own views, and try our best to choose the best answer we can.

      I do tend to think that the law of gravity (or any law) necessitates God, insofar as I believe that classical theism is the best explanation of the fact that there is a rational order to the universe.

      As to your next question, I’d say that all of our experiences are partially subjective–but also suspect that there is an objective element to all experiences as well.

      But how we draw lines between subjective and objective–that is a great question. While there’s no knock-down metaphysical system, I’d say that there are some that I consider to be very strong. Most pertinently, I tend to agree with the idea that we should reject any view which would require us to be irrational in our thinking. Sedgwick actually put forth an argument for morality based on the idea that disbelief in objective morals requires exactly that.

      J.L. Mackie, in writing his response (and defense of his atheism), admitted that he was willing to accept certain beliefs that made him irrational.

      So, like you say, it is an unsure field, and I completely understand why there is so much disagreement among philosophers. More than that, I appreciate the thoughtfulness and kindness of your response.

      Thanks for that.

      • Howie

        Hey Debilis – thank you too for cutting me some slack and not saying that I was off topic with my questions (which I kind of thought you might). I prefer calm and collected discussions rather than debate.

        I’d like to offer some of my own thoughts on this. Morality is a bit of a strange thing – it lands in this region that I can only best describe as somewhat fuzzy (not a technical term 😉 ). While I feel incredibly strongly about some moral topics I still don’t get the feeling that they are analogous to the objectivity of gravity. While I don’t know if there are philosophical distinctions between our experience of our 5 senses and our experience of moral feelings I can describe some differences.

        First, there are agreed upon organs of our body for our 5 senses, but nobody has found one for morality. Second, there definitely seems to be a connection between our emotions and our moral beliefs which doesn’t seem to be for our other senses. Third, if we don’t hear or see something clearly because it is too far away then coming closer to the object or event makes things clearer – this doesn’t exist for morality.

        There are other distinctions which are not as easy to describe though. Our experience of aesthetics (beauty, food taste) is usually considered subjective. While there is some philosophical disagreement on this it is not generally considered irrational for one to hold the belief that aesthetics is subjective – but this is also a part of our human experiences. Even closer to home is etiquette – it is considered rational to view this as relative, but I have caught myself many times saying “that is just plain wrong” (in an objective sense) in discussions on etiquette. I don’t know what the distinction is between our experience of etiquette and morality except that some moral topics seem to conjure up much more intense feelings.

        Different cultures and times have seen different conclusions on many moral topics some of which are considered intense (harming animals even for food, slavery, genocide). But for gravity, scientists across cultures and times have derived the same conclusions when performing experiments.

        So there does seem to be a difference here between our experience of our 5 senses (empirical may be the right word) and our aesthetic and moral experiences.

        Don’t get me wrong though – there are some topics that I feel so incredibly intense about (rape, pedophilia, slavery, genocide) that I have such a hard time concluding as subjective as etiquette, but I wonder if this is just a matter of intensity of my feelings. There is something else from my own experience that relates to this – I grew up Jewish and was raised to have very intense feelings that belief in Jesus as God was just plain wrong (objectively). When I converted to Christianity this was a big hurdle for me and there were intense feelings of guilt when I told my parents. So the intensity of feelings doesn’t seem to indicate correctness across belief systems.

        As a quick side note there are some atheist philosophers (more than you would think) that believe that objective morals exist in some “Platonic abstracta” sense. This may be another possibility to consider as well.

        • Debilis

          This is a very thoughtful approach. I loved reading it.

          As far as a response, let’s see…

          I completely agree with you that intensity of feeling isn’t a good indicator of truth. As the differences between moral sense and the physical senses, I think these are good points, but I’m trying to sort out what they mean for the discussion.

          So far, I don’t see a reason why having a particular organ would be germane. Yes, that would help with the sensing of physical things, but in dealing with abstract things like morals it would be a mental, rather than physical, structure that would sense these things.

