Tuesday, November 29, 2011

IDiots and Incivility

 
This is just a heads-up to let you know that Casey Luskin is about to post a series of examples of bad behavior by ID critics [The Uncivil Style of Intelligent Design Critics]. Apparently it's going to be a long series ....
I'm going to let ENV readers in on a little secret: When many of us in the intelligent design (ID) movement read the arguments coming from our critics, we're surprised at their low quality and style. We don't rejoice at this -- we'd much rather see a robust, civil, and fruitful scientific debate over the relevant questions. But the incivility, basic inaccuracy, and unserious tone characteristic of so many criticisms of ID all make you wonder: If the critics had stronger rebuttals to offer, wouldn't we be hearing them?

...

There are so many examples of incivility among ID-critics that it's hard to know where to start. And I'm not just talking about the usual Internet suspects, like PZ Myers, Jerry Coyne, or Larry Moran.
On a completely unrelated topic that has nothing to do with Darwinist incivility ...

While you're checking out Evolution News & Views you might want to read a fascinating article by Richard Weikart defending his books From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany and Hitler's Ethic: The Nazi Pursuit of Evolutionary Progress [Robert J. Richards and the Historical Record]. It even has a photo to illustrate the point about Darwin (see below).


This is a follow-up to a very civil article posted last month: Can Darwinists Condemn Hitler and Remain Consistent with Their Darwinism?.
I threw down the gauntlet to many of my Darwinian opponents by telling her that if Darwinism is indeed a purposeless, non-teleological process, as many evolutionists and biology textbooks proclaim, and if morality is the product of these mindless evolutionary processes, as Darwin and many other prominent Darwinists maintain, then "I don't think [they] have any grounds to criticize Hitler."

According to Flam, these are "fighting words." However, I have spoken with intelligent Darwinists who admit point-blank that they do not have any grounds to condemn Hitler, so I am not just making this up. Many evolutionists believe that since evolution explains the origin of morality -- as Darwin himself argued -- then there is no objective morality. The famous evolutionary biologist and founder of sociobiology, E. O. Wilson, and the prominent philosopher of science Michael Ruse co-authored an article on evolutionary ethics in which they asserted, "Ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to co-operate."
Anyway, let's not forget the important point and that's Casey Luskin's upcoming series on the incivility of ID critics.


46 comments :

  1. And "You're an amoral bastard with no standards nor ethics" is a civil comment? "You're just like Hitler"? "You don't think Hitler did anything wrong"? Those aren't insults?

    Besides being, if this were a duelling age, mortal insults, that last at least is a straw man. Also, this flimsy excuse for an argument falls foul of Godwin's Law, "Whoever compares their opponent to Hitler first loses the argument."

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  2. Larry calls himself a "pluralist" so he has no problems regarding Darwinism and Nazism.

    The Nazis were inspired by Darwinism but it doesn't work both ways. Although some Darwinists, like PZ Myers, have fascistic proclivities.

    Discussion about the origin and diversity of life make civil people very uncivil. There is just too much at stake to be polite about it all.

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  3. The IDers refuse to accept the vast body of evidence that supports evolutionary theory. They won't answer simple logical questions because it undermines their position. They are not scientists and yet claim they are. And then they want civility!

    Sorry, if they want a real debate in science they have to accept the data, otherwise they will be ridiculed, just like any bad scientist.

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  4. Atheistoclast wrote The Nazis were inspired by Darwinism

    Re-writing history, are we. Nazism has a well documented history of opposing Darwinism; in fact, in 1935 the Nazi party offically moved all works of darwin onto their banned books list:

    From Die Bücherei 2:6 (1935), p. 279, section 6:
    Schriften weltanschaulichen und lebenskundlichen Charakters, deren Inhalt die falsche naturwissenschaftliche Aufklarung eines primitiven Darwinismus und Monismus ist

    Roughly translated:
    "Philosophical writings regarding te false science of Darwinism and Monism"

    Bryan

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  5. I was going to say something awful about Casey and about Weikart, but this atheistoclast utter imbecile always makes the IDiots look like angels by comparison.

