Sunday, January 20, 2013

Self-replicating meat-sack ponders theodicy

Atheist Susan Jacoby on The Blessings of Atheism:

IN a recent conversation with a fellow journalist, I voiced my exasperation at the endless talk about faith in God as the only consolation for those devastated by the unfathomable murders in Newtown, Conn. Some of those grieving parents surely believe, as I do, that this is our one and only life. Atheists cannot find solace in the idea that dead children are now angels in heaven. “That only shows the limits of atheism,” my colleague replied. “It’s all about nonbelief and has nothing to offer when people are suffering.”...

[Yet it] is primarily in the face of suffering, whether the tragedy is individual or collective, that I am forcefully reminded of what atheism has to offer. When I try to help a loved one losing his mind to Alzheimer’s, when I see homeless people shivering in the wake of a deadly storm, when the news media bring me almost obscenely close to the raw grief of bereft parents, I do not have to ask, as all people of faith must, why an all-powerful, all-good God allows such things to happen. 
It is a positive blessing, not a negation of belief, to be free of what is known as the theodicy problem. Human “free will” is Western monotheism’s answer to the question of why God does not use his power to prevent the slaughter of innocents, and many people throughout history (some murdered as heretics) have not been able to let God off the hook in that fashion.

Jacoby is wrong. Atheism offers no explanation for evil in the world. Without God, without a moral law that  is independent of mere human opinion, there is no real evil and no real good. There are just different ways of looking at things, different chemical reactions in self-replicating meat-sacks. Adam Lanza had his take on things, the kids' moms and dads had theirs. Who's to say what's right and wrong? How crazy for those teachers to give their lives shielding other peoples' little gene-sacks! What a mockery of natural selection. Evolutionary mistakes, those teachers!

If God does not exist, there is no objective good or evil. Moral law is a human creation. Some humans create moral law with love and self-giving, others create moral law with AR15s. It's all relative.   

Theodicy is hard for Christians. But explaining evil is impossible for atheists. Why, for example, would a coherent atheist weep at the killings in Newtown? If man is evolved by Darwinian processes, the slaughter of other people's children is a goal, not a tragedy.

In fact, the literal slaughter of other people's children-- by our ancestors or by nature-- is, in the atheist creation myth, how we came to be, how we became who we are. We are, in the atheist/Darwinist myth, self-replicating meat-sacks spraying our selfish genes. Nature red in tooth and claw is our family narrative. It doesn't get any redder than Sandy Hook Elementary.

But nobody celebrates Sandy Hook. Not even atheists. Atheists grieve when other peoples' kids die, just like Christians grieve, because, on some level, even atheists know that atheism is bullshit. 

103 comments:

  1. No.

    Humans are evolved social animals. Morality is made by social groups, not individuals. Anyone who thinks that morality is a matter of personal preference is a psychopath.

    Humans only survive in groups, and as a result, individual humans are deeply concerned with the survival of other members of the social group, even unrelated ones, who don't share genes, because it increases the chances of survival for everyone.

    The Enlightenment has just expanded the circle of the social group to include all humans. There are no races, because the genetic variation between 'races' is less than the genetic variation within a given 'race'.

    Theists have no explanation for what happened in Newtown, if God is supposed to be a loving caring entity. Deists perhaps.

    Atheists don't have an explanation for the deranged gunman either. But we don't try to invent one. We just try to stop it happening again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Group selection. Kin selection. Selfish genes. You frauds can't even get your junk science right.

      Evolution is all about competition. Except when it's not. Whatever fits the myth.

      Delete
    2. You're the one with the myth. Evolution is also about cooperation. You don't have any explanation for theodicy.

      Delete
    3. "Evolution is also about cooperation"

      Sure. Evolution is about cooperation, except when it is about competition. Which one it is depends on the rhetorical needs of the moment.

      Junk science.

      Delete
    4. [You don't have any explanation for theodicy.]

      Theodicy is the effort to explain.

      You have no explanation for evil. Of course, a meaningless universe would involve various outcomes, with various effects, but if there is no moral law independent of human opinion, there is no real evil. There is merely opinion, no one opinion being of any greater moral status than another.

      Your ideology is such crap.

      Delete
    5. bachfiend: "Morality is made by social groups..."

      So if a social group says ethnic cleansing is good then we should accept that?

      Would you approve of an very large Australian movement to kill all those worth more than 1 million dollar and take their money?

      Remember, one cannot question morality made by a social group...

      Delete
    6. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJanuary 20, 2013 at 10:48 AM

      A better name is mob rule.

      Delete
    7. Pepe,

      'Remember, one cannot question morality made by a social group'.

      Yes, one can question morality. Humans are talking apes. Morality can be discussed, and the consensus of what is moral can change. And it often does.

      Delete
  2. You're afraid - very afraid - aren't you Egor? That you were right when you were young - that theism is bullshit and death is really the end. You keep repeating to yourself that you were wrong, but it's really, really, REALLY hard to believe, isn't it? The doubts keep coming back for more and are slowly eating away your most cherished fantasies. Will you still believe when you have to face the loss of a loved one? The horror.

