Outsourcing moral decisions to justify genocide

A while back I participated in a discussion involving a number of non-theists and theists. You can guess which side I was on. But I bore no ill feelings to the theists – and why should I have? These discussions are largely harmless.

But when the discussion turned to biblical genocide I found I had very strong feelings of hostility to one of the theists, a local minister of religion. Why? Because here I found someone who was blatantly justifying the slaughter of thousands of people. Genocide! And he justified it because he thought those people had been sinful!

Perhaps some people might think my reaction naïve. But I feel exactly the same hostility towards people who justify the Stalin terror, the victimisations and murders of Mao’s so-called “cultural revolution”, Pinochet’s slaughter of Chilean democrats, Hitler’s slaughter of Jews, Slavs, homosexuals and communists, Pol Pot’s murder of intellectuals, and so on. And in my life I have come across people arguing to justify the genocide in all these cases. I really don’t see the justification of biblical genocide any differently. If you can make such  justifications perhaps you are also capable of carrying out such atrocities.

So I can understand why Richard Dawkins recently expressed such feelings of disgust about the justification of biblical genocide by William Lane Craig (see Dawkins responds to a stalker – Craig gets his debate).

We have yet to hear Craig’s response. But he has clearly endorsed that genocide
and I can’t see that his response can be at all human – unless he withdraws that
endorsement.

Divine commands

Craig’s justification relies on his support for, and interpretation of, “divine command” ethics. Basically he is saying that there is an objective standard of “right” and “wrong,”
that this is determined, defined,  by his god, and that if his god commanded
these acts of genocide (which his bible said she did) then they are justified.
That genocide was OK – morally “right!”

Supporters of “divine command” justifications for genocide
have responded to the natural reaction by insisting that their god can do no
wrong. So if their god commands it, then it must be right. And they argue their defence for this position by defining their god as a “loving” god. In fact they
will go further to support their justification. Matt Flannagan, a local
theologian who also supports this biblical genocide, argues that these “divine
commands” come from a person (his god) who has a whole range of features.

He says:

“As I noted a divine command theory entails that Genocide is permissible only if a just and loving person fully informed of all the facts and who was rational would command it. Now a rational person obviously uses logic correctly, a person who is fully informed is aware of all the facts, and if they were loving and just they would value the things that loving and just people value. So any situation in which God commanded Genocide would be a situation in which it was justified . . .”

Oh, he also claims elsewhere that this person must be omniscient.

Two problems here:

Stalin - a loving, omniscient, just, rational and fully informed person to his followers

1: His excuse for giving up his moral autonomy in such an extreme situation is that his commander is omniscient, loving, fully informed, rational, etc.

See the problems? This is exactly the sort of description the followers of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot or Mao would have given of their leaders! Stalin was even revered by many in the West before and during World War II – Uncle Joe they used to call him.

2: He is arguing to outsource his moral decisions. Saying one should commit something as extreme as genocide just on the basis of following orders. No self-reflection. No questions. Just get stuck in!

He is just following orders – opting out of any obligation to moral autonomy. He has no intention, or any way, of evaluating these commands. In fact it would be considered heretical to do so. “Following orders” is a requirement for soldiers to become automatic fighting units in an army. Questioning commands is not allowed and soldiers are trained not to. But this can also happen to civilians who are brainwashed by strong ideologies.

A specific example of such “divine command” ethics today is demonstrated by
the farewell letter of a Dutch jihadist:

“In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful,
I write this letter to inform you that I departed for the land of the jihad.
To dispel the unbelievers, and to help establish the Islamic state.
I do not do this because I like fighting, but because the Almighty has commanded this ‘Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it. But you may hate a thing although it is good for you, and love a thing although it is bad for you. God knows, but you may not’

[taken from The Secular Outlook by Paul Cliteur – see my review in Secularism is Important]

“God knows, but you may not.”  No questions allowed. And
we are talking about genocide!

How do you know that?

Here’s another problem. It seems that religious apologists who argue for “divine command” ethics really have no idea how they should find out what these commands are. This is strange as “commands” that cannot be identified are useless. Just imagine an army where soldiers had no idea of their orders or how to find out what they were!

Perhaps religious apologists are more concerned with establishing that there are such commands, than with knowing what the commands are, or how they should go about finding out what they are. After all, “divine command” ethics are intimately tied up with the apologist “argument from morality.”  That argument
says that because there is an “objective morality” there must be a god to have
created that objective morality. Maybe all this talk of morality by religious
apologists is completely opportunist. They are only concerned with proving the
existence of their god and can’t give a stuff about human morality at all.

You have got to wonder. Recently I posed this question to several local religious apologists, self-declared experts in ethics. “How do you think our minds come to know what our “moral obligations” are?”

Jelly wrestling

It seems a simple question but for a long time all I got was evasion. Here’s a sample of their responses (these are repetitive – click here to get to the end if you wish):

“Moral Obligations cannot exist without God. He’s not trying to say that we cannot know Moral Obligations without believing in God.”

Yes, I know that

“I don’t see how your question is at all relevant to the question at hand because it only covers moral epistemology.”

“EPISTEMOLOGY AND ONTOLOGY ARE NOT THE SAME THING. EVEN A 5 YEAR OLD CAN TELL THERE’S A DIFFERENCE BECAUSE
THEY ARE SPELLED DIFFERENTLY.”

“he’s talking about Moral Ontology, while you are continuously getting it mixed up with Moral Epistemology. This can be seen clearly in the question you keep asking.”

“Is it really that difficult to tell the difference between (a) explaining how we came to have the ability to judge that X exists and (b) explaining what X is and why X exists.”

“SCIENCE CAN HELP CONFIRM HOW MORALITY WORKS IN THE HUMAN BRAIN, BUT NOT ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT MORALITY
ISSUES.”

“Your question is vague and not entirely clear.”

“This is an issue of Moral Epistemology, and is not really relevant to the issue at hand here.”

“you can not draw the basic distinction between an epistemological concept and an Ontological concept.”

“Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”

“you [are] not really interested in honest discussion.”

“ how .. we know what moral obligations we have … is a question of moral epistemology. Divine command theories are theories of moral ontology they are questions about what divine commands are, hence, although your question is interesting and important it actually has nothing to do with the topic.” (My emphasis).

“all this is irrelevant because a divine command theory does not purport to answer the how do we know question.”

Yes, I get your point. Don’t need to labour it. Are you avoiding something?

Of course one does not need to use words like ontology or epistemology to
see the difference. Despite prevarications you admit that the “question is
interesting and important.”
It’s valid. Surely self-proclaimed ethicists
should have no trouble answering.

I couldn’t help thinking that perhaps these experts were quite happy to use
words like revelation and bible at church or to children, but are ashamed to
use those answers when grown-ups are present.

Some progress at last?

Then a glimmer of hope:

“a person can agree that moral obligations are divine commands and yet disagree about how we come to know what God has commanded.”

OK sounds like you guys disagree – but what about some suggestions?

Then a specific answer (well, sort of):

“My view: God make us in such a way that we intuitively have some understanding of right and wrong. He could have easily communicated this to us through divine revelation, or he could have hard-wired it into us via Evolution. I think it’s a bit of both!”

And finally a confirmation

“For the record, if a divine command theory is true and moral obligations are divine commands, then one can determine what God has commanded by determining what our moral obligations are.

“I take it that you and most people know that rape is wrong and giving your wife a box of chocolates is not wrong? hence you like most people can and do know what your obligations are. If so then you can know what God commands,.”

And, at another blog:

“There are a number of ways, perfectly compatible with divine command ethics and the moral argument, that people can find out about moral truths. According to ethical intuitionism, under the right conditions there are moral truths that we intuitively grasp in much the same way that we have immediate experiences of the world through sight. Other ways of arriving at moral truth might involve a kind of reflective equilibrium, where we take the moral truths that we are more certain about and try to ensure that our other moral beliefs are compatible with them. Some might even believe that moral truths are secretive things that only those who belong to their religion can receive, imparted directly via some sort of unique special and personal revelation”

Phew – why couldn’t you say that several days ago when I asked my question?
But now I had the answer – I was assured these were “ways of arriving at moral truths.”

But, there’s a flaw

I pointed out that in the old days I would have intuitively known that equal rights for women were “wrong.” That slavery and racism were “right.” That denial of rights to homosexuals was “right.” Now I intuitively know that denial of rights to women and homosexuals is “wrong.” That slavery and racism are wrong. This doesn’t seem very definite for “divine commands” or object moral truths. Surely we don’t just rely on our changing  intuitions?

The response to this was:

“its not true that in the old days people “knew” that slavery was right. Its rather that people mistakenly thought this. We have since learn’t that was mistaken.”

I see. These guys don’t see these commands as so divine after all. They are trying to second guess them.  Judge for themselves whether they are acceptable or not (that’s a good sign).

Using an independent moral standard to evaluate “divine commands.”

Isn’t this exactly what they are doing? How do they “know” slavery is “wrong” when they would have known it was “right” if they lived in the old days. After all, even then “most knew  what their obligations were”, to paraphrase the above.

These  apologists provided intuitive moral knowledge as their main answer to my question. But because of the fact that this intuitive knowledge can be “wrong,” all these apologists should agree that they have a way of independently evaluating what they are considering to be “objective moral truths” or “divine commands.” Shouldn’t they?

I have written elsewhere that intuitions are very much involved in out automatic, unconscious moral system.  But I have pointed out that such unconscious moral decisions can reflect all the prejudices, customs and personal learning. They may or may not correspond to a “correct” moral decision.

I have also described how we can arrive at a more “correct” moral decision by conscious reflection. Especially when the deliberation is social, the resulting moral decision is likely to be a good reflection of what could be considered the “moral truth.” This is because it has been arrived at through applying reason to the objective facts of moral situations. It is also open to the accepted value system arising from our empathetic and social nature. We have used an independent moral standard to judge our intuitive decisions, our “divine
commands.”

