Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Euthanasia and the Search for Morality

Virginia Ironside and Bob Brown advocate euthanasia. If Ironside had a child who was in terrible pain, she would hold a pillow over its head, as she would for any living creature that was suffering. Likewise Brown, the Australian Greens leader, explains that abolishing the federal statute that outlawed euthanasia would be his first legislative priority.

Are Ironside and Brown wrong? If evolution is true then isn’t life a game of the survival of the fittest? If so then it would seem Ironside and Brown are merely playing by the rules.

Some evolutionists protest such obvious reasoning. Euthanasia is all wrong, they explain, because evolution has made it wrong. It was the very evolutionary process that created empathy and altruism, virtues that led to improved reproduction rates.

But even this contorted explanation falls short. If the evolutionary process magically rearranged our neurons to produce empathy and altruism, that wouldn’t make them “right” and euthanasia “wrong.”

The most an evolutionist can say is that euthanasia violates evolutionary theory. But in fact euthanasia—the idea and the action—exists and so must have been produced by evolution. So our evolutionist is yet once again incorrect. Euthanasia doesn’t violate evolutionary theory—it was created by evolution.

The evolutionist may disagree with euthanasia, but that wouldn’t make it wrong as he has claimed. It simply means that he disagrees with it. And what he won’t admit is that, with evolution, any other view is just as legitimate.

143 comments:

  1. Cornelius Hunter:

    "The evolutionist may disagree with euthanasia, but that wouldn’t make it wrong as he has claimed. It simply means that he disagrees with it. And what he won’t admit is that, with evolution, any other view is just as legitimate."
    ========

    When you debate and argue from a flawed foundation of there being "No Absolutes" & Truth Is Relative" or you borrow from eastern religious (Buddhism, Hiduism, Taoism, etc) concepts of "Maya" (every idea is illusian), then what else can you say. As Dawkins said, "Maybe Hitler had it right". Who are we to judge ???

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  2. Cornelius Hunter:

    "Some evolutionists protest such obvious reasoning. Euthanasia is all wrong, they explain, because evolution has made it wrong."
    ========

    They will also shout from the roofs tops that rape is wrong. Yet in the realm of Evolutionary Psychology research, we are given explanations that rape is nothing more than the natural animal inborn selfish adaptation for spreading ones own DNA at any cost. Here are two of my favourite storytelling excuses.

    War Time Rape:
    War is certainly a risky occupation for which further one's DNA has less success. The hazards associated with failure to spread one's DNA are death, injury, etc. This is said to explain the behavior of soldiers who when conquering the enemy often find it necessary to rape and pilage an entire village. It is said that the human animal who engages in such risk taking may find rape as the only option for spreading his DNA.

    Serial Rapist:
    The other example is of an individual who is a social outcast of society. Such an individual has less opportunities to meet someone of the opposite sex and start a family. Hence rape may be considered the only viable option in accomplishing the furtherance of his own "Self Genes" onto future generations.

    Apparently no one (according to the experts) has control over their own evolutionary animalistic behavior of surviving at any cost. Hence evolution is at fault for giving us the chaotic disunited world we all live and breath in. Let's see now. How did Richard 'selfish gene' Dawkins put it, "There is no good no bad, no love no hate. Just blind pointless indifference".

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  3. Hats off to the most ridiculous article yet. It took you three weeks to come up with this? Jeez...

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  4. iantracy603:

    "Hats off to the most ridiculous article yet. It took you three weeks to come up with this? Jeez... "
    ======

    Interesting. What's the matter ??? Didn't talkorigins.org, richarddawkins.net, infidels.org, etc have an answer for you to cut and paste ??? It's tough when you stumble upon a subject that calls for your own personal reflection and comment on isn't it ???

    Next time, try not to rely on those idealogical and philosophical sites so as to how to give a response. Use your own God given brain for that. One important note from the owner's manual however, it does require you turn the "On Switch" to on.

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  5. I don't need stock quotes thanks, I have enough of a grasp on the principles I think to be able to make an informed point or two. It doesn't appear that Mr Hunter has. I am not a regular 'basher' on this site so don't start making assumptions about me thank you, Eocene.
    'It's tough when you stumble upon a subject that calls for your own personal reflection and comment on isn't it'
    Yes, but you haven't stopped and thought about what Hunter has said and ratified it against what you (should) know about evolution. You have taken up the baton, agreed immediately without critical thought and have consequently made a boo-boo.
    Think about this please, Eocene....
    Euthanasia has little or nothing to do with evolutionary pressures, it is therefore not only pointless but dishonest to bring it into this argument. This is because the primary drive for evolution is through reproduction. The phrase survival of the fittest really pertains more to the ability to successfully generate offspring that themselves reach the reproductive point. Once past that point there is very little evolution has left to say about your life. We can safely assume that a person who is at a point where euthanasia is considered is either past the reproductive age or isn't going to be having babies anytime soon. Therefore it matters not one jot whether they live or die or whether we decide it is morally right or wrong to employ euthanasia for people in this position as it has no effect upon the evolutionary processes associated with that individuals life.

    Also, arguing about moral rights and wrongs and linking it back to evolution is to my mind a little unpalatable especially given the churchs stance on Africa/AIDS/condoms.

    Cheers Eo, have a good day. Do think about what I said.

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  6. iantracy603:

    "We can safely assume that a person who is at a point where euthanasia is considered is either past the reproductive age or isn't going to be having babies anytime soon. Therefore it matters not one jot whether they live or die or whether we decide it is morally right or wrong to employ euthanasia for people in this position as it has no effect upon the evolutionary processes associated with that individuals life."
    ======

    Wow, evolutionary thinking and Darwinian princples all over the place on this one. I don't believe there is any need for comment as you've summed up very well.
    -----

    iantracy603:

    "Yes, but you haven't stopped and thought about what Hunter has said and ratified it against what you (should) know about evolution. You have taken up the baton, agreed immediately without critical thought and have consequently made a boo-boo."
    =====

    I realize this would be a comfortable position for you to believe that this is the case on my views, but alas, you are indeed wrong. I've known about and seriously meditated on these things long before I ever heard of the existance of a one Cornelius Hunter.
    -----

    iantracy603:

    "Euthanasia has little or nothing to do with evolutionary pressures, it is therefore not only pointless but dishonest to bring it into this argument."
    =====

    Wrong. Euthanasia is an end byproduct of the way we are force fed about the how evolution is suppose to work in nature in that if evolution is a FACT, then evolution is responsible for the vulgar concept of euthanasia, which in reality, isn't vulgar at all according to Dawkins. Remember, " . . there is no good, no bad, no love, no hate, just blind pointless indifference."

    So given the raw animalistic passion we are educated with as to how evolution opperates, humans therefore have invented Darwinian principles and standards for which they have invented such applications as Euthanaisa, 'Final Solution', Eugenics, etc, etc, etc. The very fact that these concepts are looked on in an unfavourable (or as you stated = unpalatable) light should in no way reflect badly on evolution which if FACT, is clearly responsible for each and every Good/Bad - Right/Wrong etc etc etc that has ever happened since the beginning of time.

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  7. iantracy603:

    "Also, arguing about moral rights and wrongs and linking it back to evolution is to my mind a little unpalatable especially given the churchs stance on Africa/AIDS/condoms."
    =====


    I actually find most churches and atheistic evolutionary dogma to be the exact mirror image of each other on this one. There is indeed no high moral ground that favours either one of you over the other. The churches are actually at fault in the first place for evolutionary ideas to begin with. There is more fault with churches than with anyone of an atheistic philosophical worldview started way back when.

    The very seeds of atheism were planted as far back as the early "Dark Ages". The infection festered and roots of the seeds grew prolithically underground before finally germinating and emerging above ground in the 19th century. The churches were at fault for latching onto evolutionary principles/idealogy to justify white European expansion and dominion over other races around the globe.

    Though the both of you will vehemently deny it, you are both cut from the same worm eaten cloth and it's the innocent among humankind who have suffered for it.

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  8. No, sorry Eocene. Can you get your head around the idea that evolutionary theory isn't a religion. Making stuff up and pretending that biology is to blame isn't anything to do with reality mate, it is just trying to be clever and metaphysical when there really is no need.. just understanding the biology.

    "humans therefore have invented Darwinian principles and standards for which they have invented such applications as Euthanaisa, 'Final Solution', Eugenics, etc, etc, etc."

    A wonderful point, all of these were made up by the minds of people. It is not relevant at all to whether euthanasia is an actual evolutionary pressure ie that it would affect reproduction success/rates. Now I know you want to tell me that evolution is responsible for every thought and action I make but that cannot be true otherwise we wouldn't disagree on anything would we?

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  9. iantracy603:

    "Now I know you want to tell me that evolution is responsible for every thought and action I make but that cannot be true otherwise we wouldn't disagree on anything would we?"
    =====

    Evolution is responsible for everything. If it's really a FACT, then yes. Atheism pulls the same metaphysical stunt reasoning claiming that if God really exists, then he's responsible for such and such negativity.

    Unfortunately, when the shoe is put on the other foot, resentment sets in when the FACT (evolution) is blamed. Hence we have the usual double standards and excuse making at play and massive amounts of righteous indignation and outrage when the light is shed the other way around.

    Life therefore is an evolutionary spin game.

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  10. iantracy603, addressing eugenics, euthanasia, final solution, abortion etc said:

    "A wonderful point, all of these were made up by the minds of people. It is not relevant at all to whether euthanasia is an actual evolutionary pressure ie that it would affect reproduction success/rates.
    =====

    Of course these things were made up by the minds of people, but they were like most inventions copied by what they believed has been observed in nature and in these cases they are perceived by the way they philosophically believe evolution and natural selection work hand in hand. This is where the need for metaphysics comes in and dogma takes over.

    From an evolutionary mindset, all things things can be both viewed as good or bad, right or wrong. Remember ??? , " . there was no good, no bad, no love, no hate, just blind pointless indifference." Perhaps you can take a course in the the metaphysical concept of Maya (illusion) from user "Scott" where there are no absolutes and truth is relative. I tried to get "Diogenes" to scientifically define truth for us, but alas, the task is apparently unknowable or unsolvable since he didn't reply.

    But more importantly where real world usage of those ideas and concepts comes into the picture is with regards to human population dynamics and engineering a perceived superior future breed of man to become Darwinian Loyalists. These ideas listed are by no means out of date. In fact they still rear their ugly heads from time to time lately as Secular Progressive political movements must address the big question of who deserves to live and who needs to be eliminated for the benefit of all humankind in general. Given the sad state of affairs both environmentally and socially, these choices must become implimented soon because humans have bastardized our natural resources to such a point that continued existence for life in general has now seriously come into question.

