Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Domino Theory

The fossils have led to evolution.
Evolution has led to atheism.
Atheism has led to psychopathy.
Psychopathy leads to death, either through war, murder, suicide, abortion, addictions or failure to have children.

The purpose of this blog is to stop the dominos from the beginning, to provide a different interpretation of fossils and to redirect mankind away from death and toward life, peace and happiness.


BrooklynWolf said...

Actually, I have a better tack to take...

God led to religion
Religion has led to war
War has led to death, rape, mutilation, etc.

Surely you don't think we should dump God because of this, correct?

The Wolf

jewish philosopher said...

"Religion has led to war"

That's true if you are in an alcoholic haze like Christopher Hitchens for example. I think most historians would beg to differ.

Probably 90% of all wars had nothing to do with any sort of monotheistic religion. Actually, Zionism for example has always been a primarily secular movement and Israeli yeshiva students are constantly criticized as "draft dodgers" because they don't serve in the Israeli army. In the United States, no more than a handful of Orthodox Jews serve in the armed forces, and they are chaplains not combatants.

BrooklynWolf said...

Actually, I would think that most historians would agree with me. Religion *has* led to war. Or are the Crusades (just to give an example) just a minor skirmish?

Even if I take your fact that 90% of war has nothing to do with religion (which may or may not be true), then 10% of wars *do* have to do with religion. Therefore religion *has* led to war.

The point of all this is that just because A leads to B doesn't mean that A is, in and of itself, bad. Saying that "evolution has led to atheism" doesn't really mean anything. There are evolutionists who are atheists and there are those who do believe in God.

Lastly, it should be pointed out that whether evolution is true or false has nothing to do with what it leads to. Whether it leads to eternal bliss or hell on earth has no bearing on it's factuality. So, in reality, your whole post is meaningless. Even if I grant all your points (that fossils and evolution lead to murder/suicide, etc.) it still doesn't affect whether or not evolution is true.

The Wolf

Child Ish Behavior said...

It is posts like these that lead people to believe that you can not truly be serious. If I were writing a joke, the domino theory would probably be it. The string of causality is so far fetched as to be preposterous. There are many things that cause people to kill and murder and choose not to have children. Not all of them caused by psychopathic tendencies. There are many types of people that can turn to psychopathy, not just Atheists. And there are many reasons people become atheists, not just evolution. Not all people are intellectual atheists, some people just don't believe in a higher power. And fossils don't leading to evolution, well God put them there in the first place so you should put a line before that saying, God leads to fossils. What happens to your domino effect then? Reinterpretation of fossils may solve the problem for .0000001%
if that many.

Anonymous said...

I read that according to "The Encyclopedia of War" there have been over 2000 wars in recorded history. Less than 200 can be cosedred wars of religion. And many for many of those wars of religion, religion was a factor but not the only factor. The Crusades for example were as much about controlling land, trade and loot as much as they were about religion.

Anonymous said...

I just recenyl fininshed reading "The Irrational Atheist by Vox Day. It contains alist of 52 atheistic mass murderers. Each one was responsible for at least 20,000 non-martial murders. There were more mass muderers, but they didn't make the cut because they didn't kill 20,000 people. It seems time everytime atheists run a country, they commit mass murder. They haven't gotten it right yet. There have been thousands of theistic kngs, princes, emperors, etc. Most of them never killed anybody. And the biggest mass murderers were atheists. So atheists kill more than theists, both in total, and per capita. So if histroy is any indication, if the world becomes atheistic, we can expect to see a marked increase in mass murder.

jewish philosopher said...

“are the Crusades (just to give an example) just a minor skirmish?”

Compared to the Second World War, the Crusades were a food fight in a summer camp.

“Therefore religion *has* led to war.”

Who said it hasn’t? I’m not defending all religion. I am attacking atheism.

“it still doesn't affect whether or not evolution is true.”

I have another post proving that evolution is false.

“There are many things that cause people to kill and murder”

I didn’t say there aren’t. However Orthodox Jews seem to be very rarely affected by those causes.

In regards to the fossils being the basis for evolution, let me quote Ernst Mayr, probably the leading evolutionist of recent times. In his book “What Evolution Is” page 13 he writes “The most convincing evidence for the occurrence of evolution is the discovery of extinct organisms in older geological strata.” Obviously, if there were no fossils, there would be no evolution.

In regards to evolution being the basis for atheism, the most well known atheist today, Richard Dawkins, has said “My personal feeling is that understanding evolution led me to atheism.”

In regards to atheism leading to psychopathy and psychopathy leading to death, look at modern European history. In 1882 Nietzsche said “God is dead.” What followed? World War I and II, the Ukrainian famine, the Gulag, the Holocaust, and today less dramatically but no less lethally, drug abuse, alcoholism, suicide and failure to have children. The indigenous inhabitants of Europe are becoming extinct.

jewish philosopher said...

Incidentally, this process need not happen in one generation. For example, one person might be Orthodox. His children might be modern Orthodox, accepting theistic evolution. His children might be agnostic secular humanists. His children might be complete atheists. His children might be psychopaths and they might have no children.

bankman said...

winner: Wolf.

nice job tearing mister JP to shreads.


that is embaressing

Yeshivish Atheist said...

Awesome post JP! Keep up the good work.

jewish philosopher said...

"that is embaressing"

Even more embarrassing if you learn to spell.

Joseph said...

The bloody revolutions that might be attributed to atheism predated Charles Darwin (for example, the French Revolution).

You might be on stronger ground if you attributed Darwin's theories to the revolutionary impulse.

jewish philosopher said...

The French Revolutionaries believed in God.

onionsoupmix said...

Yeah, boruch hashem, all extremist crazy fanatical muslims aren't atheists. Who knows what they would do then? Maybe they would even blow themselves up in a jihad for Darwin. Or perhaps they would try to fly airplanes into buildings. Wouldn't want that.

jewish philosopher said...

Well, as readers of this blog may have noticed, I'm not a big fan of Islam either.

This post says atheism is bad. That doesn't mean everything else is good.

DrJ said...

"Well, as readers of this blog may have noticed, I'm not a big fan of Islam either.
This post says atheism is bad. That doesn't mean everything else is good."

Herein lies the confusion in your anti-atheism polemic.

Basically all of the ills that you attribute to atheism, you readily admit, are really ills of everybody except ultra-orthodox Jews. Non-orthodox Jews, Christians, Muslim, atheists are all essentially guilty of occasional mass mental illness, mass murder, broken families and addictions (except maybe the Amish). Since atheism is really only a phenomenon of the past 150 years it stands to reason that historically some of the perpetrators of crimes will happen to be atheists. (Just as medieval criminals will have happened to be believers in God)

So your problem isn't really with atheism, its with anything that is not ultra-orthodox Judaism. Atheism, it seems, is just more threatening to you because it provides a very powerful exit mechanism from ultra-orthodoxy. The other things on the aforementioned list are simply not threatening, as intellectually they aren't really viable alternatives.

jewish philosopher said...

Look at it like this. Let's say a doctor writes an article and says "Don't smoke. Smoking causes cancer."

You could argue "Well, a lot of things cause cancer!" and you would be right, however that doesn't make smoking OK.

bankman said...

Dr. J - weel sayd.

JP, yoo ar reelly lookin stoopid

quit wile yoo ar a head

jewish philosopher said...


Anonymous said...

I am so sorry, but I fear to reading less in your blog in the future, why? because time is more worth spending on serious posts. And with serious posts I am talking about men and women that are studying the real world and not the world inside your head. It seemes as you go no further than wikipedia when weather you are reading about Atheism, biologi, psycology, psycopathy, and last but not least study upon the theory (facts) of evolution.
So to give you some advices, start of by reading something that is written by those whom their articles lies in their proffession.
And please take os your "glasses" before reading it.
" The one who critisice his own thoughts is the intelligent one"

/A near friend of yours...

jewish philosopher said...

