November 29, 2011

The Health and Logic of a Thankful Lifestyle


After the Thanksgiving holiday is over and the peace-inducing triptothane chemicals from the turkey have worn off, hopefully you are reflecting on some heart-warming times with family and friends. Being thankful is good for our bodies and minds, so good that it's worth adopting a thankful lifestyle for health reasons alone. Even so, what the scientific studies reveal are some deeper implications that reality, in all its facets, has an underlying order and that order points to God's existence.

A study by Duke University's Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy has shown a scientific connection between being thankful and enjoying significant mental and physical health benefits.[1] Dr. Doraiswamy, head of the division of biologic psychology at Duke University Medical Center, stated, "If [thankfulness] were a drug, it would be the world's best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system." A second study, as published in the Navy Times November 25, 2011, shows that personal guilt from wrong moral choices leads to very serious health problems: "A leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder is guilt that troops experience due to moral dilemmas faced in combat, according to preliminary findings of a study of active-duty Marines."[2] The first study offers evidenced that there are extreme health benefits for something so simple as being thankful. The second study offers that there are serious negative side effects from moral errors, such as serious combat mistakes, that is, killing innocent civilians. In both the positive example and the negative one, there is the implication that an underlying objective moral order exists.The following thanksgiving apologetic is based on evidence showing that a cause-effect relationship exists between moral decisions and health. The simple decision to be thankful has both profound health affects and profound meaning. It underscores the reality of objective morality and God's existence.

A Thanksgiving Apologetic

Part I.
1. In society, not offering thanks when someone does something special for you is considered wrong.
2. Questions of right and wrong are moral questions.
3. Therefore, giving thanks in society generally has a moral basis.

Part II.
1. For atheists, values and moral decisions do not have an absolute, objective basis.
2. Giving thanks and feeling guilt relate to values and moral decisions.
3. Therefore, health effects from values and moral decisions do not have an objective basis for atheists.

Part III.
1. For theists, values and moral decisions have an absolute, objective basis in God's existence.
2. Giving thanks and feeling guilt relate to values and moral decisions.
3. Therefore, health effects from values and moral decisions have an objective basis for theists.

Part IV
1. Proven health benefits for thankfulness and negative results for moral guilt imply a cause-effect relationship exists between moral behavior and health.
2. Theism has an objective basis for values and moral behavior and the positive cause-effect relationship between morality and health, while atheism does not.
3. Therefore, God's existence and Theism as a true condition offer the best explanation for the scientific test results on thankfulness, morality and health.

Part I. In the day-to-day workings of society, people generally expect to hear the words "Thank you" when they do something special for someone else free of charge. This is a question of of politeness and manners, but also a question of morality. We know this because people intuitively sense it is wrong to receive sacrifices from other people without offering a word of thanks. There are different degrees of being thankful. You can have a general thankful attitude about life and you can offer specific thanks to specific people for specific reasons. The more specific you are, the more meaningful your expression of thankfulness is. If someone gives a gift and there is no sign of thankfulness whatsoever, this would register at the bottom end of the scale. If someone received a gift and the person was thankful, but did not express thanks specifically to the giver, this would be in the middle of the scale. If a person received a gift and expressed thanks to the giver for that specific gift, even describing how it helped him or her and the feelings it gave, this would be the highest expression of thanks. By simply being thankful for your existence you are mildly participating in the divine moral order of the universe and you will reap some health benefits.

Part II. Most atheist philosophers believe there is no universal objective basis for morality. Those who have attempted to prove that there is an objective basis without God's existence have not presented any notable examples that have held up to the scrutiny of debate. After I critiqued Erik Wielenberg's argument for atheistic objective morality, one of the atheists who debates at my blog seemed to abandon the possibility of objective atheist morality altogether. Wielenberg has not responded to my requests to address that critique.[3]

A note of personal thanks.*
As the atheist philosopher Nietzsche has shown, there is really no compelling objective basis for altruism in atheism. Quite the opposite, there is an excuse to be selfish and harsh as a means for pursuing selfish goals. A combination of atheism and evolution suggests that we are no more than animals and getting ahead in the world is more important than being polite. Politeness and being thankful are counter-intuitive to social Darwinism. In our day, the prominent Richard Dawkins has verified his own commitment to moral relativism and his "Selfish Gene", as I documented in a previous article.[4]

Secondly, people who meditate on the idea of thankfulness as a New Age technique imply that there may be a certain mystical reciprocity in the Universe. But is this mystical sense logical? Does it really make sense to thank abstract forces and laws that cannot acknowledge our thanks? Would you thank a wall each day for holding up your house?

Thirdly, to simply be thankful for life, without thanking a force or anyone or anything in particular, becomes a bit self-centered after a while. For example, a person could mediate and think, "I am thankful for life...I am thankful for love...I am thankful for the snow, and so on." But because there is no personal focus or object to give thanks to, the focus automatically shifts back to the subject, which is the continuous "I" who becomes the main emphasis simply by default.

While at first thought it may seem that selfishness brings happiness, the opposite is shown to be true. There have been studies showing people with a lot of money tend to be happier, but the studies generally don't ask what the people actually do with their large incomes. A study that was more specific showed that people who are generous and not selfish with their money are much more likely to be happy.[5] Again, these types of results help to show that an atheism-evolution paradigm is out of sinc with reality. These results support the principle outlined by Christ: "It's better to give than to receive." According to these examples there is no compelling reason why being thankful should have exceeding and significant health benefits for atheists. Though there is no objective, logical basis for practicing this lifestyle for atheists, in participating in thankful meditations atheists can participate somewhat in the spiritual principles of life outlined by Christ and the scriptures.

Part III. In accordance with Theism, there is a logical sense of duty to acknowledge and thank the Creator for the incredible world we live in. Imagine an architect designing a house and managing the construction only to find the client move in and say. "I'm not going to pay you because you did not do any real work, you just had some ideas and that's about it. The construction workers did all the work." Under the circumstances, there would probably be a lawsuit. In a similar manner, people tend to short-change the greatest designer of all. People see and acknowledge the incredible designs in nature and the fine tuning of the universe perfectly suited for life and yet say "There is no reason for a designer, the laws of physics and natural selection have done all the work." Atheists will acknowledge, however, that natural selection technically can begin only after biological life has begun, and there is no definitive explanation as to how the complex designs of molecular bonding and the first DNA or RNA-like information units could have possibly come into existence. Nevertheless, there is an insistence that an Intelligent Designer is out of the question.

Good design doesn't 'just happen'.*
In the case of the architectural services I mentioned, there is a legal debt. In the case of thanking God, there is a logical debt. This beautiful home we have called Earth was not created by chance alone. In the case of God's creation, God is not demanding any payment from people but, nevertheless, there is a logical and implied need to thank God for the incredible world and life He has given. Psalm 29.2, states:  "Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness." Scriptures implore us to be thankful, such as Ephesians 5.20: "And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." I Thessalonians 5.18 states: "in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." When we live in harmony with the purpose of God's creation and its underlying order, it is logical that we experience greater mental and physical health, even as the noted scientific studies have revealed.

Part IV. Scientific tests show that being thankful is exceedingly healthy and breaking moral principles is exceedingly unhealthy, no matter if the actions are big or small. This implies there is a strong cause-effect relationship that exists between moral behavior and health.  Theism offers an objective basis for moral behavior and strong reasons for the positive cause-effect relationship between morality and health, while Atheism does not offer compelling reasons for these benefits. According to these observations, Theism offers a better explanation of reality. Gallup polls have shown that people who are highly religious are the healthiest and happiest people group of all.[6] This tends to confirm the logical argument here.

