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Do women realize abortion makes men hate them even more??

Not only are you killing a life you are telling men they have no say in the creation of life. If men cannot be part of the process then why would I treat you as a partner?? The abandonment of faith was the first step in the Marxist takeover

Conservative-Mex 6 Mar 6
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11

I find this comment off-putting and in poor taste. I am a man, and anti-abortion, but I neither hate women nor do I have any special animus toward women who have abortions. Instead, I feel a deep sorrow for them and pray that their souls would see more clearly, and that they would come to know the Truth.

You can feel a sorrow for someone, i will not allow evil to destroy families and future men and women. Weak men have led to crazy women who think like these rabid feminists who in turn make men hate them. It's a cycle no one wants to repeat.

Your reaction to the murder of children is... your reaction. It does not preclude others from having other reactions.
Leaving aside the word 'more'; it simply must be true that there are fathers who were totally against their children being murdered. And some of them may well have developed a hate against the woman that did that. And that hate might grow into a hate for other women who support that decision.

@cottreau When women can justify killing a life and get away with it by saying it's an inconvenience that's when I take a stand. Even more its seen as a virtue and sign of empowerment. I can't teach men virtue if Women's virtue is death.

@VonO we hate women because we hate ourselves for not stopping them from having an abortion. I just realized something. Thanks for your input

@Conservative-Mex while I feel that I understand your passion, I think it is important to step back and never become the ogres that forces on the pro abortion side would like us to be. I will not be dismissed so easily. I do not feel that hate will get us anywhere that we want to go. What we should be do is demonstrate precisely the things that we espouse. People's hearts will never be changed by vitriolic speech and angry rhetoric. People's hearts can respond to a radically different approach focused on both love and truth, as long as they go together. We need to love people, yet never back away from the truth. I can love the woman who had an abortion, yet hate the deed. I would endeavor to love her, and love without the truth is not love at all. I would tell her the truth, but truth without love is verbal battery. I choose love and truth, in equal measure, and hearts can and will be changed.

@cottreau it doesn't matter what is going. Once you justify murder there is no turning back.

@cottreau I am curious about where you got the fly murder vs and a typical abortion. That is not even close to reality. At 12 weeks a fetus weighs .49 oz and housefly 22 millionths of a pound. not that that matters. A house fly does not hold the capacity to grow into an intelligent human being, nose cells perhaps. I will have to think on that one.
[babycenter.com]
[washingtoncitypaper.com]

@cottreau Okay thanks, that is one of Sam's that I must have missed. I will look deeper because it just does not make sense to me to compare the life of a fly to that of a human.

11

I think many women and young girls nowadays are sold a very convincing lie. They are growing up in an era where they are led to believe that a baby is only considered a life when the mother decides she wants it. They are also raised in a culture that promotes sexuality, immediate pleasure, entitlement, and lack of personal responsibility. All of those factors, I believe, make it easier to choose abortion. Additionally, many are confused and scared when they find out they're pregnant. Clinics like Planned Parenthood are happy to say what's necessary to convince them to get an abortion if she's not ready to accept the responsibility of motherhood. On top of it all, we have insufferable feminists in every facet of mainstream entertainment and media praising abortion.

I don't envy anyone currently in the dating scene. It's a rough crowd for conservative men and women out there.

10

"Hate them even more"....? Maybe if you didnt hate them to begin with?

Read the comment below yours.

9

Look. I don't hate women who have abortions. I disagree and am willing to debate the Merit of it. I can't hate women a woman gave me life. Not here to make a women fell bad just know how I feel about it. To come out with a statement like I hate women is a good way to get a argument started not a discussion .

I'm sorry if you want to protect killers thats on you. I will no longer entertain the morality of murder because lunatics deemed it ok.

7

Is this a serious post? Wtf!

Dead serious. This generation of young men have been taught that we are oppressors and have toxic masculinity. Feminism has taken the conversation away from men and women and blames everything on men. It's not too late to fix our relationships but women and men better start accepting the responsibility for the animosity we have towards each other.

5

Oh man, I would never say that I hate anyone. Do I look on women who have had abortions with disgust? Yes, yes I do. Do I think they are beyond forgiveness or redemption? No I do not. I hate the act of abortion and think that abortion doctors are the scum of the earth, but I don't hate even them. Hate the act, not the actor.

5

I go into each relationship with clear context. Why hate each other when you can decide how you feel about such a thing before even copulating?

Seems to me that all this arguing could be put to rest if both parties had clear expectations befor hand.

The left has done a great job destroying the relationship between men and women

5

There are 3,776,294,270 men in the world, estimated. Are you sure you speak for all of them? I’m thinking through all the men I know, and not one of them, even the fervent antiabortionists, and those who dismiss feminism entirely, would even be able to process what you’re saying.

Well if people cannot process many times its becasue the level of thinking has been so dumbed down that we don't even know the hatred we create. We created feminism which created MGTOW

4

Perhaps a better way to ask the question is: Do women realize abortion creates trust issues with men who want children and/or who have a belief system that regards all life as valuable? And vice versa, a man who encourages a woman to have an abortion may hear that encouragement as a a rejection of their child and a rejection of her.

4

Okay friends, this is a one-sided conversation I’m of the opinion that if you have a clear single-minded stance on the issue of abortion you probably don’t understand the argument against your position very well. Let’s talk pro-choice.

  1. The argument for personhood. Is a person morally obligated to sacrifice their life to another? The human infant is so deeply dependent that it is reasonable to assume their life as indistinguishable from the mother (they are literally part of her body). We can make an argument for the point at which cells become a human being, we cannot make an argument for the point at which a woman becomes a human being. The mother’s claim to personhood supersedes the unborn fetus (though this argument gets exponentially weaker as gestation continues).

  2. Pro-life or pro-birth? The very people who argue that mothers have a moral obligation to carry and support life, argue against social spending. If a mother says “I don’t want a child I can’t support”, but you take the position that this infant who is implicitly helpless and unwanted by their mother (not a good start in terms of child development) must be born then I would argue it is your moral responsibility to protect that life (not just that birth).

  3. A technological shift. The invention of safe reliable contraception combined with drastically reduced infant mortality has changed the landscape for both men and women dramatically. The culture has changed, religious presuppositions therefore don’t hold sway in contemporary discourse (at least not here in Canada). Many women are faced with men who do not have the fortitude to do what it takes to sacrifice themselves to protect the sanctity of the relationship between mother and infant. Human pair bonding is fundamentally to raising children. To my mind weak men don’t deserve an opinion as they do not take on the responsibility for the outcome.

  4. What about her other children? A child with the wrong partner has the capacity to destroy the lives of the other children a mother is responsible for. She made a mistake getting pregnant with the wrong person. Should her children pay for that mistake? Does she not have an obligation to protect her other children from ties to a tyrannical, lazy or otherwise incompetent man?

By your logic anyone I deem harmful to society I can kill if I can prove we are better without them. You can put forth a whole paragraph talking about why but in the end its the act that matters. An innocent life being taken.

@Conservative-Mex Shapiro puts forward a similar argument. It's a false analogy, killing a grown man walking down the street in not the same thing because he does not need another persons body to live.
If you need my blood to stay alive do I have to give it to you?

  1. Backwards.
    a) First of all, the child in the womb is their own person from the moment of conception. There is no sense at all in which they are 'part of the mother'. Basic biology.
    b) Their mother (along with their father) is the first person in all the Earth with the responsibility to care for their child. This is not some random person implanted by aliens... it is their child. It is of their flesh, of their bones, their family. Their most intimate and closely related family.
    All of human society since forever, and even in todays degenerate society, has recognized in law that the child is the responsibility of the parents. For a mother to kill her child is murder of the most foul kind.
  1. Nonsense.
    Those who argue against a mother murdering her own child are, first of all, the people most in favor of taking care of their own children. Secondly they are most in favor of taking care of other peoples children. The fact that they believe in doing so privately, and via charities, instead of government spending, is a political difference, not a difference in caring. Pro-life people are far, far morel likely to voluntarily give their own money to charities which support children, families, etc.
  1. Non sequitur.
    If anything modern science has laid bare the 'quickening' lie that Roe was based on.
    But on the issue of fathers you castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful. You give complete power to the mother to kill his child, and then call the fathers wishy washy.
    If you turned this on its head you would have a case. If you said that fathers need to take responsibility for the children they create when they fornicate... more power to you.
    But our modern society has literally made the case for old fashioned religious morality.
  1. Killing children is really not a good way to help yourself psychologically prepare for taking care of other children. You almost seem to fall into the utter nonsense that some people have stated. I believe it was Margaret Sanger who said, "The best thing a poor family can do for one of its children is to kill it." Utter moral depravity.

@VonO I’d love to respond but before I do can we please operationalize the construct?

Operational Definition- for the purpose of this discussion abortion is, the willful termination of a pregnancy within the first 20 weeks of gestation in cases where the father of the child does not object to the action.

Do you accept the definition?

@Danny705 No. I would object to those to, however:
Abortion; the deliberate killing of a human child while still in the womb.
Of course, I don't usually use the word... preferring to talk about child murder.
However if you want to only speak about those particular kind of child murders, feel free. I will respond to those as well as the others when they are spoken about.

@VonO 1
A) At the moment of conception, the zygote is a single cell containing 23 chromosomes from each parent, in that sense 50% of the zygote’s makeup was indeed part of its mother. Additionally, all of the nutrients, water and physical space necessary to allow growth are also part of the mother body. Biology is complex so I do not believe it helpful to dismiss it as “basic”. At this early stage (the moment of conception) the zygote is a single cell containing the data (encoded in DNA) which holds the potentiality to become a human being. I would argue that the potential to exist is the same as existence itself. At this stage the zygote lacks biophysiological markers such as a brain, a digestive system, lungs and so on. Moreover, it lacks other human characteristics such as thoughts, feelings, behaviour and motivation. Could you please elaborate on your perspective?
B) I have worked my whole adult life with victims of childhood trauma. Though I agree with you that parents should take responsibility for their children, my work in clinical practice has given me insight into the depths of human depravity. I once had a client whose sexual violation by his father began at the age of two. Sadly the “most foul” things a parent can do to their children are beyond imagination. I worry that you are confusing an ought with an is.

@VonO
2) This assertion is a perfectly reasonable criticism, I have no grounds to disagree.

@VonO
3) I would be delighted to “turn this on its head” I absolutely agree. In the case where a woman is impregnated by a man who is competent, decent and committed to fulfilling his responsibilities termination is wrong. However; I find it difficult to believe that the women would be motivated to terminate in this scenario.

What would you suggest for a woman who is impregnated by a man who is incompetent, tyrannical and not willing to fulfill his responsibilities?

@VonO
4) You’ve articulated the worst possible version of the argument and used it to discredit the claim. This is a straw man fallacy, please rephrase and I’d be happy to respond.

@Danny705 Could you please elaborate on your perspective?

Certainly. You write:

>>At the moment of conception, the zygote is a single cell containing 23 chromosomes from each parent, in that sense 50% of the zygote’s makeup was indeed part of its mother.

First of all, 100% of all human beings on Earth have DNA that comes from another human being. This has zero relavence for whether they are 'part' of that person. Indeed it comes from multiple human beings, so this point would lead the new human baby being 'part' of the father as well.

>> Additionally, all of the nutrients, water and physical space necessary to allow growth are also part of the mother body.

... will come from the mother's body. That is her job. That does not have any bearing as to whether the baby is part of the mother. If you feed your child exclusively on food coming from HEB that does not make your child 'part of' HEB.

>>Though I agree with you that parents should take responsibility for their children

"Should take" is an interesting phrase. It is obviously missing part of its antecedent. The reason we say that parents 'should take' responsibility for their children, is because we recognize that parents have responsibility for their children. This illustrates the two sides of the word 'responsibility: the one being the moral component and the other being the action that someone takes.

>> I worry that you are confusing an ought with an is.

One cannot get from 'is' to 'ought' unless the 'is' is an 'ought' 🙂
So the moral truth is thusly: parents are given responsibility for their children by God. He will hold them responsibly (a third use of the term) for the way they treat their children. Murdering them is way down on the list of how to treat your child.
Even if one descends to the depths of evolutionary thought, it is a violation of the process of evolution for parents to kill their children (outside of certain radical environments, such as a lack of food to sustain the entire family: hardly our problem). Now this doesn't lead to an 'ought' because an 'ought' cannot be found in evolutionary reasoning. But it does teach that parents who kill their own children are evolutionary dead ends.

@Danny705
(3) and (4) can both be answered by analogy:
Suppose instead of being in the womb, the child is two years old. Either you have to say that in the cases your propose (a poor family or a family with a dead beat dad) it should be OK for a woman to kill her two year old, or you have to say it is wrong in both cases.
Or... and this is what you try to do with (1), you have to say that the baby in the womb is no baby, but a blob of tissue that is really part of the mother.

@VonO The DNA question seems to be a matter of semantics, if I may, I’d like to respectfully disagree (thought I’m open to more questioning). You said there “was no sense at all in which they were part of the ’s body”. Let’s try another example, what if the dies? If the is killed so too is the zygote. Would you deny that in that sense they share a life force. Would you disagree that the zygote requires the heart of another person to beat in order to survive?
Babies are not considered viable until 23 weeks (the youngest ever to survive was just under 22 weeks). Why is the potential contained within a single cell the same thing as fully realized person? Every time I drive my car the potential for an accident exists, it is rarely realized.
HEB is a grocery store? I’ve never heard of that, I hope I’m not misunderstanding your example. Assuming I’ve interpreted properly (correct me if I’m wrong) it’s a strange assertion. If the is physiologically connected to the grocery store, lacks an independent digestive system and can only process food from the grocery store by being literally attached within it then yes, I would argue that it is part of the grocery store (they are attached, their life is inextricably linked to the larger structure. If the structure were to disappear they do not have the capacity to sustain themselves without it).
Your claim regarding the morality of responsibility is reasonable, I have three children and (as I’m sure you do also) take the responsibility for their wellbeing very seriously. Would you not agree that some people are immoral in the way they manage the responsibilities to their children after birth?
Though your next argument may hold true within your community I am not a Christian. From my perspective you have not adequately demonstrated that the “is” is an “ought” (well worded by the way, I like how you phrased that). Is there a way to reformulate your argument in the absence of a deity? I don’t accept the premise.
Descends the depth of evolutionary thought? I’m curious, what you mean to imply?

@VonO I wanted to define my parameters at the outset of this discussion precisely to avoid your next argument. As I tried to make clear, I do not accept the argument for personhood in the early stages of gestation. I am not suggesting that terminating full term babies is acceptable. You stated your belief in personhood at the moment of conception, that is the point of contention. I feel like this was deliberately worded to put me in a box I did not agree to. Would you please demonstrate (without invoking your god) why the single cell at the moment of conception is the same thing as a fully realized two year .
Just a note, I see this as a complex issue, I do not have a clear opinion on the matter I'm exploring ideas, I appreciate you doing it with me.

@Danny705

Basically your argument is: the degree to which a person is dependent upon another person is the degree to which they are a person. There are two problems with this theory:

  1. It is made up out of whole cloth. I can think of no moral codes followed by any major civilization, and I doubt you can think of any, which made such a claim. Indeed the moral claim is usually put in almost the exact form: the more dependent a person is the more responsibility you have for them. Dozens of examples of this in the great moral codes.
  2. It is doesn’t actually work in your case. It doesn’t differentiate the developing baby in the womb from the two year old, or even older.

Let me illustrate the issue…

A long time ago I watched a movie that involved two children, who had been in a car accident in the middle of the Australian outback. (It might have been only one child.) Their parents were killed in the accident and they were left alone, hundreds of miles from civilization.
They had no food, no water, and no survival skills. They had only the clothes on their back. Their chances of survival were nil.
Along comes an older man, experienced in the Outback, on a kind of suicide trek into the wilderness. He had been diagnosed with cancer and wanted to die alone.
The great moral question of the movie was: was he responsible for these children? The answer he came to (reluctantly) and that the audience already knew (seriously) was: yes. He not only had to take care of their immediate needs, he also needed to teach them (very quickly, before he died) how to take care of themselves and make it back to civilization.
The moral theory being propounded was exactly the opposite of the one you propose. It was because they were totally dependent upon him that he had moral responsibility. If they had been fully functional adults, fully capable of surviving in the Outback: he would have had no responsibility at all. If they were adults, but new to the area… more.
Since they were inexperienced children: the movie, and the audience, and the main character (and definitely the children!) all agreed: he was responsible for them!!
So I will ask you a question: you are taking a long walk in the woods somewhere, deep where few people ever go. You come upon an adult male, with no phone, unconscious, who has fallen from a tree and broken both his legs. The bones are sticking out.
He is now totally dependent upon your for his life. If you do not summon immediate medical aid, and do what you can for him in the meantime, he will definitely die.
Has he become a non-person? Does your moral responsibility to care for someone diminish the more he is dependent upon you… reaching zero when they are totally dependent?
And now suppose that this person is not just some person, but your brother, or your father… or your son. Does that further diminish your responsibility, because they share some of your genes?
Morally speaking the question is ludicrous. Morally speaking everyone since the beginning of time has agreed that you have more, not less, responsibility because they share your genes.

A bit of a side note. The viability issue is often posed in the light of ‘survive outside of the womb’. But this represents confused moral thinking. Suppose the mother rejects her child after the age of viability. And asks some doctor to cut the baby out so they doesn’t have to take care of it…

  1. First of all, I believe that this would be currently illegal if the baby was young enough. (Which is a bizarre aspect of our legal system.)
  2. The baby, out, would still die unless someone took care of it. It simply is nonsense to say that merely because it is not the mother that needs to take care of it the baby is a person. Cut out of the mother many people, doctors, nurses, lawyers, judges would need to get involved. So in what universe does it make sense that the baby is only a not person because he is dependent uponthe mother, but is a full person when he is dependent upon a dozen other people.

@Danny705 On the issue of morality without reference to God... since you are the one who is attempting to formulate a moral code without reference to God, you will have to explain to me what the basis for your morality is, and then I can attempt to make my argument.
If you are merely going to make up a morality out of whole cloth, then, obviously, all I can point to is inconsistencies and logical fallacies within your own reasoning... which I have done. If your morality says 'hate your neighbor, and kill your children'... then outside of disagreeing what can anyone else do?

@Danny705
>> If the is physiologically connected to the grocery store, lacks an independent digestive system

It seems that both your logic and biology are faulty. A developing baby may or may not have a digestive system, depending on its age. However there are many life forms that don't have a digestive system (or, to be accurate, no more of one than a fertilized egg).

Your logic is faulty in that it is in no sense a state of being the same person to share a digestive system, or to be dependent upon someone else's digestive system. Would you say that the dialysis patient is 'the same person' as the dialysis machine? Or that conjoined twins are one, not two people?

The idea of 'dependent on therefore the same person' is simple nonsense. It applies nowhere else in morality except when a mother wishes to murder her child. Then suddenly it comes into play.

@VonO
No, that is not my argument. The degree to which one person is dependent on another is not the point of contention (we are social mammals; all humans are dependent each other). The point of contention is the degree to which a single cell containing the potentiality to become a human being, is already a human being. The single cell at the moment of conception does not have a brain or human body, they do not have thoughts, feeling, behaviours or motivations. You have made the assertion that you believe that at this point the single cell is a person, I am not convinced that is true. Would you please demonstrate why you believe I am wrong?
Please put aside the details pertaining to later points in gestation, as growth continues the argument for personhood gets exponentially more powerful (as I have repeatedly said). You asserted that it didn’t matter where we are in gestation, so please talk to me specifically about the point of conception.

@VonO I am currently completing a master’s degree in human psychology this is something I have spent an enormous of time studying. We know from animal studies that morality is not unique to humans, rats, mice, wolves and primates (to name a few) all have very similar mechanisms to us (fair play, reciprocity, morals and friendship). There is very little difference for example between how people interact with their immediate families and how chimps do. Differences emerge when size exceeds 150 members, other social mammals need to know each other intimately in order to cooperate but human beings do not. The question becomes how?
Human beings structure their societies based on shared narratives, usually religion but not always. Modern society shares a narrative that money is real and can be used in exchange for goods and services. We accept these narratives intuitively (it’s not a conscious effort) how often in your life do you meet people who do not share your belief that money is real? Money is obviously a complete fiction but as long as we all act as if it is true we can cooperate on a massive scale in a way that no other species can.
In his book “the righteous mind” Jonathan Haidt puts together a compelling case that major differences in ritualised behaviour (religion) begin around 40 to 50 thousand years ago. At this point we begin to see shifts in cooperative behaviour. It seems that those who could share a narrative began to outcompete those who could not. For example, if a group shares the story that masturbation is wrong and that you must maintain your commitment to your pair bonded partner it makes that group very effective at turning resources into offspring. This effect coupled with the capacity to work together is very powerful.
We separated from those other those other moral animals I mentioned millions of years ago. But religion does not emerge until 50 000 years ago. A basic scientific principal (which I’m sure you learned in high school) is that the cause must happen before the effect. Morality is tens of millions of years older than religion therefore, religion does not cause morality.
If the only reason you do not rape, pillage and murder your neighbors is because you are scared that god will punish you then you are not moral, you are afraid of being caught. The reason most people don’t do those things is because it is innately wrong, you don’t learn compassion it is within your psyche, it is innate. In an effort to be succinct I will not address where evil comes from though I certainly can if you’re interested.

@VonO From my perspective the purpose of this discussion is to have you question my logic, I very much appreciate you participating. However; I would ask that you read what I am saying more carefully. I have tried to make it very clear what I am arguing, I operationalized the construct (science jargon for defining what I mean by abortion in this discussion) specifically so you could not make these types of arguments. You agreed that I could argue from the perspective of before 20 weeks (this is before the digestive system develops and the reason I chose it as my example). You said it “may or may not have a digestive system depending on age” but since I clearly defined the age before we began it doesn’t, non sequitur.
As for your dialysis example, I again tried to be very clear that I believe the argument for personhood is contingent on a human body coupled with thoughts, feelings, behaviours and motivations. In the absence of some of these criteria we are still talking about a person, if we are lacking all of them I do not believe that is a person. Please read what I am saying and respond to what I have actually said rather than what you assume I must have said.

@Danny705
>> The point of contention is the degree to which a single cell containing the potentiality to become a human being, is already a human being. The single cell at the moment of conception does not have a brain or human body, they do not have thoughts, feeling, behaviours or motivations

Well, first of all, you can't actually tell if they have thoughts, feelings, or motivations. And they definitely do have behaviors...

But addressing your point, I will turn it around. Biologically it is absolutely clear they are a human being. There is no question of that biologically. So you need to be asserting something other than simple biology. You need to be asserting something about the existence of a certain stage of development that makes some kind of moral difference as to whether we should treat them in the same way we treat other human beings.
However as you have not actually made any such assertion, I cannot refute it. Biologically speaking their are human, morally speaking they should therefore be treated as a human being unless there is some reason why they shouldn't.

@Danny705
>>If the only reason you do not rape, pillage and murder your neighbors is because you are scared that god will punish you then you are not moral, you are afraid of being caught.

You seem to be asserting some definition of morality here, which may or may not support your case. But since you don't actually outline it, it is difficult to tell.
If 'morality' is defined as Websters 1828:


Morality
MORAL'ITY, noun The doctrine or system of moral duties, or the duties of men in their social character; ethics.

The system of morality to be gathered from the writings of ancient sages, falls very short of that delivered in the gospel.

  1. The practice of the moral duties; virtue. We often admire the politeness of men whose morality we question.

  2. The quality of an action which renders it good; the conformity of an act to the divine law, or to the principles of rectitude. This conformity implies that the act must be performed by a free agent, and from a motive of obedience to the divine will. This is the strict theological and scriptural sense of morality But we often apply the word to actions which accord with justice and human laws, without reference to the motives form which they proceed.


Then your statement is not logical. If there exists a standard of right and wrong actions, and fear of punishment leads one to follow that standard, then one is acting morally.
Which, by the way, has nothing at all to do with it being innate. One can follow a standard, for fear of punishment, which is innate... or one which is learned. Both can be followed by fear of punishment.
However Christianity agrees with you that a certain form of knowledge of morality is innate. CS Lewis made that point in 'The Abolition of Man', and it is a standard doctrine in both Christianity and Judaism. So your statement about innateness does not separate your view from that of the believer.

Nor does your implied difference about the difference between obeying by fear vs obeying via a love for the standard itself. The book of Proverbs speaks about this at several points.

@Danny705 >>> if we are lacking all of them I do not believe that is a person.

You may certainly assert that as your belief if you wish. However if you wish to make it an argument:

  1. You need to make up your mind. At some points you ask if it is 'human' (which it clearly is biologically). And at others as 'person'. (Which is a rather vague word)
  2. You would need to provide some grounds for your belief. There is and can be no such scientific belief, and it certainly can't fit with an evolutionary system of thought, so it would have to be philosophic or religious. But you have provided none.

So you can't expect me to use your definition or your beliefs in any of my arguments! Once you make a philosophical argument I will certainly address it. But so far you have made none.

@Danny705
Websters 1828

Person
PERSON, noun per'sn. [Latin persona; said to be compounded of per, through or by, and sonus, sound; a Latin word signifying primarily a mask used by actors on the state.]

  1. An individual human being consisting of body and soul. We apply the word to living beings only, possessed of a rational nature; the body when dead is not called a person It is applied alike to a man, woman or child.

A person is a thinking intelligent being.

  1. A man, woman or child, considered as opposed to things, or distinct from them.

A zeal for persons is far more easy to be perverted, than a zeal for things.

  1. A human being, considered with respect to the living body or corporeal existence only. The form of her person is elegant.

You'll find her person difficult to gain.

