This is the level Answers In Genesis have stooped to

EDIT: 20th June 2009. It would appear this billboard is not as it first appears. A number of you have pointed out that it looks Photoshopped. I will not be removing this post in the interest of clarity, but I would like to make it clear that, upon further examination, I no longer personally believe it to be part of a genuine ad campaign, from the people who brought us the creation science museum. Please read comments for more.

Update: Andrew McKenzie, from answersingenesis, has verified that this is indeed a Photoshopped picture, in a detailed comment below.

http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Poe’s_Law

Killer_atheists

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60 comments on “This is the level Answers In Genesis have stooped to

  1. But according to Chris Mooney, we have to be CIVIL to them!!!

    I need more time in the day to blog about yet another instance of incivility from the other half of the debate…

  2. The billboard is a fraud. Did you check first to see if this was a true billboard before posting this doctored photo? M

  3. Mark. I am trying to establish if this is in fact the case. I will post a clarification as and when I get an email back from answersingenesis.org and freethoughtpedia.com, who host the original.

  4. Jim, et.al.,

    Let me help you out. This particular picture is actually taken from a video clip that AiG put out around 2006. It is still on their website. They used the clip to make a point about the rise in youth violence today (columbine etc.) and evolutionary theory as being responsible for the erosion or eradication of objective moral standards (a consequence of accepting a purely mechanistic universe–time, space, matter, chance–”then why should I care to follow someone else’s morality when I can validly make up my own”). I’m just letting you know. I am not commenting to get into an argument today.

    You can jump on AiG all you would like, yet you should be sure you are attacking AiG and their actual views rather than some dishonest representation of AiG and their views. AND IT IS DISHONEST. The phony billboard did not happen by accident, chance, or evolution. It had an intelligent designer with a purpose in mind:-)

    However, Jim, I would have expected you to have researched the billboard hoax BEFORE you posted it. Research, evidence, evaluation, observation, etc. Any of this ring a bell–oh ye masters of scientific investigation?:-) Sloppy…. In fact, I believe that some folks who follow your blog might say that you are far to intelligent to have posted this without knowing its provenance. That has some implications, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and not accuse you of “stooping” to something that is not really representative of you at all.

    Here is the AiG link with the video clip. So if you are still waiting to hear from AiG–here is their own site for you or anyone interested.

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers/features/you-matter-to-god

    Another less honest atheist blog had posted this picture and railed that AiG was sending out the message that atheists should be shot.

    Oh, what one can convey using words and/or images wrested out of their original context and inserted into another.

  5. No, Mitch is absolutely right. I should have established the validity of this before posting it. I have yet to find anyone from answersingenesis disowning it, or anyone claiming responsibility for faking it. For this reason and for clarity I’ll be leaving it up with a disclaimer inserted.

  6. sources cited? i mean, c’mon why would anyone even give these retards the time of day if they are going to make such a ridiculous blanket statement about a nation of people.

    i am amazed

  7. As an employee and representative of Answers in Genesis, I can assure everyone that the billboard image above was indeed Photoshopped.* The original campaign that the actual billboard was part of can be found at If you don’t matter to God, you don’t matter to anyone, with a more in-depth review and clarification by Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham at “If You Don’t Matter to God, You Don’t Matter to Anyone”.

    What is quite ironic is that so many supposedly skeptical, critically thinking blogs posted this Photoshopped billboard apparently without any attempt to verify the billboard’s accuracy. We appreciate that this blog has issued a disclaimer, but as you can imagine, seeing your work distorted even with a disclaimer is frustrating.

    For those who are willing to listen with an open mind to what we are actually saying: we are not advocating violence, and we are not saying that belief in evolution causes people to murder (or, e.g., that it causes Swedish children to kill people for candy). What we are saying is that Darwinian dogma undermines the logical basis for morality. Teaching generations of schoolchildren that humanity is the accidental product of millions of years of random mutations and genetic drift, all honed through the death and struggle of natural selection, leads to certain conclusions about the nature of right and wrong. These conclusions are more than abstract; they influence the decisions people actually make. Those of us at Answers in Genesis (and, I suspect, most theists) are not convinced by atheistic evolutionists’ explanations of how objective morality (which, we would say, is the only meaningful morality) can exist in a godless universe.

    As examples of the above, we cite the school shootings at Columbine and Jokela (Finland). Dylan Klebold, Eric Harris, and Pekka-Eric Auvinen all embraced evolutionary ideas and proclaimed their massacres as acts of “natural selection.” We also believe there is a clear link between Darwinism and Hitler, Stalin, et al. Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer admitted that evolutionary thinking supported his actions as well.

    Let me emphasize again that none of this means that evolutionist are all criminals and that Christians never do anything wrong. But the point is, how one acts is connected to what one believes about morality, and what one believes about morality is connected to what one believes about God, origins, etc.** (Please see a more detailed explanation of this in Morality and the Irrationality of an Evolutionary Worldview.)

    For those of you who are open-minded enough to have read this comment in full, I appreciate your time. Please continue to the provided links for further explanation/documentation.

    —–
    * I know some might ask for further verification, but the question is, how can we prove a negative (i.e., that the billboard above doesn’t exist somewhere)? The point is, we stand by what we say, and this isn’t something we’ve said.
    ** I realize that this is a normative, rather than a positive, argument against evolutionary ideas. But we have many positive, scientific criticisms of evolution as well.

  8. Andrew. I find it both frustrating that this mock-up exists and that I was taken in by it and astonishing that what you’re basically saying in your above reply is that while you don’t agree with violence you do nevertheless insist that in a world informed by deductive logic, as opposed to superstitious conjecture, violence is an unavoidable consequence of secularism, thereby essentially agreeing with the mock-up as readily as you do the message of the equally disturbing original.

    I also find it intensely amusing that you continue to use words like “Random Mutation” and draw comparisons between Hitler and atheism, despite that you must by now have had it explained to you a million times that this is not how natural selection works and that Nazism didn’t fail to conquer Europe because it promoted too much rational enquiry and free thinking. You are certainly very tenacious in your wilful ignorance of this simple fact.

    I do however welcome your clarifying the matter of the image’s originality and invite you to give your opinion on any other matters discussed on this blog. Other people’s opinions are always welcome when they are shared in the spirit of establishing fact from fiction.

  9. Andrew, I’d like to thank you for your clarification of this issue. As I said above, the reason so many assumed it was real is because it’s just an exaggeration of your statement. You say “we are not saying that belief in evolution causes people to murder” and then go on to say “Darwinian dogma undermines the logical basis for morality.” So, essentially you are saying that believe in evolution leads to a lack of morality, which could lead to murder.

    Here’s the danger in statements like the ones your organization is making regarding atheism: they dehumanize atheists and that could lead to all sorts of awful things being directed at atheists.

    You do realize that there are many Christians who believe in both macro and micro evolution right? Evolution isn’t about creation, it isn’t about the origins of the universe, and it doesn’t address any kind of first cause or prime mover. It’s simply about how life works. Why couldn’t God have done it that why nd why does it matter if he did?

    People have used the Bible as justification for things we both agree are appalling, but does that mean the Bible is the cause? I don’t think so and I doubt you do either. How do you account for the many atheists that don’t kill people?

  10. I can’t help feel that one of the reasons people were so willing to accept the fraudulent version rather than search for a source, is because it’s the kind of uneducated, sweeping statements we’re used to seeing from Answers in Genesis and their advertising.