There is a subtle irony in that objective morality only exists if God exists, yet we can only approach God by faith because God is spiritual and we cannot see God. This principle was exemplified by the account of Cain and Abel. Cain's offering of thanks to God was rejected because he did not offer it by faith. Hebrews 11:4 states, "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain." The logic of giving thanks is ultimately based on acknowledging that life has meaning and purpose because God exists. Giving thanks with sincerity is ultimately an act of faith. The moral order of the universe is based on the spiritual order of the universe, the spiritual foundation of reality. In a previous article I showed how there is a logical and spiritual order underlying the universe that atheists cannot assume due to discoveries in quantum physics. Theists can assume this logical order because our identities are ultimately spiritual, not physical.[7]

Nature itself testifies of God's existence as the Designer and when we refuse to thank God we are out of step with this obvious reality. If it looks like a design and functions like a design, then it probably is a design. Atheism has to be learned through indoctrination, and, unfortunately, that is precisely what the public schools are doing today. Richard Dawkins acknowledged the obvious appearance of design in the very beginning of his book, The Blind Watchmaker, “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”[8] He clarifies this thought: “We may say that a living body or organ is well designed if it has attributes that an intelligent and knowledgeable engineer might have built into it in order to achieve some sensible purpose… any engineer can recognize an object that has been designed, even poorly designed, for a purpose, and he can usually work out what that purpose is just by looking at the structure of the object.”[9] In his book, Dawkins ultimately appeals to "little flights of fancy" for the origin of life, as outlined in a critique by Dallas Willard.[10] In his book, The Origin of the Species, Darwin referred to divine agency for the origin of life:  "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one..."[11] and in the 6th edition Darwin specifically referred to the creator as the generator of life: “…having been originally breathed by the creator into a few forms or into one..."[12] Though technically he called himself an agnostic due to his wavering faith[13], Darwin apparently did not see a way around divine agency as a means for the first impulse of life. Thus, if Darwin had been feeling a strong period of faith in his life and he happened to have been sitting at your table during the recent Thanksgiving Day celebration, it is highly that Darwin could have said the prayer of thanks for the Thanksgiving meal.

True Thanksgiving history is discussed in a Ukrainian school.*
My wife and I had an opportunity to visit a public school in Ukraine and talk about the holiday of Thanksgiving. The Ukrainian students also gave presentations regarding Thanksgiving's true history. The students noted how the Pilgrims came from Europe seeking freedom of religion and civil rights. Ironically, our discussion about the true meaning of Thanksgiving would not have been permitted in the US public school system today because there were overt references to God. In my presentation I noted how giving thanks is less meaningful unless there is someone to give thanks to. I mentioned how God was a central focus of this holiday in the past and for many families in the present as well. The “First Thanksgiving” was the Pilgrims’ three-day feast celebrated in early November of 1621 which included feasting, sports and time dedicated for prayer.

In my Thanksgiving presentation, I described the optimism of the group that celebrated the Thanksgiving Day holiday in 1621. After 47 people had died from the General Sickness of the first winter (1620-21), the survivors were still thankful to be alive. There can be a sense of optimism and thankfulness in all circumstances because the more we understand who God is and what God has done, the more we understand that we have a good future in our relationship with God. Our ultimate reality, if we repent and receive Christ's atonement, is to experience God's peace and presence for eternity. And we realize that whatever God allows to happen in our lives will ultimately be used for a good purpose. If you meditate upon these things as a believer you will be encouraged. If, however, the underlying truth you base your life upon ultimately rests upon subjective speculation and  "little flights of fancy", as is the case with Richard Dawkins, there probably won't be a strong sense of confidence or hope in your life, and quite a bit of logical confusion. The central truth of life is the evidence and logically cohesive truth of God's existence, and this truth will set you free, as outlined in John 8.32.

The ABC News article covering the wonderful health benefits of giving thanks was published  on November 23, 2011, the day before the US Thanksgiving holiday. In the entire article there was no mention of the theist God who was the central focus of the first Thanksgiving holiday. Instead, after a brief pause, the article automatically transitioned into into a video clip about meditation techniques. While I appreciate the factual information in Mikaela Conly's ABC News article, it was unnecessary to censor-out the central focus and the primary meaning of giving thanks during the First Thanksgiving celebration. What we choose to focus on in our lives will tend to make a big difference. The philosophical basis of giving thanks is as important, if not more so, as the psychology and physiology of giving thanks. It's never healthy to obsess about food and to eat too much. It's always healthy to focus on the giver of all good things and to be thankful.

References


[1] ABC News, Thankfulness Linked to Positive Changes in Brain and Body
(http://abcnews.go.com/Health/science-thankfulness/story?id=15008148)
[2] Navy Times, Guilt a top cause of PTSD, study shows
(http://www.navytimes.com/news/2011/11/gannett-marine-guilt-top-cause-PTSD-112511w/)
[3] Templestream, A Moral Argument as Proof of God’s Existence
(http://templestream.blogspot.com/2011/10/moral-argument-as-proof-of-gods.html)
[4] Templestream, Dawkins-Craig Debate, Genocide, Israel's Occupation of Palestine (http://templestream.blogspot.com/2011/10/dawkins-craig-debate-genocide-israels.html)
[5] Journal Watch, Giving Brings Happiness,  (http://general-medicine.jwatch.org/cgi/content/long/2008/527/4)
[6] Templestream, Gallup Polls Highlight Happiness, Health and Logic in Spirituality, (http://templestream.blogspot.com/2010/12/gallup-polls-highlight-happiness-health.html)
[7] Templestream, How Identity, Logic and Physics Prove God's Existence
(http://templestream.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-identity-logic-and-physics-prove.html)
[8] Dawkins, Richard, The Blind Watchmaker, 1996, p. 1 (http://www.creationism.org/heinze/AppearanceOfDesign.htm)
[9] Ibid p. 21. (http://www.creationism.org/heinze/AppearanceOfDesign.htm)
[10] Willard Dallas  Reflections on Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker (p. 155 in Watchmaker)
(http://www.dwillard.org/articles/artview.asp?artID=52)
[11] Darwin, Charles, The Origin of Species, Chapter 14 final paragraph, (http://www.literature.org/authors/darwin-charles/the-origin-of-species/chapter-14.html)
[12] Darwin, Charles, The Origin of Species, 6th Edition, Chapter 15 final paragraph. (http://www.literature.org/authors/darwin-charles/the-origin-of-species-6th-edition/chapter-15.html)
[13] Darwin Correspondence Project, Darwin to John Fordyce (http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/entry-12041) Darwin's letter to John Fordyce, 7 May, 1897: "It seems to me absurd to doubt that a man may be an ardent Theist & an evolutionist. ...In my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God.— I think that generally (& more and more so as I grow older) but not always, that an agnostic would be the most correct description of my state of mind."

Images:

Image of Christ giving thanks is a reinterpretation based on William Kurelek's mural on the wall of the chapel of St. Thomas More College in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. William Kurelek was a self-taught Ukrainian painter of the Canadian prairies.
*Credit for photo of thank-you card to Hellojenuine at Flickr Creative Commons.
*Seattle architecture, sales profile. 
*Photo of class by Olga Warden, November 24, 2011.  

Related:

The Nature of Truth as a Logical Proof of God's Existence 

Gallup Polls Highlight Happiness, Health and Logic in Spirituality


How Identity, Logic and Physics Prove God's Existence



 

43 comments:

  1. When you post a logical proof of God's existence and no atheists challenge it, that's a positive sign. This helps to confirm William Lane Craig's statement that the moral argument is the strongest logical argument for God's existence.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous,

    R:With regard to the difference between Nazism and Nazi-Fascism, your point wasn't related to a logical proof.

    A: That is what I am talking about. You dismiss your opponent s arguments as unrelated to the topic.

    OK, Anonymous, so please tell me how it really matters to this logical proof if Nazism is a subset of Fascism or not:

    P1. Relativists propose moral rightness is a matter of obedience to cultural values.
    P2. All Nazi henchmen complicit in genocide were obedient to the cultural values of Nazi Germany.
    P3. Nazi henchmen who were publicly tried were declared immoral and convicted by international trials.
    C. Therefore, moral rightness is not merely a matter of obedience to cultural values.

    As far as I can see, your point doesn't have a bearing on this proof. It seems you are just hunting for any kind of possible mistake you think you can find.

    If you believe your point about Nazism does effect the proof, please state specifically which premise(s) it affects (1, 2 or 3) and why you believe it does have a notable effect.

    "I do have a challenge for it (the Identity-Logic-Physics-proof) as others do. However, I took me almost a month to convince you to add some slight adjustment to your Fascism/Nazism argument even if you tried your hardest to ignore me."

    - OK, after you show me how the Fascism/Nazi bug you have relates directly to the above formal proof, then you can present your refutation of my other article. Alright?

    "I did reply to that question (whether Anonymous believes atheists have an objective basis for morality), but again you chose to ignore my answer as irrelevant to the discussion. I am too tired to repeat myself."

    - As far as I remember, Anonymous, you did not answer that question. But, if you are too tired to find your own posted answer, perhaps you can offer a brief summary of it, unless of course you've forgotten.