The rebels maintained the fight for a small time, and for their persons showed no want of courage.

  1. A human being, indefinitely; one; a man. Let a person's attainments be never so great, he should remember he is frail and imperfect.

  2. A human being represented in dialogue, fiction, or on the state; character. A player appears in the person of king Lear.

These tables, Cicero pronounced under the person of Crassus, were of more use and authority than all the books of the philosophers.

  1. Character of office.

How different is the same man from himself, as he sustains the person of a magistrate and that of a friend.

  1. In grammar, the nominative to a verb; the agent that performs or the patient that suffers any thing affirmed by a verb; as, I write; he is smitten; she is beloved; the rain descends in torrents. I, thou or you, he, she or it, are called the first, second and third persons. Hence we apply the word person to the termination or modified form of the verb used in connection with the persons; as the first or the third person of the verb; the verb is in the second person

  2. In law, an artificial person is a corporation or body politic.

In person by one's self; with bodily presence; not be representative.

The king in person visits all around.

@VonO “Biologically it is absolutely clear they are a human being. There is no question of that biologically”.
On three occasions I have asked you to demonstrate the argument for personhood (which is a term I got from a biomedical ethics class. I mean argument for being a human being at the point of conception). You are attempting to argue that your statement is true because you said it is true, I don’t accept that. Why is the potentiality contained within the single cell the same as a fully formed person?

@VonO This is reasonable, I have been sticky about definitions, it’s only fair to extend you the same courtesy. Let me rephrase, other social animals have been observed enacting moral behaviours which you believe are caused by religion. These moral behaviours include, reciprocity, (do unto others as you would have others do unto you) friendship, (love thy neighbour) and refraining from killing members of their group (thou shalt not kill). We separated from these other animals millions of years ago, yet they enact moral behaviour. I believe that the moral behaviour existed first, then (around 50 000 years ago) we humans developed religious narratives to explain them.
You’ve asked me to speak to the philosophical constructs of morality (a topic I love), but first let’s talk about when and why moral behaviour developed. As I’ve said, to accept the premise that religion causes moral behaviour we must first demonstrate a covariation of cause and effect. I think moral behaviour is older than religion and therefore religion cannot cause moral behaviour. Why am I wrong?

@VonO Fair enough, can we agree on the term human?

@Danny705 >> As I’ve said, to accept the premise that religion causes moral behaviour

To the best of my knowledge no one says this, at least in its absolute form. I certainly don't say this.

>>first let’s talk about when and why moral behaviour developed

It didn't. It is a contradiction in terms to say 'moral behavior developed' in the sense you seem to mean it here.

@VonO No, you didn’t say it in absolute terms. You said “since you are the one who is attempting to formulate a moral code without reference to God, you will have to explain to me what the basis for your morality is”. I spared much detail and I am happy to answer any questions or add proper citations, but I did lay out a case for “good without God”.

You then assumed I was going to “merely make up a morality out of whole cloth”. I took this to mean you were suggesting there can be no morals without religion. I explained my thoughts on the matter. If you are genuine in your question regarding my personal moral code (I don’t think you are) I can explain that too.

You asked me to speak to moral philosophy but I think the biological argument is stronger. Likely you would take a Deontological perspective and tell me about Kant’s “categorical imperative” where I would take a Utilitarian approach and tell you about “the most good for the most people”. We would end up in the same position. If morality is an evolved trait (which would mean it developed by the way) based in far older brain structures then we can bypass the thoughts of Immanuel Kant and Jeremy Bentham and render arguments from philosophy and religion irrelevant to the topic. If you show me that I am wrong, I will build an argument based in neuroscience. If you prove that wrong I will have learned something and change my view in light of this new information.

@Danny705
I will speak generally to state that you are violating a law which you yourself mentioned, I'm pretty sure, earlier in the conversation: namely: "You can't argue 'ought' from 'is'." You mention developing a morality from neuroscience... which would be a classic case of 'arguing ought from is'. Neuroscience tells us what 'is'... it can by definition never tell us what ought to be.

You say we will end up in the same place, but that is patently untrue. Let us just take the Ten Commandments as an example: you cannot arrive there. The first four commandments literally speak of our obligations toward God. And Judeo/Christian/Islam are by no means alone in having obligations toward God (or gods) for a vital part of what they think of in the context of morality.

However the primary issue that I was pointing to above was not 'what moral code do you follow, and how do you justify it?" but 'what does 'moral' mean?' Is it subjective, cultural, or objective? Is it something that one person can use to judge another persons actions?

@VonO
At last I finally understand what you were saying all along. We don’t disagree on abortion, we disagree fundamentally about what it means to be a moral man.
You structure your life on the premise that God “is”. Since you know the law of God it grants you the ability to Judge others based on how closely they follow the predetermined dictates of the Almighty creator. You can judge others but ultimately you too will be judged. The moral life is the one which most closely aligns with the laws of the Almighty Creator.
God says it is wrong to have sex out of wedlock and without intent to procreate, therefore it is an immoral act (abortion is wrong). Your faith dictates that a new soul is created at the moment of conception, therefore abortion is murder.

Is that essentially correct?

If so I have two questions (I don’t mean this to sound condescending, I’m really asking, this perspective has proven invaluable to me).

First, how does one know that it is their religion which is correct when compared against the set of all possible other religious orientations?

Second, if you accept the premise that the holy bible is the word of God and contains all the answers, it must be an incredibly complex read. Too complicated for a mere mortal man to fully comprehend. How does one know that they have interpreted the Scripture correctly? What if some other denomination has the correct interpretation of Gods plan?

@Danny705

>>We don’t disagree on abortion, we disagree fundamentally about what it means to be a moral man.

Or, perhaps, we disagree on child murder because we disagree on what it means to be a moral man.
Or, even better, we disagree on what morality means. Not what it is... but what it means. What category it fits into, what attributes it has. Is morality subjective, cultural, or objective? Is it merely a statement about how you, one individual, feel... is it the combined feeling and actions of a society... or are moral statements statements about something that stands outside of the individual and his society... that. judges him and his society. Do you call the Christchurch shooter wrong (assuming you call him wrong) merely because you don't like his actions? Because your society disapproves of his actions? (Or, perhaps, because his society disapproves of his actions?) or because you believe that there exists a moral standpoint outside of yourself, your society, and his society... and by that standpoint, by those guidelines, the shooter did a truly wrong action?

Websters 1828:

Morality
MORAL'ITY, noun The doctrine or system of moral duties, or the duties of men in their social character; ethics.

The system of morality to be gathered from the writings of ancient sages, falls very short of that delivered in the gospel.

  1. The practice of the moral duties; virtue. We often admire the politeness of men whose morality we question.

  2. The quality of an action which renders it good; the conformity of an act to the divine law, or to the principles of rectitude. This conformity implies that the act must be performed by a free agent, and from a motive of obedience to the divine will. This is the strict theological and scriptural sense of morality But we often apply the word to actions which accord with justice and human laws, without reference to the motives form which they proceed.

Good
GOOD, adjective

  1. Valid; legally firm; not weak or defective; having strength adequate to its support; as a good title; a good deed; a good claim.

  2. Valid; sound; not weak, false or fallacious; as a good argument.

  3. Complete or sufficiently perfect in its kind; having the physical qualities best adapted to its design and use; opposed to bad, imperfect, corrupted, impaired. We say, good timber, good cloth, a good soil, a good color.

And God saw every thing that he had made, and

behold, it was very good Genesis 1:4.

  1. Having moral qualities best adapted to its design and use, or the qualities which God's law requires; virtuous; pious; religious; applied to persons, and opposed to bad, vitious, wicked, evil.

Yet peradventure for a good man some would

even dare to die. Romans 5:7.

  1. Conformable to the moral law; virtuous; applied to actions.

In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works.

Titus 2:3.

  1. Proper; fit; convenient; seasonable; well adapted to the end. It was a good time to commence operations. He arrived in good time.......

@Danny705
>>You structure your life on the premise that God “is”. Since you know the law of God it grants you the ability to Judge others based on how closely they follow the predetermined dictates of the Almighty creator. You can judge others but ultimately you too will be judged. The moral life is the one which most closely aligns with the laws of the Almighty Creator.

This is very close indeed. I would modify, just for a start...

I structure my life on the premise that God exists... and on His nature: that of creator, sustainer, savior, lawgiver, inerrant, all righteous, all knowing, etc. Because of His existence and nature there exists a moral law which is is my responsibility to learn and to follow. This Law judges both me and everyone else. And the moral life is the one that aligns most closely with the will of the Almighty Creator... which is expressed, in part, in His law.

@Danny705
>>First, how does one know that it is their religion which is correct when compared against the set of all possible other religious orientations?

I assume you mean all possible other orientations including those which call themselves non-religious. That is the context of our discussion, no? Theism vs atheism??
There is a very slow answer, but the very quick answer is conformity to truth.
But there is also an answer very relevant to this particular discussion: the conformity of the philosophical presuppositions and reasoning with the very idea of moral reasoning. One thing that I am trying to show in this discussion is that your view of the morality of child murder is wrong, because it is inconsistent with reality, both that part of reality that can be measured by microscopes, and the part that is instinctively known by all human beings. Atheism cannot produce a morality with corresponds with either.

@Danny705
>>How does one know that they have interpreted the Scripture correctly? What if some other denomination has the correct interpretation of Gods plan?

Again their is a long answer and a short, and an answer particular to this discussion.
The one that is particular to this discussion is precisely what we have been doing: you listen to the other and respond to their arguments. Every denomination (since you choose that level) exists because it has come out of another denomination, or form of their own denomination, that has believed slightly different things. That is how it must be since, as you point out, reality is such a complex and deep thing.

"Sacrifice their life"? Since when is giving birth equal to sacrificing your life? No. Dying for your Country is sacrificing your life. Unless you are facing certain death by giving birth, it is merely an inconvenience, at most. Women can do just about anything they want while pregnant. I walked 9 miles a day. Upstairs, downstairs, heat, heavy load, etc, even on the day I went into labor. Most women can carry on with what they were doing before. Except for partying. So, if you can't be bothered to carry it and save it's life till it's born for adoption purposes, then that is something entirely different. Just so you know.

@VonO Originally when I saw your definition from 1828 I assumed you were simply being argumentative (looking for the definition which demonstrated your point). I understand now that you are being genuine. That you truly believe the rules of morality are ordained by god. I do not share that presupposition. Morality in my view, is the objective judgment of behaviour based on its consequences for other human beings. As I’ve said, I do not believe the single cell is a human being, if the parties involved believe themselves incompetent I think that there are situations where they should be believed, I can envision certain situations where parents who should not have children, should not have children. My work in clinical practice has shown me that there are no greater horrors than those that terrible parents can invoke upon their children. If creating a life will add to the amount of human suffering in the world it will be judged as immoral. The shooter at Christchurch acted immorally not because God said so but rather, because his actions had far reaching and horrible consequences for other human beings. This approach is called utilitarianism, it’s not a perfect theory but I think it works in this context.

@VonO I appreciate your thoughts on atheism though I am a little confused. Earlier in this discussion you refuted my belief that morality was innate but now you’ve said that moral truths are “instinctively known by all human beings” are those two propositions not synonymous. If you are attacked by a venomous snake you will respond instinctively because that response is innate.
Your thoughts on atheism are prudent and highly relevant but I am curious about the set of all possible religious traditions. If I may (I don’t mean to be rude) it sounds as though we are both atheists when it comes to thousands of gods. Neither of us believes that the earth came into being on the back of a giant turtle or a lotus flower, neither of us believes in Brahma, Zarathustra, Allah or Arihant. We are both atheists about thousands of gods, I’ve simply pushed my disbelief to its logical conclusion. How do you know it’s your god who is true? People of other faiths believe just as deeply, why are they wrong?
What you have described as “conformity to truth” sounds like conformity to a presupposition. May I ask for the long answer?

@VonO For all of our disagreement clearly, we agree on the right to disagree, what you said is perfectly reasonable. My question is, why did god make his truth so ambiguous and open to such interpretation in the first place? The first five of the ten commandments are directly tied to worshipping God appropriately. Would it not have been clearer if he sacrificed “Thou shalt not make unto any graven image” for “thou shalt not rape”, or “thou shalt not commit genocide” or “thou shalt not abort a fetus”?

@Danny705 >> Earlier in this discussion you refuted my belief that morality was innate but now you’ve said that moral truths are “instinctively known by all human beings” are those two propositions not synonymous.

More later, I will be busy today, but when you do something like this it would be best to quote me. If you could find where you think I said the first thing and quote it, please, I will explain the seeming contradiction 🙂

@Danny705
>>we agree on the right to disagree,

I guess you haven't read my post on the subject 🙂

[slug.com]

@Danny705
>>I appreciate your thoughts on atheism though I am a little confused.

I think one thing that is confusing is that you haven't yet dealt with the other side of the morality question. Let me lay it out, perhaps more clearly than I have done above:

  1. What morality means is clear from a theistic perspective. Not necessarily what it is, in the sense of a judgement on every particular nuance of action, but what it is: doing the will of God. (Interesting from a IDW perspective, one of BS's latest podcast began with this issue). An action is moral if it conforms to the will of God, it isn't moral if it doesn't.
  2. But what is morality from an atheistic perspective? Not it's content, (ie whether to murder children or pet puppies) but what it is. Not doing the will of God, obviously.
    2a) Is it objective? Does it apply to all human beings from the outside? Or is it subjective, ie humans each decide for themselves what it is. Like a personal preference (as in "I like chocolate ice cream" ). In this case morality does not apply to other human beings except in a power sense (I want to shut down the vanilla ice cream makers, so that more chocolate will be made, because I like it, go me!)
    2b) Is it cultural? Is it a group of people getting together and deciding they like chocolate ice cream? Thus 2a but on a larger scale. So a war to kill the Nazi's is just an expression of our preference that Jews be allowed to live.
    2c) Is it evolutionary? Is it an inbred sense that nature has bred into us (pun intended) in order to help promote our species?
  3. In none of the cases of (2) can morality then be what we all instinctively feel it is.
    3c) If it is inbred by evolution, then we will certainly act as if it was a true moral instinct, but our recognition of its source will teach us that that is a false feeling... like our sense of vertigo when we see a 3d chalk drawing on the floor. It is a moral illusion. It might be helpful, but educated, understanding people will avoid using the terms 'evil' and 'good' except when trying to encourage the illiterate masses.
    3b) If it is cultural, then educated people, again, will realize that our cultures repugnance toward child molestation or the torture of puppies is just our cultures preference, and we will not, except in our weaker moments, 'judge' other cultures for torturing puppies or molesting children.
    3a) As in 3b, only more so.

So, assuming I have outlined all the possibilities in an atheist universe, the question arises when an atheist comes into a discussion trying to say wether something is 'good' or 'bad', 'evil' or 'acceptable'... what do you mean by those words?? Two theists, using those words, are calling each other to certain behaviors for which they both recognize the yardstick: conformity to the will of God. Even when we disagree, we understand the stakes.

But why should anyone take an atheist seriously when he speaks of 'good' or 'evil'... or any more seriously than when he expresses his taste for Rocky Road??

@Danny705

>>As I’ve said, I do not believe the single cell is a human being,

0,0,0,0….0,0,0,1,2,4,8,16,32,64,128,256,1024,2048,4096,10k,20k,40k,80k,

One of these commas is not like the others…

Yes, you have said that. And you have been clearly shown that there is nothing in biology that makes that assertion reasonable. So upon what other basis do you make this claim?

@Danny705
>>We are both atheists about thousands of gods,

I have seen this argument before, and it really does miss the point.
Atheists are generally materialists. At least, I have never known one that wasn’t. Thus they do not merely deny the existence of God, they deny the existence of the entire non-material realm.
All other people, namely the overwhelming majority of people over the entirety of human history, have agreed that there is more than this material world. In fact they have considered it pretty important. Usually more important than this material world.
So an atheist, read materialist, is denying what pretty much everyone has always considered pretty important. Not only things like God, angels, and miracles (altho those are pretty important), but things like justice, beauty… and morality.
As we have seen in this discussion, morality, as traditionally defined and as used in common parlance even by atheists, is not within the atheist paradigm. Which isn’t surprising, as it is a non-material thing. One cannot pick morality up and put it in your pocket. One cannot examine it with a microscope, or peer at it with a telescope. It has no mass, no energy, no force, no motion.
So when a Jew, a Muslim, and a Christian argue about the nature of God, or the details of morality… we are all agreeing that there exists a universe in which these arguments make sense. The atheist, in that universe, has literally nothing to say.
I will say one thing in their favor, on the other hand. They do realize how important the issue is. I am, full confession here, an ‘anti-Santa-Claus-ist’. I do not believe in the existence of Santa Claus. Indeed, this lack of belief of mine cost me some presents at some point.
But I don’t actually run around calling myself that. Nor do I present myself as an ‘Anti-Easter-Bunny-Ist’ or an ‘Anti-Tooth-Fairy-Ist’. For that matter I don’t usually call myself an ‘Anti-Islam-Ist’ or an ‘Anti-Buddah-Ist’ or an ‘Anti-Shinto-Ist’.
The reason I don’t is because along with my lack of belief in those things, I have a profound lack of belief in the importance of those things. I never taught my children anything about Santa, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy. We had some discussions about Islam, as we lived in an area that was heavily Muslim, but I don’t think we ever discussed Buddah or Shinto. They just didn’t matter much.
So congrats to the atheists for at least defining themselves by a lack of belief in pretty much all of the really important things. But the argument above falls pretty flat. The atheist and the monotheist don’t just differ in that the former believes in one less god. We differ in our beliefs on pretty much everything that matters.
(A caveat. The atheist, in his life, doesn’t differ in those things. That is because the atheist isn’t an atheist when it comes to living his life. He doesn’t live as if torturing puppies didn’t matter. But that is what his philosophy should be telling him. The knife used to torture the puppy, the puppy, and the hand that wields the knife are all just matter in motion. Or so his philosophy says.)

@VonO I believe that the sum of human data today (the very system which facilitated this conversation) is a more reliable metric of reality than holy scripture. Based on the available data, I do not accept the fundamental presupposition that god “is”. For that reason, you believe that I am immoral, a bad person. Is that basically correct?

@Danny705
>>Is that basically correct?
That is so far from what I have said it would be difficult to see with a telescope 🙂 . I am not even sure what particular answer of mine you derive this from, but it contradicts several things I have said.
And it is completely off topic to the question of this thread, and thus the question I have asked you several times: What is morality? Not what are its particular elements, but what is it? Is it subjective, cultural, evolutionary or objective?

@VonO [dictionary.com]

@VonO Morality is an evolved trait which developed over millions of years to promote group cohesion. Groups who were able to cooperate outcompeting those who could not. The principles of “right” and “wrong” are fundamental to the social behaviour of cooperative species.

@Danny705 AHa, now we are getting somewhere. I assume of the two definitions you posted you agree with the second one? So we can ignore this first one you posted?
conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct.
moral quality or character.
virtue in sexual matters; chastity.
a doctrine or system of morals.
moral instruction; a moral lesson, precept, discourse, or utterance.
morality play.

@Danny705
So, you go along with the evolutionary model. Cool. That helps us understand where we are.
Now two problems, at least, with that model:

  1. It doesn't help your case in favor of child murder. Evolution should teach you to try to have as many children as possible, at least those you can support with some hope of reaching sexual maturity and thus producing offspring. The selfish gene and all that. Obviously killing your children in the womb in the middle of a highly wealthy society is antithetical to that. So you should be arguing on the other side.
  2. The evolutionary model basically says that morality as it is instinctively understood is a lie. That the feeling we all have of doing something objectively wrong is just, as you put it, something bred into us to make us get along with our group and thus promote our genes. Now that we have figured that out, if we wish to be truthful with each other, we should stop acting as if, when we said something was 'evil' or 'good', we have actually said something meaningful. Or something other than 'in order to promote group cohesion and success I feel we should..."
    And, again, murdering children doesn't fit that. At all. At any age.

So your definition seems at odds with what you are trying to argue here.

@VonO Okay, I think that does clear things up. When asked “what is morality?” My response is an evolved trait. When asked what is your religion? My answer is humanism (not evolutionism). The causal link between evolution and morality is clear (in my opinion) but the cause of morality exists independently from my religious beliefs.
I believe that you have set up a dichotomy which can’t be easily reconciled. If mortality is contingent on God then non-believers must be immoral. If non-believers are not inherently immoral then morality cannot be contingent upon God.

@VonO [dictionary.com]

@VonO, @Danny705 I am, very much, enjoying your discussion. I hope you continue respectively! You are interesting creatures! 🙂

@Danny705
>>When asked “what is morality?” My response is an evolved trait.
Yes. I thought that would be your response. So now we bring that back to the discussion at hand. I pointed out, above, that your defintion of morality contradicts your view on abortion.
It also contradicts your participation in this discussion.
If one comes at the issue from the viewpoint of a theist, the reason to engage in discussions over morality is clear: we both agree that there is a will of God that we are to try to follow, and we both believe that we are moral and reasoning creatures. Therefore a discussion has a chance of helping one or both of us improve our understanding of the will of God, and thus our moral actions.
Now we come to the situation of a Theist discussing with atheist. The theist believes that the atheist is a created child of God, with an innate sense of morality (ie the will of God) and a capacity for reason. So I would argue in an attempt to call you back to that morality by use of that reason.
Now we come to atheism. Or, rather, to the atheist. What you are saying is that ‘morality’ is an evolved trait. So you are saying that I have evolved and, at the end of the long chain of evolution, it has been bred in me this feeling that fertilized eggs should not be killed. (A view which, ironically, corresponds well with evolution.) You, on the other hand, at the end of a slightly different long chain of evolution, have a feeling inbred in you that it is fine to kill fertilized eggs as well as children up to the age of twenty weeks. And you are discussing it… why? Are you trying to convince me that my inbred feeling is… not? Or are you merely operating according to your feelings and they come out as what theists falsely see as an attempt at rational discussion??
You mentioned earlier that one cannot argue from an ‘is’ to an ‘ought’. The atheist, if he is true to his own beliefs, must realize that there is no ‘ought’ there. All there is is ‘is’. The ‘is’ of “I feel that I shouldn’t kill a baby, however young.” Or the ‘is’ of “I want you to be able to kill your baby, no matter how young.” But an ‘is’ of a feeling. An inbred feeling. But no ‘ought’… because you cannot get an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’.

@Danny705 Is the fertilized egg a ‘human person’?
It is important to realize that this question combines (at least) two different realms: that of the biological, and that of the philosophical. Thus answering it either requires dealing with both realms, or dealing with one of them and leaving the other as a caveat.
The first realm is the biological. If we are going to answer the biological question we have to treat ‘human’ as a species question, and ‘person’ as a mathematical question. And the answer is thus easy: the fertilized egg has ‘human’ species DNA (not chimp or tortoise) and and has a DNA which differs (in most cases) from every other DNA on the planet… and is thus an individual person, not merely part of the species.
But there is another aspect of the question. When the term ‘human person’ is raised in the discussion of child murder, it is often raised as a short form of the following: Is this fertilized egg a human person in the sense that it is incumbent upon the rest of the human race to grant to us the various rights and privileges (and sometimes even responsibilities) that we assign to the rest of human race?
This is a philosophical question. It cannot be answered biologically because it isn’t a biological question, but a question of rights and responsibilities… thus a philosophical question. For there are no ‘rights’ or even ‘responsibilities’ purely biologically. Is the two year old responsible when he hits his sister on her head with his toy hammer? Well, what is responsibility? We cannot measure it with a microscope, nor weigh it on a scale, no matter how large or heavy it is.
So when I say that a fertilized egg is biologically human I say only what everyone knows: that it is not a chimp, and it is an individual.

@Danny705
>> If morality is contingent on God then non-believers must be immoral.

A bit of an equivocation. Try this sentence, "If falling is dependent on gravity, than non-believes in gravity will not fall down."
You confuse two things: existence and belief. If morality is dependent on belief in God, then, as you say, those who do not believe cannot act morally. However if morality is depending on the existence and actions of God (which is the standard Christian and Jewish view) then there is no hinderance to unbelievers acting morally.

@dmatic Have you read 'the abolition of man'? Or seen the Bahnsen/Stein debate?
[archive.org]

@VonO “If one comes at the issue from the viewpoint of a theist, the reason to engage in discussions over morality is clear: we both agree that there is a will of God that we are to try to follow”

My religion does not have a God. Earlier you aptly pointed out the problems with defining one’s self in the negative, for that reason I do not define myself as an atheist. I am a humanist. A person who believes in seeking to minimize human suffering in this life because there is no other life. My religious narrative tightly aligns with objective discoveries of reality. Every discovery we have ever made has turned not to require the metaphysical. We thought God lived in the clouds, we made airplanes and he wasn’t there. We thought God created us as the centre of the universe, he didn’t. We thought epilepsy was caused by demonic possession but that isn’t true.
I have a different religion based in contemporary reality not God or the metaphysical, a new narrative for modern times. We didn’t evolve to abort fetuses but we also didn’t evolve to eat fast food, drive cars, go to space, fly airplanes, understand thermal dynamics, have medical care or have conversations via the internet. Most of what we do would be indistinguishable from magic to the authors of holy scripture (this is laid out very well in “Homo Deus” by Yuval Harari). 
The evidence to refute literal interpretations of God(s) is overwhelming. However; the metaphorical interpretations of religious narratives are still incredibly powerful and salient today. 
The central axiom of Christianity is the story of Jesus Christ. Jesus stands carrying the cross that will him. He willingly sacrifices his life for the betterment of people. What does this story teach us? A man who willingly sacrifices himself to other people will emerge in the image of God. It is a metaphor that has been used effectively for centuries to guide social behaviour.
Jesus was not literally born of a virgin, he was not literally resurrected and he did not literally ascend bodily to heaven. The story of Christ is the foundation of western culture, I don’t intend to be a dogmatic new atheist. I understand the impact Christian presuppositions have on modern life. However; their literal interpretations do not conform with what we have learned about reality since the enlightenment. 