This is a secular process – treating morality as a real world problem. In a way this is like the scientific process. It produces a knowledge which is not absolute, but approximate. A good reflection of the truth.  It is open to revision and upgrading. Yes, it may be messy, even inaccurate at times, but it is the best we can do because it has been arrived at by the best system we have available.

Does it matter?

OK, I have talked about an “objectively-based morality.” Others talk about “moral truths,” “objective morality” or even “divine commands.” Does that matter? Because, whatever we call it, most sensible people will probably use a similar secular process of social deliberation, reasoning, consideration of objective facts and applying social and empathetic values. In most cases, I guess not.

But, I am concerned about those who avoid this social process. Who insist that the moral values they have are the correct one because they are ordained by the ultimate authority, their god. That any attempt to question or modify those commands amounts to heresy. These people outsource their moral decisions and don’t critically assess them.

I can’t for the life of me see any way to justify genocide using the secular moral process described above. None of these oblige a person to hand over their moral decisions to a “divine commander” or to claim that “God knows, but you may not.” To take moral commands from ancient documents without any room for interpretation or judgement.  To refuse to use their brain for intelligent reflection on the issues.

But that is what William Lane Craig and his supporters have done to reach their position of justifying biblical genocide.

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124 responses to “Outsourcing moral decisions to justify genocide

  1. Very good post Ken!

    It is easy to dismiss the apologist’s logic chopping with regard to divine command theories as harmless navel gazing, especially as the proponents of such seem to also hold these theories as not having consequence. How else can we explain their refusal to address the practical concerns about how we could determine what the divine commands actually are. Surely, if they truly believed in divine command theories, then determining what the divine commands actually are would be of ultimate importance.

    But, as you point out, acceptance of a “divine command” basis to morality, be it of the secular or the religious flavor, can open cognitive holes through which the naive and/or easily led are capable of monstrous actions.

    As even the apologists themselves seem quite happy to follow their logic down the genocidal path, I think that this risk should not be treated lightly.

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  2. I agree Nick.

    I should have actually stressed more the fact that there is a non-religious version of “divine commands”. And we should be aware of this.

    Interestingly the two have probably merged on the past. We fought (and murdered) for God, King and Country. These have been sacred concepts with leaders like Mao, Stalin, Hitler,etc., having divine-like qualities.

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  3. I thought that also came through clearly in your post.

    I wonder what an “Ethicist” would make of divine command theory. It would seem to me that this is just an ethical cop-out.

    Even if the theory was correct, due to the inability to determine what the divine commands are (i.e. the epistemic problem), then surely the only ethical course is to evaluate your actions and morality in a reason based secular manner, as you suggest.

    I suspect that at least some of the apologists would agree with that, and thus see divine command theory as only really useful in justifying their belief in god. However, in my mind, those that are tossing around idealogical dynamite must bear the responsibility for the results if/when it goes off, and thus, I think it is correct to be calling them on this point.

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  4. Dawkins aversion to genocide is WHOLLY feigined given that he denies the very existence of objective morality:

    “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.” – Richard Dawkins

    On top of this he says he has “no problem” with Peter Singer’s idea that newborns, up to the age of about one, should not be recognised as alive and may be freely destroyed by their parents without the latter being charged with murder.

    This is just a pathetic attempt at an excuse for his cowardly refusal to face Craig in debate. Hahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  5. “…Even if the theory was correct, due to the inability to determine what the divine commands are (i.e. the epistemic problem), then surely the only ethical course is to evaluate your actions and morality in a reason based secular manner, as you suggest….”

    Since ALL reasoning MUST have a basis – called a “premise” – it’s fair to ask, is it not, what your secular reasoning about morality or even ethics would be based on? Peter Singer and his like have shown us where this leads to. Is there ANY reason to believe you will do any better than them?

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  6. “….Interestingly the two have probably merged on the past. We fought (and murdered) for God, King and Country. These have been sacred concepts with leaders like Mao, Stalin, Hitler,etc., having divine-like qualities….”

    Mao, Hitler, and Stalin were distinguished by the fact that they were ALL atheists – and had NOT A SHRED of ANYTHING divine in them! Divinity is characterised by Perfection! Genuine Perfection! It is even a synonym for the word “perfection”:

    From Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary:
    Definition of DIVINE
    1 a : of, relating to, or proceeding directly from God or a god b : being a deity c : directed to a deity
    2 a : supremely good : superb b : heavenly, godlike

    In what sense could ANY of those criminals be regarded as perfectt?

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  7. Bloody hell – he has stopped his maniacal laugh.

    Does this indicate a crisis coming!

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  8. “….But, as you point out, acceptance of a “divine command” basis to morality, be it of the secular or the religious flavor, can open cognitive holes through which the naive and/or easily led are capable of monstrous actions.

    As even the apologists themselves seem quite happy to follow their logic down the genocidal path, I think that this risk should not be treated lightly….”

    William Craig speaks only for himself with regard to his belief in biblical inerrancy. He does not represent the views of all theists – any more than Dawkins represents the views of all atheists – MANY of whom have in fact debated Craig, evidently contrary to what Dawkins would have advised.

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  9. the nutters are out… please, please keep taking your medication zakiaminu. At least until the nice doctor says to stop.

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  10. Hey Ken I like the post.

    I think the real issue is how can you even call genocide wrong? What is your basis for morals? Are morals changing? Or are they constant? If they are changing how can you claim that genocide is wrong? If they are constant how does that fit into the atheist worldview?

    Keep up the writing,

    Travis (anotherchristianblog.org)

    Like

  11. Travis,

    Look around this blog and you will see these are all questions I have dicussed.

    There are a series of articles starting with Human Morality I: Religious confusion that you could read through to get an outline of my ideas.

    Criticism is of course welcome.

    In this post I have dealt with the “dvine command” justification for genocide.
    A future post will return to some extra thoguhts on secular morality.

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  12. I will check it out even though I am not sure I like the title.

    The divine command in the Bible specifically in the Old Testament is not outside of moral boundries. Because God is holy and perfect his law is thus perfect and holy. The real question isn’t why would God command the “genocide” (this term carries a lot of confusion)? The question is why doesn’t he kill everyone?

    The answer: Mercy

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  13. I will check it out even though I am not sure I like the title.

    The divine command in the Bible specifically in the Old Testament is not outside of moral boundaries. Because God is holy and perfect his law is thus perfect and holy. The real question isn’t why would God command the “genocide” (this term carries a lot of confusion)? The question is why doesn’t he kill everyone?

    The answer: Mercy

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  14. Travis,

    Perhaps you could humour me by providing an asnwer to the question I posed in the article?

    How do you determine what these “divine commands” are?

    After all, they are useless if you can’t know them.

    And if you are going to commit genocide on the basis of such commands you have to be pretty sure.

    Or perhaps its best to use an independent moral standard to evaluate these so-called “divine commands.”?

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  15. A “divine command” is determined by which comes from Scripture. We are under the new covenant and thus need to follow the commands of that new covenant that is given to us by Scripture. What is the most encompassing “divine command”? Matthew 22:36-40 speaks about loving God with everything that is within you and loving your neighbor as yourself. Those are the divine commands I follow because they are found in Scripture.

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  16. Bloody hell – he has stopped his maniacal laugh.
    Does this indicate a crisis coming!

    Somehow, without the laugh, it’s just not the same.

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  17. So you take your “divine commands” from your holy book interpreted literally?

    And you don’t have any way of assessing the reliability of those commands? You can’t say any of them are mistaken?

    That would mean you have to support slavery or the demoted status of women even though many Christians today judge those conclusions as wrong?

    And you are forced to conclude genocide to be right when most people in our society conclude it is definitely wrong?

    Then what do you do with contradictory commands? After all the bible was written by multiple people who often disagree?

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  18. “Somehow, without the laugh, it’s just not the same.”

    I agree. In fact it worries me.

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  19. So, when a person says, “I have never seen the Flying Spaghetti Monster so how can I believe in him?” you can identify that as a misnomer. The previous video, and a number like it, proves that the eyes don’t tell all. However, that is not the end of the evidence for “seeing isn’t believing”.

    The FSM understood this principle highlighted by his words in Whinnipoo 6 when he says:
    “But I said to you that you have seen me floating in the clouds and yet do not believe.“ (verse 16).

    The FSM knows that the eyes can be deceiving. The FSM knows that seeing is not believing. People were drawn to him by wondrous acts but they didn’t truly believe in their hearts. So, when an atheist or agnostic says that they would need to “see” the Flying Spaghetti Monster to believe you can point to this passage.

    But, for the sake of the argument, let’s say that they did see His Noodliness. Seeing still does not create belief because they would do their best in trying to explain it away. Later in Santa 12:18 we see this addressed again, “Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him.”
    Here we see the same principle. Even though the FSM did amazing things in the midst of people they still didn’t believe in the FSM. They never were able to place their faith in him because seeing is not believing. There needs to be more than just seeing.

    One of the best examples of seeing is not believing comes from Easter Bunny 9 when Yoda writes down the words of the FSM:
    “And he said, ‘Then I beg you, hungry man, to send him to my restaurant—for I have five top-line chefs—so that he may feed them, lest they also come into this place of good food.’ But the diet breaker said, ‘They have Domino’s Pizza and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, thou of the growling tummy, but if someone goes to them from the beer volcano, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Domino’s Pizza and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should come directly from the beer volcano.’”

    The truth is that people will not believe even if struck in the face by an amazing act. So, when an unbeliever says they don’t believe because they haven’t seen His Noodly One we can understand where they are coming from. The FSM Gospel is clear that if they don’t even recognize the words of the FSM then an amazing sign would not be sufficient for belief.
    No matter what the sign the unbeliever could not believe. The FSM touched a midgit and gave him pasta. They still do not believe. Even though the FSM payed the due penalty for sin and conquered indigestion by covering Himself in parmesan cheese. They still do not believe. Even if a loved one came back from the beer volcano and stripper factory to warn them they would still not heed to call to repent and believe.
    Seeing is not believing.