    ReplyDelete
  3. R:Two of Wielneberg’s main premises are, 1) Pain is intrinsically bad. 2) Inflicting pain for fun is morally wrong.

    I do not want to step on Havok s turf, but just to speed things up I am going to remind you of his counter-argument. Right now you are debating against some minor semantic points in Weilenberg s system, but you need to prove the impossibility for brute ethical facts itself to exist (that rape or other moral premises are not brute ethical facts). Inflicting pain might not be a brute ethical fact and Weilenberg could be wrong, but it does not affect the core of his system.

    R:P3. Nazi henchmen who were publicly tried were declared immoral and convicted by international trials.

    First of all, we were not talking about this specific syllogism. We were discussing the flip-flop in the stance of Dawkins. I was trying to explain to you the difference between Fascism and Nazism, so that you would understand that there was no contradiction in the statements of Dawkins. Your diagnosis - introducing a Red Herring.

    Secondly, I have pointed out before that your have made a mistake in this syllogism. If you want the precise textbook diagnosis - Genetic Fallacy and Post-Hoc Fallacy. The Nuremberg trials only serve to make the point that might makes right.

    1) International law has evolved and following immoral orders is not considered a crime, according to the latest treaties. Your reference is outdated.

    2) The Nuremberg, Tokyo and other trials only punished the losers (and in a very selective manner, look the story of Unit 731 or Werhner von Braun). The allies were never convicted for their crimes. Hence, that point only proves the relativistic nature of morality. The trials only occurred because of a victory of the Allies and not because of the crimes were immoral (even if they were).

    R:As far as I remember, Anonymous, you did not answer that question.

    False memory syndrome? You are already making me repeat myself. I posted a reply to your question almost immediately. It is extremely disrespectful from your part constantly demanding to remind you of my posts that happened recently and I am doing this for the last time.

    I do not believe in an objective morality. However, I value human happiness and progress. To achieve happiness and progress some objective actions should be taken.

    P.S. Rick, a little advice. If you consider the arguments of your opponent irrelevant to the discussion, at least voice your thoughts and explain why you consider them unrelated to the topic and do not just blatantly ignore the person.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous,

    "First of all, we were not talking about this specific syllogism. We were discussing the flip-flop in the stance of Dawkins."

    - That was my point entirely, that your whole Dawkins issue has nothing to do with the logical proofs of the article. Thank you for admitting that. That's what I had just written...

    (R:With regard to the difference between Nazism and Nazi-Fascism, your point wasn't related to a logical proof.

    A: That is what I am talking about. You dismiss your opponent s arguments as unrelated to the topic.)

    Right, "unrelated to the topic" unrelated to the main proof. So instead of writing on side issues, why don't you write more about the logical proofs themselves.

    "If you want the precise textbook diagnosis - Genetic Fallacy and Post-Hoc Fallacy. The Nuremberg trials only serve to make the point that might makes right."

    P1. Relativists propose moral rightness is a matter of obedience to cultural values.
    P2. All Nazi henchmen complicit in genocide were obedient to the cultural values of Nazi Germany.
    P3. Nazi henchmen who were publicly tried were declared immoral and convicted by international trials.
    C. Therefore, moral rightness is not merely a matter of obedience to cultural values.

    These terms you are presenting, Genetic Fallacy and Post-Hoc Fallacy, were not in your original comments. I just checked. Based on your comments here, you seem to be missing the point of the proof. The post hoc fallacy is based upon the mistaken notion that simply because one thing happens after another, the first event was a cause of the second event.

    My moral argument here is not based on the latter premises being caused by the former. My argument is based on the fact that local cultural values were considered correct by a majority in Germany, but in the broader international picture the actions were condemned. Was Germany a part of the world? Yes. Was the world judging Germany? Yes. Nazi Germany belonged to two social spheres and the cultural values contradicted each other.

    The definition of the genetic fallacy: A fallacy that occurs when someone attacks the cause or origin of a belief rather than its substance. Why a person believes something is not relevant to the belief's legitimacy/soundness/validity. Again, according to this definition, you are off here Anonymous.

    I am not attacking the cause of moral relativism, I'm simply showing it does not work. If I rephrase the points it may be more clear:

    P3. Nazi Germany was a part of the larger world community which convicted Nazi henchman as war criminals.
    C. Because local and global cultural values were self contradictory, moral rightness cannot be determined by cultural values alone.

    "I do not believe in an objective morality. However, I value human happiness and progress. To achieve happiness and progress some objective actions should be taken."

    - I hope some day you will be able to see that objective morality does exist. For example, it's always wrong to torture babies for fun. Do you have a situation in mind where this would be acceptable? The problem for you is that objective morality can only be proven in a framework wherein God exists, so this is why you feel the need to reject it.

    "P.S. Rick, a little advice. If you consider the arguments of your opponent irrelevant to the discussion, at least voice your thoughts and explain why you consider them unrelated to the topic and do not just blatantly ignore the person."

    - OK, I agree, I could have stated that your points were off the main proof and therefore not of pressing importance. I apologize for my lack of clarity in this regard. Nevertheless, I still don't see you in any way showing that my arguments are "flawed" or "illogical."

    ReplyDelete
  5. R:That was my point entirely, that your whole Dawkins issue has nothing to do with the logical proofs of the article.

    We started the debate about Dawkins much earlier. I personally take offense at your slandering him and Havok. But since you have been running away, I had to chase you around from one article to another and demand an answer from you. Are you still going to deny the difference between Nazism and Fascism?

    R:These terms you are presenting, Genetic Fallacy and Post-Hoc Fallacy, were not in your original comments.

    No, I did not mention them. I was gullible and thought you would understand the flaws in your argumentation without specific labeling. We are not in a logic classroom, one is not obliged to point out each time the text-book term of the logical fallacy. I have only added some adjustments in my statement.

    R:Was Germany a part of the world? Yes. Was the world judging Germany? Yes.

    That is your mistake. The questions you should be asking: Why was the World judging Germany? Did the World judge Germany primary because it was defeated or because of cultural contradictions? Heck, even the war itself had nothing to do with cultural contradictions, it was just part of a political agenda.

    And there is even one more fallacy - Fallacy of Composition. The second question would be - what sort of World are we talking about? The "World" being limited to the judges from the USSR, Britain, France and the USA (China only participated in the Tokyo trial). 4 or 5 Nations cannot be considered as the World.

    The "World" even failed to come to a consensus about the crimes. Unit 731 was considered criminal by the Soviet regime, but the Americans exempted its scientists from persecution.

    R:Because local and global cultural values were self contradictory, moral rightness cannot be determined by cultural values alone.

    Your syllogism still fails.
    1) The "World" being limited to a few Nations, who could not even come to a complete consensus. Many Latin American Nations gladly offered a new home to a huge number of Nazi henchmen.

    2) You end up with a Bald Assertion. You need to prove the existence of global cultural values. And do not forget that almost each country interprets international law in its own way, so treaties cannot be considered as good examples (like the existence of a specific Arab charter for human rights).

    R:Do you have a situation in mind where this would be acceptable?

    That would be the False Dilemma Fallacy. I have told you before, I value happiness and progress. Torturing babies for fun would go against happiness and progress in a very objective way.

    And you still have to refute the core of Wielenberg s system to claim that God is needed for objective morality (or else it will be another Bold Assertion). Try to prove that torturing babies for fun is not a brute ethical fact.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonyous,

    Anonyous,

    "The questions you should be asking: Why was the World judging Germany? Did the World judge Germany primary because it was defeated or because of cultural contradictions?"

    - Actually, neither - the international courts judged Germany because there were certain crimes that were considered to be illegal and inexcusable, no matter what the context (i.e. I was just following orders) based upon internationally accepted codes such as the Geneva Convention. According to moral relativists, which cultural values have dominance local or global and who decides this?

    "And there is even one more fallacy - Fallacy of Composition....The "World" being limited to the judges from the USSR, Britain, France and the USA." This is not a fallacy of my argument because it really doesn't matter to my argument which countries created the Geneva convention. Nevertheless, an international standard was established that contradicted Germany's moral standards.

    Here's the bottom line: without an absolute objective standard, all moral judgments are subjective and there will be contradictions such as the ones I pointed out.

    My argument is not that some countries cannot create a system of moral standards, but that relativist standards will always have contradictions because they are subjective.

