10 Things which make more sense as a Christian than an atheist

September 27, 2012

If I think of things as a Christian, rather than if I was atheist, the world makes more sense. None of these are proofs of God, and I’m not saying they are. But when I consider the world thinking God exists, rather than if he doesn’t, many things fall neatly into place.

 

1. Scientific Laws

I’m a physicist. It’s obvious to me when I look around that the way the universe runs is rationally intelligible, consistent. For example, we have beautiful results like Noether’s theorem which explains how symmetries plus Lagrangian dynamics give rise to conserved quantities. And it turns out our universe has a surprising amount of symmetry, and does appear to run according to this rationally understable law. Almost 400 years ago, before much of the scientific revolution, Kepler, waxed lyrical that if we were serious in thinking God existed we would expect to find such laws. I agree. If God exists, we should expect that “science works”. That science works makes more sense as a Christian than an atheist.

Space shuttle

 

2. Personal Experience

It’s common for people to say they’ve had a direct experience of God. I’ve experienced a very similar thing. The experience comes by praying or reading the Bible. It is the most unbelievable feeling, and hard to describe. Something like your insides jumping around for joy, but clear and pure. Others describe it as a burning in your chest. I’m not saying that everyone has this, or even that it’s specific to Christians, but to me – being the incredibly geeky science person that I am it was a massive surprise. My own personal experience makes more sense as a Christian than an atheist.

Prayer

 

3. Jesus Christ

Specifically history around Jesus. Atheists often seem to look it that if they can find a single thing wrong with the Bible then they’ve disproved Christianity. I look at it the other way around. If there’s a single case of God acting, anywhere, anytime then atheism can’t be right. So I went looking for places where I expected God might act. The obvious one was Jesus resurrection. I’ve written, just a little about 1 Corinthians 15 and obviously there’s much more to say here, but it fits a lot better if you simply allow that perhaps, just perhaps God has acted. The historical evidence makes more sense to me as a Christian than an atheist.

Jesus crucified

 

4. There’s something rather than nothing

This is one that makes absolutely no sense to me on atheism at all. When I think about it from an atheist perspective, I feel like something is seriously wrong. I don’t see any reason why anything should exist at all – the whole of existence seems absurd. I’m following people like Krauss and Stenger and their attempts to answer it from an atheistic perspective. But the thing is, I get the idea when I look at their arguments I get the feeling that they warp words, rather than provide a genuine answer. In contrast, Christianity seems very freeing – there’s no need to force science into answering gaps in my philosophy – I can let the science speak for itself. That there’s something rather than nothing makes more sense to me as a Christian than an atheist.

The sun

 

5. Atheist Apologists

I have spent, literally, years of my life reading atheists including the “new” atheists. In fact, one thing that really started to get me taking God seriously was one atheist argument that, instead of even consider God might exist, posit that every possible universe which could possibly exist mathematically, actually did. While I agree that this might solve some problems for atheists (like fine tuning for example), I struggled to see how anyone could find that a more likely than the much simpler belief in God. It was, essentially, an argument so bad that shook my belief that having no God was simpler or more straightforward than thinking God existed.

 

Dawkins

 

One thing that has happened in the last ten years is that arguments have moved from the facts to a social one. Half of Dawkins book, most of Hitchens book, and most of Harris book weren’t about God at all. They were just out to rubbish religion, and to belittle religious people. Somewhat ironically, being a Christian and seeing people as fallen, I’m not opposed to the idea religious people (like everyone else) have done things wrong. But resorting to mud throwing and ridicule as opposed to reason doesn’t make me think there’s some good argument against God which I haven’t thought of, it makes me think there isn’t one. Atheist apologetics makes more sense to me as a Christian than an atheist.

 

6. God’s promise to Abraham

One of the things that has constantly amazed me is that we know anything about Abraham’s God at all. His God forms the basis of the three great monotheistic religions, with over half the world’s population counted as his followers. But think about it at Abraham’s time, or even worse in Babylonian captivity. There were far greater empires, and far more powerful people. There’s no reason to think, from an atheist point of view, that belief in this tiny, ancient, impotent (if you’re an atheist, insert your usual derogatory terms about goat herders here) God from a tiny tribe would grow and come to dominate the world. Yet it did. From an atheist point of view it seems one massive coincidence after another, but from a Christian point of view it makes good sense, God promised it to Abraham. God’s promise to Abraham makes more sense to me as a Christian than an atheist.

Camels

 

7. Nihilism

One thing that strikes me is that if there’s nothing but cold physical laws and (perhaps) chance then it’s incredibly difficult to allow for anything like free will, purpose or meaning. When you think about the processes and what is controlling them it’s not even in ultimate control of our own thoughts. There’s no purpose. There’s no meaning. Not only in some universe wide sense, but its also very difficult to establish our own life. I, honestly, do not understand how people can escape nihilism from an atheist point of view. I recently went to ask atheists on Omegle. Two were honest enough, and said that they didn’t know if there was meaning or not. One said there was no meaning in life, no free will, and everything is totally deterministic so there’s no choices, but it didn’t matter because they ignored it. Another atheist said that, despite not being able to give a good reason to think we could make any real choices, or have anything like a free will said you could “choose” to have meaning. Now these waters run deep, and I don’t pretend to know all the answers, but in my own life, Ecclesiastes provided the response to nihilism. Meaning and purpose make sense to me from a Christian point of view, but none if I think God doesn’t exist.

BW Tree

 

8. Morality

The moral argument is not an argument I’d normally offer. But without any particular goal, meaning or purpose in life (especially without free will) it seems incredibly hard to establish morality logically. Note that I’m not saying atheists are necessarily bad people (at all), I’m simply saying how things fit together logically. That said, I’ve recently been shocked at some of the moral calls I’ve seen coming out of atheists, things like Dawkins interview with Singer, his comments on the sexual objectification of women or the eery experience of having murder justified to me by an atheist. And that in turn has made me realize just how hard it is to argue with someone who logically thinks, based on atheist arguments, that morality is illusory. You can’t reason with them that killing babies, or even other people is wrong, because they reject the whole concept of right and wrong. You can’t tell them humans, and women in particular, have a particular value, because on atheism they don’t. They simply reject the idea people are loved by God, or made in God’s image. But on the other hand, it’s absolutely clear to me that these things are immoral in reality. If your assumptions leads you to absurd moral conclusions surely it’s better to reject your assumptions than accept the absurd. Morality makes far more sense to me as a Christian than as an atheist.

 

Baby feet

9. Fine Tuning

It seems obvious the universe is fine tuned – if not for life, then at least to be an interesting area of dynamics. It’s often commented that if we changed the physical constants even slightly, the universe would either be too inert, or too chaotic for any interesting dynamics at all. For people interested, I recommend getting hold of Paul Davies’ books and see an excellent physicist, rather than an apologist talk about it. Fine tuning is something which makes good sense from a Christian point of view, but there’s no particular reason to expect it (or even that life would exist at all) from an atheist one.

Ocean

 

10. The value of people

Many atheists agree that humans have value, in fact we’d call them humanists. I find, especially when I’m spending time doing charity work that humanists often share similar goals to Christians. But whereas a Christian can logically ground that belief in reality, many humanists don’t seem to have a particular reason why valuing humans and human life should be justified. Instead, it seems like an axiom you just have to accept. Note, that I’m not saying atheists who think like this are immoral. The opposite. I think they’re moral, but they just I don’t find the grounding for what they believe satisfying. Consider what is said in this real discussion between a Christian and an atheist. On Christianity it’s clear that God (and specifically God’s love) gives everyone of us, Christian or not, great value. And it gives us that value regardless of if we’re disabled, burdens on society, female or male, rich, poor, black or white. This isn’t a call based in abstract ideals, but based in reality. That people have value, completely apart from their economic value, is something that makes logical sense to me as a Christian, but not if I think about it as an atheist.

 

Portrait

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44 Responses to “10 Things which make more sense as a Christian than an atheist”


  1. The Dawkins example is proof that morality is not at all “innate” and universal as atheists like to claim. If you leave God out of it, it is completely relative depending upon the person. There was a time where propositioning a lady (unless she was a prostitute) in such a way would be inappropriate, uncouth, and “ungentlemanly.” In today’s secularized, moral relativist society, it is normal and the blame is placed upon to woman for being “overly sensitive” (i.e., having what is natural female modesty).

  2. Austin 3:16 Says:

    Hey Chucky,

    Why should the universe make sense to you? How is that a logical or desirable attribute of the universe.

    This article reads as though God had the blueprints down and was considering how he’d lay things out and at the top of the check-list was “The universe MUST make sense to Chucky”

    You’re a lovely fella and all but are you really that important ?

    As to nihilism what’s the issue?

    Morality:

    — You can’t reason with them that killing babies, or even other people is wrong, because they reject the whole concept of right and wrong. —

    Firstly doesn’t God mandate putting women and children to the sword when it suits him? Or himself killing the first born just to make a point. If seems to me that if you really followed the God of the bible you’d have no problems killing kids if you thought that was warranted.