    Addressing such issues as AIDS/Condoms for example through a materialist worldview in places like Africa just isn't going to cut it. Educating people from a moral perspective as to more healthful and successful a preventative measures to combat AIDS is an unacceptable answer and creates further anger, resentment and animosity because it's an acceptable solution. It's viewed as judgemental and mean spirited in the use of another's freewill.

    Also, our world's financial systems don't work using preventative measures. Rather, it thrives on a Fix-It Pills concept for dealing with consequences which in turn translates to more $$$$$ for continued servicing of bad life choices. Hence we have the resentment of anything of a spiritual nature. This is where the scripture at Matthew 5:3 which speaks of those who are happy as a result of their conscious need of spirituality is really illustrated beatifully. Unfortunately we don't live in a world where such a conscious need is recognized. Hence anger/resentment replace happiness. Hence the world we all see every night as reported to us by CNN, BBC, etc.

    So we're left with "What Is Truth?"

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  11. iantracy603-

    You need a lesson in history.

    It is a historical fact that the theory of evolution led to modern euthanasia (not to be confused with the youth in Asia).

    However it is also a historical fact that some societies practiced it well before Darwin came along.

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  12. Joe_G

    "However it is also a historical fact that some societies practiced it well before Darwin came along."
    =====

    So true, but as has been revealed to us by the good Reverend Dawkins, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled Eugenicist!!!

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  13. iantracy603 said...

    Hats off to the most ridiculous article yet. It took you three weeks to come up with this? Jeez...


    And here we go thinking Creationists aren't dedicated to their research.

    p.s. Good to see you back CH. We were starting to get worried.

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  14. Joe G said...

    However it is also a historical fact that some societies practiced it well before Darwin came along.


    According to you JoeTard such behavior was front-loaded in the design by your Intelligent Designer. So why are you bellyaching now?

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  15. iantracy603:
    Hats off to the most ridiculous article yet. It took you three weeks to come up with this?

    Umm the article he referenced only came out yesterday.

    Geez evotards are really a clueless lot...

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  16. throtard:
    According to you such behavior was front-loaded in the design by your Intelligent Designer.

    Not according to me.

    I never said anything about behaviour.

    IOW once again thorton has expoosed himself as a liar.

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  17. Joe G said...

    T: According to you such behavior was front-loaded in the design by your Intelligent Designer.

    Not according to me.

    I never said anything about behaviour.


    If behavior is not front loaded like the rest of the design then where does behavior originate from?

    What parts of the design are front-loaded, which aren't, and how do you know?

    C'mon Joe the FLE expert, enlighten us.

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  18. thortard:
    If behavior is not front loaded like the rest of the design then where does behavior originate from?

    I never said anything about behaviour.

    And behaviour, as with genetics, is subject to change.

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  19. According to throton all evolutionists are lying evotards.

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  20. iantracy603:
    Hats off to the most ridiculous article yet. It took you three weeks to come up with this?
    ====

    Joe_G

    Umm the article he referenced only came out yesterday.

    Geez evotards are really a clueless lot...
    ====

    Off hand I'd say what they don't appreciate is that unlike many of themselves, Cornelius has a life other than this blog, for which many of the resident apologists die on the vine when he doesn't seem to be coming through for them on regular daily entries. Despite all the advances in our modern techy world to distract people elsewhere, it's blatantly obvious that Cornelius Hunter's blog drives many a blogspot apologist and it matters.

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  21. Joe G said...

    T: If behavior is not front loaded like the rest of the design then where does behavior originate from?

    I never said anything about behaviour.


    I know you didn't say anything, despite being specifically asked.

    Here are the questions you avoided again:

    If behavior is not front loaded like the rest of the design then where does behavior originate from?

    What parts of the design are front-loaded, which aren't, and how do you know?


    Please give us the FLE explanation please.

    And behaviour, as with genetics, is subject to change

    We all agree that behavior evolves, just like genomes evolve. Are you claiming that the original 'designed" species had no behavioral traits in their designs but all behavior arose only after the design? If not, what was the original designed behavior?

    For the serious minded (that leaves you out JoeTard): Humans are social animals and have evolved complex behavioral patters. Things like love, hate, altruism, empathy, etc. are all evolved behaviors that allow humans to better interact and survive as a group. Every human individual is a complicated mixture of all these emotional behaviors, so there is no one size "human behavior" that fits all.

    Euthanasia is a action that is driven by empathy, a desire to end the suffering of those in severe pain. Not every human weighs the ending of pain over the continuance of life, but many do. To claim avocation of euthanasia somehow violates evolutionary theory is to demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of actual human evolved behaviors.

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  22. Thorton:

    "We all agree that behavior evolves, just like genomes evolve. Are you claiming that the original 'designed" species had no behavioral traits in their designs but all behavior arose only after the design? If not, what was the original designed behavior?"
    ====

    There's no doubt that behavioral traits evolve, but not in the sense of evolutionary thought, since human behavior is intelligent directed by choices made by humans which general evolutionary driving mechanisms have no purpose, intent or directedness.

    The good Reverend Dawkins tried to explain this behavior through his hijacking of the Greek word for mimic and replacing it with memes. He was partially right in that traits are inherited, but mostly all are degenerative. There's no need to argue that point since we all have experienced mankind going down hill since we were all younger.

    Back in 2006 there was a documentary regarding something called epi-genetics and genome imprinting which actually effects ancestors hundreds of years later. It almost exclusively dealt with the negative effects of disasterous environmental events and negative human behavior. I thought it was excellent and of course it angered Orthodox Scientific Genetics who hold it as a type of Heresy to the accepted order of things.

    The documentary was about 48 minutes if you've got the time to view it and it was entitled "The Ghost In Your Genes". I am not able to create a link here as the rest of you are able, but here is the address anyway. Enjoy:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1128045835761675934#

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  23. Eocene said, "When you debate and argue from a flawed foundation of there being "No Absolutes" & Truth Is Relative" or you borrow from eastern religious (Buddhism, Hiduism, Taoism, etc) concepts of "Maya" (every idea is illusian), then what else can you say..."

    Eocene's post was an excellent summary to begin the discussion.

    When the Bible is thrown out and no longer applied, then the measure of truth becomes opinion driven. Whoever is strongest has the winning opinion. Ms. Ironside would be stronger than her child, so her opinion wins (and her child dies), unless the law of the land is stronger than her. The scary part is when the moral laws of the land become whatever the most powerful say it is.

    Saying that there is no absolute truth is an argument from weakness in order to eliminate a moral law that one disagrees with. What the people who talk about relative truth really mean is that they disagree with a moral law. All the talk about things being relative is just a way to justify themselves. They have their own version of absolute truth, but hype up the relative truth talk because they are arguing from weakness.


    Those that argue for no absolute truth are quick to become outraged when someone disagrees with them.

    Is it an absolute truth that what is right and wrong are relative? LOL.


    Evolution has become more than a science, it has become a dogma and an absolute truth to some. They will not carefully consider all the evidence... even when it contradicts it. It becomes about arguing about strawmen and name calling and cutdowns. Evolutionists wish they had enough power to silence opposition, but it is a theory with clay feet.

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  24. Eocene said...

    or you borrow from eastern religious (Buddhism, Hiduism, Taoism, etc) concepts of "Maya" (every idea is illusian), then what else can you say. As Dawkins said, "Maybe Hitler had it right". Who are we to judge ???

    ==========================

    How have they borrowed from eastern religious concepts?

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  25. Fair point to Joe, those two articles are less than a week old, granted, I apologise. I hope CH was enjoying some sun and down-time.

    However, my point remains. Evolution is not relevant to the rights or wrongs of euthanasia. Cannot be and never will be, IMHO.

    Epigenetics is a very interesting area that I know only a little about. That video is very good, but I would point out that the research presented in the video was probably already quiet old and I assure you that epi-genetics is mainstream now.


    'It almost exclusively dealt with the negative effects of disasterous environmental events and negative human behavior'

    Yes the documentary did but I think that was because it is a) 'good-tv' and, b) a representation of the research itself rather than the reality of the impact of epigenetics as it were. Either way it is very interesting level of molecular biology with many new questions...
    See yous laters

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  26. iantracy603

    ====
    Hats off to the most ridiculous article yet. ... Euthanasia has little or nothing to do with evolutionary pressures, it is therefore not only pointless but dishonest to bring it into this argument. This is because the primary drive for evolution is through reproduction. The phrase survival of the fittest really pertains more to the ability to successfully generate offspring that themselves reach the reproductive point. Once past that point there is very little evolution has left to say about your life. We can safely assume that a person who is at a point where euthanasia is considered is either past the reproductive age or isn't going to be having babies anytime soon. Therefore it matters not one jot whether they live or die or whether we decide it is morally right or wrong to employ euthanasia for people in this position as it has no effect upon the evolutionary processes associated with that individuals life.
    ====

    The magnitude of the evolutionist's just-so stories is astonishing. Anyone vaguely familiar with evolutionary explanations for altruism knows that they don't stop with the child bearing stage of life. But now, with inconvenient truths such as euthanasia, that stage of life suddenly becomes an impenetrable barrier beyond which evolution cannot influence. But that's not all, not only does the evolutionist contrive whatever just-so stories are needed at the moment, but he blames the skeptic of his absurdities for being dishonest.

    ====
    Evolution is not relevant to the rights or wrongs of euthanasia.
    ====

    So all life arose via evolution, and evolution is an undeniable fact, but when inconvenient truths come along such as euthanasia, suddenly the high evolutionary claims are nowhere to be seen. And if you don't buy that, then let's switch the topic to the church's "stance on Africa/AIDS/condoms." Evolutionary thought in action.

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  27. Cornelius Hunter said...

    So all life arose via evolution, and evolution is an undeniable fact, but when inconvenient truths come along such as euthanasia, suddenly the high evolutionary claims are nowhere to be seen.


    Why do you think some people avocating euthanasia in extreme cases, not all people, as an "inconvenient truth" for evolution? It may be inconvenient to your personal beliefs, but it matters not one iota to evolutionary theory.

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  28. Thorton:

    "It may be inconvenient to your personal beliefs, but it matters not one iota to evolutionary theory."

    Correct. So there is nothing wrong with murdering babies, right?

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  29. I don't understand the point of this post. Shouldn't the question be whether euthanasia is ever moral? I fail to see how the development of species influences what seems quite clearly to be a human social issue.

    The main criticism of "the" evolutionist's view of euthanasia is that it never rises above the level of opinion. Well what's wrong with that? Is there some other view that rises above opinion?

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  30. Thorton: It may be inconvenient to your personal beliefs, but it
    matters not one iota to evolutionary theory."

    CH: Correct. So there is nothing wrong with murdering babies, right?

    Does Dr. Hunter believe those who support evolution advocate it as the
    sole system of ethics?

    It's like asking a supporter of atomic theory why atomic theory
    doesn't invalidate genocide. Of course it doesn't. Does this make
    inherently the theory and scientists advocates of genocide? No.