    "I have told you before, I value happiness and progress. Torturing babies for fun would go against happiness and progress in a very objective way."

    - Without an absolute objective reference point, there is no standard for deciding what moral rightness is, and happiness is a completely subjective concept. You brought up the subject of rape. In the animal kingdom rape occurs all the time when one animal wants to copulate with another against the will of the other. We do not consider rape in the animal kingdom "wrong." If we humans are animals only, then what is the objective basis for saying rape is wrong? I'm not saying I agree with it, I'm pointing out that there is no objective reason for making this moral judgment without God.

    Because God exists, however, I can say violent rape and torture are wrong because we are created in God's image and this violates human exceptionalism. Some Darwinists also believe in human exceptionalism. But Wielenberg does not seem to believe in it.

    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/secondhandsmoke/2009/09/28/darwinists-are-foolish-to-rail-against-human-exceptionalism/

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous,

    "And you still have to refute the core of Wielenberg s system to claim that God is needed for objective morality (or else it will be another Bold Assertion). Try to prove that torturing babies for fun is not a brute ethical"

    - First of all, I think you have it backwards. The burden of proof was on Wielenberg to prove his argument. The fact is, however, without an objective reference point, attaching moral conditions to actions is completely subjective and arbitrary. This is called "the shopping list" approach.

    Wielenberg was attempting to attach a moral "bad" quality to pain saying "pain is intrinsically bad" but he did not give a reason why pain should be considered intrinsically and morally bad, he basically said it "it just is bad" as though this was obvious. But, in reality, this is just a bald assertion and a weak starting point for morality. Pain has no moral rightness and wrongness in and of itself without an objective reference point. And as I pointed out, a planet without pain would not have a basis of morality according to Wielenberg's thesis.

    Even if you move to the next step and try to say that states of affairs are the reference point, or starting point for morality, for instance, as Wielenberg claimed, "injustice is wrong". Then, again, what is the basis of true justice? What is the reference point for true justice? Marxists believe justice is when everyone shares property distributed by force. Others call this injustice. Some say freedom of speech is justice. Others say respect for government is the highest justice and no free speech against the government should be allowed. Without a universal, fixed and eternal reference point for justice, there is only subjective and arbitrary justice. So, again, Wielenberg's choices here for a starting point of morality is inadequate, it doesn't go deep enough or far enough.

    Theism, however, offers a truly objective reference point for morality in God's existence and God's goodness. This is a valid staring point because God is transcendent, eternal and unchanging.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Rick, you missed my question. Are you still going to deny the difference between Fascism and Nazism?

    R:The international courts judged Germany because there were certain crimes that were considered to be illegal and inexcusable

    For some reason no one really cared about the Nazi crimes before the war. You need to explain why the trials only happened after the war.

    On the other hand, pushing one s values unto the loser, satisfying one s hatred for the enemy is nothing new in history. I have already told you in my previous post that the feelings towards Germany were not unanimous.

    R:Here's the bottom line: without an absolute objective standard, all moral judgments are subjective...

    Those contradictions existed since the appearance of humanity on this planet. So far Christianity has failed to produce an absolute reference point for morality, accepted by every human being. You need to prove the existence of a working objective morality in reality. Invoking God is useless in this case since either no one cares for him or divine commands are interpreted in favor of immoral actions.

    R:Happiness is a completely subjective concept.

    Not according to science. Look up Maslow s theory of needs.

    http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Maslow/motivation.htm

    The only subjective things in my moral system are the priorities. I can explain to you from an objective and scientific stance why rape is wrong, without invoking a supernatural force, the same way I explained to you why cannibalism is wrong.

    R:First of all, I think you have it backwards. The burden of proof was on Wielenberg to prove his argument.

    Alright let us forget about him. Prove there is no morality without God. Would you personally torture and rape if you found out he did not exist? Is God the only thing preventing you from acting like that? Does a parent, dying from hunger, give extra food to his child because of God?

    Also prove the existence of objective morality without using the Bible because it is unreliable for a number of reasons. But one is enough - it is a distorted translation, as we have established (remember our discussion about "Thou shall not kill"?)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Havok,

    Very interesting.

    After posting off-topic at my most recent article (The Health and Logic of a Thankful Lifestyle), for the sole purpose of slandering me, I asked you to post some evidence of the alleged valid critical comments I supposedly ignored (or at least one) with dates, but in response you have not even posted one.

    It's interesting how you wrote I 'smeared' Dawkins for posting actual, documented reviews describing his work as pseudoscience (Dawkins-Craig Debate, Genocide, Israel's Occupation of Palestine - December 6, 2011 1:32 PM ), but you smear me with the following unfounded comments at my most recent article and you can't seem to back up your own slanderous comments with any evidence. I suppose this is an example of hypocrisy. Let's review your colorful commentary:

    "Rick, all of the supposed proofs you've posted have been flawed. The many of the flaws have been pointed out to you. You have, as far as I can tell, generally ignored the flaws and continued to claim, illogically, that your logical arguments are valid and sound." (December 4, 2011 11:00 PM )

    (My response: Havok, you did not produce any serious criticisms of my Identity/logic/physics proof.)

    "Yes I did Rick, as did many other commenters." (December 5, 2011 2:03 AM )

    (Rick: If so, if you have anything, what date was your point or proof on?)
    "Go back and look youself Rick. You ignored and didn't respond to the criticisms the first time around, I'm not going to do your work for you." (December 5, 2011 2:03 AM )

    "Rick, you've demonstrated a complete inability to understand critiques of your points, to understand basic logic, or to modify your beliefs due to additional data...Apart from the fun of reading your often incoherent rantings, there really is no need to interact with you." (December 5, 2011 2:31 PM )

    - I asked you, Havok, to post just one example to justify your slander "Take the very best point that I supposedly did not address in defense of the above proof and post it here for all of us to see." (How Identity, Logic and Physics Prove God's Existence - December 7, 2011 5:10 AM) And all you have done is offer some new critiques.

    So, Havok, if you cannot back up your slanderous accusations with actual dated comments, you should probably apologize for your slander. I have no problem addressing your new points, but I don't think you should so quickly attempt to sweep your deleterious slander under the rug. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous,

    On December 5 of this thread you agreed that the difference between Nazism and Fasism has nothing whatsoever to do with the logical proof I was offering. You apparently believe Dawkins did not flip flop in his statements, however.

    Let me try to explain why Dawkins' moral outrage was unfounded. According to accepted definitions, Nazism is a subset of Fascism:

    "It is a unique variety of fascism that incorporates biological racism and antisemitism."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazism

    If Nazism is a subset of Fascism why would Dawkins be outraged if evolution is associated with Nazism when he proposed Darwinism leads to Fascism. His outrage is illogical.

    Let me give you an example. Suppose there is a blue collar worker named Joe, who is a janitor. Suppose one day Joe said to his friend, "Kids who never do homework may one day very likely end up becoming blue collar workers." And then Joe heard his friend Mark say, "Kids who don't do homework could end up being garbage men" And Joe expressed outraged that Mark said that.

    Would it be logical for Joe to be outraged that Mark said kids could end up becoming garbage men after he proposed that kids who don't do homework would likely become blue collar workers?

    No, of course not. Why? Because garbage men are a subset of blue collar workers. By expressing outrage Joe has implied a flip-flop on his original position. The same goes for Richard Dawkins regarding his comments on Fascism and Nazism.

    ReplyDelete
  11. It is your fault we are going off-topic, since you ignored my objection in the initial topic.

    Hm... Special pleading? Then why are you so outraged that UNIQUE creatures like humans might be treated like cattle? A human being is just a UNIQUE form of the creatures of "God", made of clay, no better than a pig, also made of clay in the end.

    The issue would be the world UNIQUE. There is a GENERAL form and a UNIQUE form. The UNIQUE form might be so different that it would be something completely of its own.

    You are committing the Fallacy of mistaken the cause and effect, assuming that Darwinism could be the cause for Nazism.

    P.S. Still waiting for your proof of the existence of a working objective morality and the impossibility for morality itself to exist without God.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous,

    "You are committing the Fallacy of mistaken the cause and effect, assuming that Darwinism could be the cause for Nazism."

    I'm not implying any cause/effect in my analogy, just a direct association as a subset.

    For a cause/effect relationship between Darwinism and racism, look to Nietzsche and Hitler:

    Microevolution is a demonstrated and proven process by which details and characteristics within a species gives certain advantages. A moth that adapts and changes colors to match a tree will less likely be eaten by birds and thus will survive better than a moth that remains white on dark trees.