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  20. “the nutters are out… please, please keep taking your medication zakiaminu. At least until the nice doctor says to stop.”

    Hahahahahahahahahaha! The usual crude atheist ploy: If you can’t stand up to a man fairly and squarely try and assassinate his character to prevent others from taking him seriously. EVERY moral reformer in history, including Jesus and ALL the prophets, has been subjected to this by those who reject morality. Why would someone like me hope to fare any better? Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  21. Richard Christie

    <i.Seeing is not believing

    Verily FSM scriptures are one with Yo .
    See Homer’s proof

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  22. “So you take your “divine commands” from your holy book interpreted literally?

    And you don’t have any way of assessing the reliability of those commands? You can’t say any of them are mistaken?

    That would mean you have to support slavery or the demoted status of women even though many Christians today judge those conclusions as wrong?…..”

    Relying blindly on the opinions of others in a book or a speech – or encountered in any other way – is thoroughly WRONG! It is equally wrong when it is done by religious people as when atheists parrot Richard Dawkins specious nonsense as though it were fact. One ALWAYS has the duty to check what one is accepting as fact and is fully responsible and accountable for whatever actions arise out of them from one.

    Of-course, the question now arises: Against WHAT does one measure the moral value of actions RELIABLY – that is to say OBJECTIVELY? Religious people look to God but on Atheism there is really NOTHING! So it is rather strange – and laughable – when atheists wax indignant about some action which they declare to be immoral. How can they possibly know what is moral or immoral given their worldview? Hahahahahahahhaahahahahahah!

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  23. That’s a relief. The crisis is past. His maniacal laugh is back.

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  24. I can make a Flying Spaghetti Monster ANY TIME I want by flicking a jumble of spaghetti into the air! The fact is, since there is NO SPECIFIC DEFINITION of this creature, there is NO WAY of determining when one has encountered it or even what can be distinguished from it. So, ANYTHING can be properly asserted by ANYONE as being it. One could even assert that Richard Dawkins is the Flying Spaghetti Monster without ANYONE being able to LOGICALLY prove one wrong – since there is NO CRITERION for judging what would be “right” or “wrong” here. Hahhahaahahahahahahahahaha!

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  25. “That’s a relief. The crisis is past. His maniacal laugh is back.”

    Hahahahahahahhahahah! How pathetic! You REALLY haven’t got a single LOGICAL counter-argument to offer, have you? Hahahhahahaahahahahaha!

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  26. The Divine Command – there is actually only ONE – is the fundamental Impulse in Existence Which drives EVERYTHING ELSE towards the Divine – towards Perfection! In the process perfecting all who obey It. It can be EASILY discerned from the fact that It is ALWAYS of a nature as is MOST BENEFICIAL to the Universe as a whole and also in all its parts. It is the Sustenance and Guidance for ALL that is outside of the Divine Itself; And It is, in fact, the Divine Immanent in Its Creation. It is the Manifestion of Supreme Truth in Creation – i.e. what only has CONDITIONED existence, as distinct from the Divine Which Exists UNCONDITIONALLY! It is also INSEPARABLE from what in Christianity is referred to as the “Word of God” by Which the Bible is NOT MEANT – but should have become had it not been corrupted.

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  27. The fact is, since there is NO SPECIFIC DEFINITION of this creature, there is NO WAY of determining when one has encountered it or even what can be distinguished from it.

    Oops, you just made a big boo-boo.

    The Divine Command – there is actually only ONE – is the fundamental Impulse in Existence Which drives EVERYTHING ELSE towards the Divine – towards Perfection!

    Huh? How is that a command?

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  28. “…Oops, you just made a big boo-boo….”
    Really? Where? Perhaps you can provide a definition for the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

    “…Huh? How is that a command?”

    Why can’t it be a command?

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  29. (Odd, what happened to the “Hahahahahahahahaha”?)

    Perhaps you can provide a definition for the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

    That’s not the boo-boo.
    You established a rule:
    To determine if you have encountered something or distinguish something from something else…you first need a specific definition.

    The fact is, since there is NO SPECIFIC DEFINITION of this creature, there is NO WAY of determining when one has encountered it or even what can be distinguished from it.

    See?

    Why can’t it be a command?

    Look at what you said…

    The Divine Command – there is actually only ONE – is the fundamental Impulse in Existence Which drives EVERYTHING ELSE towards the Divine – towards Perfection!

    Only there is no command there. You never actually got around to mentioning it. Nor indeed is there any mention of who gave the command.

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  30. The Supreme Reality of Existence ALONE – God – can command the rest of the Universe. This is in the form of the Impulse placed in ALL creatures which makes them seek to not only survive but also develop towards perfection – towards the Divine – if they obey this impulse; The Divine Command. Get it now? Sheeeesh! These slow atheists! Hahahahahahahahahaahahaha!

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  31. She commanded us to leave.

    This is a good example.
    The command is “Leave”.

    Yet there’s no actual command in the words you used.

    The Divine Command – there is actually only ONE – is the fundamental Impulse in Existence Which drives EVERYTHING ELSE towards the Divine – towards Perfection!

    See? No actual command.

    Military leaders commanded the troops to open fire.

    So the command here is “open fire”. Easy enough.

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  32. Don’t be silly! The Divine Comm and is: “Be!” which brought ALL things in Creation into being – with their various qualities. And to the extent that they obey this driving impulse that has brought them into being, It will bring them to perfection of their being in the Proximity of Supreme Truth!

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  33. The Supreme Reality of Existence ALONE – God – can command the rest of the Universe. This is in the form of the Impulse placed in ALL creatures which makes them seek to not only survive but also develop towards perfection – towards the Divine – if they obey this impulse; The Divine Command.

    Nope, it still doesn’t work.
    You have said that something can command. (Which is very nice by the way)
    But…there is still no actual command.

    This is in the form of the Impulse placed in ALL creatures…

    Yes, it’s great that you know all about the form of the command but…what is the actual command itself?

    Plus we have another problem …

    The Supreme Reality of Existence ALONE – God – can…

    Oops. I did try and warn you about this.

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  34. You’re not actually thinking the Divine Command was Issued by God in HUMAN language, are you? Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  35. The Divine Comm and is: “Be!”

    (Um, you forgot the Hahahahahahahaha bit again)

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  36. I can see you’re not even trying to make a LOGICAL argument – or to understand one. So you’re only good for mocking! Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  37. You’re not actually thinking the Divine Command was Issued by God in HUMAN language, are you? Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    (Ah that’s better.)

    Well, to be fair. The word “Be” does sound distinctly human. Or was that just you?

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  38. Anyway, I have better things to do than wasting my time trying to teach a baboon advanced mathematics. As Christ said: “Those who have an ear, let them hear.” and “Let the dead bury their dead.” S’ya.

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  39. Um, you forgot the “Hahahahahahahahahaha” business again.

    Like

  40. Ken, please stop telling lies you write

    Supporters of “divine command” justifications for genocide
    have responded to the natural reaction by insisting that their god can do no
    wrong. So if their god commands it, then it must be right. And they argue their defence for this position by defining their god as a “loving” god. In fact they will go further to support their justification. Matt Flannagan, a local
    theologian who also supports this biblical genocide, argues that these “divine commands” come from a person (his god) who has a whole range of features.

    Actually, I don’t support “biblical genocide” in fact I have two articles recently published where I argue that the biblical passages in question do not teach God commanded Genocide. Moreover, in a recent blog I criticised Craig’s take on these passages. This is demonstrably false.
    blockquoteWe have yet to hear Craig’s response. But he has clearly endorsed that genocide and I can’t see that his response can be at all human – unless he withdraws that
    endorsement.
    I also pointed out to you that Craig’s writings show in fact he does not endorse Genocide genocide. I linked you to a latter article ( from which dawkins quotes) in which he states that he does not think the biblical text teaches genocide and that the argument Dawkins cites was one where he assumed for the sake of argument that God had commanded Genocide, but he himself did not in reality grant this premise. Craig does not need to repudiate a position he does not hold.
    But given I have already provided you with these facts on MandM I think you have some repudiating of your own to do.

    “As I noted a divine command theory entails that Genocide is permissible only if a just and loving person fully informed of all the facts and who was rational would command it. Now a rational person obviously uses logic correctly, a person who is fully informed is aware of all the facts, and if they were loving and just they would value the things that loving and just people value. So any situation in which God commanded Genocide would be a situation in which it was justified . . .”

    This does not claim that I support Genocide, what I said is that Genocide would be justified only if a loving just fully informed rational person could endorse it in the situation. Nowhere did I say that I believed that it was possible for a loving and just fully informed person to endorse Genocide, nor did I claim that a loving and just person ever had.
    In fact something like this condition is an implication of any ethical theory. Consider utiltarianism: which holds an action is right if and only if it maximises human happiness. It follows from this that if genocide maximised happiness it would be acceptable. Or consider Kantianism : which holds an action is right if and only if its categorically prescribed by reason. If follows from this that if genocide were categorically presribed by reason it would be right. Similarly, evolutionary ethics entails that if genocide were adaptive then genocide would be acceptable. And so on. The fact that Genocide would be justified if certian conditions were met tells us nothing at all really, the real issue is wether those conditions are ever met or could ever be met in reality it’s only when they can that Genocide could be justified. The fact genocide would be justified if certain conditions were met no more commits me to saying Genocide is permitted, than the fact that I believe you would be dead if someone shot you in the head means I think your dead.