    (and why is the USA, the worlds most Christian developed nation in such an appalling position on infant mortality statistics ? )

    Secondly there have been cultures throughout history that have very different views on the treatment of children. Right and wrong can change dramatically over time.

    With morality and the value of people you really can’t see a non-religious reason as to why that’s occurred? Seriously you can’t think of one single non-religious reason that people might value other people and want to live in a harmonious and co-operative fashion with them,

    I’m also curious as to why there seems to be no correlation between Christianity and morality, as has been commented on by the likes of Zuckerman, Paul etc.

    OR even consider this article from the economist

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2012/03/morals

    From the article it would appear that the recent trends in America are:
    – reduction in crime
    – reduction in the abortion rate
    – increase in charitable giving
    – reduction in the divorce rate
    – increase in the high school graduation rate

    While at the same time
    – the number of Americans not affiliated with any religion has increased,
    – the number of those attending worship services has declined

    If Christianity and morality are inexorably intertwined then what’s happening in the USA is completely the opposite of what should happen.

  3. Chucky Says:

    > Why should the universe make sense to you? How is that a logical or desirable attribute of the universe.

    Because that’s what it means to be a rational person. Things aren’t magic, there are reasons and causes.

    > You’re a lovely fella and all but are you really that important?

    Not important at all. But I can’t help but see it through my own eyes.

    > As to nihilism what’s the issue?

    The issue is that it robs life of meaning and purpose. Take the atheists I talked to on Omegle. They denied nihilism, but didn’t have (in my view) a rational reason to do that.

    > Firstly doesn’t God mandate putting women and children to the sword when it suits him?

    I think you’re probably thinking of a Psalm, which is poetry, but I guess more importantly, you’re not God.

    > If seems to me that if you really followed the God of the bible you’d have no problems killing kids if you thought that was warranted.

    Doesn’t it bother you that what you’re saying is explicitly outlawed in the Bible? Deuteronomy 18, Genesis 22, and Leviticus 18 for example.

    > Secondly there have been cultures throughout history that have very different views on the treatment of children. Right and wrong can change dramatically over time.

    Absolutely there have. They were barbaric. Killing for Molech is no better than when Dawkins or Singer suggests it.

    > and why is the USA, the worlds most Christian developed nation in such an appalling position on infant mortality statistics ?

    I’m not sure that’s relevant to anything, and not being an American, I’d guess it had to do with the state of your healthcare system.

    > I’m also curious as to why there seems to be no correlation between Christianity and morality, as has been commented on by the likes of Zuckerman, Paul etc

    There’s a number of things here. First of all, you appear to have misunderstood what I’m saying. It’s irrelevant whether there is or isn’t a correlation. I’m not arguing only Christians can do moral things, but that Christianity offers a rational reason, based on reality, why things can even be moral or immoral in the first place.

    But having said that, I’d expect there to be a positive correlation between atheism and morality of a society (at least my many western measures). Why? Because in most countries atheism is mostly a small minority, and so it benefits when countries look after others, and respect minorities even if they don’t agree with them. I’d expect to see atheism grow best in historically Christian countries actually.

    But yeah. Correlation between atheism and morality? You’ve seen my post on numbers of atheist in prisons, where you’re over represented. Now you’re suggesting that you’re responsible for greater rates of giving (strange, considering there’s many surveys showing atheists give less all other things being equal), that you cause the divorce rate to be less (again, strange, considering you have a higher divorce rate than Christians, especially not-nominal Christians- per marriage), that you’re causing the crime rate to go down in the US… again meh. Why are you over-represented in prisons if that’s the case? And a quick google would have shown you some much ore convincing reasons:

    Increased incarceration, including longer sentences, that keeps more criminals off the streets.
    Improved law enforcement strategies, including advances in computer analysis and innovative technology.
    The waning of the crack cocaine epidemic that soared from 1984 to 1990, which made cocaine cheaply available in cities across the US.
    The graying of America characterized by the fastest-growing segment of the US population – baby boomers – passing the age of 50.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2012/0109/US-crime-rate-at-lowest-point-in-decades.-Why-America-is-safer-now

    So yeah. The US population is getting older, you’re locking criminals away for much longer, you have less cocaine. Not atheism. Not rocket science.

    And one final word. Zimmerman isn’t unbiased. His homepage includes his favourite atheist anthems. But more to the point, since I’ve been paying attention, China’s gone from being seen as backwards to being seen as the driver of the world’s economy. And during that time, he’s revised the number of atheists in China from 15% (ridiculous considering the very lax standards he had in developed countries) to some 50% after China’s rise and Europe’s decline. It could be they’re having massive deconversions there. It could also be that you should be very careful with his numbers.

  4. Austin 3:16 Says:

    Hey Chucky,

    >>Things aren’t magic, there are reasons and causes.<>As to nihilism what’s the issue? The issue is that it robs life of meaning and purpose. <> Deuteronomy 18 <> Genesis 22 <>Leviticus 18<>You’ve seen my post on numbers of atheist in prisons, where you’re over represented.<>And one final word. Zimmerman isn’t unbiased.<> It could also be that you should be very careful with his numbers.<<

    Please that’s hilarious coming from you, your “atheists in prison” effort is anything but care with numbers it’s a blatant abuse of numbers. (as a few commentators pointed out)

  5. Austin 3:16 Says:

    Hey Chucky,
    >>Things aren’t magic, there are reasons and causes.<>As to nihilism what’s the issue? The issue is that it robs life of meaning and purpose. <> Deuteronomy 18 <> Genesis 22 <>Leviticus 18<>You’ve seen my post on numbers of atheist in prisons, where you’re over represented.<>And one final word. Zimmerman isn’t unbiased.<> It could also be that you should be very careful with his numbers.<<
    Please that’s hilarious coming from you, your “atheists in prison” effort is anything but care with numbers it’s a blatant abuse of numbers.

  6. Austin 3:16 Says:

    Hey Chucky,

    Dunno what’s wrong with the site but I’m finding my posts cut to pieces.

  7. Austin 3:16 Says:

    Hey Chucky,

    ++Because that’s what it means to be a rational person.

    I’m a rational person but Donnie Darko didn’t make much sense to me. That’s due to the properties of Donnie Darko. Some of the works of Dali don’t make any sense to me, or George W Bush winning a second term of presidency. Taking up smoking doesn’t make any sense to me.

    I’ll be atheism doesn’t make any sense to you.

    Ever notice that sometimes the decisions of people just don’t make sense.

    But you’re saying that because you’re rational the universe has to make sense to you. Well only if you’re rationality is the key factor. Only if the state of the universe is somehow dependent on your rationality.

    ++Things aren’t magic, there are reasons and causes.

    Ok guess that rules God out then he’s magical as all heck. Or is your argument that we have a non-magical universe from a magical source – seems odd

    ++As to nihilism what’s the issue? The issue is that it robs life of meaning and purpose.

    And that’s an issue because? What do the fowl of the air or the fish of the sea meditate upon, they fly they swim is that not enough?

    Let me guess, your life has to be extra special, like a lot of Christians there’s no shortage of ego right ?

    And what does atheism have to do with that? Atheism isn’t a philosophy or belief system.

    ++ Deuteronomy 18
    Deals with – Offerings for Priests and Levites – Occult Practices and The Prophet

    ++ Genesis 22
    Deals with Abraham getting tested

    ++Leviticus 18
    Unlawful sexual relations

    Nothing in any of them where God says it’s wrong to slaughter women and children.

    On the other hand Deuteronomy 2, Deuteronomy 3, Deuteronomy 7, Deuteronomy 17, Leviticus 20, Joshua 6, Joshua 10, 1 Samuel 15, Exodus 21, and a whole heap of other verses tell us that killing kids / wholesale death and destruction is a-ok.

    Re infant mortality I’m an Aussie and yeah we do have a better health-care system and lower infant mortality but there are still a heck of a lot of countries that do better than the USA in terms of infant mortality. (The USA doesn’t do well with child abuse either according to UNICEF)

    IF Christianity is the source of all morality why is that ? Why doesn’t the most Christian nation on earth have the best health care system and the best treatment of children? That should logically flow IF there is anything to the notion of a link between Christianity and morality that is.

    You seem to be arguing that Christianity has the best explanation for morality BUT we shouldn’t expect Christians to be any more or less moral than anyone else.

    It’s like saying that seatbelts save lives but in motor vehicle accidents people wearing seat belts have the same mortality rate as those that don’t.

    ++You’ve seen my post on numbers of atheist in prisons, where you’re over represented.

    Nope I’ve seen nothing like that. I’ve trawled through your site and found a piece where you have blatantly misrepresented some statistics. But that’s about it.

    A lot of reasons are given for that declining crime rate – reduction of lead in paints and fuels – or check out freakonomics and their views on the declining crime rate. Better law enforcement techniques are also cited. But crime has declined at about the same rate in a number of US jurisdictions which have differing law enforcement techniques. New York claims to have benefited from Zero Tolerance, California from three strikes and Chicago (and others) from community policing. I hadn’t heard that the aging population given as a reason which seems to make sense – old people commit less crime – until you look at FBI crime by age group data for example in the 25 – 29 age group there were 2,001.4 arrests per 100 000 in 1993 but only 1,255.9 arrests per 100 000 for the same age group in 2001. With similar results in other age groups. An aging population can’t account for that Mr. “careful with numbers.”