What's wrong with wikipedia?

bankman said...

JP, is this your relative?

and by the way, there is nothing "wrong" with wikepedia, but to use that as your source is like saying you read the inside cover of the book, and can now do a full bookreport

jewish philosopher said...

I think that's some kind of Meir Kahane guy.

DrJ said...

>"Look at it like this. Let's say a doctor writes an article and says "Don't smoke. Smoking causes cancer."

You could argue "Well, a lot of things cause cancer!" and you would be right, however that doesn't make smoking OK."

Poor analogy, because atheism isn't the harmful agent, but rather leaving ultra-orthodox Judaism is.

A better analogy would be, a parent telling a grown child not to go out into the world, because "bad things" happen out there, better to stay in the safety and security of home. Well, yes, bad things do happen sometimes to some people, sometimes their fault and sometimes not. But you leave home anyway and take personal responsibility-- just as does the person who rejects religion or god and therefore has only himself and his friends and family to rely on.

jewish philosopher said...

You seem to be negating the idea of safety and preventative medicine. Let people drive without seat belts, let them drink and drive, let them use heroin, when and if they get in trouble, we'll deal with it then. Most people would disagree with that approach.

DrJ said...

Your approach would be to don't let people drive at all (since that might lead to mixed dancing...) and don't ever let them drink.

Certainly the search for a better and healthier lifestyle can take people down many possible alternate paths, and most certainly it can't "make" someone believe in something that doesn't make sense to him.

Personally I can see the benefits of religious communities such as my own and many others, but in no way does it affect my actual beliefs. Amish have very healthy lifestyles, having nothing to do with the fact that their whole belief system is based on fantasy.

I think that the bottom line question is-- is your belief system man-centered or god-centered? Because if its god-centered, the benefits to man are purely incidental...

jewish philosopher said...

The Torah is commanded by God and it is for our good. Deuteronomy Chapter 11:26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if ye shall hearken unto the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day; 28 and the curse, if ye shall not hearken unto the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.

DrJ said...

How is massacering idol worshippers and God's committing genocide against Jews who sinned, for man's benefit? Are the laws of purity for man? Somehow I think the Torah had God, not man, in mind.

jewish philosopher said...

It could be that men need a little discipline sometimes.

000646 said...



According to halacha any non jew who transgesses one of the sheva mitzvos bnei noach gets killed and we kill a goy if they admit it themselves,

Which means that when moshiach comes the sanhedrin will round up evrey goy who has ever admitted stealing anything (even a candy when he was a teen. Over 30% of high school kids admit to having stolen somthing), eaten eiver min hachai (which includes eggs by goyim according to many)

had an abortion (more then 25 MILLION Americans since 2005!)

worshiped an idol,

blasphemed god's name,

and any rape victim of a jew will also be put to death because a takala came about through them.

Talk about a massacre!

jewish philosopher said...

I've never heard about the eggs or the rape victims, however actually Ezekiel 38 and 39 do indicate that prior to the Messianic era, a large number of wicked gentiles will die in the War of Gog and Magog.

In general, however, the Messianic era will be a time of peace and prosperity, "They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore."

This is what Jews hope and pray for.

Anonymous said...

According to this article:

Darwin got that whole tree of life thing wrong.

000646 said...

If your religion hopes and prays for peace at the expense of killing evrey non jew who has ever admitted to stealing anything or had an abortion (at least tens of millions of people in just these two groups in america alone!) eaten eiver min hachai ect. how is it meaningfull to call it a peace loving religion?

Do you really beleive that a teen caught shoplifting somthing deserves to be killed?

jewish philosopher said...

"how is it meaningfull to call it a peace loving religion?"

Is there any community in world which has a lower level of violence than the Orthodox Jewish community?

000646 said...

Even if that is the case (that no one has a lower violence level then O.Js) it is just because there is the technical problem of not having a Sanhedrin and not living in countries governd by torah law. However they still look back longingly to the days when they could kill all these people and pray that one day they will be able to do so again.

jewish philosopher said...

As a matter of fact, if you look at those times and places when the rabbis did wield great power, for example in Palestine during the Second Temple Era, in Babylon under the Exilarch and in Poland under the Council of the Four Lands, death sentences were rare and were abolished 2,000 years ago. Even flogging was unusual, torture was unknown and the most common punishment was shunning.

000646 said...

With other jews yes but with non jews i'm not so sure (as they get killed even without hassrah or if they admit to having transgressed any of the sheva mitzvos bnei noach even if no one saw them)

jewish philosopher said...

It is true that according to the Talmud, God does wish for the gentiles to impose upon themselves a death penalty for even the relatively common offense of theft.

jewish philosopher said...

I understand that according to the general atheist world view, people are basically very kind and mild mannered and the Torah has changed people for the worse, making them into intolerant, violent maniacs. Personally I beg to differ.

000646 said...

Actualy the according to the Talmud the JEWS should impose the death penalty on any non jew caught transgressing one of the sheva mitzvos bnei noach (even without hasrah or if they confess to having done it.)

The only reason this is not done today is because there is no sanhedrin and jews dont live in lands governed by Torah law.

Do you really think that a law that says that a jew who is caught stealing just has to pay back his victim (with keifel somtimes) but a non jew caught doing the same thing gets killed (even on the basis of less evidence then a jew) is just?

jewish philosopher said...

If that's what God wants, then it is just.

000646 said...

So let me get this straight.

You beleive that hypotheticly speaking if all of mankind today started following the laws of judaisim, we would round up any non-jew who has ever admitted to or been caught taking ANYTHING (even a candy) that is not theirs (over 30 percent of high school students alone admit to having done this) any woman who has had an abortion (over 25 million since 2005 alone!) etc. and execute them.

jewish philosopher said...


000646 said...

Its just that killing evrey non jew who ever transgressed any of the sheva mitzvos bnei noach would be a massacre that would make the holocaust and most other massacres look tame.

Its just weird that leading mankind in the direction of carrying out such a massacre could be construed as "leading mankind toward life peace and happiness"

jewish philosopher said...

Why do you think people should be allowed to steal things?

000646 said...

I don't.

I just dont think that a teen who has shoplifted a candy or (ate eiver min hachai etc.) deserves to get killed.

I also dont think that the person's race should determine what kind of punishment they will get.

jewish philosopher said...

Well, first of all, I'm sorry that God's commandments don't meet with your approval. And secondly, Jewish is not a race.

000646 said...

Or religion it makes no diffrence

jewish philosopher said...

Sure it does. You see, gentiles do not have the entire complex system of Jewish rituals to elevate them morally, therefore the few commandments which they do observe must be enforced with strict punishments.

Basically, the legal system which God wants the gentiles to live by would be similar to what is done today in Saudi Arabia. Saudi justice on the one hand is very strict, however on the other hand they have the lowest crime rate in the world.

David Pavlick said...

"The fossils have led to evolution.
Evolution has led to atheism.
Atheism has led to psychopathy.
Psychopathy leads to death, either through war, murder, suicide, abortion, addictions or failure to have children."

Once more you assign blame to the wrong thing, and deny the work of Hashem in doing so. Evolution is the work of Hashem. Atheists only use it as an argument against a Divinity as they fail to comprehend the complexity of it.

Evolution represents order out of chaos. Evolution is impossible to transpire in random chaos. It takes a Divine hand to set the physics into place that allow evolution to take place.

Instead of laying blame on science, embrace it. In doing so, you take away the tool used by atheists to validate their claim.


Or is that impossible due to your Orthodox beliefs? Just like it was once impossible to accept the Earth as round and not the center of the Universe, with all things revolving around it?

jewish philosopher said...

