an atheist viewpoint

thoughts from a non-theist

More Evidence that Morality Isn’t From Some Supernatural Being

In a study published Dec. 7 in Science, Mason and University of Chicago psychologists Jean Decety and Inbal Ben-Ami Bartal describe their rat empathy-testing apparatus: An enclosure into which pairs of rats were placed, with one roaming free and the other restrained inside a plastic tube. It could only be opened from the outside, which is exactly what the free rats did — again and again and again, seemingly in response to their trapped companions’ distress.

Rats showing empathy for one another, and helping others despite there being no apparent gain in doing so. Yet more proof that morality is an evolved trait, and nothing to do with the fictitious YHWH.

Read the rest of the article on Wired here

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115 thoughts on “More Evidence that Morality Isn’t From Some Supernatural Being

  1. Natural empathy is not morality.Morality has to do with praise and condemnation -with the option of being able to do otherwise. Does the rat deserve praise for freeing the other rat? Does it make sense to condemn the rat for failure to release its companion? If not, then you are not studying morality. You are studying biological compulsions that produce the same effects as morality.

  2. Alex,My evolution professor told me that when I think about evolution I have to use my imagination. So, How is what I am imagining not imaginary?

  3. Anonymous: 1. Please don't try to redefine morality to suit your narrow minded opinions.2. Morality is most definitely not to do with praise/condemnation. It is more moral to do something for no praise than for some reward. If your morality is only tied to what others will think of you or will reward/punish you for, then you are not really being moral.

  4. felixmeister,Bravo!

  5. How do you know rat, Alex? 😉

  6. Hezeiah…who was your "evolution" professor. How do we know that you're not just pulling that out of thin air?Well, speaking of "morality", here's a xian who claims that any skeptic usage of the uh, "morally questionable" acts of biblegod is nothing but argument from outrage.Get a load of his fourth point…uh, is that not just a description of situational ethics as opposed to "absolute morality"?Anyway, from that site:By the same token, it is not enough for critics to object that there "must have been some other way" for an omnipotent God to have avoided these events that they find morally outrageous. Until they have loaded up their Turtledove Time Machine, such an argument is based merely on emotional speculation; those that argue (for example) that, i.e., God could have provided food for all of the Midianite or Amalekite refugees rather than have them killed are of the same sort who prefer a God that doesn't enforce and rules they don't like, and cannot escape their own hypocrisy."Emotional speculation"? No. It's holding your god up to the standards that his groupies and his own "holy book" SAY he has! That's it.I've no problem with biblegod "enforcing" his rules, just not at the expense of those who did not actually break them (ie. kids). How may "chances" the grownups got is irrelevent: I'm not thinking of them here; I'm giving the apologist the benefit of the doubt and assuming that they somehow deserved what befell them.Although in cases like the Canaanites, some would disagree.Anyway, why couldn't biblegod have provided food for those kids? Holding/Turkel apparently had no problems with situations like the Midianite women being taken in (they'd have needed food too!) presumably because their mixed heritage children wouldn't be so likely to strike out against those who raped their parents…yes, he used the actual word.Of course he neglects the fact that the rapees in that situation would likely not be so kindly disposed to those who wiped out their people and "used" them! They in fact, could well inculate hatred for the Isrealis in those kids. The Midianite situation could have easily wound up being worse than what would have happened by sparing the Canaanite/Amalekite kids. At least they would have less (if any, depending on age) memories of their previous lives, but they also would grow up, and produce "happy" little mixed heritage children who Holding thinks would have less problems living with their enemies, since they'd be of half-mixed blood.No matter, the kids of the Canaanites had to die! Or: "we had to kill all the Canaanites including their children, because they were killing their children".

  7. Ah, long story short: Morality is something that human civilizations have to hammer out over time…the bible is amble evidence of that, and the apologetics of people like Robert Turkel/James Patrick Holding etc. only provide more evidence of that.

  8. Reynolds,In chapter 1 of my evolution book it says "a million plus plus plus plus years ago" our anscestors lived in trees.The only alternative I have is to imagine it. So, How is what I am imagining not imaginary?

  9. What's the title of your "evolution book" please.Have you not heard of the fossil record of man? You may be interested in the differing creationists views of various fossil hominids. If humanity and "apes" are of two different kinds, then why can't creationists come to an agreement on them? The very fact that they can't implies that those are transitional forms.Besides, just because one can imagine something does not necessarily mean that it exists only in one's imagination. One's imagination means nothing in terms of whether something exists or not.One has to go by the evidence. Your question is therefore, just weird.

  10. Reynolds,How did life begin?

  11. awe thats adorable.

  12. How about you deal with what we bring up first, Ahab, instead of throwing out non-sequitors?

  13. Reynold,Since you can't account for life how do you as an "atheist" justify use in the principles of reason?

  14. Trinity, why do you keep avoiding answering directly asked questions?

  15. The question must be – if this is not a demonstration of empathy then what is it and what is the cause of it ?Christians cannot accept that one animal can demonstrate behaviour which does not directly benefit it but does directly the benefit of another.

  16. I'm most impressed by the way Anonymous has tried to alter the meanings of 'morality' and 'empathy'

  17. I'm sort of with Anonymous on this one. Empathy does not equal morality, although it may be a source of morality. There are some instances where a moral choice may require you to suspend your empathy, particularly if it's e.g. the choice of one human life over thousands of lives. In fact empathy of the type described in this article may undermine "morality" as it's traditionally discussed…

  18. Alex asked: "Trinity, why do you keep avoiding answering directly asked questions?"Alex, why do you keep avoiding answering directly asked questions?Here try this one:On what rational basis do you, alex, as an "atheist" justify getting out of bed in the morning?

  19. i answered your question, at length. Now answer mine.

  20. trinity, you now have multiple questions aimed at you which you've failed to address, please deal with those before we go further, otherwise i will conclude that you're nothing more than a troll.

  21. Alex,You look like a troll.So, what questions?

  22. *seriously??*That's your reply?Keep it up, you're a great advert for how stupid religion makes people.