    But why should we focus on crime – there was a range of measures which seemed to show society in the USA improving while at the same time religious values were declining.

    You could even check out some morality indicators between the Red and Blue states

    http://vox-nova.com/2009/06/30/chart-of-the-day-red-states-blue-states-and-morality/

    Again if Christianity is the source of morality this is the exact opposite trend one would expect.

    You are claiming that Christianity IS the driver of morality. Therefore there should be a correlation; the USA should lead the world in every possible measure of morality. Works such as Zuckermans “Society without God” should be impossible.

    I’m not claiming that atheism is any driver of morality. If anything evolutionary biology has the best explanation for morality. As I asked earlier

    “Seriously you can’t think of one single non-religious reason that people might value other people and want to live in a harmonious and co-operative fashion with them,”

    I’d also be curious as how you explain the well documents moralistic behaviour in the animal word – see many Christian monkeys do you?

    ++And one final word. Zimmerman isn’t unbiased.

    Who’s Zimmerman ? And do you have any specific reasons to doubt his figures or are you just slinging some highly moralistic mud?

    ++ It could also be that you should be very careful with his numbers.

    Please that’s hilarious coming from you, your “atheists in prison” effort is anything but care with numbers it’s a blatant abuse of numbers. As a few commentators pointed out

  8. Chucky Says:

    > I’ll be atheism doesn’t make sense to you.

    No. Atheism doesn’t make sense to me, or more precisely, believing in God seems much more natural and fit much better with what I see.

    > Only if the state of the universe is somehow dependent on your rationality.

    I don’t view it that way around, as I said. If God exists then you’d expect (and people did) expect the universe to be rationally understandable. If he doesn’t I don’t have any reason to expect that. But the point is that time and time again, we have looked at this and found there is a rational explanation. We call that science. The more that we understand with science, the better the universe fits with a rational, theistic, view of things. And the less that it fits with people who insist things are ultimately irrational.

    > Let me guess, your life has to be extra special, like a lot of Christians there’s no shortage of ego right ?

    It’s not about ego. It’s about having a coherent picture of reality. Take for example the guy who agreed that there was no meaning or purpose in life, but said it didn’t matter because he chose to ignore it. I couldn’t live like that.

    > I’m not claiming that atheism is any driver of morality.

    Well then I really don’t understand why you’re posting these long replies. If we agree that atheism doesn’t have anything to do with it, what exactly is the point? It seems irrelevant. It’s not relevant to the point I was making which you’ve pretty much just ignored.

    I’m not American, so really, I don’t really care about US politics. Unless of course they start invading other countries… but most of the time it’s basically irrelevant to me. I really could not care less about a comparison between red and blue states. I’d probably vote blue if I was American, but who cares? All this is totally irrelevant to the point I made in the post.

    > IF Christianity is the source of all morality why is that ? Why doesn’t the most Christian nation on earth have the best health care system and the best treatment of children?

    Now I’m sure you didn’t understand. I explicitly made the point that “Note that I’m not saying atheists are necessarily bad people (at all), I’m simply saying how things fit together logically. ” My point is not “atheists are bad, Christians are good”. No. Trying to throw mud is cheap politics, and I’m not into that. The point is that morality makes sense if Christianity is true, but not if atheism is true. If there is a God it makes sense how there can be real moral standards, which are based in reality.

    Do you understand that I was trying to make a logical point, not throw dirt?

    > Nope I’ve seen nothing like that. I’ve trawled through your site and found a piece where you have blatantly misrepresented some statistics.

    I see. So what exactly did I misrepresent? According to official government statistics in three out of three countries here are more people of “no religion” in prisons than there are in the general population.

    > IF Christianity is the source of all morality why is that ? Why doesn’t the most Christian nation on earth have the best health care system and the best treatment of children?

    You know, it’s ironic, that for centuries Christians have been known for setting up the hospitals. Historically Christian nations *do* have the best health care in the world. But I think trying to score cheap political points like that is irrelevant. It has nothing to do with the point I was making.

    > On the other hand Deuteronomy 2, Deuteronomy 3, Deuteronomy 7, Deuteronomy 17, Leviticus 20, Joshua 6, Joshua 10, 1 Samuel 15, Exodus 21, and a whole heap of other verses tell us that killing kids / wholesale death and destruction is a-ok.

    Okay. This is always bad, because you’ll just copy and paste ignoring any context. You won’t worry, for example, about wars and just paint that like normal conduct, or how Jesus or Paul (in Galatians) view it. Instead you’ll present a completely wrong view of how Christians view things, because you’re not out to accurately reflect a Christian view.

    If Agatha Christie describes that a murder happened, doesn’t mean people Agatha Christie wants us to murder people. Similarly if you read history, even if it describes gruesome events, doesn’t mean the authors are advocating that. And so when you get wars recorded in the Bible too, it’s not a whole stack different. So when you say “Hey, look what Christians teach to do”, when actually its not how Christians view things at all. All you’re doing is quoting the more gruesome bits of Israelite history, and ignoring that it’s history that you’re quoting.

    Only two (correct me if I’m wrong here) of your references weren’t simply recording some gruesome bit of Israelite history or another. The first was

    Leviticus 20:

    The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing in Israel who sacrifices any of his children to Molek is to be put to death. The members of the community are to stone him. 3 I myself will set my face against him and will cut him off from his people; for by sacrificing his children to Molek, he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name. 4 If the members of the community close their eyes when that man sacrifices one of his children to Molek and if they fail to put him to death, 5 I myself will set my face against him and his family and will cut them off from their people together with all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molek.

    Ok. So this is an instruction as opposed to a specific bit of Israelite history. But what I don’t understand is how you think this is saying that it’s “aok” to kill children. Can you explain that please?

    The other one which isn’t simply a part of Jewish history is Exodus 21, which is giving laws for what to do when there are disputes. It doesn’t mention children, or have anything to do with them that I can see. Did I miss it?

    Of my references, they’re actually instructions rather than history. For example, Deuteronomy 10 talks about killing children, saying

    > Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter.

    So. Yeah. Your interpretation of this instruction is that it is “aok” to kill children?

    Genesis 22 is the story of Abraham going to kill Isacc – or better *not* having to kill Isaac, because instead God *does not want that* but instead provides a ram in his place.

    So again, pretty clear, especially considering what happens with Jesus.

    I’m sorry I have to stop here! Hope you’re having a good day.

  9. Austin 3:16 Says:

    Hey Chucky,

    ++ If God exists then you’d expect (and people did) expect the universe to be rationally understandable.

    That doesn’t flow. I might as well say that Richard Dawkins is a highly intelligent man and he’s an atheist therefore atheism must be rational and understandable.

    But to you it isn’t either of those things.

    The product of an intelligent mind is not always rational or understandable to another intelligent mind. God could create an incredibly unfathomable universe if he wanted to after all he is God. It would seem that if the universe is bounded by laws then it’s less likely to be a product of a God unbounded by them.

    Oh and how did that rational universe arise from the most magical of Gods ? Why does a magical source lead to a rational universe?

    ++ It’s not about ego. It’s about having a coherent picture of reality.

    Why? Why isn’t nihilism the more coherent picture of reality?

    ++ RE Morality

    IF Christianity is the source of morality then there should be a relationship between Christianity and morality. The correlation should be obvious.

    Simple as that. End of story that’s it.

    The term “moral compass” is used sometimes for what Christianity can do. Except if we took two groups of people out for an orienteering exercise and we gave half of them compasses and the other half nothing we’d expect that those with compasses would do better. There would be a consistent and obvious correlation between compasses and orienteering.
    However as I’ve pointed out there isn’t such a correlation with Christianity and morality. You seem to have conceded that yourself. Indeed there are times when the reverse correlation seems to be true. As with those red states and blue states, or a society improving while the levels of Christian religiosity in that society decline. Or throughout the world more secular societies performing much better on a range of measures than more religious ones.

    I’m not throwing mud just pointing out that there are plenty of indications of reality acting in exactly the opposite way to the theory that Christianity is the source of morality.

    It’s like claiming that smoking is good for you when non-smokers are living longer and healthier lives than smokers.

    Not to mention examples of morality in the animal kingdom, unless animals are also Christians.

    ++ According to official government statistics in three out of three countries here are more people of “no religion” in prisons than there are in the general population.

    Hang on a sec that’s not what you claimed you said

    ++ ? You’ve seen my post on numbers of atheist in prisons, where you’re over represented.

    You claimed atheists are over-represented and you’ve based that on people who’ve responded “no religion” even though in some of the statistical reports it is clear that atheists are a very small percentage of “no religion”. If one considers the UK publication “Religion in Prisons 1999 and 2000” it clearly states that “Inmates with No religion formed an important minority at around 30% of the total population. Only 1% of these were Agnostics and Atheists. “

    So 1% of 30% were atheists. This would mean about .03% of the UK prison population was atheist.