    In a similar manner, individuals in history have offered that the dominance of natural survival traits supersedes questions of morality. Nietzsche's "On the Genealogy of Morality" - "It is in the First Treatise that Nietzsche introduces one of his most controversial images, the "blond beast". Nietzsche had previously employed this metaphor of the "blond beast" to represent the lion, an image that is central to his philosophy and which makes its first appearance in Thus Spoke Zarathustra...Nietzsche expressly insists that it is a mistake to hold beasts of prey to be "evil," for their actions stem from their inherent strength, rather than any malicious intent."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Genealogy_of_Morality

    Nietzsche introduces the concept of the Übermensch (superman, over-master or overlord) in contrast to the other-worldliness of Christianity: Zarathustra proclaims the Übermensch to be the meaning of the earth and admonishes his audience to ignore those who promise other-worldly hopes in order to draw them away from the earth.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%9Cbermensch

    So, Nietzsche has advised that nature is a-moral and Christian ideas (such as human exceptionalism) are useless.

    Hitler took Nietzsche's basic ideas and twisted them enough to promote violent racism, "Instead of calling the Germans "supermen," however, Hitler lowered the scale created by Nietzsche, in order to further degrade the non-Germanic races. Hitler referred to the Germans as "human," and all non-Aryan races as "sub-human.""

    http://gadabyte.com/ww-ii/nietzsche.html The Nazi Perversion of

    In this manner concepts from evolution, such as social Darwinism and survival of the fittest, were used to justify brutal Nazi racism. I'm not stating I agree with the manner in which Hitler used these concepts, I'm just stating Hitler convincingly weaved concepts of Darwinism and Nietzsche in order to sell his genocide to the German nation, and it was obviously convincing.

    Hitler was very clever in playing the "religion card" to sell racism to the Christians in Germany. His banning of Origin of the Species was a bow to the very religious Germans in order to gain their support. But his own actions and speeches played upon social Darwinism. It's very similar to the manner in which neoconservative politicians recently, such as George Bush Jr., have won over Christians with anti-abortion issues, etc., while at the same time convincing a majority of Christians that destroying civil liberties and the Constitution is good, as is practicing torture as a national policy is good in order to protect the US against terrorists.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous,

    "P.S. Still waiting for your proof of the existence of a working objective morality and the impossibility for morality itself to exist without God."

    Let me begin with your second point first, and that will help to establish the first point.

    I had brought up the example of Marxism and Capitalism, but you did not address my point. Let me elaborate.

    If Wielenberg's premise "It's just to give people what they deserve" is a 'brute ethical fact' that is the foundation of atheist objective morality, then why can so few people agree on what people 'deserve'?

    Marxists believe people deserve equal amounts of land and property distributed by force. Capitalists believe it's just to have more than average if a person works harder.

    Therefore, how can you defend the idea, Anonymous, that the phrase "It's just to give people what they deserve" is a brute ethical fact that can in any way serve as a foundation of objective morality if the concept of justice is interpreted subjectively?

    Please answer this convincingly and then you will help to defend Wielenberg's thesis.

    However, if there are no 'brute ethical facts' that can serve as a basis for a a valid system of objective atheist morality, would you agree that an atheist objective moral system is likely not possible?

    ReplyDelete
  14. R:I'm not implying any cause/effect in my analogy, just a direct association as a subset.

    Dawkins was outraged about the supposition that there could be a link between Nazism and the theory of evolution (unfortunately, your article does not provide the exact quote). The "direct" association as a subset, presented in your article as a "flip-flop", tell us nothing about the matter of real things (same way as humanity is just a subset of the animal kingdom, does not mean a human being is just an animal). Your information is just not enough for an accusation.

    And please, do not try to substitute Darwin with Nietzsche, there position are not the same. Furthermore, you know full well that Nietzsche was distorted to a level, where nothing almost was left of his ideas.

    R:However, if there are no 'brute ethical facts' that can serve as a basis for a a valid system of objective atheist morality, would you agree that an atheist objective moral system is likely not possible?

    I have told you before that I do not believe in an objective morality, therefore I cannot adequately defend Wielenberg s thesis. To my eyes your position is just the same and since you claimed that the burden of proof lies in Wielenberg, it equally lies with you.

    I do not think that any sort of completely objective morality theistic nor atheistic is possible. However that is only my personal opinion and some atheists and theists do claim that their morality is objective.

    ReplyDelete
  15. P.S. The Nazi concept of the "fittest" is completely different from the idea of Darwin

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous,

    "Dawkins was outraged about the supposition that there could be a link between Nazism and the theory of evolution (unfortunately, your article does not provide the exact quote)."

    - The New York Times is considered a reliable source. I quoted them in the article:

    According to The New York Times, "People who have seen the movie (Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed) say it also suggests that there is a link between the theory of evolution and ideas like Nazism, something Dr. Dawkins called 'a major outrage.'"[4]

    "And please, do not try to substitute Darwin with Nietzsche, there position are not the same."

    There a number of ways to consider this. On the one hand, if evolution is true, and God does not exist, why should one race not try to dominate and control? It seems this is what happens in nature.

    In Ukraine there are sometimes packs of wild dogs roaming the streets. This is true in some US cities also now from what I've read:

    http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2011/10/17/are-wild-dog-packs-roaming-north-side/

    Anyway, as I've noticed, the stronger dogs seem extremely aggressive towards the weaker ones and I would not doubt they would eat them if they were hungry enough.

    Over time, according to natural selection, the weaker breeds of dogs would disappear if there were no domestic situations, and the strongest breeds would reign. So here's my question for you, Anonymous:

    If evolution is true and there is no God, then why is nature not a valid model for racism between humans, even as brutal as the Nazis enforced?

    ReplyDelete
  17. R:The New York Times is considered a reliable source.

    The NY Times did not provide an exact quote - fact. Most of the "flip-flop" are your own extra commentaries.

    R:Anyway, as I've noticed, the stronger dogs seem extremely aggressive towards the weaker ones and I would not doubt they would eat them if they were hungry enough.

    Again, it is just your guess. Some serious research is needed to back up that claim.

    R:If evolution is true and there is no God, then why is nature not a valid model for racism between humans, even as brutal as the Nazis enforced?

    Straw-man fallacy? You are distorting Darwinism.

    1) Humans are not just animals. Social and cultural factors also play a significant role in the game. Our society is about cooperation, our trump card in the survival game. Cooperation is much more lucrative than competition - mathematical fact. Though, some idiots just cannot remember that.

    2) Resorting to racism is the most stupid thing. Why should humans harm their genes by limiting the choice of partners? Natural selection is not about the strongest, it is about the fittest. It is about biodiversity. Humanity survived through the plague of the Middle Ages because some were immune to the disease even if they were less fit in other areas.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous,

    "The NY Times did not provide an exact quote - fact."

    So you apparently believe that Dawkins would not be outraged if Darwinism was associated with Nazism? But this is the typical status-quo opinion of atheist evolutionists. Why is this difficult for you to believe? The more remarkable quote is his previous one in which Dawkins claimed Darwinism would lead to a Fascist state.

    "1) Humans are not just animals. Social and cultural factors also play a significant role in the game."

    - i.e., Human exceptionalism. I've stated why I believe in it. But how do you as an atheist justify it?


    "2) Resorting to racism is the most stupid thing."

    The Nazis and eugenicist scientists have not been stupid people. Bill Gates isn't stupid either.

    With the threat of overpopulation elitists such as Gates are supporting a stealth approach to birth control through vaccines targeted at third world populations (read racism).

    There is an interesting video of Bill Gates advising the use of vaccines to lower the world's population. i.e., to use vaccines with sterilization on unknowing third-world countries:

    [2010 Feb] Bill Gates: “if we do a really great job on vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that [his initial 2050 global population projection of 9-billion] by perhaps about 10 to 15 percent.”

    http://www.whale.to/b/bill_gates1.html

    Bill Gates recently pledged $10-billion towards a global vaccine program targeting the “world’s needy children.”