    So I rather say nothing else.

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  6. "The Nazis were inspired by Darwinism..."

    Wrong. For a comprehensive review of the origins of Nazi racial ideology, see here: http://coelsblog.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/nazi-racial-ideology-was-religious-creationist-and-opposed-to-darwinism/

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  7. Atheistoclast: yes, the Nazis were inspired so much that they decided to burn Darwin's books.

    Amongst the categories of books banned by an official Nazi document, you'll find, for example:
    "Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism (Haeckel)"

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  8. If the Nazis were 'inspired' by darwinism why was origin of species banned by them??

    Do none of of the ID proponents understand the difference between natural selection and farming???

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  9. Larry, I don't think your Nazi example is uncivil, just silly. Perhaps if he said that "Darwinists" were Nazis, it would qualify. But all he said, quite politely, is that Darwinists think there is no objective morality and therefore nothing can be considered immoral. It's no worse than pointing out that if "Darwinists have no objective basis for morality, then theists don't either (Euthyphro); was Plato uncivil?

    Surely you can do better than that.

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  10. Oh good grief, they only suggest that we are like the Nazis in a civil manner. They've got Designer on their side, after all.

    Likewise, they would only call us anti-freedom bastards in the most respectful manner. Why can't Christian-hating Darwinists who have no excuse for believing their materialistic lies understand that simple fact?

    Glen Davidson

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  11. Either a Creator exists or not. If so, then according to most Christians and other believers the Creator is omnipotent and omniscient, in which case Hitler's ascent was expected and, you might say, planned. If not, then Hitler is the product of a blind natural process and the cultural milieu in which he arose. That cultural milieu included evolutionary ideas, which one could conceive of as having influenced him, except his own writings and conviction that Aryans were are the top of the heap contradict that supposition.

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  12. Not only Nazis opposed Darwinism. They were Christians and made many references to Christian God in their speeches and writings.
    From Mein Kampf (found easily on internet):
    "I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.."

    But it's really weird to hear accusations of moral relativism from people, whose God (according to Bible) killed humans, and in the name of that God people were murdered and tortured.

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  13. It does not matter one bit if the Nazis were inspired by Darwin or not, it means absolutely nothing as regards the veracity of the theory. A very simple point, but one which the IDiots seem to constantly forget. Actually I'll bet that they probably know that it's a complete non sequitur, but they don't care, they'll do anything to frighten, confuse, and convert the innocent and ignorant.

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  14. John Harshman said,

    Larry, I don't think your Nazi example is uncivil, ...

    Really? Then why do you think they choose to associate Darwinism with the Nazis and not with Republicans or Christians?

    After all, they could make the exact same argument by pointing out that Darwinists have no morals so we can't praise Republicans or Christians for their virtues.

    Do you honestly believe that associating Darwinism with Nazis is a civil attempt to advance the debate over Intelligent Design Creationism?

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  15. What about those creationists who insist on telling us that they accept "micro"evolution, evolution within a "kind" (or "baramin")? As "social darwinism" and various other social/political movements of the early 20th century supposedly relied on evolution within "mankind", what about those creationists who accept "micro"evolution within "mankind"?

    I want to make it clear that I don't think that the connection is real, either for the "evolutionists" or for the "microevolutionists". The question is how the "microevolutionists" (that is, "baraminologists") can explain this supposed connection.

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  16. Of course, Darwin's theory of natural selection was also banned in the former Soviet Union where scientists who accepted evolution were sent to the gulag. Something that morons like Mr,. Atheistoclast would probably welcome in the US and Canada.

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  17. But all he said, quite politely, is that Darwinists think there is no objective morality and therefore nothing can be considered immoral.

    Which is only slightly less moronic than everything else they say. Sophistry doesn't become them.

    As for Casey Luskin's empty rhetoric, give 'er a good tug Casey. Now, feel better? You can't support a platform that is nothing but distortions, idiocies, and outright lies and expect civility in return. This road runs both ways.

