On Reason and Rationality
- At 11:00 PM 8/16/2008, you wrote:
>On 8/12/2008, Susan Cogan wrote:Christians and creationists loved eugenics as much as Hitler. They
> >there you go. Atheism (i.e. evolution) has "potentially horrific
> >ends." You can't weasel out of it with "I'm sure there's a coupla
> >good atheists out there." A rational scientific worldview will not
> >"potentially lead to horrific ends." Insisting on blind obedience as
> >the hard core creationists do, does however.
>The truth is that "a rational scientific worldview" _has_
>led to horrific ends. Eugenics, Hitler's systematic
>"racial hygiene and "final solution" programs, and the
>utilitarians' Darwinist infanticide prescription, are
>just a sampling of the horrific ends a "rational
>scientific worldview" has led to.
didn't understand the logical conclusion of it until Hitler's
excesses. Also in Hitler's time most Christians--most especially
Biblical literalists--were as racist as all get out. It was
Biblically literal Christians were the ones that had to be fought
against in the 50s and 60s to get civil rights for blacks. THEY were
the ones that claimed that the Bible told them blacks were inferior.
Nobody ever died from an excess of questioning, doubting or using reason.
The blind obedience commanded by God and his spokesmodels and by
Hitler (who claimed to speak for God) is what causes horror on a grand scale.
> >And as I have pointed out, morality doesn't need a basis.loving him is irrational. Not murdering him is the moral part of the
>Well, no, you haven't done any such thing, which is quite
>obvious to those who bother to read what, exactly, you
> >It is something that confers benefit and happiness to human beings.
> >It's not something onerous that you need to be forced to do. It's not
> >something that needs to be justified. It's not something that needs
> >to be or can be derived from authority--which is what the "basis" for
> >morality means. You are the basis for your moral authority. You think
> >the Bible is a moral book because you have evaluated it and judged it
> >to be moral. You have evaluated the 10 Commandments and judged them
> >to be moral. The authority flows from you to the Bible, not the other
> >way. Neither God nor religion have anything at all to do with morality.
> >That is a myth. All morality resides in each individual human being.
>Yes, _moralITY_ "resides in each individual human being." The
>conclusion that "neither God nor religion have anything at
>all to do with morality" is plainly question-begging and
>utterly irrelevant to the premise that "morality resides in
>each individual human being." You must make a positive
>argument that demonstrates that Godless morality is
>objective, not relative or subjective. Why, if I'm not
>ultimately accountable to God, should I _love_ the
>neighbor who makes my life miserable instead of murdering
behavior spectrum. You don't murder him because you have judged that
doing so would make you more miserable than the irritating neighbor.
Why on earth would doing something in your own best interest harm
another? Just the opposite is true.
>Why it is always and everywhere immoral to enslave one'sbecause nobody wants those things to happen to themselves. Therefore
>fellow human beings / sexually abuse children / rape a woman,
>if, as you insist, each person is morally accountable only to
it is in their interests to live in a society where none of that
happens (or where it's rare). You seem to not know about or
understand the concept of empathy. You seem to assume that people
aren't born with it when it's clear that even toddlers have it.
>Why are _civil_ laws predicated on Biblical moralThe bill of rights of the US Constitution basically forbids basing
>laws? Why, if I violate a _civil_ law, am I accountable to
>the state _if_, as you assert, I'm the only authority I must
laws on all but 3 of the 10 commandments. It's rare for a civil law
to be based on a Biblical moral law because the Bible has no concept
of personal freedom. Obedience is it's consistent and constant theme.
Personal freedom is an enlightenment-era idea. The US Constitution is
an enlightenment-era document. It is deliberately secular.