    Here's an evolutionary perspective: minds, capable of considering
    reproductively advantageous acts evolved. Advantageous acts include
    acts of charity, altruism, or reciprocally, selfishness. Risk vs.
    benefit must be weighed. Monkeys and apes show such traits-weighing
    consequences, enforcing norms, and responses to perceived injustice.

    Brains in society evolved the ability to weigh these acts, and come up
    with codes of conduct that are mutually beneficial. We weigh good
    versus harm (suffering vs. the value of life). Although this ability
    is the product of evolution, it goes beyond it.

    I'm also not sure, in the end, how the evolution of a mind that can
    apparently perceive and weigh benefits, and conceive of ethics is
    different that a mind created (apparently with free will) to do the
    same.

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  31. Larry:

    ===
    The main criticism of "the" evolutionist's view of euthanasia is that it never rises above the level of opinion. Well what's wrong with that? Is there some other view that rises above opinion?
    ===

    But yet evolutionists are constantly making moral judgements. Not only about evolution skeptics, but their very theory is based on metaphysical claims about how god should have made life.

    If their metaphysical mandates, such as that the pentadactyl pattern mandates a naturalistic explanation (ie, evolution), are mere opinion, then why is evolution proclaimed to be a fact? Larry do you not see the disconnect?

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  32. "But yet evolutionists are constantly making moral judgements."

    Should they be prohibited from doing so?

    "Their very theory is based on metaphysical claims about how god should have made life."

    Maybe, but this is certainly true of the people who oppose them. That is, the critics of evolutionists have their own metaphysical claims about how god should have made life. I take it that you want no metaphysical claims made whatsoever, but how can this be accomplished?

    "Then why is evolution proclaimed to be a fact?"

    I don't know. So, you just want people to stop saying that evolution is a fact. OK.

    "Larry do you not see the disconnect?"

    Yes, I do. But so what?

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  33. Joe G,
    "It is a historical fact that the theory of evolution led to modern euthanasia"

    Not a fault of the theory anymore than God=Allah is to blame for Islamic terrorism.

    Forgetting some historical facts about genocide and atrocities against innocent people in the name of God?

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  34. Cornelius Hunter said...

    Thorton:

    "It may be inconvenient to your personal beliefs, but it matters not one iota to evolutionary theory."

    Correct. So there is nothing wrong with murdering babies, right?


    Who is murdering babies? No one I know.

    If my child had an incurable fatal disease that was causing her insufferable agony, I may very well support euthanasia - I really don't know. But I know damn well that it is my decision and not that of some self-appointed "holier than thou" gasbags who are trying to force their personal views of morality on everyone else.

    None of which has the slightest relevance to evolutionary theory.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Cornelius Hunter said...

    If their metaphysical mandates, such as that the pentadactyl pattern mandates a naturalistic explanation (ie, evolution), are mere opinion, then why is evolution proclaimed to be a fact? Larry do you not see the disconnect?


    Because evolution is not mere 'opinion'. Evolution has amassed enough empirical supporting positive evidence to elevate it to the status of 'fact'. As such, it is accepted as fact by virtually everyone in the scientific community.

    Your personal religious objection to that conclusion is not relevant to the scientific evidence or acceptance by the scientific community.

    We've only been over this about a hundred times with you CH, every time you bring up the same dumb argument.

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  36. Larry:

    ====
    The main criticism of "the" evolutionist's view of euthanasia is that it never rises above the level of opinion. Well what's wrong with that? Is there some other view that rises above opinion?
    [...]
    "But yet evolutionists are constantly making moral judgements."

    Should they be prohibited from doing so?
    ====

    The moral judgements of evolutionists are more than the mere issuance of opinion. Evolutionists are not saying "gee, it seems to me that X is wrong", or "gee, it seems to me that the pentadactyl pattern would never have been designed." Their moral judgements rise above the level of mere opinion.

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  37. Thorton said: "Who is murdering babies? No one I know."

    Millions are murdered in this country every year.

    Thorton said: "But I know damn well that it is my decision and not that of some self-appointed "holier than thou" gasbags who are trying to force their personal views of morality on everyone else."

    Do you not consider yourself one of those gasbags?

    ReplyDelete
  38. Cornelius Hunter said...

    The moral judgements of evolutionists are more than the mere issuance of opinion.


    Why are you singling out evolutionists? Human beings of all flavors are constantly making moral judgments all the time.

    You seem to be whining solely because other people make judgments different from your, irregardless of the reasons.

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  39. Thorton:

    ====
    "So there is nothing wrong with murdering babies, right?"

    If my child had an incurable fatal disease that was causing her insufferable agony, I may very well support euthanasia - I really don't know. But I know damn well that it is *my* decision and not that of some self-appointed "holier than thou" gasbags who are trying to force their personal views of morality on everyone else.
    ====

    So that would be a 'yes'?

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  40. Mike said...

    Thorton said: "Who is murdering babies? No one I know."

    Millions are murdered in this country every year.


    Nope. According to the statistics in 2007 the number of homicides for infants under the age of one year was 210.

    I'm sure you're going to go into gasbag mode and start screaming about how legal abortions are filthy bloody murder in your personal opinion, right? And how those who disagree with your opinions must be immoral murderers, right?

    Go ahead, I know you holier than thou gasbags just can't help yourselves.

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  41. Thorton:

    ====
    Why are you singling out evolutionists? Human beings of all flavors are constantly making moral judgments all the time.
    ====

    Because it is the evolutionists who say that morality does not exist (all we have are evolutionary outcomes). That's after they make their theological claims, and before they accuse skeptics of iniquity.

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  42. Cornelius, you say: "The moral judgements of evolutionists are more than the mere issuance of opinion. Evolutionists are not saying "gee, it seems to me that X is wrong", or "gee, it seems to me that the pentadactyl pattern would never have been designed." Their moral judgements rise above the level of mere opinion."

    How can these judgments rise above "mere opinion"? As you note, if evolution is true then all there is is "mere opinion."

    ReplyDelete
  43. Thorton said: "I'm sure you're going to go into gasbag mode and start screaming about how legal abortions are filthy bloody murder in your personal opinion, right? And how those who disagree with your opinions must be immoral murderers, right?

    So are you saying absolute morality is based on whatever the law of the land is? Or do you suppose the law of the land could in fact be very immoral?

    ReplyDelete
  44. Cornelius Hunter said...

    Thorton:

    ====
    Why are you singling out evolutionists? Human beings of all flavors are constantly making moral judgments all the time.
    ====

    Because it is the evolutionists who say that morality does not exist (all we have are evolutionary outcomes).


    Back up this amazing claim please. I don't know a single evolutionist (and I am acquainted with plenty) who says morality does not exist, let alone having all those who accept evolutionary theory say that.

    Looks like you made up the flimsiest silliest strawman to try and score cheap rhetorical points. It's not working though.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Larry Tanner said: "How can these judgments rise above "mere opinion"? As you note, if evolution is true then all there is is "mere opinion."

    Larry, I suppose you would think it would be horrible for someone to violently rape and murder a 3 year old girl. Is that more than an opinion to you?

    ReplyDelete
  46. Larry said, "The main criticism of "the" evolutionist's view of euthanasia is that it never rises above the level of opinion. Well what's wrong with that? Is there some other view that rises above opinion?"

    ======

    Well, yes. It's called God's word. The Bible's. It is the source of absolute truth. What do you have when you reject it? .... Convictions that are as solid as watery oatmeal.

    Having no common moral compass is like not agreeing on what the size of a foot or meter or inch is. The house that's built won't stand.

    Hilter had an opinion. Stalin had an opinion. Attla the Hun had a opinion. So, was the holocaust wrong because some people say it was, or are you saying that we can't make moral judgments about the holocaust either? Hitler didn't think it was wrong because it was serving a greater good by his definition. Was his opinion as valid as those who thought the holocaust was wrong?

    When decisions about life and death and right and wrong become similar to whether one wants a chocolate or plain donut with their coffee, we are headed to disaster as a society.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Thorton said: "I don't know a single evolutionist (and I am acquainted with plenty) who says morality does not exist, let alone having all those who accept evolutionary theory say that."

    On what do you base your morality then? Opinion?

    ReplyDelete
  48. Mike said...

    So are you saying absolute morality is based on whatever the law of the land is?


    Morality is based on group consensus. It is not based on your personal opinion.

    Or do you suppose the law of the land could in fact be very immoral?

    Immoral to who? To you?

    Morality is not based on your personal opinion, no matter how much you desperately want it to be.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Thorton said: "Morality is based on group consensus. It is not based on your personal opinion."

    Do you not suppose that consensus opinion could in fact be very immoral, then?

    ReplyDelete
  50. Thorton:

    ====
    I don't know a single evolutionist (and I am acquainted with plenty) who says morality does not exist
    ====

    Believe me, when evolutionists reassure you that morality exists, they are not referring to right and wrong. They are redefining the word as a proxy for evolutionary outcomes. What they mean by morality is nothing more than molecular rearrangements.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Mike,

    "Larry, I suppose you would think it would be horrible for someone to violently rape and murder a 3 year old girl. Is that more than an opinion to you? "

    I would think it was horrible, and it would be more than opinion to me--it would be MY opinion. Hopefully, it would also be supported by the legal system.

    P.S., Why is it that critics of "evolution" and "materialism" are able to come up with the most brutal imagery so easily. What kind of mind goes right to the violent rape and murder of a 3-yr-old girl?

    ReplyDelete
  52. Neal Tedford said...

    Well, yes. It's called God's word. The Bible's. It is the source of absolute truth. What do you have when you reject it? .... Convictions that are as solid as watery oatmeal.


    Another holier than thou gasbag pipes up.

    Right you idiot. That's why the 67% of the world's population who don't accept your Christian Bible's claim of "absolute truth" all run around raping, stealing, and murdering every day.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Cornelius Hunter said...

    Believe me, when evolutionists reassure you that morality exists, they are not referring to right and wrong. They are redefining the word as a proxy for evolutionary outcomes. What they mean by morality is nothing more than molecular rearrangements.


    I don't believe you. I think you're making it up whole cloth.

    Please support the claim or retract.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Larry Tanner said: :Why is it that critics of "evolution" and "materialism" are able to come up with the most brutal imagery so easily. What kind of mind goes right to the violent rape and murder of a 3-yr-old girl?"

    We are treated to such imagery every day in the news, and the more brutal the imagery, the more obvious it becomes that such behavior is immoral, and that such judgements of said behaviors are not based on opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Neal Tedford,

    Uh, why is it that "the Bible"--whichever version(s) you mean--rise above mere opinion?

    You don't know that the Bible is the word of a god. You don't know whether all of it is, some of it is, or none of it is.