    Why? Because here I found someone who was blatantly justifying the slaughter of thousands of people. Genocide! And he justified it because he thought those people had been sinful!
    Perhaps some people might think my reaction naïve. But I feel exactly the same hostility towards people who justify the Stalin terror, the victimisations and murders of Mao’s so-called “cultural revolution”, Pinochet’s slaughter of Chilean democrats, Hitler’s slaughter of Jews, Slavs, homosexuals and communists, Pol Pot’s murder of intellectuals, and so on. And in my life I have come across people arguing to justify the genocide in all these cases. I really don’t see the justification of biblical genocide any differently. If you can make such justifications perhaps you are also capable of carrying out such atrocities.
    So I can understand why Richard Dawkins recently expressed such feelings of disgust about the justification of biblical genocide by William Lane Craig

    Yet oddly he has no problem with Christopher Hitchens who is on record saying http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2008/06/14/a-war-worth-fighting.html

    Is there any one shared principle or assumption on which our political consensus rests, any value judgment on which we are all essentially agreed? Apart from abstractions such as a general belief in democracy, one would probably get the widest measure of agreement for the proposition that the second world war was a “good war” and one well worth fighting. And if we possess one indelible image of political immorality and cowardice, it is surely the dismal tap-tap-tap of Neville Chamberlain’s umbrella as he turned from signing the Czechs away to Adolf Hitler at Munich. He hoped by this humiliation to avert war, but he was fated to bring his countrymen war on top of humiliation. To the conventional wisdom add the titanic figure of Winston Churchill as the emblem of oratorical defiance and the Horatius who, until American power could be mobilized and deployed, alone barred the bridge to the forces of unalloyed evil. When those forces lay finally defeated, their ghastly handiwork was uncovered to a world that mistakenly thought it had already “supped full of horrors.” The stark evidence of the Final Solution has ever since been enough to dispel most doubts about, say, the wisdom or morality of carpet-bombing German cities.

    Dawkin’s speech honouring Hitchens is here http://richarddawkins.net/videos/643452-update-oct-25-video-of-richard-s-speech-honouring-christopher-hitchens.
    Funny, Dawkins apparently has no problem honouring people who suggest that incerating with firebombs hundreds of thousands of people including women and babies is wise and moral.

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  41. Pz Meyers summarises Hitchen’s speech to the 2007 Freedom of Religion Foundation:

    Then it was Hitchens at his most bellicose. He told us what the most serious threat to the West was (and you know this line already): it was Islam. Then he accused the audience of being soft on Islam, of being the kind of vague atheists who refuse to see the threat for what it was, a clash of civilizations, and of being too weak to do what was necessary, which was to spill blood to defeat the enemy. Along the way he told us who his choice for president was right now — Rudy Giuliani — and that Obama was a fool, Clinton was a pandering closet fundamentalist, and that he was less than thrilled about all the support among the FFRF for the Democratic party. We cannot afford to allow the Iranian theocracy to arm itself with nuclear weapons (something I entirely sympathize with), and that the only solution is to go in there with bombs and marines and blow it all up. The way to win the war is to kill so many Moslems that they begin to question whether they can bear the mounting casualties.

    It was simplistic us-vs.-them thinking at its worst, and the only solution he had to offer was death and destruction of the enemy.

    This was made even more clear in the Q&A. He was asked to consider the possibility that bombing and killing was only going to accomplish an increase in the number of people opposing us. Hitchens accused the questioner of being incredibly stupid (the question was not well-phrased, I’ll agree, but it was clear what he meant), and said that it was obvious that every Moslem you kill means there is one less Moslem to fight you … which is only true if you assume that every Moslem already wants to kill Americans and is armed and willing to do so. I think that what is obvious is that most Moslems are primarily interested in living a life of contentment with their families and their work, and that an America committed to slaughter is a tactic that will only convince more of them to join in opposition to us.

    Basically, what Hitchens was proposing is genocide. Or, at least, wholesale execution of the population of the Moslem world until they are sufficiently cowed and frightened and depleted that they are unable to resist us in any way, ever again.

    Dawkin’s apparently is quite selective.

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  42. Where specifically have I lied, Matt? Is it all in the time I used the word “support” instead of “justified? Come on, that is feeble.

    Correct me if I am wrong but I gather your articles have been aimed at justifying, excusing, explaining away, the incident of biblical genocide you refer to. Similarly Craig has justified this incident and you have supported Craig. And “divine command” theory has been used by you both for this justification. Subsequent attempts to redefine the situation as not genocide because the victims would not have been killed if they had left their land, or its good for children to die because they get to heaven more quickly are silly in the extreme.

    My article is aimed at using the example of you and Craig to show how “divine commands” (and similar ideas of “objective morality” can be used to justify the most horrible forms of moral relativism. Biblical genocide in this case.

    And yes, I made clear that you were arguing that genocide was justified:

    “only if a just and loving person fully informed of all the facts and who was rational would command it. Now a rational person obviously uses logic correctly, a person who is fully informed is aware of all the facts, and if they were loving and just they would value the things that loving and just people value. So any situation in which God commanded Genocide would be a situation in which it was justified . . .”

    And yes I added omniscient.

    Now these are quotes are from you. I haven’t misrepresented you. You are definitely saying that genocide is justified, but only under the conditions you describe.

    Now, how is that different from the supporter of Stalin, or Pinochet, or Hitler who justify their actions because they believed those individuals were loving, rational, logical, omniscient, fully informed?

    And if you are actually found committing genocide and taken before the world court charged with crimes against humanity – what defence is it going to be to claim you considered your commander omniscient, loving, logical, rational, fully informed?

    “I was just following orders” is not a defence. It is a cop out. As I said, such “divine command” theory is just handing over your moral decisions to someone else. This is just a recipe for the worst form of moral relativism, genocide in this example.

    With the sort of secular moral system I argue for people are encouraged to work out their moral decisions by social consideration. For the life of me I can’t see how moral decisions based on the objective facts of the situation and principles of humanity could ever arrive at a justification for genocide.

    Yet you and Craig, who appear to have reneged on any moral autonomy and instead rely on “divine commands” are able to find a justification for genocide!

    You may feel you are justified to outsource your moral decisions in this manner – but that’s not how a humane society would see it.

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  43. This does not claim that I support Genocide, what I said is that Genocide would be justified only if a loving just fully informed rational person could endorse it in the situation.

    Wow.

    Nowhere did I say that I believed that it was possible for a loving and just fully informed person to endorse Genocide, nor did I claim that a loving and just person ever had.

    Whew! Well, that’s a relief.
    (puke)

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  44. Ken,

    I am not sure how familiar you are with what society was like when the Bible was written. “Slavery” was the way the economy worked. That is how the average person made a living. Christianity exhorts slave owners to treat their slaves or employees with the utmost respect. To say that the Bible supports what happened in America is misleading because they are not even close to the same.

    And yes, the Bible was written by different authors writting to different audiences at different times. The amazing thing is that the Word is consistent within itself.

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  45. Travers, so, your bible tells you slavery was OK (at least in the time it was wrtitten).

    But how do you yourself determine today if slavery is right or wrong? What moral system do you use. Obviously the bible is of no use.

    And simple evidence and social reasining could have told people even back then that slavery was wrong. Certtainly many slaves (and not only salves) were able to come to that conclusion.

    We had the same problem with apartheid. Many racists justified it on biblical gorunds. But democrats fought against apartheid. They were able to detemrine it was wrong. And they doidn’t rely of the boible to make that moral decisions.

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  46. “Slavery” was the way the economy worked.

    The word is slavery. It’s an ugly word.
    Say it with me slowly.
    S.L.A.V.E.R.Y.
    Putting scare-quotes doesn’t make it nicer. Really.
    Slavery.

    “Slavery” was the way the economy worked.

    A god would not want to disrupt the economy? Fair enough.

    Christianity exhorts slave owners to treat their slaves or employees…

    Slaves are not employees. Slave owners own slaves. Not employees.
    Slavery.
    It’s an ugly word.

    Christianity exhorts slave owners to treat their slaves or employees…

    A god would want slaves to be treated ok. Not beaten too much. Can’t argue with that logic.

    To say that the Bible supports what happened in America is misleading because they are not even close to the same.

    Slaves over here are not slaves over there. Not even close. There are slaves…but then there are slaves, y’see?

    And yes, the Bible was written by different authors writting to different audiences…

    That the way a god would want it. It’s all different. Being a slave is all about the audience. It changes everything.

    The amazing thing is that the Word is consistent within itself.

    Yep. It’s all different and yet mysteriously consistant at the same time. Just like a god would want it.

    Slavery in the bible is not justifiable Atheist Experience

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  47. I remember being in a meeting once with a number of young Pastafarian ministers. We discussed a variety of subjects ranging from life stories to philosophy of ministry. Then I asked a question, “How do you guys go about teaching theology to your students?”
    The looks on their faces were priceless. One eventually responded saying, “We’re not big on theology. We usually focus on eating pasta”
    Those words rang in my mind for a long time after that meeting. It bothered me that these ministers were teaching young people, helping themselves to endless plates of gnocci and ignoring theology. Theology is more than just a systematic study of the Flying Spaghetti Monster it is a constant growth in the knowledge of the mystery of the Meat Sauce itself. The Swedish Chef understands this very well when he writes:

    “For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Tony’s Bar and Grill and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s mystery, which is His Meat Sause, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Cooking with Vodka. 1:1-2)

    This is theology at its core. Studying theology gives us a deeper “assurance and understanding” of the mystery of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. That mystery fully shown in His Meat Balls. I appreciate this definition of theology given by Wikipedia:

    “Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary”

    The first line is the most intriguing to me. Not only is theology just a systematic and rational study of religion but a huge aspect of that it’s influences and the nature of religious truth. That relationship was most evident in the way Meat Sauce interacted with The Flying Spaghetti Monster’s creation. Why wouldn’t we want to study that? Why is theology only something for the greatest minds to mull over? FSM theology needs to be nothing short of vibrant and growing.
    Is there head knowledge involved with theology? Of course there is but along with head knowledge is life change. Theology centered around a willingness to explore truth will change the way you think about the FSM. It will change the way you speak about him. But most importantly it will change the way you live.

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  48. From Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary:

    Definition of GENOCIDE
    : the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group

    To the extent that Nazi Germany, Apartheid South Africa, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and the American Confederacy to count just a few can be described with the term “political group”, I would support their destruction – and so to that extent would support genocide. What right-thinking OBJECTIVELY moral person would not?