The Torah doesn't say the sun goes around the earth, the Pope did.

Are you previously Catholic?

gatogreensleeves said...

"The fossils have led to evolution."
"Evolution has led to atheism."
Not necessarily. Just look at the growing number of theistic evolutionists.
"Atheism has led to psychopathy."
WHAT?! No sir. Where's your evidence for that? The stats say otherwise. You would have to redefine what is immoral strictly in line with your interpretation of your religion and not by what is actually harmful.
"Psychopathy leads to death, either through war, murder, suicide, abortion, addictions or failure to have children."
Everything we see in any religious community as well as non-religious. We even see murder by Cain, who knew Yahweh personally and so was obviously not an atheist... So, what leads to psychopathy again?

gatogreensleeves said...

If atheism is what leads to immorality, then how is it that the first sinners we know of knew Yahweh personally (i.e. Adam and Eve, the murderous Cain, even Satan himself, all had actual verbal conversations with Yahweh and were therefore, obviously not atheists)? Doesn’t immorality clearly have a deeper root than in belief/disbelief in Yahweh’s existence?

jewish philosopher said...

If smoking causes cancer, then why do I know non-smokers who died of cancer?

gatogreensleeves said...

As Dr J said, bad analogy for the reasons already shown. Right off the bat, I would have to say, again, that much of what you would consider "immoral" makes your metaphor irrelevant, because it is not harmful... but I do appreciate that your example illustrates that there is a predispositional factor to degradation that is merely potentially exacerbated later (though I don't think you intended that). I understand you're trying to paint atheism as harmful because of classic nihilists (as opposed to what Nietzsche would consider nihilists: the religious), but at best, it's more like this: salt is bad for you... but only if you have a predisposition to hypertension, otherwise, it's fine (or sugar for a diabetic or wine for an alcoholic, etc.). Just as salt may lead to hypertension, atheism is something that may or may not lead to immorality. It depends on the precondition/context, which in this case would be an absolutely moralistic religion that says salt (or sugar or wine, etc.) is always bad no matter what (instead of a society that educates what is ACTUALLY helpful and/or harmful to each person and in what degree). Salt, honey, and wine are all enjoyed by God's people and He's fine with it. I assume you are not an ascetic.

Along your line of thinking, we could also say that if you have the predisposition to exploit popular cultural norms in order consider your actions divinely excused and/or justified, then religion may lead to immorality too.

jewish philosopher said...

I think that recent history has demonstrated that not only is atheism false, however it would lead to extinction of humanity.

I believe that if tomorrow everyone on earth would convert to atheism, one half would kill the other half, the survivors would not bother to have children and that would be that. Perhaps that's exaggerating a little, but not much.

gatogreensleeves said...

That makes me sad. Do you know any atheists personally? Your fear reminds me of people who are racists, until they actually befriend someone of another race.

At the very best, history has demonstrated that if there exists a personal god, it is a hidden one- not that atheism is false. History has also demonstrated that the mind is fallible and vulnerable to complex layers upon layers of deception, self-deception, and collusion. So which is more probable? That the absence of the obvious existence of a personal god is because It is hidden (by choice or not), or that there is mishmash of misperception and/or convoluted excuse created by humans? Historical adduction is against you, not for you.

As for your view of what atheists will do, it makes no sense given the data. Atheists are simply not killing each other like you say. Of course, you will, like so many theistic apologists, try to not only misplace theists like Hitler in the atheistic camp, but also have them all marching in the name of atheism, and not totalitarianistsm/fascism/nationalism, etc.- the same banners theists have also marched and killed under. And of course, you will also need to employ the no true Scotsman fallacy to acheive this aim.

The scenario you present depends on factors, such as, 'how did everyone suddenly deconvert?' I believe what would happen is this: eventually, their survival instincts would continue to compell them to create/revise social contracts that benefit the continuation of the species, balanced with their overall comfort, freedom, and happiness. That balance is not easy, and it would require constraining any violent forces that would try to exploit the system, but that's the best we can do. A great impediment to that aim at first would be the cultural residue of the overwhelming majority of theists (recently gone, per your scenario) on the planet, who (out of self- interest) persisted on perpetuating the erroneous myth that ethics require religious dogma with supernatural parameters we can't ever even hope to verify. That is to say that this residue would make some of the people think that they could not be good people because their is no god. But I've seen the tide of apologists turning from your position JP. In the face of the evidence, more now are saying that atheists can do what looks like "good," and even is effectively, humanistically "good" (in the physical sense), but not spiritually good- which is all that counts when the earth falls away. What could anyone say to such fancy?

jewish philosopher said...

"Do you know any atheists personally?" Unfortunately.

"if there exists a personal god, it is a hidden one" There does, and nothing could be more obvious.

"History has also demonstrated that the mind is fallible and vulnerable to complex layers upon layers of deception, self-deception, and collusion." That explains atheism.

"As for your view of what atheists will do" Which is based on what atheists have done and are doing. Read about the history of Europe 1900 to the present - the decline of belief, the rise of atheism, the horrific wars, mass killings, genocides, failure to have children at a replacement level, etc. Just coincidence? I'd rather not find out.

gatogreensleeves said...

I know several kinds of theists and atheists who enrich my understanding of humanity and I am proud to know them. Sorry for you.

"if there exists a personal god, it is a hidden one"-me
"There does, and nothing could be more obvious."-JP
Nothing?! You can tell me with a straight face that the existence of the billions of people in the history of the earth who have seen and spoken to each other face to face is less obvious than the existence of Yahweh, who supposedly has spoken to only a select few ancient figures (whose own actual existences are in question) 'face to face' (or from a bush or showed his 'back parts')?! That's the kind of obvious I'm talking about- talking face to face. No one alive doubts the existence of the people that they've met face to face more than God. None of those embarrassing watchmaker/cosmological/a priori arguments prove any kind of specific god at all- let alone a personal one. Your kind of obvious is, at best, a vague teleological force that could be anything from process theology to Heraclitus' LOGOS to the Tao, etc.

"History has also demonstrated that the mind is fallible and vulnerable to complex layers upon layers of deception, self-deception, and collusion."-me
"That explains atheism." -JP
You love to project anachronistically. It's like saying all the evil in history is due to Marxism, Freud, nuclear weaponry, and stem cell research. You are aware of the ridiculously overwhelming amount of professed theists in history compared to atheists right? Do you really think that the scope of the devastating effects of world wars was due to the power of atheism, rather than the accessibility of more efficient weaponry and more efficient mobility? You don't think that if the ancient Israelites had nuclear weaponry, AK47s, tanks, jet bombers, etc., they wouldn't have extended their fascist theocracy internationally? Let's look at how the ancient Chosen People differed from evil atheists in the 19th century(whoever THEY are/were):

"And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee. Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations. But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth. But thou shalt utterly destroy them..." Deut. 20:13-17

"Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." -1 Sam. 15:3

"And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people. And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain."-Deut. 2:33-34

"And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city. But all the cattle, and the spoil of the cities, we took for a prey to ourselves." -Deut. 3:6-7

"Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves" -Num. 31:17-18

"Read about the history of Europe 1900 to the present"-JP
What exactly?

jewish philosopher said...

Gator, there is no proof that someone you have met face to face actually exists. He may be an illusion, delusion or hallucination.

I've never said that all evil comes from atheism. Muslims are also quite busy destroying the world, although I would give atheists first place.

I have some posts about Jewish violence.

gatogreensleeves said...