    You have your mere opinion and your trust of this or that church. I have my mere opinion too, and I am quite certain that my convictions are as strong as yours.

    ReplyDelete
  56. I wander why Evolutionists advocate abortion and gay rights. Isn't that very unevolutionarily?

    ReplyDelete
  57. Mike,

    Oh. It's "obvious."

    Thanks for clearing that up.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Larry, I will ask you again: do you think that it is more than just an opinion that it is wrong to violently rape and muder 3 year old girls?

    ReplyDelete
  59. Mike said...

    Thorton said: "Morality is based on group consensus. It is not based on your personal opinion."

    Do you not suppose that consensus opinion could in fact be very immoral, then?


    Nope. Morality is based on group consensus by definition.

    If we lived on a planet where all societies considered cannibalism the norm, then cannibalism would be moral by definition.

    In many cases, there is not a clear consensus as to what is 'moral' so there much gray area. This is the case with hot button topics like abortion, assisted suicides, etc.

    Morality is not based on your personal opinion, no matter what personal interpretation of a religious book you get yours from.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Mike said...

    Larry, I will ask you again: do you think that it is more than just an opinion that it is wrong to violently rape and muder 3 year old girls?


    Why? Are you planning to violently rape and murder 3 year old girls?

    ReplyDelete
  61. Mike,

    I'll answer you again. It's more than mere opinion in the sense that it fits into behavior that is prohibited by the laws of my state and my nation.

    So the answer is yes. This answer should be satisfactory to you.

    ReplyDelete
  62. second opinion said...

    I wander why Evolutionists advocate abortion and gay rights. Isn't that very unevolutionarily?


    No.

    ReplyDelete
  63. In the antebellum south, it was group consensus that owning black people was okay. Is your revulsion to such consensus (assuming you have such a revulsion) more than just on opinion to you? Would you say that it is wrong for an entire segment of the population to think it's okay to enslave people?

    ReplyDelete
  64. Mike,

    What exactly do you mean by "more than just an opinion"?

    ReplyDelete
  65. Yeah thorton doesn't plan to rape anyone- he just goes out and does it.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Larry Tanner said: "It's more than mere opinion in the sense that it fits into behavior that is prohibited by the laws of my state and my nation."

    Now you sound like Thorton. If you lived on a desert island with no written law, would it then be okay to rape and murder little girls, if you should happen across one?

    ReplyDelete
  67. "If you lived on a desert island with no written law, would it then be okay to rape and murder little girls, if you should happen across one?"

    No, I wouldn't think it was moral behavior at all.

    Where in the world are you trying to go with all of this?

    ReplyDelete
  68. Larry Tanner said: "What exactly do you mean by "more than just an opinion?"

    What I mean is: do you feel as if right and wrong transcends you own personal opinion on such matters? It's different that your opinion on which soda-pop tastes best, isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  69. Mike said...

    In the antebellum south, it was group consensus that owning black people was okay. Is your revulsion to such consensus (assuming you have such a revulsion) more than just on opinion to you? Would you say that it is wrong for an entire segment of the population to think it's okay to enslave people?


    You tell me, it's your Bible that says it's OK to own slaves.

    Moralities change and evolve as societies change and evolve. What we find immoral today (i.e incest) was not necessarily considered immoral in different societies at different times.

    What part of this

    Morality is not based on your personal opinion, no matter what personal interpretation of a religious book you get yours from.

    don't you understand?

    ReplyDelete
  70. "In the antebellum south, it was group consensus that owning black people was okay. Is your revulsion to such consensus (assuming you have such a revulsion) more than just on opinion to you? Would you say that it is wrong for an entire segment of the population to think it's okay to enslave people?"

    If I check a bible, will it say that slavery is wrong? Will it tell us that "it is wrong for an entire segment of the population to think it's okay to enslave people?"

    ReplyDelete
  71. Larry Tanner said: "Where in the world are you trying to go with all of this?"

    It goes back to CH's article. If morality transcends personal opinion and group consensus, then where does it come from? Is it the by-product of evolution, or something more?

    ReplyDelete
  72. Thortard:
    Humans are social animals and have evolved complex behavioral patters.

    Evidence-free assertion.

    Just like the ToE.

    Evolved from what? Simple behavioural patterns?

    Evolved how?

    What- no answers?

    Euthanasia is a action that is driven by empathy, a desire to end the suffering of those in severe pain.

    And another evidence-free assertion.

    Thortard:
    To claim avocation of euthanasia somehow violates evolutionary theory is to demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of actual human evolved behaviors.

    What an imbecile-

    The claim is the theory produces shit like euthanasia.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Thorton:

    ====
    "Believe me, when evolutionists reassure you that morality exists, they are not referring to right and wrong. They are redefining the word as a proxy for evolutionary outcomes. What they mean by morality is nothing more than molecular rearrangements."

    I don't believe you. I think you're making it up whole cloth. Please support the claim or retract.
    ====

    No, I'm not making this up, just read the literature. You can start with Robert Wright's *The Moral Animal*, to name one of many popular books that might help you get started.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Mike said...

    Larry Tanner said: "It's more than mere opinion in the sense that it fits into behavior that is prohibited by the laws of my state and my nation."

    Now you sound like Thorton. If you lived on a desert island with no written law, would it then be okay to rape and murder little girls, if you should happen across one?


    What if the world were invaded by sadistic space aliens who threatened to kill everyone on the planet unless they got to watch a little girl being raped and murdered. Once they saw that, they would leave and no one else would get harmed. Would it be right then to do the rape and murder?

    See, I can come up with ridiculous scenarios too.

    ReplyDelete
  75. "do you feel as if right and wrong transcends you own personal opinion on such matters? It's different that your opinion on which soda-pop tastes best, isn't it?"

    Well, I feel that when it comes to right and wrong, my personal opinion is not the only one that counts. Other people in my community should have their say, too.

    So yes, it's different than my preference on soda-pop flavors. My tastes affect no one but me. My behavior, however, affects my relations with people in my community.

    I don't see why you want to mystify things with a word like "transcends," which seems hyperbolic.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Larry Tanner said: "If I check a bible, will it say that slavery is wrong? Will it tell us that "it is wrong for an entire segment of the population to think it's okay to enslave people?"

    Not per se. But I fear that topic needs to be started in a different forum...

    ReplyDelete
  77. Mike,

    "It goes back to CH's article. If morality transcends personal opinion and group consensus, then where does it come from? Is it the by-product of evolution, or something more?"

    Perhaps Cornelius will clarify: Cornelius, are you claiming that in evolution, morality is transcendent?

    ReplyDelete
  78. Cornelius Hunter said...

    No, I'm not making this up, just read the literature. You can start with Robert Wright's *The Moral Animal*, to name one of many popular books that might help you get started.


    No evasions by references to religious propaganda. Please support you claims by posting evidence here or retract.

    ReplyDelete
  79. "I don't see why you want to mystify things with a word like "transcends," which seems hyperbolic."

    All I mean by "transcend" is that what is right and wrong exists appart from what you or I or anyone else thinks. If you can say that certain people get it wrong, then you are saying that right and wrong transcends personal opinion, including your own.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Mike,

    "All I mean by 'transcend' is that what is right and wrong exists appart from what you or I or anyone else thinks."

    I don't think that right and wrong exist apart from what you or I or anyone else thinks.

    ReplyDelete
  81. Mike said...

    "I don't see why you want to mystify things with a word like "transcends," which seems hyperbolic."

    All I mean by "transcend" is that what is right and wrong exists appart from what you or I or anyone else thinks. If you can say that certain people get it wrong, then you are saying that right and wrong transcends personal opinion, including your own.


    On the planet Qxertzy there exist two sentient species, the Blorg and the Zog. Each has their own civilization, their own religion. One day a Blorg kills a Zog and uses the body to feed his family to keep them from starving.

    Was the killing right or wrong?

    Since according to you right and wrong exist apart from any viewpoints, you should be able to justify an answer.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Larry:

    ====
    Perhaps Cornelius will clarify: Cornelius, are you claiming that in evolution, morality is transcendent?
    ====

    No, in evolutionary theory morality is not transcendent, which is in contradiction with the many moral and metaphysical claims of evolutionists.

    ====
    I don't think that right and wrong exist apart from what you or I or anyone else thinks.
    ====

    Is that true?

    ReplyDelete
  83. "No, in evolutionary theory morality is not transcendent, which is in contradiction with the many moral and metaphysical claims of evolutionists."

    So you're saying the theory contradicts the claims of the scientists.

    You ask me "Is that true?" in response to my statement of opinion. I don't get your point. I worded my statement both to indicate that I believe what I say is true and to acknowledge the possibility that what I say may be false.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Larry, I appreciate your careful wording, but I still question your statement. Do you really think that? Relativists never seem to live up to their claims. They say they don't think that right and wrong exist apart from what you or I or anyone else thinks, but then cast their moral judgements which seem to leave little room for their relativism.

    ReplyDelete
  85. "Do you really think that?"

    I think I really think that.

    Can you give an example of casting moral judgments in a way that leave little room for relativism?

    ReplyDelete
  86. Larry:

    One example is when evolutionists say god would not have created evil, bad design, inefficiencies, etc., so this is evidence for evolution. If it was merely their own opinion, with no bearing on reality, then it would not serve as evidence for evolution. And yet this reasoning runs all through the evolution genre.

    Perhaps this example isn't so relevant for you. So more generally, you can find many examples of relativists casting moral judgments. In fact, this is far more common than your typical theist who believes moral absolutes exist. Whether it is Bush, warming deniers, or evolution deniers, relativists have little compunction about proclaiming how bad these people are. Their convictions leave little room for "but that's just my personal opinion which by definition carries no weight over anyone else's, so don't pay any attention to me."

    ReplyDelete
  87. Cornelius Hunter said...

    One example is when evolutionists say god would not have created evil, bad design, inefficiencies, etc., so this is evidence for evolution. If it was merely their own opinion, with no bearing on reality, then it would not serve as evidence for evolution. And yet this reasoning runs all through the evolution genre.


    Those things you list have never appeared as "evidence for evolution" in any peer reviewed primary scientific papers or journals. You are deliberately and quite dishonestly conflating the personal opinions of people like Dawkins with the professional scientific literature.

    Shame on you again CH, shame! Christians are supposed to be more honest than that.

    ReplyDelete
  88. One example is when evolutionists say god would not have created evil, bad design, inefficiencies, etc., so this is evidence for evolution.

    Evolutionists absolutely do not say these things as evidence for evolution. They make these claims specifically to counter arguments made by the religious.

    In other words, saying "God would not have done X this way" is not offered as evidence for evolution but merely as a counter-argument for competing religiously based theories.

    ReplyDelete
  89. I think if I had a dollar for every time Thorton judged someone on this blog by calling them a liar I'd have a nice big stack of bills.