@VonO “A bit of an equivocation”.
I get where you’re coming from now, this is what I was missing when I asked if you thought I was a bad person. Essentially God exists independently of my belief in his existence.

@VonO “It is important to realize that this question combines (at least) two different realms: that of the biological, and that of the philosophical”.

Biologically, I believe a human person has a brain and central nervous system. Philosophically, I believe in the effort to minimize human suffering. I believe there may be instances where the creation of a new life could add to the amount of overall suffering in the world, which stands in contrast to my religious presupposition.

@VonO “Are you trying to convince me?”
Absolutely not, I am trying to have you convince me, I seek to challenge my assumptions and you have been very gracious in helping me to do that. You have consistently come back at me with articulate and well-reasoned responses, thank you, I appreciate you participating.

@Danny705
>>Essentially God exists independently of my belief in his existence.

ROTFL... yup.

@Danny705
>>Biologically, I believe a human person has a brain and central nervous system.

No. This would be 'philosophically'. There is nothing in biology that teaches this, or could. It would be part of your philosophical definition.
There is nothing wrong with philosophy, but don't confuse it with biology.

@Danny705
>>Biologically, I believe a human person has a brain and central nervous system.

The format on this is sort of weird. Is it a quote or a post?

@Danny705
And I will remind you of what you have conceded. When you say 'I believe' what you admit you are saying is, "my evolutionary history tells me to say...". Indeed all of your long text on "I believe' and "I am convinced' and 'the evidence has taught me' translates, in your view, to: "my evolutionary history tells me to say..."

@Danny705 (Did you really think that the almighty creator of the universe depended for his existence on whether you believed in him?? How does that make any sense at all???)

@Danny705 The full quote was:
>>And you are discussing it… why? Are you trying to convince me that my inbred feeling is… not? Or are you merely operating according to your feelings and they come out as what theists falsely see as an attempt at rational discussion??

Thus your answer:

>>Absolutely not, I am trying to have you convince me,

Falls into the exact same problem. If you believe that everything you believe about morality is merely an outflow of your evolutionary upbringing... then how can it be 'convinced'? If I argue really well will your evolutionary upbringing change?

@Danny705
On the question of 'biology' I would suggest you try to find a human biology textbook whose first chapter is, "The beginning of Human Life" and which says, "An individual human life begins in the XX week when the brain and spinal cord are fully formed..."
The idea is ludicrous, as I assume you know. 'Personhood' is a philosophical construct. The closest biological idea would be something like 'individual' and would refer to the difference between two humans. It would be an interesting philosophical discussion to discuss the 'individuality' of conjoined twins... but it would not be one where anyone with any brains would argue that even identical, conjoined, twins were not to 'individuals'.

@VonO As I was formulating my response I realized that after all this time, that I have not asked this question directly. You are arguing that all abortions are immoral in all circumstances?

@VonO I'm not sure what happened with the format it was not a quote. sorry about that

@VonO
"This would be 'philosophically'. There is nothing in biology that teaches this, or could. It would be part of your philosophical definition".
The brain and central nervous system are unquestionably biological structures. You’ve said some version of “there is nothing in biology that teaches this” many times. That doesn’t make it true. For example, caterpillars undergo a metamorphosis to become butterflies, they are not already butterflies. Tad poles undergo a metamorphosis to become frogs, they are not already frogs. The single cell undergoes a process of metamorphosis and becomes a human being, it is not already a human being.

@Danny705
>>You are arguing that all abortions are immoral in all circumstances?
As you know, I don't use the term 'abortion'. I use the term 'child murder'. And, yes, whenever you deliberately set out to kill a child, that is murder.
Now the euphemism 'abortion' sometimes gets used for other things. The difference between them and child murder would be the goal of the procedure. If the goal is to kill the child, then that is murder, and, yes, is always immoral.
Let me give you an example. There are later term child murders where everyone knows it would be safer for the mother for the child to be delivered normally or per C section. But instead they cut the baby out before they deliver it... precisely so it will be dead before it comes out, so they (in their depraved minds) think they have no responsibility for killing it.

@Danny705
>>The brain and central nervous system are unquestionably biological structures.

No one denies it. That is not the question. That has nothing to do with your statement. You are trying to make the claim that biology teaches that there exists no human individual until the brain and spinal cord are formed. That is not a biological claim, since there is nothing at all in biology which makes that distinction. It is, if anything, a philosophical claim: that a human life has no moral value until.... [insert here: brain, spinal cord, digestive system, functioning reproductive system, higher level reasoning....]

@Danny705
>>I'm not sure what happened with the format it was not a quote. sorry about tha

It was an interesting format. I would like to learn how to do it and use it for quotes.

@VonO "And I will remind you of what you have conceded. When you say 'I believe' what you admit you are saying is, "my evolutionary history tells me to say...". Indeed all of your long text on "I believe' and "I am convinced' and 'the evidence has taught me' translates, in your view, to: "my evolutionary history tells me to say..."
Please don’t mistake my attempts to keep my tone polite and conversational to mean that I have conceded anything. There is a good secular argument for your position (it took you a very long time to get to the mathematics of cellular division by the way) but I find your worldview as offensive as you find mine. I have tried very hard (with varying degrees of success) to articulate my thoughts in a way that were respectful. If I said exactly what I was thinking this conversation would have ended a long time ago.

@VonO "If I argue really well will your evolutionary upbringing change?"
Yes, absolutely, if you demonstrate really compelling evidence which refutes what I believe to be true then I will definitely change my mind. Do you have any compelling evidence to refute evolution by natural selection? I’d love to see it, that would be incredibly exciting. I''m not sure what you mean by "evolutionary upbringing" but if you can disprove any facts I believe I will change my mind of coarse. Bring on the data. Would your view not change to conform to the data?

@Danny705
>>Please don’t mistake my attempts to keep my tone polite and conversational to mean that I have conceded anything.

Ummm, it wasn't your polite tone that convinced me of this, it was your actual statement that that was what you believe:

>> When asked “what is morality?” My response is an evolved trait.

So when you make a moral statement such as 'I believe', you are saying, if your statement of definition is to be believed, "Evolution has brought me to believe...'. I am confused that you would seem to find that offensive: it is what you yourself said you believe!

When I say "I believe" I mean, "As a being created by a rational and moral God I have used my moral knowledge and reason to conclude..." That is what the term has traditionally meant. But you literally said that you believe that morality is 'an evolved trait'... like an opposable thumb. There is, therefore, evolutionary utility involved (the thumb helps us survive and thus breed) but there is nothing 'true' or 'moral' about our thumbs.
Ditto in your view of morality. In an evolutionary view there exists a system of thought in each of us that provides us with utility: ie making it more likely we will survive and pass on our genes. But it does not reflect any objective truth, any objective morality. So when you say 'I believe' you are speaking, according to your view, out of that system of thought that has been bred in you. And you believe that when I speak I am speaking out of a system of thought that has been bred in me. Like my height or eye color.

@Danny705
>> There is a good secular argument for your position

In either of our views there can be no such thing as a 'secular' argument. In your view we each speak as our evolutionary history causes us to speak. In my view, God is the creator of everything and all arguments must lead to Him, or away from Him.

@VonO "In my view, God is the creator of everything and all arguments must lead to Him, or away from Him".
This is a presupposition, support the claim.

@VonO"There are later term child murders where everyone knows it would be safer for the mother for the child to be delivered normally or per C section. But instead they cut the baby out before they deliver it... precisely so it will be dead before it comes out, so they (in their depraved minds) think they have no responsibility for killing it".
I have never argued for this, nevertheless, give me a citation, I want to read your sources.

@VonO No, I have not read the abolition of man, nor seen the debate...why do you ask? I started to read your link, but it's too late to digest it all. Would like to listen to the debate. Where can it be found? Thanks. Also, I loved this from you: " All there is is ‘is’. " I'd like to write a SONG so entitled!

Carry on gentlemen...

@VonO Okay, I think we are descending into semantics and previously treaded ground. I’m trying to find what we agree on but it’s a stretch, we agree that morality is an instinctual drive (though we disagree on causality) anything else?
I remain unclear what your stance on evolution is, and I’m unclear regarding how literally you take biblical injunctions.
Your central claim about abortion, morality and life in general is predicated on the presupposition that God “is”. Are you willing to scrutinize that central claim? What do you base that claim on? Is there anything that would cause you to change your mind?
Also, I’m wondering where we stand on the inverse of morality, where do you believe evil comes from. Perhaps if we attack this problem from the other direction we can find more common ground.

@dmatic
Here is the Bahnsen/Stein debate. Feel free to post it over on the 2%.

@Danny705
On color, and color vision.

I think perhaps we miscommunicated earlier when we discussed the nature of morality, so I want to take a step back. Let’s talk for a second about color…
According to you (I assume) we have evolved the ability to discern color. Which is to say that there is such a thing as color (different values of the electromagnetic spectrum) and our eyes, brain, and behavior have evolved the ability to discern and react to those differences.
In addition there is such a thing as color. That is there are actual different values in the electromagnetic spectrum.
There is not a one to one correspondence between those two things. At times our color sense might ‘see’ a color that is not there, or see one color as another, or see two colors combined as a third.
But in general the idea is that we have evolved the ability to take something in the objective world (namely color) and recognize and react to it. My wife sends me to the store for ‘slightly green bananas’, for example. This evolved trait has added to our reproductive and thus evolutionary success.
Now what I understood from you was that our moral sense was different from that. It was, in effect, color vision without color. It was a way, purely within myself, that evolution put in me, to differentiate between different classes of actions that actually share nothing objective in common. Murder is not a form of ‘red’, while care for one’s child is not a ‘green’. Murder is merely a form of action which evolution has taught us leads to less success for us as a species, while care for one’s child leads us toward more success.
Take breastfeeding. In the past it has generally been stated, by artists, poets, theologians, and the like, that breastfeeding was one of the most beautiful, moral, etc. activities. From an evolutionary standpoint this makes sense: breastfeeding was an important part of caring for an infant, and caring for infants led us to propagate our genes, thus evolutionary success.
When an individual arose who found breastfeeding repugnant, or embarrassing… this individual was shunned by the community, due to this evolutionary instinct. An individual like that could lead to less evolutionary success and was thus not to be tolerated…
But now, tis not so. Now in our modern society we don’t need breastfeeding to successfully raise our children. In fact, it might lead to less success, tying down the mother from other, more productive, activities. And so those individuals previously shunned are now becoming important, recognized, etc. Presumably they will be reproductively successful and will have this new trait bred more widely into the gene pool.
But, and here is where my question lies, if I understand you there is nothing good in itself, good objectively, good regardless of how successful it is or how much it allows us to breed, in breastfeeding. There is in it nothing intrinsically and objectively beautiful, noble, wonderful, etc. That if breastfeeding were to die completely out of the world, if our genes were to alter so that women’s breasts no longer produced milk, there would be nothing wrong with that, as long as we continued to successfully pass on our genes.
Was I right in that understanding? Or do you believe there is something objectively ’right’ or ‘beautiful’ about breastfeeding even if it plays no role in evolutionary success?

@Danny705
>>This is a presupposition, support the claim.

I think we are using these words differently. As I learned it a 'presupposition' and 'claim' are very different things. And they differ precisely in the question of support. A presupposition is where you start an argument, what you bring to a table. A 'claim' on the other hand is something that you say that you are prepared to back up with other, deeper values.
One of the biggest issues in the whole area of debates about the nature of God is the nature of what form of evidence is prior. Do we arrive at a knowledge of God by first accepting something else as greater than God, and thus leading to a knowledge of Him? Or is it the knowledge of God that allows us to make sense of all of the lesser things?
But your statement is odd in another way. You are reacting to my statement:
>>In my view, God is the creator of everything and all arguments must lead to Him, or away from Him

Which begins with the words 'In my view'. Are you asking me to demonstrate to you that that is my view? Or are you asking me to demonstrate how, if there is an omnipotent creator of everything all arguments must lead to or away from Him? Or are you asking me to prove that there is an omnipotent creator?

I am willing to do either of the first two, and to explore the nature of the third (which is a presupposition), but I'm not sure which one you are asking about.

@Danny705

I wrote:

>>>"If I argue really well will your evolutionary upbringing change?"

To which you replied:

>>Yes, absolutely,

I'm not sure you read my question very carefully. Obviously nothing can change your evolutionary upbringing. At least no argument. One might say that gene therapy might do so, but an argument can't.

@Danny705

>>I have never argued for this, nevertheless, give me a citation, I want to read your sources.

OK. Not completely clear what the 'this' is. The first thing I mention in the section is that a 'botched' abortion is one where the baby is born alive, or survives the attempt to murder them. This is a common use of the term:

[deveber.org]

Obviously the use of the word 'botched', which implies failure, communicates clearly that the purpose of the abortion was not merely that the baby come out, but that it come out dead. Ie that the goal of the procedure was not merely that the woman no longer be pregnant, but that the baby be dead.

Or you might be asking about the safety issue. I can provide sources for that, but they will necessarily be pro-life sources, which you may well not accept.

@Danny705
>>we agree that morality is an instinctual drive (though we disagree on causality) anything else?

I am going to await your reply to my 'color' post, as that will clarify the extent to which we agree or disagree here. One thing that is important to remember is that sometimes I am arguing 'in your view'... which implies that my view sees things differently. I like to understand what my opponents are saying.
( For example in our earlier exchange about 'is abortion always wrong' I would have a lot more things to say about that within the Christian view, issues of blasphemy and the like.)

@Danny705
>>Also, I’m wondering where we stand on the inverse of morality, where do you believe evil comes from. Perhaps if we attack this problem from the other direction we can find more common ground

That might be a good exchange. I am going to await your reply to 'color' before responding more.

@VonO This is a great time to “take a step back”. First, I’d like to separate evolution from contemporary society.
Evolution is an unbroken chain going back 3.5 billion years, it is the only known natural system of engineering based on adapting to the environment through natural selection.
Contemporary society began around 300 years ago during the enlightenment. Since that time, we as a species have learned to override that natural mechanism, if the environment doesn’t meet our needs we change it (we didn’t evolve into aquatic species over millions of years, we built ships) and through medical advancements children that would otherwise not be viable survive to reproduce (not a moral claim just an observation). We have fundamentally altered the natural order in an incredibly short time. One of the things that we have adapted to our needs/wants is reproduction (your breastfeeding example works here). The invention of safe and reliable birth control has shifted society dramatically (perhaps we agree that SJW’s are idiots on this issue). To my mind, abortion is inseparable from these broader issues regarding reproduction (the infertile having children through medical intervention and the fertile not having children through medical interventions). Evolution is no longer the primary driver which is an unprecedented and far reaching change (check out Homo Deus by Yuval Harari).
Let’s get to it. Yes, we evolved the ability to see colour in large part to distinguish ripe fruit. An important note is that we only see a fraction of the true spectrum. Seeing Gama rays, x-rays, ultra-violet and radio waves is not a trait we evolved. Importantly, we have discovered them and learned to use them for our purposes. We use X-rays in medical science, and radio waves in all of our wireless communication to name a few examples. We did not evolve to know this but through systematic empiricism we have figured it out, it’s amazing, I daresay beautiful. Though, I agree that we are picking up on something that really is there it goes through a process of sensory interpretation and is not actually the full picture of reality, we see what we needed to pick ripe fruit, we’ve figured out so much more.
Now if you’d like the “full spectrum” of the moral landscape we need to divide the mechanisms. We share some visceral moral sense with other social mammals (i.e. rats and mice) which means those structures are very old. On top of that we also have the uniquely human capacity to layer the complexity through shared value structures and shared narrative (the monetary system is an example of sharing a belief on massive scales). Shared value structures give us the capacity to cooperate without kinship which other social mammals can’t do (that’s a really big deal).
On the one hand we can cooperate with people we don’t know (Jonathan Haidt calls the positive version “groupishness&rdquo😉. This is why we will see people risk their life to save a person they’ve never met, evolutionarily group survival is more important than individual survival. We have the capacity to do great altruistic good (moral acts).
On the other hand we have an older mechanism which tells us to protect our own kind (tribalism). This is where we see dehumanising other groups (i.e. slavery or Nazism). Obviously, this is dramatically oversimplified if you’re interested read “the Righteous Mind” by Jonathan Haidt.
In answer to your direct question, I am no fan of moral relativism. We disagree on abortion, not everything else. Slavery is wrong in all cultures and contexts for example. The thing I take exception with is holding up the Bible as the guide to a moral life. I have read the Bible, at it’s best it’s beautiful, at its worst it is truly a reprehensible document (it’s celebration of slavery and genocide to name a few examples). I genuinely don’t understand your position on this matter and remain deeply curious about your perspective.

@VonO "I’m not sure you read my question very carefully"
You’re right I misunderstood. What I would like you to know is that I will change my mind based on the stronger argument. Early on you made an argument which was better than mine, I conceded the point and will no longer put that argument forward (I was wrong, I learned something and I see no shame in that).

@VonO "Obviously the use of the word botched'
I'll be honest I got myself fired up and emotional last night, I wasn't thinking clearly. My apologies, please disregard.

@VonO I don't know why there is an emoji in my big post I can't get rid of it

@Danny705
>>In answer to your direct question, I am no fan of moral relativism.

Unfortunately you don't actually answer the question. It was an interesting post, certainly, but your answer to my question was, at best, oblique. But let me see what I can do.
I found a definition of moral relativism which states:
"Moral relativism is the idea that there is no universal or absolute set of moral principles."
If you are 'not a fan' of this, I assume that means you think this is false. Thus can I assume that you mean, "there is s universal and absolute set of moral principles."?
This would place a moral sense in the same category as seeing color: color exists independently of our seeing it (and you add some great ways in which that is true), and our seeing it can be false or misleading.

This leads us to the question of what it means, in an atheistic and materialistic universe (you are a materialist?) to have 'a set of values'? Values are not materialistic: they are usually considered to be supernatural, but they are at the very least not material: they cannot be weighed, touched, they have no energy, no mass.

Keep in mind that as a believer, I believe that you are a rational creature, endowed by your creator with a moral sense. (Perverted by sin). But how does such a moral sense, if it is truly measuring or reacting to something objective, absolute, universal, and non-material, fit in a materialistic view of the universe?

(By the way, I have read 'The Righteous Mind'. I think I even wrote a review. Haidts view of morality, however, can easily be seen to fit into a materialistic universe: an evolutionary trait that helps us breed)
(And we will definitely get back to your idea of our breaking out of the evolutionary pattern in the last 300 years! That is a fascinating analysis.)

@Danny705
>>What I would like you to know is that I will change my mind based on the stronger argument.

With some caveats I fully believe that. It just seems inconsistent with the definition I was assuming of morality being an 'evolutionary trait'.

@Danny705 By the way, I was listening to JP's recent podcast "From the Moore Theatre in Seattle' and (at least at the beginning, which is how far I've gotten) he addresses many of the questions that we have been wrestling with in our above discussion.

@VonO My name is Timothy Daniel Neal. My friends call me Danny. I’m 34 years old I have a beautiful wife and three children two boys 11 and 7 and a girl 13 months. I live in Sault Ste. Marie ON Canada. I have beautiful boyhood memories of being in the woods with my father driving old snow machines in circles with the sting of the cold on my skin and the scent of wood smoke on the air.
I am currently studying my master’s degree in counselling psychology. The work of Jordan B. Peterson revolutionized my life and my thinking. I am not making fun of you, I don’t understand your world. How can this be? How can a man believe God “is”? I do not profess to be an expert on evolution or scripture. I hope you will educate me on both. I would like for us to move forward as friends.
Respectfully,
Danny

@VonO It's possible you're right maybe I am a moral relativist, school me on the scripture, show me your world. We are only discussing half the Narrative. This talk needs to be about Good and Evil

@Danny705

How can I believe that God is?

In the context of this discussion I think I will begin with two things:

First of all, it is not so much that all things make sense of Christianity, but that Christianity makes sense of all things. Earlier you brought up the issue of presuppositions. It is once I have all of my Christian presuppositions in place that the entire universe makes sense, even those parts that are a mystery. Because one would expect a mystery with God, wouldn’t one? One wouldn’t expect to understand everything that in infinitely powerful, infinitely wise creator did.
GK Chesterton, in his wonderful book “The Everlasting Man” put it this way:
“[In regards to the origin of the world] It is really far more logical
to start by saying 'In the beginning God created heaven and earth' even
if you only mean 'In the beginning some unthinkable power began some
unthinkable process.' For God is by its nature a name of mystery, and
nobody ever supposed that man could imagine how a world was created any
more than he could create one. But evolution really is mistaken for
explanation. It has the fatal quality of leaving on many minds the
impression that they do understand it and everything else; just as many
of them live under a sort of illusion that they have read the Origin of
Species.”
Secondly, as JP was speaking about in his lecture that I posted about, there is the values question. With Christianity values are grounded in a meaning that fits our instinctive understanding.
Let me give an example. Suppose you were to take a mixed group of young children and show them a movie illustrating, in living color, the process of reproduction from conception to birth. A time lapse movie, nice and long and with wonderful color, showing the developing child over the entire nine months of his time in the womb, and showing his birth.
And then the next day you showed that same movie, only in reverse, and starting just before birth and again each time a month had gone buy you stopped the film and you asked, “What would you think of someone who took a knife and cut this baby into pieces?”
We all know what their reaction would be. Their instinctive, untrained, reaction. It would be moral repugnance. It would be to consign to whatever hell those children would come up with in their imagination, anyone depraved enough to do such a thing. And they would do so all the way back to the very first cell.
Once those children understood that the end result was a baby, coming out of his mother and sucking at her breasts, there would be no question, there would be no hesitation, they would condemn its destruction.
Christianity allows me to accept that repugnance, and give it body. Give in moral meaning and moral context. To place it into an understanding of life, the universe, and everything.
And it allows me to do so for a myriad of other transcendent goods: justice, beauty, imagination, glory, worship… the list is literally endless.

@VonO I agree that the transcendent is the mystery. I view that mystery as a puzzle to be solved, one we as a species have made enormous strides in. We don’t know what happened before the “big bang” but we have been able to trace time backward by 13.8 billion years, there is beauty in the scope of human achievement and no reason to believe these achievements will stop. For all of these discoveries the answer has invariably never been God. One of my presupposition is the humility to admit what I do not know. It seems that you are looking at what you cannot know (how the universe came to be) and drawing the unfounded conclusion that you do know, it was God. My question is twofold, why is it God and why is it your God?
What about evil? I can imagine the worst possible situation a child can be born into, a neglectful and cold mother who never wanted them. A tyrannical father who beats, rapes and belittles them. What happens when they grow into adults who inflict the horrible lessons they’ve learned from their parents on the world around them, leaving a trail of suffering in their wake. What if the children in your example watched the lifelong time lapse with all of its horrors? How can you know what they might conclude? Morality is only half the narrative. Why was there a snake in the garden of Eden?

@VonO my mother was deeply impacted by the work of Joseph Campbell, in turn these were the religious lessons of my childhood. I was raised to believe that all religions are true in the sense that they point to the mystery, they are meaningful, not literal.

@Danny705 If I may interject, though I hesitate because I do not want to interfere with your great conversation, (and sometimes a third party ruins the flow) I will anyway. What we all seem to be searching for is "reality", that which is true. As Danny has just pointed out, we all come from "backgrounds", where we were presumably taught someone else's version of 'reality', that more often than not, was their opinion of reality, rather than truth. Reminds me of something I read a long time ago that stuck with me. It was said by Siddhartha or Herman Hesse: "There is a reality, my boys, and nothing can change that. However: Truths, that is Opinions of reality are countless in number and each is just as true as it is false." That gave me pause back then, and it gives me pause now.

There is a lot we don't know. As it has not been revealed to us, yet. The Bible has the interesting truth expressed thusly: "Our forefathers inherited lies". Though they may have thought them truth at the time, they were not. Jesus also said to His "boys": "I have much more to reveal to you but you are not yet ready to hear them" (My paraphrase)

Personally, I love it that God has put you two together! Obviously, He has a purpose for doing so. The tenor and tone of your conversation is fascinating. Please continue....

@VonO "their own person" yet without a self aware consciousness, brain, pain receptors, ideas, language etc at the point of conception. Its a religious divide this question, and always will be.

@Danny705 How can I believe that God is not metaphor?