"Gator, there is no proof that someone you have met face to face actually exists. He may be an illusion, delusion or hallucination."- JP

I'm not Gator- that is someone else (you're not the first to assume that). I'm well aware of the Cartesian Demon, etc., but any God who would be so deceptive should not reasonably expect an intelligent decision from any human (not to mention that it begs the question for motive). Regardless, I never use the word "proof" when talking about religion, history, or even science- there is only evidence. Save "proof" for mathmatics. But we're talking in terms of the "obvious": evidential reasoning, which is all we really have to go on, and in this case my point stands.

"I would give atheists first place"-JP
Because of what atheists/who specifically? You mean someone like Norman Borlaug? His contributions alone have save more lives than all theists in history combined.

Please JP, just stand back and look at Judaism over the centuries... now consider all of the other billions of people in various countries who are born into and die in various religions without ever even hearing a squeak about Yahweh or Moses or even Adam. What kind of plan does your god have for this planet? Or does He? That nine year old child in a remote Indian village 1500 years ago who died painfully of starvation; who came and left maybe hearing something about the local religions here and there, none Judaism, maybe he picks one out for a while, maybe not, then he dies... Is this part of Yahweh's plan? Doesn't it just make plain common sense that even if there does exist some teleological force (however vaguely defined), that it, like all noumena, cannot be defined, or even spoken about, as Wittgenstein famously said, it "must be passed over in silence"?

jewish philosopher said...

How do you know Norman Borlaug was an atheist?

"What kind of plan does your god have for this planet?"

When I go to work every morning instead of staying home and playing with her, my three year old probably asks herself "What kind of plan does my father have for this planet?"

That's the old atheist trick of "I don't understand everything God does and that proves that there is no God."

gatogreensleeves said...

One thing is for certain: Norman Borlaug is not an orthodox Jew. If he is orthodox anything, it's an orthodox Humanitarian. While the exact details of his belief is obscure, he has never attributed any of his motivations or efforts to the inspiration of any god or theology. He apparently intends on focusing completely upon a deeper problem: death by hunger (you know, that one part of Yahweh's plan). He advocates thwarting it via science, not by prayer or trust in god. As Frederick Douglass did, he decided to "pray with his legs."

When you come home and your little girl asks you that question point blank, you can answer her point blank and then she will know. Even if you don't know, at least she will know that you don't know. At least she will know that you even exist or at least existed at some point.

But let's change the story to make it fit better with our situation. Your daughter has never met you because you have been gone since her birth. She only finds a very old book about things you said and did many years ago, none of which contain any evidence of her being related to you, and she doesn't know who even wrote the book for sure, let alone even if the you are her father. Some of the neighbors tell her it's about her father, others down the hall say it's about their own father, not hers, and they found the same book when they were young. For whatever unexplained reason, no one has ever met you personally. Now, do you think that she would wonder more what your plan for the world is or rather wonder whether or not you even exist- why you haven't spoken directly to her if you are alive and able to do so, and why there is no direct evidence that you are her father?

"I don't understand everything God does and that proves that there is no God."

Again, I never use "proof" only evidence. These things add up when combined with other evidence. Of course, there may be reasons things happen that humans don't understand, but clearly, a deity who provides documentation for clarification wants us to try to understand- and more, expects us to understand, or we will suffer for it after death. And since we are "made in Yahweh's image" (I'm going to assume this doesn't mean physically), this must refer to our ability to reason.

jewish philosopher said...

Norman Borlaug is an American agronomist who developed a new strain a of wheat which may have saved India from massive famine in the 1960's. I'm not really sure how that makes him a humanitarian. He was doing his job, for which he has been well paid and greatly honored. I help people obtain medical care by working for a health insurance company. Am I therefore a humanitarian?

To understand everything God does we would have to be as intelligent as He is, and obviously that's not the case.

Anonymous said...

I recently finished reading "The Irratinal Atheists" by Vox Day. The book provides a list of 52 atheist heads of state who were responsible for at least 20,000 murders. And the biggest mass murderers, Stlain and Mao, were atheists. They killed more people than were killed in all the wars fought in all of history until then. So a history tells us that the biggest mass murderers were atheists, a disproportionately large numbers of atheists were mass murderers and vise-versa, and every time atheists run a country, they commit mass murder. I find that a little scary.

Anonymous said...

And Hitler made it abundantly clear in "Mein Kampf", from chapter 11 to the end that his ore belief system was Darwinism.

Anonymous said...

There was another agricultural researcher named Lysenko who definitely was an atheist. Because of him, millions of people died of starvation.

gatogreensleeves said...

"I'm not really sure how that makes him a humanitarian."- JP
Well, if you are truly a philosopher, then you know that depends on who's moral system you subscribe to. Under a consequentialist/utilitarian system he gets an A+. Under Kant's system, his motivation/intention would say the same, since he said he was deeply troubled by starvation in the world and set himself out to change that. Was it really for $ and/or fame? I doubt it... but sure, maybe he really wanted those people to live so that they could suffer longer. Are you a humanitarian? Beats me. It's not all black and white JP.

Argument from ignorance. The question is not whether we can understand everything that god does, but whether we can understand anything that god does. You and just about all theists would say we can (which is why you can say god does/did great things every day); therefore we are allowed- even expected to make judgments using our "god given" faculties.

jewish philosopher said...

Is Norman Borlaug an atheist? Not to my knowledge. Has Norman Borlaug sacrificed selflessly for the benefit of others? Not to my knowledge. Borlaug is apparently not an atheistic Albert Schweitzer or Mother Teresa. He may be a nice secular person whose scientific work prevented a famine in India.

What I see atheists often doing is saying "Why does that panda have such funny looking thumb if God made him? Well, it must be there is no God." This is a major pillar of atheism, expressed in some form or another.'s-thumb.html

Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do children suffer? Why do bad thumbs happen to good species? Why is all life based on DNA, not something different for each species?

This is just ridiculous. There may be several, or several million, reasons why the panda has a certain type of thumb and if we don't know them, it's because we are ignorant of all of God's intentions.

gatogreensleeves said...

I was excited to read Vox Day's book (although he, being a Christian, would have some words with JP here), because I've read some intelligent rebuttals on his blog, but so far, everything I've heard is just appealing to fallacies, mostly of the ad hominem type, but in this case (i.e. the 20,000 murders), a non sequitur. Atheism, for the billionth time, is not a moral system anymore than the belief or disbelief in the existence of Moses in itself is a moral system. Nor does it actually have anything to do with objective morality/moral realism (and philosophers must still contend with objective morality whether there is a god or not). The only way Day has a case is if these 20,000 non-theists declare themselves to be humanists. Even then, he would be making a case against humanism, not atheism, because atheism is as morally relevant to his 20,000 as any other number of coincidences they have between them, such as that they owned the same kind of toaster. Unfortunately for the theist though, theists actually do claim that their belief system makes one a more moral person and is therefore justifiably scrutinizable.

Now, as I alluded to in a former post, there is also the psychological problem ever unaccounted for by all you would be apologists, in which a world chock full of all types of theists rabidly and incessantly inculcates non-theists from birth to death with the erroneous notion that they are necessarily in the immoral camp (which is esspecially damaging to more vulnerable young adults and children). I would be the first to admit that there is a lack of sufficient cultural moral infrastructure for non-theists in the world today. Aside from the obvious reason that the world has an overwhelming majority of theists set out to thwart this (out of self-preservation), it's also because, though non-theists may intuitively know theism is wrong, they then fail to do the research into moral philosophy. Why? It's a lot of work. That is changing though, and there is definitely more of an emphasis on secular morality in literature and in the community.

Anonymous, at the end of the day, if you knew there was no god, would you advocate a lie to make people behave or would you look for a way to build and reinforce a more honest infrastructure (based upon the kind mixture of subjective and objective morality that cognitive science is revealing [see, for example, the book Moral Minds, by Mark Hauser)?