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    Replies
    1. Why, troy, would you care about my feelings? If we're just selfish replicators, you'd just be concerned about our relative reproductive success.

      Atheism is such crap.

      Delete
    2. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJanuary 20, 2013 at 10:52 AM

      Speaking as someone who has faced the loss of several loved ones, it's no "horror". What an ignorant comment.

      Delete
    3. Dr. Troy,

      I think you are on to something. Dr. Egnor's faith is weak. He rails against atheists hoping to prevent himself from sliding back. It looks rather pathetic when a failing faith is propped up like this.

      Hoo

      Delete
    4. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJanuary 20, 2013 at 11:55 AM

      You look silly in that turban, Swami Hoo. Assuming you have a day job, don't quit. You'll never make it as a mind-reader.

      Delete
    5. I don't claim to be a mind reader, Adm. Boggs. I merely stated my hypothesis.

      At any rate, in this case it would be your opinion against mine, with no way for us to check hoo is right.

      Hoo

      Delete
    6. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJanuary 20, 2013 at 1:09 PM

      Hypothesis?

      So you would call "Hoo fantasizes about masturbating in the engineering library. It's pathetic when inadequate sexual development results in such puerile wishes." a hypothesis?

      Most non-new age telepathophiles would simply assume it was a childish and ineffectual attempt at character assassination, and they would be right.

      I would have thought a pec-flexin', chest-thumpin', take-no-prisoners scientista like yourself would know better.

      Delete
    7. Adm. Boggs,

      You say the darndest things (as a Glen Beck fan might).

      I had no intent of destroying Dr. Egnor's character. I merely drew my conclusions from reading Dr. Egnor's multiple posts.

      I understand that Dr. Egnor is a religious person. But his religiosity has a rather strange and bitter taste. It would be one thing if he proclaimed his love for God and the Church on his blog. That would be a positive message, with which I would have no problem whatsoever.

      Instead, he devotes 90 percent of his time here to bashing atheists. This seems to be a somewhat perverse way to proclaim one's love for God and his human brothers. One that needs an explanation. A simple and elegant explanation is that atheism bothers him so much because he is afraid of slipping back into it. So I think that Dr. Egnor's faith is fragile. In fact it does not look like he learned to love his neighbor as himself. He hates his neighbor as strongly as he did as an atheist and is still proud to mention that.

      I am merely human and could be wrong. Perhaps Dr. Egnor's love of God knows no bound. Perhaps in real life he hugs every atheist on his way to work (he works at a major research university, after all). Perhaps he merely plays an idiot on the internet. But that is not something over which I would lose any sleep.

      Hoo

      Delete
    8. [I understand that Dr. Egnor is a religious person. But his religiosity has a rather strange and bitter taste. It would be one thing if he proclaimed his love for God and the Church on his blog. That would be a positive message, with which I would have no problem whatsoever.]

      What bothers you, Hoo, is that I am a Christian who takes the Truth seriously enough to fight for it. I despise atheism, as any Christian who is serious about his faith should. I do not despise atheists (I was one, and I was quite likable) . But I have no intention of allowing you to lie without correction.

      You guys depend on silence from Christians. Your arguments are dust when confronted with Christians who have a modicum of knowledge and the willingness to use it. When you have power, you silence us by force. When you lack power, you try to silence us by such tactics as you use here.

      I think of all of the Christians you guys have repressed, and are repressing, in the hellholes you create when you run things, and I tell the truth that they were prevented from telling.

      Delete
    9. Wrong, Dr. Egnor.

      I am not bothered by faithful Christians. I am bothered by Christians who hate atheists.

      I am a tolerant atheist and you are an intolerant Christian. This is highly ironic.

      Hoo

      Delete
    10. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJanuary 20, 2013 at 2:55 PM

      I'm not a Glenn Beck fan. Merely in his employ as CINCMED (assuming, of course, he can start up his private Navy as the Judge predicted and so many of the more florid paranoids on the left fear).

      However, I'm not sure your analysis is correct. Seems I recall a quote from a rather well-known fellow that went something like this: "You snakes! You brood of vipers!"

      And the 90% of his time spent here is but a tiny percentage of the time he spends teaching new surgeons and healers, and preserving and saving the lives of the sick.

      So, overall, I you might reflect on "[F]irst cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cast out the mote out of your brother's eye." Same guy, BTW. I doubt you're familiar with His work, but I can definitely recomend it.

      Delete
    11. Dr. Egnor,

      While I don't think Hoo is correct about your faith being brittle, his comment has reminded me to share a couple of my concerns with you:

      1. I appreciate your criticisms of atheism - it is a ridiculous, empty ideology, built on a phantom foundation. However, I am more edified by your criticisms when they attack the phantoms than when they attack atheists themselves, who, despite holding mistaken ideas and being sinners (not unlike me) are children of God. St. Paul points out in his letter to the Ephesians that the Christian struggle is not against flesh and blood (human beings) but against powers and principalities (wrong ideas, false idols, etc.)