    Anyway why are atheists getting huffy about genocide? It’s not as if they regard it as OBJECTIVELY wrong, is it? Hahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  49. The word “slave” is very similar – if not identical – to the word “servant” in many of the semitic languages. From that, one can see how much mischief has been caused by poor translations of some biblical text.

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  50. What we refer to as “employee” today was referred to with the same word – or at least one very similar to it – in semitic languages as referred to “servant” and “slave”. So careless translation and reading of ancient writings leads to ignorant conclusions.

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  51. Um, you forgot the “Hahahahahahahahahaha” business again.

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  52. Why do you think it’s a “business”?

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  53. See? You did it again.
    What happened to your “Hahahahahahahahha”?

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  54. Why do you think it’s a “business”?

    Just asking a question?
    Hahahahahahha!!

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  55. What we refer to as “employee” today was referred to with the same word – or at least one very similar to it – in semitic languages as referred to “servant” and “slave”. So careless translation and reading of ancient writings leads to ignorant conclusions.

    Do you have a Primary Source of Information to back up these claims?
    For example, an Etymological Dictionary?

    We have higher standards here. We use Primary Sources of Information.

    You should use a Primary Source of Information whenever possible
    If you are not sure what is a Primary Source of Information, you could ask your local librarian, or the taxi driver.

    Just a thought.

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  56. We had the same problem with apartheid. Many racists justified it on biblical gorunds

    Got to watch those bibical gorunds. They are very bad news.

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  57. Whilst not a Primary Source of Information, the online etymological dictionary provides some information pertaining to the origins of the word “employ”, from whence “employee” is derived.

    early 15c., from M.Fr. employer, from O.Fr. emploiier (12c.) “make use of, apply; increase; entangle; devote,” from L. implicare “enfold, involve, be connected with,” from in- (see in- (2)) + plicare “to fold” (see ply (v.)). Sense of “hire, engage” first recorded in English 1580s, from “involve in a particular purpose,” a sense which arose in Late Latin. Related: Employed; employing. The noun is 1660s, from Fr. emploi. Imply, which is the same word, retains more of the original sense.

    I don’t see a specific reference to slavery in this definition, although this is not a Primary Source of Information..

    it is just a “no name” website called the “Online Etymology Dictionary”

    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=employ&allowed_in_frame=0

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  58. My biggest question is this:
    Who determines what is a PrImary Source of Information?
    Is there some “uber” PrImary Source of Information?

    Did these ” PrImary Sources of Information spontaneously emerge from the primordial soup, or was there a Master Plan?

    Is there an overarching PrImary Source of Information? that rules our lives?

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  59. Primary Sources (of Information):

    Primary source is a term used in a number of disciplines to describe source material that is closest to the person, information, period, or idea being studied.[1][2]

    In the study of history as an academic discipline, a primary source (also called original source or evidence) is an artifact, a document, a recording, or other source of information that was created at the time under study. It serves as an original source of information about the topic. Similar definitions are used in library science, and other areas of scholarship. In journalism, a primary source can be a person with direct knowledge of a situation, or a document created by such a person.

    Primary sources are distinguished from secondary sources, which cite, comment on, or build upon primary sources, though the distinction is not a sharp one. A secondary source may also be a primary source and may depend on how it is used.[3] “Primary” and “secondary” are relative terms, with sources judged primary or secondary according to specific historical contexts and what is being studied

    The delineation of sources as primary and secondary first arose in the field of historiography, as historians attempted to identify and classify the sources of historical writing.[citation needed] In scholarly writing, an important objective of classifying sources is to determine the independence and reliability of sources.[5] In contexts such as historical writing, it is almost always advisable to use primary sources if possible, and that “if none are available, it is only with great caution that [the author] may proceed to make use of secondary sources.”[6] Many historians believe that primary sources have the most objective connection to the past, and that they “speak for themselves” in ways that cannot be captured through the filter of secondary sources.[7]

    Many scholars have commented on the difficulty in producing secondary source narratives from the “raw data” which makes up the past. Historian/philosopher Hayden White has written extensively on the ways in which the rhetorical strategies by which historians construct narratives about the past, and what sorts of assumptions about time, history, and events are embedded in the very structure of the historical narrative. In any case, the question of the exact relation between “historical facts” and the content of “written history” has been a topic of discussion among historians since at least the 19th century, when much of the modern profession of history came into being.[citation needed]

    As a general rule, modern historians prefer to go back to primary sources, if available, as well as seeking new ones, because primary sources, whether accurate or not, offer new input into historical questions, and most modern history revolves around heavy use of archives for the purpose of finding useful primary sources. On the other hand, most undergraduate research projects are limited to secondary source material.[citation needed]
    [edit] Other fields

    In scholarly writing, the objective of classifying sources is to determine the independence and reliability of sources.[5] Though the terms primary source and secondary source originated in historiography[citation needed] as a way to trace the history of historical ideas, they have been applied to many other fields. For example, these ideas may be used to trace the history of scientific theories, literary elements, and other information that is passed from one author to another.

    In scientific literature, a primary source is the original publication of a scientist’s new data, results, and theories. In political history, primary sources are documents such as official reports, speeches, pamphlets, posters, or sentences by participants, official election returns, and eyewitness accounts. In the history of ideas or intellectual history, the main primary sources are books, essays and letters written by intellectuals.

    A study of cultural history could include fictional sources such as novels or plays. In a broader sense primary sources also include physical objects like photographs, newsreels, coins, paintings or buildings created at the time. Historians may also take archaeological artifacts and oral reports and interviews into consideration. Written sources may be divided into three main types.[8]

    Narrative sources or literary sources tell a story or message. They are not limited to fictional sources (which can be sources of information for contemporary attitudes), but include diaries, films, biographies, leading philosophical works, scientific works, and so on.
    Diplomatic sources include charters and other legal documents which usually follow a set format.
    Social documents are records created by organizations, such as registers of births, tax records, and so on.

    In the study of historiography, when the study of history is itself subject to historical scrutiny, a secondary source becomes a primary source. For a biography of a historian, that historian’s publications would be primary sources. Documentary films can be considered a secondary source or primary source, depending on how much the filmmaker modifies the original sources.[9]

    The Lafayette College Library, for example, provides the following synopsis of primary sources in several basic areas of study:

    “The definition of a primary source varies depending upon the academic discipline and the context in which it is used.

    In the humanities, a primary source could be defined as something that was created either during the time period being studied or afterward by individuals reflecting on their involvement in the events of that time.
    In the social sciences, the definition of a primary source would be expanded to include numerical data that has been gathered to analyze relationships between people, events, and their environment.
    In the natural sciences, a primary source could be defined as a report of original findings or ideas. These sources often appear in the form of research articles with sections on methods and results.”[10]

    [edit] Finding primary sources

    Although many documents that are primary sources remain in private hands, the usual location for them is an archive. These can be public or private. Documents relating to one area are usually spread over a large number of different archives. These can be distant from the original source of the document. For example, the Huntington Library in California houses a large number of documents from the United Kingdom.

    In the US, digital primary sources can be retrieved from a number of places. The Library of Congress maintains several online Digital Collections where they can be retrieved. Examples of these are American Memory and the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC). The National Archives and Records Administration also has such a tool, called Access to Archival Databases (AAD).

    In the UK, the National Archives provides a consolidated search of its own catalogue and a wide variety of other archives listed on the Access to Archives index. Digital copies of various classes of documents at the National Archives (including wills) are available from DocumentsOnline. Most of the available documents relate to England and Wales. Some digital copies of primary sources are available from the National Archives of Scotland. Many County Record Offices collections are included in Access to Archives, while others have their own on-line catalogues. Many County Record Offices will supply digital copies of documents.

    In the Republic of Ireland, available digital documents include the censuses of 1901 and 1911 which are available from the National Archives of Ireland.

    In Australia, the National Archives of Australia has digitised a number of classes of records and will produce digitised copies of suitable documents on demand.
    [edit] Using primary sources

    History as an academic discipline is based on primary sources, as evaluated by the community of scholars, who report their findings in books, articles and papers. Arthur Marwick says “Primary sources are absolutely fundamental to history.”[11] Ideally, a historian will use all available primary sources created by the people involved, at the time being studied. In practice some sources have been destroyed, while others are not available for research. Perhaps the only eyewitness reports of an event may be memoirs, autobiographies, or oral interviews taken years later. Sometimes the only documents relating to an event or person in the distant past were written decades or centuries later. This is a common problem in classical studies, where sometimes only a summary of a book has survived. Potential difficulties with primary sources have the result that history is usually taught in schools using secondary sources.

    Historians studying the modern period with the intention of publishing an academic article prefer to go back to available primary sources and to seek new (in other words, forgotten or lost) ones. Primary sources, whether accurate or not, offer new input into historical questions and most modern history revolves around heavy use of archives and special collections for the purpose of finding useful primary sources. A work on history is not likely to be taken seriously as scholarship if it only cites secondary sources, as it does not indicate that original research has been done.[4]

    However, primary sources – particularly those from before the 20th century – may have hidden challenges. “Primary sources, in fact, are usually fragmentary, ambiguous and very difficult to analyse and interpret.”[11] Obsolete meanings of familiar words and social context are among the traps that await the newcomer to historical studies. For this reason, the interpretation of primary texts is typically taught as part of an advanced college or postgraduate history course, although advanced self-study or informal training is also possible.

    The following questions are asked about primary sources:

    What is the tone?
    Who is the intended audience?
    What is the purpose of the publication?
    What assumptions does the author make?
    What are the bases of the author’s conclusions?
    Does the author agree or disagree with other authors of the subject?
    Does the content agree with what you know or have learned about the issue?
    Where was the source made? (questions of systemic bias)

    In journalism, education, and other fields, these are sometimes known as the five Ws – who, what, when, where and why
    [edit] Strengths and weaknesses of primary sources

    In many fields and contexts, such as historical writing, it is almost always advisable to use primary sources if possible, and that “if none are available, it is only with great caution that [the author] may proceed to make use of secondary sources.”[6] In addition, primary sources avoid the problem inherent in secondary sources, where each new author may distort and put their own spin on the findings of prior cited authors.[12] However, a primary source is not necessarily more of an authority or better than a secondary source. There can be bias and other tactic used to twist historical information.

