The Raving Theist

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Cleaning House

July 25, 2006 | 111 Comments

Atheism breathed a collective sign of relief recently when white supremacist, holocaust-denying Larry Darby announced that he was abandoning godlessness for Christianity. At least two atheist bloggers critical of my anti-choice/anti-abortion stance bid me a “good riddance” for what they interpreted as a similar conversion. The general idea was that Darby and I were stains on the respectably rational name of atheism, and would be more at home in the supposed intellectual madhouse of religion.

But atheism, it is often argued, does not by itself compel any particular moral conclusions. Nor does pure reason: as Hume observed, reason is at best the “slave of the passions” — it tells us how to get what we want, rather than dictating what we want or should want. There is nothing incompatible with being a reasonable atheist and seeking to maximize one’s pleasure by enslaving the population of the whole world. Or, on a smaller scale, with murdering an old lady for money you could put to better use. You only live once, after all.

So insisting on a connection between atheism and morality is itself irrational. By their own premises, those who would insist on the link are committing the sort of logical error that should disqualify them as proper representatives of rationally-derived disbelief. It’s “magical thinking” to suppose that the absence (or denial) of a belief in a particular being is going to compel a specific course of conduct.

To be sure, some part of the objection to my position (and Darby’s) was not based on its morality. Rather, one argument was that my underlying factual/empirical/scientific premises were so unsupported that my stance could only be explained by the embrace of some form of superstition. Even so, there still lingered the irrational notion of “disgracing” atheism, the concern that the belief system or its community would be given a bad name by the faulty reasoning of an individual writing about a topic not directly related to atheism or theology.

A chemist, biologist, rocket scientist or mathematician may hold any number or combination of moral, political and social views. Rarely, however, is it argued that his or her status as a scientist in a particular field of expertise is compromised by an allegedly irrational or superstitious belief on some unrelated issue. An expert in physics may subscribe to racist, sexist or eugenicist theories unsupported by any facts or logic, but the asserted departure from reality is generally not thought to deprive him or her of the title “physicist.” Certainly some argument could be made that the apparent impairment of reasoning ability must contaminate the science as well — for example, that the physicist’s expressed views on gravity are merely a cover for some more extravagant theory relating to supernatural attractive and repellent forces emanating from skin pigmentation. But such arguments are infrequently made, if at all.

In my own case, I suspect that the alleged “religious” aspect to my opposition to abortion — i.e., my perceived views on the “ensoulment” (or its equivalent) of the fetus — was largely irrelevant to the decision to declassify me as an atheist. Rather, it was my view (expressed in but a handful of my thirty or so posts on the topic) that the law should intervene to restrict the procedure at an earlier point than it currently does. Had I merely expressed a moral distaste for the practice as many people do (especially at the later stages of pregnancy) but declared that the decision should always be left to the woman, I doubt my rationality (or atheism) would have been called into question. The alleged lapse in reason thus related more to my view about the role of government than anything else.

Notably, atheists rarely declare that a religious person who advocates a pro-choice position has thereby converted to atheism. In other words, the rejection of fetus-ensoulment (or its equivalent) isn’t seen as conferring an overall degree of rationality inconsistent with theism. Nor, for that matter, have I noticed efforts to recruit believers with pro-choice views (or other views purportedly reflecting the rationality of atheism) into the godless camp to bolster atheism’s reputation, in a way that’s equivalent to the efforts to protect atheism’s reputation by disassociating from those with allegedly irrational or superstitious views.

Comments

111 Responses to “Cleaning House”

  1. "Q" the Enchanter
    July 25th, 2006 @ 4:05 pm

    “atheism…does not by itself compel any particular moral conclusions. Nor does pure reason….”

    This is fine, but reason and atheism are never “pure”–they are accompanied by affects, dispositions, emotions, real-world facts, etc. (“ADEF”). As such, theism and/or reason + ADEF and theism and/or irrationality + ADEF are two entirely different existential sums. That is, given that I have a disposition to do “good,” for example, the question of whether atheism or theism is true will impact my moral calculus, whereas if I had no such disposition, the question would be practically inert.

    In the case of the abortion question, numerical identity doesn’t have the same import within an atheistic metaphysic as it does within a theistic metaphysic. This is because while numerical identity is enjoyed by such things as acorns and oak trees, or chicken eggs and chicks, very few people are prone to say acorns just are oak trees or that chicken eggs just are chicks. (Stabbing a one day-old fertilized chicken egg with a fork is morally less objectionable than stabbing a newly-hatched chick. Discuss.) Thus, identity in and of itself isn’t the ontologically compelling fact; something else–some other ontological ingredient–is needed to establish that the orgnism has (or should have) a uniform moral status across different stages of its organic development. In theism it’s the soul. In atheism, it’s…what?

  2. "Q" the Enchanter
    July 25th, 2006 @ 4:05 pm

    “atheism…does not by itself compel any particular moral conclusions. Nor does pure reason….”

    This is fine, but reason and atheism are never “pure”–they are accompanied by affects, dispositions, emotions, real-world facts, etc. (“ADEF”). As such, theism and/or reason + ADEF and theism and/or irrationality + ADEF are two entirely different existential sums. That is, given that I have a disposition to do “good,” for example, the question of whether atheism or theism is true will impact my moral calculus, whereas if I had no such disposition, the question would be practically inert.

    In the case of the abortion question, numerical identity doesn’t have the same import within an atheistic metaphysic as it does within a theistic metaphysic. This is because while numerical identity is enjoyed by such things as acorns and oak trees, or chicken eggs and chicks, very few people are prone to say acorns just are oak trees or that chicken eggs just are chicks. (Stabbing a one day-old fertilized chicken egg with a fork is morally less objectionable than stabbing a newly-hatched chick. Discuss.) Thus, identity in and of itself isn’t the ontologically compelling fact; something else–some other ontological ingredient–is needed to establish that the orgnism has (or should have) a uniform moral status across different stages of its organic development. In theism it’s the soul. In atheism, it’s…what?

  3. "Q" the Enchanter
    July 25th, 2006 @ 4:05 pm

    “atheism…does not by itself compel any particular moral conclusions. Nor does pure reason….”

    This is fine, but reason and atheism are never “pure”–they are accompanied by affects, dispositions, emotions, real-world facts, etc. (“ADEF”). As such, theism and/or reason + ADEF and theism and/or irrationality + ADEF are two entirely different existential sums. That is, given that I have a disposition to do “good,” for example, the question of whether atheism or theism is true will impact my moral calculus, whereas if I had no such disposition, the question would be practically inert.

    In the case of the abortion question, numerical identity doesn’t have the same import within an atheistic metaphysic as it does within a theistic metaphysic. This is because while numerical identity is enjoyed by such things as acorns and oak trees, or chicken eggs and chicks, very few people are prone to say acorns just are oak trees or that chicken eggs just are chicks. (Stabbing a one day-old fertilized chicken egg with a fork is morally less objectionable than stabbing a newly-hatched chick. Discuss.) Thus, identity in and of itself isn’t the ontologically compelling fact; something else–some other ontological ingredient–is needed to establish that the orgnism has (or should have) a uniform moral status across different stages of its organic development. In theism it’s the soul. In atheism, it’s…what?

  4. Daniel Morgan
    July 25th, 2006 @ 4:07 pm

    *shrugs*

    So…you said in the beginning that you wouldn’t come out and be honest about whether or not you had converted, but you just keep on and keep on tip-toeing around it, don’t cha? It’s like you recognize the shallowness of your own ethic here: “I’ll make a promise I can’t make, but I won’t justify the morality of making that promise in the first place, since it obscures my position and keeps me from answering honest questions about what I think”

  5. sdanielmorgan
    July 25th, 2006 @ 4:08 pm

    *make a promise I can’t BREAK

  6. Viole
    July 25th, 2006 @ 4:30 pm

    RA… if you ever refer to me as ‘dearest’ again, I will be forced to harm you. Is that clear?

  7. benjamin
    July 25th, 2006 @ 4:49 pm

    Q said: “Stabbing a one day-old fertilized chicken egg with a fork is morally less objectionable than stabbing a newly-hatched chick. Discuss.”
    Motive. A person who stabs a newly-hatched chick with a fork probably enjoys inflicting pain, and this action is indicative of other moral shortcomings. Although people having abortions are not inflicting pain (at least not when performed early in development) they are ending a life. They aren’t doing it because they enjoy being cruel, so it might not be equally immoral to torturing a young child, but that doesn’t make it moral. Have you ever noticed that it’s illegal to kill people without just cause even if you do it in such a way that they feel no pain?

  8. Crosius
    July 25th, 2006 @ 4:52 pm

    “There is nothing incompatible with being a reasonable atheist and seeking to maximize one’s pleasure by enslaving the population of the whole world. Or, on a smaller scale, with murdering an old lady for money you could put to better use. You only live once, after all.”

    I think you have to have a very strange definition of “reasonable athiest” in mind to make this statement.

    The quoted section is not compatible with a reasonably well thought out athiest strategy for dealing with the world, unless you’re going to suggest that reasonable athiests are sadistic, sociopathic, and solipsistic.

    Inherent in the concept of “reasonable” social behaviour is the perception of some measure of equality of value between any two persons, including comparisons between yourself and another.

    To make the world better improves your own life, and the lives of everyone else. It is a moral goal and a moral act. It demands no faith, and needs no god.