      2. The state of your own soul is important too. If anything that happens online serves as an occasion of sin, it's best to turn away from the screen, and kiss your wife or pray a rosary for the suffering souls in purgatory or take a moment to talk to your neighbors. Online debates have often served as occasions of wrath, pride, and sloth for me. If you're anything like me, taking a break from time to time may be the best way to take the battle to the enemy.

      God bless you, brother, and all your readers.

      -JH

      Delete
    12. ...on the other hand, you write things like this that are spot on: "What bothers you, Hoo, is that I am a Christian who takes the Truth seriously enough to fight for it. I despise atheism, as any Christian who is serious about his faith should. I do not despise atheists (I was one, and I was quite likable) . But I have no intention of allowing you to lie without correction.

      You guys depend on silence from Christians. Your arguments are dust when confronted with Christians who have a modicum of knowledge and the willingness to use it."

      I appreciate that you're saying these things. Just... be wary of sin, and keep praying to the Holy Spirit for guidance. That's all I'm saying.

      -JH

      Delete
    13. JH:

      Thank you. I think you're right-- fighting the good fight has its risks, and pride and anger are among them. I try to avoid the occasions of sin, and I go to confession often. But you are right about the risks.

      I feel, though, that I would sin more if I just kept quiet. And the Lord seems quite fond of folks who are willing to fight for Him, even if they let their passions get the best of them on occasion. The fellow He chose to found his Church was a bit of a firebrand, as I recall.

      Delete
    14. No zealot like a new convert.

      Hoo

      Delete
    15. @Hoo:

      [I am not bothered by faithful Christians. I am bothered by Christians who hate atheists.

      I am a tolerant atheist and you are an intolerant Christian. This is highly ironic.]

      I hate atheism. I don' hate atheists (there are many atheists among my friends and family).

      I have argued here for human rights, freedom of speech, freedom to worship and not worship, and human dignity. You have argued for abortion, population control, and judicial suppression of speech in classrooms.

      Your real beef seems to be that I'm a Christian who talks back. I challenge your claims to superior "rationality" and "evidence". Atheists really don't like people who talk back. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_atheism.]

      Delete
    16. Dr. Egnor.

      Nowhere have I "argued for population control, and judicial suppression of speech in classrooms."

      You are a liar.

      Hoo

      Delete
    17. Perhaps I'm mixing up my atheists. You guys blurr after awhile.

      So you oppose population control and you support teaching ID and criticism of Darwin's Theory in classrooms?

      How refreshing.

      Delete
    18. Dr. Egnor,

      We can talk more, but perhaps you might want to apologize first. I will then retract my accusation of lying.

      Hoo

      Delete
    19. Apologize to an anonymous commentor, for most probably telling the truth about his views?

      Heh.

      Why don't you set me straight on your opinion on population control and school censorship, and just humiliate me?

      Delete
    20. I already have set you straight, Dr. Egnor. Now set yourself straight. Be a man.

      Hoo

      Delete
    21. Why, troy, would you care about my feelings? If we're just selfish replicators, you'd just be concerned about our relative reproductive success.

      Empathy seems to be hard-wired in most humans, which makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. I can't help but feel some sympathy for your personal struggle to make sense of the world, despite your transparent macho posturing. We all struggle to varying degrees. You succumbed to the easy way out by denying reality and postulating a magic man that can save you from annihilation, but you know it's rubbish.

      Delete
    22. [Empathy seems to be hard-wired in most humans, which makes sense from an evolutionary perspective.]

      So competition is hardwired by evolution and empathy is hardwired by evolution.

      Pretty supple theory you got there.

      Why would empathy be hardwired, if competition is hardwired?

      Delete
    23. Newtonian theory of gravity predicts both open and closed orbits. A comet may be forever orbiting the Sun or approach it once it never return. That does not somehow invalidate the theory.

      Hoo

      Delete
    24. So competition is hardwired by evolution and empathy is hardwired by evolution.

      Pretty supple theory you got there.


      Rocks falling to the earth and rockets flying away from the earth are both consistent with standard Newtonian physics. Pretty supple theory, right?

      It's not necessarily inconsistent to suppose that a mix of empathic and competitive behavior can evolve. If male lions take over a pride, they kill the cubs. Yet they show love to their own cubs some months later.

      Delete
    25. I haven't yet pointed out that opposite predictions invalidate a theory.

      I just wanted to know how it is that evolutionary "theory" explains hardwiring of both empathy and competition?

      Delete
    26. Just like theory of gravity explains both rocks falling down and going up.

      Dude!

      Hoo

      Delete
    27. @troy:

      [Rocks falling to the earth and rockets flying away from the earth are both consistent with standard Newtonian physics. Pretty supple theory, right?]

      If Newtonian physics predicted that rocks fell to earth and fell away from earth given the same initial conditions, that would be a real supple theory.