Hitler was a volatile mix of a horrible misunderstanding of Darwin and even a misunderstanding of Christianity:

Philosophically, anyone proposing that Darwinism advocates eugenics conflates an is with an ought. They also fail to account for the evolution and role of empathy (and a host of other psychological reactions- guilt, fear, remorse, etc.) in humanity that make "trying to get away with being naughty out of self-interest" a bad idea, even in a completely secular world.

20,000 atheist murderers, Lysenko, etc. Another theist making non-sequitur links. I see your Lysenko and raise you a Torquemada. "We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. It may be the fire destruction prophesied in the Euphrates Valley Era, after Noah and his fabulous Ark."- Harry S. Truman (a devout Christian). What's the world record for killing the most women, children, babies, unborn- in the shortest amount of time? See, you can play these games forever, because people's faith or lack of it can be spun to justify or demonize anything.

gatogreensleeves said...

How do you know that Borlaug would not have continued with his research if he had not been funded? What exactly constitutes sainthood for you? Do you think that the Biblical leaders of antiquity had lesser comforts than their underlings? What is your argument here?

Yes, I agree with your assessment that atheists often point out poor designs in nature. Theists try to point out how everything is so perfectly designed (fine tuning argument, etc.) and make probability arguments and even embarass themselves beyond any hope:
What's the dif?

Why is all life based on DNA, not something different for each species?- JP
As much as theists want to give the impression that "anything could happen/could have happened," in evolution and that the universe is all "random" (you often see apologists trying to make probability arguments based on this thinking), there is really a limitation upon the way things can happen, predetermined by they way the universe unfolded from the very first moments of Plank time.

jewish philosopher said...

If you want to use Borlaug as proof that you don't need God to be good, then you you have to prove that he has no God and he is good.

About God, basically one natural object demonstrating complexity and purposefulness proves that God exists. One natural object which is apparently purposeless proves nothing except our ignorance.

gatogreensleeves said...

But what are your standards for goodness? As I showed, we can play the good example/bad example game forever- and it's the same within one person's life. If we find out what goodness a non-theist has done, than you'll say (ala Jesus, though you don't subscribe to that) that she already has her reward. I think ultimately your only acceptable definition of "goodness" is believing in god- which is, ironically, not even a moral act.

So you say that someone who makes a living doing what they do, even if it benefits humanity, then it becomes nulified and they are disqualified (all priests, rabbis, and religious scholars are disqualified then). But what if someone needs to spend their whole life entrenched in the project, in order to acheive the goal (i.e. Borlaug in a well equipped lab 70 hours a week)? It becomes a necessity to make it a career. How can anyone do anything good and get away without getting compensation or notoriety? They can only do it if no one finds out. Then no one knows what good they have done. Nice puzzle and an impossible standard JP. At the end of the day, we can still choose noble, neutral, or ignoble professions that reflect on our moral character, compensation or no.

Prove he has no god? Again, not proof, but evidence. You need to train yourself to use the proper language. "Prove" you or any one you consider "good" has a god. Even if they say they do have a good god (ala Hitler), it doesn't mean that they do.

gatogreensleeves said...

About God, basically one natural object demonstrating complexity and purposefulness proves that God exists. One natural object which is apparently purposeless proves nothing except our ignorance.- JP

Nonsense. Okay, "prove" it.

Anonymous said...

If a disproportionate number mass murderers are atheists then, who cares about the motives? Atheism isn't something we should be advocating, unless you are saying that murders are not a problem if the motive isn't atheism. And some of the people murdrered by Stalin and Mao were murdered for pratising religion. I just read in the latest issue of National Geographic Magazine that it is estimated that the Soviets killed 50,000 Russian Orthodox Priests. So spreading atheism was a miotivating factor in some of the murders.

My Lysenko was a response to your Borlaug.

And you guys started the moral arguments with "The God Delusion, God is Not Great" and "The End of Faith."

And Harry Truman's dropping the bomb on Japan saved lives by ending the war without the need for an invasion. Can you say the snae about Pol Pot, for instance?

And in "The Descent of Man" chapters 4 and 5 Darwin says quite clearly that he expected teh European races to exterminate the non-European races. He didn't advocate it just said it was inevitable, which is worse. Empathy won't even be a factor.

And, just for the sake of intellectual honesty, you shoud read the book.

jewish philosopher said...

Gato, you brought up this fellow Borlaug as a evidence that atheists are helping humanity, not harming it. I don't see any proof. Even if he is an atheist, he could have made the same agricultural discoveries were he a Lutheran or a Hindu. He was just doing his job. Albert Schweitzer and Mother Teresa however were motivated by their religions to help others.

The fact is that there has never been a peaceful, thriving atheistic community. Since atheists believe in no God given morality, there is no reason why there should be.

"one natural object demonstrating complexity and purposefulness proves that God exists"

"Nonsense", just like if I would tell a homeless junkie he has an addiction problem he'll also answer "nonsense".

gatogreensleeves said...

"He was just doing his job. Albert Schweitzer and Mother Teresa however were motivated by their religions to help others."- JP

"Wanted: revolutionary genetic engineer to spend entire life inventing the job he/she will be doing with the results of saving a country from starvation. No motivation or inspiration necessary. It's just a job."

JP, you have absolutely no idea what Borlaug's motivations were, nor his passion/intention, nor his obstacles. You want to say that only volunteers count (here's a great theistic example in the news today: Voluteer Sunday school teacher)? That's not how a secular society would work- they don't expect a handshake in the clouds after death and there is no shame or moral diminishing in accepting compensation/funding for humanitarian work- especially if it is required to finish it.

That said, there is still also an emperically verifiable continuum of consequences from the choice one makes in choosing a career. You can be on one end of the spectrum selling cigarettes and alcohol or in a more central/neutral position, perhaps in some service industry, or you can choose to join the medical profession, be a teacher, etc. Good intentions, as well as bad intentions, don't have any gauranteed outcomes, but we can see that the odds are in their favor or not. Even with confessions we can only make superficial judgements, but at the end of the day there is without a doubt an ethical dimension to what you do with your life as a job/career.

My point was that you don't have to be religious to help humanity. If Borlaug is/was religiously inspired, he never ever gave props to any God. For the purposes of my discussion with you JP, he was not an orthodox Jew and that's all that need be said. I don't care even if he was a theist, because as 911 proved once and for all, being a theist does not make you moral. Period. Someone brought up Vox Day. In his book he cites the oft used logical proposition, "there are only white swans"- all it takes is one black swan to ruin your whole day. Well, the proposition that theism makes you more ethical than not was destroyed when 19 black swans flew those planes into the buildings. That's all folks. Now, the best you can do after this, is to argue that one particular god makes people more ethical, because the theism vs. atheism argument is over- done- kaput- GET IT!?!! So, again JP, now you understand logically why the only thing that is important considering Borlaug is whether or not he was an orthdox Jew. Is he?

"one natural object demonstrating complexity and purposefulness proves that God exists"- JP
What I should have said was non-sequitur. I could on forever on this, but suffice it to say that your statement is nonsense, because you have merely a cursory grasp of the design argument, discredited long ago, in so many ways. My personal approach is to ask, "what exactly are you comparing this designed thing to, to show that it is designed?" You have no choice but to compare it to something else that is supposedly designed. Where's the contrast? How is it distinguishable from chaos? Speaking of chaos. Is chaos/randomness possible JP? If it isn't then there is nothing to contrast your "purposefullness." If there is, give me an example. How about a computer generated string of numbers? To borrow Mark Perahk's example in the book "Unintelligent Design" (which you should really read), the perception of form and order is value based subjectivity (and/or inter-subjectivity), such as that in said string of random numbers, people will be finding relevant birthdays, locker combinations, favorites tv channels, on and on- and intersubjectively (that is the things that humans share in value) this makes the illusion seem even more "intentional"- but these are just things that they have in common!