    I’d say at a guess that means atheists are under-represented in UK prisons.

    Unless you can find a compelling reason that No-religion = atheist, even though the report clearly differentiates between the two.

    ++ You won’t worry, for example, about wars and just paint that like normal conduct

    Oh you mean that it’s ok in a time of war to kill women and children, how very moral. Guess it’s ok to take back a few war brides from the hotties too hey?

    ++I f Agatha Christie describes that a murder happened, doesn’t mean people Agatha Christie wants us to murder people.

    No but if Agatha actually instructs people to go and put women and children to the sword then yeah that’s what Aggie wants.

    Exodus 21:17 “Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.”

    That would include children right ? Doesn’t say anyone over 18, just anyone.

  10. Austin 3:16 Says:

    as a PS
    Leviticus 20:9 “‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. You should have kept reading.

  11. Chucky Says:

    > That doesn’t flow. I might as well say that Richard Dawkins is a highly intelligent man and he’s an atheist therefore atheism must be rational and understandable.

    Last I checked nobody is claiming Richard Dawkins created the universe, so I wouldn’t expect to see his handiwork in it. For books that he wrote, I would expect to see his handiwork in them.

    > The product of an intelligent mind is not always rational or understandable to another intelligent mind.

    I also don’t expect to be able to understand everything, but I don’t expect that things are irrational.

    > Oh and how did that rational universe arise from the most magical of Gods ?

    Or perhaps it doesn’t arise from a “magical” God, but the real God.

    > Why? Why isn’t nihilism the more coherent picture of reality?

    As I said, when you mentally accept that it is a natural consequence of atheism, but in reality, like the guy I was talking to, people live as if it isn’t. I’d have a lot of difficulty living in way which conflict with my beliefs about reality.

    > The term “moral compass” is used sometimes for what Christianity can do.

    Yes it is. And I’ve said over and over, that’s not what I was saying. But for some reason you appear to want to argue about that. Kind of pointless. I think it’s because it is easy to throw mud. I grew up in the shadow of the iron curtain. I could throw mud back. But that’s really not my point, as I’ve said so many times now.

    > You seem to have conceded that yourself.

    I haven’t “conceded” anything. You’re trying to have an argument which is irrelevant to what I said.

    > So 1% of 30% were atheists. This would mean about .03% of the UK prison population was atheist.

    I’m fine for you to only include atheists who self-identify as atheists, but only so long as you as consistent with your definition. Apply the same criteria to the general population. The numbers of self-identifying atheists in the UK at the time was also less than one percent, and so the results aren’t statistically significant.

    But of course you *don’t* use that definition in the general population. You’ve already used a different definition a few comments ago (Zimmerman’s numbers). But let’s say you’re now saying Zimmerman is wrong, and only those who self-identify as atheist actually are atheist. It’s certainly not true that such a tiny population would have any impact at all on crime, divorce, or any other statistics at all.

    If you compare like for like (as I did) no religion against no religion, then it’s quite clear that those of no religion are over-represented in prison. Or to put it another way, those with religious belief are under-represented in prison. Either way, it’s not looking good for you, who is the one making the claim that it works the other way around.

    Oh, and like the crime statistics, the difference between red and blue states seems to have a much simpler explanation too. Like Australia, basically red states are often more rural, and comparatively less developed. Not exactly compelling.

    > Oh you mean that it’s ok in a time of war to kill women and children, how very moral?

    No. I’m saying you’re ignoring the context completely. You will ignore the Bible condemning murder (try here http://www.bible-topics.com/Murder.html), killing children, and instead of picked out of any context verses. For example, your most recent verse is a good example of doing that:

    > Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death… That would include children right ? Doesn’t say anyone over 18, just anyone.

    Right. The verse itself doesn’t say that a person has to be considered an adult. That comes from the *context*. It is only at someone’s bar mitzvah (their coming of age) that a Jewish person is considered old enough to understand the law. In fact bar mitzvah even means, “son of the law” or “subject to the law”. Even under regular Jewish law, children (like the two year olds we were talking about) couldn’t be put to death under this law. If you ignore (or even don’t know) any of the context, you might say that this means it’s okay to kill children.That’s kind of the point isn’t it? We shouldn’t ignore context.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar_mitzvah

  12. Austin 3:16 Says:

    Hey Chucky,

    ++ Last I checked nobody is claiming Richard Dawkins created the universe,

    Um duh nice straw-man.

    ++ For books that he wrote, I would expect to see his handiwork in them.

    Ok and as he’s a rational and intelligent man you find all his books absolutely compelling. Every single work Dawkins has ever produced makes complete sense to you because an intelligent mind has been behind the creation of those works.

    That’s essentially your argument with the universe right – it makes sense to you because an intelligent mind was behind its creation.

    Therefore all of Dawkins works must make sense. Therefore atheism makes sense. Right ? ? Oh hang on a sec you’ve agreed already that you don’t think atheism makes sense.

    Seems to me you’ve got it the wrong way round. The creations of an intelligent mind can quite easily be nonsensical.

    Here’s an example tides make sense to me, they are reliable, predictable and understandable. But there is no intelligent mind behind them.

    People can be unreliable, unpredictable and difficult to understand and there are intelligent minds behind them.

    If you want to make an argument of a reliable, predictable, understandable kind of universe then maybe that’s a sign of no intelligence behind it.

    ++ Or perhaps it doesn’t arise from a “magical” God, but the real God.

    The difference being? Magical and miraculous can be synonyms you know.

    ++ I’d have a lot of difficulty living in way which conflict with my beliefs about reality.

    Ok how would you live differently if you believed that this was a nihilistic existence? And why should that apply to everybody else.

    I see life as an experience not a puzzle. I doubt that would change regardless of my religious beliefs.

    ++ Morality

    Ok so Christianity can explain morality, it’s the only possible explanation for morality it’s the source of all morality on this earth. Without Christianity there is just no explanation for morality whatsoever, nil, none, nada, zip. You can see no possible reason that “people might value other people and want to live in a harmonious and co-operative fashion with them” apart from Christianity. Christianity is it, it’s all there is there is simply no other way of explaining morality.

    Yet there is no correlation at all between Christianity and morality. To suggest that that there should be a correlation between Christianity and morality is somehow slinging mud.

    That’s your position as I understand it.

    Christianity is the only explanation for morality but there is no correlation between Christianity and morality

    Makes a heap o sense that.

    ++The numbers of self-identifying atheists in the UK at the time was also less than one percent,

    And?? 0.9% is still less than one percent but it’s 30 times more than 0.03% . If the rate of Christians in prison was 30 times lower than in general society you’d be shouting that from the rooftops.

    ++and so the results aren’t statistically significant.

    Fantastic so you’ll immediately publish a retraction of your highly misleading “Atheists in prison” article.

    ++ But let’s say you’re now saying Zimmerman is wrong, and only those who self-identify as atheist actually are atheist.

    Firstly who is Zimmerman? And why am I saying he’s wrong? You still haven’t told my who he is and why you think his figures are wrong.

    ++ Like Australia, basically red states are often more rural, and comparatively less developed.

    And how does that explains divorce rates, teenage birthrates and on-line porn subscriptions etc? Can you get on-line porn without an internet connection? Seems to me that urban areas would have better internet connections thus more on-line porn. I’d also argue that there is more opportunity for both teen pregnancy and infidelity in a more urban environment than a rural one. (more infidelity more divorce)

    Much like the crime stats your explanation doesn’t really bear any close examination.

    ++ No. I’m saying you’re ignoring the context completely.

    Oh context is now important, killing women and children is a-ok in the right context.

    Why didn’t you say so before.

    It’s wrong for the likes of Dawkins try and justify anything but when it comes to the bible it’s absolutely vital that we put things in context.

    That’s incredibly hypocritical.

    ++ It is only at someone’s bar mitzvah (their coming of age) that a Jewish person is considered old enough to understand the law

    Thanks for the link to wikipedia on the bar mitzvah. It tells me that they normally occur around the age of 13, you know what I’d call a 13 year old – a child. The criminal law of this country would agree.

    Dance around the issue all you want but the bible says what it says.

    Or let me guess, much like the earlier examples of the wholesale slaughter of women and children you’ll now try and rationalise the killing of children. Is this so I can get the “the eery experience of having murder justified to me by an Christian”.
    The hypocrisy makes it even more eerie.

  13. Chucky Says:

    > Ok and as he’s a rational and intelligent man you find all his books absolutely compelling. Every single work Dawkins has ever produced makes complete sense to you because an intelligent mind has been behind the creation of those works.

    To some extent Dawkins is reflected in his work, and God’s can be reflected in his. Actually, as I wrote, I’m turned off by atheist apologists, and I think a lot of what they say (particularly when it comes to throwing dirt at religious ideas) is far from rational. But the point is, we agree that both are reflected in their works.

    > But there is no intelligent mind behind them.

    It’s totally obvious to me, like to Newton before he discovered his law, why there’d be the law of gravity governing tides if God exists, but I don’t see any particular reason on atheism.

    > The difference being?

    The difference being one’s just a derogatory term, and the other is reality.

