Monday, October 21, 2013

How could they have thought that?

 Consider this  speech by Richard Henry Pratt. Explain how such attitudes could have been prevalent in a previous era of American history, yet completely socially unacceptable today. Are we much smarter than those people back them, or is there some other explanation for the disgust that most people would feel towards this kind of attitude?
Or are we so far removed from this perspective??

“We may be sure that the characteristic blindness of the twentieth century — the blindness about which posterity will ask, ‘But how could they have thought that?’ — lies where we have never suspected it.”-- C. S. Lewis. 

243 comments:

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Crude said...

“We may be sure that the characteristic blindness of the twentieth century — the blindness about which posterity will ask, ‘But how could they have thought that?’ — lies where we have never suspected it.”-- C. S. Lewis.

I'll add one of my own relevant favorites. I'll even snip out the stuff that comes before and after, which would outrage people:

Closed-minded they were-as every age is, including our own, with regard to matters it cannot guess, because it simply does not consider them debatable. The virtue of a democratic system with a First Amendment is that it readily enables the people, over time, to be persuaded that what they took for granted is not so, and to change their laws accordingly.

That system is destroyed if the smug assurances of each age are removed from the democratic process and written into the Constitution. So to counterbalance the Court's criticism of our ancestors, let me say a word in their praise: they left us free to change.


im-skeptical said...

"they left us free to change"

And the dinosaurs among us refuse to go along.

B. Prokop said...

"And the dinosaurs among us refuse to go along."

So, Skep, you think that unless you unhesitatingly support every constitutional amendment that is ever proposed, you're automatically a dinosaur? Then I must assume that you're heartbroken that we don't have an anti-flag burning amendment, a human life amendment, a traditional marriage-only amendment, a balanced budget amendment, and an English-only amendment?

Crude said...

1 out of 10 Skep. If you plan on trolling, you need a bit more wit, a bit less 'whiny baby'. ;)

As for the OP...

Are we much smarter than those people back them, or is there some other explanation for the disgust that most people would feel towards this kind of attitude?

I actually question how much disgust is really felt, rather than how much is simply displayed. I think a tremendous amount of outrage nowadays is highly manufactured, even among the members of the crowd who show up to scream and holler.

That speech in particular is all about some government official talking about how important it is to inculcate a love of and devotion to the government, and various political values into indian children. I think a very sizable number of people would think that the only problem with Pratt's speech is that he was unfairly singling out Indians and Blacks, when the "savages" who need themselves a good public education and programming is far, far broader.

im-skeptical said...

"So, Skep, you think that unless you unhesitatingly support every constitutional amendment that is ever proposed, you're automatically a dinosaur?"

It was the dinosaurs among us who refused to give up slavery, who insisted that women don't have the rights of men, and who now would deny people the right to marry whom they choose. As humankind progresses, moving gradually away from its uncivilized past, the dinosaurs remain steadfast.

Dan Gillson said...

I think that the answer is moral progress. (Nota bene: I realize that what I count as progress, others may count as regress. Regardless, the point is that we don't inhabit the same moral landscape that we once did.)

HyperEntity111 said...

Quick question: Can anyone link me to an article defending moral realism from an Aristotelean perspective?

Dan Gillson said...

Hyper,

Philippa Foot's famous paper "Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives" is available online. Foot was both a moral realist and virtue ethicist, as well as an atheist. Her paper is a good resource. Alisdair MacIntyre's book After Virtue is a theistic (sort of) defense of virtue ethics. It's definitely worth checking out as well.

Ilíon said...

The *only* reason that you present-day white (*) Americans sneer at, and think yourselves morally superior to your ancestors who said, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian", is that Indians are no longer a mortal threat. We were savages -- worse than you, shocking as that may be to modern sensibilities.

This is the same point, really, as Lewis' about witch-hunting -- the reason that we moderns don't hunt for witches isn't that we're so morally superior to the early-modern North European Christians or classical Greco-Roman pagans (both of whom did hunt for, and kill, witches), but rather because we, culturally, don't believe that there are any witches.


(*) Yes, of course, my ancestry is mostly European, but for this point I am playing up the Indian portion.

B. Prokop said...

Another interesting point about witch hunting. Whether or not there are, or ever were, any actual witches, there have been thousands upon thousands of people throughout the centuries who not only considered other to be witches, but thought of themselves as witches, or in some other manner servants of the devil.

Charles Williams wrote what is probably the definitive history of this phenomenon, Witchcraft, a book well worth the read if you have the stomach for it.

I added that last caveat, because the story of what exactly these self-identified witches (of both sexes) did is far, far more horrifying and disgusting that the worst excesses of the witch hunts against them. We are all too quick to issue a blanket condemnation the witch hunts of the past without first asking ourselves whether or not there was any actual evil being combatted in them. Turns out that there was.

Dan Gillson said...

For fun, let's bring Graham's apparatus to bear on Ilion's comment:

"The *only* reason that you present-day white (*) Americans sneer at, and think yourselves morally superior to your ancestors who said, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian", is that Indians are no longer a mortal threat. We were savages -- worse than you, shocking as that may be to modern sensibilities."

That registers a DH 1 (an ad hominem of the circumstantial variety, a species of the genetic fallacy). The sheer fact that we don't send our military to kill Native Americans indiscriminately is enough to demonstrate our moral superiority over our ancestors.