    “Original material may be … prejudiced, or at least not exactly what it claims to be.”
    —David Iredale[13]

    These errors may be corrected in secondary sources, which are often subjected to peer review, can be well documented, and are often written by historians working in institutions where methodological accuracy is important to the future of the author’s career and reputation. Historians consider the accuracy and objectiveness of the primary sources they are using and historians subject both primary and secondary sources to a high level of scrutiny. A primary source such as a journal entry (or the online version, a blog), at best, may only reflect one individual’s opinion on events, which may or may not be truthful, accurate, or complete. Participants and eyewitnesses may misunderstand events or distort their reports (deliberately or unconsciously) to enhance their own image or importance. Such effects can increase over time, as people create a narrative that may not be accurate.[14] For any source, primary or secondary, it is important for the researcher to evaluate the amount and direction of bias.[15] As an example, a government report may be an accurate and unbiased description of events, but it can be censored or altered for propaganda or cover-up purposes. The facts can be distorted to present the opposing sides in a negative light. Barristers are taught that evidence in a court case may be truthful, but it may be distorted to support (or oppose) the position of one of the parties.
    [edit] Classifying sources

    Many sources can be considered either primary and secondary, depending on the context in which they are examined.[5] Moreover, the distinction between primary and secondary sources is subjective and contextual,[16] so that precise definitions are difficult to make.[17] Investigative journalism, for example, is a primary source of information.[18][19][20][21] A book review, when it contains the opinion of the reviewer about the book rather than a summary of the book, becomes a primary source.[22][23]

    If a historical text discusses old documents to derive a new historical conclusion, it is considered to be a primary source for the new conclusion. Examples in which a source can be both primary and secondary include an obituary[24] or a survey of several volumes of a journal counting the frequency of articles on a certain topic.[24]

    Whether a source is regarded as primary or secondary in a given context may change, depending upon the present state of knowledge within the field.[25] For example, if a document refers to the contents of a previous but undiscovered letter, that document may be considered “primary”, since it is the closest known thing to an original source; but if the letter is later found, it may then be considered “secondary”[26]

    In some instances, the reason for identifying a text as the “primary source” may devolve from the fact that no copy of the original source material exists, or that it is the oldest extant source for the information cited. Alternatively, when a printed version of a document is made from an electronic version, the electronic version may be termed the primary document.[27][28]

    Whether a source is primary also depends on its age. For example, encyclopedias are generally considered tertiary sources, but Pliny’s Naturalis Historia, originally published in the 1st century, is a primary source for information about the Roman era.
    [edit] Forgeries

    Historians must occasionally contend with forged documents, purporting to be primary sources. These forgeries have usually been constructed with a fraudulent purpose, such as promulgating legal rights, supporting false pedigrees, or promoting particular interpretations of historic events. The investigation of documents to determine their authenticity is diplomatics.

    For centuries, Popes used the forged Donation of Constantine to bolster the secular power of the Papacy. Among the earliest forgeries are false Anglo-Saxon Charters, a number of 11th and 12th century forgeries produced by monasteries and abbeys to support a claim to land where the original document had been lost or never existed. One particularly unusual forgery of a primary source was perpetrated by Sir Edward Dering, who placed false monumental brasses in a parish church.[29] In 1986, Hugh Trevor-Roper “authenticated” the Hitler diaries, which were later proved to be forgeries. Recently, forged documents have been placed within the UK National Archives in the hope of establishing a false provenance.[30][31] However, historians dealing with recent centuries rarely encounter forgeries of any importance

    From Wikipedia, (not a Primary Source of Information, it should be noted)

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  60. Wow, just check out this amazing video by an actual librarian
    talking about Primary and Secondary Sources.

    Like

  61. “…Do you have a Primary Source of Information to back up these claims?
    For example, an Etymological Dictionary?…”

    Why not check it out for yourself if you doubt what I’ve said? Why trust my citations if you can’t trust my assertions backed by them?

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  62. “We had the same problem with apartheid. Many racists justified it on biblical gorunds

    Got to watch those bibical gorunds. They are very bad news.”

    People are LIMITLESSLY capable of misinterpreting ANYTHING they hear or read – or even see. That is not to say that the various versions of the Bible do not contain errors though. After all they are just compilations of writings – some very good, some not so good, and others clearly bad – made by men who, to some extent at least, had political – and not purely spiritual – motives for what they put into or excluded from their compilations. To attempt to smear ALL of the contents of the Bible because some portions of it are clearly insertions by immoral men is quite disgraceful however. That would be the same(if not much worse), for instance, as condemning ALL of Darwinism because Darwin got some key things – such as heredity – VERY wrong.

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  63. zakiaminu

    Hint – I am on your side

    (* winks *)

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  64. “My biggest question is this:
    Who determines what is a PrImary Source of Information?….”

    This is indeed the biggest problem that PARTICULARLY atheists have. And this is because the have lost contact with Ultimate Reality – and replaced It with counterfeits of their own making. It is the most profound kind of idol worship there is – and exacts a tremendously high price from those that indulge in it. For, what can be worse that to lose one’s grounding to Reality? It is FAR WORSE, for instance, than what a physicist experiences were he/she to lose the callibrations on his/her measuring instruments so that he/she can no longer estimate the proportions of ANYTHING with them reliably.

    Atheists reject ANY OBJECTIVE STANDARD for ANYTHING applying to the entire cosmos. As such, they are cut adrift in their thinking and reflections on EVERYTHING. They see only MEANINGLESSNESS confronting them EVERYWHERE because they no longer possess the ability to OBJECTIVELY judge ANYTHING!

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  65. “Wow, just check out this amazing video by an actual librarian
    talking about Primary and Secondary Sources…..”

    If you’re going to trust a librarian without reservation, isn’t that the same as trusting a pastor or the Bible without reservation? How do you know you do not make yourself prey to errors when you give your trust like that? Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  66. “zakiaminu

    Hint – I am on your side

    (* winks *)”

    Which side would that be? Do you know?

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  67. zakiaminu – You make good points oh wise one.
    The Librarian has become the secular equivalent of the priest, presenting us with ‘Primary Sources of Information” in much the same way as the ancient scriptures

    How are we to know whether these ‘Primary Sources of Information” are actually a factual representation of our reality?

    Why do we take their word for it?
    Is it because the male one has a beard, or the young female conjures up some juvenile fantasy?

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  68. Here’s a really great music video about libraries

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  69. The ONLY THING one can know BEYOND DOUBT exists is ONESELF! Note that I say “can know” NOT “must know” – for there are those who indeed doubt THEIR OWN EXISTENCE! How they believe they can doubt without existing first they seem unwilling or unable to explain.

    But to continue: proceeding LOGICALLY from the CERTAINTY of one’s existence to the implications and possibilities of it allows one to deduce FACTS which are unshakeably reliable! As imperturbable as one’s confidence in the knowledge that one exists! Of-course, those who regard THEIR OWN EXISTENCE as something that, at least to some extent, can be called into question can NEVER arrive at any other certainties in their knowledge either – just like someone who has no concept of what a metre is can have no idea what ANY multiple or fraction of it is. They are COMPLETELY LOST souls – cast adrift on the limitless expanse of the Sea of Consciousness! And will presently sink away – never to be found again!

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  70. Rosmary LYNDALL WEMM

    Zachiminu = Craig’s Lord Haw Haw.

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  71. Zachiminu = Craig’s Lord Haw Haw.

    Don’t be silly! Are you Dawkins’ Tokyo Rose then? Hahahahahahahahaha!

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  72. Rosmary LYNDALL WEMM

    Character flaw clearly exposed.

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  73. I KNOW! ALL of you atheists are full of the WORST character flaws possible! Including firm conviction that your consciousness is an illusion! Hahahahahahahahahahahah!

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  74. Rosmary LYNDALL WEMM

    Craig’s Lord Haw Haw is at it again, exposing his nasty character flaws. Craig certainly seems to have attracted a poisonous bunch of bigots as his champions. If the biblical claim is correct and “by their fruits you shall know them” then Craig and his cohorts expose themselves as insidiously evil.

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  75. “…..If the biblical claim is correct and “by their fruits you shall know them” then Craig and his cohorts expose themselves as insidiously evil.”

    Hahahahahahahahahahaha! What can atheists possibly know about “evil” or “good”? Indeed, what can they actually know about ANYTHING since they deny that their consciousness is even real? Here’s what the top atheist, Dawkins, has to say about good and evil:

    “…..In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference…..” – Richard Dawkins.

    So do stop pretending you have some notion of morality! We all know its just a gimmick; a stunt to help you make negative propaganda for Craig! It won’t work! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  76. Indeed these are difficult philosophical questions to grasp.

    Remember folks, if it gets too hard, ask the librarian. They are here to help.

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  77. They’re only difficult for those who no longer know how to think and simply be – naturally. In oher words, ATHEISTS, who deny that their consciousness and free will are real – and claim that their sense of self is an illusion! And what do librarians have to do with ANYTHING?

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  78. “….what about infanticide? Strictly morally I can see no objection to that at all, I would be in favour of infanticide…..” – Richard Dawkins

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  79. “….what about infanticide? Strictly morally I can see no objection to that at all, I would be in favour of infanticide…..” – Richard Dawkins

    So, you’ve been working down ‘pit? Aye, it’s a hard job for a man to slave away in the mines just to put quotes on the table.

    Definition of MINE
    a : a pit or excavation in the earth from which mineral substances are taken b : an ore deposit.

    Back to work, lad! Doing double shift today and the whistle already gone. There’s lots more mining to do. If you look carefully, you can find a few choice nuggets.