    If, as you yourself have suggested in your essays on why you are anti-abortion, we athiests (reasonably) assign a high value to each moment of existence for all people, including the unborn we do consider people, it cannot be (reasonably) suggested that following that supposition is compatible with enslaving (reducing the quality of their finite lives) or killing (reducing the duration of their finite lives) others to improve the quality of life for one individual.

    Furthermore, such behaviour would attract violence against oneself, by vegeance or force of law, thereby reducing the quality and/or duration of one’s own existence.

    Athiesm does offer a yardstick to measure the “right-ness” of an act, and measuring “rightness” is the basis of morality. It may be a colder process than religion offers, to speak of calculating the overall reduction in quality and quantity of lifespan, but it enables the athiest mind to know the costs and benefits of any strategy, to both the self and others. The right path, for an athiest, is to maximize the benefits to the entire system (both self and others). I wager that choices made by following this process will be more justly moral that those made by religious fiat.

  9. Holopupenko
    July 25th, 2006 @ 5:20 pm

    RA:
         I’m impressed by the nuances you weave into your argument: you’re at least an order of magnitude above the usual denizens of you blog’s comments section. Your honesty deserves equal commendation. God’s speed to you!
         Apart from this (but without requesting you violate your “prime directive” of not speaking harshly of believer or atheist alike) I’d be very interested (as I’m sure others would be) as to your views on why most of the atheists commenting over the past few weeks feel so threatened by your posts. Do you believe there is a justified generalization that can be drawn from their behavior?

  10. Nokot
    July 25th, 2006 @ 5:26 pm

    “Had I merely expressed a moral distaste for the practice as many people do (especially at the later stages of pregnancy) but declared that the decision should always be left to the woman, I doubt my rationality (or atheism) would have been called into question.”

    Or, silly goose, had you merely answered the accusations raised many times that your position on abortion is contradictory. For example, you consider the discarding of a zygote to be the killing of a human life, ie murder, yet you propose no punishment for abortions. You think it is arbitrary to declare the moment of lifehood to be somewhere between conception and birth, yet claim that it is not arbitrary to say the moment of personhood begins somwhere between the production of gametes and the cleavage of the zygote, specificially the “instant” of fertilization.

    Anyway, I do call into question the rationality of your position on abortion, but I don’t question your rationality as a person overall. And, I never felt disgraced as an atheist because you are oppose abortion or because your arguments against abortion are (in my estimation) flawed. I think it would be silly to question your rationality as a person or to feel disgraced as an atheist on account of our disagreement on abortion. BTW, I think it’s misleading that you didn’t choose to qualify that only some atheists did act in the way you described.

    “Rarely, however, is it argued that [a chemist, biologist, rocket scientist or mathematician’s] status as a scientist in a particular field of expertise is compromised by an allegedly irrational or superstitious belief on some unrelated issue.”

    Well, duh, ad hominem attacks aren’t to carry any weight in the scientific community. That an atheist (pro-life or not) is attacked with ad hominem fallacies is nothing special–theists do it all the time. Conversely, atheists make ad hominem attacks against theists all the time. There is no reason to be surprised when atheists use them against ourselves.

  11. Andrew
    July 25th, 2006 @ 5:43 pm

    Your posts on abortion didn’t make you a bad atheist. They made you a boring blogger, which was frustrating because you’re clearly capable of being an interesting one.

  12. "Q" the Enchanter
    July 25th, 2006 @ 6:20 pm

    Ben, you’re touching on some interesting issues, but not the issue I intended to raise. Let me simplify. Scenario 1: A rock dislodges and crushes a day-old chicken egg. Scenario 2: A rock dislodges and crushes a newly-hatched chickling. (So there’s no human agency involved in either case.) My question: Are these two scenarios equally lamentable?

    But, look, here’s a more pointed hypothetical that makes the point (I imagine it’s been made here before): There is a hospital fire, and you have an opportunity to save either (1) the one living, post-parturition infant on the floor or (2) a container incubating one/ten/fifty/a hundred blastocysts. You can’t save both. Which would you choose to save?

  13. "Q" the Enchanter
    July 25th, 2006 @ 6:20 pm

    Ben, you’re touching on some interesting issues, but not the issue I intended to raise. Let me simplify. Scenario 1: A rock dislodges and crushes a day-old chicken egg. Scenario 2: A rock dislodges and crushes a newly-hatched chickling. (So there’s no human agency involved in either case.) My question: Are these two scenarios equally lamentable?

    But, look, here’s a more pointed hypothetical that makes the point (I imagine it’s been made here before): There is a hospital fire, and you have an opportunity to save either (1) the one living, post-parturition infant on the floor or (2) a container incubating one/ten/fifty/a hundred blastocysts. You can’t save both. Which would you choose to save?

  14. "Q" the Enchanter
    July 25th, 2006 @ 6:20 pm

    Ben, you’re touching on some interesting issues, but not the issue I intended to raise. Let me simplify. Scenario 1: A rock dislodges and crushes a day-old chicken egg. Scenario 2: A rock dislodges and crushes a newly-hatched chickling. (So there’s no human agency involved in either case.) My question: Are these two scenarios equally lamentable?

    But, look, here’s a more pointed hypothetical that makes the point (I imagine it’s been made here before): There is a hospital fire, and you have an opportunity to save either (1) the one living, post-parturition infant on the floor or (2) a container incubating one/ten/fifty/a hundred blastocysts. You can’t save both. Which would you choose to save?

  15. ocmpoma
    July 25th, 2006 @ 7:23 pm

    Here’s something I never thought I’d see – a post from RA discussing the simple, yet often overlooked / ignored / twisted to one’s advantage fact that atheism is not, never has been, and never will be a philosophy of life and therefore does not, does not pretend to, and indeed cannot address the issue of morality.

    I don’t think the scientist issue works, though RA – naturalism, perhaps, because that’s at least a worldview, but physics isn’t really in the same category as atheism and theism.
    I wonder if you’re leaning towards (or perhaps have embraced) moral relativism. Care to address that?

  16. Intergalactic Hussy
    July 25th, 2006 @ 7:46 pm

    My biggest argument concerns one’s who lump “immoral” and “godlessness” together. In fact, religion itself propels many immoralities, to use the term loosely. (Lies being pushed, horrible cruel things done in the name of Jesus, etc.)

    In fact, morality is common sense and conscience… being a good person, not intentionally hurting anyone. Does that have anything to do with worshipping unicorns…err…makebelieve folk-tale characters? NOT AT ALL!

    BTW, I have known many atheists who were pro-life. I rephrase that. PRO-CHOICE, but didn’t believe in abortions themselves (just don’t think its right to tell others what to do). In the Jewish religion, you don’t get a soul until you pass the cervix. So who has the right to say what has any “potential” of life…

  17. Viole
    July 25th, 2006 @ 8:05 pm

    Ocmpoma,

    No, the Raving Atheist would not care to violate his promise not to take a stand by discussing his opinion of moral relativism. He’d much prefer to prevaricate about how he does have an opinion, but can’t actually state it for reasons he’s not prepared to discuss.

  18. Andrea
    July 25th, 2006 @ 8:19 pm

    I’d be very interested (as I’m sure others would be) as to your views on why most of the atheists commenting over the past few weeks feel so threatened by your posts. Do you believe there is a justified generalization that can be drawn from their behavior?

    Holopupenko,

    TRA is (was?) not one of those atheist bloggers who focused on the abstract aspects of atheism. RA often criticized specific people and events so he attracted an similarly judgmental audience, though TRA didn’t resort to profanity and stupid insults to make a point. I doubt these commenters confine their nasty sides to picking on anonymous atheist bloggers who stop making fun of people. My guess is that these commenters react in a similar fashion to a lot of things.

  19. Lily
    July 25th, 2006 @ 9:08 pm

    “Q” your question does not really make the point that you want it to.

    There is a hospital fire, and you have an opportunity to save either (1) the one living, post-parturition infant on the floor or (2) a container incubating one/ten/fifty/a hundred blastocysts. You can’t save both. Which would you choose to save?

    As every paramedic, nurse, doctor, etc. trained in triage knows, you give first preference in care to those who have the best chance of surviving. I don’t know from first-hand experience but have heard and believe that walking past those who are still alive but not likely to survive is the hardest thing they have to learn to do.

    So in your scenario, it is obvious that the baby on the floor gets saved first.

    Beyond that, I think you are making the assumption that we pro-life types don’t recognize differences in developmental stages. We do, of course. We just don’t believe that the smallness or weakness of a human life justifies our terminating it for any reason or none.

    There are no words that can adequately express my admiration for TRA for sticking his neck out on this issue. How easy would it have been for him to avoid it entirely on his blog? How much scorn and vituperation would it have spared him? It takes guts to talk the talk and walk the walk. This our host has done.

    It really amuses me to see atheists struggling to claim that they can arrive at morality purely via the exercise of reason. So Intergalactic Hussy (cute name, by the way) writes:

    In fact, morality is common sense and conscience… being a good person, not intentionally hurting anyone

    What, pray, informs conscience? How do you know that not hurting anyone intentionally is a good thing? etc.

  20. Tenspace
    July 25th, 2006 @ 9:16 pm

    If anything, this is great entertainment, and I’m sure the webstats are climbing.

    Lily, you up for a discussion of morals and evolution in the forums? ;)

  21. trebor
    July 25th, 2006 @ 9:18 pm

    As an athiest and a moral person I can’t understand why it is so important. I personally wouldn’t want to have someone in my family have an abortion but I wouldn’t object if they did. It really boils down to a personal choice. I would choose not to but it wouldn’t be necessary for anyone else to chose the same way. It’s just my opinion and no one else needs to comply or reject. Who are we to coerce/force anyone else what to do?