Let me start with a concept that JP used the other day in his podcast, which was used earlier by GK Chesterton (or was it CS Lewis, I forget). JP was talking about fiction; and talking about how, in many cases, fiction is ‘Truer than facts’. (No idea why my program capitalized ‘Truer’, but, whatever, works for me).
His idea is, and as I say he is not the first to hold this idea, that when a good author writes a bit of fiction, he does so by incorporating true ideas from all over, refining them in a way that allows us to see those true ideas in a way even clearer that we can ordinarily do.
Thus JP is presenting to us a two story world: facts, which speak to us truly but in a confused and muddled way; and story, which speaks to us in a ‘Truer’ way.
What Christianity does, and I will not speak to you of any other religion in any positive light except occasionally of Judaism, is to present the third story. Facts would be true, if we could understand them. Fiction is false in its facts, but helps us to understand those facts which are true. God is true in His facts and His understanding. God is like Plato’s ideals, only more so.
There is a marvelous scene in ‘The Silver Chair’ which illustrates this point. (Being fiction it points to true facts 🙂 ). In it the children (and this Marsh creature) are captured by a witch, and are being held prisoner (along with a prince) in caverns deep underground. The witch has convinced the prince, and is trying to convince the children and the March creature, that the cavern in which they are now is all of reality. That there is no sun, no stars, no grass…
The children are fighting back by trying to explain those marvelous things which do not exist in the reality they find themselves in. The grass, they explain, is like the carpet… only greener, and alive. The sun is like the lamp… only ever so much brighter, and hotter, and afar off.
And the witch smiles with each of these metaphors and talks down to them. How nice it must be to believe in these marvelous things, these great myths. Too bad all we really have is carpet, and lamps, and these grey caves.
Similarly there is no question that when we speak of God we are forced to do so in metaphors. JP, altho his theology is spotty, is a marvelous one for spotting the metaphors in the Biblical stories: redemption, rebirth, sin, temptation.
But those metaphors only go so far in pointing us to the eternal reality. I believe in a real God because I believe in a real Earth: not merely a metaphoric one. The people, and I myself, around me commit real evil acts, not merely metaphoric ones.
I believe in God because the babies that are being murdered are real human beings. I believe in evil because the babies being murdered are real human beings.

@hariseldon
>>their own person" yet without a self aware consciousness, brain, pain receptors, ideas, language etc at the point of conception. Its a religious divide this question, and always will be.

... which demonstrates that it is a philosophical not a biological question, since none of those change the biology of the human person question.
The religious divide of whether it is OK to murder children is, of course, not new. The followers of Moloch, the Greeks, they all held that it was OK, even mandatory, to murder children. It is only a new thing in the Christian cultural context to have some people arguing for it.

@VonO At long last we get to Dr. Peterson, I am with you in terms of stories being an abstraction which points to things that are truer than the literal truth. For example, the archetype (I love Carl Jung) of the benevolent father does not represent the father in the context of a particular story he represents all good fathers everywhere through all time. Where we part ways on this matter, is in the assertion that these truths are unique to Christianity.
After a long period of fasting and meditating Siddhartha sits under the tree alone vowing not to rise until he has found enlightenment, Mara sends his beautiful daughters to sway Siddhartha from his path (a temptation of the flesh) Siddhartha resists. Then Mara sends an army of monsters to tempt him to flee (a temptation of fear) again Siddhartha is steadfast in his resolve. Finally, Mara offers to Siddhartha the kingdom of his father (a temptation of materialism) but Siddhartha resists. He stays under the tree until he reaches enlightenment, the man who sat beneath the tree emerges as the enlightened one, the Buddha. That story sounds an awful lot like Luke 4: 1-14 to me.
Here’s another example, when the Buddha had left Savatthi Sariputta felt a desire to see the Lord and to hear him preach. Coming to the river where the water was deep and the current strong, he said to himself: "This stream shall not prevent me. I shall go and see the Blessed One, and he stepped upon the water which was as firm under his feet as a slab of granite. When he arrived at a place in the middle of the stream where the waves were high, Sariputta's heart gave way, and he began to sink. But rousing his faith and renewing his mental effort, he proceeded as before and reached the other bank.
The people of the village were astonished to see Sariputta, and they asked “how he could cross the stream where there was neither a bridge nor a ferry”. Sariputta replied: "I lived in ignorance until I heard the voice of the Buddha. As I was anxious to hear the doctrine of salvation, I crossed the river and I walked over its troubled waters because I had faith. Faith. nothing else, enabled me to do so, and now I am here in the bliss of the Master's presence."
Sound familiar? If the Buddhists are wrong, why is it that their stories (which are 500 years older) point to the same truths?

@Danny705 Interesting. I have a couple of questions, though I'm not sure anyone said Buddhists were wrong. Who is it that does the enlightening? And, presumably, it was the Buddha that was doing the preaching on salvation, that Sariputta desired to hear? By the way, do you know a Buddist's perspective on child murder? Thanks

@dmatic You’re right my apologies. Let me rephrase the questions, why do you think Buddhism shares similar stories?
I think (I’m not an expert) that the Buddhist perspective is that “Life is suffering, and suffering is caused from desire” the enlightened person has reached a place in their mind where they are free from desire.
I actually have no idea what the Buddhist position is on abortion. It’s an important question to the issue at hand. I'll gt back to you properly when I have more time.

@Danny705 No need to apologize, Danny. I'm just curious. By the way, before seeing the movie "Unplanned" yesterday, my wife and I visited the bookstore where I bought a copy of "The Righteous Mind" and Jordan P's Twelve Rules...

Regarding Truth..."Desire is a trap". Desirelessness is freeing, I suppose. I think this is also a tenet of Christianity. Covetousness is to be avoided, following the dictates of one's flesh is to walk in condemnation, etc. I compared it to Jesus' comments about eunuchs, to mean those who do not lust. (Some are eunuchs from birth. Some make themselves eunuchs, but not everyone is ready for the desireless life....

@Danny705 >>Sound familiar? If the Buddhists are wrong, why is it that their stories (which are 500 years older) point to the same truths?

How is it that men can speak the truth even if they are not Christian?

Let’s leave aside for a moment the particular ‘truths’, and focus on the question of ‘How can someone who is not a Christian speak the truth?”
The answer, for a Christian, is trivial. Or course all men can speak truth. They are all created by a truthful, rational God.
That does not mean that all men do speak truth at all times about all things. Far from it. But the truths of the ‘copybook headings’ are truths that men have known in all ages.
Now atheism, on the other hand, has no such claim. As we spoke of about, atheism, at least in its form of materialism, can only say that the human brain has evolved to promote the success of the human race. To the extent that this means that thinking and speaking the truth promotes success, then they will do so. To the extent that it doesn’t (and this is the rationale that atheists often point to for humans believing in religion) then they will think and speak non-truth. And be fully convinced that they are ‘true’.

@VonO This was succinct and clear I think I understand your perspective. Basically, all people in all ages have recognized that there is this life and that there is some other plane of existence on top of it. In your view, atheists are particularly misguided in their inability to accept the transcendent. You take exception to atheist over other believer regardless of their religious tradition? A polytheist is off the mark but an atheist can’t even see the target?
A while back you told me that I can be a moral man but that I am perverted by sin. Can we explore that concept? What does it mean to be perverted by sin? Do all non-Christians go to hell?
I would like to respond to your thoughts on atheism more fully but before I do that I think it might be helpful if we return to the idea I put forward earlier. I suggested that contemporary society has altered the evolutionary tradition we came from by controlling the process of natural selection (turning it into artificial selection). I believe that science has fundamentally changed the landscape, where there was once death there is health care, where there was starvation there is food surplus (globally more people die each year from obesity then starvation), infant mortality is all but vanished in the west, many diseases are effectively irradiated. For all of history people believed that disease and famine were caused by curses or the wrath of God but now people are developing the capacity to understand and mitigate these tragic effects. I believe humanism is the narrative of the future because by focussing on science we can mitigate human suffering in the only plane of existence we can control. I’d love to hear your thoughts about that idea.

@Danny705 Wow, you raise a bunch of interesting questions in the same post. Hope you're not hopping for a comprehesive reply. Am going to focus on your last issue?

@VonO I still have so many unresolved questions. Answer however you see fit.

@VonO I don't think you are being fair referring to fetuses as children, and equating abortion - I'm not referring to late term here, just the early stages - with the murder of actual living breathing self aware kids through the ages by horrific people.

@Danny705 Hi Danny, curious if my thought experiment regarding the existence of God would interest you. See link from within this post if so. Cheers [slug.com]

@hariseldon
>> I don't think you are being fair referring to fetuses as children,

Well, feel free to lay out why you think that killing baby humans (the word 'fetus' means 'baby' ) should be treated more leniently than killing older children or adults. Nature would teach us the opposite.

@Danny705
>>On Humanism and Evolution… and child murder

I find your explanation on humanism and evolution fascinating, but not coherent. Or, rather, contradictory.
Let’s suppose that the Theory of Evolution decides to have some fun and create a squirrel. Before all it had designed were ground dwelling animals, but one day it looks up at a tree and says, “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun if something lived up there?” So it creates a squirrel…
In other words, the random mutations pile up to produce an animal that does well scurrying round in trees. Has evolution stopped?
No but far otherwise. When the squirrels run around in trees they are basically testing out that particular set of genes: will they succeed? Will they produce lots of offspring?
If the answer is yes, then evolution goes on to make further changes in squirreldom. It produces bigger squirrels, smaller squirrels, black squirrels, white squirrels, flying squirrels. And it tests each of them to see if they work. If they do, great, on goes the process. If not, then, try try again.
So what has happened with humans, if evolution is to be believed, is that years of natural selection working off random variation has produced a certain kind of set of instincts, a certain size and quality of brain, etc. And then humans climbed the tree….
Disagreeing completely with your 300 year theory, we both agree that humans, unlike squirrels and panda bears, have intellectual aspects to our lives. We have invented scientific fixes to many of our problems. And, over the years, we have changed aspects of our culture to fit that. Differently in different areas, but we have changed them.
So what? If evolution has provided us with a brain, that is no different than providing squirrels with climby claws and a bushy tail. Does it work? Does it produce offspring?? Then it will go on its merry way and try even more changes. Perhaps milk-less females. But evolution has not stopped, it has only adapted to the tree. Or, rather, adapted us to the tree.
Calling this change ‘Humanism’ is silly, however. What you seem to be promoting is ‘Scientism’… the elevation of Science as god. Humanism would be the elevation of humans as god. (And it would be truly bizarre to bring up such a thing in a thread where you are arguing it is OK to kill baby humans. Killing your own gods, how bizarre.)
Both of those are, of course, in opposition to Theism… which is the recognition of God as God.
And neither Humanism nor Scientism (nor Theism, for that matter) can be based on science, since science deals with ‘is’ not ‘ought’.
And it is worth noting, historically, that the enlightenment, the scientific revolution, and the industrial revolution all happened in the midst of a culture based on protestant Christianity.

@Danny705 " Can we explore that concept? What does it mean to be perverted by sin? Do all non-Christians go to hell?"

Again, I don't want to enter this discussion to dilute what you two are investigating, and maybe this should be a whole new thread, but..there is much confusion about a lot of stuff, especially, about God! Theology. Sin is transgression of God's Law. Why does it pervert "morality"? Morality is defined by God, of course, and His Law is perfect. Therefore, to 'allow' oneself to violate it is iniquity. Iniquity is the idea that one can sin and it will be OK anyway. It, sin, in itself, is a perversion of morality. And it infects the way a person sees the world, and God, Himself!

The idea of 'hell' and its place in reality is a whole topic in itself with many false ideas about it in circulation for millennia. First, we know "hell" or hades or gehanna or sheol exist. But we also know that hell does not last forever.

Maybe that last sentence shocks you, but it is true. God IS Love. Everything God does is motivated by love. I would posit...even hell. Many reasons for saying so, but I'll end this with God's expressed plan...that ALL will come to know Him! Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess....allegiance to Him! Death itself will be eliminated and suffering and pain, and every tear will be wiped...Good stuff!

@VonO I find your explanation on humanism and evolution fascinating, but not coherent. Or, rather, contradictory.
Fundamentally, Evolution is based on non-random adaptation to the environment. The point I was attempting to make is that we Humans no longer adapt to our environment, we adapt the environment to us. We don’t evolve new bodies to deal with the heat, we air-condition our homes. This artificial adaptation creates an entirely new moral landscape. Imagine we discover a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, that’s great, but what happens if that technology can also be applied to provide average people with super human memory, is that ethical? What if in Canada we decide that it is unethical but in China they do not. Will the Chinese develop a super human race and outcompete us? What if a group of hyper wealthy Silicon Valley elites develop immortality and super human intelligence? What does that mean for the rest of us? What are the ethical implications? To borrow your example, we are no longer the squirrel who adapted to the tree, we are the squirrel who planted the tree we live in, cut its branches to better serve our needs and added air conditioning to make it more comfortable. Evolution without adaptation to the environment is a completely new phenomenon and we have no idea what that implies ethically or otherwise.
I think you are unclear regarding the role that science plays in my worldview and how it is connected to Humanism. We know that other social mammal cannot cooperate when group size exceeds 150 members (they need to know each other intimately in order to cooperate) but we humans do it all the time. From a psychological perspective it seems that we do this by intuitively absorbing presuppositions into our unconscious behaviour.
Historically, religion filled in the gaps of implied social behaviour, religious stories inform us of how to act. For example, Jesus Christ sacrificed himself to the good of man therefore; good men sacrifice themselves to their families and communities. It’s an incredibly powerful adaptation.
My wife is French Catholic, epilepsy runs in the family. Historically, if a child showed signs of epilepsy they would call the priest and have the child exercised based on the assumption that demonic position is real and priests can deal with it. We don’t share that presupposition, we believe the narrative that epilepsy is a disease better treated with medication (and we’re right). Scientific ideas are intuitively incorporated into our worldview. We believe the story of Germ Theory of Disease, the creation myth of Evolution by Natural Selection. We enact that narrative in all that we do (the enactment of a Narrative is called a ritual). The possibility of this conversation is predicated on a scientific view of the world. It utilizes computer science, electricity, radio waves, the chemistry which made the plastic my computer is encased in and so on. Like me, you also enact the scientific narrative intuitively, you too have absorbed the presupposition that computers work and germs are real.
Science is not a religion it is a method of investigation which has proven to be enormously powerful. It took me a long time to puzzle this out (I lost much sleep over this discussion) but when you said “it is only when I put all my Christian presuppositions together that I understand the world” it came together for me. I believe that human life is inherently valuable and that the moral life is the one which seeks to minimize human suffering. This is religious opinion, many cultures do not share this view, cultures of slavery, genocide, human sacrifice and even cannibalization are well documented. Humanism is a religion which replaces scripture with science because it effectively minimizes suffering. The stories we enact are based in systematic empiricism. I have an assumption that scientific stories are a more reliable metric of how to keep my family safe then religious narrative (we don't pray we go to the hospital).
You believe that abortion is child murder based on the assumption that the soul is a genuine construct, I do not believe that there is sufficient evidence to support the claim. My view dictates that the transcendent is the Oneness of all things (mathematicians call it the singularity). Despite what you may think of people like me, we still have music, art, literature, architecture, community and beauty. We base our religious presupposition on the available data in 2019, not a 2000-year-old text. That is the difference between us.

@Danny705
>>You believe that abortion is child murder based on the assumption that the soul is a genuine construct,

I would encourage you to look back through our posts and find one where I make this argument. I don't believe you will be successful. I have argued, and will continue to argue, that child murder is the murder of children based upon several reasons, but I don't believe I have ever used the argument 'because the soul is a genuine construct'.

@Danny705
>>Despite what you may think of people like me, we still have music, art, literature, architecture, community and beauty.

There is nothing 'despite' about that. I have explained exactly why I think you have those things: you are a rational being with an inbuilt knowledge of morality because you are created by a rational, moral omniscient God.
What I will say, and have said, is that most of those things are contradictory to your philosophy: that atheism cannot account for any of them.

@Danny705
>>Fundamentally, Evolution is based on non-random adaptation to the environment.

Odd to use the words 'based on'. I will translate that into a normal definition by leaving it out. Thus it becomes: "Evolution is the non-random adaptation to the environment'.
To which I will reply: no it isn't. That would be a new definition of evolution, not the one proposed by Darwin or currently taught. Evolution is a theory designed to account for the preservation of species. In actual title, " On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life".
Evolution proposes that a certain gene sequence arises from another by means of a random mutation (if the mutation is not random, if it is directed, then that would be theistic evolution, or evolution by aliens). It then proposes that this sequence is 'selected for' because of how well it succeeds.
Thus it matters not one whit whether the squirrel climbs the tree, or if it plants the tree it climbs on: the question at hand is if its way of acting, due to its gene sequence, will produce offspring which will themselves produce offspring... ie be 'successful'. All of the voluminous differences between man and the squirrel are only, in evolutionary terms, one gene sequence vs another gene sequence.

@Danny705
>>We base our religious presupposition on the available data in 2019, not a 2000-year-old text. That is the difference between us.

Well, no, it isn't. At all.
First of all because it is a fundamental misunderstanding of the word 'presupposition'.
Secondly because much of the text is older than 2000 years old, and some of the rest is younger.
But thirdly because the difference between us is actually that your religious assumptions cannot account for your daily activity.
You do a lot of handwaving, but you don't contact the dots. Are you, or are you not, a materialist? When you speak vaguely about the Oneness of all things (you even capitalize it!) are you claiming the belief in a supernatural? Or are you merely speaking about a group of matter in motion?
If the first, then we need to have a very different conversation, because suddenly you aren't an atheist, you are someone who proposes a different god.
If the second, then your fundamental belief does not justify your capital letter.

@Danny705
>>I believe that human life is inherently valuable

Well, no, you don't. That is kind of the point of this entire discussion. You believe that some human life is worthless. (Indeed this is doubly odd because, later, you accuse me of believing it is worthwhile because it has a should.)

The philosophy of materialism cannot believe that anything is 'inherently valuable', because such a statement would be getting an 'ought' from an 'is'. Human life exists: that is the 'is'. Human life ought to be treated as valuable: that is an 'ought'. As we see in our current politics, many people think that the life of a baby human is of much less value than the pleasure of the baby human's parent: thus baby humans should be killed before they are born. Sometimes immediately before they are born.
And others believe that the life of humans is much less valuable, or only of the same value, as that of chimpanzees, or fish.

Now if you are not a materialist: if your God is indeed some sort of transcendental mathematical singularity... then you will have the beliefs which flow from that belief. (It would seem that chalk would be a holy object in that view). But you are welcome to try to demonstrate to me how belief in the Oneness of a singularity leads you to believe that human life is unique and thus uniquely valuable. And then to try even harder to demonstrate how belief in that Oneness leads you to draw a line at 12 week old human life.

@Danny705
>>>The possibility of this conversation is predicated on a scientific view of the world. It utilizes computer science, electricity, radio waves, the chemistry which made the plastic my computer is encased in and so on. Like me, you also enact the scientific narrative intuitively, you too have absorbed the presupposition that computers work and germs are real.

ROTFL.
You make a pretty big category mistake here. There is nothing 'scientific' about typing away on a computer. Abraham would have been able to do it, Daniel could have done it. It is a matter of the dexterity of the fingers and an ability to read.

Once again you seem very confused about the meaning of the word 'presupposition', but we soldier on. When you say I accept the idea that germs are real (since 'computers work' is so far from being a presupposition it is not funny) what do you mean? Let us examine the idea:

  1. It means that you believe that I believe that there are microorganisms. True. What of it? In what way would the existence of microorganisms contradict the idea of a created order, created by an omniscient God? He created large organisms (I have never seen an actual whale, but I have seen elephants and Orcas) why could he not create small ones? If we suddenly discovered organisms living at the quantum level, my faith would not be shaken at all.
  2. It means that you believe that I believe that these microorganisms, if they multiply in a the wrong way in the wrong place, could cause me to feel sick. What of it? Larger organisms, such as lions, can also cause trouble if they are in the wrong place. That's how God created them.
  3. But do you believe that I believe that these microorganisms are any less created, or any less under the sovereignty of God, than large organisms? Why would I believe that??

You bring up examples of religious believes acting according to their beliefs about the proximate cause of such and such a thing, and then later having that belief been found to be incorrect. What of it? Could you not just as easily have brought out story after story of scientists acting according to their belief and later being proved wrong? Some pretty funny stories, too.

Have you read the book of Job? In it God is talking to Satan, and He (God) gives him (Satan) permission to test Job. Later a group of raiders comes by and wipes out (or steals) his flocks. Does that story lead you to believe that:
a) Satan is responsible for the theft of Job's flock
b) God is responsible for the theft of Job's flock or
c) Raiders are responsible for the theft of Job's flock?

If you try to decide between these three you have not understood the story! If a wife hires a hit man to kill her husband with a rifle... was it the rifle, the bullet, the hit man, or the wife that 'killed him'? You are acting as if the discovery of bullets disproved the existence of the wife!

@VonO "I would encourage you to look back through our posts and find one where I make this argument"
No, you are right I was making an inference, you never said that, I thought it was assumed in your view, evidently, I was mistaken, my apologies. Your argument to this point has been “there is nothing in biology that says the fetus is not a human being” (you repeated the point many times) then you then used the mathematics of cell division to demonstrate it. Since there is something in biology (namely the brain and central nervous system) that could demonstrate why they are not a human being your claim is predicated on a false premise.

"What I will say, and have said, is that most of those things are contradictory to your philosophy: that atheism cannot account for any of them".
Nor can theism, they are firmly grounded in evolution. Atheism is the absence of a belief in a deity. It has no other implications, it is not a philosophy, you correctly pointed out already when you expressed your disbelief in Santa.

"That would be a new definition of evolution, not the one proposed by Darwin or currently taught".
Evolution is based on the non-random survival of randomly occurring species. The mutation is random the survival is not. Not all mutations propagate, only the ones which work, most are just birth defects.

"Well, no, it isn't. At all."
This is an interesting point; this conversation has encouraged me to consider my views very deeply (thank you for that). Yes, I think I am a materialist (something I didn’t know which is worth considering). Next, I have spent some time studying comparative religion, the Oneness is recognized across cultures. In the Catholic tradition it is represented by taking the Eucharist, accepting the blood and body of Christ into your body to become one. Many hunter gatherer traditions see all things as sacred, in Hinduism it is called the Brahman and so on. What’s interesting about this to me, is that this age-old truth that all things are connected seems to be supported by mathematics, the Singularity may be the place where the religion and science converge. So, though I am not recognizing a specific deity, I am recognizing the transcendent.
Though you insist on calling me an atheist I have no connection to the word. I am not against conceptions of divinity, I have said repeatedly that I will change my opinion any time I find sufficient support against it (which is true, I seek better arguments in all that I do). The problem with religion is that people get stuck on their metaphor and don’t know its reference. You said yourself that you “will not speak in positive terms about any religion other than Christianity (accept sometimes Judaism)”. Why not? Perhaps I am not the only one unable to connect the dots.

"That is kind of the point of this entire discussion".
I don’t have a God, I don’t know how the universe and life came into existence but it did not happen for me (or the people of my specific tribe). To recognize that we are part of all things is not the same as belief in a personal God. I believe that moral behaviour seeks to minimize human suffering (which many cultures do not, it’s a belief). Though I may be a materialist, that doesn’t render me unable to make judgements of value. The worst possible suffering for everyone is worse than very little suffering for everyone. A social contract built on not punching and not being punched is superior (a value judgment) to punching and being punched therefore; social creatures developed the capacity to behave in mutually beneficial ways, that is the root of morality.
In regards to abortion I am deeply concerned with consequentialism, for whatever reason you refuse to discuss evil but in order to understand this issue fully we require both sides of the moral narrative (good and evil). I once had a client whose mother was also her sister and her father, grandfather and great grandfather were the same man. In your view no abortion can ever be justified, even when a woman (with substantial cognitive deficits caused by incest) is repeatedly raped by her father/grandfather (consider how genuinely messed up that is, the client faced difficulties I sincerely hope you can’t comprehend). Independently of known health risks to the fetus or all other relevant factors, there is no context, ever, in which the amount of suffering caused by bringing a life into the world is worth considering, you judge it as immoral, how can you possibly be qualified to make such judgments? I think human beings have brains and central nervous systems. There are circumstances where families and physicians must make decisions about what to do within their families, those decisions don’t include you or me.

"Have you read the book of Job?"
Yes of course, I think I mentioned before that I have read the bible, funny you should ask, I just read the Book of Job the other day for a paper I was writing. Interestingly, this fits nicely with the point I am attempting to demonstrate in regards to human suffering. The book of Job has been used effectively for centuries to help people manage the overwhelming difficulties of their lives. I seek to have Job keep his flock, for people to suffer less, for people to leave this world gracefully at an old age with their families by their side. Far from blaming the bullet for killing the husband I seek a world where the wife is not compelled to kill him in the first place. God has demonstrated himself unwilling or unable to mitigate human suffering but science has made enormous strides.
Imagine that the plague is coming through your town and threatening the lives of the people you love; would you like them to
a) Read the book of Job on their death bed.
b) Read the text about suffering from another faith on their death bed.
c) Receive antibiotics and live.

@Danny705
By the way, there is a huge hole in your post above that I think should be addressed separately. You try to make the claim that evolution has stopped because… technology.
But the theory of evolution does not allow for that argument. The theory of evolution states that an organism is successful if it has passed down its genes. Indeed if its genes have increased in number in the gene pool.
It is rather ironic that we are having this discussion from the direction we are. You are the evolutionist, I am the Christian. And yet I have been rather successful, looked at from an evolutionary standpoint. I have six children, all married, and eleven born grandchildren so far. One more still developing insider their mother.
And an evolutionist, if he is to be consistent, really should recoil in horror at the idea of someone murdering their own offspring. Well, unless their idea is that if you murder your offspring, that will leave more room for MY offspring to be successful. I sort of doubt any of them would make that argument out loud tho.
Anyway, back to ‘because technology’. Until the day comes when we reproduce artificially, not by a random mixing of genes via sex, we will still, according to the principles of evolution, ‘evolving’. Th is means that those who produce more offspring (such as myself) are ‘successfull’, and those who produce fewer offspring (such as those who murder their children) are ‘failures’.
You are perfectly correct that the theory of evolution proposes a ‘non-random’ process, at least at the tail end. Random mutations, most of which are utter failures, are preserved, increased, or eliminated from the gene pool.

@Danny705

>>Your argument to this point has been “there is nothing in biology that says the fetus is not a human being”

There is this really cool thing, it’s called ‘copy/paste’. It prevents these kind of errors because… I never said this either. Indeed I wouldn’t say that. I did say things like this:

>>First of all, the child in the womb is their own person from the moment of conception. There is no sense at all in which they are 'part of the mother'. Basic biology.