          I’m not sure what I think about the idea that morals are connected to emotions in a way that the physical senses are not. Surely, both are connected to our emotions (both evoking and affected by them), but I’m not sure whether these are different sorts of connections–or what that means with respect to the overall idea.

          I do agree that physical questions seem easier to test than moral issues. Though–I know that there are some which are very hard to test. And, definitely, “is there a physical world in the first place” can’t be tested by the senses. At least, it can’t be tested in a way that “is there moral truth” can’t be tested. And that seems the key point here.

          I think the comparison to aesthetics is a very pertinent one. I know that some argue that there are objective principles of beauty. Some of the arguments I’ve read are actually much more reasonable and down to earth than I expected. Still, this is far from an established point.

          I do think that most everything (if not everything) that is beautiful can be correlated to philosophical truths about life. That being the case, we can’t say that this really is a purely subjective matter anymore than we can say that it is objective. As such, it seems to be a neutral point, as opposed to one that undercuts moral truth.

          And, yes, I know that most atheist philosophers believe in moral truth. While I’d have to go on for quite some time to explain why I think theism is a better explanation than the alternatives on offer, I do take this as a sign that there is reason to think that objective morals exist. As far as I can tell, it seems that the debate is moving from “do objective morals exist” to “what best explains them”.

          I completely agree that secular explanations should get a fair hearing, and I agree that glib certainty is completely out of place. Still, I think that, at the end of the day, classical theism is the best explanation of moral truth.

          That’s my two cents (or four, I’ve gone on quite long enough). But, mostly, I hope all is well with you out there.

        • Howie

          Hey Debilis,

          Sorry for the late reply – I take some time with deep questions and I also have work and family time. Things are going great here; first week back at work after break went better than I thought it would – hope the same for you.

          You bring up some good points to think about and rather than go point by point, I’ll just try and summarize what I was saying. I was just trying to show that there are differences between our 5 sense experiences and our moral “sense”. My own feeling is that given the points I listed (some more pertinent than others) moral sense seems to lie closer to my senses of aesthetics and etiquette which do seem more subjective. I’d have a hard time explaining to my kids with a straight face that moral realism is as obvious as the law of gravity. But I’m in no ways an intellectual bully and I understand the points you are making, so I don’t judge whatever makes sense to you. But it just doesn’t seem clear to me.

          I really don’t know for sure if there are objective moral facts. As I’ve said I understand the experience of feeling that things like rape are just plain wrong, but I weigh that against everything else I’ve said. Either way I know that hurting other people makes me feel like shit, so objective or not, I try my best to avoid it.

          But more to your bigger question in this post. If you want me to provide evidence for a worldview to replace the one you have I’m afraid I don’t have one. I just see things as possibilities and I try the best I can to weigh possibilities and see what works best for everything I’ve heard, read and experienced. I don’t think someone has to have an explanation of a complete worldview to try and make a decision about whether or not gods exist. Given my own experiences and all the arguments I’ve read for and against I currently am just doubtful of it. I remember back when I was struggling so hard right before I decided I couldn’t call myself a Christian – I felt like I needed another worldview that was better to replace it with. I searched afterward through several avenues (and still read about interesting world-views) and found that the whole endeavor was just too uncertain. But that didn’t take away the fact that the Christian message didn’t seem to line up very well with my experiences and understanding of the things I have read and heard. Anyways, thanks for your 4 cents – I’ve probably given you 10 of mine! 😉 Later – Howie

        • Debilis

          I really appreciated this read. Thanks for putting it up (and thank you for the kindness of your tone).

          I suppose the point about selecting a different worldview is our fundamental difference. As you aren’t really debating the point, but simply offering your personal opinion, I’ll follow suit by saying that I found myself constitutionally incapable of facing my day without answers to big worldview questions (I had a something like a bout of depression over it).

          Intellectually, I accept that not everyone is like this, but I’ve never really understood it personally. It’s such a visceral issue for me.