    ReplyDelete
  90. Norm,

    Why is it necessary for evolutionists to even offer a counter argument for competing religiously based theories?

    Simply, because their evidence is weak and they really can't close their case based on the evidence alone. They must appeal to the "God would not have done X this way" to bolster their case.

    Neo-Darwinism has stepped into the domain of origins and of creation, claiming to have the answer to the origin of all life on our planet. That is a tall order to fill and anyone making such a grand claim and supporting it by half-baked assumptions, shell games, and metaphysical claims is bound to get clobbered. It is a geniune shame to science how poorly evolutionists treat evidence that contradicts its theory. They make the global warming scientists from Britain look like choir boys.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Neal Tedford said...

    I think if I had a dollar for every time Thorton judged someone on this blog by calling them a liar I'd have a nice big stack of bills.


    If I had a dollar for every time Tedford got caught deliberately lying about a scientific topic he's already been corrected on I'd have a nice much biggger stack of bills

    ReplyDelete
  92. Neal Tedford said...

    Why is it necessary for evolutionists to even offer a counter argument for competing religiously based theories


    It's because dishonest YEC scum like you try to get your non-scientific religious fables pushed into public science classrooms and passed of as valid science. That's why.

    Quit trying to sneak your crap fantasies into science classrooms and there's no problem.

    It is a geniune shame to science how poorly evolutionists treat evidence that contradicts its theory.

    You don't have any scientific evidence that contradicts the theory. Not a single solitary piece.

    ReplyDelete
  93. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  94. Dr. Hunter wrote:

    If evolution is true then isn’t life a game of the survival of the fittest?

    What a ridiculous canard.

    But even this contorted explanation falls short. If the evolutionary process magically rearranged our neurons to produce empathy and altruism, that wouldn’t make them “right” and euthanasia “wrong.”

    And here we have more of the same.

    First off, It's logically possible that evolution is true and that a God like being exists, but merely sat on the sidelines and watch all life form naturally. In other words, if God does exist, evolution might be what he wanted to occur.

    Of course, Dr. Hunter's particular religious views oppose this scenario, so he presents his argument as if this were the only possible choices and hopes nobody notices. How he actually knows what God does or does not want is unclear.

    As such, this is clearly a disingenuous, false dilemma designed to connect evolutionary theory with moral outrage among theists.

    Second, even if God does exist, it's unclear how Hunter, or anyone else, knows what God thinks is right or wrong. To put this in Hunter's terms,

    The theist may claim euthanasia is wrong is their God's eyes, but that wouldn’t necessary make it wrong as he has claimed. It simply means he claims his God disapproves with it. And what he won’t admit is that, with theism, any other view is just as legitimate.

    Third, in the absence of God, we can find ways to answer moral questions.

    http://bit.ly/amM3mV

    ReplyDelete
  95. Norm:

    ===
    Evolutionists absolutely do not say these things as evidence for evolution.
    ===

    Yes, it is all through the literature. You are arguing from ignorance.

    ===
    They make these claims specifically to counter arguments made by the religious.
    ===

    It is a mix. Many of the claims specifically target creationist or natural theology claims. But many are unique to evolutionary metaphysics.

    ===
    In other words, saying "God would not have done X this way" is not offered as evidence for evolution
    ===

    Of course it is. And this is how evolutionists arrive at the conclusion that their idea is a fact.

    ReplyDelete
  96. Scott:

    ====
    "If evolution is true then isn’t life a game of the survival of the fittest? "

    What a ridiculous canard.
    ====

    Yes, how silly. Think of it, "evolution" and "survival of the fittest" in the same sentence. The two ideas obviously have nothing in common.


    ====
    Of course, Dr. Hunter's particular religious views oppose this scenario,...
    ====

    That is also false, but what's new?

    ReplyDelete
  97. Cornelius Hunter said...

    Norm:

    ===
    Evolutionists absolutely do not say these things as evidence for evolution.
    ===

    Yes, it is all through the literature. You are arguing from ignorance.


    Then why can't you provide any examples from the primary scientific literature? Seems like you're the one arguing from unsupported hooey.

    ===
    In other words, saying "God would not have done X this way" is not offered as evidence for evolution
    ===

    Of course it is. And this is how evolutionists arrive at the conclusion that their idea is a fact.


    Ignorance based unsupported assertion. But it's the only thing we expect from you, the only thing you seem capable of.

    ReplyDelete
  98. Those who talk up the relative truth thing don't really mean it. It is simply their tool to try to manipulate people to their advantage and opinion. They are often the biggest bunch of cry babies about injustices done to them. When it comes to defending themselves, they will fight tooth and nail and pull out all kinds of moral judgments against those who would dare to disagree with them.

    ReplyDelete
  99. Neal Tedford said...

    Those who talk up the relative truth thing don't really mean it. It is simply their tool to try to manipulate people to their advantage and opinion. They are often the biggest bunch of cry babies about injustices done to them. When it comes to defending themselves, they will fight tooth and nail and pull out all kinds of moral judgments against those who would dare to disagree with them.


    Blither all you want Tedford. Believe any religious fables you were taught as a child, disagree with any established sciences that suits your ignorant fancy. But try to sneak your anti-science horsecrap into public school science classes and you'll get punched right in the mouth, just like you Creation IDiots did at Dover.

    You morons aren't going to drag down the country's literacy level just to accommodate your childish fantasies. Not on my watch.

    ReplyDelete
  100. Larry Tanner responding to Cornelius Hunter:

    Cornelius: >>> "Their very theory is based on metaphysical claims about how god should have made life."

    Larry: >>> "Maybe, but this is certainly true of the people who oppose them. That is, the critics of evolutionists have their own metaphysical claims about how god should have made life. I take it that you want no metaphysical claims made whatsoever, but how can this be accomplished?"
    ====

    I believe you totally missed his point. The supposed foundation behind evolutionist position is that of pure materialist intellect minus anything religious. You are correct that people who have a belief in a creation account make metaphysical claims and certainly faith-based statements, but the difference between them and an evolutionist is that they freely and proudly admit this. Evolutionists emphatically and dogmatically deny they do this, yet all the while they make meta-physical faith-based statements in most all of their scientific literature to fill in the gaps of where data and facts are lacking. It's called story invention.

    The bottomline is that absurd assumptions and assertions are mandated as necessary invention by a group of Scientific Ecclesiasticals who've annointed themselves to replace the old order of conventional religious ecclesiastical hierarchy with their own brand of faith-based belief system. When this is pointed out in many of cornelius' articles, it infuriates the faithful (Evo-apologists) who, rather than acknowledge or explain the reasons behind these necessary faith-based insertions into research papers, actually proceed into the realm of excuse making and defending rather than acknowledge that they are every much the equal of anyone else who is religious.

    Hence, the discussion always goes off to an attack against the bible itself or if there were a God, he certainly wouldn't have done things this way or that. Rather than strict adherence to the scientific method, evolution is given a pass for which other scientific fields are shackled. This is what makes evolution a religious dogma and it's extremist defenders a cult-like phenomena.

    ReplyDelete
  101. Cornelius Hunter:

    "Then why is evolution proclaimed to be a fact?"

    Larry Tanner's response: >>> "I don't know. So, you just want people to stop saying that evolution is a fact. OK."
    -----

    Cornelius Hunter:

    "Larry do you not see the disconnect?"

    Larry Tanner's response >>> "Yes, I do. But so what?"
    =====

    SO WHAT ???

    It might behoove you to actually look up the dictionary definition of the word/term FAITH, take off the blinders and for once take an honest look at the no proof other than creative/imaginative absurd claims made through story invention by anthropologists, evolutionary biologists, etc, etc, etc and notice the uncanny similiarities between conventional religious thinking and that of evolutionists. Take a close look here at this online dictionary definition of the word FAITH and see how many of those numbered references illustrate the imaginative faith-based assumptions/assertions spliced into almost every scientific research papers involving evolution where DATA and FACTS are glaringly lacking.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/faith

    1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
    2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief, trust.
    3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.
    4. often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.
    5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
    6. A set of principles or beliefs.

    Now if you disagree with the dictionary definition, then you can always fall back on the usual "What Is Truth?" debate for definition shell games !!! In the end it doesn't change the massive amount of faith based statements demanded that we all should believe in without questioning anything by your side.

    ReplyDelete
  102. Thorton admitted:

    "But I know damn well that it is my decision and not that of some self-appointed "holier than thou" gasbags who are trying to force their personal views of morality on everyone else.
    ====

    And yet here we are once again getting to the crux of your underlying reasons for using science as an excuse for your own self-determination worldview. Resentment of a creator who would give freewill, yet attach perceived unfare restrictions on the use of that same freewill. (It doesn't get any more metaphysical than that) This is the same old tired arguement raised back in Eden. Yet while your side condemns the bible, you continue to parrot the arguements against belief in God already recorded inside the Bible for mankind's benefit. One has to wonder why you don't create a newer arguement ??? Your religious stance is certainly nothing new under the sun.
    ----

    Thorton emphatically makes a great point:

    None of which has the slightest relevance to evolutionary theory."
    ====

    Yes, I would most certainly agree with you on this. However, it has to be asked, "Why do evolutionists (such as yourself) continually bring it up when no intelligent explanations can be given for the gap filling storytelling incorporated into the research papers where the "Scientific Method" has failed to accurately provided DATA or FACTS to back the imaginative assumptions and assertions ???"

    The boldened metaphysic fall back statements are simply a lazy way of not properly taking care of what should otherwise be scientific responsibility. I think it would be better for evolutionary theory if it didn't have so many emotionally charged pitbull & bulldog defenders. You folks are it's worst enemy. It is you people who are the ones that provide the most cannon fodder against it, not the believer folks.

    ReplyDelete
  103. Norm Olsen attempted deflection of the real issue:

    "Evolutionists absolutely do not say these things as evidence for evolution. They make these claims specifically to counter arguments made by the religious.

    In other words, saying "God would not have done X this way" is not offered as evidence for evolution but merely as a counter-argument for competing religiously based theories."
    ====

    While most of the scientific papers on a particular subject do not usual go there, it is the standard policy of Evolutionary Apologists almost everywhere. You will find that 99.9% (I may have missed something) of the Evo-Defenders on Cornelius' blog do exactly this. And where do they get this line of faith-based reasoning ??? From their own Ecclesiastical Hierarchy found in the priesthood of P.Z. Meyers, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet, David Attenborough. etc, etc, etc.

    Again, this tactic level of arguementation is not usually taken until the normal refutation of storytelling is exposed and for which they find themselves backed into a corner with nowhere to run. When metaphysical reasonings on what a Creator (God) would and wouldn't do also fail, then we observe this kind of degraded level of conversation (foul/filthy language, vulgarities, etc) for which any intelligent discussion can then be effectively be kissed off. At that point it's simply a matter of waiting for the next article while watching the Kindergarten sandbox mud slinging from both sides run it's predicted course.