No peaceful thriving atheistic community? How large are we talking here? First of all, it's difficult to define atheists and theists alike. I will say that so much of people's lives and the daily actions that they perform, whether theistic or nontheistic, are not based on god belief/disbelief, so how much of daily life in a "theistic" society is really based on their gods anyway? Is a pluralistic America better than a completely theistic Saudi Arabia? Again, the 911 argument above stops that argument dead- you need to argue for a specific theism JP. Acceptence of widespread atheism is still at its dawn in the history of humankind. We'll have to see.

gatogreensleeves said...

"If a disproportionate number mass murderers are atheists then, who cares about the motives?"-Anon

I'd love to hear a lawyer say this in a court of law!! LOL!
First Anon, I'm going to assume you are a Christian, by your referral to Vox Day, so you know Jesus said that motive is EVERYTHING (even if you lust in your heart alone, etc.). Second, since atheism is not, in itself, a moral theory (even atheists must contend with moral realism/objective morality vs. moral relativism/subjectivist [i.e. you just ignorantly take it for granted that atheists are moral relativists]), you must show why lumping a group of atheists together in a moral assessment is any different than lumping a group of people together who also share a disbelief in... let's say... playing competitive sports. It's a non-sequitur- Look it up!

"Some of the people murdered by Stalin and Mao were murdered for practicing religion."-ANON

LOL!!!!!!! How many people were murdered by other theists for practicing religion?!! Is that all you got? A few Fascist/nationalistic tyrants who thwarted religion because it interfered with their tyrannical power grab? (and Stalin learned how to do it most effectively in seminary). Stalin murdered for power and his rival happened to be the church (see the movie "Peter the Great" for an idea what the political power of the church was like in Russia). He would have done the same if they were not religious, because he was a tyrant. Did Stalin wave the flag of humanism, democracy, equal rights, woman's right, etc., etc.? To be an atheist is to be a blank slate- then you adopt a moral theory- or not. Stalin did not. To blame all atheists for Stalin's refusal to adopt a humanitarian morality is to say all officers are killers because some of them have killed. Again, non-sequitur as well as confusing association with causation, post-hoc ergo propter hocNow, if you want to suck it up and make a different argument that it is possible for an atheist to be morally good, but that the odds are against him compared to a theists, that would be a more plausible attack. I would be curious to see that, because you are bound to defend bull crap like Psalm 14:1, "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good." So you can't even make that argument in good conscience. The atheist can be very good or very bad, but you are bound to saying that belief in your brand of god will always make you better. THAT'S where you lose! Black swans on the lake...

As for Dawkins', Harris', Hitchens' books, they all make the case that religion can motivate negatively, but I don't think any would say always motivate negatively. I think your putting up a strawman for that. In international/cultural clashes, religion does exacerbate conflict because it introduces and demands respect for an absolute, incontestable element that may not even have anything to do with anything verifiable on this planet. This makes problems, period.

"Harry Truman's dropping the bomb on Japan saved lives by ending the war without the need for an invasion." However you want to justify killing babies is your business.

"He [Darwin] didn't advocate it just said it was inevitable, which is worse. Empathy won't even be a factor." That's right, he didn't advocate it- so don't make the is/ought fallacy like Hitler and recognize this is Darwin making highly speculative guesswork and nothing more. It has absolutely nothing to do with the veracity of evolutionary principles. Empathy is always a factor- Darwin is no psychic, like in the bible where there is plenty of prophesying of nation overthrowing to ogle over if that gets you off.
Intellectual honesty? What book are you referring to? The bible or the Decent of Man? Why do you presume to have any idea what I have read?

Cameron said...

JP said: The fossils have led to evolution.

CH: Pretty indisputable from an historical perspective. Fossils were the earliest evidence we discovered for evolution. However, they are far from the only evidence we have today. The modern theory of evolution is confirmed by all other branches of science but especially; geology, biology, and genetics.

JP: Evolution has led to atheism.

CH: Simply false. There were atheists prior to evolutionary theory. Atheism is a philosophical position on supernatural beings, whereas evolution is an explanation for the diversity of species by way of common descent. One does not entail the other.

However, some religions (not all) make claims to the origin of humanity that are falsified by the evolution and science. While this does itself constitute proof that those religions are false, it does provide one more very heavy piece of straw to pile on the camels back.

JP: Atheism has led to psychopathy.

CH: Tinfoil hat time. The largest and fastest growing 'faith group' in the US is 'none', yet crime rates continue to remain stable or decline. Go figure.

But then anyone capable of making such a ludicrous claim won't let anything so insubstantial as evidence get in the way making it.

JP: Psychopathy leads to death, either through war, murder, suicide, abortion, addictions or failure to have children.

CH: Thought experiment for you JP; if your syllogism is true, why is it that the atheists in highly secular non-religious countries like the Czech Republic, Sweden, Norway, Canada, etc. continue to grow and are far more numerous than orthodox Jews who would presumably enjoy the blessings of God while we psychopaths fall prey to addictions, war, etc.?

If atheism actually lead to death in the straight line you suggest, we should have killed ourselves off or otherwise failed to reproduce ourselves out of existence!

Yet just in the US the number of people claiming no religion jumped from 9% to 16% just in the last decade. So JP, how can that be?

JP: The purpose of this blog is to stop the dominos from the beginning, to provide a different interpretation of fossils and to redirect mankind away from death and toward life, peace and happiness.

CH: The truth about fossils is no longer open to reinterpretation by laymans untrained in science.

Just as nobody would seriously take their taxes to the local garbageman for assessment, the science of paleontology doesn't take its fossils to amateur theosophers for explanation.

The truth, the fossils, and your tax return, are all better for it.

jewish philosopher said...

Anon, I think it's been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that atheists are typically debauched libertines who have no feelings of guilt for anything they do. At best, they are selfish people who do not reproduce at replacement level. At worst, they are mass murderers. Hence, atheism leads to death.

Regarding the design argument, yes I do in fact own a copy of the book written by that obnoxious old Stalinist Perakh and I understand the idea that all evidence of God is supposedly just an illusion. I guess this is something like the Christian apologetic that all evidence against Christianity is witchcraft and a trick of the devil. I guess I can't argue with that. By the way, would it bother you if I removed your hands, which after all really have no purpose and were designed by no one?

Cameron, I explained above, in my second comment on this post, the link between fossils, evolution, etc.

"CH: The truth about fossils is no longer open to reinterpretation by laymans untrained in science."

The truth about Judaism is no longer open to reinterpretation by laymans untrained in the Talmud. All Orthodox rabbis agree that Judaism is true, therefore it is. I hope you have no problem with that.

Anonymous said...


I guess I wasn't clear enough. I was responding to your what I understood you to be saying, that as lomng as all tose mass murders commited by atheists were not committed in the name of atheism, then it is okay. If you succeed in yoru quest of making the world atheistic, then we can expect to see a marked increase in mass murder, if history is any indication. You seem to be saying that this doesn't bother you because the motivation wouldn't be atheism. I responded with two points.

#1. Who cares what the motivation is? The people they will kill will be just as dead.

#2. Since many of the people Stalin, Mao and Kim Jong Il were killed for practising religion, then spreading atheism was a motivating factor in some of the mass murders.

Adn the various books refered to don't say religion can cause conflict. They say it does. Hitchins said it "poisons everything". So you guys started it.

And the book I was refering to was "The Irrational Atheist."

And Darwin does seem to be saying that the extermination of the "savage races" is s good thing.

And Cameron, recent discoveries inthe field of genetics has shown that the whole "tree of life" things has to be rewritten. Genetics doens't match morphology at all. So now they are talkking about horizontal gene transfer, and otjher things not connected to evolution.

