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Old 10-16-2012, 11:59   #61
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Originally Posted by Animal Mother View Post
Is racism a rational belief system based on the idea that a deity said so?
No it is not rational because some deity said so.


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Old 10-16-2012, 12:08   #62
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No, they don't (and the state is not the highest authority). If there is no objective source of moral truth then the state has no legitimate claim to rule. If morality can only ever be subjective, then one's person opinion is no more or less valid than anyone elses. Therefore, no one's opinion on what outgh to be can (or should) be enforced on another.
As an atheist, on what basis can you decide what ought or should be or not be? My point is just that, with no objective morality your view is no better than stalin's or mao's. there is no good or bad. There is no better or worse. Justice is just a word without any objective meaning. So, those in power get to (or rather will) decide for the rest of us. Own your atheism to its ultimate conclusion.

(BTW, I do agree that a more libertine govt and society yields the best outcome for everyone. But that comes from my Christian worldview where there is an objective basis to decide what the "best outcome" might be. You have to borrow your ideas of what is best from somewhere else. And that's not being true to your belief that there is no objective good.)


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Old 10-16-2012, 12:14   #63
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Old 10-16-2012, 12:50   #64
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An involved explanation is needed to address this question. But just for the sake of argument,what if I said yes (which I don't). How can an atheist tell me there is anything wrong with any of those practices?
Answering my questions may provide you with the answer to your question...

Given that you "don't" still advocate the punishments in the scenarios that I previously described, on what basis are you able to reject those?

Is the Bible a good source of morality? Don't worry, I'm not taking this down the path of providing counter examples.

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Old 10-16-2012, 12:55   #65
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As an atheist, on what basis can you decide what ought or should be or not be? My point is just that, with no objective morality your view is no better than stalin's or mao's. there is no good or bad. There is no better or worse. Justice is just a word without any objective meaning. So, those in power get to (or rather will) decide for the rest of us. Own your atheism to its ultimate conclusion.
This is just twisting it around and ignoring my fairly obvious argument. Let's say we have a would-be-Stalin that wants to rule all, send people to gulags, purge intellectuals, etc. His views on what ought to be are no more valid than my views that he should just be shot in the head. Therefore, he doesn't get his purges and I don't get to shoot him in the head. The only valid basis for law is to codify a system where people aren't allowed to impose their subjective will on others as if it were objective (like communism insists on). The only crimes resulting in punishment would come from attempting to violate this principle.

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BTW, I do agree that a more libertine govt and society yields the best outcome for everyone. But that comes from my Christian worldview where there is an objective basis to decide what the "best outcome" might be.
Libertarianism is found nowhere in the bible. The only form of government that is ever put forth in the bible is that of a benevolent (hopefully) monarchy. So, unless you want a king appointed by an establishment of religion that carries the weight of law with its edicts then you are not following the bible's example.
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Old 10-16-2012, 13:10   #66
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[[Stalin's]] views on what ought to be are no more valid than my views
George Carlin put it this way, "I have as much authority as the pope, I just don't have as many people who believe it."
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Old 10-16-2012, 13:10   #67
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English, I think that you want to carve out a nitch for an atheism that you can be proud of. The point of the Stalin example is this: if there is no God ordained morality, then it is up to humans to decide what is moral. In that case, the humans in power get to decide. Fascism, socialism and racism are rational belief systems, based on the idea that there is no higher authority than the state.


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I'm not trying to nitpick but racism and race based slavery were born from the Catholic church. The church determined Africans to have no soul thus making them less than human and gave their blessing on the atlantic slave trade. Before this, the concept of superiority based upon skin color was nononexistent.
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Old 10-16-2012, 13:37   #68
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On the subject of evolution, I've always wondered a couple of things. Why do all giraffes have long necks? Was it as simple as evolving long necks to avoid competition with grazing animals? Why are there no short-necked giraffes?