    Gates’s comment is inconvenient at best because Third World vaccination programs have a well supported linkage with sterilization. In a widely cited and rigorously documented Philippines case, that country’s Supreme Court halted a WHO tetanus vaccination program after it had been shown that the inoculations, given only to young women of child-bearing age, were tainted with a hormone that renders “a woman incapable of maintaining a pregnancy.” A Natural News article states:

    "In the 1990`s the UN`s World Health Organization launched a campaign to vaccinate millions of women in Nicaragua, Mexico and the Philippines between the ages of 15 and 45. The stated purpose was to protect against Tetanus or Lockjaw, a painful sometimes lethal infectious reaction to external wounds or cuts. However, the vaccine was not given to men or boys, who are more prone to wounds from cuts and rusty nails than the ladies."

    Eugenics and racist manipulation has its roots in the Darwin family. Some, like myself, would consider this a connection between Darwinism and racism.

    The First International Congress of Eugenics in 1912 was supported by many prominent persons, including: its president Leonard Darwin, the son of Charles Darwin. The Nazis also studied Eugenics: "The National Socialists' (NSDAP) approach to genetics and eugenics became focused on Eugen Fischer's concept of phenogenetics[6] and the Nazi twin study methods of Fischer and Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics

    ReplyDelete
  19. R:So you apparently believe that Dawkins would not be outraged if Darwinism was associated with Nazism?

    Again, you are distorting the quote. There is a difference between a vague link and a direct association. Your knowledge about Darwinism is incomplete and you are creating a straw-man. I have already explained to you the difference between the ideas of Nazism with its super race and Darwinism with its survival of the fittest.

    R:I've stated why I believe in it. But how do you as an atheist justify it?

    Because of Darwinism. I have already told you that human beings are exceptional because they are both individual and social creatures with complex minds.

    R:The Nazis and eugenicist scientists have not been stupid people. Bill Gates isn't stupid either.

    A smart person is not immune to stupid actions and beliefs if you meant the Nazi scientist of the 3rd Reich.

    With Bill Gates you are introducing a Red Herring. He is not a Nazi and population control is needed since our resources for now are limited. This idea does not contradict the notion of human exceptionalism.

    Furthermore, you still need some convincing proof of a racist plot to get rid of non-white population and you need to prove that such thing is even possible (evading all detection from over services). Not to mention it is illogical to accuse the WHO, since its actions drastically lowered the death rate in third-world countries.

    R:Some, like myself, would consider this a connection between Darwinism and racism.

    Racism is much older than Darwinism, the only connection would be a distortion of its original ideas to fit the wishes of racists. If I were to say there is a connection between the Bible and Racism, would this outrage you? Or maybe that Adam was a Nazi since he had a connection with Hitler as one of his descendants?

    P.S. You still need to address the issue of objective morality. I doubt that you will be able to refute my system, but even if you do, it does not prove that your system is more reliable.

    ReplyDelete
  20. "Racism is much older than Darwinism, the only connection would be a distortion of its original ideas to fit the wishes of racists."

    - Is it really a distortion? Based on quotes by Darwin himself, it seems he was a racist:

    Meeting the simple Indians of Tierra del Fuego, Darwin wrote: "I could not have believed how wide was the difference between savage and civilized man; it is greater than between a wild and domesticated animal . . . Viewing such a man, one can hardly make oneself believe that they are fellow creatures and inhabitants of the same world." (Koster, John, 1988. The Atheist Syndrome, Wolgemuth and Hyatt Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee p. 50.)

    http://www.biblebelievers.net/creationscience/kjcevol1.htm

    "Although Darwin opposed all forms of slavery, he did conclude that one of the strongest evidences for evolution was the existence of living 'primitive races' which he believed were evolutionarily between the 'civilized races of man' and the gorilla:

    'At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time, the anthropomorphous apes. . . will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the Negro or Australian and the gorilla. ... It has often been said ... that man can resist with impunity the greatest diversities of climate and other changes; but this is true only of the civilized races. Man in his wild condition seems to be in this respect almost as susceptible as his nearest allies, the anthropoid apes, which have never yet survived long, when removed from their native country.' 46

    The missing link wasn't missing but, many evolutionists of the time concluded, lived in Australia and other faroffplaces.47


    46. Darwin, Ref: 9, pp. 241-242.
    47. de Laubenfels, M. W., 1949. Pageant of Life Science, Prentice-Hall, New York.

    In saying a "Negro" or "Australian" is closer to a "gorilla" than a "Caucasian" is, it seems to be fairly clear Darwin is making a racist statement in this quote. Do you disagree, Anonymous?

    "I have already explained to you the difference between the ideas of Nazism with its super race and Darwinism with its survival of the fittest."

    - Though 'survival of the fittest' is one aspect of Darwinism, evolution in general (i.e., biological improvement over time) is another aspect, as both are noted, a "theory dealing with evolution, and in particular, evolution by natural selection."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwinism

    Eugenicists have used evolution as a tool for manipulating. "Eugenics is the self-direction of human evolution" is the motto from the 1921 eugenics conference.

    ReplyDelete
  21. "Furthermore, you still need some convincing proof of a racist plot to get rid of non-white population and you need to prove that such thing is even possible (evading all detection from over services). Not to mention it is illogical to accuse the WHO, since its actions drastically lowered the death rate in third-world countries."

    Flu Vaccine Myths and Facts

    http://templestream.blogspot.com/2009/11/flu-vaccine-myths-and-facts.html

    ReplyDelete
  22. R:Is it really a distortion? Based on quotes by Darwin himself, it seems he was a racist

    So, instead of criticizing the idea you are trying to discredit the people behind it. Ad hominem attack. Furthermore, you are distorting the ideas as usual.

    R:Meeting the simple Indians of Tierra del Fuego, Darwin wrote...

    Explain what is so racist in that extract. He was just surprised how different and primitive that Indian society was.

    R:In saying a "Negro" or "Australian" is closer to a "gorilla" than a "Caucasian" is...

    Again, you are distorting the quote. You are blaming Darwin for living in his time and making mistakes. He just assumed that the difference between races was so great. He is not saying that a black is closer to a gorilla than to Caucasian, he is just trying to show how big the gape is between different races is.

    Funny how you avoid undesired quotes of Darwin:'I have always maintained that excepting fools, men did not differ much in intellect, only in zeal and hard work.'

    R:Though 'survival of the fittest' is one aspect of Darwinism, evolution in general

    Do I need to repeat the difference between Nazi fitness and the Darwinian fitness?

    R:Eugenicists have used evolution as a tool for manipulating.

    We have already covered that. And Adam was a Nazi since Hitler was his descendent.

    R:Flu Vaccine Myths and Facts

    This is never going to end if you keep throwing new topics. How is it linked to our morality discussion?

    P.S. Are you going to address the issue of objective morality or are you going to nitpick in quotes from the 19th century?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous,

    "So, instead of criticizing the idea you are trying to discredit the people behind it."

    - First of all, I'm not trying to 'discredit' Darwin, but I'm simply showing the logical explicit connection between Darwinism and racism. Secondly, Darwin's views are formed by fairly large quotes, not snippets taken here and there out of context. From these quotes we can make the following conclusions:

    1. Darwin has some extremely racist quotes.
    2. Racism can have a variety of motivations and rationale.
    3. Darwin's racism is not based on typical Victorian influences.
    4. His racism is directly and explicitly supported by references to evolution.

    1) In comparing a "savage" and a "civilized man" Darwin wrote "Viewing such a man, one can hardly make oneself believe that they are fellow creatures and inhabitants of the same world." When Darwin wrote he could hardly believe savages were "fellow creatures" what did he mean? Well, he wrote the differences between a "savage" and a "civilized man" are "greater than between a wild and domesticated animal" A domestic dog is a different breed that a wild wolf, even as a house cat is a different breed from a wild bob cat in the woods. What kind of difference is greater that a difference of breed? A difference of animals. What Darwin is basically saying is that Aborigines can hardly be considered human but seem to be a different animal altogether. This is precisely how Hitler defined the Jews, as historians document. Nazi atrocities were rationalized based on the fact the Jews were considered sub-human beings.

    In another quote Darwin is more kind, not referring to Aborigine tribes as animals, but merely as inferior races:

    "At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world."

    In another example Darwin writes the differences between a Caucasian and a baboon is extreme while the difference between an African and an ape are minimal.

    By any reasonable standards, the above quotes would be considered extremely racist.

    2) Racism can have a variety of motivations and rationale. Victorian theists could have been racist for a number of reasons.