    “…you actually need God in order to be moral.”
    Richard Dawkins. BBC, (January 29, 2008)

    “God, who may not have a brain made of neurons, or a CPU made of silicon, but if he has the powers attributed to him he must have something far more elaborately and non-randomly constructed than the largest brain or the largest computer we know.”(pg. 184)
    Richard Dawkins. The God Delusion (2006)

    “…God in the case of adults) has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point.”
    Richard Dawkins (pg. 360) The God Delusion (2006)

    there is a super-intelligence so colossal that from our point of view it would be a god.
    Richard Dawkins (An Interview by Sheena McDonald)

    Monty Python’s Flying Circus – Coal Miners of Wales

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  80. Hahahahahahahahahahah! There NO GETTING AWAY from Dawkins’ words:

    “….The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference….” – Richard Dawkins

    That trumps ALL the other nonsense you’re quoting. Hahahahahahahahahahahah!

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  81. Rosmary LYNDALL WEMM

    My dear sweet Lord Ha Ha, you are very ignorant.

    Dawkins words make sense in their context. The animal and physical world is indeed just as he describes. Animals slaughter each other pitilessly in order to feed and survive. Earthquakes, tornadoes and tsunamis strike without meaning or morality.

    This has no bearing on the morality derived by sentient beings, of which humans are currently the most developed. Evil is defined as deliberate.

    Visit your local library and do some research or do some intelligent Googling in the area of moral development. Delve into work by people such as Laurence Kohlberg and colleagues. http://faculty.plts.edu/gpence/html/kohlberg.htm Moral reasoning develops in parallel with cognitive develop and, like it, depends on both brain maturation and environmental stimulus. Its development has nothing to do with supernatural powers but religious beliefs have been shown to arrest and distort its development and expression.

    If you stopped your maniacal chortling and used whatever serious brain mechanisms you possess you would not sound so ridiculously naive. Educate yourself instead of burbling hysterically.

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  82. Rosmary LYNDALL WEMM

    If you can stop laughing long enough to learn something useful about normal moral development you could try explaining why it is that Craig and his thoughtless minions have ceased to develop beyond Stages 1 and 2 or the Kohlberg scale (moral development) in spite of having developed relatively normally on the Piagetian scale (cognitive development). Do you think this is due to parenting defects, neurobiological defects, environmental deficits or the stultifying effects of restrictive religious paradigms? Try to be objective. And stay away from nitrous oxide.

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  83. “….Dawkins words make sense in their context. The animal and physical world is indeed just as he describes. Animals slaughter each other pitilessly in order to feed and survive. Earthquakes, tornadoes and tsunamis strike without meaning or morality.

    This has no bearing on the morality derived by sentient beings, of which humans are currently the most developed. Evil is defined as deliberate….”

    Hahahahahahahahaha! Are you suggesting that animals are not sentient, or that you, though an atheist, do not regard human beings as animals, or that humans do not slaughter each other pitilessly also?

    Anyway, since atheists claim that there is no such thing as free will, what does “deliberate” mean to an atheist?Hahahhhahaahahah!

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  84. This has no bearing on the morality derived by sentient beings, of which humans are currently the most developed. Evil is defined as deliberate….”

    Who are the other sentient beings that are lesser developed?

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  85. “….Moral reasoning develops in parallel with cognitive develop and, like it, depends on both brain maturation and environmental stimulus. Its development has nothing to do with supernatural powers but religious beliefs have been shown to arrest and distort its development and expression…..”

    Hahahahahahahahahaha! This is what happens when people delay their search for Truth to the time when they have full time use of a zimmer frame. Without the ability to make free, conscious, decisions how is it possible LOGICALLY to talk about moral responsibility at all? Perhaps your former religious belief is responsibility for so addling your brain that you can’t even use it for a simple task like this, eh Tokyo? Hahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  86. “If you can stop laughing long enough to learn something useful about normal moral development you could try explaining why it is that Craig and his thoughtless minions have ceased to develop beyond Stages 1 and 2 or the Kohlberg scale (moral development) in spite of having developed relatively normally on the Piagetian scale (cognitive development). Do you think this is due to parenting defects, neurobiological defects, environmental deficits or the stultifying effects of restrictive religious paradigms? Try to be objective. And stay away from nitrous oxide.”

    Idiotically parrotting the words of others probably just as ignorant as yourself does not help your arguments. Does this Kohlberg fellow explain to you how it is possible for the ability to act SPONTANEOUSLY to arise out of the inert physical matter of brain substance or not? By they way physics knows NO WAY in which matter can do such things – or indeed ANYTHING, since matter is governed by the Law of Inertia! Hahahahahahahahahahahahha!

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  87. “…Who are the other sentient beings that are lesser developed?”

    Atheists??? Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha! They DO claim they’re animals, don’t they; apes to be precise. And they also reject ALL notions of OBJECTIVE morality, do they not? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  88. Tokyo,

    Laurence Kohlberg apparently committed suicide because he was so depressed he lost his mind! This is the fella whose advice and scholarship you’re relying on? These bonehead atheists! Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  89. Rosmary LYNDALL WEMM

    Craig’s Lord Ha Ha, you are still showing ignorance.

    I am an atheist and I believe in limited free will. I also believe in limited determinism also.

    I did not say that animals were not sentient. You deliberately (or ignorantly) misquoted me. I said human animals were the most developed in this area. Do learn to understand what you read.

    If you want to know what Kohlberg says then follow the links. Hint: he researches moral development, not spontaneity.

    If you want to know how this can act sponteously then you need to do some reading in neuro-biology. If you want to know how physics explains it then bone up on quantum physics. Contrary to your current level of ignorance in physics, quantum mechanics is not subject to the Newtonian laws of inertia.

    The laugh is on you – again.

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  90. “I am an atheist and I believe in limited free will. I also believe in limited determinism also….”

    HOW does ANY free will AT ALL – HOWEVER MINISCULE – arise in INERT matter? That was my question. Don’t try that atheistic intellectual slipperiness with me. It WON’T WORK!

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  91. “…I did not say that animals were not sentient. You deliberately (or ignorantly) misquoted me. I said human animals were the most developed in this area. Do learn to understand what you read…..”

    Nevertheless, as an atheist, you regard human beings to be JUST ANIMALS, do you not? If not, what special extra properties make human beings distinct from animals – from the atheistic viewpoint?

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  92. “…If you want to know what Kohlberg says then follow the links. Hint: he researches moral development, not spontaneity. …”

    If he was researching moral development without knowing anything about free will then no wonder he turned out to be a NUT who got so depressed he drowned himself! Hhahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  93. Rosmary LYNDALL WEMM

    My dear Lord Ha Ha.

    Kohlberg contracted a tropical parasite while doing cross-cultural work in Belize. As a result, he struggled with depression and physical pain for the rest of his life. He reportedly committed suicide by drowning himself in the Boston Harbor. Chronic pain and intractable depression are good reasons to voluntarily end one’s life, regardless of one’s religious beliefs.

    In any case, Kohlberg’s illness and manner of death have absolutely no bearing on the significance of his research in the behavioral sciences. You know this, of course, or you would avoid using all manner of medical devices and pharmacology on the basis of the illnesses and deaths of their creators. So stop being silly.

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  94. “….If you want to know how this can act sponteously then you need to do some reading in neuro-biology. If you want to know how physics explains it then bone up on quantum physics. Contrary to your current level of ignorance in physics, quantum mechanics is not subject to the Newtonian laws of inertia.”

    Hhahahahahahahahahaha! Well then neuro-biology and quantum mechanics simply CANNOT be talking about MATTER – which is ANYTHING that has mass (i.e is mechanically INERT) and occupies space. Because ALL such things, physics will tell you, are ABSOLUTELY subject to the Law of Inertia! Unlike you, I’m a REAL scientist – a physicist! Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  95. Rosmary LYNDALL WEMM

    My dear Laughing Hyena,

    What proof do you have the Kohlberg knew nothing about “free will”?

    How does this knowledge, or lack of it, have any bearing whatever on the well-supported discovery of the cross-cultural development of moral reasoning via a number of hierarchically dependent stages?

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  96. “…..Kohlberg contracted a tropical parasite while doing cross-cultural work in Belize. As a result, he struggled with depression and physical pain for the rest of his life. He reportedly committed suicide by drowning himself in the Boston Harbor. Chronic pain and intractable depression are good reasons to voluntarily end one’s life, regardless of one’s religious beliefs….”

    Yeah, yeah! Telll that to the birds and marines! Next you’ll be claiming that Carl Sagan was not pot head! Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    Like

  97. Rosmary LYNDALL WEMM

    Lord Ha ha.

    Pull the other leg. It plays Jingle Bells.

    Don’t make ME laugh.

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  98. “…..How does this knowledge, or lack of it, have any bearing whatever on the well-supported discovery of the cross-cultural development of moral reasoning via a number of hierarchically dependent stages?”

    Oh my giddy aunt! Now you’re asking me to explain why someone incapable of free decisions cannot be considered morally responsible? Heaven protect us from atheistic boneheads! Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  99. “….In any case, Kohlberg’s illness and manner of death have absolutely no bearing on the significance of his research in the behavioral sciences….”

    What is clear is that he died a NUT! That makes ALL his work suspect since it’s unclear when he became a NUT! I believe it HAD TO BE from the moment he committed to Atheism! Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  100. Rosmary LYNDALL WEMM

    Lord Ha Ha Ha Ha

    I see you are an expert in Fallacious Reasoning. Did you pick this up from William Lane Craig or did you learn this all by yourself?

    We now have examples of
    Poisoning the Well
    Red Herring
    Ad hominem

    What errors will you commit next. Can hardly wait to find out.

    Do be careful not to choke. People can actually die laughing, you know.

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  101. “….You know this, of course, or you would avoid using all manner of medical devices and pharmacology on the basis of the illnesses and deaths of their creators….”

    I would NEVER take the advice of a NUT with regard to ANYTHING to do with my mind or ANYONE ELSE’S. And, if you knew what was good for you, Tokyo, you wouldn’t either. You still sound slightly lucid – so maybe all hope for you, isn’t lost yet. But your Zimmer frame is bound to slow any progress you can make now, I’m afraid. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  102. “….I see you are an expert in Fallacious Reasoning…..”