  23. Alex,How is it that I'm stupid?

  24. Trinity wrote: "Since you can't account for life how do you as an "atheist" justify use in the principles of reason?" and "On what rational basis do you, alex, as an "atheist" justify getting out of bed in the morning?" Trinity, life needs no justification beyond itself. In fact, by positing an invisible magic being as responsible for life, you've reversed things. To "justify" anything, "life," i.e., a consciousness (life) capable of even forming such a concept as "justify," would already have to be existing. And all concepts, including the concept "justify," are grounded in the axioms and the Primacy of Existence. These axioms are the starting point of man's knowledge. To posit something beyond this bedrock which grounds all knowledge, is to deal in stolen concepts. Also, is your alleged non-imaginary god alive, Trinity? Please account for the life of it. If you can't account for the life of your god (try to avoid the stolen concepts when doing so), what could you have against someone who, supposedly, can't account for life as it exists on earth?The real question you should be asking is, "How can "life" (in this case, a consciousness capable of forming concepts) fail to account for such concepts such as "justification." You see, yours is a prime example of such a mind. So let's see if you can do it this time: Please take us through the steps of how you formed and validated the concept "life." Tells us what you mean when you use the concept "life." Please do the same for "justify" and "account." If you provide us no answer, it will be a clear indication that you cannot even account for the concepts you are using to convey your thoughts. Ydemoc

  25. bye Ydemoc. go stalk somebody else

  26. Trinity, as you seem to be blind, I'll restate the questions you've dodged in this comment thread alone – "Hezeiah…who was your "evolution" professor. How do we know that you're not just pulling that out of thin air?""Anyway, why couldn't biblegod have provided food for those kids?""What's the title of your "evolution book" please.""Have you not heard of the fossil record of man?""If humanity and "apes" are of two different kinds, then why can't creationists come to an agreement on them?""Trinity, why do you keep avoiding answering directly asked questions?""Also, is your alleged non-imaginary god alive, Trinity? Please account for the life of it. If you can't account for the life of your god (try to avoid the stolen concepts when doing so), what could you have against someone who, supposedly, can't account for life as it exists on earth?""So let's see if you can do it this time: Please take us through the steps of how you formed and validated the concept "life." Tells us what you mean when you use the concept "life." Please do the same for "justify" and "account.""————–Those are just from this comments thread, there are dozens of other unanswered questions asked DIRECTLY TO YOU, all over my blog, and Dawson's!Answers please, before we move on.

  27. Trinity wrote: "bye Ydemoc. go stalk somebody else"Perhaps a better name for your brand of apologetic should be "Presumptuous Apologetics" since you assume that you are my target audience. You're not. Your allegation of stalking on my part, underscores your tendency to believe in that which does not exist, and hence has no justification in reality. Meanwhile, please account for the life of your god and for the concepts you use to convey your thoughts. Ydemoc

  28. Ok Alex,While I'm working on those here work on this one:Since the only choice I have is to imagine your "lack of belief" in God. How is it that what I am imagining is not imaginary?

  29. No more answers for you until you answer the questions WE'VE asked. Quit dodging, you're as bad as Syecular

  30. Trinity believes that a donkey has not only talked, but that this talking donkey that his storybook tells him existed, also carried on a conversation with a human being! Really, does anything more need to be said about his belief system? It basically boils down to: Unbelievable and impossible things are written. I have to believe what's written is true, for my storybook tells me so. Therefore, I must look for ways to rationalize the fantastical. Perhaps it might be fitting to refer to Trinity himself as "The Conversational Ass."Ydemoc

  31. Fine Alex your blog your rules.However, I would give anything if, Gadget(Ydemoc) dissapeared

  32. Trinity wrote: "However, I would give anything if, Gadget(Ydemoc) dissapeared"This seems like hyperbole to me. For "anything" would have to include your belief system, would it not? Once again we see on display a failure to think things through.Ydemoc

  33. Trinity, going to answer those questions any time soon? Or am I going to have to ban you?

  34. I probably should keep my bag of troll chow in the closet, but…Since the only choice I have is to imagine your "lack of belief" in God. How is it that what I am imagining is not imaginary?I am sitting here imagining a 2005 VW Jetta station wagon. I can't see one at the moment, so I have to rely upon my memory and imagination to conjure up the image.Of course, after this, I'm going to go down and drive my 2005 VW Jetta station wagon to lunch. ;)So, "can be thought of using imagination" does not equal "imaginary" in the sense of "not real", got it?

  35. Imon,Is your "lack of belief" in God imaginary?Alex,banning me wont fix your problems. AnywayAlex asked: "Hezeiah…who was your "evolution" professor. How do we know that you're not just pulling that out of thin air?"Because im not a magician.Alex asked: ""Anyway, why couldn't biblegod have provided food for those kids?"what kids?alex asked: "Have you not heard of the fossil record of man?" "What's the title of your "evolution book" please."Yea, it's right here in my storybook: http://www.amazon.com/Essentials-Physical-Anthropology-Discovering-Origins/dp/0393934225/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_3/190-5154741-9294731. So, what's your point?alex asked: "If humanity and "apes" are of two different kinds, then why can't creationists come to an agreement on them?"Can you be more specific?alex asked: ""Also, is your alleged non-imaginary god alive, Trinity? Please account for the life of it. If you can't account for the life of your god (try to avoid the stolen concepts when doing so), what could you have against someone who, supposedly, can't account for life as it exists on earth?"Yea, he's alive and well. I account for it by faith and the impossibilty of the contrary.alex asked: "So let's see if you can do it this time: Please take us through the steps of how you formed and validated the concept "life." Tells us what you mean when you use the concept "life." Please do the same for "justify" and "account.""I validate any concept by my God giving senses. What I mean by the concept life is anything that breaths or moves. However, God is life. He's the source of it. See the "proof"?When I ask you to justify or account for something. I am asking you to give a reason or explanation for your beliefs and knowlege claims.However, remember the concepts "reason" and "explanation" pressupose the Christian God. The "atheist" just cant win.ok alex your turn: On what rational basis do you, alex, as an "atheist" justify getting out of bed in the morning?andSince the only choice I have is to imagine your "lack of belief" in God. How is it that what I am imagining is not imaginary?Enjoy

  36. However, remember the concepts "reason" and "explanation" pressupose the Christian God.Um. No, that's part of the point; you haven't made that case successfully, and slipping it in the middle doesn't help. 😉

  37. Trinity, that was hopeless! Firstly you've failed to address the answers to the people who asked the questions – giving the (correct, it seems) impression that you haven't been paying any attention AT ALL. Then the answers you DID give were, frankly, shit.As for ME having 'problems'….ahahahahah! I'm not the one talking absolute fucking SHITE and thinking that it makes me look clever! Trinity, you're a moron or a Poe – which is it?