    “These conclusions are more than abstract; they influence the decisions people actually make.” – And religion doesn’t? That’s why just last week I was reading about a woman who would refuse to let her dying receive life saving treatment because it interfered with her religious belief?

    “and what one believes about morality is connected to what one believes about God, origins, etc.” – and their mental health.

    To quote Steven Weinberg – “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

  11. lol @ this being a fake. I suppose people really do seek to substantiate their preconceived opinions the majority of the time, whether they claim to be objective critical thinkers or not! The level of ‘proof’ a person requires is too often directly proportionate to the degree to which they agree with the position it supports. Good job leaving this post up to illustrate that point, it would have been easy to just delete it and pretend it never happened.

  12. Glad to see you’re paying attention to that Michael. I’m more than happy to leave biased interpretations of the evidence to the undisputed masters of self delusion.

  13. Thanks very much for those who read my comment and responded. Let me try to answer all of your comments/questions.

    To Jim:

    I certainly appreciate your notice of welcome to my comments on this blog, and I submit this as part of the effort to establish fact from fiction as well. In that spirit, let me provide my perspective on some of the things you wrote:

    I find it … astonishing that what you’re basically saying in your above reply is that while you don’t agree with violence you do nevertheless insist that in a world informed by deductive logic, as opposed to superstitious conjecture, violence is an unavoidable consequence of secularism … .

    1. A seemingly minor nit-pick, but one that I think is important: I don’t agree that science, evolutionary or otherwise, is based on deductive logic. It is based on induction, and that is one of the deep roots (in my opinion) of the entire debate over origins (viz., can you soundly induct prehistoric events from present observation?).

    2. We neither insist nor agree that “violence is an unavoidable consequence of secularism.” Every law-abiding atheist gives testimony against that idea. What we argue is that secularism (or, more specifically, naturalism/materialism) erodes the intellectual basis for objective morality. Even if no atheist ever had committed so much as a misdemeanor, the question remains of how atheism accounts for objective morality.

    Let me turn it around. Suppose first that no Christian had ever committed an act of violence. Now suppose an atheist comes along, picks up a Bible and reads the Old Testament, and concludes, “This god of yours is plainly awful. He smites people for minor offenses; orders and perpetuates the death of entire civilizations, including children; and offers supernatural protection for murderers! How can any Christian say that murder is wrong given that they uphold this Old Testament—and their god—as infallible?”[1]

    Would you not agree that that is a valid question even if no Christian has actually murdered? There need not be violent Christians for the atheist’s philosophical question to be valid and relevant. And a Christian cannot silence the atheist by retorting, “How dare you say that violence is the unavoidable consequence of Christianity [when no Christians have murdered]!” In this example, Christians may be perfectly humane and law-abiding; the question is whether they are being intellectually consistent by doing so (if, indeed, the Bible were to endorse murder). The question, then, on an intellectual plane, is whether the argument “Christians have no intellectual basis for the immorality of murder” is valid and sound.

    Whether or not you agree with our conclusion, I hope I’ve at least explained our view / logical progression clearly. If so, you should see that we’re not saying that atheists must be violent, or even that they are more violent as a proportion than other demographic groups. All we’re saying is that the atheist has no logical basis for objective morality, and thus he is acting intellectually inconsistent if he believes, or acts on the belief, that murder is wrong (as opposed to unnecessary, inconvenient, socially undesirable, an obstacle to self-preservation, etc.).

    I also find it intensely amusing that you continue to use words like “Random Mutation” and draw comparisons between Hitler and atheism, despite that you must by now have had it explained to you a million times that this is not how natural selection works and that Nazism didn’t fail to conquer Europe because it promoted too much rational enquiry and free thinking. You are certainly very tenacious in your wilful ignorance of this simple fact.

    1. On the whole “random mutation” bit: I assume you’re referring to the objection of Dawkins, et al., that evolution isn’t random because natural selection is, in effect, akin to a “designer,” and thus that the resulting change is directional. However, from a genetic basis, the mutations that represent a major form of variation for natural selection to act on are effectively random. (Granted, on a purely genetic basis, someday we’ll probably understand the exact cellular malfunction that leads to each mutation; the point is, the mutations themselves are not directed.) If I’m misunderstanding your point here, pardon me and please elucidate!

    2. I agree: Naziism was a far, far cry from the logical positivism and apolitical perspective of many who believe in evolution, including most today.[2] But again, the question is not, “Do all evolutionists commit acts of violence?” (e.g., the Holocaust), but “What is intellectual consistent behavior for the evolutionist, and in particular for the materialistic evolutionist?” In that sense, we believe Hitler exemplified elements of Darwinism taken to its intellectually consistent, logical conclusion. (But that’s not to say Naziism didn’t incorporate many other ideas from other sources.)

    To Mike:

    [T]he reason so many assumed it was real is because it’s just an exaggeration of your statement.

    I must disagree. To use a Kantian dichotomy, I would say that the real campaign/billboard was making an analytic claim, while the Photoshopped billboard was making a synthetic claim.

    Let me draw this out with an example. Suppose I build a time machine, and we all travel 500 years hence. We note that the entire world has converted to secular humanism; there’s not a theist on Earth. We also observe that crime is virtually nonexistent solely because of self-discipline and general goodwill (i.e., not because of some totalitarian government).

    In that scenario, our observations would in no way change my mind that atheism logically undermines the basis for objective morality. To belabor the point, it’s not that atheists must be murderous for our intellectual claim to be true. Thus, we would not make hypothetical empirical/synthetic claims like, “If we all become atheists, we will all start murdering each other,” since that’s not what we believe. Nor would we make untrue empirical/synthetic claims like, “In Sweden all the atheist children shoot you for candy.”

    So in conclusion, I believe there is a fundamental difference between the analytical claim we’re making and the synthetic (and out-and-out wrong) claim that was Photoshopped.

    You say “we are not saying that belief in evolution causes people to murder” and then go on to say “Darwinian dogma undermines the logical basis for morality.”

    There are billions of evolutionists in the world. Perhaps some small fraction, say 0.01% (to pull a number from thin air), have actually murdered another person (just suppose this is equivalent to the murder rate for creationists). Of that small fraction, perhaps in only 0.01% of the cases did their belief in evolution have anything to do with why they murdered. So by my calculation so far (if I did the math right), we’re getting down to 10 evolutionists per billion who murdered for any reason in any way tied to their belief in evolution. Out of those, in maybe only 10% (i.e., 1 per 10) actually killed predominantly because of Darwinian beliefs. (We could suppose that the definition of killing someone “predominantly because of Darwinian beliefs” could be that no malice would have happened if and only if the perpetrator was not a Darwinist, though this definition isn’t essential.)

    Did “belief in evolution cause people to murder”? No, absolutely not, in the case of virtually all evolutionists, including all of those who never murdered (ipso facto) as well as in virtually all of those who did murder. Only in a very, very few cases did belief in evolution actually motivate a murder, in part or in full.

    But consider the masses who believe in evolution but did not murder. We interview each one and ask, “Surely at some point in your life you were inflamed with anger, which is only natural. At some point you must have been faced with at least one person who angered you enough that you might have, conceivably, murdered them. But you held back? Why?”

    Now, of the answers given by the set of evolutionists who did not murder, some will give answers like, “I was afraid of being caught,” or, “I never had the chance,” or, “I was just too scared to go through with it,” or, “Well, I don’t stay mad long.” But there are almost certainly going to be some who say something to the effect of, “Well, murder is wrong, and as much as I was angry with that person I just knew it wouldn’t be right for me to kill them.” In other words, they didn’t hold back from murdering because of fear of punishment, lack of opportunity, inconvenience, etc.; they held back because of some notion that objective morality says murder is wrong.