>Take Lenin and Stalin, or Hitler, or Chairman Mao, and theiractually, no. They basically founded religions similar to the OT
>willing collaborators: Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, and Chairman
>Mao acted in good conscience, certain that their horrific
>atrocities were moral, and by _your_ subjective measure
>they _were_ moral. Furthermore, you have no warrant
>whatsoever to condemn those men - or anyone else.
religion but with themselves playing the role of God. Rational self
interest was forbidden in all of the above cases. Hitler condemned
rationality as explicitly as the current Pope. Obedience and
self-sacrifice to the "god" were the foundation of all morality. In
other words it is identical to the morality of most modern religions
except without the ameliorating effect of the enlightenment idea of
and I don't need a "warrant" (i.e. permission) to condemn them. I
have an intrinsic right to condemn them.
> >For a religionist sin consists solely of displeasing God. This leaveshahahahaha!!! from you that is vastly ironic
> >no room for compassion or the value of human life.
>Oh, please! Spare me the self-righteous posturing.
>Accordingyou can't refute an opinion. You can only refute an argument, silly.
>to you, man is "a pile of chemicals" no qualitatively
>different from an E. coli bacterium, a "mammal,"
>blahblahblahblah, yet it's _Christians_ who don't appreciate
>the value of _human_ life. And then there are the many
>"compassionate," respectful pro-abortion / pro-dessicating-
>etc., OriginsTalk commentaries you've posted....
><<Snipped the monotonous Christophobic emoting that has been
>quite decisively refuted by more than a few people more
>than a few times during the past couple of months alone.>>
>"The daily actions of religious people have accomplishedfrom the following page of the same book:
>uncounted good deeds throughout history, alleviating
>suffering, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick.
>Religions have brought the comfort of belonging and
>companionship to many who would otherwise have passed
>through this life all alone, without glory or adventure.
>They have not just provided first aid, in effect, for
>people in difficulties; they have provided the means
>for changing the world in ways that remove those
>difficulties. As Alan Wolfe says, "Religion can lead
>people out of cycles of poverty and dependency just as
>it led Moses out of Egypt." There is much for religion
>lovers to be proud of in their traditions, and much for
>all of us to be grateful for." Daniel Dennett / _Breaking
>the Spell: Religion As A Natural Phenomenon_ / Penguin
>Books / 2007.
"So, although I understand and sympathize with those to hake offense
at my invitation to consider the pros and cons of religion. I insist
that they have no right to indulge themselves by declaring their love
[of religion] and then hiding behind the veil of righteous
indignation [gosh, who does that sound like?] or hurt feelings. Love
is not enough. Have you ever had to face the heart-wrenching problem
of a dear friend who has fallen head over heals in love with somebody
who is just not worthy of her love? . . . people in love often make
it a point to respond irrationally and violently to any perceived
slight to their beloved."
> > >That's why we never discuss cockroach morality. Cockroaches lackI didn't edit the paragraph above.
> > >the intrinsic value and the ability to make conscious choices
> > >that together breathe meaning into the concept of morality. If
> > >Darwinism (the creation myth of atheism) is true, humans and
> > >cockroaches are equally unintended, purposeless, meaningless
> > >products of the blind evolution of matter, giving them the same
> > >moral significance, namely: none.
> >but you don't equate evolution or atheism with immorality, oh no, never!
>Let's consider the original, unedited version of the paragraph
>you have imagined "equate[s] 'evolution' or atheism with
>On August 5, 2008, James G. Goff wrote:I didn't answer Jim's argument because I have answered it elsewhere.