  38. Trinity wrote, regarding a question if the invisible magic being he believes in is living, and how he accounts for his belief that it is living: "Yea, he's alive and well. I account for it by faith and the impossibilty of the contrary.""Faith," according to your bible, is equated with "hope." Hope does not in the least account for what is living, or anything else for that matter. The "impossibility of the contrary" cannot be a basis for knowledge, no matter what the knowledge claim happens to be. The concept "impossibility" is a later concept. The concept "possible" had to have logically come before one can identify that which is "impossible." And the concept "possible" can only come about after one has identified that which one is certain about, i.e., the axioms and the primacy of existence priniciple. Possible? Possible as opposed to what? Trinity was asked: "So let's see if you can do it this time: Please take us through the steps of how you formed and validated the concept "life." Tells us what you mean when you use the concept "life." Please do the same for "justify" and "account.""He responded to this request by stating: "I validate any concept by my God giving senses."Then please, tell us what your senses do when you validate the concept "life," "justify" and "account." Take us through the process performed by your consciousness which receives the material provided by your senses. Step us through it.Trinity wrote: "What I mean by the concept life is anything that breaths or moves."The planet Mercury moves. Is it life? When an avalanche occurs, rocks move. Are they life? When you see your own shadow as you move down the street, is it life? Ocean waves move, is it life? Comets move, are they life? Maybe you meant breathes "and" moves? But even this wouldn't be correct, for "breathing" is very specific, and wouldn't apply to many living organisms. But maybe you are simply positing this meaning of "life" in an attempt to have it be in accordance with what you believe about your invisible magic being, much like you do when you attempt to rationalize away your assertion that donkeys can carry on conversations.(continued)

  39. Trinity wrote: "However, God is life. He's the source of it. See the "proof"?"More stolen concepts. More denying of that which makes concepts (knowledge) possible.Trinity wrote: "When I ask you to justify or account for something. I am asking you to give a reason or explanation for your beliefs and knowlege claims."Just by stating that it doesn't happen based on hope (or faith) and/or with an ultimate appeal to mystery is a sufficient enough answer. If you want a necessary answer, see below. Trinity wrote: "However, remember the concepts "reason" and "explanation" pressupose the Christian God. The "atheist" just cant win."This is an assertion filled with stolen concepts. Additionally, how can all these concepts, which you've failed to show us the process you went through get them, presuppose that which is ultimately a mystery? Mystery and hope are no basis upon which to ground a rational worldview.As far as your requests for "accounting," Dawson Bethrick has supplied the following: "Quetion: How does Objectivism account for logic? Answer: Objectivism accounts for logic by the axioms, the primacy of existence, and the objective theory of concepts. Question: How does Objectivism account for science? Answer: Objectivism accounts for science by the axioms, the primacy of existence, and the objective theory of concepts. Question: How does Objectivism account for morality? Answer: Objectivism accounts for morality by the axioms, the primacy of existence, and the objective theory of concepts." (Presuppositionalism vs. Objectivism: How Objectivism Prevails," 8/2/2011, http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2011/08/presuppositionalism-vs-objectivism-how.html)I encourage all fence-sitters looking on to read Dawson's work.Now, Trinity, go back to the drawing board.Ydemoc

  40. Alex,Whatever you want to be. The problem is your little temper tantrums, obscenities, and denigrations pressupose the truth of the bible. See your problems?Let me put plainly everything and anything pressuposes the Christian God. There is nowhere you can hide Alex.Love in Christ,HA

  41. Trinity wrote: "Let me put plainly everything and anything pressuposes the Christian God. There is nowhere you can hide Alex."Please take us through the process of how you came to the concept "everything." Once you do, tell us precisely where in that process we can find your Christian God. Be very specific. Ydemoc

  42. "Let me put plainly everything and anything pressuposes the Christian God. There is nowhere you can hide Alex."In that case we have to go back further – 1. Please prove that gods can and do exist, then 2. prove that your version of your particular god is the right one.Only then can we get down to sorting out this unholy mess of yours.

  43. I hope that anyone watching this is as amused by Trinity's abject failure, and his attempts to pretend that everything is actually going his way.

  44. Alex,Try being rational for a sec. I know it's hard for you.But go ahead prove proof for me.

  45. MORE dodging??Trinity, if you can't stop acting like a pointless, idiotic, troll, then I'm going to need to simply start deleting your stupidity.

  46. Go ahead. Remember God controls everything that happens. See the "proof"?I challenge any "atheist" here to prove logic without reducing yourself to utter absurdity.Blessings

  47. Trinity, take this as your last warning. I believe you are nothing more than a troll who doesn't actually know what the fuck he's talking about. Any more bullshit from you and I'll start deleting all your posts.

  48. I understand alex no hard feelings. If I embarrased myself like you have done in the past few days I would delete them to.

  49. Wow, you're even more deluded than I previously thought.

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  51. Trinity wrote: "I challenge any "atheist" here to prove logic without reducing yourself to utter absurdity."Like usual, you have no idea what you are asking. As Dawson has written: "Proof is a process of demonstrating the logical connection between that which is not perceptually self-evident to that which is perceptually self-evident."The perceptually self-evident requires no proof, but is the precondition for proof and logic. It is what logic and proof are grounded in (the axioms and the primacy of existence). I believe you recognized this when I asked you some time ago if you would need proof of god if you were in heaven with him. You said something to the effect that proof (or was it faith?) would no longer apply in heaven, due to the fact that your god would be perceptually self-evident. Your answer exposes your inconsistency and the double-minded nature of your epistemology (to the extent your particular brand of theism even has it).You are essentially admitting your god is not perceptually self-evident (among other things). Otherwise, why would you see it as necessary to do away with "proof" (or faith) once you are in heaven, face to face with your god? Blank out.

  52. Hezekiah Ahaz:"Hezeiah…who was your "evolution" professor. How do we know that you're not just pulling that out of thin air?"Because im not a magician.So? Doesn't mean that you can't still be lying. Which is what I meant, though of course, you know that, but just are here to mess with us.Anyway, why couldn't biblegod have provided food for those kids?"What kids?The kids that I mentioned here.Reynold,Since you can't account for life how do you as an "atheist" justify use in the principles of reason?What does one have to do with the other? So far as has been seen, life is conceived and propagated through natural means. As for the very beginning of life, even scientists are uncertain, though certain uh, "ideas" have been ruled out. For more information, go read up on "abiogenesis".http://www.amazon.com/Essentials-Physical-Anthropology-Discovering-Origins/dp/0393934225/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_3/190-5154741-9294731. So, what's your point?Checking to see if it was a real book, since you never gave the title. Now if we only had evidence that you actually read it."If humanity and "apes" are of two different kinds, then why can't creationists come to an agreement on them?"Can you be more specific?That link I gave you listed several actual examples of individual creationists having contradictory opinions on whether the same individual fossils were man or ape. Can't get more specific than that. If you're referring to being more specific about what constitutes a "man" and "ape" I suggest asking the creationists listed in that link.Still want to dodge?By the way, Alex: My advice is: Ban if you must, but NEVER delete. If they make fools of themselves, let it stand for public record so that they can't claim later on that they "won" and that you deleted the evidence of their "victory", and it comes as a handy reference point if they use those same arguments again either here or elsewhere.Just my thought though.