    Our argument is that this final subset of a subset is intellectually inconsistent in holding both that evolution is true and that there is objective morality.[3]

    If at this point one retorts, “Well, I don’t think evolution must result in a loss of objective morality or complete moral resignation,” then I would conclude that we’re at least on the same page in terms of what the debate is about, and then we can move forward with a discussion of the idea behind our campaign.

    So, essentially you are saying that believe in evolution leads to a lack of morality, which could lead to murder.

    Theoretically yes, in a very tiny subset of evolutionists. Most evolutionists will be just as “moral” and non-murderous as anyone; but our argument is that for “most” their morality is philosophically inconsistent.

    Here’s the danger in statements like the ones your organization is making regarding atheism: they dehumanize atheists and that could lead to all sorts of awful things being directed at atheists.

    Briefly: I believe this is just semantics. By that logic, creationists are “dehumanized” all the time when people label us as having subhuman intelligence, lacking any reasoning capability or intellect, etc. In my opinion, we’re not dehumanizing evolutionists any more than we would “dehumanize” a determinist if we asked him, “How can you find a basis for moral behavior within the determinist school of thought?” I would ask the same question to nihilists or to most existentialists. I mean them no personal affront nor any harm; after all, I was a tepid Sartrean later in my college days. Likewise, we mean atheists or evolutionists no harm, especially since there are many former atheists and former evolutionists among us. But we do mean very intentionally to ask the questions we’re asking and demand intellectually satisfying answers.

    As to the issue of “all sorts of awful things being directed at atheists,” let me state clearly both for myself and on behalf of Answers in Genesis that we in no way endorse violence nor wish any harm to come to atheists.[4] It is not our intention for any message of ours to be construed as promoting any violence.

    You do realize that there are many Christians who believe in both macro and micro evolution right? Evolution isn’t about creation, it isn’t about the origins of the universe, and it doesn’t address any kind of first cause or prime mover. It’s simply about how life works. Why couldn’t God have done it that why nd why does it matter if he did?

    We absolutely realize this and have many resources on our website addressing why we do not agree with those Christians (for both scientific and theological/hermeneutical reasons). For an introduction see 10 dangers of theistic evolution. Many skeptics, such as Dawkins and Richard Bozarth, agree with us on this point.

    People have used the Bible as justification for things we both agree are appalling, but does that mean the Bible is the cause? I don’t think so and I doubt you do either. How do you account for the many atheists that don’t kill people?

    I hope I’ve covered the answers to these questions above, but in short: I do think it’s intellectual valid for people to ask whether consistent application of the Bible’s teachings erodes objective morality or leads to appalling acts. Dawkins and others have made this point more broadly. (We would answer that those who have used the Bible to justify appalling acts are misinterpreting and/or cherry-picking verses.) But I think it’s a reasonable question to ask, just as I think it’s reasonable to ask whether evolution or atheism can lead to the same things. And that puts us back on the turf of more specific examination of the tenets of various philosophies, which was the whole goal with our campaign. (And as for non-murderous atheists, I answered that above and have nothing more to add at this point.)

    To Joe:

    … the kind of uneducated, sweeping statements we’re used to seeing from Answers in Genesis and their advertising.

    In short, as with many organizations, we’re trying to promote our viewpoint, and that often necessitates using short, “marketing”-like statements as a hook. That’s why we have campaigns. It’s very difficult, given the controversial nature of our topic, to say thought-provoking things concisely and in ways that don’t result in a million angry reactions. And it’s made more difficult because most people don’t bother to read our full campaigns or the related materials. But your point makes sense: most people think we’re lunatics, so most people think we may say any ridiculous thing. All I can say is that we really do endeavor to combine marketing-type needs with full explanation.

    “These conclusions are more than abstract; they influence the decisions people actually make.” – And religion doesn’t? That’s why just last week I was reading about a woman who would refuse to let her dying receive life saving treatment because it interfered with her religious belief?

    You’re right; religion does; I’m not exempting any party’s beliefs. I assume we would substantially disagree with some of the beliefs of the woman you mention. And the fact that certain religious groups refuse medical treatment across the line does underscore that beliefs have consequences. That all goes along with what we’re saying (and, again, at this point we get into the specific arguments about what consequences flow logically from what beliefs, etc.).

    To quote Steven Weinberg – “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

    Very pithy :) To respond in a manner as concise but literarily inferior: without religion, how can Weinberg believe in or identify “good” and “evil”?

    To all:

    Thanks again for those who have been willing to listen to our side of things. I am happy to continue the discussion as I’m able.

    Andrew

    (P.S. I hope I got the HTML right, since there’s no preview—if not, my apologies!)

    —Notes—
    1. I’ll also note that with such statements, an atheist is presupposing some objective morality in order to criticize the Christian god as “evil,” etc. For example, Dawkins has a long quote about the Old Testament god being “arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: … [a] capriciously malevolent bully.” Our question is how Dawkins can have an intellectual consistent basis for the objective morality necessary to so vilify the Old Testament god.
    2. However, James Wenneker von Brunn, who perpetuated the recent Holocaust Museum shooting, was not only a neo-Nazi but also had written very clear statements reflecting a Darwinian outlook on humanity. I think many neo-Nazis, far from having a religious perspective, hold to an essentially Darwinian view that legitimizes and ultimately glorifies competition between supposed racial groups.
    3. We could even break this down further and talk about the subset of that group who are atheists and the subset who are theistic evolutionists, and why we think each of those subsets is inconsistent, but I don’t think that’s necessary at this point in the conversation.
    4. Rather, within our beliefs, we are trying to prevent harm (viz., hell) from coming to atheists.

  14. Thanks, Andrew. I appreciate the time and effort you put into your response. Obviously we have different beliefs, but it’s nice to have a calm discussion.

    When I speak of dehumanizing atheists I’m thinking of something like the recent comments by Cardinal Cormack Murphy-O’Connor stating that atheists were less than human. I would be equally appalled if someone were to say the same of young earth creationists.

    May I ask what it is you do for Answers In Genesis? Again, I really appreciate your time.

  15. Pingback: Which part of “falsifiable peer reviewed evidence” does Answers In Genesis not understand? -State of Protest

  16. Mike:

    Thanks, and agreed on the beliefs/discussion bit. As for Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, I have not read his comment and know nothing about the context, but from your description, it certainly doesn’t sound like anything that we at Answers in Genesis believe.

    And I work on the Answers in Genesis web team.

    Jim:

    Regarding genetics research, I’m not sure what that has to do with the current topic (the campaign billboard and atheism/morality). Answers in Genesis employs just one geneticist, Dr. Georgia Purdom, and I don’t know what her complete publication history is, both with AiG and before. However, I do know that two papers she recently published were reprinted on our website: A Creationist Perspective of Beneficial Mutations in Bacteria and Analysis of Barry Hall’s Research of the E. coli ebg Operon.

    I will review “Which part of ‘falsifiable peer reviewed evidence’ does Answers In Genesis not understand?” and will try to respond when I have time.

    Thanks,
    Andrew

  17. Jim, I read your post on stateofprotest.com and will outline my disagreements (with excerpts from the post):

    1. You asserted that I said things I did not say, which leads me to believe that you did not read my posts with much care.