    A. Some theists believe Africans were cursed because of the incident between Ham and Noah.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curse_of_Ham

    B. Some Victorians may have wanted to profit from slave trade so they wanted to justify their racist tendencies.

    C. Some Victorians may have believed God just made some people as second class races.

    3. Based on quotes in the above article on Thanksgiving, Darwin was an agnostic who was not an avid Bible student. Therefore, it's doubtful he gave credence to the Ham and Noah speculations as a basis for his racism. Darwin was apparently against slavery, so that rules slavery out as a motivation for his racism. Based on his quotes, the main reason for his racism is his theory of evolution, and not any other specific reason. To say Darwin was merely a product of his times and that is why he was a racist simply does not have any support.

    4. One of Darwin's quotes mentions an explicit reference to evolution, that the human race will be improved over time: "At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world." Therefore, we can logically deduct Darwin's racism is based on his theory of evolution, not on vague Victorian influences.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Darwin's evolutionary assumption that 'savages' (i.e. Africans and Aborigines) are inferior in intelligence and closer to apes is unfounded. The American Anthropological Association states that intelligence cannot be biologically determined by race.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_intelligence

    "P.S. Are you going to address the issue of objective morality or are you going to nitpick in quotes from the 19th century?"

    - It is you, Anonymous, who had wanted to resolve this question, remember?

    "...I had to chase you around from one article to another and demand an answer from you." (December 5, 2011 1:21 PM )

    Why don't we resolve this question before moving on to another major topic. It seems as though we may be close to finalizing this point.

    ReplyDelete
  25. R:What kind of difference is greater that a difference of breed?

    Sorry, Rick, but that will not do. You need to find an exact quote of Darwin, claiming that non-white races are not human. A wild dog is still a dog and a domestic dog is also a dog.

    R:In another quote Darwin is more kind, not referring to Aborigine tribes as animals, but merely as inferior races.

    So what? He thought that natural selection will come into play and the more primitive races will just disappear the same way as the Neanderthal men did.

    R:In another example Darwin writes the differences between a Caucasian and a baboon is extreme while the difference between an African and an ape are minimal.

    So how big is the difference between a baboon and a gorilla? You need to show in a more precise way his gradation method. You also need to explain why he was against slavery if primitive people are no better than animals.

    R:By any reasonable standards, the above quotes would be considered extremely racist.

    You need to take into account the historic period. Everyone had prejudices in Victorian England, it is the same way as to blame cavemen for being stupid and using fire instead of electricity.

    R:To say Darwin was merely a product of his times and that is why he was a racist simply does not have any support.

    Wanted or not, we are all to some extent a by-product of our society. How likely it is for a child, brought up by racists, turned out to be racist?

    Darwin was a scholar who just was not satisfied with the biblical explanation. Yes, he had some prejudices, but he was still ahead of his time. He bore no hatred towards other races. However, hatred is the main characteristic of racism.

    R:It is you, Anonymous, who had wanted to resolve this question, remember?

    Alright, I was asking you that question because you started discussing morality then dropped out for some reason. I was quite naive for thinking I convinced you that there was no flip-flop.

    ReplyDelete
  26. A: So what? (Darwin referred to Aborigine tribes as inferior races) He thought that natural selection will come into play and the more primitive races will just disappear the same way as the Neanderthal men did.

    - So, Anonymous, you also apparently believe Africans and Aborigines are "more primitive" beings as Darwin did.

    A: So how big is the difference between a baboon and a gorilla? You need to show in a more precise way his gradation method.

    - I don't have to show anything of the sort because I don't believe the theory of macro-evolution. The onus is on evolutionists (like you) to define when an animal becomes a sentient human being according to a supposed gradual transition.

    A: You also need to explain why he was against slavery if primitive people are no better than animals.

    - Again, that's not my burden. Darwin's quotes explicitly connecting evolution theory and racism demonstrate his beliefs clearly.

    R: By any reasonable standards, the above quotes would be considered extremely racist.

    A: You need to take into account the historic period. Everyone had prejudices in Victorian England, it is the same way as to blame cavemen for being stupid and using fire instead of electricity.

    - As I pointed out in my previous comments, Anonymous, Darwin's racism is explicitly connected to his theory of evolution, and, due to his agnosticism, there is no reason to assume his racism is connected to Victorian theological misinterpretations or trends.

    There were Victorians such as William Wilberforce who had a proper understanding of race, so not "everyone" was influenced in the way you implied.

    Darwin apparently had had little or no identification with blacks: "one can hardly make oneself believe that they are fellow creatures and inhabitants of the same world." While Wilberforce had immense identification and compassion for their plight in Victorian England:

    “If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.” ― William Wilberforce

    A: Wanted or not, we are all to some extent a by-product of our society.

    - We can use societal trends as an excuse for fashion styles and music tastes, but, when it comes to moral issues, moral absolutists like myself don't consider environmental influences a valid excuse for racism.

    A: How likely it is for a child, brought up by racists, turned out to be racist?

    - Again, for moral relativists, any excuse at hand may seem valid, but, for moral absolutists who believe in personal responsibility, it's just not a good enough excuse.

    A: He (Darwin) bore no hatred towards other races. However, hatred is the main characteristic of racism.

    - Hatred is not even mentioned once in the Webster's definition of racism:

    racism: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.

    websters - http://www.merriam-
    webster.com/dictionary/racism

    ReplyDelete
  27. A: I was quite naive for thinking I convinced you that there was no flip-flop.

    - As you consider both Nazism as a subset of Fascism and racism is directly connected to the theory of evolution, then, yes, Dawkins definitely flip-flopped.

    The thing you have to realize, Anonymous, is that the following quote is Victorian only in its use of certain words. update the vocabulary and it is simply an expression of present day evolutionary racism. There's no way around it:

    Victorian, politically incorrect version:

    "At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world."

    Present, politically correct language:

    "At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the more genetically advanced versions of man will almost certainly replace the less-developed versions of homo-sapiens throughout the world."

    Do you deny that this is the essence of human evolutionary theory today? Because the language is euphemistic, does that make it non-racist? It is basically proposing the exact same idea,

    "that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race."

    - Just as the dictionary definition of racism outlines. :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. R:you also apparently believe Africans and Aborigines are "more primitive" beings as Darwin did.

    I wish you did not twist my words. I am explaining to you what Darwin thought would happen and not what I think will happen.

    R:I don't have to show anything of the sort because I don't believe the theory of macro-evolution.

    Funny, I thought that we were discussing Darwin s beliefs and not yours. If we are still discussing the alleged strong connection between Darwinism and Nazism, you need to show that uncivilized people were not considered human by him. To do that you need to explain his gradation method.

    R:Darwin's quotes explicitly connecting evolution theory and racism demonstrate his beliefs clearly.

    So you do not have a problem with paradoxes? It seem strange for a person, who considers other races as no better than animals, to be against racial slavery.

    Your interpretation of Darwinian quotes contradict with his behavior and with other quotes by him. Therefore, your statement of his racism is most likely false. If you just refuse to address the above paradox you will forfeit the debate.

    R:There were Victorians such as William Wilberforce...

    You provide an exception to the rule. There is always a few deviants in a society with their own ides. Are you going to also claim that Wildberforce s morality did not in any way contradict with yours?

    R: moral absolutists like myself don't consider environmental influences a valid excuse for racism.

    You still need to prove the existence of objective morality. You cannot use it as an argument for now at least.

    R:Hatred is not even mentioned once in the Webster's definition of racism

    Is Webster the only dictionary you use?

    Here is that what wikipedia has to offer:

    "Racism is popularly associated with various activities that are illegal or commonly considered harmful, such as extremism, hatred, xenophobia, (malignant or forced) exploitation, separatism, racial supremacy, mass murder (for the purpose of genocide), genocide denial, vigilantism (hate crimes, terrorism), etc."

    Here is also a quote from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

    "Racism involves the belief in racial differences, which acts as a justification for non-equal treatment (which some regard as "discrimination") of members of that race"

    Proving that Darwin made a mistake and exaggerated the difference between races is not enough, you need to show he had some hidden agenda or at least used his ideas for discrimination.

    R:Do you deny that this is the essence of human evolutionary theory today?

    Straw-man fallacy, Rick. Look up my response from December 10th at 3/03 p.m.

    ReplyDelete
  29. P.S. My version of Webster s dictionary is from the year 2009

    ReplyDelete
  30. P.P.S. It would be also stupid to deny some objective differences between races. Like that Africans are better runners (check-out the records for the Olympic games) or that people in the Far East are weak towards alcohol (medical fact). How different we are? Science just does not know yet.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Anonymous,

    "Here is that what wikipedia has to offer:"

    - Wikipedia isn't really a prime source for definitions.