> Actually, as readers who have understood my arguments about
>morality will know, I've never argued that people must believe as I do or
>they "have no morals." Indeed, while arguing that atheism - like its
>creation myth, Darwinism - provides no basis for morality, I have
>explicitly (and repeatedly) said that most atheists no doubt live
>essentially moral lives because they do not follow the moral logic of
>atheism to its potentially horrific ends. Most atheists have internalized
>the morals established by a moral order to which their worldview
>contributed (and contributes) nothing. In short, atheists have morals
>because they're fortunate enough to live in a world that is largely
>theistic. Unlike atheism, theism can underwrite morality, something that
>benefits even atheists. Theism (in particular, Judeo-Christian theism) does
>this by providing what atheism does not provide; namely, the two essential
>components of morality: (1) the understanding that each human life is
>intrinsically and infinitely valuable, and (2) free will. Unless human life
>is intrinsically valuable, and unless human beings have free will, morality
>is an empty, meaningless concept. That's why we never discuss cockroach
>morality. Cockroaches lack the intrinsic value and the ability to make
>conscious choices that together breathe meaning into the concept of
>morality. If Darwinism (the creation myth of atheism) is true, humans and
>cockroaches are equally unintended, purposeless, meaningless products of
>the blind evolution of matter, giving them the same moral significance,
>Obviously Jim's [unanswered] argument has convinced you that
>"'evolution' or atheism" and immorality correspond because
>that's _your_ conclusion!
>Now, why, I wonder, is it your inalienable right to indict, judge,
>and condemn Christianity - and Christians - as the root of ALL
>evil, yet any _perceived_ hint you imagine that 'evolution' or
>atheism is "immoral" is, to your mind, beyond the pale?
Cockroaches don't have the empathy or fellow-feeling that humans are
born with. Cockroaches are not social creatures as we are and don't
need a morality to survive the way we do. Jim went straight to
cockroaches because he was drawing an equivalent to "evolutionary"
morality. If cockroaches and humans both evolved (they certainly did
and share a common ancestor) then their morality is equivalent. That
is so over the top silly it didn't need much of a refutation.
Christians and Christianity are not the source of ALL evil (even
Dawkins didn't want to call his documentary that, the producers made
him call it that) Christianity --and religion in general--is the
source of MUCH evil. It doesn't make us better people, on the whole,
and sometimes makes us worse.
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- --- In OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com, Susan Cogan <sbcogan@...> wrote:
> At 11:00 PM 8/16/2008, you wrote:
> >On 8/12/2008, Susan Cogan wrote:
> > >there you go. Atheism (i.e. evolution) has "potentially horrific
> > >ends." You can't weasel out of it with "I'm sure there's a coupla
> > >good atheists out there." A rational scientific worldview will
> > >"potentially lead to horrific ends." Insisting on blindobedience as
> > >the hard core creationists do, does however.were
> >The truth is that "a rational scientific worldview" _has_
> >led to horrific ends. Eugenics, Hitler's systematic
> >"racial hygiene and "final solution" programs, and the
> >utilitarians' Darwinist infanticide prescription, are
> >just a sampling of the horrific ends a "rational
> >scientific worldview" has led to.
> Christians and creationists loved eugenics as much as Hitler. They
> didn't understand the logical conclusion of it until Hitler's
> excesses. Also in Hitler's time most Christians--most especially
> Biblical literalists--were as racist as all get out. It was
> Biblically literal Christians were the ones that had to be fought
> against in the 50s and 60s to get civil rights for blacks. THEY
> the ones that claimed that the Bible told them blacks wereinferior.
> Nobody ever died from an excess of questioning, doubting or usingreason.
> The blind obedience commanded by God and his spokesmodels and by
> Hitler (who claimed to speak for God) is what causes horror on a
>Yes, it does. But you keep ignoring the ratios. MOST christians do
NOT believe as such. MOST Germans did not agree with the Nazis (they
were in fear for their lives though if they admitted it). How many
neo-nazis and racist white supremacists are there in existence today?
1% of the US's population? IF that much? Less percentage than that
compared to the world population.
To allow people to be a 'law unto themselves' is idiotic at BEST.
That's what our tax dollars pay law makers and police and judges for.
Do you really think people in general will be so forgiving and
tolerant and think like you do when they think to themselves (BTW,
nice application of the Golden Rule without actually admitting it) "I
don't want it done to me so I won't do it to others?" no. That's the
exception, not the rule. Most people's ideology is "I am going to do
it to you before you do it to ME." It is a self preservation
You are both on extreme ends of your thoughts.