    ReplyDelete
  104. Ambiorix wondered:

    "How have they borrowed from eastern religious concepts?"
    ====

    I actually posted about this in the previous article's comments section before it was taken over by all the mud slinging. If you actually do the homework on the ancient religious philosophical outlooks by most of the popular wellknown eastern religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, etc, you will notice that they have many similiar concepts shared in common. These idealogical concepts have been adopted by modern secularists and the terminology cleaned up a bit with sophisticated sounding New Age flare for lingo which tantalizes the materialist senses.

    You won't find much criticism against these religious views like you do with anything biblical. Not that New Age Evolutionists agree with everything about these religions, they don't. But what they do is borrow specific concepts like Yoga, from Hinduism, mind emptying meditation from Buddhism, the concept of all life being part of an unexplainable universal cosmos of constantly recirculating & recycling energy (chi) from Taoism, etc.

    The one thing Evos really appreciate about these religions (like Buddhism) is they make no attempt to explain any origins at all. Evos reserve that right for themselves, hence they are not intimidated by those religions. In some cases, die hard atheists will even defend Buddhism as not even being a religion or a philosophy, but simply a pathway.

    The main point here is that under those eastern religious concepts, there is no ultimate truth. An atmosphere of gray muddled fuzziness is a comfortable place to be when trying to demonize anyone who does believe in absolutes.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Eocene,

    I see you have responded to several of my comments. I acknowledge your argument and posture, but I don't see any evidence or examples backing up your assertions.

    It's all well and good to trot out charged terms like "disconnect," "absurd claims," and "Scientific Ecclesiasticals." However, to me these terms are all (or mostly) rhetorical bluster. Certainly, they don't convince me to see the same hypocrisy and faulty reasoning that you seem to see in the reasoning of "evolutionists."

    ReplyDelete
  106. Thorton said: “Morality is based on group consensus by definition.”

    Group consensus regarding right and wrong is nothing more than the alignment of “personal opinion”. The question is, can the majority get it wrong?

    Thorton said: “Morality is not based on your personal opinion.”

    I agree, but like I said, group consensus is nothing more than majority “personal opinion”. You can defer the matter to “culture” or “consensus” or “local governing laws”, but any indignation or head shaking you display regarding other people (or the majority of people) getting morality wrong is proof positive that you believe morality to be transcendent to such things.

    Thorton said: “Morality is not based on your personal opinion, no matter what personal interpretation of a religious book you get yours from.”

    If you agree that people’s “opinion” can be wrong regarding morality (which your frequent disgust with Dr. Hunter and Mr. Tedford seems to indicate), then you also claim morality to be absolute. But the question is, if our “feelings” or “opinions” are notoriously unreliable regarding such things, then what can we do? We must either appeal to a higher authority (that is also transcendent to human “feeling” and “opinion”), or continue to make do with our own, and just hope we get it right more often than not (which seems to be rather hopeless, especially considering the propensity of man to disregard morality altogether).

    Thorton said: “On the planet Qxertzy there exist two sentient species, the Blorg and the Zog. Each has their own civilization, their own religion. One day a Blorg kills a Zog and uses the body to feed his family to keep them from starving. Was the killing right or wrong?”

    Your question is irrelevant because not knowing what is right and wrong in a particular circumstance does not preclude the existence of morality. And yes, it can get really complicated sometimes, but if you ever for a moment worry about doing the right thing when it is not clear what the right thing is, you are testifying to your belief that there is a “right” choice to be made, and that its “rightness” is absolute. And if this is so, do you think this “rightness” is the by-product of meaningless undirected evolutionary development?

    Besides that, there is no need to conjure up fancies about cannibalistic starving space aliens (II Kings 6:24-30)

    ReplyDelete
  107. Cornelius -

    Jumping straight down from reading the OP without reading the comments, this is your weakest post yet, and that's saying something.

    The theory of evolution explains the diversity in nature. Why on Earth are you trying to draw moral conclusions from scientific theories (which you can then project onto other people. Or have I just answered my own question there)?

    What is the opinion on euthenasia of someone who accepts the theory of gravity? Or germ theory?

    ReplyDelete
  108. CH wrote:

    Yes, how silly. Think of it, "evolution" and "survival of the fittest" in the same sentence. The two ideas obviously have nothing in common.

    And it's ridiculous to think the context in which that resulting sentence is used is not relevant.

    For example, do we question finding a cure for cancer because some people may have fewer genetic defense mechanisms to suppress run away cell division, and are therefore less fit to survive? Of course not.

    That is also false, but what's new?

    Are you denying this is a false dilemma? I can't tell because your response is quite vague, but what's new?

    If it's not a false dilemma, then why don't you enlighten us as to why no, rather than make vague statements such as this?

    Nor did your response indicate how you, or anyone else actually knows God's opinion on euthanasia, or any other subject. It's one thing to claim that God exists and has an opinion on any subject. But it's another to assume you actually have knowledge of that opinion.

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  109. Scott:

    ===
    why don't you enlighten us
    ===

    I've made my position abundantly clear. I understand you may not be so familiar with this blog and my views on origins, but that would seem like a good reason to refrain from making presumpteous statements about people's "particular religious views" which you, in fact, know very little about.

    ===
    Nor did your response indicate how you, or anyone else actually knows God's opinion on euthanasia, or any other subject. It's one thing to claim that God exists and has an opinion on any subject. But it's another to assume you actually have knowledge of that opinion.
    ===

    You lost me. Where did I make such a claim?

    ReplyDelete
  110. CH wrote:

    I've made my position abundantly clear.

    No, you haven't.

    Again, I'm suggesting you've presented a false dilemma and I'm asking how your position on origins suggest that you have not.

    Or perhaps you did, and you're merely objecting to the particular scenario I presented to deflect the question all together?

    So, while you might have presented your position elsewhere, what's missing is how that position is relevant in this context. In other words, it's the explanation that I'm looking for, not merely the facts of what you believe.

    You lost me. Where did I make such a claim?

    So you're admitting your OP is a false dilemma? Because, in the absence of such a claim, or something else like it, that's exactly what it is.

    Essentially, you've made a non-sequitur, then actually pointed out that it was a non-sequitur as if that was some kind of refutation.

    I guess you're hopping none of your readers would notice?

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  111. Eocene said...

    to demonize anyone who does believe in absolutes.

    ========================

    The only religion that (I'm aware of) demonises is Christianity. I’ve had personal experience of this by the way.
    Modern western science is quite scathing of eastern philosophical concepts.
    One example is the concepts of mind and brain, most western scientist think of humans as nothing more than a combination of chemicals and that consciousness as nothing more than a creation of neurons.

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  112. Scott:

    ===
    So you're admitting your OP is a false dilemma? Because, in the absence of such a claim, or something else like it, that's exactly what it is.
    ===

    You are misreading the post. The dilemma is that evolutionary explanations for altruism, empathy and other virtues do not support the claim that euthanasia is wrong.

    Such evolutionary explanations are stuck with relativism. You may think euthanasia is wrong, but that is as far as it goes. It cannot rise above the level of opinion, and so carries no more weight than Bob Brown's opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  113. Cornelius Hunter responding to Scott:

    "You are misreading the post. The dilemma is that evolutionary explanations for altruism, empathy and other virtues do not support the claim that euthanasia is wrong."
    ====

    Hmmm , misreading the post ??? Having spent much time debating these self-proclaimed intellects, I can assure you they don't misread anything. Everything they post is cold and calculated.
    ----

    Cornelius Hunter:

    Such evolutionary explanations are stuck with relativism. You may think euthanasia is wrong, but that is as far as it goes. It cannot rise above the level of opinion, and so carries no more weight than Bob Brown's opinion.
    ====

    They all understand this but will never admit it. When their foundation for belief on anything is undermined, rather than provide further proof and answers (which at some point becomes impossible for them), they resort to a tearing down of what they perceive to be your foundation for belief. This is why these threads always go way off topic and deflect to the usual realm of metaphysical speculations.

    But once again, just for emphasis, an imagined foundation of no absolutes and truth being relative is a comfortable cushy chair for them, though it is hardly a safe foundation in the first place. It's all in the mind ( Maya = "illusion" ). Hence their complete acceptance and defense of any type of fabled storytelling to fill in the gaps where real answers are wanting.

    ReplyDelete
  114. Cornelius Hunter quoting and answering Scott:

    "Scott:

    ===
    why don't you enlighten us
    ===

    I've made my position abundantly clear. I understand you may not be so familiar with this blog and my views on origins, but that would seem like a good reason to refrain from making presumpteous statements about people's "particular religious views" which you, in fact, know very little about.

    =============================================

    You have to understand when such condescending demands like "Why don't you enlighten us" or "Please show us cited proofs" , "Please support you claims by posting evidence here" are made, they are never ever genuine. But then with your experience you already knew that.

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  115. Larry Tanner stated:

    "Eocene,

    I see you have responded to several of my comments. I acknowledge your argument and posture, but I don't see any evidence or examples backing up your assertions."
    ====

    Why is this not surprising Larry ??? Of course you wouldn't. This is obvious and necessary. Having observed the very nature and purpose of your blog, I'd say your an expert on metaphysics since most of your belief in evolutionary theory really never addresses the science, but rather an idealogical condemnation of church views which exposes your metaphysics platform, for which there are even some issues I can agree with.

    However, for an honest appraisal of the biblical text and seeing that you promote yourself as a sort of literary scholastic genius, it may behoove you to look for neutral scholastic sources (as opposed to dogmatic Church sources) for definitions on words/terms regarding the Bible text. I appreciate that this is a task that would be difficult and challenging for you, especialy in the light that your side has need of critiquing, exposing, chewing up and spitting out Fundies, something for which I have no problem with. But I also appreciate that finding out truths in the Biblical text which may agree and even support your side of the issue are also totally unacceptable as the Biblical text must be condemned at any and all costs. Even fudging the truth and outright lying, which I appreciate are necessary evils to attain the deseried goal.

    Still, a change might be refreshing. In so doing, you'd be following the well respected and famous literary scholastic examples of William Tyndale, William Whiston, Sir Isaac Newton, Galileo, etc, etc, etc all of whom were demonized and vilified (even losing their life) for exposing the truth about the lies of various major dogmas and doctrines.

    As you've accused, people who believe in creation ALSO make metaphysical and faith-based statements. Yes that is true. That's what being religious is all about. No one will deny this. Yet your response to evolutionary metaphysical statement making was to reply, "Yes, so what?" EXACTLY! Your side is every equal as anyone else when it comes to being religious. Your fight is against the perceived false religious ideas and concepts and replacing them with your religious version of truth. Of course the Jury is still out on the scientific definition of what truth actually is.