And why does the turtle have a shell when the lizard, who lived in similar environments, didn't feel the need of one? Where is the turtle that didn't grow a shell for self-defense?

Thanks.
The ability to retreat into a shell would be handy in any environment with predators yet few animals can do so. The ability to reach the higher leaves and spot danger from the crow's nest view like giraffes do would also be handy in the survival game yet few animals are built that way. Animals don't just evolve what they want to evolve nor do they automatically evolve what would work best in any given environment.

What they do is make the best of what their particular genetic makeup can muster over a long stretch of time under the pressure of environmental stress by gradual change from one generation to the next. When the environment stays the same the animals stay the same since everyone gets to eat and breed freely and all genetic makeups in a given population are moved equally through the timeline. But introduce a gradual drop in temperature and there will be a gradual increase of larger furrier animals as the smaller less insulated ones fall out of that particular gene pool. Go the other direction with a gradual increase in temperature and you'll see a gradual increase of animals in a population that have the genetic ability to deal with that by evolving ways to deal with that like sails on the back or large ears to help dissipate heat. Turtle shells might not be as useful in a desert environment as the skin texture and behavioral adaptation of some lizards that allow them to collect the morning dew along grooves in their skin and direct it towards their mouths. There will be tortoises in the same environment that started out as something that had genes to form a shell and they will have different ways to deal with the water collection issue. Problems don't need to be solved in the same way by all animals. They just need to be solved.

The vast majority of all animal species that have ever lived have failed at problem solving at some point and gone extinct. What remains today is the elite cream of the crop of evolutionary adaptation and we see the process continue to this day with spotted owls and narwhals and every other critter on the endangered species list.

The fossil record reflects this process with exactly what you should expect to find under these circumstances. Given the rarity of occasion where an animal dies in a manner that it avoids being torn apart by scavengers and also finds it's bones in a suitable medium to be replaced by minerals rather than just decaying away, one should expect to see the majority of fossils from animals that have lived in an environment for a great deal of time unchanged because of unchanging conditions. It's those intermediary forms that transition from one common form to the next during the environmental stressor periods where there simply aren't as many being fossilized. Those won't be found nearly as often as something like T-Rex or Mastodon that has been living relatively unchanged for many millions of years.

That's why we have a harder time finding those "missing links" but we still do find them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Therapsida
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Old 10-16-2012, 17:52   #69
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Answering my questions may provide you with the answer to your question...

Given that you "don't" still advocate the punishments in the scenarios that I previously described, on what basis are you able to reject those?
-ArtificialGrape
AG, there's a lot of info out there to explain this from a historical, cultural and theological perspective. So I'm not going to take the time. While most Christians can't articulate why those laws are no longer in effect, nor why they were ever instituted, it's not like you're bringing up something scholars never noticed before. I say this because I hear atheists bring it up frequently as though Christians will go "oh gee whiz, they've got me now. My faith has been destroyed."


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Old 10-16-2012, 18:01   #70
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Is the Bible a good source of morality? Don't worry, I'm not taking this down the path of providing counter examples.

-ArtificialGrape
When asked what the most important command was, Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:37-40 NIV) The Apostle Paul reiterated the same. Yes, the Bible is the best source of morality, WHEN CORRECTLY INTERPRETED.


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Old 10-16-2012, 18:14   #71
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The only valid basis for law is to codify a system where people aren't allowed to impose their subjective will on others as if it were objective (like communism insists on).
If everything is relative and there is no absolute morality, the strong imposing her will on the rest by shooting those who disagree in the head is just as valid. If you disagree, she'll shoot you in the head too and the universe won't even burp. If we're all just an accident of nature, it doesn't matter who shoots who.