BTW, Clare, eugenics and sterilization as Hitler's final solution was
first mentioned and even tried in the United States. It was LAW in
some states. And this is an alleged christian country.
But just so you know I beleive in God the creator.
>there isn't any evidence against it. There are creationist cannards
> Me: "Dennett...made it plain enough that he (and others like him)
>would attempt to stuff Darwinist dogma into the heads of children of
> Susan: "yes, of course. Aren't you planning to do that to other
>people's children? Isn't that what 'teach the controversy' is all about?"
> No. "Teach the controversy" means that students would not only be
>taught the evidence for Darwinism, they would also be taught the evidence
and that's about it.
> Susan: "ID creationism is religion."according to the IDists the simple existence of the royal flush is
> Yawn.... No matter how many times you say this, it remains utterly
> Me: "A lesson plan in ID might include,,,the meaning and
>significance of specified complexity (with examples)."
> Susan: "this would be wonderful. Then we can show them specified
>complexity--like a royal flush in poker--that was randomly generated."
> No one would be greatly surprised if a random shuffling of cards
>produced a royal flush (unless, of course, that outcome was specified
>immediately before the cards were shuffled). But if a card shark dealt
>himself, say, three consecutive royal flushes, a design inference would be
>warranted: for that outcome to have occurred, the card shark was, in all
>probability, cheating (see message #16,087).
evidence of design by virtue of the extremely high odds against it.
> Susan: "(Irreducible complexity) is predicted by evolution."that isn't true. There are plenty of examples of organism losing
> Actually, irreducible complexity is not a prediction of Darwinism;
>it is an outcome that Darwinism does not expect.
parts do to variation and natural selection--in other words becoming
more simple. You end up with things needed at one time and not needed
later. Cave fish eyes are a crude example.
>Darwinism predictswe see examples of both. Yes, evolution tends to be kludgy but
>slapdash Rube-Goldberg biological systems, not tightly integrated systems
>that are irreducibly complex.
natural selection is perfectly capable of refining and refining
something down to simplicity. Irreducible complexity is badly named
since the referents are irreducibly simple.
>Darwinism also posits that complex biologicalthat is true
>systems are assembled step by tiny step.
>Consequently it has no crediblea lot of mutations are duplications. That causes redundancy. Those
>explanation for how any irreducibly complex biological system (which
>requires that all of its components be in place in order to perform its
>function) might have been assembled in a piecemeal, Darwinian manner.
redundant parts are free to evolve off in different directions. Also
a body part that has one function can be shaped by evolution to
perform another, more pressingly needed function. Exaptation. You've
heard of it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exaptation
>Theit doesn't come up to your standards, but then nothing would. There
>stories Darwinists tell to try to overcome the problem irreducible
>complexity presents to their theory are imaginative, but those stories fail
>to provide any detailed, testable Darwinian pathways to irreducibly complex
>systems (see message #14,493).
are observations of organisms with all the "speculated" transitions.
"Another common objection to Behe's claim that irreducibly complex
biochemical systems lie beyond the remit of the Darwinian mechanism is the
co-optation objection. According to this objection, proteins previously
targeted for various cellular systems sometimes break free and are co-opted
into novel systems. It is as though pieces from a car, bicycle, motorboat,
and train can be suitably recombined to form an airplane. This objection is
also sometimes called a patchwork or bricolage objection. Thus any such
airplane would be a patchwork or bricolage of preexisting materials
originally targeted for different uses. "
and here we get the illogical comparison of non-biological examples
to refute biological ones. And I know for a fact you can take the
pieces of car, bicycle, etc. and make something that can fly.
> Susan: "'information theory' doesn't have a place in the history ofwhy? What difference does it make?
>life on earth."
> Nonsense. To explain life's evolution, biologists must explain the
>origin of the biological information that causes matter to be shaped into
>Darwinism doesn't (and can't) provide that explanation.it isn't really interested as far as I know.