          But, that’s simply my perspective “what is the true worldview” is a driving passion in my life (hence, all the apologetics).

          I’ll do my best to appreciate that not all think as I do–and take a different approach.

          To that end, best to you. I hope that this finds you well.

        • Howie

          Hey Debilis,

          I’ll do my best to appreciate that not all think as I do–and take a different approach.

          That was a very kind and humble statement – while I do strive for that in my own approach I realize it’s not for everyone and I certainly did not have that approach many years ago so either way you go no judgment from me. I think feeling passionately or strongly about our own viewpoints is a natural part of who we are. If you look over at Nate Owens’ blog you can see some of my comments end up being strongly opinionated as well. And you can definitely see it in some of my own blog posts. I like hearing opposing views, so I like it when people offer a different opinion from my own, but it’s just that whenever I get caught up in trying to “win” I end up not learning (and I think the other person doesn’t either).

          Eh, so much for me dragging on about useless stuff – more important, to your point about wanting to know the true worldview. I also have a strong passion for this (you can see it in my own blog posts about “moving forward with ultimate questions”), but I’ve come to realize over the years that reaching any reasonable certainty on these kind of deep ultimate questions are very likely beyond our reach at this point (at least it seems that way to me). Obviously we can all take our best guesses, as I have, but dealing with uncertainty was something I realized that I had to do a year or so after I “left” Christianity.

          And I can totally relate to the depression regarding this – that year or so was a very difficult period for me. But it didn’t take too long to realize that there was still a life filled with family, friends and lots of things to enjoy. That year, I met others at a Unitarian Universalist church who were content even with uncertainty, and then a few years later I met my wife who is one of the most content I’ve ever met – she is as apatheist as it gets – she thinks the search is a waste of time, doesn’t believe there are gods, but simply lives the practical and considerate Buddhist life, similar to what she was raised in. The search is still very important to me so I differ from her there but I know how to keep it at a balance though and how to deal with uncertainty as well.

        • Debilis

          Best wishes to you in your search, then.

          I definitely agree that these are anything but easy questions, and hope that we all can find answers that are both honest and bring us peace.

          It seems that this is what you are doing, and this is the real reason why people ought to debate and share opinions–as you say.

          As for me, I find Christianity the best working answer. I’ve not yet encountered a secular approach to life and ethics that seems more likely. But I definitely appreciate anyone who is honestly searching.

          But, I’ll have to have a look at those blogs–see what I find.

          Best to you until then.

  • violetwisp

    “what is your evidence for your view of life and morality, and how is it better than the evidence in favor of theism?”

    The rest of the animal kingdom. The patterns in which different animals have evolved to survive, particularly those that have similar social, co-operative living structures to us. In general, they don’t commit random motiveless murder etc, and they look after their offspring as instinctive survival mechanisms. Those with characteristics that don’t conform aren’t successful breeders.

    There is nothing to separate us from these allegedly not-made-in-a-god’s-image creatures other than our throats managing to utter complex sounds, enabling us to build more sophisticated communication tools (language) and knowledge that has been passed on through generations and across societies using these tools.

    Perhaps you believe that a god is transmitting moral values to dogs, crows, ants and dolphins. The order and care for one another that we can witness in their everyday lives is evidence that human ‘morality’ is a concept invented by overthinkers keen to be spawned by a super-being. We’re just another animal with more tools at our disposal.

    • pancakesandwildhoney

      So, under a secular ethic, the equal worth of individuals is assumed without justification? (Be careful not to beg the question in your response. That is, don’t use as a premise some form of the very thesis at issue here.) But without the parenthood of God, it makes no sense to say that all persons are innately of positive equal value. What gives us animals, the products of indifferent evolution, cosmic and otherwise, any value at all, let alone equal value? From a perspective of intelligence and utility, Aristotle and Nietzsche seem to be right: there are enormous inequalities, and why shouldn’t the superior persons use the baser types to their advantage? In this sense, in rejecting inegalitarianism, doesn’t secularism seem to be living off the interest of a religious capital that it has relinquished?