      Darwinism is self-contradictory if it explains the evolution of cooperation and competition given the same initial conditions.

      Under what conditions will competition evolve, and under what conditions will cooperation evolve?

      Delete
    28. Egnor: Darwinism is self-contradictory if it explains the evolution of cooperation and competition given the same initial conditions.

      This assertion would be believable if it were backed up by references to the primary literature.

      (*not expecting any*)

      Hoo

      Delete
    29. @Hoo:

      Any scientific theory is self-contradictory is it predicts mutually exclusive outcomes from the same initial conditions.

      Aristotle (On Interpretation- the Law of the Excluded Middle) is the primary literature.

      Delete
    30. Dr. Egnor,

      Cite the specific work in which mutually exclusive outcomes were obtained from the same initial conditions. Then we'll have something to discuss. Your straw-man caricatures of evolutionary theory aren't particularly worth my attention.

      Hoo

      Delete
    31. How can competition and cooperation both evolve by random heritable variation and natural selection?

      It's a straightforward question.

      Delete
    32. Darwinism is self-contradictory if it explains the evolution of cooperation and competition given the same initial conditions.

      You're making progress. Of course evolutionary theories suppose different initial conditions for conflict and cooperation to evolve.

      Under what conditions will competition evolve, and under what conditions will cooperation evolve?

      Check out the scientific literature for yourself. Google "cooperation conflict animals".

      Delete
    33. @troy:

      [Of course evolutionary theories suppose different initial conditions for conflict and cooperation to evolve.]

      What different initial conditions?

      [Check out the scientific literature for yourself. Google "cooperation conflict animals".]

      I did. No good answer. Help me out. How does your theory predict both competition and cooperation?

      Example: If a bacterium in a culture undergoes a mutation that enhances competition, what conditions must prevail if the mutation is to become more common, rather than less common, in the population?

      And same question, if the mutation enhances cooperation.

      Delete
    34. Dr. Egnor,

      Here is the short answer. Although investing in one's kin imposes a cost on an individual, it increases the number of that individual's offspring down the road.

      If you want the long answer, familiarize yourself with theory of kin selection. There are plenty of sources.

      Hoo

      Delete
    35. Kin selection is fascinating. I know a bit about it.

      We act to ensure the survival of our offspring in accordance with the closeness of our genetic material. Our children share 50% of our genes, as do our siblings, so we are willing to sacrifice reproductive success for a couple of our kids, or four half-siblings, or eight cousins, etc.

      Question: with asexual reproduction of bacteria, the genetic similarity of siblings is that of identical twins. The degree of genetic relatedness in a monoclonal colony is nearly 100%.

      How is it that bacteria compete?

      Delete
    36. Example: If a bacterium in a culture undergoes a mutation that enhances competition, what conditions must prevail if the mutation is to become more common, rather than less common, in the population?

      Check out this paper, Egnor: link

      Read it, and I'll be happy to answer some questions. I have published with some of these authors on the same subject in Science and Nature, but since I'd rather remain anonymous, I will leave it at this.

      Delete
    37. @troy:

      Excellent paper. Population dynamics is fascinating. Local competition selects for lower levels of cooperation, as one might expect intuitively.

      Could you point me to the part of Darwinian theory that predicted the result?

      Delete
    38. Egnor: Kin selection is fascinating. I know a bit about it.

      Once upon a time you were pwned on this very subject. Kin selection and your toilet bowl

      If one wants to know what Egnorance means, that thread is perhaps the greatest example.

      Hoo

      Delete
    39. @Hoo:

      Your knowledge of Egnorance oeuvre is laudatory. You've been doing your homework!

      How is it that bacteria compete?

      Delete
    40. 'How is it that bacteria compete?'. They compete by being able to divide as quickly as possible. I think you asked the wrong question, by mistake, as a typo'. I think you meant 'why is it that bacteria compete?'. And they do. And they also cooperate too. Multicellular prokaryotes isn't an oxymoron. The dental plaque my oral hygienist painfully scrapes off my teeth, what I have of them, between the fillings and dental crowns, every 6 months, is the result of the cooperation of numerous bacteria of a very limited number of species, working together to produce an environment to their liking.

      Delete
    41. I am a lifetime learner, Dr. Egnor. And you are a fascinating subject.

      In that thread, you were wiped the floor with. Have you learned how to properly apply Hamilton's equation since?

      Hoo

      Delete
    42. Excellent paper. Population dynamics is fascinating. Local competition selects for lower levels of cooperation, as one might expect intuitively.

      Could you point me to the part of Darwinian theory that predicted the result?


      I'm glad you liked it. The first Darwinian paper that predicted this is P.D. Taylor 1992 (Evolutionary Ecology). Steven Frank's book "Foundations of Social Evolution" (1998) analyzes the problem in more detail. A review by West et al. (2002, Science, link) might also be helpful.

      Delete
    43. Feel free to apply Hamilton's equation to a bacterial colony, and demonstrate that altruistic alleles won't always increase in the population.