  22. Lily
    July 25th, 2006 @ 9:38 pm

    Tenspace: Is this a trick question?? :-)

  23. Tenspace
    July 25th, 2006 @ 10:04 pm

    Lily, only if you want it to be. ;)

    C’mon, I know you read some popular science. I’d love to delve into morality in the modern light of evolution with you, you ol’ absolutist. :)

  24. maledictus
    July 25th, 2006 @ 10:52 pm

    Is up to RA his position about abortion. As far as I can recall nobody here ever put in doubt his atheism because he was pro-life. Only that we were fed up with his excedingly frequent anti-abortion tirades given the fact that all arguments has been discussed exhaustively and it was clear that positions were final. Things became weird when he proposed an atheist woman an exploratory raid to a CPC center with someting very akin to bribery (20 dollars hour or something like that). Then came his astounding announcement of his entente cordiale with christians. More astounding was his denial to explain why, and the most astounding was he will not explain why not.

    Beloved Christians, please, RA is not our victim. On the contrary. Imagine that some day you go to your favorite christian blog and the blogger announces you that onwards he doesn’t deffend any longer your cute Christ and won’t touch with the petal of a rose the other false religions (all but yours are false) and even the atheists. I suppose etiquette entitles you to an explanation, isn’t it?. And if the explanation doesn’t appear your imagination will begin to wander and wonder: it’s the case that the blogger converted to Ganesh or worse, to Allah, or the worst to atheism? Some of you will deny this because you know your blogger is a saint, but this doesn’t solve anything. So don’t criticize us, It is the owner who changed the rules in this saloon, and we the people, sorry, the patrons, want to know how much is the new price of the beer and about the new kind of beer. No more than that. Of course we can go to other saloon where the kind and price is in the blackboard and, yes, we have been scouting for that. So what I’m doing here? well it happens that this saloon is in the way to the new ones.

  25. June
    July 26th, 2006 @ 12:32 am

    “What, pray, informs conscience? How do you know that not hurting anyone intentionally is a good thing? etc.”

    Do you really have to ask, Lily? A few days ago, you were spouting the Golden Rule. Have you forgotten it already?

    You are a Christian, and you really don’t know why not hurting someone is a good thing?

  26. bernarda
    July 26th, 2006 @ 2:38 am

    As one of the blogs RA linked suggested, RA seems to have problems with his male sexual identity.

    Why he is a mysognist male chauvinist would take some study.

    Lily as usual doesn’t understand much about anything.

    “It really amuses me to see atheists struggling to claim that they can arrive at morality purely via the exercise of reason.”

    What makes her think that atheists think that there is such a thing as “morality”? By making such a statement she presumes an answer. One cannot arrive at “morality” by reason any more than one can by faith.

    In all life forms and in evolutionary development there is no such thing as “morality”. It is hardly useful to scientific research and rational analysis to refer to such a myth.

    I refer you to Stephen J. Gould.

  27. Holopupenko
    July 26th, 2006 @ 5:31 am

    Ah, yes, Bernarda:
         Gould—a “real” man’s expert on morality… by begging the question of what morality is (or isn’t in your words), and answering it by equivocating it to evolutionary material processes. And you so threatened by RA that you desperately need to descend to ad hominem about his sexuality—something not even remotely brought up or even implied. Talk about “scientific” which you so pompously flaunt in others’ faces! Are you sure it’s not you who needs help in this area? Maybe Choobs could help satisfy you with his depraved sexual fantasies.
         In any event, you’re approach is a cold, calculating one with no room for the human side of reality—one that cannot be so easily captured by “scientific equations.” In a world based on calculations, it is the calculation of consequences that determines what should be considered moral and immoral. In this way, the category of good vanishes, as Kant clearly showed… and as RA alluded to this post. In such a disordered view of reality, nothing is good or evil in itself (except, of course, for hypocrisy of atheists who hold as unquestionable dogma that people of faith are the worst evil imaginable); everything depends on the consequences that may be thought to ensue upon an action. Your questioned turned back upon yourself is just as valid: what makes you think there is no such thing as morality? If there isn’t, why all the shrill, emotional, moral condemnations of others’ views?
         Why not consider for a split second whether Dostoevsky was on to something: if there is no God, or authentic belief in God, there are no real consequences for the destruction and exploitation of human life. (RA caught atheists with their collective pants down on this point… and there was not much to look at.) Why not? Because you won’t: it’s an issue of disordered will, not necessarily flawed reasoning, for you. Your magisterial authority on these issues is untouchable, unquestionable. The ultimate goal is longer, better lives for the rich, the famous, and the elite. Abortion, euthanasia, EMBRYONIC stem-cell research. Aren’t these examples of pure, selfish power trips? Everyone who supported slavery was free. Everyone who supports abortion was born. That’s how oppression works. Self-centered power for longer, better, pain-free life trumps everything; nothing else matters, because they are all that matter. Just listen to most of those who comment on this blog (especially the power-hunger, oh-so-threatened ones who can’t make a point without foul language and ad hominem):”Enlightenment marches on” is the unquestionable mantra.
         Memo to Choobs: Please send me your banking details. I’d like to wire you a penny for every person I’ve invited to comments section of this blog to witness what atheism is all about. Bill Gates will soon be asking you for a loan…

  28. Tenspace
    July 26th, 2006 @ 6:31 am

    Holo/Hagi said, you desperately need to descend to ad hominem about his sexuality

    And then he said, Maybe Choobs could help satisfy you with his depraved sexual fantasies.

    :)

  29. Lily
    July 26th, 2006 @ 6:35 am

    I needed to respond to Bernarda but Holopupenko beat me to it. And did it more throroughly and elegantly than I could have ever managed!

    One thing I do need to point out to Bernarda, however, is that just in these responses to RA’s post at least 2 atheists have explicitly claimed that there is such a thing as morality. In the many months since I have been reading and posting here I have been told not once, twice or ten times but many, many times that atheist morality is superior to the morality religion teaches. (Yeah, I know. That is really off the wall).

    So, duke it out with them, Bernarda. It would be an interesting debate to witness.

  30. SteveG
    July 26th, 2006 @ 7:47 am

    What makes her think that atheists think that there is such a thing as “morality”? By making such a statement she presumes an answer. One cannot arrive at “morality” by reason any more than one can by faith.

    Bernarda:
    Just to reiterate what Lily said here. What makes her (and I) think such is that we are regularly, and forcefully told (ad nauseam) that not only are atheists as moral as theists, but in reality are morally superior. So as she said, you’ll have to take that up with your fellow atheists.

  31. reconciled
    July 26th, 2006 @ 8:55 am

    Honestly speaking with no anger in my heart (at this point). How do you get good “morality” from the bible as a whole? The New Testament seem neutral in its anger toward the whole population of the world, but the Old Testament, that is another story.

    Does anyone here today believe it is ok to kill (purposely) children in war? Because they did in the old testament. Would you stone your child to death? Because they did in the old testament? Would you send a bear to maul children who called you baldy? Because they did in the old testament? Was Noah really good enough to start the world over again? Because God thought He was and look at the world today.

  32. Viole
    July 26th, 2006 @ 9:06 am

    Hm… I guess I’m in the mood for a good fisking, and you’re up Holo.

    [i]Gould—a “real” man’s expert on morality… by begging the question of what morality is (or isn’t in your words), and answering it by equivocating it to evolutionary material processes.[/i]

    Ah, Christians. Always insisting that evolution can’t account for anything other than why atheists are so damn stupid. Sorry, but simplistic moral systems have already been observed in many varieties of primates. You know; things like not slaughtering each other en masse(oops, I guess that makes them morally superior to us), exhibiting strong tendencies to help weaker members, etc. The simple, obvious explanation is that some kind of social system that includes what we would call altruism increases the chances of survival for the entire group.

    [i]And you so threatened by RA that you desperately need to descend to ad hominem about his sexuality—something not even remotely brought up or even implied. Talk about “scientific” which you so pompously flaunt in others’ faces! Are you sure it’s not you who needs help in this area? Maybe Choobs could help satisfy you with his depraved sexual fantasies.[/i]

    Bernarda’s comments sounded more amused than desperate, to me. Though, having a little more experience with RA than your average commenter, I’m inclined to suggest this is a long-term consequence of multiple social dynamics. That is to say, attacks by atheists(myself included) on the falling logical standards on this blog over the last year, and RA’s increasingly close relationship with anti-choice theists.

    Since he himself refuses to say anything in his defense, we’re left to our own devices. The majority of our explanations aren’t attacking RA at all–if you want to see an attack, go re-read Choobus’ Twelve Step Program.

    [i]In any event, you’re approach is a cold, calculating one with no room for the human side of reality—one that cannot be so easily captured by “scientific equations.” In a world based on calculations, it is the calculation of consequences that determines what should be considered moral and immoral. In this way, the category of good vanishes, as Kant clearly showed… and as RA alluded to this post.[/i]

    Cold… calculating… hmm. Y’know, sometimes I get the impression that you’re lost in a lonely universe, desperately looking for direction. On the whole, it’s a pretty lonely place for us fragile little humans. However, that doesn’t make it any less real. Of course, the most fundamentalist religious person calculates morality by consequences, simply because we have no other way to do so. He has the additional option of ‘god says’ but in reality that biblical list is extremely short, and there are an awful lot of shades of gray. He who does not see them is blind, and at least as culpable for the meaninglessness of such subjective concepts as good and evil.