    Consequently the discussion simply bogs down at that point. Thanks for playing anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  116. CH -


    Such evolutionary explanations are stuck with relativism. You may think euthanasia is wrong, but that is as far as it goes. It cannot rise above the level of opinion, and so carries no more weight than Bob Brown's opinion.


    Well, yes. But how could it possibly be otherwise? Morality IS relative. How can 'euthenasia is wrong' possibly ever rise above 'the level of opinion'? What else could it possibly be?

    Still don't see what this has to do with the theory of evolution, btw. They are just as free to choose their opinions on moral (or any other relative) issues as anyone else, and for every 'evolutionist' who agrees with euthenasia, I bet you'll also find one that doesn't.

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  117. As Cornelius probably knows very well, the scientific theory of biological evolution - like all other scientific theories - doesn't proscribe moral rules - even if it can account for the evolution of social norms. The parasitic leaders of the evolution-deniers like to claim the opposite in order to put the fear of God in their ignorant followers, so they can collect more dollars from the rubes and finance their lavish lifestyles. Good for Cornelius, or he wouldn't have his current job as a professional propagandist.

    Is there an objective reason why we should deny individuals that suffer from a painful terminal disease the right to end their own lives?

    ReplyDelete
  118. Eocene,

    You still have chosen to avoid specific evidence and examples supporting your position. That's a problem.

    People--scientists, scholars, bloggers, and everyone else--make "metaphysical" claims. These claims can be implicit or explicit. They can be made ignorantly or knowingly. That "metaphysical" claims are part of the equation in our assertions about the world--well, this is hardly newsworthy in my opinion.

    Surprisingly, you seem almost to equate metaphysics with religion, as when you say "As you've accused, people who believe in creation ALSO make metaphysical and faith-based statements. Yes that is true. That's what being religious is all about. No one will deny this."

    Of course, religions typically involve more than metaphysical assertions about the world. They also involve prescriptions about it, about select human beings, and about the behaviors that humans should and should not perform. Perhaps you will say that the sciences involve their own sets of prescriptions, and maybe so, but my point now is to make sure we're clear on trying to separate metaphysics and religion.

    To me personally, metaphysical claims are nice but not primary. To me, the important thing is how we get from evidence to assertions about the evidence. My "side"-whatever you mean by that--is frankly better than yours at connecting the dots from evidence to assertion.

    My support for this assertion can be found abundantly. Look, for instance, at the scientific papers that get referenced and quoted on this blog. To me, there's always a clear difference between what the papers say (and how they say it) and what Cornelius Hunter says in his critiques (and how he says it) about the papers.

    So for me the "fight" isn't really against religious ideas per se, yours or anyone else's. The "fight" is really about the lack of empirical evidence, coherent method, and intellectual honesty in apologies for traditional religious claims.

    If you'd like to discuss further, please feel free to drop by my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  119. troy -

    Spot on, methinks. And well put.

    ReplyDelete
  120. Cornelius, in response to Scott: "Such evolutionary explanations are stuck with relativism. You may think euthanasia is wrong, but that is as far as it goes. It cannot rise above the level of opinion, and so carries no more weight than Bob Brown's opinion."

    OK, so let's suppose that evolutionary explanations have, one after the other, been proved false.

    You, Cornelius, have an explanation (I am not sure how you would name your explanation, but let's call it "non-evolutionary").

    Can you please explain how your non-evolutionary explanation for why euthanasia is wrong rises above the level of mere opinion?

    I ask because I don't see that a non-evolutionary explanation gets us out of the "problem" of relativism.

    ReplyDelete
  121. CH wrote:

    You are misreading the post. The dilemma is that evolutionary explanations for altruism, empathy and other virtues do not support the claim that euthanasia is wrong.

    Perhaps my first scenario was clear enough or you're having difficulty thinking outside your particular theological box.

    For the sake of argument, let's start out with the following assumption: God exists and has moral options on actions. He sparks the big bang and sits back to see what kind of life eventually appears without getting involved. Live evolves from single celled organisms and develops some form of minimal altruistic features. Eventually, this enables human beings to appear with self-awareness, introspection, the ability to build models of the mental states of other human beings, etc. Again, God doesn't get involved with the development of life, but has specific opinions on what that life ought and ought not do.

    Fast forward to today. We have Bob Brown's claims and we have a theist's claim on euthanasia. Again, for the sake of argument only, we'll assume that God's opinion forms the basis of moral truths.

    Bob might claim that euthanasia is wrong. If, in realty, God agrees, then Bob is right. And if God doesn't agree, then Bob is wrong.

    The theist, having a formed a foundation of altruistic tendencies in the same manner as Bob, might also claim that euthanasia is wrong. Again - If, in realty, God agrees, then theist is right. And if God doesn't' agree, then the theist is wrong.

    However, unless the theists actually knows God's position on the issue, he cannot actually rise above the level of opinion of whether God approves or disapproves of euthanasia. Again, that there might be some real right or wrong answer determined by God is not the same as assuming anyone actually has knowledge of it. Nor does it hinge on evolution being true or not.

    In fact, if God exists , he may take in to account a significant number of factors which must be weighted in determining if euthanasia is right or wrong in any particular situation, while the theist might merely make a blanket statement that it's always wrong.

    So, in the absence of such knowledge, I'm suggesting that this is indeed a false dilemma which is based on your particular beliefs about what God did or did not do in the past and what God does or not does not want.

    Furthermore, in the absence of God, we can still form an objective standards based on a number of moral peaks that maximize well being on a global scale - just as we can objectively say there are a number of foods that can maximize one's heath, and there are poisons which we can objectively say reduces one's heath.

    Sam Harris gives a brief presentation at the link I provided and elaborates in his new book, The Moral Landscape.

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  122. Larry Tanner said: “I ask because I don't see that a non-evolutionary explanation gets us out of the "problem" of relativism.”

    If you preclude the existence of God, there is no solution to the problem of relativism. But if naturalistic explanations fail at every turn, one by one, guess what…

    The problem can be solved in the assumption (a given) that the “laws” of right and wrong are written in our hearts by God. We just know them to be true, as is evidenced by the indignation and revulsion we experience when those “laws” are broken, and especially as they are broken against us (theft, lying, destruction of property, murder/manslaughter of loved ones, etc.). There is no doubt whatsoever that these reactions are the result of something within us. They are “written in our hearts”, either from blind, undirected evolutionary processes or from our creator, if we indeed have been created.

    If these “laws” are the product of evolution, then they do not represent absolute morality, but are merely illusions brought about by chemomechanical processes. But if they are planted there by God, then they are not relative at all, but exist as absolute moral laws that are ultimately enforceable and punishable (which is the way we all live our lives, by the way). Even the most devout relativist will eventually breathe out curses and fiery indignation towards people he has determined to have violated his own perception of absolute morality. Is it that such a person has only temporarily lost his reason?

    Sometimes it is hard to know what is right in a particular situation, depending on the factors involved (euthanasia fits into that category, IMO), and that is why traditional Christianity gives allowances for these kinds of situations (each according to the dictates of his own conscience). But other situations are very clear indeed. If you are an atheist (moral relativist), then you must be prepared to say that the violent rape and murder of little girls doesn’t really matter (however sad or angry it makes you), because morality is relative.

    ReplyDelete
  123. To clarify, I think euthanasia falls into the category of being “hard to determine” on a particular level, but I don’t think traditional Christianity allows for it.

    ReplyDelete
  124. Scott said: “we can still form an objective standards based on a number of moral peaks that maximize well being on a global scale”

    How would you define “maximization of well being”?

    ReplyDelete
  125. Mike,

    "But if naturalistic explanations fail at every turn, one by one, guess what…"

    Tell me what. Surely the answer is not (yet) God? If all natural explanations fail, then we have lots of work to do before we get to your particular god. Perhaps we will get to a whole host of gods.

    The problem is that the natural explanations don't fail at all. I never automatically rule God out, but why do you seem to automatically rule him in?

    ReplyDelete
  126. Ritchie:

    "Morality IS relative"

    How do you know that to be true?`

    ReplyDelete
  127. Cornelius Hunter said...

    Ritchie:

    "Morality IS relative"

    How do you know that to be true?`


    How do you know it is not?

    ReplyDelete
  128. Larry:

    ===
    Can you please explain how your non-evolutionary explanation for why euthanasia is wrong rises above the level of mere opinion?

    I ask because I don't see that a non-evolutionary explanation gets us out of the "problem" of relativism.
    ===

    Are you taking relativism to be true unless proven false?

    ReplyDelete
  129. "Are you taking relativism to be true unless proven false?"

    No, but I am asking a relatively straightforward question, and I'd like a straightforward answer. I know that my assumptions and your assumptions will be subject to question, but I'm still left wondering about the explanation you feel is the best (if not "perfect").

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  130. Scott:

    ====
    Perhaps my first scenario was clear enough or you're having difficulty thinking outside your particular theological box.

    [...]

    However, unless the theists actually knows God's position on the issue, he cannot actually rise above the level of opinion of whether God approves or disapproves of euthanasia. Again, that there might be some real right or wrong answer determined by God is not the same as assuming anyone actually has knowledge of it. Nor does it hinge on evolution being true or not.
    ====

    But I made no such claims. You are consistently knocking down strawmen.


    ====
    In fact, if God exists , he may take in to account a significant number of factors which must be weighted in determining if euthanasia is right or wrong in any particular situation, while the theist might merely make a blanket statement that it's always wrong.

    So, in the absence of such knowledge, I'm suggesting that this is indeed a false dilemma which is based on your particular beliefs about what God did or did not do in the past and what God does or not does not want.
    ====

    Nothing I have said hinges on any beliefs about god (mine or other's).


    ====
    Furthermore, in the absence of God, we can still form an objective standards
    ====

    Sure ...


    ====
    based on a number of moral peaks that maximize well being on a global scale - just as we can objectively say there are a number of foods that can maximize one's heath, and there are poisons which we can objectively say reduces one's heath.
    ====

    No, you are equivocating. Maximization of "well being" is not a moral peak. Maximization of well being is maximization of well being. Evolutionists use words like "moral" and "ethics" when they really mean an evolutionary outcome or subjective standard.

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  131. Larry:

    ===
    No, but I am asking a relatively straightforward question, and I'd like a straightforward answer.
    ===

    Another question: Do you *feel* certain things are right and other things are wrong? Say the KC fed building bombing. Wrong?

    ReplyDelete
  132. Cornelius Hunter said...

    Larry:

    ===
    Can you please explain how your non-evolutionary explanation for why euthanasia is wrong rises above the level of mere opinion?

    I ask because I don't see that a non-evolutionary explanation gets us out of the "problem" of relativism.
    ===

    Are you taking relativism to be true unless proven false?


    Are you taking absolutism to be true unless proven false?

    ReplyDelete
  133. Cornelius Hunter said...