    … he yet again trotted out the usual nonsense about Microevolution versus Macroevolution and so on …

    I never said anything about “microevolution” or “macroevolution” in any of my previous comments; in fact, Answers in Genesis recommends against using such terminology. At one point, I did quote another commenter who had used the terms, though I did not even respond that aspect of what he said. I hope and will assume that you just did not read my post very carefully. Otherwise it would appear you’re willing to put words in my mouth.

    2. You hastily—and fallaciously—accused me of implications I never made.

    Stunned at his attempts to equate “Darwinists” (whatever they are) with Nazis … gasp in horror as he equates Professor Dawkins with Hitler …

    I believe your claim that I “equated” Darwinists/Dawkins with Nazis/Hitler is borderline libel. I mentioned Dawkins three times; check each mention, read the context, and please explain to me how I equated him with Hitler.

    Just because I used “Darwinists”/”Dawkins” in the same post as “Nazis”/”Hitler” does not automatically mean I equated the two. Rather, I wrote, “We also believe there is a clear link between Darwinism and Hitler ….” That only means we believe that Hitler’s views are partially rooted in Darwinian ideas—not that Darwinists and Nazis are morally equal. I believe you are fallaciously affirming the consequent: misconstruing my statement that “[some] Nazis were Darwinists” to mean “[all] Darwinists are Nazis.” By your logic, someone would be “equating” Churchill with Hitler merely by stating that they shared any one belief, no matter how much differentiated the two in belief or behavior. Furthermore, I later emphasized, “Naziism was a far, far cry from the logical positivism and apolitical perspective of many who believe in evolution, including most today.” Again, this makes it clear that I was not equating Darwinists with Nazis.

    (Also, “Darwinist” is clearly defined in both Merriam-Webster and Oxford American, the first two dictionaries I checked; I used the term in the sense provided.)

    3. You have ignored my entire comments (with the exception of the false equation you identified—see point #2) and have abruptly changed the topic.

    … Andrew McKenzie … left a comment in which he attempted to distance his organisation from the sinister message of the faked advertisement …. I felt that it would be appreciated both here and elsewhere, if rather than reiterating all of the answers to these tired empty assertions which creationists always completely ignore anyway, I simply provided two extracts from my book on this subject, and invited comment and criticism on that, as well as on Answers In Genesis’ no-doubt riveting reply. … I await Andrew McKenzie and Answers In Genesis’ reply eagerly, but I’m prepared to take bets that their evidence won’t be so much based upon genetic sequences with unique function …. Having seen this kind of misdirection from answering the questions put to them many times before, I also present here a selection from my book on what is perhaps the creationist’s favourite target, the naturalist Ernst Haeckel ….

    You go on and on about Haeckel, the fossil record, genetic sequences, and so forth, but these book excerpts have nothing to do with our topic of discussion: whether atheism can justify objective morality (the whole point of AiG’s campaign). In fact, even a theistic evolutionist (i.e., someone who agrees with you about Haeckel, the fossil record, etc.) could make the same point as we have about atheism and objective morality. Yet you said nothing in response to my actual comments (for instance, the Kantian distinction I described), with the exception of the falsehoods addressed in 1 and 2 (above).

    (As for Haeckel, the fossil record, genetic sequences, and all that, we have many articles about these topics on our website.)

    4. I do not have the impression that constructive dialog, with the goal of mutual understanding, is your main goal.

    … Andrew McKenzie … left a comment in which he attempted to distance his organisation from the sinister message of the faked advertisement, by using language which effectively agreed with it, without seeing the irony in this or in it being a satirical jibe at the very argument he then very lengthily put forward, without any sense of embarrassment. … read Andrew McKenzie’s follow-up comments and gasp in horror ….

    The use of that sort of language does not suggest that your goal is respectful dialog and a genuine attempt to understand my viewpoint or explain yours. I assumed good faith at the outset, both on the part of motives and on the part of open-mindedness, but I do not feel you are reading my comments deeply enough to see anything except that I used both “Hitler” and “Dawkins” in the same post (which constitutes the entire quasi-relevant portion of your response).

    And I’m certainly not “embarrassed” at the length or content of my comments, unless that refers to deficiencies in my writing abilities, which I readily accept.

    Closing Thoughts

    • Jim, on your title (“Which part of ‘falsifiable peer reviewed evidence’ does Answers In Genesis not understand?”), we “understand” the entirety of what you mean. However, we do not agree that falsifiability can be the only criterion of science, because (we believe) science itself is based on certain unfalsifiable metaphysical beliefs. Even many non-creationist philosophers of science in the last hundred years have pointed out the deficiencies in this purely falsificationist view of science. For example, falsifiability rests on the law of noncontradiction, and our question is how a positivist can induct that law. So the issue is not that we do not understand you; it is that we do not agree with you (or perhaps that you do not understand us).

    • For the few out there who might listen, let me re-emphasize that the argument we’re making is not that atheists/evolutionists are all immoral murderers. Our argument is not about how atheists or Christians behave, but about whether or not the idea of objective morality can be intellectual justified within the atheistic paradigm.

    • This will likely be my last comment unless the discussion returns to the original issue (the campaign).

    Thanks,
    Andrew

  18. I think you’ve mistaken my opening up of the argument, into a number of the main areas in which your organisation is regularly and rightly criticised, as my somehow missing the point of the original post and your reply to it. I didn’t. Your reply stands for all to read and it should not be your concern if I understood it or not, when I clearly did if you read what I have written.

    I think it’s also rather interesting that your tone has changed somewhat, with regard to “sharing information for mutual understanding”, now that you are clearer on how deep the resentment of AiG tactics run, among those of us who utterly reject, for perfectly sound reasons, the majority of the organisation’s (non-existent) evidence claims and methods of decimating those falsehoods to the general public.

    Not that I should so boldly claim you were not aware of these before, but I do point out that it was you who contacted us, not the other way around and that these criticisms of AiG are not only prominent throughout much of the rest of this site, but on many of the other sites and forums which link to it, including our Google page ranking on many other evolution vs. creationism areas of debate.

    I am personally saddened, however, that my no-nonsense approach appears to have discouraged you from extending the debate. It was clear to me from your first post that you weren’t some push-over lunatic who stumbles at the merest mention of certain key topics–however you do seem to be rather easily provoked into rote regurgitation of pro-AiG arguments, which merely serve to reinforce your biases against scientific naturalism–hence your definition of Darwinian evolution having so little to do with the facts.

    On falsifiability
    One only has to flip through the archive posts on this, my personal blog, to see that the whole point of my thinking out loud in this format, is to learn as I go and share what I learn, for all its faults and imperfections. However, when I feel as if I have something truly grasped, I am not afraid to stick to it until it is proven an inefficient way of thinking by similarly robust information. So if there is a criterion of demarkation by which it is possible to distinguish anti-falsifiability from theistic metaphysics, I would be most grateful of your insight in this regard.

    On Social Darwinists and Hate
    I do think you’re chewing more than you’ve bitten off if you think your above paragraph admonishes you of responsibility for what the organisation you work for has said, and perhaps more tellingly the kind of statements it has refused to step back from, made by its supporters, with regard to social Darwinism. The deliberate blurring of the line between Eugenics and Natural Selection, is an age old tactic, used to undermine public confidence in science; a proven method of obscurantism from the masters of misdirection.