    > And how does that explains divorce rates, teenage birthrates and on-line porn subscriptions etc? Can you get on-line porn without an internet connection?

    Well take your example of divorce rates. Of course being in a better economic situation causes less stress. Of course having easy access to people who can help is good, or living in the city as opposed to the country makes a difference. When you compare state against state, country against city, there’s many such social and economic differences.

    The point is that you have to *control* for these differences otherwise you get a biased study. To compare the effect of being atheist or Christian you have to compare people in similar situations, otherwise those other factors might have affect the outcome. And those studies have been done. Christian divorce rates are less. In particular, the strength of someone’s religious belief is a very strong indicator of their likelihood to divorce.

    But like almost all the ways you’re trying to argue about here, all of this is irrelevant to what I said.

    > Oh context is now important, killing women and children is a-ok in the right context.

    The point is that it doesn’t say “killing women and children is aok”. It says the opposite, saying hundreds of time that killing is wrong, and specifically that killing children is particularly harshly spoken about.

    > Why didn’t you say so before.

    I did.

    > It’s wrong for the likes of Dawkins try and justify anything but when it comes to the bible it’s absolutely vital that we put things in context.

    I think it’s vital both are in context. The point is that *in context* Singer does say it is moral to kill disabled two year olds.

    > Thanks for the link to wikipedia on the bar mitzvah. It tells me that they normally occur around the age of 13, you know what I’d call a 13 year old – a child.

    We can argue all you want about when people come of age – it differs country to country, and isn’t set in stone within either Judaism or Christianity. I’d guess most Christians (such as myself) would put it at 18. Obviously it’s older, 21, in the US, or and younger in parts of Europe and Asia. The basic principle remains the same. The principle is that you don’t apply penalties to people who are not considered an adults before you’re subject to the law. That’s the same in Jewish culture, our culture, and there’s examples of it in the Bible.

    But you know it’s not only that people have to be considered adults that you’re ignoring. You’re ignoring what Jesus himself said. You’re ignoring Galatians, Romans and Hebrews about how to interpret the OT law. You’re ignoring the whole point of Leviticus (the book you quoted at me) that there’s a sacrificial system ensuring there’s forgiveness for sins. You’re ignoring that in Christianity that Jesus took death on himself for us, dying in our place. You’re ignoring the calls for amnesty in Judaism even setting up cities for that purpose, and calls for forgiveness in Christianity, and Judaism. You’re ignoring the hundreds of verses I linked to against killing. You’re ignoring the harsh requirements under Jewish law for actually putting anyone to death, and well, you’re ignoring that people are loved by God, and made in his image… the list goes on.

    Look, I don’t disagree with you because I’m interested in defending Christianity. I disagree with you because you’re presenting clearly wrong views. Nobody teaches what you are saying, neither Christians nor Jews. They teach the opposite because they don’t verses out of all context. You might want to insist that Christianity teaches that we should be killing children, but you’re mad if you think that.

    I used to do the same, pick verses to throw mud at Christians. Kings was one of my favourite books. But after a while I started to realize that coming to things trying to throw mud, instead of making a genuine attempt to understand what’s being said is pointless. I hope you too will stop trying to throw mud, and instead start trying to genuinely understand what’s being said.

  14. Chucky Says:

    > Firstly who is Zimmerman? And why am I saying he’s wrong?

    I’m confused about this comment. He’s the guy you talked about earlier. But as it turns out, you disagree with his numbers, because you use a different definition of atheism – only those who self identify as atheists. I’m fine with that, but it would mean that you can’t say that, say, Sweden or the UK are particularly atheist societies. Only if you include the “no religion” people do atheists have any significant population at all. I’m okay with doing that. But if I do it in society, then I think you can use exactly the same standard for jails.

  15. Austin 3:16 Says:

    Hey Chucky,

    I mentioned Zuckerman, I have no idea who Zimmerman is what his methodologies are and why you keep bringing him up. Further why you can’t explain what the deficiencies with his methodologies are?

    ++ … a different definition of atheism – only those who self identify as atheists.

    I haven’t actually provided are used a definition at all. How about a bit of honesty please o moral Christian.

    I’ve just pointed out you can’t use atheism and no-religion interchangeably when it suits you to do so.

    Which is what you’ve done with your “atheists in prison” article. (ps I didn’t see the retraction is it still coming?)

    Especially when you’re comparing two very, very different survey methodologies. The 2001 census does not have atheism listed as a category at all. Yet you’ve used that as a comparison with the March 2000 report, Religion in Prisons which does have a category for atheism.

    It’s a fundamentally dishonest approach.

    The 2005 Eurobarometer poll asked the following questions.

    Whether the person:

    – believed “there is a God”
    – believed “there is some sort of spirit of life force”,
    – “didn’t believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force”.

    In Sweden some 23% of respondents indicated that they don’t believe in and sort of spirit, God or life force. Prima facie I’d say we could call them atheists.

    You’ll note that nowhere at all does the question ask what religion you belong to.

    I would define an atheist as somebody with no belief in God or gods. I wouldn’t define them as somebody who does not belong to any particular religion. It’s quite possible to believe in God and not consider yourself a member of a religion. I’ve had very devout Christians tell me that there not in a religion, there in a relationship with God. it’s quite possible to be part of a religion and not believe in God. Dakwins himself has identified as a “Cultural Christian”

    As the commentator Nicholas Moore said on July 28, 2012 at 11:20 pm” You can be non-religious and still believe in a god. No religion does not = atheist”

  16. Austin 3:16 Says:

    Hey Again Chucky

    ++ Actually, as I wrote, I’m turned off by atheist apologists, and I think a lot of what they say (particularly when it comes to throwing dirt at religious ideas) is far from rational

    Ok so the product of an intelligent mind can be irrational.

    Therefore if the universe was the product of an intelligent mind it may indeed appear irrational.

    Therefore the rationality of the universe is insufficient reason to assume an intelligent mind as the source of that universe.

    ++… but I don’t see any particular reason on atheism.

    What on earth is atheism to you? From my perspective it’s not physics, it’s not cosmology – and those are the kinds of fields that might have an explanation for gravity.

    ++ The difference being one’s just a derogatory term, and the other is reality

    Ok so apart from you not liking the term “magical” as it applies to God you have no other objection. Duly noted. Let’s just call him miraculous then. (same thing as magical but nicer)

    So how does a rational universe arise from a miraculous God?

    ++ Christian divorce rates are less.

    Got a source ? That’s certainly not what the Barna Research group found.

    ++ The point is that it doesn’t say “killing women and children is aok”. It says the opposite, saying hundreds of time that killing is wrong

    What bible are you talking about? Because the one I’ve read is replete with verses where killing people is a-ok. Mandated even.

    1 Samuel 15:3 “Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys”

    So God is telling his loyal followers to kill women and children an actual explicit command to kill them.

    ++ The point is that *in context* Singer does say it is moral to kill disabled two year olds.

    And God says stuff like “…They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open.” (Hosea 13:16)

    Not to mention when God just steps in and does the killing himself, such as the Egyptian first born or those ol child killing bears he sends.

    ++ We can argue all you want about when people come of age

    You mean you can try and justify biblical commandments to kill children. Terrible when Singer does it ok when the bible does it.

    ++ Nobody teaches what you are saying, neither Christians nor Jews.

    AND who teaches what Singer says – who’s out there teaching that it’s ok to kill to infants.

    This is another incredibly hypocritical rant of yours. Any atrocity in the bible and you’ll go to amazing lengths to justify it.

    Here’s an example Singer gives

    “Samuel Linares, an infant, swallowed a small object that stuck in his windpipe, causing a loss of oxygen to the brain. He was admitted to a Chicago hospital in a coma and placed on a respirator. Eight months later he was still comatose, still on the respirator, and the hospital was planning to move Samuel to a long-term care unit. Shortly before the move, Samuel’s parents visited him in the hospital. His mother left the room, while his father produced a pistol and told the nurse to keep away. He then disconnected Samuel from the respirator, and cradled the baby in his arms until he died. When he was sure Samuel was dead, he gave up his pistol and surrendered to police. He was charged with murder, but the grand jury refused to issue a homicide indictment, and he subsequently received a suspended sentence on a minor charge arising from the use of the pistol.”

    So would you condemn this father?

  17. Chucky Says:

    > I mentioned Zuckerman, I have no idea who Zimmerman is what his methodologies are and why you keep bringing him up

    Oh, my apologies, Zuckerman. Too many German names. The point is you use a very stringent criteria within jails, and a lax one outside of it.

    > I haven’t actually provided are used a definition at all

    You’re using two different criteria. Inside jails you only include those who self-identify as atheists as atheists. Outside jails you’ve claimed virtually everyone who possibly could. Zuckerman for example, does include these people and more. I’m happy for you to use one or the other, but don’t use one standard for society, and a different one for jails.