And this:

>>But addressing your point, I will turn it around. Biologically it is absolutely clear they are a human being. There is no question of that biologically. So you need to be asserting something other than simple biology. You need to be asserting something about the existence of a certain stage of development that makes some kind of moral difference as to whether we should treat them in the same way we treat other human beings.

There is a bit of a difference between what you said I said (several times) and what I actually said.

  1. First of all I translate the weasel word ‘fetus’ into English: baby. That is what it means in Latin.
  2. I point out that you cannot get your distinction between babies of a certain age and babies of a later age from biology. The one where you say ‘aha, at this point it becomes a human being.” You would need to get that from your philosophy. Because there is no ‘aha’ marker in biology after conception. Everything after that is a ‘next’.
    As I point out above the developing child is its own person biologically. It consists of its own set of DNA, which is neither that of the mother, nor that of the father… altho it shares part from both of those, as well as its grandparents and siblings etc.
    And basic biology is clear that it is a ‘human’. It is not a chimpanzee, or a gorilla, or a penguin… however much I like penguins. If we were to do a blood test, a DNA test, any biological test would come back ‘human’, not ‘alien’.

@Danny705

>>Atheism is the absence of a belief in a deity. It has no other implications, it is not a philosophy, you correctly pointed out already when you expressed your disbelief in Santa.

What??!! Stop the presses…!!!

I would be the last person on Earth to say anything of the sort. I would wash my mouth out if I even dreamt of saying something like that!!

Let me tell you a story. (Note: Fiction)
One day the CEO of HEB called his chief assistants together. “Hey, guys,” he said, “The board and I were talking and we have decided to make a small change in our operations. Don’t worry, it is just one change, it has no other implications.”
His underlings nodded. After all, they made small changes all the time: a different style of advertisement, slight differences in pay schedules…
“We’re going to stop selling food,” he said.
Shocked looks. One or two giggles, quickly cut off when they realized he wasn’t kidding. HEB? Stop selling food?? They are a grocery store!!
That would not be a small change with no implications. The implications would literally be endless. A change like that would affect every part of HEB from top to bottom. Even the non-food departments of HEB would be catastrophically affected by the lack of food customers.
In the post where I talked about Santa I was making literally the exact opposite point: that it was good that atheists at least defined themselves around their lack of belief in God: since that lack of belief was in the most important thing in the universe. I was literally saying how incredibly important that lack of belief was. How utterly significant a part of their philosophy, how incredibly life and society changing.
I compared it to my lack of belief in Santa Clause in order to contrast them. To say that of course I didn’t call myself an ‘Anti-Santa-Claus-ist’ because of how unimportant and trivial the belief in Santa Claus was!
Atheism may not be one specific philosophy. But it is a philosophical belief! It is one of the most important parts of any philosophy it is part of.
And that lack of belief means that the gulf between an atheist and a Christian is incompressible vast, light years in distance. Let us take one example:
The Westminster Catechism states that the purpose of man is to, “Glorify God and enjoy him forever.” That purpose can obviously NOT be part of an atheists vocabulary. So one of the ‘implications’ of the difference between atheism and Christianity is the very purpose of man.

@Danny705

>>Imagine that the plague is coming through your town and threatening the lives of the people you love; would you like them to
a) Read the book of Job on their death bed.
b) Read the text about suffering from another faith on their death bed.
c) Receive antibiotics and live.

This is what is called a ‘false dichotomy’ (literally a false trichotomy).  More importantly, it is a rather dramatic non-sequitor. Cause, you see, Theists (notably Christians and Jews) invented antibiotics. Indeed all of modern medicine was created in a cultural milieu of Christianity, in particular Protestant Christianity, but including Catholicism.?Louis Pasteur, and I assume you are aware of his role  in the progress of modern medicine, wrote: “The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator.”
If you really wanted a dichotomy here, let’s try this one:  Christians will have to live their life only using inventions which came from a Christian culture. Atheists only those from an atheist culture. Muslims, Muslim, and Jews, Jewish.
I assume you  know enough of your history to  know that atheists would be left dying in a corner. The Jews might do sort of OK, but all the other groups would be thrown back into the  middle ages, if not before. Modern medicine, the scientific revolution, the industrial revolution, all of these come from a Christian culture!
True, not always by Christians… altho much of modern medicine was invented by literal Christians. But at least by Atheists, Jews, and Muslims operating within a Christian context, surrounded by Christians, and supported by Christian concepts of culture.
So your dichotomy here is completely off the mark. You do remember that Luke, the guy that wrote a gospel and the book of Acts, was a physician?

@Danny705

>>Since there is something in biology (namely the brain and central nervous system) that could demonstrate why they are not a human being your claim is predicated on a false premise.

The brain and nervous system are biological facts of a human being (an lots of other animals). But the idea of ‘you get to be a human being when you have a brain and nervous system’ is a philosophical idea, not a biological one.
Indeed, one wonders at what point in the development of these you will be satisfied. They exist first as one cell… along with the rest of the body. Then one of the two cells. This continues until they become two cells, four cells, etc etc. The full brain does not develop until adolescence!! So are you saying it is OK to kill elementary school kids?
Or is there some minimum number of cells as which you (not biology) say, “Aha! A person!!”

@Danny705

>>I believe that moral behaviour seeks to minimize human suffering
There are two huge problems with this statement:

  1. It isn’t a definition.
    Your statement admits of two possibilities. Either you are saying, “There is this thing called ‘moral behavior’ which everyone has always known about. I am such a bright human being that I have figured out that all of moral behavior can be summed up with the words ‘minimize human suffering’. In which case the rest of us can only tell you that your summary does not actually fit our definition of morality, which is ‘to do the will of God’, since God has given us lots of instructions which do not fit under ‘minimize human suffering’. Some of them even increase human suffering.
    Or you can be saying that you are inventing a phrase ‘moral behavior’ which you think is kind of cool. In which case we will tell you that we are kind of using those words already, to mean something else, so maybe, to avoid confusion, you should try again.
  2. It fails the logical conclusion test
    Let’s pretend that in all the world the total amount of human suffering is 1,234,456,149.23 HSU (Human Suffering Units).  You are given the chance to wave a magic wand and instantly obliterate all human life.  No one will even know they are being obliterated, there will be no suffering created by the obliteration. This would obviously bring the HSU level down to zero, or a minimization of Human Suffering by 1,234,456,149.23 HSU. Cool, eh?
    Do you see where your philosophy leads you? The ancient philosophers said, “It is better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied”, and we all instinctively know that is true. We look at the young man playing video games in his mother’s basement and say, ‘what a wasted life’. But he, like the pig, might be perfectly happy.

@Danny705

>>For whatever reason you refuse to discuss evil??

ROTFL
Not at all! I have always been perfectly willing to, and have done at multiple occasions. Perhaps you just missed it. Let me refresh your memory:?

  1. Killing baby humans is an example of evil behavior.
  2. Doing the will of God is good, ergo NOT doing the will of God is evil.
     
    What I am guessing you mean, given previous discussion I have had and read about with atheists, is ‘the problem of evil’ question.
    That problem actually consists of two problems, a lesser problem and a greater problem. The greater problem we have been discussing most of… indeed pretty much all of this thread. It is this: how can materialists account for evil? Or, rather, how can they account for this feeling that we all have that there exists some things which we ‘shouldn’t’ do, even if they otherwise seem like great ideas? Is there an  objective thing called ‘evil’ and a state called ‘ought not’? Or are those figments of our upbringing and evolutionary conditioning (but I repeat myself)?
    The lesser problem is that faced by the monotheist. It acknowledges the existence of this thing called ‘evil’. It recognizes the ‘is’ ‘ought’ dichotomy and has not only an origin but a solution for it.
    But… it is limited by human understanding for the ‘why’ of it. Like Job we look at things and things and say ‘why?’. Why would God create a world like this? Why would  He allow children with cancer? Why would He allow rape and murder.
    And we have an answer to that, but not a particularly satisfying  one for egotistical man. The story of Job is the story of a righteous man who wasn’t particularly satisfied with  his condition, and then found himself face to face with the Almighty Creator. Who answered Job’s questions with  His own. “Tell me, Job, where were you when I created the world and all of it’s creatures?” Basically, ‘if you can’t even understand the details of HOW I Created the world, why would  you expect to be able to understand the why?!’
    We have all been children, and we have all had our parents answer us in that fashion. The two year old, eager to get somewhere, who asks constantly ‘are we there yet?’, demonstrating their lack of ability to understand basic concepts of time and distance.
    In the end God, like our mother, occasionally just says ‘because I said so’ and we need to be content with that.

@Danny705 >>>”What I will say, and have said, is that most of those things [music, art, literature, architecture, community and beauty.] are contradictory to your philosophy: that atheism cannot account for any of them".

>>Nor can theism

Ummm… yeah, it kind of can. In fact it is trivial. Let’s try this again:
Theism, in particular Christian theism, states that there is an omniscient, omnipotent creator and sustainer of the entire universe. That He exists outside of the created order and is not subject to it.
It also states that each of us human being live in two worlds: that of the body and that of the spirit.
Thus it is absolutely no problem for us speak of things that belong to the world of the spirit: that are not mere matter in motion. Such an idea is completely consistent with our philosophy.
Not so atheistic materialism. That philosophy states that all there is is matter in motion. Therefore there is no room for music, art, justice and the like. Or, rather, the explanation that is given is an evolutionary, and thus a materialistic one. We merely ‘believe’ that justice or beauty exists. We use music and art as part of our evolutionary conditioning toward socialization… there is nothing objectively beautiful about them.

@Danny705 >>There are circumstances where families and physicians must make decisions about what to do within their families, those decisions don’t include you or me.

Well, yeah, they kind of do. And they involve lots of other people, and nine people in black robes.
You see, we live in a society. And even leaving aside the whole God and morality thing, we kind of tell each other what to do a lot. If I want to go garden in my front yard naked, for example, some people in blue shirts will come by to tell me that that behavior is frowned upon. If I drive too fast, drive too slowly, take things from stores that aren’t mine… all of those things will cause my neighbors far and near to include themselves in that decision.
One of the most important of those kind of decisions that people get involved in is when we kill other people. Traditionally, in certain circumstances, it has been frowned on. And in other circumstances, praised.
A soldier bombs an enemy ship, sinking it and killing hundreds? Good job. (At least, his side thinks so.)
A guy grabs a gun and goes shooting up people in a mall? Boo! Even if we didn’t like the people killed.
So the decision of whether or not person A, or persons A, are allowed to kill person or persons B is kind of the decision that others, including myself, get ourselves involved in.
Indeed you are doing so. You are arguing that person A killing person B is the kind of activity we should be OK with.

@Danny705 On the biological definition of the human person

Let us suppose that a bunch of men are sitting around a bar drinking. They say the following:

Danny: I believe that a human person exists when the developing baby has a brain and a spinal cord.
Frank: I believe that a human person exists when the developing baby has a functioning set of kidneys.
Joe: I believe that a human person exists when the developing baby has a left toe.

Let us note the following:
A) Each of the definitions is ‘biological’ in that it refers to a biological fact of the developing baby.
B) None of the definitions point to a biological reason why the developing baby is any less ‘human’ or any less of a ‘person’ before that particular development.

Now let’s say that a fourth person, Josh, comes up to the bar and says, “You are all crazy! A human person exists when the egg is fertilized.”
He makes the following case:

  1. Both the sperm and the egg were ‘human’ sperm and egg before they came together. They were not chimpanzee or penguin sperm and egg. Thus ‘human’ is not the question.
  2. Neither the sperm nor the egg, however, were a ‘person’. If ‘person’ is to be defined biologically (which it shouldn’t be, but we are staying in the realm of biology here) it would need to be defined by that which separates it from a cell, tissue, or organ of a person. Thus we have the biological concept that [person = combination of cells, tissues, organs, and systems]. The human male has ‘cells’ which are part of a ‘reproductive system’ called ‘sperm’ cells. They are produced by him, contain his and only his DNA, and are ejaculated at the behest of his reproductive system.
    The human female, contrariwise, has ‘cells’ which are part of her reproductive system called ‘egg’ cells. They are produced by her, and are descended from her ovaries at the behest of her reproductive system.
    When these two come together, however, all of this changes. The new combined cell starts operation on instructions which neither the father nor the mother fully organized. The red haired mother might have produced a black haired son. The tall father might have a short daughter. The systems, organs, tissues and cells of the developing child all belong to their control system, operating according to their DNA. If the child is a boy and he ends up ejaculating, it won’t be because his father got turned on. If a girl, she won’t drop an egg because it is her mother’s time of month.
  3. Ergo the biological combination of ‘human’ and ‘person’ develops biologically only at the time of the fertilized egg.

(Note: This character was called ‘Josh’ not ‘Vaughn’, since my view includes profound theological and theonomic aspects. Josh is arguing like Ben Shapiro and attempting to stick completely to ‘secular’ arguments, in this case biology.)

The problem with Danny, Frank, and Joe’s arguments is that they pull a definition out of biological whole cloth: there is nothing in biology which states ‘a kidney makes something a human person’, or ‘a left toe makes something a human person’. One gets where you get your ‘brain’ idea… but chimpanzees and even penguins have brains. They are not human brains, true, so you can easily make your case that they are not human persons. But there is no question that a developing baby is human. They have human DNA, not penguin DNA. You wish to make the biological argument that they are not a ‘person’. But ‘a person’ is not a biological argument, unless you wish to take it to mean ‘individual’, in which case the DNA is the only viable biological division.

@Danny705 >>Though you insist on calling me an atheist I have no connection to the word.
I remind you of this quote of yours:
>>We are both atheists
Which I for my part instantly and vociferously denied: leaving you the only self-proclaimed atheist on the field.

But you want to call yourself a humanist. Fine. I found this definition, is it the one that fits you?

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good.
– American Humanist Association

@VonO “It is rather ironic that we are having this discussion from the direction we are. You are the evolutionist, I am the Christian”.
Indeed, that would be ironic if that were what I had said, perhaps I didn’t articulate myself clearly. When I said “we Humans no longer adapt to our environment, we adapt the environment to us” I did not mean to suggest that we no longer evolve, I meant we have altered the fundamental mechanism (adapting to the environment) by which evolution occurs. For example, I have read about the possibility that human females could lose the ability to have natural birth. Children who would otherwise not be viable are routinely delivered via C-section and go on to propagate children who must also be born via C-section. My claim is that we have changed the way evolution works. That is very different from suggesting it has stopped. Altering the mechanism is analogous to the invention of the assembly line. Henry Ford could make cars cheaper and faster but he could not foresee the implications changing the method of production would have over society as a whole.
It seems we do have a point of agreement in this regard, when you said “non-random’ process, at least at the tail end. Random mutations, most of which are utter failures, are preserved, increased, or eliminated from the gene pool”. This is precisely the point I am making, that is the change I am referring to, genes continue to be mixed but the determining factor of the viability of offspring is based in access to health care not natural selection. I am not making a value judgement only a simply observation of fact, one which I think could be relevant to the overarching theme of the conversation.

@VonO “First of all, the child in the womb is their own person from the moment of conception. There is no sense at all in which they are 'part of the mother'. Basic biology”.
But there is a sense in which they are part of the mother, they are literally attached to, within and part of the mother. If the mother is killed so too is the fetus. The energy maintaining the life force of the fetus is contained within the mother’s body. You’ve made a blanketed claim “no sense at all” which I don’t believe to be true.
With the above reservations noted, there are relevant philosophical constructs, one of which is Kantian deontology. Kant states that people should be treated as “ends within themselves” and “never as means to another person’s ends”. If that’s the case then I don’t believe a rape victim is morally obligated to propagate the rapist offspring.

@VonO “Christians will have to live their life only using inventions which came from a Christian culture. Atheists only those from an atheist culture”.
If this is the case then the atheist get to claim Alan Turing so they will get to keep computer science but that’s well beside the point. I would never claim that Turing’s accomplishments were caused by his non-belief (that would be absurd) he was able to invent the foundation of all modern computing for a variety of reasons none of which were non-belief in a deity. He happened to be exceptionally brilliant, receive a good education and lived in a time and place where his government was at war and highly motivated to fund his research in order to break the enigma code. The problem with your claim is that is assumes religiosity was the cause of Pasteur’s (who is an absolute hero and a great example by the way) accomplishments, it wasn’t, because two things happen at the same time does not mean one caused the other. Correlation does not imply causation (as I’m sure you know).
If we accept the claim that religiosity was the cause of breakthroughs made by religious people (like Louise Pasteur) then we must also accept that religiosity was the cause of atrocities committed by religious people such as Nazism and slavery (which I don’t believe to be true).

@VonO The brain and nervous system are biological facts of a human being (and lots of other animals). But the idea of ‘you get to be a human being when you have a brain and nervous system’ is a philosophicalidea, not a biological one.
My overarching claim throughout has been that human individuals have biophysiological markers (like a brain and central nervous system) in conjunction with thoughts, feelings, behaviour, motivations and an autonomous body. The human being is the most complicated structure ever observed, it is not the result of any single factor. I compared it to the process of metamorphosis (a caterpillar can become a butterfly it is not already a butterfly). The single cell contains the potentiality to become a human being it is not currently a human being.
Since you believe that there is no justifiable abortion ever under any circumstances, I need only to believe that there exists a single most extreme example (inter-generational incestuous rape coupled with substantial birth defects and health complication) where abortion could be justified in order to disagree with you on this matter.
With that in mind, as you point out, I cannot demonstrate the moment when the shift from non-human to human occurs. Your point is well taken and something I have (and will continue to) considered. The argument for personhood gets stronger with every passing moment in gestation.

@VonO No one will even know they are being obliterated, there will be no suffering created by the obliteration. This would obviously bring the HSU level down to zero, or a minimization of Human Suffering by 1,234,456,149.23 HSU. Cool, eh?
You’ve built yourself a straw man, I would prefer to hold a match underneath him. Over the course of this (admittedly strange) relationship we’ve developed I’ve come to expect better from you. Kill everyone on earth is not what I’m advocating and you know it.

@VonO "What I am guessing you mean, given previous discussion I have had and read about with atheists, is ‘the problem of evil’ question".
This is where the new atheists lose the forest for the trees. Here is the problem, those who profess atheism as a world view assume it is a position of neutrality, it isn’t. In order to make sense of anything we must have a starting point, a set of presuppositions (a thing tacitly assumed beforehand at the beginning of a line of argument or course of action). In your view (correct me if I’m wrong) those assumptions are grounded in “God Is”. What I have decided to do instead, is increase the sample size, to look across the set of all possible epistemological starting points (religious narratives) to look for commonalties. What we find in every tradition is the recognition of Oneness (hence the capital letter). In your view “God Is” in the Catholic faith it’s the Holy Spirit (represented by the Eucharist) to Hindus it’s the Brahman and so on. You’ve demonstrated your interest in the original meanings of words, here’s one for you Religion = Religio from the Latin for linking back, linking life back to its one original source.
Across traditions we find great variation but within that variation we also find commonalities. In science we would call this the margin of error. What happens when we test the hypothesis that all things are one? Evolutionary biology traces all life on earth back to one original source, what Dr. Greg Bahnsen dismissively called “some primordial goo”. On a higher level of abstraction, the field of astrophysics has traced the entire universe back to a single point, the Singularity.
You said “basically, if you can’t even understand the details of HOW I Created the world, why would you expect to be able to understand the why?!” That is exactly the point, we are no longer the two-year-old whose mother correctly says, because I said so. We are no longer the child who cannot discern matters of time and distance. We have made enormous strides toward an understanding of “the details” of how all things came to be. As a species we have advanced past childhood and into adolescents. We are developing a kind of autonomy Job could never have dreamed of. It’s time for a new narrative, to move the epistemological starting point forward, we started in one place we are ready for another.

@VonO “There is nothing objectively beautiful about them. [music, art and architecture]”
You are absolutely correct. John Prine is my absolute favorite singer, my wife took me to Chicago to see him play last year, it was amazing. I sat listening to a 71-year-old man play a beat up old Martin guitar, producing the melodies of my childhood, the songs my father put on a record player when I was a little boy. I cried my eyes out, it was beautiful but not objectively beautiful. You might loath John Prine, that’s because you are a subject and so am I. there is nothing objective about music that is a subjective experience.

@VonO “This character was called ‘Josh’ not ‘Vaughn’, since my view includes profound theological and theonomic aspects. Josh is arguing like Ben Shapiro and attempting to stick completely to ‘secular’ arguments, in this case biology”
So Von’s name is Vaughn, makes sense, I should have guessed, at long last the argument has a name, thank you for that.
You stated this eloquently and it is a powerful argument but I’ve heard Shapiro give it himself. What is Vaughn’s genuine argument?

@VonO “Though you insist on calling me an atheist I have no connection to the word”.
I meant only that I have no connection to the word in the way you Connect yourself to the word “Christian” as the central axiom of your life (I have been surprised before when attempting to articulate your view so please correct me if I have misrepresented your perspective). Atheists often assume they are neutral and I realise I am not which is why I use it only in its most directly literal context.

@Danny705
>>>If this is the case then the atheist get to claim Alan Turing so they will get to keep computer science

Ummm, no. First of all Turing operated in a Christian culture. Secondly you would only get as much of computer science as was carried on purely by atheists.

@Danny705
>>Kill everyone on earth is not what I’m advocating and you know it.

I didn't say it was what you were advocating. I was pointing out (reductio ab absurdum) that that was what your philosophy, if logically applied, would approve of.

@Danny705
>>>the determining factor of the viability of offspring is based in access to health care not natural selection.

Ummm, no. Like literally, easily observably, no.

  1. Areas with less access to health care are growing faster in population than areas that are. They are having more surviving offspring. Europe, with high access to modern health care, is actually experience a catastrophic demographic death. Africa, South Asia, South America... those areas are experiencing rapid population increase.
  2. In areas with access to modern health care, some groups are increasing in population, other groups are decreasing. Namely those groups which think it is OK to kill their offspring are declining, those groups which don't, are increasing relatively.

So... false.

@Danny705
>>But there is a sense in which they are part of the mother, they are literally attached to, within and part of the mother

Circular reasoning much?
They are 'within' the mother: agreed.
They are 'attached to' the mother: agreed
But they are in no sense 'part of' the mother.

None. At. All.
One can be 'within' an airplane... but one is not 'part of' the airplane.
One can be 'attached to' a parachute... but one is not 'part of' the parachute.
Nothing about those two things makes one 'part of'.

And we have dealt with the DNA issue.

@Danny705

>>What is Vaughn’s genuine argument?

It begins with 'God exists and morality consists of doing His will 🙂 '

@Danny705
>>there is nothing objective about music that is a subjective experience.

Ummm, a trivial point and then a more serious one:

  1. The trivial point is that there is actually a lot of objective things about music. A computer could determine things like rate, rhythm, cord structure, and the like. But that is obvious not what you were talking about
  2. You seem to concede, here, pretty much my entire point. From an atheistic, materialistic, humanistic or whatever word you wish to use point of view: beauty does not exist. It is literally merely in the eye of the beholder. It is 'mate choice' or some similar evolutionarily derived thing.
    This means that when you speak to a normal human being, who does not hold your presuppositions, you need to realize that you are equivocating every time you use a word like 'truth', 'justice', 'beauty', 'ethics', and the like. They will think that you are claiming to be revealing some truth about some objective thing, whereas you are merely describing your subjective experience.

If you wish to make this as an argument, well and good. However you need to be aware that you will constantly miscommunicate if you are not very, very careful with your words.

The passage is far, far too long to quote, so I will merely provide the link to CS Lewis's book 'The Abolition of Man', which addresses this issue:

[samizdat.qc.ca]

@Danny705
On Human Joy Units

There is of course a way out of the mathematical conundrum I presented to you. Your formula, as I pointed out, goes like this:

Morality = Minimize Human Suffering
Ergo
A moral action is one where Possible action X produces the following change (Current HSU) > (Future HSU)
An immoral action is one where Possible Action Y produces the following change (Current HSU) < (Future HSU)
You rightly didn’t like this formulation since, of course, it means that deleting any given individual leads to a ‘moral action’, all other things being equal.

So what if we turn it on it head? What if we change your definition of morality to:
Morality = Increase in Human Joy
We would then have the following formulas (where HJU = Human Joy Units):
A moral action is one where Possible action X produces the following change (Current HJU) < (Future HJU)
An immoral action is one where Possible Action Y produces the following change (Current HJU) > (Future HJU)

This is basically your moral philosophy, only by expressing it in the opposite direction I have taken the zero out option off the table. The only problem is that it would be a pretty direct attack on your view of child murder. As each instance of child murder would lead to a definite but indeterminate diminishment of future HJU, there would be no way to justify even the most extreme case of child murder.
And depending on how you work the math, an increase of zero to any possible number is an infinite increase, so it would never be possible to even suggest murdering any given child.