      Delete
    44. What's the point if you wouldn't understand it?

      Hoo

      Delete
    45. Feel free to apply Hamilton's equation to a bacterial colony, and demonstrate that altruistic alleles won't always increase in the population.

      The demonstrations are in the papers I referred to. I will not repeat the calculations here, unless you ask me about specific details you fail to understand.

      Delete
    46. @Hoo:

      [What's the point if you wouldn't understand it?]

      So you decline the opportunity to demonstrate your point.

      Perhaps another kin selection post is in order...

      Delete
  3. Atheism is the result of an arrogant and overweening hubris. It is not that atheists do not understand all the evidences for God's existence: they do not want God to exists because they consider themselves the pinnacle of evolution.

    Atheists also like to brag that the miseries of existence don't affect them, that they do not need crutches, as believers do, to live their one and only material life. Atheists think this way while speaking of the misfortunes of others until they themselves are affected: then they curse God.

    Plato was right: "Atheism is a disease of the soul, before it becomes an error of the understanding."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pepe:

      Plato was very right.

      Delete
    2. “Atheism is the result of an arrogant and overweening hubris.”

      You’ve got that backwards. Atheists are intellectually honest. They do not claim absolute certainty, and are willing to adjust their views in light of evidence. First comes intellectual honesty, then Atheism, then what you call arrogance and hubris, which is really just frustration with your institutionalized inability to see how absolutely wrong you are.

      If you want to see arrogance, look at Christians who claim to have a personal relationship with the creator of the universe, or believe the creator God listens to what they say, and might take action on their behalf is they ask nice.

      -KW

      Delete
    3. KW: "...Christians who claim to have a personal relationship with the creator of the universe..."

      That is not arrogance, that is faith, love and humility.

      Here is what faith can do.




      Delete
    4. KW: "Atheists are intellectually honest..."

      ...and very intellectually limited!


      Delete
  4. Good and evil are simply adjectives used to describe people’s behavior. ESS theory explains the balance between cooperative behavior (good), and cheating behavior (evil). There is little mystery; there are fitness advantages for cooperating, and fitness advantages for cheating, and all species tend toward a stable balance between cooperative behaviors that help the group as a whole, and non-cooperative behaviors that do harm to others for individual or group gain. All species find balance somewhere along the continuum between total cooperation and total antagonism. We are no different.

    -KW

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Then there is no good and evil, merely actions with consequences, some of which are favorable to some, and some unfavorable to others.

      Atheist/Darwinist ideology inherently denies values-- right and wrong-- and embraces only facts-- survival and non-survival.

      You have no answer to the problem of evil because you deny the existence of "evil".

      You insist that there are merely contingencies, with varying outcomes.

      Delete
    2. “You insist that there are merely contingencies, with varying outcomes.”

      They are. There’s no cosmic battle of unseen forces animating our behavior. “Evil” is not out to get you. Grow up.

      -KW

      Delete
    3. Was the Holocaust evil, or merely the acting out of one opinion, among many?

      Delete
    4. My view recognizes how the balance of behaviors can be affected by social and environmental conditions, and suggests ways to shift the balance toward more law abiding non violent cooperation. Your view unnecessarily mires the debate with religious doctrine and irrelevant existential issues like absolute good and evil and hidden realms.

      -KW

      Delete
    5. Why "shift the balance" toward non-violent cooperation? If there is no objective good and evil, no behavior is "better" than another. There are just different outcomes, not "better" outcomes. You might choose one outcome over another because your brain chemistry made you do it, or because you felt like it, or whatever.

      But, according to you, no outcome is good or evil.

      Your ideology is risible crap.

      Delete
    6. Good and evil are human labels with a high emotional content.

      Hoo

      Delete
    7. Hoo:

      [Good and evil are human labels with a high emotional content.]

      That is indeed the only coherent atheist view on moral law, and even if I had no other reason to believe in God, that view would be sufficient to make me a believer.

      I know that good and evil are real, and exist independently of human opinion.

      Delete
    8. Was the murder of Canaanites objectively good or evil?

      Hoo

      Delete
    9. “Was the Holocaust evil, or merely the acting out of one opinion, among many?”

      Why or? It’s both. In this extreme case just about everyone would agree that it’s evil. The problem is that at the time there were enough people that thought it was good to allow it to happen. People can, and very often do, disagree about what is good and what is evil. That should be enough to weigh the scales against the notion of objective good and evil. Religion only makes matters less agreeable, for it is religion that allows people to do things like fly airplanes into buildings and think it good.

      -KW

      Delete
    10. @Hoo:

      The conquest of the Canaanites was good, as it was God's plan for the Israelites and the Canaanites.

      Was the Holocaust evil, or merely the acting out of one opinion, among many?

      I answered your question. Answer mine.

      Delete
    11. KW:

      You didn't answer my question.

      Was the Holocaust good or evil? I didn't ask what people thought about it.

      Delete
    12. That is an interesting answer, Dr. Egnor. It seems like you hold to the divine command theory: any act ordered by God is good by definition. A mass killing of innocent children—a truly awful thing—is OK as long as it was God's plan.