    Larry:

    ===
    No, but I am asking a relatively straightforward question, and I'd like a straightforward answer.
    ===

    Another question: Do you *feel* certain things are right and other things are wrong? Say the KC fed building bombing. Wrong?


    Why the cheap appeal to emotionalism? How do you think Osama bin Laden would answer the question about the bombing? (It was Oklahoma City, not KC BTW)

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  134. Cornelius,

    "Another question: Do you *feel* certain things are right and other things are wrong? Say the KC fed building bombing. Wrong?"

    I'm sure I "feel" some things are right or wrong. I'm sure also that intellect enters in at some point. Finally, I'm sure that over time my feelings and thinking change.

    Is the way this works that you get to ask all the questions without answering even a straightforward one from me?

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  135. Larry:

    ===
    I'm sure I "feel" some things are right or wrong. I'm sure also that intellect enters in at some point. Finally, I'm sure that over time my feelings and thinking change.
    ===

    So sometimes the holocaust seems wrong, but later it might seem OK? That's difficult to believe. Euthanasia sure, the holocause no. We sense right and wrong in no uncertain terms. It is a clear message that is revealed in our praise and in our indignation and outrage. If you are in denial of this simple fact, then this will make no sense. But for those who can face facts, the next step is to ask what this means.

    There is the explanation that this is merely our opinion, held so strongly that we deceive ourselves into thinking there is more to it. Our own personal observations of right and wrong are not real. We could also consider that the tree we are looking at is not real. Who knows what is real and not real? These are legimate possibilities, if that's were you need to go.

    And there is the explanation that our own, undeniable personal observations of right and wrong are real.

    So there you have an anti realist and a realist explanation. Take your pick. With the former you must deny the obvious--what you know in your heart to be true. It is no different than denying the tree in front of you. With the latter you can acknowledge the observations that are so real to you.

    I don't have a problem either way, but people generally choose the anti realist explanation not because they are typically anti realistists, but because they want relativism. Most people are not typically anti realists.

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  136. Cornelius Hunter said...

    Larry:

    ===
    I'm sure I "feel" some things are right or wrong. I'm sure also that intellect enters in at some point. Finally, I'm sure that over time my feelings and thinking change.
    ===

    So sometimes the holocaust seems wrong, but later it might seem OK? That's difficult to believe.


    It depends entirely on who you ask.

    Euthanasia sure, the holocause no. We sense right and wrong in no uncertain terms.

    Your sense of "right and wrong" depends largely on your culture and upbringing. Plenty of people in Nazi Germany in the 30's were just as sure as you that they were right.

    It is a clear message that is revealed in our praise and in our indignation and outrage. If you are in denial of this simple fact, then this will make no sense. But for those who can face facts, the next step is to ask what this means.

    When will you admit that you're still just giving your opinion, no matter how much "indignation and outrage" you feign? It's quite clear that you still don't understand what the word 'fact' means.

    So there you have an anti realist and a realist explanation. Take your pick. With the former you must deny the obvious--what you know in your heart to be true. It is no different than denying the tree in front of you. With the latter you can acknowledge the observations that are so real to you.

    LOL! You define your opinion as "real" and you define the opposing opinion as "unreal", then claim victory based on that bit of hand waving. That approach would get you a failing grade even in a freshman logic course.

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  137. Larry Tanner:

    "The "fight" is really about the lack of empirical evidence, coherent method, and intellectual honesty in apologies for traditional religious claims."
    ====

    I can actually agree with this, but it goes BOTH WAYS Larry. I see ZERO difference here with most religious sides and atheistic sides on those very points you just referenced. It's one thing for an atheist to define atheism (And almost all of you do this) as nothing more than non belief in a god or gods. Now if that is truly all atheism is, then technically speaking, you are not actually blindly believing in something, you are quite simply disbelieving. And that would be the end of it except . . . ???????

    The problem comes when militant evangelical atheism (for which numerous blogs & forums are created by atheists) attempts to go public and compete with all other worldviews, insisting that they are the ONLY ones who are out there championing Scientific Impiricism. At that point when boldly stepping out in the public eye, then you set yourself up and should rightly answer all the same hard questions you demand from religious folks. Yet when Cornelius Hunter points this out where real empiricism is shunned in favour of some popular unproven mythical tale inserted into huge gaps where the actual law of "Scientific Method" failed to provide any viable facts and data, then your side gets offended for being targeted by evil mean spirited dishonest uneducated god delusional people.

    I'm already on record here for stating that most of the religious side freely admit to believing in things unprovable. No surprise because they don't hide this. But your side refuses to do this. When turning the tables on Atheists who believe in things not even close to being proven, then we get nothing more than philosophical excuse making and deflection through condescending intellect speak. Why don't you hold up P.Z. Meyers, Richard Dawkins, and other atheist holy men up to the same critical scrutiny you demand from the religious ???

    When those Geniuses come up with kooky absurd stories like a wolf jumping into water eventually evolving into the great blue whale, why doesn't anything in your rational logical brain trigger a sort of "fraud alert" warning signal ??? You'll do it against someone religious at the drop of a hat. Why would you not question an outrageous unprovable fable fabrication such as "Abiogenesis" ??? Most of these tales haven't even come close to being proven, yet they're blindly believed. You and I are both religious Larry and we make and believe in faith-based statements. You believe in CHANCE and I believe in a GOD. Both of our beliefs are unseen. Neither belief can be explained by your worldview version of materialism.

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  138. Mike wrote:

    How would you define “maximization of well being”?

    The TED talk I was referring to can be found here …

    http://bit.ly/amM3mV

    But for an even shorter answer…

    I'm referring to values that reduce suffering on a global scale and, instead, promote the flourishing of human societies.

    Furthermore, we can make objective statements about well being just as we can make objective statements about heath, despite both being subjects which are genuinely open to revision.

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  139. Scott, you say: “I'm referring to values that reduce suffering on a global scale and, instead, promote the flourishing of human societies.”

    I agree that reducing suffering on a global scale is a worthy goal (leaving alone for now what types of suffering there are to minimize). You will get no argument from me on that one. But my question would be, WHY is this so? Sam Harris appears to assume that reduced suffering is simply something to be attained, but why? Does he mean it as a moral absolute to do so, or would it just be more of an opinion? His entire presentation is based on the premise that reducing suffering is “good to do” for some reason. Scott, do think it merely his opinion that reducing suffering should be the ultimate goal? Is it your opinion as well, or is it more than that?

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  140. Thorton, you say: “Your sense of "right and wrong" depends largely on your culture and upbringing. Plenty of people in Nazi Germany in the 30's were just as sure as you that they were right.”

    Are you suggesting that it was “okay” for those Nazis to line up children against a wall and mow them down with machine guns simply because they were Jewish, because after all, “right and wrong” largely depends on what we are taught? Again I would ask you if you think certain cultures get it wrong. There is no question that different cultures come to different conclusions, but do some cultures get it wrong? And if you say “yes”, then you are claiming the existence of moral absolutes.

    - - - “LOL! You define your opinion as "real" and you define the opposing opinion as "unreal", then claim victory based on that bit of hand waving. That approach would get you a failing grade even in a freshman logic course.”

    Here’s the point: We have no way to prove to ourselves whether or not the tree is real or just an illusion. But we live our lives as if it is real, as evidenced by the fact that we look both ways before we cross the road. Likewise, the perception of “right and wrong” could be an illusion, but we live our lives as if it were real, as evidenced by our reactions to wrongs perpetrated against us. But when our perception of right and wrong are in opposition to our desires, we are proned to take the view that “right and wrong” is an illusion so that we may behave as we please without being bothered by our conscience. All we are asking for is some consistency from you naturalists out there.

    But back to the Nazis: Would you say that it is wrong to hate people because of their nationality? Would you also say that it is wrong for governing authorities who hate Jews (for whatever reason) to brainwash an entire population into thinking that all Jews are ape-like, greedy, selfish rotters and should be eradicated from the planet?

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  141. I said: "But if naturalistic explanations fail at every turn, one by one, guess what…"

    Larry said: “Tell me what. Surely the answer is not (yet) God? If all natural explanations fail, then we have lots of work to do before we get to your particular god. Perhaps we will get to a whole host of gods.”

    If we accept our perceptions of right and wrong as moral absolutes, we must at the very least abandon a naturalist interpretation of life. Seeking which God(s) is/are responsible for all of this is another matter entirely.


    - - - “The problem is that the natural explanations don't fail at all.”

    I would argue that they DO fail, at least as far as OOL is concerned, and I see them to fail most miserably.

    - - - “I never automatically rule God out, but why do you seem to automatically rule him in?”

    This has certainly not always been the case for me. I very nearly ruled God out entirely at one point in my life. But now I cannot imagine ANYTHING without him, and this based on the overwhelming evidence (contrary to popular opinion). I see no other way to interpret the world around us.

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  142. Larry, you say: “I'm sure I "feel" some things are right or wrong. I'm sure also that intellect enters in at some point. Finally, I'm sure that over time my feelings and thinking change.”

    Again, there is no doubt that feelings and thinking change over time, but why would you assume that this means that morality itself is variable instead of thinking that our PERSPECTIVE has changed? As we get older we (hopefully) get wiser, and the wiser we get, the more we realize that we were simply dead wrong about certain things. But as we change our minds, we are only affirming our conscious (or sub-conscious) belief in moral absolutes! That’s the whole reason we change our minds! We become convinced that we were wrong headed regarding this or that, so we switch, not because we want a different opinion, but because we believe it to be the CORRECT opinion to have.

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  143. Mike wrote:

    I agree that reducing suffering on a global scale is a worthy goal (leaving alone for now what types of suffering there are to minimize). You will get no argument from me on that one. But my question would be, WHY is this so?

    Mike,

    Why is a search truths rather than falsehoods a worthy goal? It would seem we assume that reduced ignorance is something to be attained. But why? I know of no axiom that serves as the foundation for such a goal, yet we strive for it regardless.

    However, as Harris notes, all value systems can be reduced to fact claims about state changes in conscious creatures.

    For example, if Christian God truly exists, why should this truth be of any value to you? Why do you care? Because the claim that the Christian God exists is a fact claim regarding what increases or decreases suffering.

    Furthermore, if you think the Christian God exists, you could trade short term pleasures here on earth for eternal suffering in the after life. You could keep the Christian God's existence to yourself, rather than tell others. However, Christianity claims doing either of these things will increase the suffering of yourself and others in the long term.

    So, I'd suggest that we are concerned with fact claims about state changes in conscious creatures because we are ourselves conscious creatures.

    Finally, just as we can objectively see benefits in practices such as meditation, we will discover improving the well-being of others improves our own well-being. And we will do so objectively - rather than making assumptions about reward or punishment in the afterlife, which is itself a fact claim with little evidence that supports it.

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