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  18. I love how you guys become distracted from the core question.

    Larry said:
    Really? Then why do you think they choose to associate Darwinism with the Nazis and not with Republicans or Christians?

    What would the difference have been Larry? Aren't they all just artifacts of the starting conditions?

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  19. The Nazis feared the power of natural selection as well. In the minutes of the Wannsee conference, the Nazis consider the extermination, or as some have argued the forced sterilization, of European Jews to be necessary because of evolutionary reasons:

    http://prorev.com/wannsee.htm

    "The possible final remnant will, since it will undoubtedly consist of the most resistant portion, have to be treated accordingly, because it is the product of natural selection and would, if released, act as a the seed of a new Jewish revival."

    No doubt, Darwin would have agreed.

    The Nazis believed that the law of natural selection should not be interfered with. The strong must be allowed to destroy or dominate the weak, as is the case in Nature.

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  20. Larry,

    I was talking about the quote that makes up the bulk of your example, the one beginning, "I threw down the gauntlet...". Nothing in there comparing "darwinists" to Nazis or even claiming that Nazis were influenced by Darwin. If either of those was said anywhere in that article you should have quoted that part instead of the one you did.

    As for using Nazis instead of Republicans, in order to make his point (his supposed point, that is), he needed to reference a group that everyone agrees should be condemned.

    Nothing to see here, folks. Really, if you want to find an example of creationist incivility, you will have to look elsewhere. It isn't as if there aren't plenty of better examples.

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  21. It never seems to faze these people that neither Hitler nor Stalin credited Darwin's ideas on evolution. They were both Lamarckists who believed in heritability of acquired traits rather than explicitly genetic ones, because that's where they were at: shaping humans by conditioning. But most creationists are too ignorant to understand the difference, or too polemic to admit to it once they do.

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  22. Atheistoclast said:

    The Nazis were inspired by Darwinism

    See? :)

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  23. Actually, I think the ID folks have more to answer for with regard to Hitler than "Darwinists" do, judging from a speech Hitler gave on Feb. 26, 1942:

    "From where do we get the right to believe that man was not from the very beginning what he is today.

    A glance in Nature shows us , that changes and developments happen in the realm of plants and animals. But nowhere do we see inside a kind, a development of the size of the leap that Man must have made, if he supposedly has advanced from an ape-like condition to what he is."


    So, changes only WITHIN "kinds", the denial that humans could have evolved from apes... That doesn't sound like something Dawkins (or Darwin) would say, does it? Nah, it sounds A LOT more like the kind of bilge William Lane Craig or Ken Ham or Kent Hovind or Ray "Banana Man" Comfort spew, don't you think?

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  24. The strong must be allowed to destroy or dominate the weak

    If you’re an ignoramus who’s never actually read On the Origin of Species, you might be led to understand natural selection that way. Anyone who has, on the other hand, knows that the Darwin said was that the environment places reproductive pressure on species that increase the likelihood that those with traits that happen to better suit them to that particular environment are more likely to pass them on, and thus, they will become more normative (common) over time.

    If you’re the kind of person who gets “gas the Jews and queers and Gypsies” from that, you’re clearly also the kind of person who gets “kill Sharon Tate” from listening to Helter Skelter.

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  25. Atheistoclast, the passage you reference does indeed refer to Darwinian natural selection, saying that those Jews who survive hard labour will be the hardiest. But note that, here, Darwinian natural selection is acting against the interests of the Nazis (who wanted to exterminate all the Jews).

    And, most of all, that passage does not in any way provide any motivation for exterminating Jews, nor in any way point to Darwin to justify the extermination of the Jews. Yes, the Nazis seem to have accepted some degree of natural selection, the micro-evolution that today’s creationists also accept, but the motivation for the holocaust came from their religious, creationist ideology of separate creations of the human races that is totally contrary to and incompatible with Darwinism.