    Creation “Science” Tactics, 101
    Embed “Survival Of the Fittest” in the public consciousness.
    Demonstrate artificial selection in breeding of animals.
    Quote-mine Darwin for statements which appear to justify Hitler’s misappropriation of Nietzsche.
    Disseminate the conclusion of this flawed method of thinking among those who are receptive to anyone who claims to be “God fearing”.
    Publish books, build fairgrounds and “museums”, fund “research”, elect politicians, infiltrate school boards.
    Repeat until fully cooked.

    It’s blatant and sick. THAT is why you get a hard time from me and THAT is why so many people were sickened but not surprised by the slogan on the billboard. The fact that it turned out to have been doctored is neither here nor there. If the banner had indeed been genuine it would merely be in keeping with the sum of all wilful ignorance which has been churned out by the creation “science” movement over the years, which is an almost uniquely American evangelical phenomena and not an opinion on scientifically ascertained reality which is shared anywhere else in the developed world, even by people in the Christian faith, much less those of us who have no supernatural beliefs whatsoever.

  19. Pingback: Lousy Canuck » So the Sweden sign was fake. The real ad campaign is as bad.

  20. Now I’m not trying to suggest that Hitler was influenced by Christian ideals, but, my good blog-buddy Dan J has a favorite quote that I’d like to throw in now.

    “The folkish-minded man, in particular, has the sacred duty, each in his own denomination, of making people stop just talking superficially of God’s will, and actually fulfill God’s will, and not let God’s word be desecrated. For God’s will gave men their form, their essence and their abilities. Anyone who destroys His work is declaring war on the Lord’s creation, the divine will.”
    – Mein Kampf, Vol. 2, Ch. 10

    But, you know, just by mentioning that he believes he’s on a mission from God in his book about purging the Jews from the land, doesn’t mean he thinks, you know, God wants him to do it or anything.

  21. Jason and Jim,

    Here are a few more Hitler quotes attributed to the work “Hitler’s Table Talk” (Adolf Hitler, London, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1953).

    “Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things.”

    “Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure.”

    “Christianity is an invention of sick brains: one could imagine nothing more senseless….”

    “It would always be disagreeable for me to go down to posterity as a man who made concessions in this field. I realize that man, in his imperfection, can commit innumerable errors– but to devote myself deliberately to errors, that is something I cannot do. I shall never come personally to terms with the Christian lie.”
    “Our epoch in the next 200 years will certainly see the end of the disease of Christianity….

    Now I suppose that one could place one or more of these quotes on a billboard with
    howgoodisthat.wordpress.com under the quotes. And of course it would be pointed out that the billboard is a fraud. Yet one could then turn and say “yes we now believe it to be a fraud, but it is really in keeping with all that is being churned out by atheists.” Or, “Fraud or not, that truly is representative of atheism and its war against Christianity.” Even better, “Here’s the danger in statements like the ones your [website]is making regarding [Christians]: they dehumanize [Christians] and that could lead to all sorts of awful things being directed at [Christians].

    Let us all remember who Hitler was. He was not an atheist, but neither was he a Christian. He did have an early Catholic background, but so did you Jim. Hitler was a master politician who talked out of both sides of his mouth depending on his audience. Here is Hitler again:

    “To whom should propaganda be addressed? … It must be addressed always and exclusively to the masses… The function of propaganda does not lie in the scientific training of the individual, but in calling the masses’ attention to certain facts, processes, necessities, etc., whose significance is thus for the first time placed within their field of vision. The whole art consists in doing this so skillfully that everyone will be convinced that the fact is real, the process necessary, the necessity correct, etc. But since propaganda is not and cannot be the necessity in itself … its effect for the most part must be aimed at the emotions and only to a very limited degree at the so-called intellect… it’s soundness is to be measured exclusively by its effective result”. (Main Kampf, Vol 1, Ch 6 and Ch 12)

    Some might say that sounds like Answers in Genesis’ strategy, while others might say that this sounds like Jim’s. Certainly, at the very least, that is the strategy of the creator’s of the Fake billboard that is the subject of this thread. One may disagree, but if it truly represented the views of AiG then why not simply display actual quotes instead of this falsehood. Because in fact and in truth the message on the fake billboard and the actual message of AiG are NOT equivalent or univocal. And, certainly Jim, you put the billboard on here (even if you did not know it was a fake) to stir up negative emotion against AiG and Christianity by extension. And you did so very well. The first comment was simply the term “Disgusting.” Now that is certainly an emotive response.

    Certainly one can see Hitler’s point that the “effect for the most part must be aimed at the emotions and only to a very limited degree at the so-called intellect…” is behind the fake billboard and to some degree its posting here.

    O.K Jim, I’m ready for my lashing. I don’t want Andrew to feel alone here.

  22. I suspect you misunderstood my point. I wasn’t trying to specifically conflate Hitler and Christianity, I was just trying to illustrate how easy it is to ascribe motivations and sympathies to Hitler that are advantageous to your side of a debate. Saying Hitler believed in “Darwinism” (which I took to mean “Social Darwinism”, though both these terms are almost exclusively the provenance of the other side of this debate), and therefore Darwinism is capable of great evil, is conflating the motivations of the two whether that was Andrew’s intent or not.

    I also wouldn’t specifically ascribe any kind of motivation to the fake billboard ‘shopper. Considering all the boards out there that put a high premium on photoshopping stuff “for teh lulz”, e.g. SomethingAwful or FARK, it’s just as likely someone just thought it was funny. And honestly, the actual ad campaign is just about as nasty.

    If I could weigh in on the “objective morality isn’t possible for atheists” retardery, it’s actually quite easy for an atheist to decide whether something is objectively moral. See, we are all individual members of a society. We are, also, all human beings, who have a certain amount of selfishness especially with regard to our motivations. In being selfish, we are also simultaneously selfless — most of the time, doing what’s right for one’s self involves doing what’s right for the society at large. We build our moral codes based on what’s advantageous for the society, because we need to a) remain part of society to enjoy its benefits, and b) not self-sabotage our ability to remain part of the society in the future. We take these cues when we first build up our moral code from other members in society, whether they are religious or non-religious. That’s why killing, maiming, raping, pillaging and taking candy from babies is objectively morally wrong, without a magic sky man saying so and promising divine retribution if you fuck up.

  23. I’m working on a new entry on moral atheists, so I won’t say too much on Jason’s last point, as we tend to agree on most of what he’s already said.

    Mitch: I think you’d be surprised by how much I’m prepared to concede you make valid points here, although I disagree that AiG speak for all Christians and I think you’ve rather missed the point of the reason why Hitler is such a non-argument for either side to call their own. I think AiG would like to say they speak for more Christians than they actually do, but I think the time when what they say is taken seriously by any great numbers outside of the US is a long way away.

    They’ll only reach that goal of speaking to truly global audience if they remain unchallenged in their truth claims. Slowing their progress down, by doing exactly what I am trying to do here, I believe, should be the moral obligation of all free thinkers and anyone who is offended by the idea that they have the upper hand, because they stoop the lowest and spend the most.

    A lofty goal, I admit, is to defeat this kind of non-thinking, anti-rationalism propaganda altogether. Do we do this by photoshopping already phantasmagorically ignorant billboards? Certainly not. Will half of the people who see the fake image on my blog realise it’s a fake without getting this far down the comments? Probably, yes. But the list of variables is endless. I can not worry (I used the word advisedly) about what I can not control. Either way I think AiG have been given more than enough space here to say whatever they want and make their points without fear of censorship.