    [i]In such a disordered view of reality, nothing is good or evil in itself (except, of course, for hypocrisy of atheists who hold as unquestionable dogma that people of faith are the worst evil imaginable); everything depends on the consequences that may be thought to ensue upon an action. Your questioned turned back upon yourself is just as valid: what makes you think there is no such thing as morality? If there isn’t, why all the shrill, emotional, moral condemnations of others’ views?[/i]

    You know, slaughtering villages of strawpeople should be a crime. Especially considering that after burning all the men, you’re probably planning to go back and rape the women and enslave children(very biblical, that). Uh, hey! The atheists are over here–those are innocent people you’re killing.

    Excuse me for the digression.

    What about the hypocrisy of theists, who claim the authority of god while raping alter boys, or advocating the murder of liberals. I could go on for ages, but I’ve pretty much come to accept that hypocrisy is a fundamental human characteristic. Seeing theists as evil isn’t in itself hypocritical, unless you’re suggested that atheists are the worst evil imaginable–in which case, you need to take a look around you.

    [i]Why not consider for a split second whether Dostoevsky was on to something: if there is no God, or authentic belief in God, there are no real consequences for the destruction and exploitation of human life. (RA caught atheists with their collective pants down on this point… and there was not much to look at.) [/i]

    There aren’t, except the consequences we make ourselves. Stop pretending like this is news, hm? Oh, and hey, another ad hom. Weren’t you just condemning them?

    [i]Why not? Because you won’t: it’s an issue of disordered will, not necessarily flawed reasoning, for you. Your magisterial authority on these issues is untouchable, unquestionable.[/i]

    What authority? And whatever it is, how is it more untouchable or unquestionable than your god?

    [i]The ultimate goal is longer, better lives for the rich, the famous, and the elite. Abortion, euthanasia, EMBRYONIC stem-cell research.[/i]

    What world are you living in? Abortion has been practiced for nearly as long as humanity existed. Stop pretending it’s something new. And please enlightening as to how it benefits the elite? Euthanasia is even less on your side. Euthanasia does not make for a long life for anyone, though it might make life better for those who no longer have to witness a relative suffer and die over an extended length of time… praise Yahweh the Merciful.

    Ah, and stem cell research. This one, indeed, is about improving life, though I at least hope for everyone, not just the rich and powerful. This entire point of yours, however, seems to be about proving that atheists don’t care about anyone but themselves. Stop being such an ass.

    [i]Aren’t these examples of pure, selfish power trips? Everyone who supported slavery was free. Everyone who supports abortion was born. That’s how oppression works. Self-centered power for longer, better, pain-free life trumps everything; nothing else matters, because they are all that matter.[/i]

    Now accuse us of eating deep-fried fetuses. They’re real tasty in a good wine sauce. You sure you don’t bugger alter boys for entertainment?

    Yes, yes, I know! Ad Hominem! Of course, saying that atheists are power-hungry embryo-slavers is just telling truth.

    [i]Just listen to most of those who comment on this blog (especially the power-hunger, oh-so-threatened ones who can’t make a point without foul language and ad hominem):”Enlightenment marches on” is the unquestionable mantra.[/i]

    Just listen to Fred Phelps. Mine eyes hath seen the Glory of the coming of the Lord/ He is stamping out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored/ He wields the vengeful lightening of his terrible swift sword/ His Truth is marching on. If you’re looking for hateful, ignorant bigots, young one, you need look no further than your own religion.

    [i]Memo to Choobs: Please send me your banking details. I’d like to wire you a penny for every person I’ve invited to comments section of this blog to witness what atheism is all about. Bill Gates will soon be asking you for a loan…[/i]

    Penny? Make it ten dollars, you cheap bum, and he might have a reason to agree.

  33. Viole
    July 26th, 2006 @ 9:08 am

    Oh, yes. HTML tags, not psuedo-HTML. This is why one should always press preview when writing complex posts.

  34. Holopupenko
    July 26th, 2006 @ 9:11 am

    Reconciled:
         To progress from this point, the term “morality” must be understood as to its meaning… otherwise we’ll be talking past each other.
         Your questions, while honest and perfectly valid, beg other questions.
         Consider the following in light of your questions: If evil and suffering (allegedly) disprove the existence of God, then there is no greater proof against the existence of God than the Passion of Christ. Wasn’t the greatest evil ever perpetrated deicide… by the hands of His own creatures? I also recommend this post.
         None of this is to put down your questions—they ARE vaild questions that MUST be addressed. But you won’t get cut-and-dry sound bytes…

  35. "Q" the Enchanter
    July 26th, 2006 @ 9:24 am

    “first preference in care to those who have the best chance of surviving”

    Lily, this is only relevant if you are prepared to say that were the chances of “survival” equiprobable you would just as soon save a single blastocyst as you would a newborn babe. Are you prepared to say that?

  36. "Q" the Enchanter
    July 26th, 2006 @ 9:24 am

    “first preference in care to those who have the best chance of surviving”

    Lily, this is only relevant if you are prepared to say that were the chances of “survival” equiprobable you would just as soon save a single blastocyst as you would a newborn babe. Are you prepared to say that?

  37. "Q" the Enchanter
    July 26th, 2006 @ 9:24 am

    “first preference in care to those who have the best chance of surviving”

    Lily, this is only relevant if you are prepared to say that were the chances of “survival” equiprobable you would just as soon save a single blastocyst as you would a newborn babe. Are you prepared to say that?

  38. Lily
    July 26th, 2006 @ 9:35 am

    Well, it is a highly speculative game we are playing since I don’t think it would ever be equally probable, but, as I said in my post, we recognize developmental differences. If, in fact, absolutely, positively only one could be saved, I would save the fully developed infant.

  39. reconciled
    July 26th, 2006 @ 9:54 am

    The question of why Christ HAD to suffer on the cross doesn’t at all add to me.

    If God had not created Adam–no suffering.

    If God had not created the “Snake”–no suffering.

    If God had not created the tree of good and evil–no suffering.

    If God has let Adam and all future peoples eat of the tree of life–no suffering.

    If God had of killed of Noah and his family along with everything else–no more suffering.

    God had lots of chances, but he still allowed the suffering?

  40. ocmpoma
    July 26th, 2006 @ 9:58 am

    Viole – I know, I know….

    “…if there is no God, or authentic belief in God, there are no real consequences for the destruction and exploitation of human life.”
    This one was funny. You see, with a belief in some sort of god, the only ‘real’ consequences are, in fact, extant only in the head of the believer. The only consequences that I face for my actions are the real ones which occur here, in the real world.

    As for the attempts of the theists posting here, you see, atheism (as was the whole point of RA’s post) is not a philosophy and says nothing about morality. Your comments on the fact that atheists don’t seem to agree about morality do nothing more than highlight the simple fact that RA pointed out, and your own willfull inability to accept it. You theists are all nuts – I mean, a giant tree linking Midgard and Asgard? That’s crazy.

  41. June
    July 26th, 2006 @ 10:02 am

    In his blog, Holopupenko writes

      If evil and suffering (allegedly) disprove the existence of God, then there is no greater proof against the existence of God than the Passion of Christ. And yet, wasn’t this greatest evil in history – deicide – used for the greatest good – our salvation?

    Holopupenko, you have now proved that God both DOES and does NOT exist in a single paragraph. This is a form of syllogism I am not familiar with.

    But I see from your blog that you live in Kiev, Ukraine. Have you ever considered the effects of 25 years of Chernobyl radiation on the human brain?

  42. SteveG
    July 26th, 2006 @ 10:28 am

    Your comments on the fact that atheists don’t seem to agree about morality do nothing more than highlight the simple fact that RA pointed out, and your own willfull inability to accept it.

    You seem to think we don’t get it, but we do. The point was to answer bernarda as to why WE think that atheists think that there is such a thing as “morality”. The simple answer is because so many tell us of their suprerior morality derived from atheism.

    That is not what all atheists say, and if they stuck to bernarda’s assertion..

    “One cannot arrive at “morality” by reason any more than one can by faith.”

    ….all would be well in that regard. But you know as well as I do, that atheists make the mistake of violating this as regularly as we do.

    That’s what I think both Lily and I were pointing out.

  43. noah nywno
    July 26th, 2006 @ 10:30 am

    I’m going to try to explain some things about “atheist” morality (if it’s fair to call it that). This is just MY opinion and is not meant to speak for other atheists.

    1) Atheists can walk and chew gum at the same time. Much ado is being made over the perceived inconsistency between how atheists view the existence of morality vs. how they apply morality in their lives. This inconsistency is non-existent because they deal with different (although overlapping) concepts. One deals with what we believe about the basic nature of the universe and the other deals with how we live and get by in that universe. The first helps inform (to varying degrees) the second, but they are still separate issues. I don’t believe in any “source” of morality outside of human nature and experience, but I am still human. I still wake up everyday and live in a world where having a moral code is conducive to my survival and happiness. I have family, friends, live in a community, work, school etc. Whether or not I believe my moral code is grounded in upbringing, evolution, or from on high is inconsequential to those facts. Granted, believing that there is no objective source of morality has its drawbacks. It means we have to think longer and harder about what moral propositions we get behind, and we are not guaranteed a firm ground for our moral beliefs. But so what? Who said life had to be easy?

    2) What informs our conscience? No one thing, but several. Upbringing, culture, nature (evolution?), just dumb personal preference and probably a plethora of other things. In my opinion, each of those things taken on their own is a much better explanation than appealing to a supernatural force. Taken together, supernatural forces become superfluous. It certainly accounts for some of our differences better.