    I’ve used “no religion”, as a proxy for atheism, which is pretty standard in the UK. Unlike your claim that the census does have a spot to mark that you’re atheist, it actually does, you can write you are atheist (and in fact you can write whatever you like, including Jedi). However, the number who write that they are atheist is insignificantly small (as it also is in jails). Most atheists use “no religion”. And so I, Dawkins and the National Secular Society all have used “no religion” as a proxy for atheism. I’m using a consistent definition in both jails and general society.

    > What on earth is atheism to you? From my perspective it’s not physics, it’s not cosmology – and those are the kinds of fields that might have an explanation for gravity.

    Atheism is the lack of belief in God or gods. The point of the article is that if I think God exists, I expect physics to work. I expect there to be a rational explanation. I don’t see a similar reason if I don’t believe God or gods exist.

    > Therefore if the universe was the product of an intelligent mind it may indeed appear irrational.

    Sure, people are fallen. We all *are* irrational, even if we like to think of ourselves as totally rational. It’s clear that people can be intelligent and irrational, intelligent and immoral, or whatever else. In fact, I’d say we all are.

    I wouldn’t expect to understand everything, but like the fathers of science, I certainly wouldn’t think that there’s no particular explanation.

    > So how does a rational universe arise from a miraculous God?

    Good question, and we’re working on that. It’s what we call science.

    > Christian divorce rates are less.

    I’ve been thinking of writing an article about this, because it’s something I looked into. Basically the story is that Barna found that the same numbers of Christians and non-Christians are divorced. The point though, is that Christians have a much higher marriage rate (from memory, around 80% to around 60% for atheists) and so per marriage, Christians do significantly better. The alternative which makes atheist rates of marriage less (defacto relationships) has a far higher breakdown rate than either. When you look closer, it’s even more interesting. Basically what happens is that the more seriously you take your religious beliefs, the lower the divorce rate. Those who are “nominal” Christians have much the same divorce rate (slightly worse for some groups, slightly better for others) per marriage as atheists, but those who take their beliefs more seriously do better. Check out this book for example,

    http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-13800-0/american-religions-and-the-family/

    Which reports that Christians who take their belief more seriously are some 35% less likely to divorce than atheists, serious catholics have a 31% lower divorce rate.

    > So God is telling his loyal followers to kill women and children an actual explicit command to kill them… “Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys”

    Sure. You take this as a commandment from God that we should kill women and children. In contrast, I take it in the obvious way, that in Saul’s time, Samuel (who is the one talking), was in favour of fighting back against the Amelekites who had been massacring them. The context this is a historical narrative, not of presenting the law (which is the first five books). If you’ll read a little further you’ll start to see even more of the dangers of taking historical narrative as commands. David, who is Israel’s great king, has the husband of a cute woman killed, so that he can marry her.

    > And God says stuff like “…They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open.”

    It’s a warning, that if they don’t stop doing evil, then not only will their country continue to go to the toilet, but Assyria will invade, and all sorts of terrible things happen.

    “If you do do x, then y will happen” is a command? It’s certainly not a command to do the consequences, it’s a warning to avoid them. It’s like if I tell you, “Don’t put your hand on the hotplate or your will be burned”. You come along and just quote me as saying “your hand will be burned” as an example of what a horrible person I am, wanting your hand to be burned. Actually I want the opposite, that your hand isn’t burned.

    > You mean you can try and justify biblical commandments to kill children.

    Except that you haven’t actually pointed out any Biblical commands to kill children. You have only pointed out two commands, one of them was *explicitly* against killing children (ooops), and the other had nothing to do with children, but did condemn murder. The rest of this seems to be a throwing dirt session.

    > So would you condemn this father?

    That’s certainly not the action I would have taken if I was the father of that baby. In contrast, I would be doing everything I could so my baby could recover. In the UK, some 43% of diagnoses of being in a permanent vegetative state have turned out to be incorrect. Some 60% of children thought in a vegetative state end up surviving. If, in the end, I lost that battle, so be it, but I wouldn’t let him go down without a fight. I certainly wouldn’t have been killing him myself!

    I would hope that he would grow up to be strong and healthy, but if he didn’t and was disabled in some way for life, I would still love him and protect him. Diasabled, handicapped and retarted people have real value, a value which comes from God and is independent of their economic worth.

    Singer justified infanticide saying,

    > In that case, while caring for him would have been a great and no doubt futile burden for the family, and in the Linares case, a drain on the state’s limited medical resources as well, the infants were not suffering, and death could not be said to be in, or contrary to, their interests.

    He was wrong on a number of points. He says if was “no doubt futile”. In fact this happened, and today he’s protested by real people who he would have had killed as babies. As I say, some 43% of diagnoses of being in a permanent vegetative state (in the UK) are wrong. In the first six months, some 50% of adults and 60% of children recover, and even after a year, some 14% of people come good. fMRI has shown some 20% of people in this state are conscious, even able respond to questions.

    He says it is “a drain on the state’s limited medical resources as well” and of course he’s right. People are a drain on the state’s resources. And on atheism, economic worth is the only worth someone has. For young and healthy people, that’s an ok attitude to have, but for anyone who’s in a vulnerable position, the elderly, the young, the vulnerable such as the disabled or diseased, that’s a real problem. People like Dawkins and Singer can pontificate that they have no value, from their academic towers but that’s sickening to me. On Christianity it’s the opposite. Disabled people are valued. People who are retarded are valued. Your value doesn’t come from your economic worth, but from love.

    And finally he says that taking someone’s life without their consent is fine, because, “the infants were not suffering, and death could not be said to be in, or contrary to, their interests”. So basically because you can kill people painlessly, it can’t be said to be against their interests. They won’t feel anything after all. I feel sick at that view. Murder, he is saying, is fine. If someone doesn’t feel it, no problem. Unless killing someone hurts them, then they have no interests. How amazingly warped is that?!


  18. “Singer justified infanticide saying,

    > In that case, while caring for him would have been a great and no doubt futile burden for the family, and in the Linares case, a drain on the state’s limited medical resources as well, the infants were not suffering, and death could not be said to be in, or contrary to, their interests.”

    That’s exactly why animals kill their young–if it’s a burden to their own well being and on their social group. The difference is that animals have an excuse–their limited cognitive capacity to function around this “burden” leave them with no other choice than to kill or allow their offspring to die. Human beings have no such excuse. But that doesn’t stop moral relativists from trying to bring us down to the lowest levels of thinking. To attempt to literally DEHUMANIZE us.

  19. Austin 3:16 Says:

    Hey synapticcohesion

    Of great more “hypotheticals” somebody just made up.

    However in the real world altruism in the animal kingdom has been well documented

    As but one example

    http://www.med.wisc.edu/news-events/learning-from-the-disabled-of-the-animal-kingdom/997

    Since the 1950s, scientists have seen that some macaque monkeys in Japan have significant rates of physical disabilities.

    “Although one study found that infant mortality for macaques with disabilities was three times that of those without malformations, maternal ‘caretaking’ evidently overrules natural selection, as many of the young monkeys survive,” he says.

    What the young disabled monkeys are surviving because adults care for them.


  20. Austin:

    I’m curious about these “disabilities” that these macaques have been inflicted with. Could they be disabilities that do not impair their ability to function within their social structure? Are the offspring still functional? Or do they continue to help the most helpless of their offspring–those that are paralyzed, blind, mentally impaired, cannot walk, etc.?

  21. Austin 3:16 Says:

    Hi

    ++ Could they be disabilities that do not impair their ability to function within their social structure?

    I guess they could it depends what you mean by impair. It would be hard to imagine disabilities without impairment though. Disabled and impared would be synonyms wouldn’t they?

    ++ Or do they continue to help the most helpless of their offspring–those that are paralyzed, blind, mentally impaired, cannot walk, etc.?

    You realise that they are monkeys right? How would you differentiate between capacity and intention?


  22. My point is that you macaque example is probably flawed. Animals do not kill their young unnecessarily or because of minor physical flaws. They are not concerned with that. They are concerned with propagating themselves. They kill only when they see their offspring as a liability to their own survival or if they deem their offspring to be hopeless (and therefore a target for predators and a danger to themselves).

    “You realise that they are monkeys right? How would you differentiate between capacity and intention?”

    My point exactly. Animals are limited by their mental and physical capabilities. Humans are not, and have no excuse. Yet many are making excuses to discard unwanted children and children with physical and health challenges like nothing more than offal or garbage. To rendered or thrown away.

  23. Austin 3:16 Says:

    synapticcohesion

    ++ My point is that you macaque example is probably flawed.

    Is this another of your infamous hypotheticals? Or do you have anything that can substantiate that claim?

    ++ Animals are limited by their mental and physical capabilities.

    Exactly. It’s not as though mum and dad zebra can have a carbon prosthesis fitted to a disabled youngster.

    ++ Yet many are making excuses to discard unwanted children and children with physical and health challenges like nothing more than offal or garbage.

    So how many disabled children do you have or how many do you care for?


  24. “So how many disabled children do you have or how many do you care for?”

    How is that relevant? My reference is to the killing of unborn children for excuses that only animals have. I would never choose to kill an unborn child simply because they had a terminal health challenge or a disability. That would be extremely selfish, wouldn’t it?