    Andrew, from AiG, has yet to respond to the invitation to expand the debate beyond merely the image itself.

    On Eugenics (let’s not even sully Charles Darwin’s name with misnomers like ‘Darwinism’) and specifically Hitler: I can’t imagine anything less useful in moving the debate forward than looking for a modicum of clarity in the ramblings of a man who ordered the death of 6 million people. I thought Jason’s one-off interjection was fair-enough, but let’s not go down a rabbit hole here. It’s beneath even the least classiest creationists to insinuate that Hitler’s borrowing from natural selection an entirely artificial means of altering the gene pool is somehow indicative of a larger hidden agenda on the part of modern gene therapists to cure Parkinson’s, for example.

    There is a certain breed of creationist who is opposed to this kind of research where stem cells are used, because they don’t understand the difference between a zygote and an embryo, but it’s hard to see how triumphs in non-embryonic stem cell research would be anything other than welcome news on all sides of this contentious issue–although I’m also resigned to the fact that someone, somewhere will find some passage in the bible which “proves” even this is the work of Satan in league with Obama.

    Again, these are variables which can not be controlled and so are of no concern (as yet). What is of the utmost concern is that the extreme elements in Christianity aren’t mistaken for the majority. When we take our eyes off those innocently mislead in the middle ground, and stop trying to communicate to them just how deeply wrong some of the information they are given is, that is when the extreme elements from the outside take a stranglehold.

    Already we’re seeing softly spoken platitudes towards The Discovery Institute and Templeton Foundation voiced in Nature–the worlds most respected scientific journal. Sam Harris, needless to say, was not amused…

    http://www.reasonproject.org/archive/item/what_should_science_dosam_harris_v_philip_ball/

    So if my “tactics” (if you can say that I have any sort of a plan at all, other than to carry on enjoying writing) are offensive or controversial or interpreted as trouble causing, all I would ask is that you, my sexually attractive dear readers, compare and contrast the nano-scale of my lone voice in the wind to that of the corporations and centuries old institutions at whom I unsheathe my pen.

  24. Jason

    Here’s the problem. You have essentially stated that morality is a societal construct, and if one wants to be a part of that society one must conform to the majority. Yes that is the essence of your statement:

    “See, we are all individual members of a society. We are, also, all human beings, who have a certain amount of selfishness especially with regard to our motivations. In being selfish, we are also simultaneously selfless — most of the time, doing what’s right for one’s self involves doing what’s right for the society at large. We build our moral codes based on what’s advantageous for the society, because we need to a) remain part of society to enjoy its benefits, and b) not self-sabotage our ability to remain part of the society in the future. We take these cues when we first build up our moral code from other members in society, whether they are religious or non-religious. That’s why killing, maiming, raping, pillaging and taking candy from babies is objectively morally wrong, without a magic sky man saying so and promising divine retribution if you fuck up”

    You see you exchange “a magic sky man saying so and promising divine retribution if you fuck up”
    with a magic collective will saying so and promising temporal retribution if you screw up (your implication of nonconformity resulting in lose of freedom (enjoying its benefits etc.) or place within a society). You say “That’s why killing, maiming, raping, pillaging and taking candy from babies is objectively morally wrong.

    Well Jason, the society (the majority, regardless of some dissenting voices) of Nazi Germany certainly condoned its nations empire building that was being accomplished through killing, maiming, raping, and pillaging much of Europe etc. So if one society says such is morally acceptable while another says that it is not–whose society is morally correct–objectively?

    The problem with the societal construct theory is that it is not OBJECTIVE but it is rather SUBJECTIVE morality. Is one society more or less moral than another, possessing either a superior or inferior morality? Could you say objectively that WW II Great Britain had a morally superior society compared to Nazi Germany? If so, then BY WHAT OBJECTIVE criterion do you base such a comparison? At the time I am sure a German citizen could have used your own words to say:

    “In being selfish, we are also simultaneously selfless — most of the time, doing what’s right for one’s self involves doing what’s right for the society at large. We build our moral codes based on what’s advantageous for the society, because we need to a) remain part of society to enjoy its benefits, and b) not self-sabotage our ability to remain part of the society in the future. We take these cues when we first build up our moral code from other members in society, whether they are religious or non-religious.”

    Therefore, to be intellectually consistent you would have to say that Nazi Germany as a society did nothing morally wrong based on your own ground for morality.

    I’ll close with a quote from C.S. Lewis:

    “Isn’t what you call the Moral Law just a social convention, something that is put into us by education?
    …If no set of moral ideas were truer or better than any other, there would be no sense in preferring civilised morality to savage morality, or Christian morality to Nazi morality. In fact, of course, we all do believe that some moralities are better than others…. The moment you say that one set of moral ideas can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring them both by a standard…comparing them both with some Real Morality, admitting that there is such a thing as a real Right, independent of what people think, and that some people’s ideas get nearer to that real Right than others.”

    (“Mere Christianity,” bk 1, ch. 2, Pp. 24-25.)

    Lewis would submit that God’s commands are the objective standard used in evaluating morality. The “my society says so” approach fails to account for objective morality, though it does affirm a subjective morality. So, yes, atheists can be nice people too, but the reasons they do so can not be adequatly accounted for by an appeal to societal construct.

  25. Except theres a greater society implicit in your argument, larger than the society of a particular nation, the society of humankind in general. That one country-entity with its country-morality can view another country-entity as not benefiting the global good for all of humanity (e.g. the Nazis building an empire by war and conquest and mass-murder on their home shores), suggests that humankind itself is the highest level superset of “society” you can get, and that it trends toward self-preservation (via countries ganging up and stopping the subset it views as harmful to humanity as a whole). It’s only in cases where humanity doesn’t generally perceive that the threat comes from its own nature (e.g. global warming) that it does not adequately protect itself from self-destruction. In cases like countries going rogue, there’s a reason other countries step up to challenge their rights. There’s also a reason other countries rage (justifiably or not) against a monopole power structure (e.g. the US, in comparison with the power the rest of the world has).

    I don’t say there WILL be “divine retribution” from the greater society which prevents people from killing and maiming and raping. Just that, because that action is taught to us by society as being destructive of said society, we understand that by undertaking any of those actions we are sabotaging or sacrificing our ability to remain part of that society (because it is *objectively*, not *subjectively*, detrimental to society!), unless we rationalize it as being subversive and thinking we can “get away” with it. The fact is, society does have serial killers, and they generally get caught or otherwise removed from the system. Like serial killers, whole groups, like the Nazis, can have their thought processes (their government) corrupted by destructive tendencies, and likewise other countries will attempt to stop them (because they rightly see that rogue country as *objectively* detrimental to humanity!). That doesn’t change that there’s an objective morality in play — that which benefits humankind as a whole, because THAT is what we’re hard-wired to try to preserve via our selfish tendencies. Preserve humanity, and society and you will be preserved by extension.

    Sorry if I’m stealing your thunder, Jim! I don’t know what you’ve already written or were planning on posting.

  26. Jason,

    Generally speaking we all do appeal to objective morality. You and I both do. The elusive question is on what basis? You solve nothing by elevating the “boss” of morality from individual societies to human beings as a whole. What is the authority that all (or most) humans appeal to? On your view it must be the collective will of the majority of humans. You still have a “majority makes the rules” morality. There is objective morality, but your theory can not account for it adequately. It is your theory that is subjective or arbitrary, not morality itself. Let’s try again. Imagine that Nazi Germany had a population of four billion people and yet a small percentage of the world ganged up on Germany because they believe that Nazi Germany and its empire building to be immoral. And say that the minority won because of superior technology–nukes or whatever. Clearly Germany made up the bulk of “human society” as a whole. There again you would have to concede that, on your theory, Nazi Germany was in the right and every one else was rogue.