  53. Reynolds,I agree Alex shouln't delete them. Let's let the world see the irrationality of "atheist".

  54. Trinity wrote: "I agree Alex shouln't delete them. Let's let the world see the irrationality of "atheist"."Unfortunately, your premise is flawed. For there would still be your silly comments embedded in many of our rational responses to you. Ydemoc

  55. Alex,Can you do me a favor and delete, Ydemocs, comments?

  56. So you're a hypocrite then? Don't ban, then all of a sudden you're for banning?

  57. Whoops. Sorry that should read delete instead of ban in my last post.

  58. Alex,Can you delete Reynolds comments?

  59. Hah! I like this guy! He's a pretty good poe. Not a theist at all then, but what the hell…he gave us a little bit of practice anyway. I was wondering a bit when he started quoting Sye in an earlier post.

  60. Reynold,I qouted Sye? OkBy the way Is your "lack of belief" in YHWH imaginary?

  61. Lack of belief is an opinion that someone holds about something. It's whether one thinks that something (that they lack belief in) is imaginary or not. Opinions can't really have the adjective "imaginary" attached to them. Is god himself imaginary? From what I know, yes.

  62. Reynold,According to, alex, a "lack of belief" is "not ANYTHING". But now your telling me that a "lack of belief" is an opinion. Why can't "atheist" agree on anything? You got a lot of problems on your hands here reynold.According to my dictionary an opinion is a belief. See the Contradiction?So which one is it a "lack of belief" in God or an opinion i.e. a belief that you don't believe in God? Have fun cleaning up this mess.So, yea, Opinions can really have the adjective imaginary attached to them. Reynold said: "Is god himself imaginary? From what I know, yes.You don't sound so sure there reynold. So, what do you know?The problem is reynold the concept "imaginary" pressuposes the Christian God. Enjoy.Remember opinions are subjective, arbitary, and invalid i.e. they don't hold a lot of weight. So, why should I believe you?So in the end not only have you reduced yourself to absurdity,reynold, but the only alternative I'm left with is to imagine that you are telling me the truth. So, how is what I am imagining not imaginary?Enjoy.

  63. Trinity wrote: "The problem is reynold the concept "imaginary" pressuposes the Christian God. Enjoy."Since you are claiming the concept "imaginary" presupposes an invisible magic being, there must be a Theory of Concepts somewhere in your lengthy storybook. Tell us where we might find this theory within the pages of your storybook, then please, take us through the steps you took to form the concept "imaginary." Describe the process from start to finish. Ydemoc

  64. Hezekiah AhazReynold said: "Is god himself imaginary? From what I know, yes.You don't sound so sure there reynold. So, what do you know?That the bible has proven scientific errors in it which pretty much shoots down the claim that your god is the one who made the nature that he failed to accurately describe in the first place, then there's the fact that you xians have somehow been able to rule out every other god who could have possibly existed. I just ruled out the last one. (an atheist in an Islamic country could say the same to the Muslim!)The point being: I see no evidence of any "gods/goddesses/primordials, cosmic entities, etc". So unbelief is justified and reasonable.The problem is reynold the concept "imaginary" pressuposes the Christian God. Enjoy.It may describe him, but I've seen no evidence of what you just claimed.As has been said before, presupposition is nothing really, but theists giving up due to lack of evidence, and trying to game the argument by putting their conclusion into all of their uh, arguments.Any theist of any stripe can do that, and their "proofs" will be just as strong as any other.Oh by the way, what do you have to say about the problem that creationists have in distinguishing human skulls from ape skulls?This is the third time I've asked….Enjoy.

  65. Really, though, the very fact that Trinity is forced to accept the absurdity of "conversational donkey," as being true; and the fact that he and other apologists come up with such obvious rationalizations in attempts to support this and other absurd storybook notions, is enough to place not only his invisible-magic-being-belief within the realm of imagination where it belongs, but so too all apologetics associated with it. Primacy of Consciousness indeed!Ydemoc

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  67. Why is it that "objectivist" think they have some exclusive right to the human mind? The thing is they can't account for life so why should pay attention to them? AnywayHello Reynold,Looks like, as Dawson Bethrick told me once, your back is against the ropes and you are winded and left without a fight. Desperetaly, hoping your corner throws the towel in. Anyway, It was something to that effect but it was extremely hilarious. Anyway let's see what reynold has cooked up.Reynold said:"That the bible has proven scientific errors in it which pretty much shoots down the claim that your god is the one who made the nature that he failed to accurately describe in the first place"The problem is reynold you can't account for "error" since you don't know what truth is. Error assumes a standard of truth and not surprsingly truth pressuposes the Christian God. Since he is truth. See the "proof"?So account for "error" first and then tell me why science is possible and then maybe we can talk about the "errors" in the bible.Reynold said:"then there's the fact that you xians have somehow been able to rule out every other god who could have possibly existed. What's a xian?I don't rule it out God himself does. Deut 6:4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one."Reynold said: "The point being: I see no evidence of any "gods/goddesses/primordials, cosmic entities, etc". So unbelief is justified and reasonable."Once again, reynold, look all around you. See the evidence? So when you tell me "unbelief is justified and reasonable." I have no other alternative but to imagine that you are not lying. So, how is what im imagining not imaginary?Besides you can't account for your own flashes of rationalty. So, I challenge you to do so.Reynold:"It may describe him, but I've seen no evidence of what you just claimed.The problem is the concept "description" assumes there is regularity in the universe. Which not surprisingly you can't account for. So, I challenge you to do so.Reynold said:"As has been said before, presupposition is nothing really, but theists giving up due to lack of evidence, and trying to game the argument by putting their conclusion into all of their uh, arguments.Ok, account for your flases of rationality first and then maybe I will respond to this mess. By the way I'm not a "presuppositionalist" just a simple Christian with a bible.Reynold said:"Oh by the way, what do you have to say about the problem that creationists have in distinguishing human skulls from ape skulls?Nothing.