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Old 10-16-2012, 18:27   #72
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I'm not trying to nitpick but racism and race based slavery were born from the Catholic church. The church determined Africans to have no soul thus making them less than human and gave their blessing on the atlantic slave trade. Before this, the concept of superiority based upon skin color was nononexistent.
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Maggy, I don't know the history of raced based slavery. But you are correct that it is not in the bible. Slavery in the Old Testament was more like indentured servant hood, and the Israelites were given strict rules concerning its operation. In the New Testament slavery is condemned. Paul said "We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy . . . for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine" (1 Timothy 1:8-10 NIV)


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Old 10-16-2012, 18:52   #73
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AG, there's a lot of info out there to explain this from a historical, cultural and theological perspective. So I'm not going to take the time. While most Christians can't articulate why those laws are no longer in effect, nor why they were ever instituted, it's not like you're bringing up something scholars never noticed before. I say this because I hear atheists bring it up frequently as though Christians will go "oh gee whiz, they've got me now. My faith has been destroyed."
Nope, the goal was not to destroy your faith; however, the point remains, the Bible directs the death penalty to: unruly children, children who strike or curse a parent, witches, fortunetellers, homosexuals, adulterers, women who are not a virgin on their wedding night, some rape victims...

Either those directions:
. were moral then and are moral now
. were moral then, but are are immoral now
. were immoral then and are immoral now

Which is it?

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Old 10-16-2012, 22:25   #74
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If you disagree, she'll shoot you in the head too and the universe won't even burp.
Not if I shoot her (how did this become a her?) first. And I'm a very good shot.

But, I'm betting it won't come to that as I believe the majority will see the logic in not electing someone that wants to send people (possibly them) to gulags to die.
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Old 10-16-2012, 23:10   #75
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And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
At least for this second principle, almost every major religion has incorporated it in some form or another. It's hardly unique to christianity.
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Old 10-17-2012, 01:38   #76
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No it is not rational because some deity said so.
Then why cite it in your original example, if it doesn't provide a contrast to a God ordained morality? Under what conditions is racism a rational basis for government or morality?
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Old 10-17-2012, 01:44   #77
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If everything is relative and there is no absolute morality, the strong imposing her will on the rest by shooting those who disagree in the head is just as valid.
You may arguably have presented a case for why a universal morality would be a good thing. However, you haven't presented any evidence that it actually does exist.
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If you disagree, she'll shoot you in the head too and the universe won't even burp. If we're all just an accident of nature, it doesn't matter who shoots who.
Does it matter, in a universal sense? Perhaps not, the universe continues on no matter who shoots who. On the other hand, it matters very much to society and for that reason, society bands together as a body to enforce a code of rules for conducting oneself within that society. At times, the cloak of religion is used to lend weight to these rules but the argument for their universality is undermined by the changes in the code from society to society and through time.
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:05   #78
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Then why cite it in your original example, if it doesn't provide a contrast to a God ordained morality? Under what conditions is racism a rational basis for government or morality?
I think I didn't make myself clear or you misunderstood or something. I think you think I think something I don't think, or something. in any case I don't understand the question.


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Old 10-17-2012, 08:05   #79
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At least for this second principle, almost every major religion has incorporated it in some form or another. It's hardly unique to christianity.
Agreed


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Old 10-17-2012, 08:21   #80
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You may arguably have presented a case for why a universal morality would be a good thing. However, you haven't presented any evidence that it actually does exist.
Does it matter, in a universal sense? Perhaps not, the universe continues on no matter who shoots who.
Exactly right. I think you're the only one who understands what I was getting at. I wasn't even arguing for the existence of an objective morality or for theism. I was pointing out that any attempt to say that the govt or laws "ought" to be such and such is futile if there is no objective morality. If I want to act like a sociopath, no atheist has any objective grounds to say my behavior is morally bad. Morality is an illusion, as Dawkins points out. So I'm telling atheists to own their world view and quit using words like "ought" and "should" and "just" and "unjust" in a moral sense. If our families are shipwrecked on an island, I can kill your offspring so my offspring get the resources, and there is nothing "bad" about that if there is no objective morality.


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