      This presents a little problem, however. Before you can declare the Holocaust an evil event, you have to make sure that it wasn't part of God's plan all along.

      And that is not a trick question. It is a can of worms. If the Holocaust was God's plan, it is not evil. (In fact, as a believer you will have to declare it good.) And if it wasn't then God begins to look like a rather negligent master of his domain. In fact, many Jews lost their faith in God during the Holocaust. A deity who entirely forsakes his chosen people is not a deity worth worshipping.

      Hoo

      Delete
    13. The Holocaust wasn't a part of God's plan.

      You still haven't answered my question. Was the Holocaust evil?

      Delete
    14. How do you know it wasn't part of God's plan?

      Hoo

      Delete
    15. My answer, if you had read it, is that the holocaust is both evil, and acting on opinion. I use the term evil as an adjective for “Profoundly immoral and malevolent.” My use of the word evil has nothing to do with your God, even if you like to pretend that it does.


      -KW

      Delete
    16. [How do you know [the Holocaust] wasn't part of God's plan?]

      Because I know Him. We've met.

      Delete
    17. @KW:

      [My answer, if you had read it, is that the holocaust is both evil, and acting on opinion. I use the term evil as an adjective for “Profoundly immoral and malevolent.”]

      A Nazi would disagree with you. To what standard would you appeal, to make your case that the Holocaust was evil?

      Delete
    18. That's a killer argument. LOL

      Hoo

      Delete
    19. That's the whole point of Christianity, the point of the Incarnation.

      He is present for us, in prayer, in contemplation, in everyday life, if you are willing to allow Him to converse with you.

      Christianity isn't a theory or a text. It's a Friendship.

      Delete
    20. @Hoo:
      It seems like you hold to the divine command theory: any act ordered by God is good by definition.

      I would agree.

      A mass killing of innocent children—a truly awful thing—is OK as long as it was God's plan.

      First, I note that you consider the mass killing of innocent children to be a truly awful thing - is that just your subjective aesthetic preference, or is there something objectively wrong with it?

      Second, realize that the entire order of the present world is ordered toward suffering and death. Everyone who lives suffers, and everyone who lives dies. Today, tomorrow, sixty years from now... sooner or later, you will die, and you will undoubtedly suffer mightily before that day comes. If the Lord calls home some of his children now, instead of sixty years hence, I do not dispute his wisdom. He sent his own son to suffer and die, and the servants are no greater than the master.

      Before you can declare the Holocaust an evil event, you have to make sure that it wasn't part of God's plan all along.

      And that is not a trick question. It is a can of worms. If the Holocaust was God's plan, it is not evil. (In fact, as a believer you will have to declare it good.)


      Free will makes events like the massacres of WWII possible. The potential to do evil (even evil on a large scale) is an intrinsic part of free will, which is willed by God, and thus, good.

      The capacity to choose to slaughter Jews = good. The choice to actually slaughter them = evil.

      -JH

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    21. It's pretty arrogant for a Christian to claim to know what is and what isn't God's plan.

      Hoo

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    22. @KW:
      I use the term evil as an adjective for “Profoundly immoral and malevolent.” My use of the word evil has nothing to do with your God, even if you like to pretend that it does.

      o_O

      You just got done telling us that morality = consensus social norms, and nothing more. By that definition, "immoral" doesn't apply to the mass slaughter of Jews when Nazis are the ones doing the slaughtering because their consensus social norms encourage such acts.

      Or are you ready to admit that there is some standard for good and evil that transcends the social norms of a group of people?

      "Malevolent" is nothing more than a synonym for evil.

      Explain to me how your definition makes any sense without appealing to a transcendent moral order.

      -JH

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    23. JH:

      The capacity to choose to slaughter Jews = good. The choice to actually slaughter them = evil.

      So why didn't your God intervene once the choice was made? There was still opportunity to prevent the actual slaughter from taking place.

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    24. @troy:

      So why didn't your God intervene once the choice was made? There was still opportunity to prevent the actual slaughter from taking place.

      Because choices without consequences are meaningless. Our choices are given meaning by the fact that they have consequences for us, for our neighbors, and for our descendants.

      -JH

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    25. Because choices without consequences are meaningless. Our choices are given meaning by the fact that they have consequences for us, for our neighbors, and for our descendants.

      God could have intervened and shown what the consequences would have been if he had not intervened. He could have played the movie Schindler's List to all humankind. The message that choices have consequences would have been loud and clear. Yet he allowed the Holocaust to proceed. Is that good?

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    26. God could have intervened and shown what the consequences would have been if he had not intervened.

      Sure. Why not just tell people up front, "Your choices don't really matter, since I'm going to save you from the consequences of your actions anyway?"

      He could have played the movie Schindler's List to all humankind. The message that choices have consequences would have been loud and clear.