      A general comment, and more to the point of this thread:

      1) Morality does not originate with God (though the way God created us may affect the specific nature of morality.)

      2) Rightness and wrongness are not based simply on God’s will.

      3) Essentially, there are reasons for acting one way or the other, which may be known independently of God’s will.

      Okay, what is this argument saying? In sum, ethics is autonomous, and even God must obey the moral law, which exists independent of himself–as the laws of mathematics and logic do. Just as even God cannot make a three-sided square or make it the case that he never existed, so even God cannot make what is intrinsically evil good or make what is good evil. For me, this thesis admits of some epistemological advantage to God: God knows what is right–better than we do(omniscience). And because he is good, we can always learn from consulting him. But in principle we act morally for the same reasons that God does: We follow moral reason that are independent of God. We are against torturing the innocent because it is cruel and unjust, just as God himself is against torturing the innoncent because it is cruel and unjust. So, even as God’s power does not include being able to override the laws of logic (He cannot make a contradiction true or 7+7=15), so likewise God cannot make rape, injustice, cruelty, and the torturing of innocents good deeds. The objective moral law, which may be internal to God’s nature, is a law that even God must follow, if he is to be a good God. By this account, if there is no God, and the world exists, morality is left intact.

      However, in what way can moral laws be natural categories if God does not exist and morality is just convention, as some anthropological studies suggest, and adaptive evolutionary traits, as is being suggested here? Of course, these factors are linked to morality and play and played a part in our being able to have a discussion about morality and contemplate moral notions, but, without God, how can morality exist itself, not just pieces of the puzzle? I ask this because morality, while not dependent upon God for its rationality, must still have God as the source of morality, because morality can only exist if the universe exists; that is to say, without God, nothing exists, where nothing means not anything, and, by necessity, nothing exists, not even rational principles in a universe of nothing (this is a theistic assumption that can be challenged. Perhaps, the universe came about solely by chance? I think chance has to be, by orders of magnitude, the least likely explanation for the emergence of intelligent life.) Furthermore, moral freedom could not exist apart from an orderly environment. If the world were totally unpredictable, if we could never know from one moment to the next, what to expect from nature, both science and meaningful moral conduct would be impossible. In other words, without the regularity in physical phenomena there could be no probability to guide us: no prediction, no prudence, no accumulation of ordered experience, no pursuit of premeditated ends, no formation of habit, no possibility of character or of culture. Our intellectual faculties could not have developed, and without rationality, morality is impossible. (As an aside, this is a rather good answer, in my opinion, to the problem of evil. If nature sets the stage for moral good, it does the same for moral evil.)

      And morality can only be relevant, as Aristotle thought, if the creatures of that universe are created in such a way as to be drawn toward the good i.e., have an objective purpose, an end, a telos to use Aristotle’s phrase.

      Moreover, there must be a God acting as judge and enforcer of the moral law, without which the moral law would be unjustified (I’m thinking of Kant here. Ought implies can and so forth.). The point here is that the idea of God serves as a completion of our ordinary ideas of ethics.

      In fact, from this I could even develop an argument for God’s existence. An assumption that I will be making here is that no atheist or nontheist, to speak more generally, on this thread, to qualify that generality, thinks that moral absolutes exist, correct? (If you are not a theist, but do believe in moral absolutes, then I will need you to justify that belief.) The argument is as follows:

      1) If there is no God, no moral absolute values exist.

      2) Evil exists (which is a negative absolute value and implies that the Good exists as a positive absolute value.)

      3) Therefore, God exists.

      God bless

    • Debilis

      There is definitely much in this picture to commend it. And, yes, I do believe that there is moral value in animals (and my wife is particularly passionate about this).