    I did look at various sources and hatred, if mentioned at all, hatred was not in the first definition of racism.

    As far as a straw-man fallacy is concerned, I don't have to appeal to Darwin's personal definition of evolution.

    Webster's offers the following as one of the definitions:

    "a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state."

    The Free-online Dictionary:

    1. A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form.

    In both cases a "better" state is achieved. Because one race may be described as "better" than another, then evolution is racist. Hatred does not have to be involved and is not common in primary definitions of racism.

    1. Evolution offers that species and races become improved through natural selection.

    2. The primary definition of racism offers that certain races are superior to other races.

    3. Therefore, evolution is inherently racist.

    It's really very basic logic. Theism offers that human value is not based merely on materialist qualities.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Rick: As far as a straw-man fallacy is concerned, I don't have to appeal to Darwin's personal definition of evolution.
    If you're discussing Darwin's words, you'd better use the term as Darwin understood it.
    If you're discussing the scientific theory of biological evolution, then you'd better use the term as scientists understand it.

    ReplyDelete
  33. R:In both cases a "better" state is achieved. Because one race may be described as "better" than another, then evolution is racist. Hatred does not have to be involved and is not common in primary definitions of racism.

    So you claim that hatred and racism have little to do with each other? If you do, please provide an example of racism that has nothing to do with hatred, xenophobia and discrimination.

    R:The primary definition of racism offers that certain races are superior to other races.

    This definition of racism is a highly unsuccessful one and I am going to show you why.

    Are you going to deny that some races are superior to others in some situations? If you do, then you will have to contradict a huge number of facts (like Africans are better at running). If you do acknowledge that some races can be superior to others in some situations, then you are a racist. So which is it, Rick? Are you a racist in denial or just a plain racist?

    R:As far as a straw-man fallacy is concerned, I don't have to appeal to Darwin's personal definition of evolution.

    As for this part, Havok already made the point. Use the terms as Darwin and evolutionists understand or understood them. If you do not, then you are distorting Darwinism and are creating a straw-man. Should I remind you what is a straw-man, Rick?

    P.S. Rick, did you decide to forfeit the debate? You are ignoring the paradox I mentioned in my previous post.

    ReplyDelete
  34. P.P.S. Being superior in one or two fields does not make a race any more valuable than another one

    ReplyDelete
  35. Anonymous,

    "P.P.S. Being superior in one or two fields does not make a race any more valuable than another one."

    Now you are starting to sound like a true God believer. :)

    According to Theism, human value is intrinsic, simply because God is recognized as the Creator. But according to atheism, value judgments are subjective.

    Do you believe all humans are equally valuable? Do you believe the elderly are as valuable as the young? The less intelligent are as valuable as the smart, the deformed as valuable as the healthy? The poor as valuable as the rich? If so, why?

    ReplyDelete
  36. Rick: According to Theism, human value is intrinsic, simply because God is recognized as the Creator.
    This is false Rick. If humans had intrinsic value, then god wouldn't enter into things. Intrinsic value is value that something has without regard to anything else.
    On theism, humans have extrinsic value - our value comes from God.

    Rick: But according to atheism, value judgments are subjective.
    Again Rick, this is false.
    As has been pointed out to you time and again, there are a wide range of theories of value and morality which do not rely upon a god.
    There are some theories which rely upon intrinsic value - theoties which you would seem to be committed to accepting since you presume the existence of intrinsic value.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Rick, you are resorting to your old tactic "blha-blha, I can t hear you". You almost completely ignored my post. This is the last time I am going to answer you. If you do not address the issues I mentioned, I will consider that you forfeited the debate.

    R:Do you believe all humans are equally valuable?

    There is no such thing as a perfect human being. All humans have limits. However, if one does apply themselves to some specific field, the person may become superior to others in that respect. But, as I mentioned before, humans have their limits and that superiority in one field comes at the price of mediocrity at another.

    You can take the example of London s taxi drivers. Because of vigorous training, they have a superior sense of direction. Part of their brain is more developed and more voluminous than in normal human beings. Unfortunately, other parts have digressed to make way to that superiority.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Havok,

    You posted a series of slanderous comments on this post (see list December 8, 2011 6:41 AM) and I don't see any need to engage in any more debates with you until you either back up your accusations with some actual dated comments or admit your slander was unfounded.

    If there are any cogent points I did not address at my article, "How Identity, Logic and Physics Prove God's Existence" please name them.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Anonymous,

    As far as your paradox is concerned, Darwin has more than one paradox so it is not very surprising.

    As you pointed out, he makes racist comments but is also against slavery.

    He also believed evolution was self-directed, but that life was begun by a divine breath.

    The final paragraph of every edition of Origin of the Species states this. The 6th edition uses the name Creator as the origin of the divine breath of life.

    Many people would find this paradoxical.

    It seems Darwin did not analyze some of his ideas long enough and perhaps that is why he makes contradictory statements. For example, he could not decisively make up his mend on whether or not God exists.

    In endnote 13 I posted a quote of Darwins: "I think that generally (& more and more so as I grow older) but not always, that an agnostic would be the most correct description of my state of mind."

    As I mentioned, I'm more interested in the actual definition of evolution than a straw-man example from Darwin.

    ReplyDelete
  40. R:As you pointed out, he makes racist comments but is also against slavery.

    If you claim that Darwin was racist, then you need to prove this using his own vocabulary, using the words in the same way, without adding any meaning from today. Did he specifically claimed that uncivilized people were non-human? No, he did not. Did he exaggerate the difference between races? Yes, he did, but he never claimed that "undesirable" races exist.

    I have already explained to you why your definition of racism is an incomplete one, without the addition of one notion at least - discrimination. Darwin did not consider himself a racist, he also did not behave as a racist. Therefore, he was not a racist.

    R:The final paragraph of every edition of Origin of the Species states this. The 6th edition uses the name Creator as the origin of the divine breath of life.

    What is the paradox here? He just assumed that a supernatural force put a start to the mechanism and just overlooks after the result, no contradiction here, like pushing the first domino in the line. He was also open minded and ready to correct his views. There is no paradox about him being agnostic. He wrote the book when he was still a deist, but changed his views over time.

    R:As I mentioned, I'm more interested in the actual definition of evolution than a straw-man example from Darwin.

    If you want to start discussing the modern understanding of evolution, you are welcomed. I believe I provided enough information about it to dismiss your conviction that it is racist.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Ok...what? Genocide apologist William Lane Craig is one of those who's making a "moral" argument for the existence of his god?

    You then go on to claim that objective morality only exists if your God exists? Why does it have to be your god, especially given his actions in the OT?

    Ah no. If killing pregnant women and children is OK if god does it, but is evil whenever anyone else does it, you have subjective morality, NOT "objective morality".

    The only difference is in WHO orders the killings. Any system of morality worthy of the name would look at this from the victims' point of view, NOT that of the killers! Which is what Craig does.

    Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalizing effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.

    His "jusstification" for that madness? Well, the kids will go to heaven, so they have not been wronged. So what? Presmably the abortionists victims go to heaven too!

    Well, the adults deserved it! So what? Kill them only...leave the kids alone. Raise them properly. After all, with the Midianite virgin females, God said that the ancient Israeli soldiers could keep them for themselves, and surely, they'd pose a bigger threat of retaliation and "corruption" of Isreal than those little kids would.


    Eugenics was mentioned at some point here. Well, I've found out some interesting things about xianity and eugenics here.

    Even more problematic for the claim that “Darwinism” was critical and instrumental in the development of eugenics is the uncomfortable fact that eugenics was also openly embraced by opponents of evolution (the first eugenics sterilization laws in the world were passed in 1907 Indiana, hardly a hotbed of “Darwinists”). The most notable of these anti-evolution eugenics supporters was probably William J. Tinkle, geneticist and prominent Creationist. Tinkle taught at religious LaVerne College and Taylor University, and participated in the activities of the Deluge Society, the first “Creation Science” organization. He then joined forces with the “young lions” of Creationism, Henry Morris, Duane Gish and Walter Lammerts, and with them he was one of the 10 Founding Fathers of the Creation Research Society, which later became the Institute for Creation Research.

    ReplyDelete
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