>Darwinism is wholly committed to matter and material causes, butIf IDists want to research that, they should go for it. Meanwhile the
>information is not matter. Information theory is likely crucial to
>understanding how complex biological systems might have originated. To say
>that it has no place in the search for explanations of life's complexities
>is to prejudge what those explanations will be. That kind of thinking is
>precisely what science should avoid.
"materialist" scientists will be studying anatomy, embryology, DNA,
and collecting fossils.
> Susan: "How DO you distinguish 'biological useful information' fromoh, it's humbug. Molecules naturally combine to form other molecules
>'mere Shannon information'?"
> Biologically useful information directs the organization of matter
>into living organisms.
and compounds. Hydrogen doesn't need special magic to make it combine
with oxygen to make water. Even the Miller Urey experiment (and all
the hundreds of others since then) have shown that ordinary molecules
combine to form organic compounds. "Information" in this context is
post facto human evaluation, not an actual physical something.
> Susan: "(complex specified information) can be randomly produced."a royal flush is complex specified information. So is a fairy ring.
> In the entire intellectual history of mankind, there is not one
>example of complex specified information that was "randomly produced."
Both are produced by random natural events and yet they both have
"meaning" in the human sense.
> Susan: "ID isn't testable."at length they point out how purported examples of ID can be refuted
> Actually, it is. In their writings, design theorists explain at
>length how ID can be (and is) tested, but since you won't read their works,
>it's no wonder that you keep peddling this falsehood (along with all the
>other falsehoods you peddle about ID).
but not ID itself. "A" isn't actually designed? It evolved? Well, "B"
was designed. "B" isn't actually designed? It evolved? Well, "C" was
designed. Ad nauseum to the end of time. ID itself can't be falsified.
But there's a significant problem with my argumentation above.
Creationists NEVER admit they are wrong. They will go on saying "A"
was designed decades after it was clearly shown to have evolved.
> Susan: "The designer is either God or a supernatural being withthe name. "Intelligent Design" indicates a magical being.
>magical powers identical to God's."
> As a theist, I agree. But there's nothing in ID theory to support
>ID theory stops with design; it has nothing to say aboutfor political reasons. Real scientists wouldn't stop anywhere.
>the identity of the designer.
>To get from ID theory to God, one must leaveno kidding
>science behind and step into the realms of philosophy and theology.
> With regard to the PZ Myers quotes you provided, I can only thankhe doesn't think they are persuasive. He doesn't care if they are
>you. Myers consistently demonstrates why no one outside of his amen chorus
>takes him seriously. He apparently thinks that vulgarity, sarcasm, sneers,
>jeers, and ridicule are persuasive,
persuasive or not. It's one of his little irritating peccadillos.
>but what his method of argumentationIt's just a word. Sticks and stones.
>actually does is ensure that he'll persuade no skeptics of Darwinism that
>he's right and they're wrong. His blog (Pharyngula) is an incestuous
>affair, where Darwinian true believers stroke one another's egos (it's also
>a place where the "f" word is prominently featured in a variety of ways,
>perhaps most prominently by referring to skeptics of Darwinism as
>Members of OriginsTalk who are aficionados of adolescentI visit it daily. In spite of his irritating habit of attacking
>argumentation should by all means visit Pharyngula.
people who shouldn't be attacked, his science posts are wonderful and
he can be extremely funny.
>You'll quickly discoverscience doesn't give a rat's rosy behind. Some scientists cheer him,
>that Myers shows himself to be an insufferable ass . . . Science is
>shamed by his
others are annoyed by him. There's a reason he was banned from
Panda's Thumb for a while.
>I'm surprised that the University of Minnesota (Morris) hasn'tI think he has tenure. Also his rants and raves are confined to his
>kissed him good-bye, but I'm glad that it hasn't.
blog. They are absent in his lectures. He's very clear about that.
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