On Methodological Naturalism

There is a rather large problem with a thread that seems to run through several of your posts, above. You seem to imply that in some ways Science has addressed the ‘God question’, and that it has ruled God out of bounds.
Not only is this not true, it cannot be true. And it cannot be true because one of the cornerstones of modern science is ‘methodological naturalism’.
Methodological naturalism is the guideline where any research in modern science begins with the statement ‘supernatural causes will not be considered’. They are ruled out of bounds in the beginning.
Let’s give an example. Let’s pretend that a cop brings a body to the morgue, and he tells the medical examiner, “We found this body. We want you to determine the cause of death. But you are forbidden from considering the option that he was killed with a bullet.”
Then let’s say the medical examiner examines the body. It’s got a small hole in the front, and a large hole in the back. The small hole looks like it was caused by an object traveling at a high velocity, and the large hole in the back. On and on he examines… you get the picture. It looks like the guy was shot with a bullet, but that option has been ruled out from the beginning.
So the M.E. presents a series of guesses. Stuff that, if a bullet didn’t kill the guy, are lesser options. Maybe he fell from a height and impaled himself on a piece of rebar. That doesn’t really it all the evidence but… it’s better than his second best, a really, really strong David with a sling.
He presents his report and the cop gives it to the prosecuting attorney, who then stands up in court and says, “I would point out that in this report, from the M.E., the idea that the victim was shot by a bullet was not even on the list! The M.E. has ruled it out as a possibility…”
What nonsense! He was told to rule it out. He was required to rule it out!
This is literally what is going on with modern science and the supernatural. In his book The Blind Watchmaker, Dawkins wrote: “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose”.
IOW the most likely, obvious, explanation for biology is design. But modern scientists are forbidden from accepting that as a hypothesis for their studies!

@VonO “Ummm, no. First of all Turing operated in a Christian culture. Secondly you would only get as much of computer science as was carried on purely by atheists”.
Okay I think you misunderstood, Turing’s non-belief DID NOT cause his achievements. Correlation does not imply causation. Now let’s take a look at this. In the case of Pasteur, you claim he is a Christian and you believe that to be relevant (at least enough to mention it). In the case of Turing you say he was not a believer but that he still operated with in a Christian milieu (which I agree with by the way).
In the study of psychology, we recognize that there is more to religion than literal belief in a deity. Christianity emphasizes dualism, ideas of sin and atonement, heaven and hell good and evil, man in opposition to nature (Oneness is secondary to Christianity unlike the eastern philosophies) this view enabled the industrial revolution. Jainism for example, emphasizes non-violence to all life, they wouldn’t have started the industrial revolution for fear of harming nature.
If it’s true that Turing was a non-believer but still culturally Christian then perhaps the “gulf” between us isn’t as “vast” as you suppose. The enlightenment, the industrial revolution and contemporary western society as a whole (even in highly secular cultures such as the Netherlands) are all based in Christian presuppositions. Removing literal belief in God does not necessarily change the underlying assumptions of how to act socially. When asked if he believes in God, Jordan Peterson will answer “I act as if he’s true” this is what he’s referring to.

@VonO “So... false”.
I have more to say on this but it won’t move us forward to the issue at hand, so as stated, you raise a good point, fair enough.

@VonO “Circular reasoning much?”
No, I really don’t think so. It seems perfectly clear to me that the life force and physical body are entirely linked. This is not a parachute it’s a biological structure, we may have to agree to disagree. I just don’t see it.
As for the DNA problem, to claim that having human DNA makes a single cell a person is to claim that every individual cell is a person. I don’t believe that’s true.

@VonO “It begins with 'God exists and morality consists of doing His will”
It’s not based on evidence which is foreign to me but fine, I don’t think it’s based on carefully studying all religions before finally deciding Christianity was true. I don’t mean this in a condescending way I genuinely don’t understand. If not evidence what?

@VonO “when you speak to a normal human being”
I think this is important, please understand that I am a man of my culture. My disbelief is not particularly controversial in Canada. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that you are a devout Christian who comes from a very religious culture (according to statistical likelihood, I obviously don’t even know where in the USA you are so I could easily be off base in this assertion) and that I am secularist who comes from a highly secular culture. I worry that you are confusing “normal” with culture. Few people here conceptualise the necessity of God to morality in the way you do.

@VonO “There is of course a way out of the mathematical conundrum I presented to you. Your formula, as I pointed out, goes like this”
Much better. Let me try again (note: this is a reconceptualization not a rephrasing). The moral life is the one which seeks to maximize human flourishing and minimize human suffering through a pattern of reason, Methodological Naturalism and skepticism.

@Danny705
>>to claim that having human DNA makes a single cell a person is to claim that every individual cell is a person. I don’t believe that’s true.

No, it isn't. At all.
The single cell of the new individual in the mother is an single cell with a DNA pattern distinct from the mother. All of the other cells of her body have her DNA, or half of her DNA and no other DNA. The individual child living within her has its own DNA... which it will continue to have for the rest of its life.

@Danny705
>>Few people here conceptualise the necessity of God to morality in the way you do.

That is perfectly true... on the surface. However even in your speech you actually do tend to speak as if morality was something objective, something external. This comes both from your God given inherent sense of morality, and from the culture you live in... which has its base in Christianity.
More later as this intersects with several other of your posts.

@Danny705
>>It’s not based on evidence which is foreign to me but fine, I don’t think it’s based on carefully studying all religions before finally deciding Christianity was true. I don’t mean this in a condescending way I genuinely don’t understand. If not evidence what?

A presupposition, by definition, cannot be evidence based in the sense that you mean. Which really does not imply evidence, but certain presuppositions that you would have a hard time even naming. What forms of evidence you will accept, for example, depends on your presuppositions.

@Danny705
On the issue of the Greatest Common Factor

When I was a child, and I haven’t managed to fully shake this confusion, I was constantly confused between two mathematical terms: the Least Common Multiple and the Greatest Common Factor. Try as I might the words ‘least’ and ‘greatest’ always led me to believe the the LCM was smaller than the GCF.
But in reality the opposite is true. Let’s take a set of numbers: 100, 90, 120, 24. I have no idea what the Least Common multiple is, but it is much bigger than any of those numbers (I think it is 1800). The Greatest Common Factor, on the other hand, is 2. Boy, for a number called ‘greatest’ it is pretty small.
So reading your posts above as to how you have culled the various religions and the like to see ‘the things they have in common’ it strikes me that what you are searching for is the ‘Greatest Common Factor’. If Christianity=100, Judaism=90, Buddhism=120, and Hinduism=24… your result is ‘2’.
Now a couple of things about ‘2’. First of all, it is pretty small. Each of the things you are examining is a lot bigger.
Secondly, each of those other things has a whole bunch of things that yours leaves out. And, logically speaking, the people who put those things together kind of thought they were necessary things. That one thing led to another, which led to a third. But you have just popped one thing out of all of them, and think that it makes sense all by itself.
Thirdly, you have actually added another thing to the mix. Let us call it… let’s say 8463. That would seem to add, no? But the actual GCF of all those things is… ‘1’. There’s your singularity for you. The smallest of all possible GCF.
And one by itself doesn’t really explain anything. It contradicts pretty much everything about reality that we all know instinctively, and that religious and philosophical thinkers have tried to explain.
And you try to state that it is a ‘combination’ of all of the religions and philosophies, but in reality it is a denial of pretty much all they have taught. Your ‘1’ denies all of the twoness of them. The idea of ‘three’ is completely absent. Indeed your ‘1’ cannot even account for the ‘three’, ‘seven’, ‘thirteen’ and ‘thirty one’ of 8463!
Methodological Naturalism is one of the most dramatic presuppositions a person can make in any philosophical or religious discussion. It literally says not, “I think everyone who throughout all the ages of the Earth has spoken about the existence of the supernatural has been wrong’, but it says, “I am going to not even consider anything that they, or the evidence of my own eyes and heart, says about the existence of the supernatural. I am going to rule it out of bounds a priori.”

@Danny705
>>>>The enlightenment, the industrial revolution and contemporary western society as a whole (even in highly secular cultures such as the Netherlands) are all based in Christian presuppositions. >>Removing literal belief in God does not necessarily change the underlying assumptions of how to act socially. When asked if he believes in God, Jordan Peterson will answer “I act as if he’s true” this is what he’s referring to.

Very, very true… up to a point.
You bring up an interesting case in the Netherlands. It is the home of the Dutch Reformed, one of the strictest and most intellectual of Christian sects, and one now almost dead. That was the breeding ground for the current Dutch culture.
And you say ‘removing literal belief in God’. I think you must have meant to say, ‘Removing a belief in a literal God’.
Now we could have some interesting discussions on what it would mean to have a ‘non-literal God’. And we could profitably speak about the word ‘removing’ (not the word I would use).
But we should really focus, for a moment at least, on the word ‘necessarily’. Because it really need to include at least the word ‘immediately’.
Cause there we agree. One is tempted to post a meme of a boy chopping off the limb he is sitting on. It is perfectly true that, unless he is a very strong boy, he won’t sever it on the first chop.
Let’s look at the king of the Netherlands. A secular state, you say? Well, the title of their ruler begins, “By the Grace of God, King of the Netherlands”. A good Reformed statement.
What would it take to remove every last vestige of Christian, indeed theistic, thought from a country such as the Netherlands? Good luck trying to find out. There has literally never been any country on Earth who has done so.
You wrote:
>>Okay I think you misunderstood, Turing’s non-belief DID NOT cause his achievements
I think you misunderstood. I was literally stating the opposite: that Turing’s achievements came despite Turing’s stated non-belief. That his non-belief, far from causing his achievements, were an impediment to them. That if he had truly believed his non-belief, if he had carried them to their logical conclusion in all of his thoughts, he would not have made the discoveries he did, would not have invented what he did.
But he lived in an environment where his achievements made sense. He lived in a culture which taught him, deeply and almost unconsciously, that it made sense to assume that the universe was a rational place which could be understood: since both the universe and himself were created by a rational God.
The Africans amongst whom I used to work tended to believe in animistic spirits. Supernatural beings who warred amongst themselves, casting curses right and left. Thus there always was an explanation for something that went wrong: some spirit cursed you.
This did not exactly lead them to great scientific achievements. Christians, and a Christian culture, invented disease theory. Animism just blamed spirits.

@Danny705 >>Let me try again (note: this is a reconceptualization not a rephrasing). The moral life is the one which seeks to maximize human flourishing and minimize human suffering through a pattern of reason, Methodological Naturalism and skepticism.

Well, this one will certainly take longer to unpack, definitely.

The first flaw that seems to come to mind is that the two goals: Maximize Human Flourishing (MHF) and Minimize Human Suffering (MHS) are not rated, and can at times be contradictory. So you are faced with the issue of what to do when increasing the MHF would decrease MHS.
But before you could go there you would have to define ‘Human Flourishing’. Rather vague, eh? Are the Africans, who are having lots of kids, doing a better job than we are? If ‘flourishing’ is defined in evolutionary terms they certainly are: since they are having lots of kids.
Are did the medievals and other prior societies do a better job than we are? If the judgement is by the beauty of their architecture and dress and the like than it would certainly seem so. We aren’t exactly producing Beethovens or George Washingtons nowadays.
What precisely does it mean to ‘flourish’?
Another flaw… which may not be a flaw, it might be a feature rather than a bug… comes with the words ‘through a pattern of’. It raises the question, “If human flourishing (whatever that turns out to be) can be maximized, and human suffering minimized, via other patterns… are you saying that that is immoral?”
Some distopias, not modern ones typically (our modern writers write very bad dystopias. Interesting, but bad), face the same problem. If everyone on Earth were to be made happy, but the price was some great dictatorship… would that be a good thing or a bad thing? If the means of the human flourishing was not a means acceptable to you… would that make it immoral human flourishing?
And then there is the fact that ‘reason’ and ‘methodological naturalism’ are literally contradictions…
But to get back to the question of child murder for a second, since it is what we are supposed to be discussing… what if it turned out that murdering an 11 week old child growing inside his mother turned out to be murdering a child that, if he had grown to be an adult, would have turned out to be the most rational, human flourishing maximizing, human suffering minimizing, individual who had ever lived? Are you capable, via your reason, of telling me that this not the case?
Can you assure me that the inventor of the cure for cancer was not slaughtered in his mother’s womb?

@Danny705
>>>>I need only to believe that there exists a single most extreme example (inter-generational incestuous rape coupled with substantial birth defects and health complication) where abortion could be justified in order to disagree with you on this matter.

Ummm, I’m a little confused. I had thought that your case was that before 12 weeks there was no human being. After 12 weeks there was a human being. In neither case does your ‘extreme example’ make any sense.
If the child is less than 12 weeks, then according to you there is no child there at all… so you don’t need an ‘extreme case’. And if over 12 weeks, then it is a human being, so your ‘extreme case’ is no case at all… we don’t murder children for any of those reasons.
I don’t recall in any of your arguments, you saying that a child is not a child if it was conceived in rape, if it was conceived in incest, if it had birth defects, or if its mother had health complications. So what price your ‘extreme case’??

@VonO
>> The single cell of the new individual in the mother is an single cell with a DNA pattern distinct from
>> the mother. All of the other cells of her body have her DNA, or half of her DNA and no other DNA.
>> The individual child living within her has its own DNA... which it will continue to have for the rest of
>> its life.

So what? Does that mean that it is permissible to murder an identical twin as long as his identical sibling is still alive? What does uniqueness of DNA have to do with being the moral equivalent of a person?

@RussellGold Great question but, no. That would be the fallacy of the something...

Example:
All men are mortal
Socrates is a man
Ergo Socrates is mortal

Does NOT imply that ONLY men are mortal. The fact that a baby in its mother is a distinct individual, and that we use DNA as part of the proof for that, does not mean that identical twins are not their own person. Necessary but not sufficient 🙂

@VonO I am trying to understand what your criteria are for "human" and the source of such criteria. I have spent a fair bit of time in the Bible and have not seen a single reference to DNA.

@RussellGold
It was a long thread, and perhaps you missed a couple of points. The issue we were discussing was his statement that he could determine that the baby human was not a 'human person' because 'biology'.
It was in that context that I brought up my DNA issue. If we are going to discuss this theologically, I could start in a couple of different places. The problem with the DNA argument is principally that it is incredibly obvious that it is a 'human person'. There is simply no other rational idea.

@VonO The problem with the DNA argument is that it is wholly irrelevant to the question as to whether and when the unborn child counts morally as a "human person." There are plenty of possibilities. I don't see what basis you have for claiming otherwise.

@RussellGold
While I disagree it is is irrelevant to the moral question, that was not the question that I was answering, which had to do with biology.
And feel free to name some other things that you see as possibilities and we will deal with them.

@Danny705 Are you done this thread? Life get busy?

@VonO No, to the first question. Yes absolutely, to the second. More pressing obligations caught up with me, I hope you will bear with me, if I can get back to you properly soon. My apologies, Happy Easter.

@Danny705 No need to apologize. I was just wondering if I should do some sort of summary post and move on. Dmatic asked me if we were done, and I told him I would ask you 🙂

@Danny705 Wondering if Danny forgot us...

@VonO This conversation has genuinely been one of the most powerful and illuminating experiences of my life, first and foremost I would like to say thank you, I have learned so much. I stopped writing for pragmatic reasons, overtime I became stuck, I wasn’t sure how to proceed. I’ve come to understand that you were right about the chasm between us. I underestimated how difficult it is to bridge the gap between belief and non-belief. For us to see eye to eye, one or both of us would need to abandon that which we hold most dear, I suspect you are as unlikely to do that as I am. Like you, I am a man of a Christian culture, the foundational story of the culture I’ve inherited informs who I am and what I believe to be true.
Mary Mother of Jesus, was impregnated from above, her sacrifice was thrust upon her, she was ordained by God as the conduit of divinity on earth, she is the sacred feminine, that which brings life itself. Her son Jesus is the embodiment of the perfect man, the man who could bear the responsibility of all people, the man who would carry that responsibility upon his back and willingly sacrifice his life as he walked toward his death. In so doing, he emerged in the image of God.
As you know, I do not accept the premise that this story is literally true, I do not believe that the divine birth, death and resurrection or bodily ascension to heaven are true in the way that gravity or evolution are true. That does not mean I believe this story to be false. So, what does it mean? In what sense is it true?
Christ is an abstraction, an archetypal representation of the ultimate “good” man, us mere mortals cannot possibly carry the sins of all people upon our backs but we can (and should) bear responsibility for our wives, children and communities. It was not Mary (women) who carried the cross upon her back to willingly sacrifice her life to the divine, it was Jesus (man). It is the responsibility of good men to orient their lives and behaviour toward the support and protection of the sacred mother.
As I reflected on your views of judgment, I began to see morality in a new way. Though I maintain my materialistic view, I also see the evolutionary utility of being able to judge the actions of others as right or wrong. I do not believe that women feel motivated to abort a fetus when they have a benevolent man beside them. A man who will see the divinity within her, who will bear responsibility to provide for and protect her and her children. Who will teach his sons to be stoic and wise, cunning and brave, who will teach his daughters that a good husband would sacrifice his life for hers as Christ sacrificed his life for all. Instead, I believe women are motivated toward abortion when they find themselves carrying the child of a man who is absent, tyrannical, useless, lazy or otherwise incompetent. A man who does not fulfil his sacred obligation to sacrifice himself to the divinity of God. I judge not the women who cannot raise children on her own. Instead, I judge the man who abandoned, raped or otherwise disrespected his sacred obligation. It is the duty of men never to provide a woman with the motivation necessary to abort a fetus. Some men don’t deserve children, a woman is under no obligation to propagate the genes of her rapist, he has forsaken his sacred responsibility.
You’ve taught me a great deal about the meaning of life, your perspective has proven invaluable to me. The meaning of your life is obvious, “God Is” the ultimate representation of meaning. As a non-believer I needed to build a narrative of my ultimate meaning. I’ve studied this carefully. I’ve come to believe that meaning is found when a person builds a narrative (based on their values) which attaches purpose to suffering. I have learned to conduct my life on the central premise that my wife is the true representation of heaven on earth. She is Gods representative, that the ultimate meaning of my life is the willingness to sacrifice pleasure, infidelity, fun and hedonism to protect the sacred relationship between her and our children. I would willingly lay my life down for hers. My family is my cross to bear, I will live my life attempting to (metaphorically) emerge in the image of God.
Ironically, I stopped discussing this topic with you because I had this discussion with you. My wife stays at home as we raise young children. It is her responsibility to be their mother and to attend to their needs. It is my responsibility (based in evolutionary biology) to exploit the environment for resources and come home with the means to sustain the family. I’m not sure how it works where you are but for us, living on a single income is a genuine challenge. My life is consumed by developing ways to provide a better future for my family. The discussion was costing time I couldn’t afford to spend as I direct my behaviour toward my meaning.
I am entirely unconvinced by your assertion that all people who do not share your view of the world are perverted by sin. This is an incredibly arrogant position and a misunderstanding of human beings as meaning makers. I’m reminded of the case of Candy Lightner who, in 1983, lost her 13-year-old daughter Cari in a drunk driving accident. In the days that followed, Ms. Lightner built herself a narrative which attached purpose to her suffering. She told herself “my daughter died so that other people could live” she worked tirelessly toward the meaning of her narrative. Eventually, she started the organization known as Mother Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The interesting thing about this case is that by enacted the narrative it became true. Not true in the sense that gravity and evolution are true (from an empirical perspective Cari Lightner died because a drunken asshole drove his car into her) but true in the sense that her mother’s subsequent behaviour really did save countless lives (just as enacting the narrative of the sacred mother is true for families). You once called your view “conformity to truth” I would like to end by asserting that equal truths can exist on separate levels of abstraction. Perhaps science and religion are not as irreconcilable as they seem.

@Danny705

On Reality

We used to be part of a missionary organization that translated the Bible so I got to hear lots of missionary stories about Bible translation…
One day a missionary was working through a passage with his translation committee: a group of men who spoke the native language and who had, along with him, been working for months on translating various passages. They had gotten to one of the genealogies in Scripture and, when the missionary got done reading the passage in English (or French, or whatever language they were using to translate from) one of the men stopped him. “What is this?” He asked.
“This is the passage we will be translating today.”
“But… but that sounds like a genealogy!” The man asked, incredulously.
“It is…” the missionary replied, surprised by the reaction.
“But! But that means that this story is true!!” The native speaker replied, along with his peers.
You see, in their language, when you wanted to tell a story, you just told the story. But when you wanted to tell a true story, you began it with a genealogy.
Similarly in our language if you want to tell a fiction story to children, you often begin it with, “Once upon a time.”
Each language and culture have ways of indicating if a story happened, or didn’t happen. And fortunately for us the New Testament is filled with very clear indications that the those who wrote it down did not believe it was a mythical, archetypical story. They believed it had really happed. Really, factually, down to the very details.
And they, and those who accepted their story, kept their belief until their death: often a death for those very beliefs.
Let us examine some of the indications in the New Testament that the authors claimed to be speaking about real, not metaphorical, events:

1Co 15:12  Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
1Co 15:13  But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
1Co 15:14  And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
1Co 15:15  Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
1Co 15:16  For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
1Co 15:17  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
1Co 15:18  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
1Co 15:19  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
In this text Paul is addressing some among the early church which claimed that ‘there is no resurrection of the dead’… ie that the physical body of those believers would not be resurrected, that death was to be the end of their lives. (This belief was held by the Sadducees, a Jewish sect.) How does Paul respond? He says that Christianity is a useless religion unless first Christ, and then all Christians, are raised from the dead. That they continue in their sins unless Christ was raised from the dead.
Now let us look at the process they used for choosing a new apostle:
Act 1:21  Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
Act 1:22  Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
The qualifications they use are not depth of understanding, or skill in preaching… but that the person must be someone who was with Christ from the beginning of His ministry, and thus was a witness to his resurrection! IOW someone who had seen Christ die, and seen the resurrected Christ.
The author, Luke, had, just a few verses earlier, spoken of their experience:
Act 1:2  Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
Act 1:3  To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
…. using the word ‘proofs’… proofs that Christ had been resurrected.
Or we could turn to one of the most famous passages in Scripture, the passage where Christ Himself confronts Thomas, the apostle who famously doubted the reality of the resurrection, insisting that he wouldn’t believe until he had put his fingers in Christ’s side:
Joh 20:26  And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
Joh 20:27  Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
Joh 20:28  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
Joh 20:29  Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
CS Lewis famously wrote that there are certain possibilities which are not granted us by the life and work of Jesus Christ. One of the possibilities that is out of bounds is that of mere ‘archetype’. Christ and his followers may all have been madmen, making up bizarre stories about His life and its meaning and going to death for their insanity, or He could be the Son of God, and the sacrifice for our sins, but He could not have been a mere ‘archetype’. The New Testament does not leave that possibility open to us.
Death is real. You, I, Jordan Peterson will all die. Your wife and children will all, one day, die. A real Christ, who really lived, really died, and really was resurrected… can offer real hope for real salvation and real eternal life. An archetype can offer no such thing.

@Danny705

On Sin, and Arrogance.

You repeat a doctrine which seems to be widely taught in non-Christian circles, but which no true Christian has ever held, and which the Bible does not teach. You say “I am entirely unconvinced by your assertion that all people who do not share your view of the world are perverted by sin”. That is not my position. It is not the Christian position, nor has it ever been. The Christian position is that all have sinned. Everyone, Jew or Greek, Slave or free, male or female, ancient or modern… has sinned and are thus perverted by sin. From Adam down, every single man, woman, or child have sinned.
And Scripture clearly teaches that everyone has a knowledge of God. It is in rejecting that knowledge, and the implications of that knowledge, that we reject the salvation of God.
You go on to say, “This is an incredibly arrogant position,”. Well, since I don’t hold that position I don’t really have to answer that issue; but since you come at the same issue from another direction it seems it really should be answered. Is it arrogant to believe that something is true? Is it arrogant to believe that you know some of it? Is it arrogant to accept a truth that has been taught to you?
Or is the shoe on the other foot? Is it post-modernism with its idea that there are individual truths which is arrogant?
The historic idea of truth is that there exists something, some reality, outside of one’s self. That includes one’s self, others, indeed all of everything. It is called ‘reality’. And that each of us sees that reality, experiences that reality, and each of us makes claims about that reality. We see and thus say that this or that is true.
And the historic idea tells us that each of us right in part, and wrong in part. That because the reality that exists does not exist because of us, or dependent on us, we can see it rightly, or wrongly. But that however we see it, that doesn’t change it.
(Reminiscent of an exchange we had above, where you seemed surprised by my view that the existence of God was not dependent of your belief in Him.)
Thus the pre-modern believes that each of us, from the greatest to the lowest, is fully able of grasping some truths, correctly stating some aspects of reality… and of incorrectly stating some aspects of reality. Thus we believe that the merest babe can correctly state such things as ‘Mommy gave me breakfast’, and the greatest scientist is fully capable of coming up with a wildly incorrect theory of the nature of life, the universe, and everything.
And we believe that this false knowledge can come for a variety of reasons. It may come from lack of data. It may come from willful ignorance of data. It may even come from deliberately falsifying data.
But that the data, and thus the statements about the data and reality, can be true or false because reality exists independent of our point of view. The story of the blind men and the elephant is not there to teach us that, for the one blind man, the elephant was a rope… but to teach us that the elephant remained an elephant despite the limited points of view of each of the blind men. Indeed the very words ‘blind men’ indicated their lack, and the possibility of someone who knew more than they did.
And now we come to the specific truths taught by Christianity. And one of the first things to note is that many of them are written down. Written down thousands of years ago. So when any Christian says, “I have found the truth,” and what they mean is, “written down in the Bible,” where is this claim to arrogance? How can it be arrogant to state that you have read and believed something written by others, and believed by millions of others. How can it be arrogant to place one’s self as one among millions who depend upon someone else to have revealed truth?
And if the arrogance comes from the issue of salvation, then the issue is even more confusing. If someone claims that they are ‘saved’, in the Christian sense, then they are revealing several things, none of them any particular claim to pride. They are claiming, first of all, that they recognize that they are sinners. That they are lost in moral depravity. They are claiming that they recognize that they themselves could do nothing to pull themselves out of this moral depravity. That they needed to depend, for that, upon someone else.
And they are claiming that they recognize that they, themselves, if left to themselves, would have done nothing toward saving themselves. That left to themselves they would have simply wallowed in their sin.
That is the message of Christianity. That all of reality is dependent upon the creative actions of another. That reality exists outside of one’s self, and the best one can do is recognize and understand some minuscule part of it. And that each of us is a sinner, a liar, a thief. And that even our ability to recognize that comes from another. And that to get out of that bind, we rely, again, upon another.
Now there is something incredibly arrogant about post-modernism. I don’t tend to worry about their arrogance, because it has so many other problems, but it is arrogant. The idea that we each create our own truth? Not only is this idea irrational, since it contradicts any useful meaning of ‘truth’; but it is arrogant. It makes a god claim for each individual human being.
However to come full circle, I don’t worry about the arrogant claim for another reason: arrogance is one of the sins that we Christians believe that we struggle with every day and need to be saved from. So while there is nothing arrogant about Christianity, there is definitely something arrogant about Christians. And all other human beings.