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  69. Trinity responded: "Why is it that "objectivist" think they have some exclusive right to the human mind?"Your question displays your confusion. Where has any Objectivist ever claimed to have an "exclusive right to the human mind?" Do you even know what a "right" is? You have a mind — it's yours to do with it what you wish. No Objectivist that I'm aware of has ever claimed anything contrary to this. Perhaps you are projecting, since your belief requires of you to surrender your mind to an invisible magic being. You believe your mind really isn't yours, right? Nor do you believe my mind is mine, right?Trinity wrote: "The thing is they can't account for life so why should pay attention to them?"See my previous response to this. Account for that which makes the very act of "accounting" possible? Please account for your god which you have already stated is a living thing. This is where your lack of a Theory of Concepts fails you. Keep in mind when you do attempt to account for the "life" of your god, that a Theory of Concepts rests upon the axioms and the Primacy of Existence Principle.Good luck!Ydemoc

  70. Hezikiah AhazReynold said:"That the bible has proven scientific errors in it which pretty much shoots down the claim that your god is the one who made the nature that he failed to accurately describe in the first place"The problem is reynold you can't account for "error" since you don't know what truth is.What gives you that bongo idea? "Truth" is simply what accurately describes reality, something your bible fails, as I gave examples of.Error assumes a standard of truth and not surprsingly truth pressuposes the Christian God.Again, another unsupported assertion, which is shot down by pointing out errors in the bible.Since he is truth. See the "proof"?The problem is that you have, like a true presupper, just dodged again. When mistakes in the bible are brought to your attention, you dodge by saying that I can't account for "truth". Yet, it's YOUR holy book that has demonstrable errors in it, yet it's YOUR standard of truth!BTW, what in hell is this "proof" you keep referring to? The world around us? Please. That's why I keep bringing up biblical mistakes involving the world around us! To show that your god, if he can't even describe his own "creation" accurately, probably didn't make all this.The problem is the concept "description" assumes there is regularity in the universe. Which not surprisingly you can't account for. So, I challenge you to do so.Uh, "description" actually assumes nothing. It just means to tell/say/write or otherwise communicate what one has experienced through one of more senses. Besides, it's you people who can't account for "regularity" in the universe, what with a god who can change the laws of physics locally and temporarily on a whim.Naturalists can account for regularity simply because if the laws of physics weren't constant, our universe as it is would not have been able to come about. Things like decay rates, heat given off by them, and the speed of light etc. would have messed us up if they changed.It's not like these suspensions of natural law are taking place in a black hole or something, which is a place that has a permanent effect due to the different conditions there…I'm talking about miracles, which are local, temporary "changes" in the laws of physics in places where that stuff couldn't otherwise happen.

  71. (all that palaver above is because I've heard people say that these "miracles" are just "additions" to the laws of nature and that they don't "break" them, or make them any more arbitrary simply because their god is mucking about with it. So, I decided to nip that bullshit in the bud)Ok, account for your flases of rationality first and then maybe I will respond to this mess. By the way I'm not a "presuppositionalist" just a simple man with a bibleIf you're not one, then why are you acting like one? Even your demand up top there is standard presupp fare. We use our brains, which developed through evolutionary natural processes (which is partly why I brought up those links to the Talk Origins archive in my previous posts–you know, to provide evidence for my claims?) to account for rationality. Is it "infallible"? Nope. But it works well enough. Not even the xian's senses are infallible, despite the fact that biblegod has supposed to "revealed" to you people that your senses are reliable. (See any optical illusion, for example!)It's a survival trait, as explained here.So, when you fall for an optical illusion, is your god therefore wrong or just lying when he uses "divine revelation" to tell you that you can be justified in using your senses?So account for "error" first and then tell me why science is possible and then maybe we can talk about the "errors" in the bible.I doubt that there is ANYTHING I can say that will get you to address biblical errors, though if you were honest, that last link should help answer your question…the "strength" of presupp bullshit is that you can keep insisting that whatever answers you get are not good enough, and then keep dodging, all the while claiming that you may actually want to answer our questions, as Sye does.Mind you, if your bible is infallible as you people claim, you should be able to deal with whatever errors I bring up, regardless of whether I have "answered" your question.

  72. Trinity wrote: "The problem is the concept "description" assumes there is regularity in the universe. Which not surprisingly you can't account for."This is too much! Notice how selective Trinity is in pointing out that the concept "description" assumes regularity in the universe; but then chooses not to point out that every other concept that he's using does also, including "account." If nature is uniform, and the concepts "description" and "account," as well as all other concepts (i.e., the form in which man develops and retains his knowledge) that man uses (including Trinity), rests on the fundamental fact of the regularity in the universe (i.e., the uniformity of nature — a corollary of the axioms), and is implicit in every act of perception (which it is), then to ask for an accounting of the uniformity of nature is to ask for that which has already been accounted for by virtue of it (natures regularity) being the basis for any accounting whatsoever. The question trades in stolen concepts, lacks a theory of concepts, and ignores the hierarchical nature of knowledge. Ydemoc

  73. An addendum to what I replied to HA's statement of:The problem is the concept "description" assumes there is regularity in the universe. Which not surprisingly you can't account for. So, I challenge you to do so.from hereThe eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.

  74. Reynold,And let's not forget what Van Til said: "God may at any time take one fact and set it into a new relation to created law. That is, there is no inherent reason in the facts or laws why this should not be done. It is this sort of conception of the relation of facts and laws, of the temporal one and many, embedded as it is in the idea of God in which we profess to believe, that we need in order to make room for miracles. And miracles are at the heart of the Christian position." (The Defense of the Faith, p. 27)So much for regularity!Ydemoc

  75. Whoa, that quote completely blows the xian theists' claims of their god being the justification for the regular laws of the universe right out of the water.Anyway, back to the actual topic of morality here, here's another atheist blog that deals with that topic.

  76. Fascinating! Thanks for sharing Alex.Hez, Evolution is not imaginary b/c there is EVIDENCE in the fossils. There is no evidence for your imaginary god. Fossils are not imaginary.