Anonymous said...

"JP: Atheism has led to psychopathy.

CH: Tinfoil hat time. The largest and fastest growing 'faith group' in the US is 'none', yet crime rates continue to remain stable or decline. Go figure.

But then anyone capable of making such a ludicrous claim won't let anything so insubstantial as evidence get in the way making it."

The book "The Irrational Atheist" cites a study done in the United Kingdom on the prison population.
It reveals that while the percentage of prisoners who identified themselves as "atheists" was very small compared to the general population, prisoners who described themselves as "belonging to no religion" or "having no religion" were over represented in the prison population by 300%.

And crime rates in america my be delcining primarily due to better policing. That is certainly the case in New York City.

gatogreensleeves said...

“atheists are typically debauched libertines who have no feelings of guilt for anything they do”-JP

Against my own reservations, I’m going to share with you a story which you will probably fail to appreciate, but will perhaps be for other/future readers who can empathize (which is really the only reason I am here): Once, in my youth, in a weak moment, I cheated on a woman I was in love with (for two years) who was also very much in love with me. I immediately felt so guilty about it that I told her the next morning in tears and regret, because I knew that I had tarnished something special. Justifiably, she ended the relationship. I was so wracked with guilt that I left my job/city and went home for a few weeks, where I could not eat (I lost 15 pounds in a few weeks) or sleep more than an hour or two a night, until I ended up in the ER, literally spitting up blood over a related ulcer from the stress. I continued to be haunted by my infidelity for years, even frequently suicidal at the thought of my action, and never did it again with any partner (it took years before I could even date again), still keeping the lesson intact.

By a stroke of luck, some years later, I reconnected with that woman and she gave me another chance, even though she had felt (been) betrayed by me. We gave it another go for three more years, during which time I was completely faithful and ecstatic for a second chance. But when it came time to take it to marriage and kids, she changed her mind about wanting that (I did want it) and ended the relationship, leaving me for another man. Buddhists might invoke karma here.

I happen to run into her a few years later. She had fallen onto bad times, eventually being abused by this man, with nowhere to go, no money, and some physical ailments. Even though I felt betrayed, I got her a job at my work and helped her back on her feet. She had been compassionate with me and given me another chance and I felt compelled to do the same. We had both hurt each other and ourselves, yet we still felt compelled to help each other out too, sloughing off the resentment and embracing the compassion. In the end, we realized that we were better suited as friends than lovers, as some people just are. Now, six years later, we are literally best friends, who talk at least every week and would do whatever we could for each other. I can tell you as a fact that atheists have as much conscience as theists.

That said, there is guilt and there is what Nietzsche called “bad conscience”- which can be best illustrated by people literally whipping themselves over sin. Was my continued guilt (going on for years, suicidal) an example of “bad conscience”? Hard to say how much, since it lies on a continuum.

“they are selfish people who do not reproduce at replacement level”- JP
You are obviously not factoring in global population consideration. Would you seriously chastise someone who would rather adopt and alleviate people who are killing each other for basic needs and resources in order to survive, rather than selfishly creating even more of a burden on the welfare state, just in order to have a “Mini-me”?!! That’s so myopic. Make a list of all the reasons why people have children and tell me how many are selfish and how many are not. Creating offspring is natural, but it is not necessarily noble. Anybody can have sex and have to deal with the consequences. It is more noble to NOT have children when people are dying from a lack of basic needs. When people are not dying from a lack of basic needs (including parents), then perhaps it is more noble to have children. Get it? Should a couple make more offspring than they can support? If you say yes, you have serious problems. If you say no, then think globally, consider the entire species, and ask the question again.

“Stalinist Perakh”- JP
Care to back up that ad hominem? Is everyone from Germany a Nazi? Is everyone from America a Capitalist?

“all evidence of God is supposedly just an illusion”- JP
What evidence, which God, and why that God? At best, you can only argue for a vague form of teleology.

jewish philosopher said...

Generally, someone whose parents or grandparents believed in God and the Bible will have some residual moral and ethical feelings.

gatogreensleeves said...

"#1. Who cares what the motivation is? The people they will kill will be just as dead."-ANON
Of course motivation is important- it is everything. What I am doing is trying to show you how you have misplace it. It is misplaced because atheism is not a moral theory. Your argument might as well be comparing people with toasters vs. toaster ovens. Find out which user kills more people (the toaster user or the toaster oven user) and then you supposedly have an argument of which to eliminate from the world. GET IT?! I can't make you any smarter...

“#2. Since many of the people Stalin, Mao and Kim Jong Il were killed for practising religion, then spreading atheism was a motivating factor in some of the mass murders.”-ANON
No it was not. They killed people who threatened their power. Period. Just as religious leaders did throughout the ages.
COLD HARD FACT #1: At the beginning of the same holy book for Jews and Christians, admittedly, the first three out of four people alive who had a personal, audibly verbal relationship with God (there were no atheists!!!!), disobeyed and/or committed cold blooded murder! Tell me what you think of that ANON. These were not just Jews and Christians, but people who talked to God and knew Him personally. What kind of moral influence does your God have that even if you know Him personally and talk to him that it is still not enough to disobey Him?!!! By the admission of all Jews and Christians, historically, the first people who were closest to God were killers and liars. And you guys have the gall to come up with killing stats for people you don’t even really know what their beliefs were!
“Harry Truman's dropping the bomb on Japan saved lives by ending the war without the need for an invasion.”-ANON
So killing women and children in order to achieve an ethical goal is okay? So you are a utilitarian/consequentialist AND a Christian?
“Hitchins said it "poisons everything"- ANON
Atheists are not united in all ancillary beliefs- even the ones you mentioned are all politically and philosophically different: Hitchens: conservative and strong atheist/ Dawkins: moderate to liberal and weak atheist/ Harris: liberal and Buddhist. You have to argue to each person’s position. There’s no easy way. As I mentioned above in the post, I think religion can have either a positive or negative influence in the short term. Is religion an impediment for the species in terms of philosophy and ethics, because of its disingenuousness? Yes. Is religion an impediment for the species in terms of survival? Maybe not. As Nietzsche believed, perhaps some level of self-deception is what keeps us from being overwhelmed by the responsibility of defining our ethics (i.e. the ubermensch) as well as the knowledge that it is contingent.

“And Darwin does seem to be saying that the extermination of the "savage races" is s good thing.”-ANON
I’d like to see a quote- not that it has any bearing on his work- what’s the relevance? You think that even if he was a racist (as if Jews are/were not racists!! LOL!), it makes his work irrelevant to those who are not racists?

gatogreensleeves said...

“Generally, someone whose parents or grandparents believed in God and the Bible will have some residual moral and ethical feelings.” -JP

No grandparent influence at all. My parents divorced when I was 12 and I suspect infidelity, but don’t know for sure. They were “backslidden” Catholics at the time and not any kind of ethical influence on me religiously really (they went to church- that’s it. They very rarely talked about God). When I became a born again Christian at 13, they were happy about it, until I told them they were going to burn in hell for praying to saints and worshipping Mary. They only became really religious in recent years as they are growing older and I am challenging their beliefs with what I have learned on my own journey through religions, brought about by incessant self-doubt and questioning. I firmly believe that their religiosity of the last 4-5 years was sparked by my challenging them with criticism. They are simple, good, loving people who have learned from life lessons just like I have. I think the residuals come from making mistakes and watching others make mistakes. I have not eaten red meat in 20 years (with 3-4 exceptions). My parents are not and have never been vegetarians. My only friends who have been vegetarians are/were either atheists, Taoists, or process-theists. How did I inherit this ethical stance?

jewish philosopher said...

Basically, secular humanism is a transitional stage between Judaism or Christianity and complete atheism and psychopathy.

gatogreensleeves said...