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  26. Atheistoclast,

    Don't you also believe in natural selection within species' boundaries?, i.e., don't you believe that the fittest wolves (those that hunt better, maintain their pack dominance, etc.) survive to pass along more of their genes (without ultimately producing any species change, of course)?

    If not, what are the exclusively non-fitness related factors that go into survival and reproduction? Does God just 'decide' all that without regard to any natural functions? 'I like this wolf; ooh, that wolf looks nice, etc.'

    Or, if you do believe in limited natural selection within kinds, aren't your beliefs then nearly identical to Nazism?

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  27. I mean, let’s be honest here. Good, hard-working, blue-eyed Christians had been hating Jews for the better part of two millennia by the time Charles Darwin was born. It’s not like he published his findings and some Germans in a Munich pub all cracked his book and said, “Hey, this English fellow seems to be telling us to kill all the Jews!” It’s that a bunch of people who hated Jews to the point of genocide and were thinking that using that Protestant saint, Martin Luther (who actually DID finally get around to advocating killing the Jews), as their justification might be getting a little stale started looking for new, modern, “scientific” justifications. So they took what they thought workable from the theory of evolution, ignored or denied most of it, and twisted it into the same eugenicist pseudoscience that was all the rage with other white, Christian haters of non-white, non-Christians the world over.

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  28. Oh look, it's that specious attempt to smear the people invovled in a specific scientific discipline, and to imply the theory is false, by claiming the overarching theory of the discipline has been used by bad people to do bad things.

    Even if true, it still doesn't mean evolution didn't happen.

    Atomic theory was used to create two nuclear bombs and exterminate something like 200.000 civilians in less than a second. Oh I guess that means atomic theory is wrong? (Why did the bomb work, then?).

    Sorry clastie, you lose. Come back when you have logically valid arguments.

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  29. John Harshman said,

    As for using Nazis instead of Republicans, in order to make his point (his supposed point, that is), he needed to reference a group that everyone agrees should be condemned.

    That's nonsense, and I think you know it.

    They could have picked war heroes and pointed out that Darwinists have no reason to praise war heroes because Darwinists don't believe in morals.

    Or they could have picked another evil group like environmental polluters or lawyers.

    But they didn't pick any other group. They decided to associate Darwinists with genocidal Nazis.

    Just a coincidence, of course.

    BTW, John, I happen to own a big bridge in New York. Are you interested in buying it? :-)

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  30. They could have picked war heroes and pointed out that Darwinists have no reason to praise war heroes because Darwinists don't believe in morals.


    Well, sure, but you often just go to the worst example and say, "if you have no basis from which to condemn that, what evil can you condemn?" In that sense, the Nazis and Hitler make sense.

    Seriously, though, what's being missed in this little battle is the fact that even bringing up morals and ethics with respect to an issue that they claim is scientific is hideously uncivil. What difference should it even make to the science if "Darwinists" have a basis from which to condemn Nazis or not?

    Obviously that question could always be turned against them, as in, what in religion gives a solid basis from which to condemn Hitler? But that's not the point at all, either, as science isn't the basis for anyone's morality, which is almost certainly true even if the person claims otherwise.

    Luskin squeaked: "When many of us in the intelligent design (ID) movement read the arguments coming from our critics, we're surprised at their low quality and style. We don't rejoice at this -- we'd much rather see a robust, civil, and fruitful scientific debate over the relevant questions."

    So what's civil about even bringing up morality at all, as if evolution needs to have some basis from which to condemn Hitler? It's duplicitous, hypocritical, and a strawman attack, all in one, and entirely uncivil based on the fact that they've had this pointed out to them repeatedly, yet they continue in such dishonesty.

    Lastly, Harshman might have a point about the Nazi thing not being uncivil as such were it not in a context of "Darwinism caused the Shoah" charges from those dishonest charlatans. It is not what Moran quoted by itself that establishes the incivility of their whole attack--and let's not kid ourselves, they were always dishonestly and uncivilly attacking scientists, well before we bothered with them--it is simply part and parcel of their unscientific strawman attack on evolutionary theory for not being a religion that condemns the Nazis.