      He's already done better than that. He has inscribed his word in my heart and yours, as well as on the pages of the most widely-distributed book in all of human history. He has made his spirit available to us in prayer and silence. The Nazis ought to have known better. They did know better, just as everyone who walks through the doors of an abortion clinic in modern America knows better.

      We are given a conscience, but we are also given the capacity to silence this conscience.

      Yet he allowed the Holocaust to proceed. Is that good?

      Yes. Otherwise, as I have said, free will becomes a sham.

      -JH

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    27. Yes. Otherwise, as I have said, free will becomes a sham.

      Well, I disagree that allowing the Holocaust to proceed was good. Many relatives of mine were murdered during the Holocaust, and it wasn't by their own free will. It makes me very uncomfortable to think that there are people who think it is right that their God allowed this to happen.

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    28. @troy:

      [It makes me very uncomfortable to think that there are people who think it is right that their God allowed this to happen.]

      God has his reasons, and life is eternal.

      It makes me very uncomfortable to think that there are people who think that the evil of the Holocaust is just a matter of human opinion.

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    29. God has his reasons, and life is eternal.

      Like the general of the Pope's army said: kill them all, God will sort them out.

      By postulating an eternal afterlife of pleasure it's easy to excuse any atrocity as insignificant compared to the afterlife. A dangerous idea.

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  5. My thoughts?
    Theists, gnostics, agnostics, deists, and polytheists can recognize evil.
    It is not beyond any of them.
    They may or may not have an answer that satisfies them about evil's existence, but they know it to be a reality and not merely a perspective.
    For atheists it is an abstract concept that has no meaning beyond the subjective. Evil, to them, is the view from the bottom of the pyramid of life.
    Listening or watching them discuss theodicy is akin to watching children discuss parental discipline or school lessons. They just don't get it. With children it is 'cute' and we know they will someday come to understand the actions of their seniors, even if they disagree with the methods used.
    With atheists one is left wondering why these people never matured spiritually or mentally enough to see the inconsistencies and fallacies involved in their thinking.
    Why is this so? Perhaps it's root is a fear similar to the child's. Perhaps they fear having their toys taken away.
    For, if they realize that good and evil exists - then they must also begin to take account of their own evils.
    So, instead they make excuses for themselves and everyone else. They project their own fears (ie death and judgement) onto all the other groups around them and even the Creator Himself. Like a child who when asked why he was grounded for some selfish act exclaims 'Because my parents are jerks. They don't want me to have fun.' We see the childish and sensationalist need for attention in the quotation above.
    Plato was correct.

    Atheism is the finalttaining knowledge of the world about them, they can come t/ultimate manifestation of the original lie. They think by ao understand and even dictate what is good and what is evil. By intellect, they can subjugate morality. They seek to be like 'gods' in their own right.
    It is a truly Faustian mindset. While accepting the fruit, they have forgotten the serpent.

    I would simply add: Atheism is to be pitied, but never humoured - always opposed.
    One must love their enemy, even when at war with them.
    We who have become more than children must love the sinner, while rejecting their sin. We must guide them to the truth, but never force them. The choice must be their own. We do, however, have the right to sell our cloaks and buy a sword if they threaten us or our way of life with violence and oppression.
    Only with love will we win the day. Only then is the war a righteous one. Only then may any sort of real and lasting victory be achieved.
    So long as their is free will, there will always be those who choose to deny it. There will always be atheists. The need is to make it clear for all to see that Atheists are wrong in every sense of the word, so that their illness is isolated only to those willing to wallow in it and so that those who wish to find the cure may do so.
    May God bless and keep the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre, and may He lead us to the truth about what really happened that day so that we may see and learn the patterns of evil; so as to better defeat it.

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    Replies
    1. “and may He lead us to the truth about what really happened that day”

      Looks like we have a Sandy Hook truther amongst us.

      Funny how you infantilize atheists, than proceed to have a one-way conversation with your imaginary friend. I swear, you can’t make this stuff up.

      -KW

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    2. @cREX:
      For atheists it is an abstract concept that has no meaning beyond the subjective. Evil, to them, is the view from the bottom of the pyramid of life.

      While atheists may not explicitly acknowledge the objective nature of evil, the way they complain about certain behaviors, trying to appeal to our better natures speaks volumes. See, for instance, KW's objection to such "disagreeable" acts as flying airplanes into buildings, or Hoo's question about "the murder of the Canaanites," above.

      The laws of God are indeed inscribed on every human heart, and it requires some serious sophistry to pretend otherwise.

      -JH

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    3. JH,

      What is your take on the killing of the Canaanites?

      Just wondering.

      Hoo

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    4. @Hoo:

      Fair question. I honestly don't know why God commanded the slaughter at Ai. (The slaughter at Jericho was something Joshua appears to have ordered on his own initiative.) He wills plenty of other events that take lives every day - earthquakes and floods and plagues and so on.

      I don't pretend to understand how such events are ordered to the greater good. I only have faith that they are, that they work somehow to further the sanctification of the human race - both those that are taken away in such mass deaths, and those that are left behind. And sanctification is of greater importance than temporal comfort or longevity.