@Danny705

On Stopping Short

CS Lewis, in his book, The Great Divorce, brings forward the quote ‘Lilies that fester smell worse than weeds’, in dealing with an issue that you yourself bring forward. In your post, above, you eloquently speak of the importance you place on your wife, your children, and your relationship with them. You not only speak eloquently, you speak importantly. You speak of important things, things that are far more important, indeed infinitely more important, than many of the things that our modern world speaks of.
It is ironic that this conversation began in discussing child murder, and we have arrived here. In speaking of your wife, and children, you are speaking of those things which the world wishes to discard, to denigrate, to downgrade. The world wishes to dismiss children growing in the womb as non-people. Indeed I have a grand baby in the womb who is still under the age where you yourself still call her a non-person. The world wishes to dismiss marriage as unimportant, patriarchal and thus anti-woman. They promote blasphemous and foolish forms of sexuality and try to compare them to the reality that is God’s created order.
Your wife, and your children, (including unborn children), are incredibly important things… indeed the word ‘things’ cannot really encompass the reality of their importance. But if you stop your view of importance with them… if you focus the telescope of your affections on them exclusively… then you will miss the incredible reality that they are part of.
Indeed, you will miss their part in reality. They exist as part of the reality that God created. In order to truly value them as they deserve, you have to recognize who they really are as part of His plan, part of His creation.
If you stop your examination of your wife and children, and the importance of your wife and children, at merely the part of your wife and children that you can see, you will miss their eternal importance. If you focus only on those parts visible to the naked eye, you will miss the parts that are, indeed, of infinite importance.
When someone kills an unborn child… what has happened? A few cells, tissues, organs, etc have stopped functioning? Or is there something in that child, in you, in your wife, in your children… that lives on? Are we to eat, drink, and be merry… because tomorrow we die and become worm food?
A wife, and children, are wonderful things. But if we focus merely on our wife and children, and this life, then we miss reality. Indeed the reality that is a wife and children.
You have chosen a good thing. I, too, have a wife, and children… and children in law… and grand children. Bunches of them. The danger is that that good thing will become our whole goal, and we will miss the reality that they are part of. The eternality of their existence, and our existence.
It is hard to look at something trivial and stop there. It is easy to see that something trivial is not the whole of existence. It is easier to stop with something as profound as a wife and children. But it is still a mistake. Indeed a grave mistake.

@Danny705

On the Reasons for Things

You make a profound mistake when you discuss the reasons for things. You state, of the death of a child, that the reason the mother assigned for the death was was, “Not true in the sense that gravity and evolution are true (from an empirical perspective Cari Lightner died because a drunken *** drove his car into her).”
On every level this statement of yours is silly. Let us take the most trivial example:
Let us suppose that a man is killed on a battlefield. And the mother blames a politician for getting the country into that war. Would you say that her reason was ‘not true in the sense that gravity and evolution are true’ because ‘it was a bullet that killed her son’? Surely you understand that reasons come in layers?
Suppose the politician were to defend himself by saying that her son volunteered. Like gravity that is ‘true’… but is it the whole reason?
Reasons come in layers. Reasons have multiple facets. The politician may have made speeches, and the voters voted for him, and he made more speeches, and congress voted with him, and the president signed the bill, and the boy volunteered, and his commander assigned him a position, and the enemy fired a bullet… which killed him.
I make no claim about the reason for one particular car accident; except to say that the only ‘reason’ is not the car. Nor is the only ‘reason’ the driver of the car. There might also have been a problem with the design of the roads. A friend might have encouraged the drunk driver to drive. A friend might have encouraged the child to go out later, when the roads are more dangerous.
And none of those are at all contradictory to the idea of God, or a god, or fate putting these elements together in order to get the mother to start an organization to save lives.
Take our subject, the murder of a child. When a mother brings her child, inside herself, to be murdered, who bears the guilt? She brought the child. The nurse checked them in. The doctor did the murder.
But maybe there was a boyfriend who pressured her. There was definitely a boyfriend who got her pregnant. There were politicians, teachers, philosophers who taught her the lie that the child was a mere blob of tissue.
Guilt, like reasons, is not one or the other. It can be handed out, in full measure, to several people.

@VonO @Danny705, Thank you both for continuing this. I am extremely blessed to be reading it. Actually, I am in awe. I love both of you. Look forward to meeting you both someday! In person. God has provided you a gem of an "opponent" hasn't He Danny? May He be with you as you digest his logic. Appreciate your sincere desire to honestly seek, (may I say it?) truth.

@VonO well you are certainly faster than I am, I obsessed over this discussion for three months to formulate a response. For clarification, Satan is also a literal truth? Heaven and hell, we are discussing both?

@Danny705
>>well you are certainly faster than I am

Well, I do enjoy writing. But you will remember that I am speaking from a tradition with literally thousands of years of writing, thought, etc. This discussion is not particularly 'hard'.

>>Satan is also a literal truth? Heaven and hell, we are discussing both?

Well, the subject of the OP is child murder... but feel free to discuss whatever you want 🙂
Yes, Satan is also literally real... altho I won't necessarily defend any particular conception of him outside of what is taught in Scripture. Ditto heaven and hell.

@VonO I don't know the scripture. is it reasonable to say that bad men are aligned with Satan?

@Danny705 Umm, if you don't know your Scripture, getting into the nature of Satan will take a bit of doing. Is there something about that doctrine that particularly interests you?

@VonO You said early on that the moral life is the one which aligns with the lessons of God. My central claim is this, God could have come to earth himself, or he could have sent Jesus to earth as a fully formed man, he didn’t do this. Instead he chose to have women be the conduit of the divinity of God. Jesus ascended bodily to heaven but his mother remained, she is the representative of divinity on earth. Good Christian men sacrifice to women because God chose women to carry his children.
Good Christian men are obligated to protect women. A rapist is the antithesis of a good Christian man, why is God’s chosen conduit obligated to propagate evil? Has the rapist not forsaken God and aligned himself with Satan? Could rape be seen as the Devil asserting power over weak men to perpetuate his own ends? Could the medical capacity to intervene not be seen as Gods way of providing his conduit the capacity to protect herself?

@Danny705 I will respond to this more later, but a quick note: I did not say 'the moral life is the one which aligns with the lessons of God'. What I said, in various permutations, is that good, or morality, is doing the will of God.

@VonO does God’s will include raping women or girls?

@Danny705

>>My central claim is this,

Central in what sense? Is this a greater and more important claim than the Human Suffering and Human Flourishing issues above? And in the statements below, are you indicating that you believe that the events you speak of actually happened as described in the New Testament??

>>God could have come to earth himself,

Assuming you mean God the Father, He did. Several times. The first would be in the Garden of Eden. The second time that I remember would be when God came down to tell Abraham he was going to have a child, and about the upcoming destruction of Sodom. The list is long, and complex, and see my next point, but He did.

>>or he could have sent Jesus to earth as a fully formed man, he didn’t do this.

It is actually unclear in Scripture whether any/all/which of the above pre-incarnation appearances of God were of the father or the son. However you are perfectly correct that the incarnation happened when God, through whatever means He chose, had His Son come to Earth for His ministry, beginning with a pregnancy.
So, in the light of the OP… how do you deal with that pregnancy? Was God the Son a non-person for the first 12 weeks of His time on Earth in Mary’s womb??

>>Instead he chose to have women be the conduit of the divinity of God.

That is an extremely odd way of putting it. Here is the way the angel who announced it put it, and Mary’s initial reaction:

Luk 1:26  And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
Luk 1:27  To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
Luk 1:28  And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
Luk 1:29  And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
Luk 1:30  And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
Luk 1:31  And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
Luk 1:32  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
Luk 1:33  And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Luk 1:34  Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
Luk 1:35  And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
Luk 1:36  And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
Luk 1:37  For with God nothing shall be impossible.
Luk 1:38  And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

And here is how Mary put it later:

Luk 1:46  And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
Luk 1:47  And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Luk 1:48  For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Luk 1:49  For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
Luk 1:50  And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
Luk 1:51  He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
Luk 1:52  He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
Luk 1:53  He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
Luk 1:54  He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
Luk 1:55  As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

>>Jesus ascended bodily to heaven but his mother remained,

True. His mother remained as part of the household of John the apostle, and then died a natural death. The New Testament says nothing about her after His ascension.

>> she is the representative of divinity on earth.

No, actually. Jesus very deliberately chose men, who are called the apostles, as His witnesses on Earth. And they were not so much witnesses of divinity in general (still less ‘representatives&rsquo😉 as witnesses to the life and work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

>>Good Christian men sacrifice to women because God chose women to carry his children.

Not actually what the Scriptures say.
First of all it was one particular woman, Mary, who carried His only begotten son, Jesus Christ.
And the term ‘sacrifice to women’ is not mentioned, altho there are several passages that speak in related terms. Such as this one:

1Ti 2:8  I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
1Ti 2:9  In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
1Ti 2:10  But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
1Ti 2:11  Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
1Ti 2:12  But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
1Ti 2:13  For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
1Ti 2:14  And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
1Ti 2:15  Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

And this one:

But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
1Co 11:4  Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
1Co 11:5  But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
1Co 11:6  For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
1Co 11:7  For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
1Co 11:8  For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
1Co 11:9  Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
1Co 11:10  For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
1Co 11:11  Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
1Co 11:12  For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

>>Good Christian men are obligated to protect women.

All men, not merely Christian men, still less ‘good Christian men’, are obligated to protect women, and in particular their own wives. The text on that are rather voluminous. Here is one:

1Pe 3:1  Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
1Pe 3:2  While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
1Pe 3:3  Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
1Pe 3:4  But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
1Pe 3:5  For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
1Pe 3:6  Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
1Pe 3:7  Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

However as we see in this text the injunction is not merely to protect, as the weaker vessel, but to lead.

>>A rapist is the antithesis of a good Christian man,

While rape is a very bad thing, by using the word ‘the’ here in front of the word ‘antithesis’ you seem to place the rapist in a special category, where Scripture does not place him. There are several passages dealing with actions and people antithetical to God’s will, but none directly on point with your point. Here is one, that seems to describe our modern age:

Rom 1:18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Rom 1:19  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
Rom 1:20  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Rom 1:21  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Rom 1:22  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
Rom 1:23  And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Rom 1:24  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Rom 1:25  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Rom 1:26  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
Rom 1:27  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
Rom 1:28  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Rom 1:29  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Rom 1:30  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Rom 1:31  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Rom 1:32  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

>>why is God’s chosen conduit obligated to propagate evil?

I wonder, did you think this one out fully? Because what the woman who is raped ‘propagates’ is a human child. Like all human children they are born in sin, but you seem to imply that the child bears a particular burden of evil because of who their father is.

In light of the OP I will say that I will join you, if you are calling for the death penalty for rape: for the rapist. However the death penalty for the children of rapists seems totally contradictory to the message of the New Testament.

>>Has the rapist not forsaken God and aligned himself with Satan?

We all have done so. The Scripture is clear on that:

Joh 8:34  Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
Joh 8:35  And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
Joh 8:36  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Joh 8:37  I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.
Joh 8:38  I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.

Joh 8:39  They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
Joh 8:40  But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
Joh 8:41  Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
Joh 8:42  Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
Joh 8:43  Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Joh 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Joh 8:45  And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
Joh 8:46  Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
Joh 8:47  He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

>>Could rape be seen as the Devil asserting power over weak men to perpetuate his own ends?

Rape… and every other sin. Such as the murder of children in the womb.

Indeed while we are speaking of sin in the light of the pictures that God has painted for us in Scripture, and of Mary and the incarnation of Christ, how much more powerful an image of the work of Satan is there than the deliberate destruction of a child in the womb, inside his very mother?

>>Could the medical capacity to intervene not be seen as Gods way of providing his conduit the capacity to protect herself?

‘To intervene’? It took me a few times reading this before I realized what a horrible thing you are saying here. What euphemisms you use.

No. The ‘ability’ (which is nothing new, the original Hippocratic oath forbade child murder) of a ‘doctor’ to murder a child in the womb is absolutely antithetical to any picture of Christ in Mary. Indeed the Scriptures are full of the exact opposite picture: of God bringing forth life, and working His own will, through and despite the most evil circumstances. Bringing, for example, murderers into His church and using them as apostles who brought thousands and thousands to Christ.

Indeed the closest story we have to your suggestion goes the exact opposite way. In Scripture we have an evil man who has sex with a woman (his wife). And it is the evil man who makes sure that she will not have a child because of the sex.
And God kills him.

@Danny705 @VonO does God’s will include raping women or girls?

Rape is specifically forbidden in Scripture. However if you are looking for it to be singled out as a specifically unique sin, and for a Scripture authorizing the execution of the rapists child in the womb, I am afraid you will be disappointed.

In Scripture marriage, the covenantal and thus sexual union of a man and woman for life, is shown as in image of Christ and His church. Thus any violation of that image is evil.
These violations include fornication (ie sex between two unmarried people), adultery (sex with a woman married to another man), Sodomy (sex between two people of the same sex), bestiality, pornography, and all other manner of sexual sins… including rape.
The Scriptures view flatly contradicts the modern view. In the modern view ‘consent’ is everything. Thus all manner of sexual perversions are excused if both parties ‘consent’. And on the other hand a drunken young man who has sex with a drunken young woman is accused of ‘rape’ because she lacked the necessary ability to ‘consent’.

And in Scripture the death penalty is called for for many of these sexual perversions, including rape. But the death penalty is called for for the rapist, not his child.

@VonO "And fortunately for us the New Testament is filled with very clear indications that the those who wrote it down did not believe it was a mythical, archetypical story"

Those who wrote it down were mortal humans?

@Danny705
>>Those who wrote it down were mortal humans?

Rather a non-sequitur for two very different reasons.
First of all, it would be rather odd to assume that a group of even the most mortal of humans sat and wrote a story down where they go to great care, time and time again, to insist that the story they are writing down was about real events, to which they were witnesses, and that the whole point of the story was that it was real.... and who even were willing to put to death in support of its reality...were totally mistaken about all of that, but still wrote down a story with some mystical, archetypal ultimate truth.
Secondly, no. The people who wrote it down, while mortal humans, wrote down what the Holy Spirit inspired them to write. That's why we call it the 'Word of God'.

@VonO So, the fundamental presupposition that “God Is” is supported by the scripture and the validity of the scripture is contingent upon the presupposition itself?

@Danny705

On Presuppositions

>>So, the fundamental presupposition that “God Is” is supported by the scripture and the validity of the scripture is contingent upon the presupposition itself?

Let’s talk for a second about the nature of presuppositions. But let’s do it after talking about why presuppositions have nothing to do with the basic case against the metaphoric nature of the New Testament.

Here is the situation: a bunch of people preach, teach, and together write a book. In that preaching, teaching, and writing, they emphasize repeatedly and unmistakably that they are talking about real events, that the reality of the events is critical to everything they are doing.

Thousands and later millions of people from all over the known world believe them. They form a religious group which insists, dogmatically, that these events were real. They, all of them, from the original speakers and teachers and writers to the last person that believes them, feels so strongly about the issue that they are willing to be put to death before they will recant.

You can say they were speaking the truth, or you can say that they are madmen. What you can’t say, with any shred of logic, is that what they really meant to teach was that the events were just metaphoric and archtypical, and not to be taken to be true like gravity or a car accident. That is simply not on the cards.

Now let’s look at what a ‘presupposition’ is in the sense I am using it. (There is a lesser sense.)
A presupposition is NOT something which you believe principally because it is supported by some other thing. If that is the case then it is your belief in the other thing which is the presupposition. Unless that, too, comes from some other thing… etc.
The philosopher famously said, “I think, therefore I am.” He was starting, here, from the presupposition that he was actually thinking. He then reasoned that it would be impossible for him to think unless he existed. He had, thus, the presupposition, ‘Only beings which exist can think.” If you would have questioned either presupposition, he might well have regarded you as a madman. Or merely shaken his head and said that he was OK with those as presuppositions.
Winnie the Pooh once asked who was home, and was told ‘Nobody’. Being a brilliant logician, he said to himself, “Somebody must have said ‘Nobody’.” This revealed his presupposition that voices do not merely speak on their own, they are spoken by someone… or ‘Somebody’.
This does not mean that your presupposition doesn’t make sense. It does not mean it isn’t supported by evidence. It does not mean that it stands alone on the pinnacle of your thinking. It means that, in the end, (or in the beginning), that is what you do your logic from.
When a Christian looks at the world he has a set of presuppositions. With these he looks at the world and says, “Yup, makes sense.” Even when something is a mystery, his presuppositions allow for a mystery in that area.
Chief among these presuppositions, but by no means alone, are those of ‘God is’ and ‘Jesus is His son’ and ‘the Bible is His Word’.
These support each other, and provide evidence for each other, but in the end they are presuppositions: they are where are thinking begins, and what allow us to make sense of the world.

But even all of that really has nothing to do with the idea you posed, and the answer I gave you. You asked if ‘Mortal men wrote Scripture’. The answer, even here, is ‘That is not what Scripture says.” So you can disbelieve Scripture, you can reject it… but you can’t try to harmonize what it says with the kind of huge error you are trying to introduce into it. You can say, “Wow, those people sure were stupid.” But you can’t say, “Wow, look at the brilliant metaphors and archetypes that these people wrote.” They either aren’t archetypes, or they aren’t brilliant.

We can all admire the wonderful stories, with the wonderful archetypes and metaphors in them, of Pinnochio and Lord of the Rings. But if you found out that Tolkien really believed in the One Ring, Hobbits, Elves, etc. If you found out that he claimed to actually be Pippin, or Aaragorn. If he was going all over Britain recruiting people to fight on the side of light in the next battle for Middle Earth. And if he was part of a group of hundreds of people who all claimed, seriously claimed, get locked up and even killed claimed, that they were from Middle Earth, had met Bilbo, shoot hands with Frodo, participated in the Battle of the cleansing of the Shire…
And if this belief and teaching and recruiting led thousands over two centuries to agree with it…
Then hopefully you would get over your naive admiration of the archetypes and either join them, or lock them up as madmen.

@VonO Okay, so if we were to suspend disbelief for a moment and (just as a thought experiment) move the epistemological starting point to a different presupposition and consider “it is” life is, there is something instead of nothing. From that standpoint we could use science to trace time backward. We would go through evolutionary biology, to the beginning of life on earth about 3.5 billion years ago, to the formation of earth, the formation of the sun all the way back to the Big Bang about 13.8 billion years ago (then we have no idea it’s a transcendent mystery). From this perspective we can explain with some detail the process by which Rene Descartes was able to have a mind capable of writing the words “I think therefore I am”.
Many millions of Muslims believe that Mohamad flew to heaven beside God on a winged horse. These Muslims reached that conclusion under very similar circumstances to those you’ve described above (they too have presuppositions which they believe along with millions of other people). Do you also believe the claim that Mohamad ascended to heaven?

@Danny705
>>>move the epistemological starting point to a different presupposition and consider “it is” life is, there is something instead of nothing

Umm, what? Christians certainly believe that life is. And we have a coherent theory about how that happened 🙂

In order to arrive at the starting point I think you want, you would have to add in methodological (and philosophical) naturalism. Is that what you are saying? Utter raw materialism?

@VonO yes would you entertain a materialistic thought experiment. Also, I'm deeply curious to hear your thoughts on the ascension of Mohamed to heaven?

@Danny705

>>These Muslims reached that conclusion under very similar circumstances to those you’ve described above (they too have presuppositions which they believe along with millions of other people).

I'm not sure how many times to say this, but a presupposition is not a conclusion.

And there are literally hundreds, indeed thousands, of different sets of presuppositions... including the ones you hold. They are contradictory. So the fact you hold one set means, by definition, you do not hold any of the thousands of other sets. That is literally definitional, and applies to every human being.

So, as I have said above, I am not an Islamist, I am not a Buddhist, I am not even a Jew (altho there would be a certain set of shared presuppositions there). I am not a Santa-Claus ist, I am not a Tooth Fair Ist... etc etc.

I hold some portions of presuppositions in common with some of those. We all believe in both nature and super nature. Some of us believe in a Supreme Being, and agree as to some of His traits.

But by definition if you hold one set of presuppositions, and logical conclusions you have drawn from those presuppositions, you do not hold contradictory presuppositions.

@VonO My apologies, I must not have expressed myself clearly. You are quite right a set of presuppositions crate a starting point, not an end point. Let me try again, many millions of Muslims believe that that their profit ascended to heaven. Do you believe that? As a non-Muslim does it seem unreasonable to assume that Mohamed flew to heaven?
You said “Thousands and later millions of people from all over the known world believe them. They form a religious group which insists, dogmatically, that these events were real. They, all of them, from the original speakers and teachers and writers to the last person that believes them, feels so strongly about the issue that they are willing to be put to death before they will recant”. Every word of this quote could as easily be applied to those who believe the doctrine of the Islamic faith. If Christians are right based on this quote than are Muslims also correct? Did their profit ascend to heaven because so many millions of people believe it?

@Danny705 I think you left one little teeny thing out, Danny...

Do I believe that Mohammed, and his followers, are really, truly, down deep, just pointing to some great metaphoric archetype? No.

One thing that both Islam and Christianity share is a belief that God is real. He is not an archetype, He is not a metaphor. I think they are wrong on the nature of God. Disasterously, blashemesouly wrong. But I don't bother to accuse them of teaching a helpful metaphor. They believe, and they fight, and they die because they think that what they are teaching is literally true.

That, after all, was what everything I was saying was pointing toward. You remember how I concluded?

>>hopefully you would get over your naive admiration of the archetypes and either join them, or lock them up as madmen.

@VonO what is that conclusion based on? How do you know it is them who have reached blasphemously wrong conclusions? How do you know your religion is the true one? Both sides have a set of presuppositions so they don't seem like a reliable metric.

@Danny705

As I said above, it is not a matter of something proving Christianity. Nothing can do that for any set of presuppositions. That is contradictory to their nature. Even your presuppositions.

What we do with presuppositions is then turn and ask if they make sense of the world. If they work... logically, rationally, and spiritually.

For example I believe I have shown, in our discussion above, how yours are basically contradictory. How your reverence for your own wife and children, your reverence for the metaphorical idea of Mary and the incarnation, and your cavalier dismissal of the lives of children under 12 weeks old is contradictory. It is also, speaking for myself, spiritually repugnant. To believe a set of presuppositions which allowed for such a thing would, for that reason alone, be impossible for me.

Having a set of presuppositions is a necessary part of the human life. No man can live without fundamental beliefs... altho some may do so with ugly ones. Christianity provides an answer for that: the existence and nature of a creator God, a rational creator who created rational beings.

You are basically asking me, "What thing is there that is bigger, more important, more true, and more rational than Christianity that would therefore serve as its proof." The answer is there is nothing, there can be nothing, bigger, more important, and more true.

@VonO I presuppose that I am likely to be wrong, for example, during my break from this conversation I took time to attend church with my grandmother, I got on my knees on five occasions and asked God to help me. “If you have sent this man to show me the way I will follow you” (he never came). I worked hard to disprove evolution (it’s rock solid). It seems to me that you started with the assumption that “God Is” and have lived your whole life cleverly confirming the assumption. As you’ve noted it’s not about presuppositions because we all have those and, in your view, non-Christian interpretations are (to a greater or lesser extent) wrong. You also put forward the idea that the number of followers and how deeply they believe was relevant but we now see that Muslims meet those criteria and they are blasphemously wrong anyway, so that claim is also useless.
There are a great number of things which make sense that are wrong, it makes sense that the sun orbits the earth but as we gained more information we learned that isn’t true and subsequently altered the conclusion. Now you are claiming that Christianity is true because you believe it is true, but a devout Muslim also believes his God is true and you consider him blasphemous for it. I am not asking you to prove Christianity is true, I am asking you to disprove all other religions. Please explain what it is about Christianity that makes it uniquely true and separate from all other faiths. It’s not the number of followers, it’s not presuppositions and it’s not how deeply the followers believe, so what is it?

@Danny705

>>You also put forward the idea that the number of followers and how deeply they believe was relevant but we now see that Muslims meet those criteria and they are blasphemously wrong anyway, so that claim is also useless.

Once again, I think for the third time, I brought that forward as part of talking about how silly it was to speak of the NT in metaphorical and archetypical terms. Islam, Judaism also meet that criteria and should also not be taken in metaphorical or archetypical terms.

@Danny705

>>Now you are claiming that Christianity is true because you believe it is true,

Ummm, no. I am saying that Christianity is true, but it would be contradictory to Christianity itself to say it is true because I believe it... just as it would be silly to say that God doesn't exist because you don't believe in him. Christianity is true, or false, regardless of what I, or anyone else, believes.

Christianity makes sense of the world. It corresponds with our felt reality. (Again, that does not make it true. It is a mark of truth.) It matches what we instinctively understand about sin, death, and everything.