    3) Is there such a thing as atheist ethics/morality? No. And it wouldn’t matter even if every atheist in the world believed the same exact things concerning morality. Atheism CAN”T have common ethics because atheism DOES NOT DEAL WITH ETHICS. It deals with existence. PERIOD. However, that doesn’t mean people who ARE atheists can’t have common ethics. They do, and they vary. So, can RA believe in the right to life for fetuses AND still be an atheist? Absolutely. I would argue that he is not required even to defend his position. Unless, of course, he wants to convince others of it. Does that mean Larry Darby can deny the holocaust and still be an atheist? Absolutely, because, again, it has nothing to do with whether or not there is a God. So why do some atheists feel the need to push Darby and RA out of the atheist community? Simply put, politics. Atheism is nothing more than concept, but ATHEISTS are a community and like any community trying to make it in a political world, image is everything. We know that people like Darby will be used to malign all atheists just like Stalin and Mao are used to malign us. Is it any wonder we don’t want this guy representing us? Ra’s case is a little more difficult. Personally, I think he’s been treated unfairly concerning the abortion issue. People have a right to disagree with him emphatically. His stance on abortion is a threat to the freedom of women in the minds of those who are pro-choice. But I don’t think that means he should be ostracized from the larger atheist community. Then again, I don’t think the majority of atheists on this site were calling for that.
    4) Are atheists more moral/rational than theists? No, but with a sprinkling of Yes. The individual beliefs that a theist has are not necessarily more or less moral/rational to atheists. In, fact many cases, they are the same. Whether or not a theist’s belief is moral is subjective, as it is for atheists. As to RATIONAL, well…IRRATIONAL may be too hard a word. I believe the theistic take on morality is unreasonable because it relies on superfluous assumptions. We all make assumptions about reality. In order to even begin building a framework for knowledge, we have to. We have to assume that we are perceiving things the way they are. We have to assume our experts aren’t lying to us. We have to assume that the simplest explanations are the best and most likely true. At our best, we should only make those assumptions that are absolutely necessary to build a framework for gaining knowledge. Without that, there is no knowledge. Assuming a creator goes far beyond that. It also taints the knowledge we gain. Any new evidence is filtered through God belief unnecessarily. Now, I’m not saying we should filter knowledge through the hard belief that there is no God, just that we shouldn’t bring the concept of Gods into it until absolutely necessary. I don’t think we’re there yet.
    5) Are atheists hypocrites? No. People are.

  44. June
    July 26th, 2006 @ 10:57 am

    When you get too much change back from a cashier, do you hand back the surplus?

    If so, you have morals; if not, you are a thief. It doesn’t matter what you believe; how you live is what matters.

    And please don’t tell me believers hand it back ONLY because God commands it. I am discouraged enough as it is.

  45. SteveG
    July 26th, 2006 @ 11:30 am

    I believe the theistic take on morality is unreasonable because it relies on superfluous assumptions.

    You mean assumptions like this?

    We have to assume that the simplest explanations are the best and most likely true.

    On what is that assumption based? Does this mean something like Quantum Physics is out? ;-)

    At our best, we should only make those assumptions that are absolutely necessary to build a framework for gaining knowledge.

    Which ones are those? Who decides?

    Any new evidence is filtered through God belief unnecessarily.

    So instead we should trade this filter for the materialist filter? Why?

  46. noah nywno
    July 26th, 2006 @ 11:53 am

    Good points Steve.

    1) I’m not saying the assumptions we make are always the correct ones or even EVER the correct ones. They are just what we start with to build a framework for knowledge. They are not absolute and they can change. We just need good reasons to do so.

    2) Who decides, indeed? A tough question. My opinion? Those studying the feilds of knowledge in question. It make sense that different fields of knowledge whould require different starting assumptions. For us lay people, the only assumption we can make is that we aren’t being lied to when we put our trust in those gaining and relaying knowledge. Without that assumption, we are crippled. After that, we can only do our best to work through the evidence and try our best to come to conclusions we can live with. I’m not saying we will all come to the same conclusions.

    3) I’m not telling anyone what to do, just what I believe. I have traded God belief for a materialist filter because I don’t think there is any reason to bring the concept of God into my understanding of the universe. Bringing it in, in my opinion, complicates the quest for knowledge needlessly. Don’t get me wrong, I realize that by the time I do need to bring it in it may be too late, if you catch my drift. ;) But that’s a risk I’m willing to take, at this point.

  47. June
    July 26th, 2006 @ 11:54 am

    Between two assumptions, the simpler one is preferred.
    Quantum Physics is not an assumption.
    God is.

  48. Drusilla
    July 26th, 2006 @ 11:54 am

    #28: “Of course, the most fundamentalist religious person calculates morality by consequences, simply because we have no other way to do so.”

    Well, speaking for many Christians, we do have another way: Love. We can be moral not because the consequences of doing so will more likely lead to a favourble outcome (we don’t try to get away from the Cross) but because we love or at least are trying to love as Christ loves us. We fail and get it wrong and there is certainly an excess of those who name themselves Christian and then reveal themselves to be demonic. Still, there are those who seek to be moral because of love, who come to morality by experiencing God’s love.

  49. Drusilla
    July 26th, 2006 @ 11:57 am

    # 33: “God had lots of chances, but he still allowed the suffering?”

    Yes.

    Perhaps suffering has a meaning, purpose, value that is not readily apparent.

  50. SteveG
    July 26th, 2006 @ 12:00 pm

    June,
    Noah said…
    We have to assume that the simplest explanations are the best and most likely true.

    The assumption I am questioning is not Quantum Phsyics. I am questioning why the assumption that ‘the simplest EXPLANATIONS are best and most likely’. I tried to be cute and use QP as an example where a complex, almost incomprehensible explanation thus far seems best.

  51. SteveG
    July 26th, 2006 @ 12:10 pm

    2) A tough question. My opinion? Those studying the feilds of knowledge in question. It make sense that different fields of knowledge whould require different starting assumptions. For us lay people, the only assumption we can make is that we aren’t being lied to when we put our trust in those gaining and relaying knowledge.

    Yikes! This sounds like so much scientific Gnosticism to me. You even use the term ‘lay’ people. So we must trust in the high priests (experts) of materialism and be content that they are not lying? Why? Because they show us wonders that are marvelous to behold? Just believe in them because of the might ‘works’ they perform? Now where have I heard that before? ;-)

  52. benjamin
    July 26th, 2006 @ 12:12 pm

    Q said:
    “this is only relevant if you are prepared to say that were the chances of “survival” equiprobable you would just as soon save a single blastocyst as you would a newborn babe. Are you prepared to say that?”
    Given that the unborn and the born have the same chance of survival and that I have no more history with one than the other (both stangers to me), the second consideration I would have is which one would suffer more. The third consideration would be which one I cared for more, or felt more empathy for. It might be reasoned that it is more moral to save 10 strangers than my fiancee, but since I’m not attached to them and I’m greatly attached to her, I’d saver her. So even if I’m more empathetic toward the newborn (maybe I see more of myself in it), that doesn’t make my choice to save it the more moral choice, it just means that morals don’t dictate my actions 100%. I would say that given equal chance for survival, saving either one is morally equivalent to saving the other, even though I can’t promise this morality would dictate my actions.

  53. noah nywno
    July 26th, 2006 @ 12:33 pm

    Steve,

    Yes, I believe that for the simple reason that I am not a quantum physisist. I am not a biologist. I am a machinist and a mechanical engineering student. I am a family man with real life responsibilities. As much as I would like to, I will never have the oppurtunity to comb through mountains and mountains of evidence, ranging from a near infinite feilds of knowledge, in order to determine whether or not scientists and philosophers are pulling my leg. All I can do is take any evidence I come across and try to make sense of it. In that, I have to assume it hasn’t been fabricated. Again, I think to do otherwise cripples the quest for knowledge. Can we call this “faith”? I guess so. But it’s faith in something tangible, something that can be cross referenced with other evidence. Makes alot more sense to me than the alternative.

  54. SteveG
    July 26th, 2006 @ 12:45 pm

    am not a biologist. I am a machinist and a mechanical engineering student. I am a family man with real life responsibilities. As much as I would like to, I will never have the oppurtunity to comb through mountains and mountains of evidence, ranging from a near infinite feilds of knowledge, in order to determine whether or not scientists and philosophers are pulling my leg. All I can do is take any evidence I come across and try to make sense of it.

    I am with you in every regard. I think that this is what most folks do (whether through rigorous intellectual excercise, or through mere intuition), and I think it’s a totally reasonable position. I have come to a different conclusion as to what makes sense, but I respect where you are coming from.

  55. noah nywno
    July 26th, 2006 @ 12:55 pm

    Thank you,

    I’ve read quite a few of your posts on this site and spoken to you a few times and I honestly believe you have come to your beliefs through rational means (at least, as rationaly as I have come to mine.)

    All we can do is the best we can, eh?

    Nice to speak with you again Steve, stay well.

  56. Viole
    July 26th, 2006 @ 1:13 pm

    Well, speaking for many Christians, we do have another way: Love. We can be moral not because the consequences of doing so will more likely lead to a favourble outcome (we don’t try to get away from the Cross) but because we love or at least are trying to love as Christ loves us. We fail and get it wrong and there is certainly an excess of those who name themselves Christian and then reveal themselves to be demonic. Still, there are those who seek to be moral because of love, who come to morality by experiencing God’s love.

    Neat, Drusilla, you’ve managed to write an entire paragraph without saying anything. Not rare, I know, but rather beyond my talents. I consider that unfortunate, as it would have been terribly handy in writing papers for school.