    Hahahahahahahahahahah! Here is someone who subscribes to a worldview that says that free will, consciousness, and even the self are all illusions and she has the cheek to accuse others of logical fallacies? Hahahahahahahahahahaha! These crazy atheistic boneheads! Hahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  103. “….Do be careful not to choke. People can actually die laughing, you know.”

    If I do die laughing, you atheists will be guilty of murder! I’ve NEVER come across such comprehensive ass clowns in the ENTIRE UNIVERSE! And its ALL FREE! Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    Maybe this is your secret weapon against me, eh Tokyo? You plan to kill me with your comical reasoning here, eh? Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  104. Anyway, Tokyo, I’m off to the Halloween celebrations. I was about to suggest you do the same but then I remembered your recent hip replacement – and the Zimmer frame. Hahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  105. Rosmary LYNDALL WEMM

    Dear Laughing Lord
    I was not aware that inert matter had either free or confined will. I’ve sat and watched banana slug and snails slither slowly across the ground and a whole armies of ants scurry all over the place, no two going in exactly the same spots. I have also watched snow flakes fall to the ground with all kinds of trajectories and noted that none of them look the same. Can you explain the difference between these things? Do they all move by sheer determinism or do some have more free will than others?

    I am having trouble recalling my hip replacement. When did this happen, exactly? Either my memory is a lot worse than I thought it was or you are suffering from delusions again. You really should get those checked out.

    As for the zimmer frame: my spinal problems mean that I still have to use it occasionally and it is cruel of you to mention it. But what else could I expect from someone who supports wholesale genocide, just so long as it can be justified by Craig’s version of the divine.

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  106. Rosmary LYNDALL WEMM

    Dear Mother Goose

    I was not aware that accepting that humans are part of the animal kingdom was an “atheist” position. I believed that for a very long time before I lost my religious beliefs — decades before I even began studying to be a member of the Christian clergy.

    In case you are not aware, belief that the biological life has evolved from a single cell is not an “atheist” position, either. Every single student in my Anglican High School believed that. Of course, the school was in an area of the globe with a set school curriculum and the belief that education was a right and not a commodity – obviously NOT in the United States of Jesusland where a virulent form of Christianity has resulted in a national educational disaster.

    You have a very parochial view of the world, and a badly distorted sense of reality.

    in answer to one of your many strange questions: the difference between the other animals and humans is that I am a member of the human species so, naturally, I think they are the most important animals on the planet. I also value the things that human excel at above the things that animals adapted to other environments excel at. For example, I value intellect above the sense of smell and the ability to swing through the trees with a tail. Mind you, if I lived in the jungles of Africa I might view tail swinging with a bit more envy, especially if I was facing a ground hogging predator.

    Most of the time I just have to deal with humans with nasty streaks and maniacal laughter. Ho hum

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  107. “…I was not aware that inert matter had either free or confined will…”

    This is the problem with geriatric: they’re aware of so little and just express feelings in their guts, considering that to be “thinking”.

    Of course matter HAS NO WILL! That’s my very point! Now since it has no will, how does ANY EVENT arise in matter without EXTERNAL – that is to say, NON-MATERIAL impulse? Hahahahahahahahahahahahah!

    Like

  108. “….I am having trouble recalling my hip replacement….”

    I know. But don’t worry, at your age that’s to be expected. Hhahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    Like

  109. “…..As for the zimmer frame: my spinal problems mean that I still have to use it occasionally and it is cruel of you to mention it. But what else could I expect from someone who supports wholesale genocide, just so long as it can be justified by Craig’s version of the divine.”

    Hahahahahahahahahahah! What can an atheist possibly know or care about cruelty or genocide? Atheists have no idea of OBJECTIVE good or evil, have they? Hahahahahahahahahahah!

    With regard to Craig’s view on Divinely commanded genocide, I certainly DO NOT support it. I believe that is an erroneous opinion he holds arising out of excessive zeal leading to his belief in biblical inerrancy. But for all that, I still agree far more with him than ANY atheist. At least his desire to arrive at a proper knowledge of Truth is genuine even if he’s prone to error sometimes.

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  110. “…I was not aware that accepting that humans are part of the animal kingdom was an “atheist” position….”

    Hahahahahahahahahahah! As I said, you’re aware of so little – otherwise you’d know that you’re hero, Dawkins, regards you as a she-ape. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  111. “….In case you are not aware, belief that the biological life has evolved from a single cell is not an “atheist” position, either. Every single student in my Anglican High School believed that…..”

    All sorts of nonsensical ideas are in circulation in the churches – particularly the Anglican Church. However, the idea that life is a materialistically based thing is NOT part of christian Teaching. You will not even be able to construe anything in the Bible in that way. Life is the VERY OPPOSITE of INERT matter. What brings the cell “alive” has NOTHING to do with its material components; just as what brings a book alive is NOT the paper and ink from which it is constituted but rather the INFORMATION in it. This is why it behaves so differently from say a piece of rock and is not wholly subject to the laws of inertia and entropy.

    Now, in order to understand biological life, an understanding of INFORMATION is INDISPENSABLE! And this means understanding whence it came in the first place. And that FORCIBLY leads the honest thinking mind to INTELLIGENCE – CONSCIOUS WILL – as the source of biological life. Get it now, Tokyo? Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  112. “….You have a very parochial view of the world, and a badly distorted sense of reality. ….”

    This from someone who thinks her consciousness is an illusion! Hahahahahahahahahhahahahah! That’s like being accused of bad taste by Lady Gaga as one fellow put it! Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    Like

  113. “…..in answer to one of your many strange questions: the difference between the other animals and humans is that I am a member of the human species so, naturally, I think they are the most important animals on the planet. I also value the things that human excel at above the things that animals adapted to other environments excel at. For example, I value intellect above the sense of smell and the ability to swing through the trees with a tail. Mind you, if I lived in the jungles of Africa I might view tail swinging with a bit more envy, especially if I was facing a ground hogging predator. ….”

    Hahahahahahahahahahaha! Like ALL other atheists I’ve encountered, you’re also a racist I see! But then that’s to be expected from a mind inclined towards solipsism – as is the atheistic mind. Hahahahahahahahahahahah!

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  114. “…..Most of the time I just have to deal with humans with nasty streaks and maniacal laughter. Ho hum”

    “Nasty” to an atheist just means stuff the atheist dislikes – NOT something OBJECTIVELY bad. So I can live with that. I’d be mortified if atheists found me an agreeable character. It would mean I was to some extent like them. And as for my laughter, why do atheists get so upset about cheerful laughter? Why are you ALL so DEPRESSED and DEPRESSING? I’ll tell you: It’s because you’ve caught yourselves off from the Sustenance of the Universe – God! This is why your consciousness has grown so dim that you regard it an illusion. And your mood has so darkened that cheerful laughter fills you with rage! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!

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  115. There are a couple of idiotic commenters here who lower the tone.

    I have been tolerant, partly because their behavior is self defeating, exposing their own silliness and bringing traffic and higher google ranking to the blog (something I am sure they regret).

    I also don’t wish to get into censoring people.

    However, it has got the stage of being personally abusive and contributing nothing. The silliness will also turn honest people away.

    Consequently , I will be forced to treat those who behave this way, and/or are using false emails or website links (you know who you are), as simple spammers.

    This will have the effect of preventing their further comments and the WordPress software treating them as spammers elsewhere.

    And, as they are spammers rather than genuine commenters I will have no guilt in doing this.

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  116. Rosmary LYNDALL WEMM

    Dear Mother Goose,

    You wrote: “Now since it has no will, how does ANY EVENT arise in matter without EXTERNAL – that is to say, NON-MATERIAL impulse?”

    GRAVITY.

    Honk Honk.

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  117. Rosmary LYNDALL WEMM

    Dear Mother Goose,
    You wrote:” Like ALL other atheists I’ve encountered, you’re also a racist.”

    Incorrect. Since I was acknowledging a preference for the human species that would make me a SPECIST, not a racist. This preference is just like all other humans I have met, including rude theists who make ad hominem attacks.

    You can better than this. Craig uses this form of logical fallacy. Try again.

    Honk Honk.

    Like

  118. Rosmary LYNDALL WEMM

    @Ken, @Zakiaminu

    I think we have established what manner of person supports William Lane Craig. Enough said.

    Cheers.

    Like

  119. Bring back Cedric!
    #occupyopenparachute

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  120. “With the sort of secular moral system I argue for people are encouraged to work out their moral decisions by social consideration. For the life of me I can’t see how moral decisions based on the objective facts of the situation and principles of humanity could ever arrive at a justification for genocide.”
    I don’t believe that secularism is any protection from genocide. There are too many instances in history where people have been led astray by other non-theistic, back-of-a-fag-packet philosophies and have committed atrocities for what they considered to be rational reasons.
    I’ve read your stuff on morality and I don’t see that your claims to objectivity are valid. Sorry.

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  121. No need to be sorry, Gordon. However I would welcome your specific critique of ideas. That is how we all learn.

    Your use of the word secularism – I hope you mean it as I do. Dealing with the real, not “sacred” world and therefore convering what we all do whatever our religious beliefs.

    I agree completely with your claim:

    “There are too many instances in history where people have been led astray by other non-theistic, back-of-a-fag-packet philosophies and have committed atrocities for what they considered to be rational reasons.”

    But note the operative clause “what they considered to be rational.” We are not a very rational species but we think we are. We are usually rationalizing to justify an emotive or preconceived position when we claim to be reasoning. And as I pointed out with the followers of Pinochet, Franco, Stalin, Hitler? Mao, etc, these people are not reasoning. They are simply using another version of “divine command” ethics.

    This does not in any way invalidate the idea that we should base our morality on objective facts of the situation and true reason.

    Anyway, I welcome any specific comments you have on my ideas about morality. It’s a learning process for me.

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