      I don’t have any objection to the idea that humans are animals. But I would add that this view of morality is not morality in an objective sense–it’s simply a tendency in human nature that we are free to follow or ignore.

      If, however, we are going to claim that there is an objective truth to the idea that we ought to respect other forms of life–that those who do not are wrong–then we need to propose some explanation of that truth. It is at this point where we need to consider things other than the physical.

      I hope that makes more sense. I definitely appreciate your respect for life, and hope that more people see why that is so important.

  • Arkenaten

    Still, I think that, at the end of the day, classical theism is the best explanation of moral truth.

    This is simply an uneducated and unqualified opinion, based on cultural inculcation with no evidence.

    • Debilis

      OR it is a conclusion based on scores of arguments pasted all over this blog.

      Two possibilities. If you want to support your opinion that the former is the case, give those arguments a read and present your case.

      • Arkenaten

        Arguments that have no basis in fact and built mostly upon philosophy.

        Your blog is one long whine against atheism, couched in rhetoric.
        You don’t even have the balls to attest that you are a Christian and state in an open forum that you consider Jesus of Nazareth is the Creator of the Universe.

        This approach is in many respects similar to the likes of William Lane Craig.
        I realise the art of apologetics is a skill one can be taught, and many Christians are taught it, for without it their position is untenable and just so much diatribe.
        ( go read a deconvertee – any deconvertee – almost all have been where you are not)

        This need to be so defensive comes about from doubt, and has to be shored up by the lessons from past masters who have found ways to worm out of serious, commonsense questions that have Christians ( and other religious folk) pissing in their pants.

        You may consider this approach makes you come across as intelligent?
        Let me assure you, it does not and only those with similar insecurities will nod and breath a sigh of relief upon reading your posts.
        Paarsurry, for one. And he worships a different god, which is hilarious, or at least, half of the god you worship.

        Although I doubt you are looking for any form of respect from the non believer, you would go a lot farther if you were not such an obtuse ass.

        But as subterfuge and evasion and similar
        “Clever Dick” tactics seem to be the stock in trade of your ilk, ordinary honesty is chucked aside to accommodate all the cleverness you feel is a vital component for you case.

        So sad….

        • Debilis

          Okay, so you mock and dismiss the arguments presented. Got it.

          I’ll simply suggest that others who happen by take a look at several of my posts to check on the validity of your conclusion.

  • Arkenaten

    Oh, and I will add, if you feel the answers to the question you refuse to reply to are spread out all over your blog, please provide a couple of links to save me having to trawl through the mire to fins them as have never, as yet, come across a single straight answer to one of the questions i have posed.

  • Arkenaten

    Correction: you do state you are a Christian on your about page. Apology.

    • Debilis

      Thanks. I was surprised that you’d forgotten that, after all the to do about it earlier.

      Of course, I should add the definition I have of that is quite a bit different than the one you’ve been giving.

      But this is getting off topic. I’m looking for evidence for other views. I’ve been told that this is the important factor in selecting a view, and would willingly change my view if one had more supporting evidence than mine.

      • Arkenaten

        Er….the definition?
        There is no other definition. You believe in Jesus, yes?
        You believe he is the Creator of the Universe.Your god; as defined by the Nicene Creed and ironed out over the next few Councils and promulgated into law by the likes of Constantine and Theodosius.

        Is this not the god you believe in?
        I believed this was what all the hoo har was about and why Arius was slung out the church and Arianism etc was declared heretical and why the Church tried to liquidate so much opposition.

        Is there another Christian god? Please enlighten me if there is?

        Evidence for other views?
        Morality? Evolution.
        What other evidence do you require?

        • Debilis

          We’ve been over the differences between what you see as the Christian God, and what theologians have to say about the subject.

          That isn’t the topic.

          The topic is about whether or not you have any evidence for your view. And I don’t know of any reason why, if you have evidence to offer, you should avoid discussing that.

          So, please do so.

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