    Glen Davidson

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  31. Larry,

    That most certainly isn't nonsense, and it would be more civil not to imply dishonesty on my part. Bringing up Nazis is always useful if you're searching for maximum rhetorical effect. Much more effective than talking about war heroes or boy scouts or whatever else you like; similarly, polluters and lawyers just don't have the same rhetorical punch.

    Most importantly, merely mentioning Nazis in the same sentence does nothing whatsoever to associate "darwinists" with them. You are conflating two separate claims here. Leave the logical fallacies to the creationists.

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  32. Yes, Darwinism refers strictly to reproductive fitness rather than to survival of the strongest. However, in Nature, the strong do tend to kill of the weak, and so reproduce to a greater extent more than the latter do. Darwin was adamant in the Origin and other works that life was a fierce struggle for existence and that competition and combat was essential to evolutionary progress.

    The Nazis also did consider non-Aryans to be a subhumans and believed there were sound evolutionary reasons to accept this as fact. Racism was given an intellectual foundation by Darwinism and this continues to this day.

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  33. @Atheistoclaptrap Darwin was adamant in the Origin and other works that life was a fierce struggle for existence and that competition and combat was essential to evolutionary progress.

    You're attributing agency, cause and direction to a natural process that has none of those features.

    In a Dungeons & Dragons framework I would classify you as Chaotic Evil.

    And your health level beggars belief given the number of hits you have taken.

    But your experience points are still at zero, you would have to actually learn from experience or overcome a competitor to earn any of those.

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  34. Atheistoclast,

    Amazing that you can't read comments directed at yourself showing that "Darwinism" had nothing to do with Hitler, while the guy certainly claimed to be following God's will.

    I would not use the "Hitler's hatred was based on Christianity" though, reason being that it is obvious that someone with strong inclinations towards something like racism, can twist anything, whether with reason or without, to be interpreted to their convenience (just like you do in your insistence that "Darwin thus Hitler"). Thus, I would have to be careful and study what Christianity was in Hitler's times, and whether from that there would be a logical connection that is also stated by Hitler and his followers.

    Creationists and IDiots like yourself think very differently. Instead of being careful about what comes out of your shitty mouths, and how you reach your conclusion, you start by wanting the conclusion to be true. Then you isolate phrases here and there, twist the meaning of evolution, and find a connection that was not there. Your imbecility knows no limits, and you will ignore anything we say except whatever you can twist into "Darwin thus Hitler." You are an ass-hole and proud of it.

    Now fuck off.

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  35. Wow, Good job on bashing those strawmen - very impressive.

    The question is about universal morality and you guys get your panties in a knot over the mention of Hitler.

    My understanding is that morality is a result of genetic programming and societal indoctrination - is your understanding different?

    And, as they say - Understanding is forgiveness

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  36. @barefoot hiker:
    Do you have a complete citation for the speech of Hitler that you quote? I'd like to use that.

    TomS

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  37. Darwin was adamant in the Origin and other works that life was a fierce struggle for existence and that competition and combat was essential to evolutionary progress.

    Where?

    And nevertheless, do you find that automatically makes you want to herd Jews into gas chambres?

    If not, then you're drawing an inference that isn't supported, is it? Again, you might as well jail Paul McCartney for the murder of Sharon Tate.

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  38. TomS:

    Hi, Tom. The original translation from source appears to be from here:

    http://stevencarrwork.blogspot.com/search?q=A+glance+in+Nature+shows+us+%2C+that+changes+and+developments+happen

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  39. TomS,

    The quote cited by barefoot hiker is found in Hitler's Table Talk though one should bear in mind that the conversations recorded in this work were edited by others and so are less reliable as being Hitler’s true sentiments than Mein Kampf or his speeches.

    Regardless, there are dozens of quotes from Hitler that indicate the motivation for the holocaust came from their religious, creationist ideology of separate creations of the human races that is totally contrary to and incompatible with Darwinism.