    Anyway, you’ve not offered ‘another way.’ The only way you have to judge an action is by its consequences. Love is a reason for altruism, not a method of distinguishing right from wrong. More importantly, love is in no way unique to Christianity, which you seem to be suggesting.

  57. Choobus
    July 26th, 2006 @ 1:24 pm

    Steve G, when you consider all the data, quantum physics is the simplest explanation.

  58. June
    July 26th, 2006 @ 1:46 pm

    SteveG
    In #39, you questioned the idea that simpler explanations are to be preferred. The writer had said “We have to assume that the simplest explanations are the best and most likely true.” That is Occam’s Razor, a valid and useful principle of logic, which – by the way – should always be cited with the addition UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE. The Razor does not decide propositions; it selects one among competing assumptions.

    Then you asked whether that means “something like Quantum Physics is out?”, implying that QP is too complex to ever be assumed. CORRECT. Physicists did not “assume” Quantum Physics. It was an utter surprise, forced on them by observations such as Young’s 2-slit experiment. Many resisted QP; Einstein never fully accepted QP. He called its properties (such as Entanglement) spooky, a classic example of how even a genius brain will leap to supernatural explanations when it cannot understand something.

    Similarly, God and his illogical powers (see TRA’s Atheist Manifesto) should not be assumed until all rational explanations are exhausted.

  59. SteveG
    July 26th, 2006 @ 1:55 pm

    Steve G, when you consider all the data, quantum physics is the simplest explanation.

    I know, I know (and I knew you would post that exact comment). ;-) It was an attempt at ‘cutesy’ rhetoric which obviously failed miserably.

  60. Choobus
    July 26th, 2006 @ 1:56 pm

    June, while I agree with much of what you say I feel you are painting Einsteins spooky comment with a brush dipped in excrement. He referred to some properties of entanglement as “spooky action at a distance” because the collapse of the wavefunction between two seperated entangled systems can violate the the speed of light limit. Naturally, Einstein was firmly convinced that this was impossible and so he called it spooky, not because he thought it was “a bit weird” but because he thought it was wrong and was mocking the idea. Thus, your statement that a genius brain leapt to a supernatural explanation is the opposite of what happened. The genius brain used a supernatural explanation as a proxy for a bullshit explanation.

  61. SteveG
    July 26th, 2006 @ 1:58 pm

    Then you asked whether that means “something like Quantum Physics is out?”, implying that QP is too complex to ever be assumed. CORRECT.

    No, that is not what I was suggesting. I was suggesting that the assumption that the simplest explanation is the best might be contradicted by something as seemingly complex and incomprehensible as QP (which is currently assumed to be the best answer). I was not intending in the least to imply the QP was an assumption. Sorry for the confusion.

  62. Choobus
    July 26th, 2006 @ 3:39 pm

    June,

    by the way, young’s two slit experiment did not force QP on anyone. IF you think light is a wave (as young did) then there’s no problem. It’s only when you have a quanta of light (the photon) and you do tyhe experiment one photon at a time that it gets weird. So it would be more accurateto say that Einsteins photoelectric theory (and the relevant experiments) brought QP to light….. However, the nature of photons wasn’t properly shown until well after the 2 slit experiment was done with electrons, which is really fucking weird. In fact, it’s still the weirdest thing I know of.

  63. Godthorn
    July 26th, 2006 @ 4:55 pm

    Maledictus, your “saloon” piece was cool.

    Lily, I think morality is practiced by all of us (to whatever extent) well before we make any attempt to reason about it. And for the vast majority, the God explanation is thoroughly inculcated before reason gets a chance to challenge it.

    Bernarda, it seems to me that calling morality “a myth” is equivalent to calling friendship, sympathy, sadism or any such penchant or value a myth. The fact that they cannot be scientifically analysed or quantized does not negate them. I am convinced that they can be, though I am not sure we should wish it.

    Noah N, outstanding comment (#37).

    Drusila, you do not “come to morality by experiencing “God’s love.” You learn to love parents, siblings and family friends well before you have the vaguest concept of “God.” -And yes, suffering does indeed have a meaning and a purpose. Refer to Physiology 101 and to your choice of human histories.

    Holopupenko I have given up on. He spouts a pseudo-science jargon with which I am not conversant.

  64. June
    July 26th, 2006 @ 5:07 pm

    Choobus, SteveG – yes yes, all is forgiven. I’m not arguing QP’s origins. I do find one even weirder theory is Quantum Evolution, where time might be locally reversible just enough to speed adaptation.

    And I always keep one eye out for the ever-present fallacious presumption of God as well as the confusion of the idea of God with God himself. This is of course embedded into our language and our proverbs – as when Einstein said “God does not throw dice” which some try to use to prove he was religious. Now, I know he said it in German as something like “Der liebe Gott wuerfelt nicht” which has overtones of “God does not gamble [with our lives]” – as if randomness is a sin. It gets complicated.

  65. Lurker
    July 26th, 2006 @ 5:08 pm

    SteveG (from #39)
    “Which ones are those? Who decides?

    So instead we should trade this filter for the materialist filter? Why?

    Love it! You’re starting to sound like me. ;)

  66. Godthorn
    July 26th, 2006 @ 7:50 pm

    Quantum physics now, is it? If you guys dive any more deeply than you have, you’ll be out of my depth. I didnt fail math, but I didn’t pursue it far enough to understand the intricacies of particle physics and the string theories. However, June, I side with Einstein (and, I guess, with Choobus) in regard to the “spookier” aspects of QP. I can’t speak for Herr Gott, but I do not think the universe shoots dice. If one of the implications of QP is valid, then every quantum of matter/energy is a self-motivated entity, and I have a huge bone to pick with any genius who wants to support that claim. I also have a huge problem with the “entanglement” phenomenon referred to by Choobus, though I can’t be as staunchly opposed as to it as to the previous.

    A non-scientific problem with such “paradoxes” is that they can be seized upon by theists, who always say “Aha!” to any seeming impasse in the scientific arena. (Are you listening, oh pious ones? Don’t let it escape!) How quickly they pounced on the “Big Bang,” and on that propeller-driven flagellum! They never learn! –Thorngod

  67. Choobus
    July 26th, 2006 @ 8:28 pm

    Entanglement does not lead to a paradox, it merely violates a law (speed of light cannot be exceeded) that all other evidence implies is correct. That means it could be wrong, the entanglement experiments could be wrong, or the law may need to be modified. Since it is a law of gravity and quantum gravity does not really exist yet I expect that the explanation will be of the latter kind.

  68. Godthorn
    July 26th, 2006 @ 8:42 pm

    Agreed. All paradoxes originate in emotional/psychological conflicts or in human confusions. There are no true paradoxes in nature. –Thorngod

  69. Nokot
    July 26th, 2006 @ 8:45 pm

    “I believe the theistic take on morality is unreasonable because it relies on superfluous assumptions.

    You mean assumptions like this?

    We have to assume that the simplest explanations are the best and most likely true.

    On what is that assumption based? Does this mean something like Quantum Physics is out? ;-)

    At our best, we should only make those assumptions that are absolutely necessary to build a framework for gaining knowledge.

    Which ones are those? Who decides?

    Any new evidence is filtered through God belief unnecessarily.

    So instead we should trade this filter for the materialist filter? Why?”

    1) This assumption is stated incorrectly. The principle of parsimony doesn’t say that the simpler explanation is more likely to be true, but that it is preferable to examine its truth first when there are competing theories.

    2) I have no idea what the phrase “a framework for gaining knowledge” is supposed to mean.

    3) See the principle of parsimony.

  70. freddy
    July 26th, 2006 @ 9:04 pm

    Choobus:
    In fact, entanglement doesn’t violate any laws of physics. Einstein’s theory of relativity says that matter/energy cannot move faster than the speed of light. In quantum entanglement, neither matter nor energy travel faster than the speed of light. A somewhat clearer formulation of Einstein’s restriction on what can and cannot travel faster than the speed of light is that information cannot be communicated faster than the speed of light. In the case of entanglement, it is impossible to exchange info. faster than the speed of light since you can never know the properties of an entangled particle until you observe it. On a more basic level, quantum theory and Einstein’s theories of relativity are incompatible, but that’s not due to entanglement.

  71. Godthorn
    July 26th, 2006 @ 9:18 pm

    I suspected some freddy would carry this too far for me to follow. But if one of you in your delvings happens to find a discarded hair or nail clipping from the Old One, try to drag it back into our mundane realm so we can all examine it. Lily and Chris and Holoman will be ecstatic. –Thorngod

  72. Choobus
    July 26th, 2006 @ 9:19 pm

    Freddy, you are right. I should have said appears to violate a law of physics. Even now non-locality still seems hard to stomach, even if causality is maintained. In any case, there’s no paradox.

  73. freddy
    July 26th, 2006 @ 9:23 pm

    I guess not everyone follows my mantra:
    PHYSICS IS PFUN!!!!

    I prefer lurking but I just couldn’t stand by while somebody bad-mouthed quantum entanglement, as law-abiding a member of the physics community as there is.

  74. R and All
    July 26th, 2006 @ 9:45 pm

    Not to be a pedant (although I guess I am being one), but shouldn’t it be PHYSICS IS PHUN?

  75. freddy
    July 26th, 2006 @ 9:51 pm

    R and All:
    Er yeah, it probably should be PHYSICS IS PHUN. But when I say it out loud, I usually pronounce the “P” in PFUN out loud, as P-FUN, because I am a geek and I think it’s really funny when I say it like that.