People typically become Christians, or at least often become Christians, when they understand the following:

  1. They are sinners. They have an instinctive knowledge of good and evil, and realize that they do evil every day.
  2. That they are powerless to stand against the evil. They may fight and win once or twice, or here or there, but overall they lose. They see themselves failing themselves, their family, and ultimately God. Most of us can barely manage to lose weight, let alone stand up against things such as cancer or death; or the death of our spouse or children.
  3. That God exists, and that He is the creator and judge, the one they are ultimately sinning against. Very rarely, at least in my experience, does anyone come to a knowledge of God due to 'proofs' of God or the like. It is usually via the path I mention: that they realize that they are sinners, and they thus realize that there must be an objective God against whom their are sinning.

    All of the above are things that can be realized purely on the evidence of the natural world. The following are those things which come from Special Revelation: ie God's Word.

  4. Christ came to die for your sins. As God incarnate He was capable of and did lead a sinless life. As a man he died in our stead.
  5. Salvation comes from setting aside our own control over our life and turning to Christ (and through Him God the Father) as our Savior and Lord.

There is no shortcut past this. Few indeed are the people for whom God strikes them down with a light to argue with them, or in front of whom He appears and insists they put their hand in his side. The things that hold you back are not holding you back because you are this super rational person who is able to rise above the mass superstition of the ages… they are our old enemy sin, casting up your own reason to stand against God, even as Satan did in the garden.

@VonO "People typically become Christians, or at least often become Christians, when they understand the following"
I think it’s actually quite clear that the overwhelming majority of Christians became Christians because they grew up in a Christian culture (namely they had Christian parents). I’m deeply curious, are you willing to conduct my materialistic thought experiment? Would you be willing to question your presuppositions?
“Few indeed are the people for whom God strikes them down with a light to argue with them”.
Early on I explained to you that there was nothing I wouldn’t consider honestly, I genuinely believe that an open mind is the path to truth. You pointed out that I had not considered anything outside of strict materialism. I took this seriously, you were right, I had not considered that honestly. I was confronted with the realisation that I was not acting on something I valued. I took the time to question my view. I got on my knees and prayed, why didn’t I feel God?

@Danny705

On Teenagers

>>I think it’s actually quite clear that the overwhelming majority of Christians became Christians because they grew up in a Christian culture (namely they had Christian parents).

I wonder, do you have teenagers yet?

You are perfectly correct, and yet perfectly incorrect, here. The vast majority of people who now claim to be Christians grew up in Christian homes, or at least a Christian culture.
I would venture to claim that the vast majority of atheists grew up in atheist homes. And Muslims….
However that does not actually contradict my statement. For two reasons:

  1. Because I was actually talking about Christians, not people who claim to be Christians and
  2. Teenagers.
    There are many things in our life that we can manage to accept whole cloth from our parents and pass on to our children unchanged and basically unchallenged. The vast, indeed overwhelming, majority of people, for example, are not nudists. They have, indeed, never even considered it. They have certainly not had to struggle over it, wondering whether to be open and honest and teach it to their children as one of the valid ‘clothing views’.
    They simply were raised by non-nudist parents, aren’t nudists, and have non-nudist children (who go through a nudist phase at about two years old but are disciplined out of it).
    There are a lot of people who accept many of the trappings of Christianity, and indeed much of the culture and world view of Christianity, in the same way. But Christianity, true Christianity, is not something which can merely be caught, lived, and passed on. There comes into ever Christians life a ‘teenage’ phase… where they are forced to decide if they, too, will accept this view of life and pass it on. Ironically there are some who decide not to accept it, but to pass it on to their children anyway.

>>I got on my knees and prayed, why didn’t I feel God?

Let’s look at these two subjects, your feelings and teenagers, together. And let’s go through my list. I wrote that the first step was:

  1. They are sinners. They have an instinctive knowledge of good and evil, and realize that they do evil every day.

So when you asked ‘why didn’t I feel God’ you seemed, to me, to be starting at an odd place. I don’t even recall writing about ‘feeling God’ anywhere in my list. My experience with teenagers (including myself, altho I was eight years old at the time) is that they start where I said. They start, not with a realization of God, but a realization of sin.

Sin is a concept that the modern world hates, and one that is ruled out of bounds by materialism. You said, earlier, something like that if you were to accept my point of view you would have to deny that which you hold most dear. Did that include materialism?

Because the concept of sin makes no sense in a materialistic world. We are surrounded by it every day, it is one of the most obvious of the Christian doctrines, but it doesn’t fit in a materialistic world. If all there is is matter in motion, then there is no failure to live up to a moral standard. Indeed morality is meaningless.

Evolution teaches that the ‘purpose’ of every species is to pass on their genes, and the purpose of individuals of that species is to pass on their particular subset of those genes. If you succeed in living, mating, and having successful offspring… then you win. If you don’t, you lose. So the only ‘sin’ would be failing to pass on your genes. Ironically, in light of your above posts, evolution would teach that rape would be wrong only if it didn’t succeed in getting her pregnant and having her carry the child!

The child who grows up in a Christian home, no matter how many times they have sung ‘Jesus loves me’ and ‘the B-I-B-L-E’ eventually comes to a point where they ask themselves, “But do I believe I am a sinner?” If they don’t so so… they never become an actual Christian. If they, and you, do not pass step 1, they can never even get to step 2, let alone the Christian life.

@VonO You said that the knowledge that we are all sinners is instinctual. If that is the true then why do you think so many people around the world don’t believe/realise that this is the case?

@Danny705 >>You said that the knowledge that we are all sinners is instinctual. If that is the true then why do you think so many people around the world don’t believe/realise that this is the case?

Oh, they do. The language is filled with ‘sin’ terms: guilt, shame, etc.

I think the word you want here is ‘admit’. And the reason for that is obvious, no?

@VonO The concepts of guilt, shame, regret and so on are most definitely culturally universal. Sin is (correct me if I am wrong, I am only attempting to rephrase what you said) the attribution of the sensation of these negative emotions to a Christian creator God. Not the thought “I feel guilty because I hurt a friend” but rather “I feel guilty because I sinned against God”.
The attribution of these negative emotions to the Christian God (the concept of sin) is by no means a cultural universal. It seems as though wise people in Hindu countries became wise Hindu's, wise people in Buddhist countries become wise Buddhists and so on. Why do you think wise people of all faiths don't seem to converge on the understanding of Sin? Wouldn't we expect kind, intelligent, good and spiritual people all to uncover the truth of Sin regardless of culture?

@Danny705 >>The concepts of guilt, shame, regret and so on are most definitely culturally universal. Sin is (correct me if I am wrong, I am only attempting to rephrase what you said) the attribution of the sensation of these negative emotions to a Christian creator God. Not the thought “I feel guilty because I hurt a friend” but rather “I feel guilty because I sinned against God”.
The attribution of these negative emotions to the Christian God (the concept of sin) is by no means a cultural universal. It seems as though wise people in Hindu countries became wise Hindu's, wise people in Buddhist countries become wise Buddhists and so on. Why do you think wise people of all faiths don't seem to converge on the understanding of Sin? Wouldn't we expect kind, intelligent, good and spiritual people all to uncover the truth of Sin regardless of culture?

A couple of mistakes here:

  1. There is no such thing as ‘the Christian God’. There is God, the omnipotent, omniscient, Creator, etc. If you wish to express this idea you might try, “God, as the Christians understand Him to be…”

  2. Given (1) we can now see the problem that you have later. Look at it this way:
    A) There exists an omnipotent, omniscient, Creator God.
    B) This God created you, and everyone
    C) When He created you, He placed in you an instinctive knowledge of what things were in accordance with His will (good), and what things weren’t (evil).
    D) Thus when you do something not in accordance with His will, you feel guilty, ashamed, etc. (To a greater or lesser extent depending on how seared your conscience is.)
    E) Many, but not all, of those things involve His command to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’. Thus they involve both a violation of the Creators will, but an action against your neighbor.
    F) However, you and everyone is in rebellion against God. There are no ‘good’ people.
    G) Thus everyone feels the natural reaction (to differing extents depending on how seared their conscience is) to violating God’s will… including in actions against their neighbor. But for the most part they are not willing to acknowledge this as sin, ie a violation of the Will of God. Indeed we often cover up our sin, pretend we aren’t guilty, and even talk ourselves out of being guilty.

Does that help explain it?

@VonO “Does that help explain it?”
Well no, not at all. We have agreed that a presupposition is not a conclusion. The presupposition you have carried from the outset is, “God Is” your conclusion is something like, “God is the ultimate truth, the source of all people, life and meaning”. You say a presupposition is not a conclusion but your conclusion is indistinguishable from your presupposition. At its fundamental core your argument seems to be “God is true, because God is true”. You said, “what we do with presuppositions is then turn and ask if they make sense of the world. If they work... logically, rationally, and spiritually”. There is no question that Christianity works very well spiritually but does it work logically? The only way for your conclusion to work is to assume that the premise is true at the outset of the argument, it is completely circular and entirely illogical.
Let’s look at it this way, essentially you believe that God is so fundamentally true that he is beyond proof (that makes no sense to me but let’s continue as if it did). In order for the biblical account of Adam and Eve to be literally true evolution must be wrong. Unlike religious claims evolution is falsifiable, certain parameters must be met in order for it to be true. As we clearly cannot prove or disprove your unfalsifiable claim let’s work to disprove mine. Can you demonstrate why evolution is false?

@Danny705

>>>Does that help explain it?”
>>Well no, not at all.

I am a bit confused. The 'it' that I was explaining was the connection between guilt and shame and sin. Your objection did not seem to talk about guilt, shame, or sin.

I am certainly willing to talk about evolution, especially in the light of child murder, and have done so several times above. But you really seem to be shifting the goal posts a good deal. More on evolution later...

@Danny705

On Evolution

The problem with evolution in the discussion we are having is that modern science, including yourself, begin with this thing called ‘methodological naturalism’. This greatly limits the scope of any scientific inquiry.

If you wish to examine the truth claims of evolution as a theory of origins, you must ask yourself what other theories you wish to examine it against. If a cop wishes to see if Frank killed Susan, he must ask himself what other theories are out there.
If he were to examine the scene and conclude that the person who killed Susan must have been between six foot and six foot three, he cannot conclude that Frank did it because Frank is six foot one and a half. George might be six foot one, and Fred six foot two.

In the current case you would have to examine naturalistic evolution against fiat creation. Like with Frank and George you would have to look at the evidence and say, “Does this evidence best fit Frank or George’.
Unfortunately modern science does not do that. It first says ‘George could not have killed Susan, so we are going to not examine any of the evidence in light of George having done it,”… and having ruled out George, they find that Frank did it. Surprise, surprise.

So if you wish to discuss evolution you must first decide what presuppositions you are bringing to the table. And then, and only then, can you examine the evidence in the light of these presuppositions.

@Danny705

On Sexual Evolution

You have said that you have learned a lot from me during this discussion, I am wondering if it is my turn. So you say you have examined evolution and found it ‘rock solid’. So that must mean you have it pretty well figured out.
So I have a question for you: what do you see as the pathway from asexual to sexual reproduction. I’ve always been curious. Do you believe it is asexual -> hermaphrodite -> sexual??

@Danny705

The Chicken, the Egg, and Adam

The age old question, ‘Which came first, the chicken or the egg,’ leads me to an interesting thought experiment concerning Adam.
Let’s pretend that God created Adam one day ago (his time) and you, via a time machine, bring him into the present day. And you take him to the most highly educated and intelligent MD of your acquaintance. And you ask this MD, “How old is this man?”
Adam, of course, does not speak English, so there is no use asking him. So the MD does a full examination of Adam: physical, lab tests, X-rays, CT Scans, the whole thing. What age do you suppose he puts on Adam?
I am a linguist, so I take Adam, between his tests at the doctor, to a linguist: a PhD in developmental linguistics. I have him examine Adam from a linguistic standpoint. Adam and I (luckily I speak Adam’s language) talk about a variety of things, and the linguist listens to his fluency, etc. And then I ask my linguist friend the same thing: How old is Adam.
Not content with those two, we take Adam to an expert in child development, and have him examine how Adam is able to play with blocks, walk on a balance beam, and the like. And, once again, we ask him, “How old is Adam?”
What do you suppose the answer will be? What can you be sure the answer won’t be? Do you suppose that even one of those men, those highly learned, experienced, scientific men will say, “One day old, obviously!”

@Danny705

If Evolution is True, I Win

By the way, there is an interesting twist to our conversation. If Evolution is true: I win.

First of all, evolutionarily speaking, I have been a pretty good success. I had six children, all of whom are married, and they have produced eleven born grandchildren so far, and there are three more on the way (two of whom you do not think are persons 😟 ). So if our goal in life is to pass on our genes then, at least compared to most people in our society, I have done pretty good.

And in light of the OP my position wins too. If evolution is true, if our goal in life is to pass on our genes in a multiplicative kind of way, then by teaching my immediate family, and the sub-culture that surrounds them, that it is the height of immorality to murder your child in the womb, I make it more likely that they will continue to have children, and not kill them. And that the group that surrounds them will support that decision.

So while evolution isn’t true, in fact is ‘Nonsense of a High Order’ (not my invention), by a modification of Pascal’s wager… I win 🙂

@VonO Do you believe it is asexual -> hermaphrodite -> sexual??
Sorry, I got hung up doing other things. On the origin of sexual reproduction, I see this as a process of single cells merging. As you may recall from highschool biology meiosis is a process where a single cell divides twice leaving four cells. This results in four haploid cells which each contain only half the full genetic code (not unlike a sperm and egg). Occasionally touching cells can merge then split again. This is the likely genesis of sexual reproduction, it would take eons before anything like a hermaphrodite or full sexual organ would emerge. The emergence of sex happened an enormously long time ago. Where do you stand on more recent evolution? After the age of the dinosaurs for example. Did humans evolve from primate ancestors?

@VonO If Evolution is True, I Win
I have never tried to win, I was never having a debate, I was having a conversation. I maintained from the very beginning that my goal was to learn something (which I’ve accomplished by keeping an open mind). I was not questioning if Christianity is true, I was questioning if it is true on all levels of analysis, is it literally true? If we go back to the beginning of the second part of this conversation you may recall where I said “I’m reminded of the case of Candy Lightner who, in 1983, lost her 13-year-old daughter Cari in a drunk driving accident. In the days that followed Ms. Lightner built herself a narrative which attached purpose to her suffering. She told herself “my daughter died so that other people could live” she worked tirelessly toward the meaning of her narrative. Eventually, she started the organization known as Mother Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The interesting thing about this case is that by enacted the narrative it became true. Not true in the sense that gravity and evolution are true (from an empirical perspective Cari Lightner died because a drunken asshole drove his car into her) but true in the sense that her mother’s subsequent behaviour really did save countless lives (just as enacting the narrative of the sacred mother is true for families). You once called your view “conformity to truth” I would like to end by asserting that equal truths can exist on separate levels of abstraction. Perhaps science and religion are not as irreconcilable as they seem.”
If we consider what you said about your own ability to propagate genes into the next generation through religious beliefs it serves to illustrate my original point that human beings are meaning makers. We evolved the capacity to intuit narratives (i.e. religiosity) as a way to make us more effective at large scale cooperation, enduring suffering and propagating genes. Enacting narratives has evolutionary utility in precisely the way you articulated. You are absolutely correct, you have successfully passed your genes along, enacting narratives can make them true.

@Danny705
>> I see this as a process of single cells merging

Maybe I wasn't clear. Single cells merging is not an example of 'sexual' reproduction, by which I mean the idea of two separate genders, each of which performs a different role in the reproductive system.

@Danny705
>>>>I have never tried to win, I was never having a debate, I was having a conversation.

What I was, an am, trying to do is to get at the truth. (The single, univocal, truth that applies to all levels of reality simultaneously.) In this conversation, then, I was faced with two issues:

  1. Your initial claim that the more you understand the issues surrounding child-murder, the more complex they got. I argued, and will continue to argue, that the more you understand them, the simpler and more clear they get: that child murder involves the murder of a child: that children in the womb are morally due all of the respect that we accord to newborns, toddlers, children, adolescents, etc. Indeed if anything murder of a child in the womb is more morally repugnant than, say, the murder of an adult.
  2. Your later claim that there exists some point along the developmental spectrum at which the developing child becomes a ‘person’.

In the case of either of these issues, even if one looks at them from a purely evolutionary position, your position on (1) and (2) fails to correspond with any level of reality. Even if morality merely consists of ‘doing what will allow your genes to reproduce/thrive etc., as evolution would necessarily teach, then both arguments in favor of child murder fail, at the very least on the personal level.
A consistent reading of evolution would teach that while it might be possible (if dangerous) to insist that it is OK for those who do not share many of your genes to murder their children, it would be the height of evolutionary folly to teach such to those who share your genes.

@Danny705
>>Where do you stand on more recent evolution?

The same place I stand on all other time frames of Nonsense of a High Order.
If you are familiar with the concepts of 'macro' vs 'micro' evolution (a confusing equivocation, IMO) then I would be a believer in 'micro' evolution. A very complex subject, but it is fully consistent with the idea of a intricately designed creation: created with the ability to adapt, even genetically adapt, to different circumstances. Indeed I just read an interesting article on how even traumatic events can be passed down via generations.

@Danny705

While we wait for Danny’s next response, I had a concept I wanted to flesh out:

On Law

It seems to me that the word ‘law’ can mean at least four different things, and it would be helpful to flesh them out

Fiat Law
One kind of law we might call ‘fiat’ law. It is a law declared by an intelligent being, and acted out by others.

Man
Man can, at will, issue ‘laws’. These laws govern things that man has under his control. So a father can issue a law that the family will eat at such and such a time. The organizing committee of a club can make a law that the club will meet on alternate Thursdays… that kind of thing.
Now man, being only man, can only make laws that, at their best, offer punishments and the like. He cannot truly ‘command’ and be fully and completely and always obeyed. He can make a clock, and regulate its workings so that it will tell time… but only until it breaks, or gets sand in the gears.

God
God, on the other hand, when He issues a law, at least to the material realm (we will leave aside the question of free will and God’s hand in history etc.) can not only pronounce, but be obeyed. If He declares that bodies will be attracted to each other in proportion to the inverse square of their distance apart, well, apples fall down not up. And ever and always in such and such a rate.

Descriptive
Another kind of law is a law that we might call ‘descriptive’. It, too, has at least two categories

What stuff does
The first category is kind of odd, but very important. It is what stuff does. Apples do fall. Fire does burn. And apples fall in a regular fashion, and fire burns according to certain… ummmm… laws

Man recognizing what stuff does
We need to move quickly to the second class of descriptive laws, and that is man recognizing what stuff does, in fact, do.
So Adam, when he first tripped over a tree root, might have said, “This walking on two legs thing is more complicated than I had thought.” IOW he recognized some of the effects of this ‘gravity’ thing.
Years later, along comes Gallileo who, after being hit on the head by an apple, sat down and wrote out long, detailed formulas about how apples, and planets, fall.

So the difference between these last two is very important, but very confusing. It could be said, perhaps, that Adam discovered the law of gravity, and Galileo invented the law of gravity. Adam fell down; and Gallileo wrote down why Adam fell down.
So stuff happens, and occasionally a bright human will try to determine why, and write his observations down.

So trying an example of each of these:
Man’s fiat law: “No dropping apples on your brother’s head.”
God’s fiat law: “In this universe I am making, apples will fall down.”
Nature’s descriptive law: Apples fall, even where there is no man to observe them
Man’s descriptive law: Gallileo gets in trouble for saying that apples fall… and planets fall… and here are the rules that govern them.

Now let us go a bit further afield and recognize that both man and God can speak of a time before a fiat law. God, sitting in heaven with a few angels, could say, “I’m going to make a universe where apples fall.” Man, sitting in a backroom smoking a pipe, can say, “I’m going to write a law which says that apples that have fallen cannot be sold.”
But let us notice that either of the descriptive laws can be talked about before the case. Nature cannot have apples fall before there are apples (or anything else) to fall. And man cannot observe apples falling and write a law about it before there are apples and men.
Where am I going with all this? Well, certain scientists, when discussing the origin of the universe, seem to have gotten confused. They wish to say that before there was anything, there were the laws of quantum physics.
Now this theory fails on at least two points. It fails, first of all, the Julie Andrews test: “Nothing comes from nothing, nothing every could.” If there was nothing, then there was nothing: which means nothing, including no laws.
But the second thing is what I am getting at above. There is not rational definition of ‘law’ that would allow for what they are describing.
An intelligent being, man or God, can talk, rationally, about their future actions. An intelligent being can talk, rationally, about the future actions of things. We can even write a law that says, “If X happens, then Y will will result.” We can observe X -> Y happen repeatedly in our daily lives, and even assume it is happening in places where we can’t see it.
But we can’t talk about nature doing something in a regular fashion (ie a descriptive natural law) when there is noting to do anything. If we eliminate man and God we eliminate three of the four definition of law, above, and we are left merely with ‘what nature actually does do, repeatedly’. And if nature does not exist, if there is literally nothing; then there can be no descriptive natural laws.

@VonO Interesting. God is absolutely amazing! May I ask a stupid question? How did God come into 'existence'? Was there ever a "time" when God was not? Does God have a body? A Spiritual body? Such thoughts are too high for me....or maybe they are too deep.....Nevermind....

@dmatic Great question, but maybe take it over to the 2%? It seems more appropriate there.

@Danny705 Reminding Danny that this conversation exists. Like God 🙂

@Danny705 Ping

4

Hey man speak for yourself don’t generalize us with your dogma mentality

4

I am against men, women and the industry that supports abortion. There also must be a way for redemption and forgiveness. The past is not mine to judge except in how I move into the future. The canard that only women have a say is put to flight when pro-life women say something. Groupthink is not for the IDW. Feminism is sucking the joy out of women as well as men. Find and cherish a woman who respects you.

3

This post is very personal. You feel deep pain at the loss of the child conceived by your seed in the womb of a woman you joined with. From your remarks, it seems that the relationship was consensual, but you have not revealed whether it was committed, whether she was your wife, whether you two had gone into bed after establishing an understanding about your beliefs and what sex means to you, what would happen if a child was conceived. You are disappointed in her and in yourself.

I notice that you mention faith. In Genesis, God establishes marriage, a union of man and woman, with the man loving his wife and sacrificing himself for her, the wife submitting to him. Outside of marriage, men don't have authority over women before God. Within the structure God designed, the scenario you've described wouldn't happen. To reject God's way is to invite pain and unnecessary suffering.

What can you do? Your child cannot be brought back. From your original post it seems that the relationship cannot continue. You are angry and grieving. Eventually, I hope that you can work through what happened and take responsibility where it justly is yours. You were part of the process; you did have a say in the creation of life, just not in the sustaining of it. I hope that you are careful to learn from this experience of deep tragedy.

3

"Hate them even more" What is this the he-man woman haters club? Are you really intending to begin a discussion presuming misogyny. That would seem to be the SJW position.

2

This is the one issue that isn't really an issue that conservatives should just leave alone. It's one thing to create life by just ejaculating into a vagina, but you know nothing of what it's like to actually carry that baby for 9 months and to force someone to go through that whole process is more evil than the actual abortion itself. Get over it.

Giving birth is the natural process. It will happen on its own, if nothing interferes. The initiation of force occurs during the abortion, which is an unnatural end to a natural process. This isn't a pro-choice or pro-life statement, just a logical one.

@BossPig Tuberculosis, ebola, high infant mortality etc are also natural processes, but humanity decided to prevent them. There has been little natural in the chain of events of our civilisation in the last hundred years or more.

@DavidicLineage I am not suggesting, but asserting, that little to nothing of the mechanics of how we live our lives today is natural.

2

Honestly, I don't think that's their concern. And, you have to realize, you're speaking for yourself. While I'm sure there are others who feel as you do, there are still more who see it differently. And, when you say "hate you more", I am guessing you are referring to only women who have abortions? Because, you're implying, by your wording, that you already hate all women. Not sure why you already hate them, and not sure if you realize that is how your wording rests, or if that's how you meant to come across.

I agree with men being a part of the process. They definitely are. To some degree, anyway. But you have to realize, many don't WANT to be anything more than a sperm donor. Many men also feel it's an acceptable form of birth control. I do not.

Of course, best case scenario would be for both parties to be responsible for their birth control efforts. Why a man wouldn't make SURE he is wearing protection if he doesn't wasn't the responsibility of a child is beyond me. And why a woman who doesn't want a child wouldn't insist on that, PLUS her own form is also beyond me. But, accidents happen. Even if. So, now comes the hard part. IF she is willing to raise it but he isn't, what do you think? And not sure how many instances there are where the man is willing but she's not. But I'm sure there are some. Yes. He SHOULD have a say. But we are a looong way from that. I pray for more 2 parent families. More softening of the hearts of women who are lied to about unborn babies.

2

Do men understand that women may not care what men think about them. Do men understand that it takes two to tango. Do men understand that maybe when two people have sexual relations, they both may have different agendas or are just being in the moment. Do men understand that making hard decisions aren't easy. Do you know what is easy: Making blanket statements and making life issues black and white. Children don't even do that, only "adults".

2

I think you may be conflating two issues. The first being that generally men have no say in abortion: they have no ability (unless they are married yyo the woman in some cases) to prevent the killing of their child. Understandably, this could hurt the man deeply and also cause deep resentment (which you are calling hatred) toward the woman for opting to put her comfort before the childs life. While I think hatred, the second and separate issue, is something else, having very strong negative feelings for a woman who did that with no consideration for all the people who suffer from that decision, especially the childs father, is warranted. Abortion damages more than the mother and child for generations. No I one looks at that. I have counseled hundreds of women who have aborted their children, and have seen the devastating effects of that choice.

.