    You say “That doesn’t change that there’s an objective morality in play — that which benefits humankind as a whole, because THAT is what we’re hard-wired to try to preserve via our selfish tendencies.”
    Jason, selfish tendencies are typically indulged at the expense of, and without consideration for, other people. Murder, rape, theft, lying, etc. are all selfishly motivated and are perpetrated to fulfill selfish desires to the detriment of others. Are you really saying that we act moral because we are selfish and we do good to insure society’s survival so we can survive? That makes no sense and does not comport with reality.
    And, by the way, Nazi Germany did believe that what it was doing was to the benefit of mankind as a whole.

    Bottom line. Your theory IS one of subjective morality and not objective morality. That is not to say that you do not APPEAL to objective morality but your theory absolutely can not account for it–period. A couple of definitions for you Jason:

    OBJECTIVE––adjective
    5. not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased: an objective opinion.

    6. intent upon or dealing with things external to the mind rather than with thoughts or feelings, as a person or a book.

    7. being the object of perception or thought; belonging to the object of thought rather than to the thinking subject (opposed to subjective ).

    8. of or pertaining to something that can be known, or to something that is an object or a part of an object; existing independent of thought or an observer as part of reality.

    SUBJECTIVE–adjective
    1. existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought (opposed to objective ).

    2. pertaining to or characteristic of an individual; personal; individual: a subjective evaluation.

    3. placing excessive emphasis on one’s own moods, attitudes, opinions, etc.; unduly egocentric.

    4. Philosophy. relating to or of the nature of an object as it is known in the mind as distinct from a thing in itself.

    5. relating to properties or specific conditions of the mind as distinguished from general or universal experience.

    By DEFINITION your “morality as societal construct” theory, even the “entire human race” society theory is not objective–it is by definition SUBJECTIVE. In such a theory morality is derived from within the human mind (collective or otherwise) and does not exist independently/objectively of the human mind.

    O.K., I’ll leave it alone

  27. I think you misunderstand me again; it’s likely because I have not made myself sufficiently clear. The higher authority is not the WILL of humans (and therefore mob rule), but the objectively best courses of action for humankind’s continued survival. Good is defined as that which benefits humankind most and does the least damage possible to its individual members or collective groups; evil is defined as that which abjectly does damage to individual members or collective groups. All of these criteria can be met in my example, and none of these criteria require an external imposing supernatural entity. With that in mind, kindly reread my last comment.

    If the Nazis ran roughshod over everyone and continued to propagate the species only with their “master race” of pure genes, they will have weakened the gene pool considerably, and will have therefore done a great evil. Their excising large chunks of the population from the “human race as single organism” is akin to someone cutting off a digit or a limb because it offends them. Or, more appropriately, such entities act as a “cancer” on this “organism”. Ganging up on the encroaching Nazis that just want lebensraum and racial purity, is like chemotherapy, to keep the human race as healthy as it can possibly be.

    I apologize that I must cut this short, but it is quite late, and I’ve had a full weekend.

  28. Regardless that you “at Answers in Genesis…are not convinced by atheistic evolutionists’ explanations [that] objective morality can exist in a godless universe,” it does.

    There is a very simple test for it, reiterated in Dr. Richard Dawkins’ book, The God Delusion.

    What you surely mean is that you would much rather that only “Christians” are moral but that is also not the case, despite you not being convinced by that either.

    As to your exploitation of four people who were already massively exploited and, more particularly in the case of Dahmer, seriously physically and mentally abused by his religious parents (admitted to by his father after Dahmer’s in-prison murder) to support your ridiculous theory that only “christians are moral,” your argument breaks down instantly by that exploitation.

    How do you reconcile serious, appaling abuse of children by so-called Christians? By using circular logic: “They did x therefore they were not ‘real’ Christians.

    I can only quote US statistics but the more “Christian” the people in any given state say they are, the higher the incidence of crime.

    We who live in the real world, in the now and not in fear of some fantastical, unfalsifiable ‘being’ have only ourselves and our fellow humans to answer to – and have no “get out of jail by confessing our ‘sins’ at the last second” card to play simply live moral, caring lives. We KNOW that this is all there is – the here and now.

    You are, of course, welcome to believe in whatever fantasy you wish to choose but believing it and making up “facts” to support your chosen fantasy does not render the fantasy real. If it did, Santa would be sunning himself in Florida right now.

    Now. Please tell me the name of the journalist who was around to record the thoughts, actions and dress styles of the only two people on earth and their friend, the only talking snake in history, in Genisis.

    And while you’re at it, please tell me which of the two sons of Adam and Eve got to have children first by his mother and why their father wasn’t furious.

  29. I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for an answer to any of these points, WriterWriter. I’m still waiting for Andrew Drapper to list these elusive “atheistic scientists who refute Darwinian Natural Selection” and I’d guess that AiG are just as reluctant to present their proof too. You could try their website, but I’d line your stomach first. Plenty of eggs.. ..if you know what I mean?

  30. [Forgive the spelling error in that last post]

    Jason and WriterWriter

    Jason,

    As to your last comment I may have misunderstood your position and have in essence refuted a theory you were not exactly putting forth. If I get some time later in the week I would like to pick-up our discussion again, but right now I would like to address WriterWriter. I just don’t want you to think I am ignoring you.

    WriterWriter,

    First, I never said, nor do I believe that only Christians are moral and specifically that atheists are not–there is objective morality and we all appeal to it. I have only been questioning the basis for objective morality. And as I have said to Jason I hope to pick-up the topic again in the near future. Or perhaps and will wait and see what develops with Jim’s plans to start a new entry on moral atheists.

    You said-
    “How do you reconcile serious, appaling abuse of children by so-called Christians? By using circular logic: “They did x therefore they were not ‘real’ Christians.”

    It is both funny and ironic that you yourself have referred to such abusers as “so-called Christians.”
    The truth is that some Christians, just as some atheists, commit such abuse and worse. However, I reject outright your statement:

    “I can only quote US statistics but the more “Christian” the people in any given state say they are, the higher the incidence of crime.”

    If you really have a REPUTABLE source from US statistics–then I want to see it please. Maybe you read it on a billboard:-)

    I answered the talking snake and the journalist question when you asked it on the Ida thread. Maybe you had bailed and missed it so here is what I wrote to you there:

    You asked:

    “Do people seriously believe there ever was such a thing as a talking snake?”

    Well, I’m surprised that Eve didn’t seem to be surprised when it spoke. Snakes freak me out as they are, if one spoke to me I would run rather than carry on a conversation.

    Actually, the snake spoke a Proto-Hebraic dialect that is well attested in pottery shards unearthed in the ruins of Neolithic age veterinary clinics.

    Oh, come on WriterWriter. Google “animal communication” and you will find all manner of “scientific” sites (and yes a few kooky horse whisperer type sites) expounding upon the subject. Here’s a quote from one of the former:

    “Among nonhuman animals, birds take first place in imitating sounds, including human words. But perhaps surprisingly, marine mammals place a respectable second. Certain harbor seals have learned to bark out (barely) recognizable words, and whales imitate each other during the development of long, complex songs. But the most widely studied marine mammal vocalizers are dolphins. Dolphins communicate with a great number of different sounds, from the repetitive clicks used for echolocation (and possibly to communicate) to whistles and grunts; in captivity, they can imitate human words to some extent. Their echolocation appears truly remarkable. A blindfolded dolphin can find an object the size of a penny on the bottom of a swimming pool and can distinguish small objects based on their shape and the material they’re made of. But more remarkable, perhaps, are the vocalizations more obviously used for communication….”