  76. noah nywno
    July 26th, 2006 @ 10:32 pm

    Nokot,

    Please forgive me if some of my post was vauge or poorly phrased. I was trying to write a comment, not a book. Sorry if I failed at that, I’ll try harder next time.

    By “framework for gaining knowledge” I simply mean a method, a way, a procedure, a system, a scheme, a strategy, a means of gaining knowledge.

  77. Choobus
    July 27th, 2006 @ 1:22 am

    RA, now that you are such a nice guy you ought to take your site off the list of hate sites (where my awesome chooblog yet remains). And if you want to be strictly accurate you should put this site on the list of gay sites, on account of it being more than a little bit gay these days.

  78. Nokot
    July 27th, 2006 @ 1:24 am

    Noah, I wasn’t trying to nitpick your post but to respond to SteveG’s questions in another way.

  79. bernarda
    July 27th, 2006 @ 4:07 am

    The ignorance, and the inability to reason, of Holop and Lily(who said she agreed with him)can be quite amusing.

    “In a world based on calculations, it is the calculation of consequences that determines what should be considered moral and immoral. In this way, the category of good vanishes, as Kant clearly showed”

    First of, I should refer him back to Gould who he apparently doesn’t care about but prefers someone like Kant who has no scientific basis for his speculations. Calculation of consequences has nothing to do with determining moral or immoral. It says nothing about them.

    “good” vanishes? But you have to define what is meant by “good” and necessarily what is meant by “bad” or “evil”. Nietzsche dealt with the invention of these terms in “Beyond Good and Evil” and “On the Geneology of Morals”. Basically, these are just made-up terms used to support certain political and social systems. They have no universal meaning.

    As some earlier posters pointed out, atheists have differing opinions on these subjects. I don’t speak for all atheists any more than Lily or Holop speak for all xtians. At various blogs I have argued with atheists who think that there is some sort of natural morality.

    Some times that has been funny because some of these atheists hold very strongly to their “moral” point of view in spite of the evidence against it. Some have even been insulting to me because of my criticism. So you see, there are all sorts of atheists.

    I doubt that Holop or Lily care to look up Gould, so I will give an example here. I may have even posted it in another forum here at RA.

    “Darwinism, the charge contends, undermines morality by claiming that success in nature can only be measured by victory in bloody battle – the “struggle for existence” or “survival of the fittest” to cite Darwin’s own choice of mottoes. If we wish “meekness and love” to triumph over “pride and violence” (as Tolstoy wrote to Gandhi), then we must repudiate Darwin’s vision of nature’s way – as Tolstoy stated in a final plea to his errant children.

    This charge against Darwin is unfair for two reasons. First, nature (no matter how cruel in human terms) provides no basis for our moral values. (Evolution might, at most, help to explain why we have moral feelings, but nature can never decide for us whether any particular action is right or wrong.) Second, Darwin’s “struggle for existence” is an abstract metaphor, not an explicit statement about bloody battle. Reproductive success, the criterion of natural selection, works in many modes: Victory in battle may be one pathway, but cooperation, symbiosis, and mutual aid may also secure success in other times and contexts. In a famous passage, Darwin explained his concept of evolutionary struggle (Origin of Species, 1859, pp. 62-63″

    http://www.marxists.org/subject/science/essays/kropotkin.htm

  80. noah nywno
    July 27th, 2006 @ 6:42 am

    Sorry Nokot,

    It was late and I guess I got a little testy.

  81. R and All
    July 27th, 2006 @ 9:02 am

    “I usually pronounce the “P” in PFUN out loud, as P-FUN”

    Thanks, freddy, now I get it. Do you ever call physics
    “Puh-Hizziks?” That’s what my geekiness would incline me to do.

  82. "Q" the Enchanter
    July 27th, 2006 @ 11:26 am

    Ben, there’s nothing immoral about prefering your baby to another person’s baby. But for present purposes, we can assume that all the babies and blastocysts in question are “strangers” to you. Also, I am asking about what you should do, not what you predict you would do.

    As such (and this goes to Lily too), I’m just wondering how much the developmental differences mean to a “prolifer”* who acknowledges that the developmental differences generate a moral differential in some ways. One baby vs. one blastocyst. One baby vs. 10. Or 100. Or 1000. Or 1,000,000,000,000. Where would you draw the line? How many blastocysts is a baby “worth”? At what quantitative point (roughly!) should one prefer a congregation of blastocysts to a lone, newborn infant.

    *As you may have guessed, I’m “antilife.” Just so you know where I’m coming from. [Winking happy face.]

  83. "Q" the Enchanter
    July 27th, 2006 @ 11:26 am

    Ben, there’s nothing immoral about prefering your baby to another person’s baby. But for present purposes, we can assume that all the babies and blastocysts in question are “strangers” to you. Also, I am asking about what you should do, not what you predict you would do.

    As such (and this goes to Lily too), I’m just wondering how much the developmental differences mean to a “prolifer”* who acknowledges that the developmental differences generate a moral differential in some ways. One baby vs. one blastocyst. One baby vs. 10. Or 100. Or 1000. Or 1,000,000,000,000. Where would you draw the line? How many blastocysts is a baby “worth”? At what quantitative point (roughly!) should one prefer a congregation of blastocysts to a lone, newborn infant.

    *As you may have guessed, I’m “antilife.” Just so you know where I’m coming from. [Winking happy face.]

  84. "Q" the Enchanter
    July 27th, 2006 @ 11:26 am

    Ben, there’s nothing immoral about prefering your baby to another person’s baby. But for present purposes, we can assume that all the babies and blastocysts in question are “strangers” to you. Also, I am asking about what you should do, not what you predict you would do.

    As such (and this goes to Lily too), I’m just wondering how much the developmental differences mean to a “prolifer”* who acknowledges that the developmental differences generate a moral differential in some ways. One baby vs. one blastocyst. One baby vs. 10. Or 100. Or 1000. Or 1,000,000,000,000. Where would you draw the line? How many blastocysts is a baby “worth”? At what quantitative point (roughly!) should one prefer a congregation of blastocysts to a lone, newborn infant.

    *As you may have guessed, I’m “antilife.” Just so you know where I’m coming from. [Winking happy face.]

  85. "Q" the Enchanter
    July 27th, 2006 @ 11:29 am

    Sorry. Should have said “there’s not necessarily anything immoral about prefering your baby…”

  86. "Q" the Enchanter
    July 27th, 2006 @ 11:29 am

    Sorry. Should have said “there’s not necessarily anything immoral about prefering your baby…”

  87. "Q" the Enchanter
    July 27th, 2006 @ 11:29 am

    Sorry. Should have said “there’s not necessarily anything immoral about prefering your baby…”

  88. Thorngod
    July 27th, 2006 @ 1:03 pm

    I’ll pose the theists an even tougher one–though one never to be encountered in reality. Suppose you had to make the choice between condemning three human beings to death or condemning all felines on earth to extinction. I think that question will separate most theists and atheists more clearly than most any other.

  89. Lily
    July 27th, 2006 @ 1:46 pm

    How on earth do you feel that you have posed some sort of moral dilemma, Thorn? The scenario is silly, of course, as you recognize but it isn’t a dilemma. One chooses the human beings, duh!

    As for “Q”, you, too, haven’t quite understood our position. It isn’t that a baby is worth 100,000 blastocytes or 100,000,000. We protect the blastocyte, not because its death will cause it suffering, or that the donors of the egg and sperm will be saddened by its death but because our deliberately denying the humanity of any one, no matter how weak or small, coarsens us and harms us. And that endangers everyone.

  90. June
    July 27th, 2006 @ 1:56 pm

    OK, so far, Lily; but doesn’t that sentiment apply to so much else? Choobus filthy talk can be said to coarsen us all, so can we prohibit his comments?

  91. benjamin
    July 27th, 2006 @ 2:06 pm

    Q, Given that:
    1) We are only talking about what is moral, not emotional or anything else.
    2) The newborn and the unborn have the same chance of being alive in a day, a year, and ten years from now.

    Saving M unborn children would be a better moral choice than saving N newborn children, when M>N.

    The scenario is unrealistic though.

  92. bernarda
    July 27th, 2006 @ 2:11 pm

    Since “morality” doesn’t exist, what is a “moral” dilemma?

    A dilemma I can understand.

    1. A situation that requires a choice between options that are or seem equally unfavorable or mutually exclusive.

    2. Usage Problem. A problem that seems to defy a satisfactory solution.

    3. Logic. An argument that presents two alternatives, each of which has the same consequence.

    1: stem cell research is not a dilemma because the option to use stem cells is obviously preferable for the entire human race.

    2: stem cell research has a satisfactory solution.

    3: the two alternatives don’t have the same consequences.

    There is no dilemma with stem cell research, and use. It is beneficial. Only death wish masochists would oppose it. But that of course is the definition of xtian.

  93. Thorngod
    July 27th, 2006 @ 2:15 pm

    One chooses the humans, Lily? Meaning to die or to spare?

    The question is necessarily hypothetical, but I don’t see it as “silly.” How one answers it reveals the bases of one’s values. Considering the consequences of eliminating all felines from the planet, I would have to execute three humans. If we increase the number of victims, of course, the choice becomes increasingly difficult.

    There is a contemporary philosopher I have read–I think his name is either Wise or Weise–who, though an atheist, avers that he would not sacrifice a human life to save any or all the art pieces in the world, nor for all non-human life. Which means, I suppose, that he would not directly take another human life, but would be more willing to see all human life perish (after a brief period of canniblism!) as a result of his refusal!