    There's a reason that creationists can't directly quote Hitler praising Darwin, or EVIL-ution, it isn't historically accurate.

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  40. The Nazis also did consider non-Aryans to be a subhumans and believed there were sound evolutionary reasons to accept this as fact.

    Again, you're putting the cart before the horse. Do you honestly mean to sit there and try to get us to believe that NO ONE prior to the publishing of On the Origin of Species in November of 1859 -- 13 months before South Carolina seceded from the Union in defense of black slavery -- ever considered "Aryans" to be superior to "non-Aryans"? Or could it be that those attitudes had existed for a long, long, LONG time by then and like anything else objectionable, looked for any rope it could cling to, and wove one out of the innocuous observations of Charles Darwin on finches in the Galapagos Islands, et al.?


    Racism was given an intellectual foundation by Darwinism and this continues to this day.

    Oh, bullshit. Do you mean you really think all those slave-owners in the antebellum South sat around asking one another, "Gee whiz, how can we justify our racism? I sure wish some smart limey scientist would come along and show us the way..."? No, I'll tell you what they used, and you know what their justification was as well as I do. They found all the justification they needed in the Bible, where their god instituted, legislated, regulated, and praised slavery in the Old Testament, tacitly endorsed it in the New, and gave them every basis for their racism as the eternal punishment of Ham and his descendants forever.

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  41. Joe Agnostic, I'd suggest the reason people skipped right over the "universal morality" argument and talked about Hitler instead is because the former is a moronic bit of sophistry, assuming the objective necessity it needs to (and can't) prove. It's counter is beautiful in its simplicity: There is no universal morality, and we don't need one anyway, as the behavior of the entire world demonstrates. Our common values, instincts, and desires do just fine. Imperfect, but its all we've got.

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  42. ScienceAvenger said:
    It's counter is beautiful in its simplicity: There is no universal morality, and we don't need one anyway, as the behavior of the entire world demonstrates. Our common values, instincts, and desires do just fine. Imperfect, but its all we've got.

    The issue then becomes, in my mind, one of determinism and ultimately "What are the grounds to criticize Hitler." - or better: "Aren't the value judgement we make either self-serving or even arbitrary?"

    It seems to become a question of maladaptation rather than "wrong", and why, really, should we care either way?

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  43. Joe Agnostic,

    And, as they say - Understanding is forgiveness

    Well, nope, sometimes understanding is the justification to tell someone to fuck off. We understand that they cherry-pick words, twist meanings, and forget their own problems with morality in order to draw a straw-man for "darwinism" and for anything "we are the products of nature." In this case, they wan't to say that if we are the products of nature then morality and ethics is an illusion thus erecting not only a series of straw-man, but an objection that does not undermine reality one bit (thus a red-herring). They manage to put together as many fallacies as possible, and they know what they are doing. Since we know that they do this in all dishonesty, we have no reason to offer forgiveness. They get what they deserve.

    Ciao.

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  44. @ScienceAvenger:

    Our common values, instincts, and desires do just fine.

    The problem is, if you aren't dazzled by the Ten Commandments and its oh-so-crucial instruction to mankind to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy... and how DID we survive without THAT gold nugget of God's wisdom?... they turn right around and say that oh, well, God put that conscience in you to tell you right and wrong.

    Then A) what do we need the Bible for; B) why didn't we have it BEFORE "the fall" but only AFTER we acquired the knowledge of good and evil (so did he really give it to us??), and C) what's the point of the Ten Commandments if everyone is born already automatically knowing its actual moral points?

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  45. Atheistoclast, the take-home message of Descent of Man is that all humans share a recent common ancestor, in sharp contrast to Nazi dogma that (if I recall correctly) Adam and Eve were Aryans and other races were separately created. Evolutionary theory shows we are all brothers, and there is no "God's chosen people"---neither the Jews nor the Aryans, though both groups, and many other groups as well, consider themselves chosen by god and consider the rest to be subhuman or at least good candidates for genocide.

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