  77. ActionJackson,Good point to Trinity, and good to see you around.Reynold,As for the quote above from Van Til, I find Dawson's commentary about the quote right on point: "Notice how Van Til provides the optimal formula for a most bizarre understanding of the universe, one which is in no way confirmed by what we experience in the world…. Van Til makes it clear that his express concern here is “to make room for miracles,” for “miracles are at the heart of the Christian position.” His concern is not for reason, rationality, objectivity, truth, honesty or any other virtue man needs in order to exist. Rather, his concern is to give shelter to a fantasy, an imaginary realm which serves as a playland for consciousness." (Gods and Square Circles, by Dawson Bethrick katholon.com/squarecircles.htm)Van Til all but admits that theism is imaginary. "Make room for miracles" — make room for them where? In his, and other believers, minds. Pure subjectivism. Primacy of Consciousness, indeed!Ydemoc

  78. Oh boy the tag team is here AJ and Ydemoc. Thanks for the van til qoute it's brilliant. AJ you're imaginary.Hello Reynold,Remember me? I remember Dawson Bethrick telling me that it was pretty funny. AnywayReynold said: "Truth" is simply what accurately describes reality,What reality the one based on your personal experince?Reynold said: Besides, it's you people who can't account for "regularity" in the universe, what with a god who can change the laws of physics locally and temporarily on a whim.Well, said Reynolds "regularity". So, how about you account for and quit complaining.Reynold said: "Naturalists can account for regularity simply because if the laws of physics weren't constant, our universe as it is would not have been able to come about. Things like decay rates, heat given off by them, and the speed of light etc. would have messed us up if they changed.""Naturalist" can't account for life so why should I believe them?There is regularity(which is temporal) but ultimatley there isn't. The king does as he pleases. Figure it out reynoldHow about those bible "errors" you ever gonna post them?

  79. Well, said Reynolds "regularity". So, how about you account for and quit complaining.I can account: the laws of nature including physics. I tried explaining (or as you called it: "complaining") that it's theists who have no way to account for "regularity" in the universe, not us. I also tried explaining that if those laws were not constant, that our universe as it is, would not have been able to survive.Reynold said: "Naturalists can account for regularity simply because if the laws of physics weren't constant, our universe as it is would not have been able to come about. Things like decay rates, heat given off by them, and the speed of light etc. would have messed us up if they changed.""Naturalist" can't account for life so why should I believe them?You obviously did not read the "abiogenesis" link I gave in an earlier post.No matter…thiests like you never care to learn.There is regularity(which is temporal) but ultimatley there isn't. The king does as he pleases. Figure it out reynoldI know that's what you people believe. That's why I say that it is you theists who can NOT account for "regularity". As you said, the "king" does as he pleases. You have the laws of nature subject to this "kings' whims.How about those bible "errors" you ever gonna post them?I already have! More than once! Are you actually going to deal with them this time instead of dodging?

  80. Reynold,Is death regular?Science can't account for life, reynold, the best they can do is posit the imaginary. The only alternative I have is to imagine it along with them.Have you ever read the whole bible?There are plenty of websites that deal with your "errors" have you ever bothered to even look for an answer?So, after all, why is there "regularity"?

  81. So, HA; let me ask a simple question.Can you define "account"? What does it mean to account for something, since you regularly object to other people's attempts to do so by any means other than pointing to God?

  82. Imno,I actually answered that question a few days ago.But here it is again:To account for:To give a reason and/or an explanation of why things are the way they are and why you think they happen or will happen a certain way.

  83. Trinity is either a troll, a Poe, or a retard.

  84. "Science can't account for life, reynold, the best they can do is posit the imaginary. The only alternative I have is to imagine it along with them.""To account for:To give a reason and/or an explanation of why things are the way they are and why you think they happen or will happen a certain way."There are many explanations and reasons for why life is the way it is and why people think it happens & does happen in a certain way.If you are ignorant of these, that is your fault for failing to educate yourself and not the fault of those doing the research or providing the explanations.

  85. Thanks Alex you're a sweetheart.Felix I'm not into fiction. Thanks

  86. I'm not into fiction myself; hence why I don't go for the bible. You on the other hand ask for justifications, etc. yet when you are given them, you refuse them.So yeah. You're probably a Poe. A troll would not act this stupid for so long.

  87. Definitely a Poe.

  88. Hezekiah AhazReynold,Is death regular?Happens to pretty much anything living except to an extent microbes. Just think of how overcrowded the earth would be and how fast resources like food would be used up if there was no death, eh?Everything that dies gets decomposed (ie. broken down into it's constituent materials which are then re-entered into the cycle of life)Science can't account for life, reynold, the best they can do is posit the imaginary.Ah, not quite. "Imaginary" implies that they just pulled something out of thin air. Science while not knowing how life originally got going at least has some clues and goes from there. If you had bothered to read the "abiogenesis" link I gave in an earlier post, you'd have seen that.The only alternative I have is to imagine it along with them.No, you can actually read what links I give and see what actual evidence they've got.Have you ever read the whole bible?Yes. It's partially why I became an atheist in the first place.There are plenty of websites that deal with your "errors" have you ever bothered to even look for an answer?Yes. Christian answers net, Robert Turkel/James Patrick Holding's "Tektonics" site, Apologetics Press, etc. For the simple mathematical mistakes (easily accounted for by as they say "copyist errors" but never mind that this "omnipotent" god of yours should have been able to prevent any errors, after all, he is perfect and made all of this complicated life around us, did he not?) As for the ostrich problem Robert Turkel looks at how ostriches treat the other females eggs in their communal systems, while looking after her own. The bible writers did not know that, and wrote as if all the eggs were hers. Turkel says that as the "dominant" hen all those eggs were "hers".Ah, no. She did not lay those other eggs, so they are not hers. Her eggs she cares about, unlike what the bible says.The bible writer who wrote the ostrich description did not know too much about ostrich behaviour and which eggs where the actually belonging to the "dominant" females. Remember, the bible verses describing this are trying to make it that the female ostrich doesn't have enough sense or compassion to look after her own. In reality, she does. Holding goes on in the summary: She is hardened against her young ones…..actually they are not her young ones…..as though they were not hers: her labour is in vain without fear. We have seen how this applies to the chicks.In actuality they WERE not hers. The bible writer would have no way of knowing that though. Now we've figured it out.So, the bible writer saw how some ostriches act, but has confused what he or she saw. He seems to figure that the eggs the ostrich mother mistreats are her own eggs, and has gone on to imply that god has denied the female with both the sense and the wisdom to take care of her eggs: From Job 39:Because God hath deprived her of wisdom, neither hath he imparted to her understanding.On the contrary, she understands which eggs are actually hers and which are not.That's something that is easily missed by the people way back when but why would god miss that?So, after all, why is there "regularity"?Because there is not capricious god mucking around with the laws of nature on a whim??

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  91. To give a reason and/or an explanation of why things are the way they are and why you think they happen or will happen a certain way. Then why is "The workings of a material universe, based on interactions between particles that follow certainl regularities in behavior, said regularities increasing as scale increases" not a sufficient accounting?Things are the way they are because that's how the initial conditions, quantum fluctuations, and the regularities in behavior produced. They will happen in ways that do not violate said behaviors.There. World accounted for, no need for supernatural beings. We done now, HA?