  94. Daniel Morgan
    July 27th, 2006 @ 2:21 pm

    We protect the blastocyte, not because its death will cause it suffering, or that the donors of the egg and sperm will be saddened by its death but because our deliberately denying the humanity of any one, no matter how weak or small, coarsens us and harms us. And that endangers everyone.

    Damn, I left my puke sack on the airplane.

  95. Choobus
    July 27th, 2006 @ 2:53 pm

    And June, your exceedingly poor grasp of science also coarsens us all, so can your attempts to sound educated also be prohibited?

  96. June
    July 27th, 2006 @ 2:56 pm

    I can never get over the obvious difference between a CONCEPT (God, Santa, Morals) and its EXISTENCE.

    When a CONCEPT is self-contradictory, doesn’t that make its EXISTENCE impossible?

  97. June
    July 27th, 2006 @ 3:01 pm

    Choobus, I was attempting to sound UNeducated, so you could grasp my meaning. I know what you grasp the rest of the time!

  98. June
    July 27th, 2006 @ 3:04 pm

    God damn it, there was a SMILEY at the end of my #86, which didn’t post.

  99. "Q" the Enchanter
    July 27th, 2006 @ 3:23 pm

    “our deliberately denying the humanity of any one, no matter how weak or small, coarsens us and harms us.”

    But one needn’t deny the humanity of a blastocyst, if by “humanity” Lily you mean that the blastocyst is a developing form of *human* life. (If you mean something else, let me know.)

    Ben says save m blastocysts rather than n babies where m>n. This has the virtue (and it’s a considerable virtue) of being a straight answer, but I must say I disagree. I say save one baby as against any arbitrarily high number of blastocysts–not because I deny the “humanity” of the blastocyst, but because, besides having “humanity,” an infant newborn has in addition near-fully developed sentience, and has entered the human lifeworld, beginning its development as a person, forging relationships and being the direct object of love and affection by other persons. As such, it is a far, far, far, FAR more morally significant form of life than a blastocyst.

    So too, incidentally, is a mother–which is why her concerns about her ability to be a good parent, her concerns about the anguish involved in bringing a baby to term only to give it up for adoption, and even “merely” her concerns about her own physical comfort and health are of far more concern to me than any abstract concern about a blastocyst’s potential to *become* a morally significant form of life.

  100. "Q" the Enchanter
    July 27th, 2006 @ 3:23 pm

    “our deliberately denying the humanity of any one, no matter how weak or small, coarsens us and harms us.”

    But one needn’t deny the humanity of a blastocyst, if by “humanity” Lily you mean that the blastocyst is a developing form of *human* life. (If you mean something else, let me know.)

    Ben says save m blastocysts rather than n babies where m>n. This has the virtue (and it’s a considerable virtue) of being a straight answer, but I must say I disagree. I say save one baby as against any arbitrarily high number of blastocysts–not because I deny the “humanity” of the blastocyst, but because, besides having “humanity,” an infant newborn has in addition near-fully developed sentience, and has entered the human lifeworld, beginning its development as a person, forging relationships and being the direct object of love and affection by other persons. As such, it is a far, far, far, FAR more morally significant form of life than a blastocyst.

    So too, incidentally, is a mother–which is why her concerns about her ability to be a good parent, her concerns about the anguish involved in bringing a baby to term only to give it up for adoption, and even “merely” her concerns about her own physical comfort and health are of far more concern to me than any abstract concern about a blastocyst’s potential to *become* a morally significant form of life.

  101. "Q" the Enchanter
    July 27th, 2006 @ 3:23 pm

    “our deliberately denying the humanity of any one, no matter how weak or small, coarsens us and harms us.”

    But one needn’t deny the humanity of a blastocyst, if by “humanity” Lily you mean that the blastocyst is a developing form of *human* life. (If you mean something else, let me know.)

    Ben says save m blastocysts rather than n babies where m>n. This has the virtue (and it’s a considerable virtue) of being a straight answer, but I must say I disagree. I say save one baby as against any arbitrarily high number of blastocysts–not because I deny the “humanity” of the blastocyst, but because, besides having “humanity,” an infant newborn has in addition near-fully developed sentience, and has entered the human lifeworld, beginning its development as a person, forging relationships and being the direct object of love and affection by other persons. As such, it is a far, far, far, FAR more morally significant form of life than a blastocyst.

    So too, incidentally, is a mother–which is why her concerns about her ability to be a good parent, her concerns about the anguish involved in bringing a baby to term only to give it up for adoption, and even “merely” her concerns about her own physical comfort and health are of far more concern to me than any abstract concern about a blastocyst’s potential to *become* a morally significant form of life.

  102. Thorngod
    July 27th, 2006 @ 4:02 pm

    Hear! Hear! And it’s that monumental difference, Q, that the theist (speaking generally, of course) is compelled to ignore, because of the supposition of a “soul” of supposedly infinite worth. All life and effort, in their scheme, must be devoted first to a god, secondarily to the welfare of man.

  103. Lily
    July 27th, 2006 @ 4:20 pm

    “Q”I agree with everything you wrote up til the last paragraph and it is what I was trying to get at in my answer.

    Thorn, sorry, I thought I was clear. I would kill all the felines to save the 3 humans, even if it meant serious ecological destruction. It is a preposterous scenario, though, thank goodness. I would, however, take volunteers, say Bernarda, Choobus, and (xx).

  104. Thorngod
    July 27th, 2006 @ 4:33 pm

    Lily, I was virtually sure, but your statement was ambiguous. As I pointed out in my 2nd comment on the matter, the answer has the virtue of separating theists from atheists at the most meaningful level, the level at which we must exist.

  105. Drusilla
    July 27th, 2006 @ 5:41 pm

    #50 – “Anyway, you’ve not offered ‘another way.’ The only way you have to judge an action is by its consequences. Love is a reason for altruism, not a method of distinguishing right from wrong. More importantly, love is in no way unique to Christianity, which you seem to be suggesting.”

    Viole –

    Of course love is not unique to Christianity. It is built into the very essence of what it means to be human, is, at the very least, a survival mechanism. Love as a method for distinguishing right from wrong is unique to Christianity. It’s living the mandatum, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” It’s not a reason for altruism. It is altruism: such love knows the cost and chooses to love anyway.

    St. Maximillian Kolbe, among many others (including some I know), gave us an example of such love. His choice was to offer his life for the life of another, to allow the Nazis to starve him to death instead of another. His highest moral good was to love as Christ loves him, to give himself as Christ did.

    It was absolutely foolish. He had no control over the consequences, no guarantee that the Nazis would not kill the other man. In fact, given the cruelty of the Nazis, Kolbe’s action might well have placed the other man in the grave danger. Still, his moral choice was to offer himself.

    Such love is foolish. (Perhaps that’s why you believe I was “saying nothing” in my earlier post.) It eschews consequences. But holiness requires becoming detached from consequences and attached to loving because it is what God asks of us and therefore, the right thing to do regardless of what we feel or expect or hope.

    And, there are those who do not know Christ and yet love as He loves them, persons who undergo “baptism of blood” or ” baptism of desire” and find themselves with Him forever. C.S. Lewis writes of such people in “The Last Battle.” Who knows, perhaps you may be such a one. That would be lovely. But of course, love as a basis for distinguishing right and wrong cannot judge whether anyone else is doing the same so I don’t know and I don’t need to know. I have enough work just trying to love as Christ loves me.

  106. R and All
    July 27th, 2006 @ 9:48 pm

    “to give himself as Christ did.”

    You know, to go through a little excrutiating agony and then to be dead for all of three days does not seem like that much giving, especially when you then get to become one with god, cause then you’re all magical and shit and you never ever die and you can have sex with virgins if you want (although I think having sex with a virgin is not as fun as having sex with someone who knows what they’re doing, but being god you can have sex with whoever you want, not just virgins but sluts too if you want) and do miracles for people you like, but people who irritate you, no way, you just let them suffer, which is so cool.

  107. Godthorn
    July 28th, 2006 @ 12:10 am

    Yes, as I have pointed out elsewhere, the “suffering” of the Absolute is a minor irritation (assuming he didn’t fake it altogether) compared to the actual suffering of the least animal, human or otherwise. The silly anguish that Christians evince over the torture supposedly endured by their Christchild, and the pity they feel for their self-sacrificing God, is the penultimate of presumption and absurdity. But they are too bewitched to see! –Thorngod

  108. June
    July 28th, 2006 @ 7:37 am

    After ancient Rome put down Spartacus’ revolt, about 6000 of his followers were crucified along the Appian Way, their bodies left hanging there for years.

  109. Godthorn
    August 2nd, 2006 @ 2:22 am

    Where are the defenders of the faith. It has been three days now. Jesus was burried and resurrected in three days. Where is the Christian who will defend his or her worthiness and entitlement to pity God?

  110. June
    August 2nd, 2006 @ 11:36 am

    Imagine if people had been nice to Jesus. After a few weeks, JC has to return home and face Dad: “Well, nobody would kill me. Peter wouldn’t deny me. Pilate was the nicest guy. And that idiot Judas went and kissed Thomas, so they crucified him by mistake.”

  111. Godthorn
    August 5th, 2006 @ 2:10 am

    And now we’re having to crucify Mel Gibson (how ironic!), because of HIS dad, and his dad’s dad, and his dad’s dad’s dad, and his dad’s dad’s dad’s dad. Maybe, in a way, there’s something to this Original Sin theory!

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