“Basically, secular humanism is a transitional stage between Judaism or Christianity and complete atheism and psychopathy.”-JP

I know what you’re trying to say, but if you want to call yourself a philosopher, you have to use the correct terminology, or you will be making false and/or untenable assumptions. What you mean to say, is that secular humanism is a transitional stage between theism and nihilism, not atheism. The key problem here (and your statement shows this to be true), is that you are conflating atheism with a moral system (i.e. nihilism). One has nothing to do with ethics, but the belief in the existence of a being/object, while the other has everything to do with ethics. Atheists can still be ethical and believe in objective morality/moral realism, nihilists have no morality/ethics. Some atheists are also secular humanists, while other atheists are also nihilists. (Nietzsche has a different take though- all are nihilists at different points on a continuum, active or passive, with theists actually considered to be the most nihilistic, because their further removed absolute supernatural morality is a more entrenched disguise, preventing them from taking responsibility for actually relevant humanistic behavior.)

So now that you now this and it has been clearly spelled out for you, you need to either use the correct wording or quit calling yourself a philosopher, because to continue to assert this conflation is disingenuous.

jewish philosopher said...

Atheists have no morals or ethics, unless it is some senitmental feelings still carried down from religious ancestors.

gatogreensleeves said...

ME: “Atheists have no morals or ethics, unless it is some senitmental feelings still carried down from religious ancestors.”-JP
So you admit that a person can be atheistic and yet still have an impetus to carry ethics, even if it is just temporarily/residually. But, if they can have a residual impetus- even temporarily, than it is behavioral/habitual. If behavioral/habitual, then it is not contingent upon absolute morality. Behavioral systems are learned long before children can understand the complexities of convoluted theistic psychobabble. You’re putting the cart before the horse. So why again do atheists need absolute morality to be good if they develop a natural system that will carry an ethical conscience before they can even grasp the abstract thought necessary to justify theistic morality (see Austin Dacey’s book “The Secular Conscience” for a thorough treatment of this very topic)?
Also, you still need to make the case that all atheists are nihilists. Picking out a few evil atheists at a time in history when they had the power to do serious damage, does not cut the mustard. If there were nuclear weapons at the time of the Crusades, we wouldn’t be here today.

jewish philosopher said...

Gato, as I understand it, you are claiming that it's perfectly possible to be an atheist while, at the same time, being honest, kind, happy and sober.

In that case, can you find one?

gatogreensleeves said...

I don't know why you would post a link to a forum (Chandra) where your entire point was demolished by the contributors (let alone your own admissions). I really think you have bit off more than you can chew by trying to challenge: "honest, kind, happy and sober" for every atheist. The 8-9 you picked out for the godless-is-not-great link do not have the opposites of all of these attributes simultaneously, let alone consistently (e.g. there are passages of Nietzsche in philosophical Ecstasy). If we can take the same liberties that you have taken, there are biblical examples of Yahweh, His spirits, and/or His favorite humans breaking every one of these in your holy book:

1. Honesty: Yahweh lies (Ez. 14:9), Jer. 4:10, 20:7) and/or sends out surrogate "lying spirits" (1 Kings 22:23, 2 Chron. 18:22), which still make Him an accessory to the crime, like a mob boss sending out a hit.

2. Kindness: See the verse in my post in this very blog: Saturday, April 04, 2009 12:30:00 AM Not kind or merciful by any standard. If He's truly great, let alone omnipotent, He would know how to convert rather than kill.

3. Happy: too many happy atheists to even consider this seriously. As well as too many grumpy biblical characters, including Yahweh, to even attempt to make a list.

4. Sober: I have to say that my favorite biblical drunk is Noah, who even grows a vineyard (mentioned in the immediate context of his drunkenness), presumably in order to have plenty of wine handy. In Gen. 9, he passes out drunk in his tent and Ham "does something unto him" (WTF!?!). Nice, and Yahweh considers him righteous enough to save and pass his genetic propensity for the taste of alcohol onto the rest of the gene pool. Nice job Yahweh! No wonder I like a nice glass of wine every now and then...

Okay, actually maybe my fave is Lot, who got literally blind drunk (two nights in a row!) and impregnated his daughters. What is the punishment for committing a crime when you are blind drunk anyway? Is one still culpable? I'll bet Noah and Lot would have voted NO...

jewish philosopher said...

Chandra didn't seem to be happy with atheism, that was the point.

So I don't get it. You're trying to argue that atheists are bad, but Orthodox Jews are no better?

I'm not too sure.

gatogreensleeves said...

“Chandra didn't seem to be happy with atheism”- JP
JP, atheism is not a choice (like theism), it is an assessment. That is exactly why atheism is more honest than theism. Some knowledge is a painful, heavy load to bear (I am reminded of the movie Excalibur, when Merlin shows Morgana the Eye of the Dragon and it blinds her, because she was not ready) and some people do regret (more often just temporarily) taking the “blue pill” (a la the Matrix). Of course, many atheists would rather have their questions all answered and everything worked out by some perfect god with a plan to boot… as long as this god really was all that it claimed to be! As I already inferred, a tendency to adopt theism probably had an evolutionary benefit in padding humans against the harsher realities of life. Does that validate the veracity of theistic objective truth claims or does it make them an effective temporary patch (which evolution seems to favor indiscriminately)? Are painkillers a cure or merely temporary relief for certain forms of pain when there is no cure available? It’s that simple.

Even with a theistic worldview, surely you must concede that truth is not always happiness- just consider those who are mislead from salvation, can’t find it, or never even hear of it (I am reminded of Plato’s cave). Do you not grieve for them? Does not Yahweh pine for them? I am aware that some would actually say no to these questions and that is what I would consider to be the most degenerative and dangerous form of theism: one that has completely eroded compassion in place of dogma. It happens, and that is why I am here. I’ve seen your compassion trampled by your dogma JP (e.g. your talk of brutalizing and “beheading” gays in your neighborhood for money [and presumably pleasure], re: “Anti-Gay Pride” blog- which Cameron demolished and I don’t need to even comment on).
JP, you are a slave to redacted scraps of Bronze Age mythology. Free yourself. You may not always be happy, but at least you will no longer be a junkie… and I can assure you that THAT is why Chandra ultimately settled upon atheism: he was a free and honest man.

“So I don't get it. You're trying to argue that atheists are bad, but Orthodox Jews are no better?”- JP

Some atheists are bad, others are not. Some Jews are bad, others are not. I would hope that you take your arguments to Failed, where you could (should) spend many many days getting sick to your stomach. Orthodox dogma typically superimposes an absolutist/fundamentalist lens on value assessments: black and white. If you are advocating “beheading” homosexuals, and you are, then you are treading dangerously close to (if not at) the intolerable ethical level of citizenship in the modern world. I don’t care how happy you claim to be.

jewish philosopher said...

What do you mean atheism is an "assessment"? If Orthodox Judaism does not improve people's behavior, then how do you explain the low level of violence and substance abuse in the Orthodox community? What has Lot getting drunk got to do with anything?

Are you actually serious about anything you're writing here? Is this a joke or a product of mental illness or both? May I ask, who are you exactly?

Anonymous said...

Charles Darwin said he was not an atheist but an agnostic.
He started out training to be a doctor, like his father; but he found the operations - in those days without anesthetic - too much to bear and left medical school. It was something of a tradition that failed doctors became priests and Darwin did study divinity before his trip on the Beagle which led to his discovery of evolution.
Rather surprisingly, it wasn't the attacks by the Church on Darwin over his theory of evolution by natural selection, but the death of his daughter Annie in 1851 at the age of 10 that made him lose his Christian faith. He described the loss of faith as an ebbing away, rather than as a sudden change in belief.