  25. Austin 3:16 Says:

    Hey synapticcohesion,

    I was just wondering if you’d ever had any actual experience of the people you’re so keen to judge.

    And I guess that’s a big NO then. It’s just amazing that you have such insights as to what their motivations are. Let me guess it’s yet another hypothetical?

    Some people might thing that prolonging suffering is wrong or even selfish.


  26. Suppose you have a pet and tests showed that your monkey’s/dog’s/cat’s fetus shows signs of a health issue or physical deformity. What would you (and likely most people) do in this case? Let the monkey/dog/cat deliver their offspring and try your best to help it survive (and possibly thrive) for as long as possible? Or immediately have the vet bring out the vacuum and prongs so he can forcibly and brutally remove the fetus from the mother in gruesome pieces?

    Why do many people seem to hold animals to a higher standard than they do themselves?

  27. Austin 3:16 Says:

    synapticcohesion,

    Had a dog once, a dear ol spaniel he was the kind of dog who was a boys best companion. A lovely, generous, kind ol fella, heart the size o texas. In many ways he had more laudable attributes than most people I know. But time passes and as with all of us he got older, and frailer. He still had a very comfortable existence with people who loved and cared for him. Until he started howing and “sobbing” a little at first then more or more. The vet told us he had cancer that was marginally operable. A very young dog might survive. But an old dog would not. The caner would progress but the pain would get worse and worse for him, and there was pretty much nothing that could be done about it. One of the saddest days of my life was his last trip to the vet we had the whole family in tears. To let the ol fella linger in worsening pain would have been much easier for us – but much much harder for him.

    ++ Re your hypothetical “What would you (and likely most people) do in this case?”

    I’d listen to the advice the vet is giving me. I’d weigh up what was best for the mother, the likely impact on her health – or impact on her future fertility. And I’d be guided by that advice.

    AS to your human example you have no clue what you’re talking about do you? It’s a situation you’ve never ever ever been in right?

    It’s just yet another invented “hypothetical”. Another made up story that you’re using to justify your view of the world. You’re boiling down an incredibly complex issue into black and white choices. Well maybe that suits your hypothetical but reality doesn’t work like that.


  28. At least in the example with your dog, you had given him a chance at life. A chance to show you hat he is actually suffering after some time. A baby under the hands of abortionist never has that chance. You basically taking a doctor’s word for it–as though they are never wrong. Never make mistakes.


  29. I apologize for the various typos (above).

  30. Austin 3:16 Says:

    Hey synapticcohesion

    ++ A baby under the hands of abortionist never has that chance.

    It seems to me that you have a view in your head that pregnancy = baby.

    That’s not always the case for some folk pregnancy = heartbreak, sorrow and loss. They get a series of awful options and have to choose the least worst.

    Sometimes there was never a chance to begin with.

    ++You basically taking a doctor’s word for it–as though they are never wrong.

    Well except for getting a second opinion or a third, or running every test everybody can think of. Some people do go through that.

    A tubal ectopic or anencephaly or some of trisomy’s etc etc are never, ever going to have a good outcome.


  31. We’re talking about situations of convenience, finance, and dealing with disabilities that lead to aborting a child in the womb, not about tubal ectopic pregnancies.

    Your tubal ectopic pregnancy example is a moot point, as it is unlikely that the baby can develop properly much less survive and it will cause suffering to both the mother and the fetus. Most of the time, the fallopian tube will either rupture (causing internal bleeding and requiring surgery for the mother), or the non-viable embryo will be expelled by the fallopian tube earlier on–either way, the baby will not survive. It is tragic, but this is what happens in pregnancies that occur outside of the womb.

    As far as your anencephaly and Down Syndrome examples go, it would be an atrocity to abort a child in a viable pregnancy without giving him or her a chance. The child with anencephaly will not likely have long to live, so what is the difference? Other than torture and death by dismemberment or being allowed to eventually die of natural causes. I’ve seem many happy and productive adults with Down Syndrome so it is a tragic statistic to see that the UK and Europe aborts up to 90% of babies afflicted with this genetic disorder.

  32. Austin 3:16 Says:

    Hey there synapticcohesion

    ++We’re talking about situations of convenience, finance, and dealing with disabilities that lead to aborting a child in the womb,

    We are? That’s surprising. We started by talking about morality in the animal kingdom. More recently we were talking about a baby’s chance at life. What’s the matter you shifting the goalposts because things weren’t in line with your hypotheticals ?

    Regards that ectopic, surely the best option would be to chemically abort the embryo ASAP before it poses a threat to the mother’s life or fertility?

    ++As far as your anencephaly and Down Syndrome examples go,

    Can’t actually see where I’ve given Down Syndrome as an example at all. Again how’s about a tiny bit of honesty. What is it with you Christian types and the fibs?

    ++, it would be an atrocity to abort a child in a viable pregnancy without giving him or her a chance. The child with anencephaly will not likely have long to live, so what is the difference?

    Ok so the anencephalic doesn’t actually have a chance – but we should give it that chance anyway. Naturally death is fine (regardless of any suffering or pain) but death via medical attention is wrong.

    I wouldn’t let a dog linger and suffer but you seem to be suggesting that it’s ok for humans to do that.

    You know there’s another person involved here – she’s called the mother. I’d say in this case we should be considering her health needs first.

    I’ve re-read your comments and I can’t see one single expression of concern at all for the health and well-being of the mother? Why is that ?


  33. Austin (I will respond to your other questions at a later time):

    “Regards that ectopic, surely the best option would be to chemically abort the embryo ASAP before it poses a threat to the mother’s life or fertility?”

    No because that not what usually happens. Women don’t usually know that an ectopic pregnancy–or any pregnancy–has occurred until it is too late. “Too late” meaning a there is a rupture and/or spontaneous abortion has occurred. And in case of a rupture or any other injury to the mother, of course I agree that she should get surgery for her injury and to remove any any part of the embryo as is it dead and has no way to live and develop outside of the womb. And most women are able to have more children without problems after such ruptures occur; so again, your hypothetical about preventative abortions is moot.

    “Ok so the anencephalic doesn’t actually have a chance – but we should give it that chance anyway. Naturally death is fine (regardless of any suffering or pain) but death via medical attention is wrong.”

    I think empathy is key here. If you had to choose between YOUR dying of natural causes via being taken off of life support and having your body sustain itself until it no longer can, or being doused in battery acid (or another chemical solvent) or being dismembered piece by piece–which would you choose for YOURSELF?

  34. Austin 3:16 Says:

    Hey synapticcohesion

    ++ Women don’t usually know that an ectopic pregnancy–or any pregnancy–has occurred until it is too late.

    Well unless there’s any pain, or bleeding or she has an early scan, or if her hormone levels aren’t progressing as they should etc.

    ++ And most women are able to have more children without problems after such ruptures occur;

    Oh please if such a rupture occurs then one of her fallopian tubes is gone. It’s a major issue in regards to future fertility.

    Let me guess this is yet another one of your fairy tale “hypotheticals”.

    ++ I think empathy is key here.

    Yep and it’s weird how all yours is for a life that will never be rather than for the lives that are. Why is all your empathy for the foetus that will never live, rather than the parents that do? You talk about empathy while you’re showing none. You’re willing to sit in comfort and condemn people when you have absolutely no idea what they are going though.

    Empathy, please give me a break.

    ++ If you had to choose between YOUR dying of natural causes via being taken off of life support and having your body sustain itself until it no longer can, or being doused in battery acid (or another chemical solvent) or being dismembered piece by piece–which would you choose for YOURSELF?

    If I’m brain dead then I don’t care. Further as I don’t have any health care directions or living wills etch then it would not be my decision. Whatever is the best for those who are making the decision would be my primary concern.


  35. “Well unless there’s any pain, or bleeding or she has an early scan, or if her hormone levels aren’t progressing as they should etc.”

    Is that one of your own hypotheticals, or are you basing this on statistical data? My comment on women having successful pregnancies after ectopic pregnancies is a fact based on the data and knowing people who have had successful pregnancies after an ectopic incident.

    “Why is all your empathy for the foetus that will never live, rather than the parents that do?”

    This is a false statement; we were speaking of aborting children due to disabilities and for other reasons such as being financial burdens. A topic that was brought up because I commented on this quote:

    “Singer justified infanticide saying,

    > In that case, while caring for him would have been a great and no doubt futile burden for the family, and in the Linares case, a drain on the state’s limited medical resources as well, the infants were not suffering, and death could not be said to be in, or contrary to, their interests.”

    Please remember that–and stay on topic.

    “++ If you had to choose between YOUR dying of natural causes via being taken off of life support and having your body sustain itself until it no longer can, or being doused in battery acid (or another chemical solvent) or being dismembered piece by piece–which would you choose for YOURSELF?

    If I’m brain dead then I don’t care. Further as I don’t have any health care directions or living wills etch then it would not be my decision. Whatever is the best for those who are making the decision would be my primary concern.”

    “Brain dead” most certainly doesn’t mean you cannot suffer physically.

    And being concerned about the baby not having to suffer torture does not mean that I have no concern for the well being of the mother. That is a false dichotomy that you created yourself. Unnecessarily.