    On the Genesis account the entire created universe and all creatures were perfect. After the fall of Adam and Eve sin and death entered the world. The entire universe began to, and continues to, decay (can anyone say 1st and 2nd law of thermodynamics, could it be that something in the Genesis creation “myth” comports with reality? Of course not, that must be my imagination or irrelevant coincidence).

    Now given that many animals do communicate with each other, some quite remarkably, and given that some can mimic human sounds/words (Polly want a cracker), I don’t think that a talking snake in a pristine world before the Noetic effects of sin is silly or stupid at all. If you still do, then go tell your silly/stupid peers that they are wasting precious grant money that could be better spent exploring space in the hopes of finding that advanced alien race that must have planted the “genetic life-seed” in the primordial soup.

    Don’t get me wrong, if the spacecraft U.S.S. Enterprise gets up and running in my lifetime I want to go. Sign me up. They’ll need a chaplain on board.

    As to your statement:
    “And while you’re at it, please tell me which of the two sons of Adam and Eve got to have children first by his mother and why their father wasn’t furious.”

    Cain and Able are never said to have had sex with their mother. Also, if you had EVER happened to read the account, Adam and Eve had MANY sons AND daughters–not just the first two sons. Yes this likely means that Cain and Able took sisters for wives. I know, I can hear you already screaming “it is still incest!” However, God would later forbid marriage to near relatives (after the Law such a marriage would be deemed incest). And, some speculate (rightly or wrongly) that it was permissible early on because of a more pristine gene pool. At any rate–not necessary to sleep with mama which would have also been adultery–so no furious Papa.

    And WriterWriter could you leave the “unfalsifiable ‘being’” statements alone? Such statements really sound much better coming from Jim. I believe that is something he has put a lot of thought into, but you sound like a copy cat:-) Just kidding, we all (including Jim) to one degree or another stand on the shoulders of others who have gone before.

    Well it is now 1:30 a.m. here and this will have to do for now. Have a great day everyone.

  31. WriterWriter,

    I almost forgot. Here is my response to th Jounalist question when you asked it on the Ida thread.

    Of course, it is not allowed by the atheist that God was in the Garden and in later years used Moses as his amanuensis….

    Anyway, I would gladly tell you the very name of the “real” journalist/observer/recorder/stationary in the Garden (that you demand to know whom he or she is). His name has been closely guarded by secret societies over the ages. I will reveal the name to you now (before Dan Brown breaks the news in his next book) on one condition. You must tell me the name of the journalist/observer/recorder/stationary who was snorkeling in the primordial sea when life began. I’m sure it is the same guy who has been around to observe and report through the Archaeozoic, Proterozoic, Palaeozoic, and other Eras of Earth’s history. Or, do you posit not one journalist/observer/recorder/stationary but several over the successive ages of the Earth. Certainly there must have been millions over the billions of years. Just one guy would be ridiculous….[forgive me, he could have been a she]

  32. Why and I not surprised that Mitch denies the use of circular reasoning and then dives right on in?…

    I’m not sure whether to laugh out loud or be appalled at the condescension.

    You are, if nothing else, hilarious.

    I got my statistics, which you, not surprisingly, reject, from the US census bureau. I’ll let ‘em know you disagree….

  33. I don’t get a funny taste in my mouth from Mitch, as much as I do from some of the other non-thinkers. I think he’s secretly coming around to the idea we might live in a much more incredible universe than semiliterate bronze-age goat herders could have supposed.

  34. Jim and Writer

    Jim-

    I appreciate that although I am a non-thinker at least I am not a distasteful one. That is high praise coming from you. And, you are my favorite atheist.

    Writer-

    You said:
    “I can only quote US statistics but the more “Christian” the people in any given state say they are, the higher the incidence of crime.”

    I asked for proof and you said:
    “I got my statistics, which you, not surprisingly, reject, from the US census bureau. I’ll let ‘em know you disagree….”

    Well, the US census bureau says:

    “The U.S. Census Bureau does not collect data on religious affiliation in its demographic surveys or decennial census. Public Law 94-521 prohibits us from asking a question on religious affiliation on a mandatory basis; in some person or household surveys, however, the U.S. Census Bureau may collect information about religious practices, on a voluntary basis. Therefore, the U.S. Census Bureau is not the source for information on religion, nor is the Census Bureau the source for information on religious affiliation. Some statistics on religion can be found in the Statistical Abstract of the United States, Section 1, Population. In addition, we do provide a list of contacts for further assistance regarding religious information.”

    Think hard on their statement ” Therefore, the U.S. Census Bureau is not the source for information on religion, nor is the Census Bureau the source for information on religious affiliation.”
    Do you still insist you obtained your information there? I think you read it on another blog, bought the whole thing because it caters to your beliefs, and passed it on without any critical investigation. Billboard syndrome:-) I could be wrong. If perhaps you followed a link from USCB to somewhere else and found your statistics please retrace your steps and get a link to your credible source and post it here so I (and others) can check it out.

    Here is a link to the USCB info I have quoted so you don’t have to take my word for it like you have expected everyone else to do with your “proof” which turns out to be as you say “not surprisingly” rather problematic.

    https://ask.census.gov/cgi-bin/askcensus.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=29&p_created=1074732806&p_sid=tv3GNHBj&p_accessibility=0&p_redirect=&p_lva=&p_sp=cF9zcmNoPTEmcF9zb3J0X2J5PSZwX2dyaWRzb3J0PSZwX3Jvd19jbnQ9MywzJnBfcHJvZHM9JnBfY2F0cz0mcF9wdj0mcF9jdj0mcF9wYWdlPTEmcF9zZWFyY2hfdGV4dD1yZWxpZ2lvbg**&p_li=&p_topview=1

    Also, you say:
    “Why and I not surprised that Mitch denies the use of circular reasoning and then dives right on in?…”[sic]

    Mitch did not say anything about circular reasoning by way of denying it or otherwise. Show me where I have done so. Also, where has my reasoning been circular exactly. I answered some of your questions with an intentional use of some humor and irony that was also meant to sound a
    lot like …you (that would be the condescension you see that you don’t know whether to laugh at or be appalled by–and you don’t see in yourself). Sorry, in some ways you are the proverbial pot calling the kettle black.

    I think the talking snake answer was actually kind of cool, and scientifically not so crazy–or at least not beyond the realm of possibility given what we see in the actual animal kingdom around us (sorry, including us, my bad). The Journalist question was also answered in an attempt to be funny and ironic, with the point that you are not off the hook for some of your unobserved and unprovable assumptions about the origins of life. And the larger point is that science has its limits as well. And of course I was being a bit of a smart aleck–like you.

  35. There is plenty of proof for violence done by Secularist. I think Answers in Genesis is correct that Secularism results in violence.

    The fact is that the Secularist in Russia, the Communists in China and the Nazi regime have killed millions of people. In fact, Secularists have aborted over 60 million babies in the U.S. alone. I think it is beyond question that the most violent religion in the world is Secularim.

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  37. Whoa! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a totally different subject but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Great choice of colors!

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