      -JH

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    5. That's a fair and humble answer, JH.

      Thanks,

      Hoo

      Delete
    6. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJanuary 20, 2013 at 4:56 PM

      Oh, Hoo is just parroting Dawkins without attribution. And it's not like Dawkins invented the question. It's been raised and discussed since antiquity. If Hoo were seriously interested in an answer, it's discussed all over the Internet (220,000 results - Google). It's just posturing, as usual.

      And no, it wasn't genocide (unless the "old" genocide has been redefined by the current demographics of atheists, as Hoo believes the technical vocabulary of philosophy has been). Genocide (according to pre-Hooite/Dawkinsian dictionaries) is "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group".

      There were quite a few Canaanites left after Jericho was conquered. It was more akin to Dresden or Nagasaki, both of which were firebombed (in different ways, of course). Firebombed, ironically, by Progressive icons.

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    7. KW,

      Nice try, KW.
      Shut down the opponent by somehow connecting them to a group or person you wish to see excluded.
      Is that what the bullies did to you in school? Did it work? Is that why you feel it is effective?
      It's really not.
      Not with adults, anyway. Certainly not with a personality like my own.

      The terms 'truther' and 'conspiracy theorist' are uniquely American slang and must be qualified to those of us who speak Queen's/International English.

      I am not quite sure what your exact interpretation of those words (ie 'truther') mean, as they seem to be dependant on a political slant.
      There seems to be one definition for neocons and another for 'liberals'. I suspect yours is the leftist one, which in itself varies depending on political expediency.
      You have missed the mark, either way.
      I don't fit into either ideological box.
      Sorry to disappoint.

      But, if by 'truther' you mean that I feel there is more to this event than an AR 15,an angry nerd, and 22 dead kids - yes, I would fall into that category (ie seeking the truths in a matter).

      There are a lot if versions of the story being reported - many of them directly contradicting the others. Also much has been omitted or largely ignored by the press.
      So, yes, I would like to see some sort of coherent timeline, an insight into motives that makes some sort of sense, the clear means of how this Lanza guy did what he did etc. I mean, we are talking about a person who allegedly killed his mother, a class of grade school kids, and then himself. An explanation is required.

      So far after a MONTH, we have seen not even so much as an effort to do so.
      Instead we see the disgusting politicization of the murder of children and a slew of executive orders that would make a Monarch blush.

      We have a gun debate instead of an inquiry.
      We have people blaming video games and ignoring the dangerous anti-psychotics the killer was apparently doped up on. We hear the 'sheeple' blaming groups like 'preppers'. Others saying his mother is somehow to blame for the murderous rampage.
      We have varying and contrasting descriptions of how he was dressed, what he used, and how he gained entry into the secure building - all from official or semi-official sources. We have some very interesting footage from the scene that would spike the curiosity of all but the brain dead - but no CCTV footage from a school with a buzz in system.
      We also have a gun count and firing ratio that makes no sense.

      There is a lot about this event we do not understand, and until we learn about the basics we cannot properly understand what happened. I am sure the information is pending, but till then there is a vacuum of information.... even now, a month later.
      That reeks of political interference of some sort.

      If that makes me a 'truther' in your warped world, then I will wear the title as a badge of honour.

      Your comment actually says far more about you than it does about me, KW.
      Par for the course, I suppose.

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    8. Georgie,

      According to the UNO definition of genocide, which Michael loves to trot out periodically to claim that a state providing contraception is genocide, it applies to part of a population group too, if carried out as a deliberate act. So even if there were Canaanites left after Joshua conquered Jericho (which I don't think happened anyway, I don't think there was a Moses or an Exodus from Egypt too), that still fits the definition of genocide.

      Dresden and Nagasaki (and Hiroshima too) were war crimes. Dresden was firebombed by the military (hardly bastions of progressive thought) as part of fighting a war, and perhaps to impress (frighten?) the Soviets. Hiroshima was bombed on the orders of progressive politicians such as Truman, but Nagasaki was just a carry on action by the military. There was no political order to do so, and it was understood by the army that bombs would continue to be dropped as long as they were available and Japan hadn't surrendered.

      But anyway. I'm a liberal, not a progressive. I don't make apologies for Truman. I think that he was the least prepared vice president to take power.

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  6. ***Atheism is the final/ultimate manifestation of the original lie. They believe that by attaining knowledge of the world about them, they can come to understand and even dictate what is good and what is evil. By intellect, they can subjugate morality.***

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  7. Dr. Egnor, you might just as well argue that for evil to exist, your God is necessary. Although phrasing it like that probably won’t be very popular in apologist circles.

    -KW

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    Replies
    1. I would agree. The converse, however, is not true. While evil cannot exist without God, God can certainly exist without evil.

      -JH

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  8. @KW:

    You're right. If God does not exist, evil does not exist. Evil is the deprivation of good, and if there is no good, there can be no evil.

    God is good.

    QED.

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