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  94. Reynold,Your a christian. Nice!!!!!Well, Dawson Bethrick, over at IP has been asking for some prayers. Will you pray for him?Reynold said: "Happens to pretty much anything living except to an extent microbes. Just think of how overcrowded the earth would be and how fast resources like food would be used up if there was no death, eh?"Are you afraid to die?Reynold "abiogenesis" is imaginary why should I bother.Reynold why are you asking me about an ostrich?Reynold the "errors" are only in your head.Reynold said: So, after all, why is there "regularity"?Because there is not capricious god mucking around with the laws of nature on a whim??Well, you would have to show me, as Dawson Bethrick calls it, that an "invisible magic being" is not in control. How about it?Imon,Said: "We done now, HA?Well, you came knocking on my door. So, come in have a seat let me get you a cup of coffee.imon said: "Then why is "The workings of a material universe, based on interactions between particles that follow certainl regularities in behavior, said regularities increasing as scale increases" not a sufficient accounting? Things are the way they are because that's how the initial conditions, quantum fluctuations, and the regularities in behavior produced. They will happen in ways that do not violate said behaviors."This is just a "complicated" version of "that's just the way it is". Well, sorry that's not an explanation.How can science "know" the "initial conditions" when they can't even account for "initial conditions" you got a lot of work on your hands here imon. Blessings

  95. Upon close examination, the last few comments I posted required clarification and editing. Rather than posting separate comments addressing those issues, I have chosen to delete my previous comments and make my clarifications in this one post. Hopefully, when I view my comments upon posting, I will not need to remove it again for edits and clarifications. My apologies for any inconvenience.***********Trinity had been asked to define "account." He provided this definition: "To give a reason and/or an explanation of why things are the way they are and why you think they happen or will happen a certain way."I'm not sure we will find the definition he provided within his bible (that's curious). And I highly doubt he'll be able (let alone try) to "account" for the "life" of his invisible magic being, which he also claims to be the basis for "logic," "the senses," "reasoning," etc.He will probably say that his invisible magic being needs no "accounting” for its life, but simply "is." That's fine. But I would then ask, "Where did you get the concept 'is'?" He probably won't want to explore this (if he's even capable of doing so), because if he does, it will give away the game. This is because the concept 'is' is a concept formed objectively and is grounded in the axioms (as is all knowledge). If a concept like 'is' qualifies as knowledge and has an objective basis (which it does, i.e., the axioms and the Primacy of Existence), then why propose that any other knowledge (i.e., legitimate concepts which Trinity uses) needs further justification above and beyond the axioms and the Primacy of Existence? Blank out. (Again, a theory of concepts would be helpful for Trinity here; but he has none).Additionally, Trinity needs to show us *where* his deity (the object of his worship) is, otherwise he has no objective basis for his claims that his god is the *basis* for knowledge. If he says his god is "everywhere" or "accessible only once one accepts his deity," or that his god “needs to be inferred from reality or nature" then this too is a step removed (or completely detached) from an objective basis for knowledge. If the notion of god is indeed detached from reality, then where is his god really hiding? The answer isn't too hard to figure out.(continued)

  96. Compare Trinity's worldview to a rational worldview, which does have an objective basis for knowledge. Existence is implicit in every percept; and is made explicit when one points to existence (a thing) and says, "By 'existence' I mean that." — “that being a thing, an existent. So both implicitly and explicitly, the axioms — existence, consciousness, identity, and the Primacy of Existence — provide the foundation for knowledge. Can we say "By god, I mean that," as it pertains to Trinity's deity? I think not.Keep in mind also that perception is non-volitional: man has no choice in the matter. Choice only enters the picture in matters of man using his consciousness in order to think or not. Yet Trinity tells us that in order for us to "see" or "perceive" what he refers to as his basis for knowledge (his deity), we must first "choose." This "choosing" to "see" or not — a charge leveled at those who "suppress belief of god" — is telling, providing us with a hint as to where notions of invisible magic beings originate.So, Trinity's alleged god, couldn't be the bedrock of an objective basis for knowledge for the reasons I've stated (and more which I haven't). The objective basis for knowledge ***is*** provided by the axioms and the Primacy of Existence. The axioms are implicit in every perception of anything and everything and made explicit by a mind — whether the existent is a thing, attribute or action. But Trinity's god (his alleged basis for knowledge) doesn't seem to be around, unless some action is taken on the unbelievers part to "see" it. And even then it isn’t around. The assertion that there is something that one must "do" (i.e., make a "choice" to believe, have faith, confess sins, ask Jesus into one's heart, suppress or not suppress knowledge of something), or the claim that a god provides knowledge in some manner (revelation), and that such actions are needed in order for there to be a bedrock for knowledge or to recognize such a foundation (and, allegedly, everything else), is a clear indication that what believers propose as their basis for knowledge — their deity — is indeed imaginary, nothing more than a fantasy produced by and confined to, only their minds.Ydemoc

  97. Trinity is the Poeingist Poe who ever did Poe. The ONLY way he could be genuine is if he has some serious learning disorders, and we'd have seen evidence of that in his writing.So, I'm calling 'Poe out trolling', and I don't see the point in interacting with him further.

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  99. Oops. Clarification:A sentence above should read:Existence is implicit in every percept; and is made explicit when one points to something and says, "By 'existence' I mean that" — be it a thing, attribute, or action. (Source: Rand, ITOE, p. 5, )Ydemoc

  100. Alex,I love you mannnnn!!!!!!

  101. Hezekiah AhazReynold,Your a christian. Nice!!!!!Huh? What part of my previous post where I said that reading the bible is part of the reason that I became an atheist did you not get?Reynold "abiogenesis" is imaginary why should I bother.Once again, you've dismissed the evidence given. So be it. Your god is imaginary. Why should I bother?Reynold why are you asking me about an ostrich?I pointed out to you how the bible has details of the ostrich wrong. I gave links, which you asked for. That was the third time. And again, you've ignored what I gave. So be it. Reynold the "errors" are only in your head.I gave links to examples. You keep ignoring them. So be it. Ok, I definitely call Poe. Not even fundies are this stupid. HA, quit wasting our time. We're trying to seriously deal with religious people here and you're just making them look bad.

  102. Reynold,Your imaginary.

  103. Reynold,I'm not religious so no I can't be making them look bad.

  104. Trinity wrote: "I'm not religious so no I can't be making them look bad."Trinity resents the word "religious" because he's been told that's what he should do, because it doesn't adequately describe the personal relationship he has with his invisible imaginary being.Ydemoc

  105. Wait…Let me make sure I've got this straight: Certain rats will help each other out of a cage, therefore, God is not the author of the human moral code? WTF kind of logic is that?