  36. Austin 3:16 Says:

    Heya synapticcohesion

    There are symptoms that may be present with an ectopic pregnancy. There are ways to diagnose such a pregnancy. To suggest otherwise is beyond “hypothetical” and simply denial of reality.

    Ectopic can be an issue in regards future fertility. (It’s why treatment with methotrexate is in many ways the better option). It’s not the only issue but it’s an issue.

    ++ we were speaking of aborting children due to disabilities and for other reasons such as being financial burdens.

    No we weren’t but I can see why you’d want to create such an artificial straw-man.

    ++A topic that was brought up because I commented on this quote:

    You started with the quote from Singer and then made up some balderdash about the animal kingdom. Then you got very confused as to what “disabilities” means. Then we discussed your complete lack of experience on the topic. etc etc But hey considering how poorly this discussion is going for you then I can understand why you’d want to restrict it. Maybe you should just make up some hypothetical guidelines for Chucky’s blog.

    ++“Brain dead” most certainly doesn’t mean you cannot suffer physically.

    It still means I don’t care, it means that the decision isn’t mine and it means that my wellbeing should not be the priority for making the decision.

    ++ And being concerned about the baby not having to suffer torture does not mean that I have no concern for the well being of the mother. That is a false dichotomy that you created yourself.

    You do know what a false dichotomy is right? Maybe you should google it.

    ++ does not mean that I have no concern for the well being of the mother

    Well you’ve certainly made it clear that it’s not your priority. Regardless how desperate or unviable the pregnancy is it seems that the pregnancy should always take priority over the mother.
    It reads as though the only purpose or role for women on this earth is breeding stock.

    If you were indeed empathetic then you would have concerns for the parents and what they are going though as well as for the foetus. Rather than merely sitting in judgement.


  37. “You do know what a false dichotomy is right? Maybe you should google it.”

    I already know what it means. You obviously don’t, so I will explain.

    You created a “false dichotomy” because you created a false dilemma, a false choice between the life and/or well-being of the mother or the baby. More often than not, there doesn’t need to be a choice because the baby can be delivered without harm to the mother. You–and many doctors–often create this false dilemma (I’m using a word that may be more familiar to you), but the fact is that many women choosing to deliver their baby anyway do not die nor did they harm their own health.

    I recently saw such a scenario (in a Dawkins video no less). The doctors told the mother that the baby is missing a vital organ and recommended that the mother abort her baby for her own well being. Because she could feel her baby move around in her womb, she decided not to take the doctor’s advice as she felt that that would be a cruel choice (not to mention parents always have hope). She delivered her baby and although her baby did not make it, both parents were able to remember and appreciate the child that they lost. Despite the scare tactics, the mother suffered no harm to her health by choosing to deliver her baby naturally. Not only did the parents get to avoid a costly, cruel, and unnecessary surgery; they got to see their otherwise perfectly formed baby, hold him/her, take pictures, etc.

    You may automatically agree to have a doctor amputate a part of your body due to an infection. The rest of us will get several opinions, use common sense, and not place all of our faith in someone simply because they are a doctor. Doctors are humans too. They make mistakes. They have moral failings. And, although many may believe that they are; they are not God.

  38. Austin 3:16 Says:

    Hey synapticcohesion

    ++ You created a “false dichotomy” because you created a false dilemma, a false choice between the life and/or well-being of the mother or the baby.

    Nope, that would be you making stuff up. All I’ve said is that the health of the mother is one of the considerations when making a decision.

    I know it doesn’t seem to be a consideration of yours but still I think it’s the kind of thing that reasonable people would take into account.

    As pointed out there are even times (such as that ectopic) when the well-being of the embryo is irrelevant.

    ++ many women choosing to deliver their baby anyway do not die nor did they harm their own health.

    Good for them, they made a choice they felt comfortable with and went with that choice. What kind of idiot would condemn anybody for that

    The couple that you’ve mentioned made a choice, others might have made a different one.

    ++ The rest of us will get several opinions, use common sense, and not place all of our faith in someone simply because they are a doctor.

    Ok so what happens when all over those several opinions say the same thing ? What’s the point of getting several opinions if you’re going to ignore them if it suits you?

    I’m alive today because I followed the advice of my doctor so yeah I do put a bit of a store in medical opinions. It’s certainly better than trusting in mythology.

    ++ Despite the scare tactics…

    Yeah you’ve gotta watch those scare tactics, why doctors will tell you not to smoke, to maintain a certain weight, to exercise and eat well etc.

    Generally there’s a reason a doctor gives you advice.


  39. “++ Despite the scare tactics…

    Yeah you’ve gotta watch those scare tactics, why doctors will tell you not to smoke, to maintain a certain weight, to exercise and eat well etc.

    Generally there’s a reason a doctor gives you advice.”

    Funny you should mention doctors and smoking, as many doctors used to recommend certain cigarettes and promote smoking. Many doctors themselves were chain smokers. But, hey, doctors “know best.”

  40. Austin 3:16 Says:

    Hey synapticcohesion,

    Yeah and at one stage they thought demonic possession caused mental illness, used leaches and didn’t believe in washing their hands between examining patients either.

    And? Medical science works.

    You’re getting to the “straw clutching” stage of the discussion.

    ‘well, I know a woman and she had a terrible headache, and then she rubbed a cat on her head, do you know, two days later her headache was gone!’
    Dara Ó Briain


  41. “Yeah and at one stage they thought demonic possession caused mental illness, used leaches and didn’t believe in washing their hands between examining patients either.

    And? Medical science works.”

    Wow, you even ADMIT to the quackery displayed by the medical scientific establishment, yet you still defend them and maintain that they know best. That is true faith.

  42. Austin 3:16 Says:

    Hey again, synapticcohesion

    Well actually I said that “Medical science works”

    What part of that didn’t you understand? Or is it just that you’ve run out of anything useful to say? Oh who am I kidding you ran out 4 or 5 comments ago.

  43. Austin 3:16 Says:

    Hey Chucky

    +++ You’re using two different criteria. Inside jails you only include those who self-identify as atheists as atheists. Outside jails you’ve claimed virtually everyone

    Nope my criteria is simple and consistent. People who don’t believe in God are atheists. Simple as that. If you’d read Zuckerman’s work you’d see in “Society Without God” he relies on other qualitative research to determine that Nordic societies are highly atheistic.

    You’re criteria is sometimes people with no religion are atheists, sometimes only those who identify as atheists are atheists. Whatever seems to give you the best result at the time.

    +++ Unlike your claim that the census does have a spot to mark that you’re atheist, it actually does, you can write you are atheist (and in fact you can write whatever you like, including Jedi)

    Yep you can – those numbers don’t appear to be collated anywhere so they are pretty useless though. Pretty irrelevant bringing it up even.

    +++ Most atheists use “no religion”.

    Got a citation for that ? I’d imagine that if there was no other option most atheists would use “no religion” HOWEVER so might many believers in God that did not see themselves aligned to any particular religious group. It’s possible that a “no religion” category includes both atheists and believers. Here’s a citation from yourself

    According to the March 2000 report, Religion in Prisons, 31.9% of inmates claimed to have “no religion”, of whom 0.2% who specifically answered that they were “atheists” and 0.1% who answered that they were “agnostic”.

    So .02% are atheists while 31.9% have no religion.

    +++ I’m using a consistent definition in both jails and general society.

    Nope.

    +++ It’s clear that people can be intelligent and irrational, intelligent and immoral, or whatever else.

    Yep the product of a rational mind can be irrational. Therefore to say a rational universe MUST be the product of a rational mind is in itself irrational.

    +++ The point of the article is that if I think God exists, I expect physics to work.

    Why – IF God exists then physics will only work if and when he wants to. The walls of a city might fall down at the drop of a hat just because somebody blows a trumpet. A fella might be able to live inside a whale for a few days etc etc. You might be able to stand unharmed in a furnace. Heck even biology isn’t consistent with God – strength gets related to hair length.

    +++ Good question, and we’re working on that. It’s what we call science.

    It’s what you call science, I doubt very much that the dictionary defines things that way.

    +++ Except that you haven’t actually pointed out any Biblical commands to kill children.

    Well nothing that you recognise anyway. Even when the bible gives a specific instruction as to when an how children can be killed you are able to rationalise that away.

    “…. context this is a historical narrative” and other such justifications.

    +++ David, who is Israel’s great king, has the husband of a cute woman killed, so that he can marry her

    Yeah and how did the lord react to that HE KILLS DAVID’s CHILD. There are examples in the bible where God steps in himself to kill children. I’ll await your explanation as to why that’s ok.

    +++ That’s certainly not the action I would have taken if I was the father of that baby.

    That wasn’t what I asked. (nice straw man though) what I asked was would you condemn this father ?

  44. Matthew Stolz Says:

    This blog is dumb. Since you are not an atheist, nor have you ever been, you are incapable of seeing things from an atheistic perspective. While you are trying to pretend in this little experiment of yours that you don’t believe in God you are STILL BELIEVING IN GOD! Your experiment is flawed, you can’t reason without a bias if you still have that bias.


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