  106. It shows that altruism, a basic building block of morality, is an evolved trait, and not unique to humans.Dr. Rich, please do two things for me – 1. prove that gods can exist, then 2. (assuming you've proved 1) prove that your version of your particular god is the 'right' one.Thanks!

  107. It doesn't even show altruism. How do you know what the rat's motives for releasing the other rat were (if it even had a conscious motive, which is an additional and unwarranted assumption)? The motives might be completely self-serving (e.g. decreased risk of being the subject of a predatory attack with additional company, increased body warmth with a companion, et cetera). The new atheists like to attempt to shift the burden of proof to the theist, and thereby circumnavigate their own need to apply logic and reason to their position. But, logically and philosophically-speaking, atheism discovers its own problems (not that theism is without any). For example, atheism offers no tenable and sufficient explanation for the material universe (i.e. why something instead of nothing?). In other words, it can't even "get out of the gate", so why should a logical or reasonable person embrace it as a life philosophy? (Note: I'm not disparaging the atheist's intellect, as I spent several years as an atheist. I'm just saying that I came to see the inadequacies of this worldview.) Rich

  108. Being a behavioral neuroscientist by training, I meant to suggest you check out C. Lloyd Morgan's "Canon" vis-a-vis the altruistic rat. 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  109. You seem to have failed to achieve what I requested of you.Try again.

  110. Hi Dr. Rich,I read your comment above. I am an atheist who does not subscribe to the notion that altruism is any kind of basis for morality. In fact, I hold a completely different view on morality, but recognize there are many atheists who do not share my view. So I would say that atheism is not a worldview as such, but is simply the absence of god-belief. As Dawson Bethrick puts it:"Being an atheist tells us only what one does not believe, not what he does believe. This is why there are so many different positions that different atheists take on things. For instance, some atheists affirm a Big Bang cosmology, while other atheists reject it. Some atheists embrace an epistemology of intuitions and instincts, while other atheists reject it. Some atheists endorse a morality of sacrifice, while other atheists reject it. Etc." (Answering Ecualegacy, Pt. 2, May 15, 2007, http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2007/05/answering-ecualegacy-pt-2.html)You wrote: "For example, atheism offers no tenable and sufficient explanation for the material universe (i.e. why something instead of nothing?)."Given that atheism isn't a worldview as such, it doesn't make much sense to me to place the responsibility for such an explanation upon the shoulders of those who simply affirm that they have an absence of god-belief.Furthermore, since I hold that "existence exists," there is no need to answer such questions as: "Why something instead of nothing?" Where did you get the concept (knowledge) "nothing" if not by reference to something that does exist? And if *all* man's knowledge is gained in this manner, ultimately reducible to perception that which does exist, where is there room for a god in such a process, except as it springs forth from one's imagination?Again, as Dawson Bethrick notes: "Many Christian apologists who seek to take down Objectivism will respond to Objectivism’s axiom of existence by asking “Where did existence come from?” The obvious implication behind such lines of interrogation is that their god was needed to create existence. Others have tried to hide behind Heidegger’s famous question: “Why is there something rather than nothing?” Again, the implication is that we need to posit an invisible magic being in order to “account for” the fact that things do exist. Sound familiar? It should.Peikoff rightly points out that even the religious thinker 'does not contest the need of an irreducible starting point, as long as it is a form of consciousness; what he finds unsatisfactory is the idea of existence as the starting point. Driven by the primacy of consciousness, a person of this mentality refuses to begin with the world, which we know to exist; he insists on jumping beyond the world to the unknowable, even though such a procedure explains nothing.' (OPAR, p. 21)(continued)

  111. Dawson continues: "We need a conceptually irreducible starting point, but only Objectivism identifies it explicitly with the axiom of existence. Christians are continually stupefied by this axiom as they seek alternately first to discredit it, and then to cohere their god-belief with it" (Dawson Bethrick, "Paulianna Apologetics," 12/13/2006, http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2006/12/paulianna-apologetics.html) You wrote: "In other words, it can't even "get out of the gate…"Well, again, you are placing too much of a responsibility upon atheism as such, since it isn't a worldview, as stated above.But in terms of a philosophy equipped to handle failings which you attribute to atheism, I think that if one recognizes that knowledge begins with that which *does* exist, then the problem of "get[ing] out of the gate" becomes a non-problem. You wrote: "Dr. Ricso why should a logical or reasonable person embrace it as a life philosophy?"Again, given that atheism is merely the absence of god-belief, I don't think most logical or reasonable atheists even attempt to "embrace it as a life philosophy." All one really needs to do is recognize the fact that existence exists, consciousness is conscious of something, and if something exists, some thing exists. And that the objects of one’s consciousness exist and are what they are independent of the conscious activity by which he is aware of them, i.e. the Primacy of Existence.Using your analogy, before there can be any knowledge about a "gate"; before we could even identify it as such, or talk or think about "getting out" of such a device as a "gate," the gate itself would have to exist, would it not?Ydemoc

  112. Ydemoc,I appreciate your mature, developed, and reasoned response. I do see indeed where I had clumsily and inappropriately conjugated a person's belief about one particular proposition (i.e. atheism) with this person's more general life philosophy. My bad. As I am not married to any particular defense of theism–indeed, I freely admit that theism is not a position that can be reached on the basis of logic and empiricism–I am actually not very interested at all in attempting to answer the "challenge" Alex (I believe somewhat inappropriately) submitted me to. My reason for writing was not to submit any proofs of God's (or gods') existence(s), but rather to criticize the alleged implication of the rat research. And I'm still not seeing any way that the altruism interpretation of that particular study can stand against Morgan's Canon. Just my two-cents worth. If y'all enjoy debating God's existence, go ahead and knock yourself out. I'm honestly quite indifferent by that particular controversy, as I find it unprepossessing and banal. Cheers!

  113. Just to clarify a little more, I don't see the point in me, as an agnostic, debating atheists about the existence of God/gods.

  114. Dr. Rich,Thank you so much for your kind reply. Things can get a little testy around here, and your reply to me was a breath of fresh air.Thanks again.Ydemoc

  115. Morality, ethics, empathy, sympathy are all things we are taught as children up to the age of 5. By our parents. WHat they believe and choose to teach us is what we will believe all our lives.It is not genetic or learnt behaviour outside that initialo period. Religion or atheism has nothing to do with it at all. It's not choices we make, it choices our parents make, or our carers whoever they be.

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