"This is the same point, really, as Lewis' about witch-hunting -- the reason that we moderns don't hunt for witches isn't that we're so morally superior to the early-modern North European Christians or classical Greco-Roman pagans (both of whom did hunt for, and kill, witches), but rather because we, culturally, don't believe that there are any witches.

This may not register on the DH scale, but its still just a fallacy of irrelevancy (the genetic fallacy). The point could be made relevant if he explained why he thinks that we would still hunt and kill witches if we believed in them.

Ilion's comment failed on two accounts. It's probably not enough for the ban-hammer, but it certainly is enough to strike it from the combox, especially given Ilion's record.

HyperEntity111 said...

Ah God, I miswrote. I meant defenses of moral realism from a Thomistic perspective. But I was supposed to read that Foot paper anyway so thanks for the link.

Crude said...

Dan,

Loathe as I am to defend Ilion, I don't think his reply should rank the way you're ranking it. Ilion is charging that Indians were a mortal threat at the time, and that is why - back then - talk of 'civilizing' them was being made. I don't think even in the OP that we saw defenses of indiscriminate killing. (The only ones who were being charged with killing so were, in the OP, the indians themselves.)

And I think, in context, the 'witches' talk is pretty obvious. No one who put witches on trial thought these were Glenda the Good Witch situations. This had to do with fears of people killing and starving others through esoteric means. If people were really capable of and engaging in acts that witches were historically suspected of, I don't think it would be treated as non-obvious as to why they would be hunted.

Dan Gillson said...

Feser's site would be the place to look. He has links to Thomistic and other Aristotelian resources.

Crude said...

Hyper,

Repeating some of what Dan said - Aquinas by Edward Feser would be a good starting primer, and could lead you towards some other sources. Feser also mentions the two sources Dan refers to, and some others.

Dan Gillson said...

Crude,

What you've said is all true, but that doesn't change the fact that Ilion twice indulges in the fallacy of irrelevance. His points are of the same species as the statement, "You hate me because I'm beautiful." Being beautiful is irrelevant to why I hate you (not you, but you … you get what I mean, I mean you get … never mind.) He can make his second point relevant by saying that if we believed that witches existed, we would hunt and kill them. That is something that we could potentially argue about.

Crude said...

Dan,

Alright. I'm not seeing that he falls where you seem to say he falls on the scale (or at least, not exclusively - it looks like someone can occupy multiple positions on that ranking scale), but we'll see what happens.

im-skeptical said...

"The *only* reason that you present-day white (*) Americans sneer at, and think yourselves morally superior to your ancestors who said, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian", is that Indians are no longer a mortal threat."

I submit to Ilion that the savagery of the Christian colonizers vastly exceeded that of the natives, whose population was devastated, homeland was stolen, culture and customs were laid to waste, and despite being sent into exile, never managed to find a safe haven. Yes, we have to understand things were different then.

Crude said...

I submit to Ilion that the savagery of the Christian colonizers

What savagery in particular? And why is 'Christian' relevant, as opposed to the secular desires of secular motivated states?

whose population was devastated, homeland was stolen, culture and customs were laid to waste, and despite being sent into exile, never managed to find a safe haven.

First - that wouldn't happen to be homeland that you currently occupy or own a portion of, right? Because if so, and if you object to it being 'taken' from the 'natives', trust me - they will be more than happy to take it off your hands if you offer it to them.

Second, 'population devastated, homeland stolen, culture and customs laid to waste'... congratulations, you have described the losing side of just about any conflict throughout history, 'good guys' and 'bad'. The bit about culture and customs being laid to waste is particularly funny, given the whole Richard Dawkins "I will destroy Christianity" bit you seem to endorse.

In fact, it's doubly funny, since a major thrust of the OP Victor linked is using mandatory public schooling to force those dirty injuns to conform to the views The Enlightened there thought was best - and that happens to be a very popular refrain among the Cult of Gnu.

Wait, wait, let me guess: sometimes it's okay to lay culture and customs to waste by use of government power, eh?

Karl Grant said...

I submit to Ilion that the savagery of the Christian colonizers vastly exceeded that of the natives

Pray tell, what does Christianity have to do with the gold rushes, the economic desire for a transcontinental railroad, the massive influx of poor immigrants hoping to acquire large quantities of cheap land, etc....

whose population was devastated, homeland was stolen, culture and customs were laid to waste, and despite being sent into exile, never managed to find a safe haven.

Congratulations, you have just described every war ever waged; including the Iraq War that Sam Harris (Hell, Harris wants to legalize torture, supports preemptive killings and talks of nuking Mecca in addition to cheer-leading said war) and the late Christopher Hitchens so happily endorsed (how many Iraqi refugees did we create there?). Now, how exactly does this detract from Pratt's or Lewis's point?

im-skeptical said...

"Pray tell, what does Christianity have to do with ..."

The "savage heathens" were viewed as subhuman by the colonists precisely because they weren't Christian. The colonists felt they were free to take the land and kill the heathens. This attitude carried over to the post-colonial period.

Crude said...

The "savage heathens" were viewed as subhuman by the colonists precisely because they weren't Christian.

Got any evidence to back this up? Specifically 'If you are not Christian, you are subhuman, according to Christianity.'

I mean, you're absolutely not going to have any scriptural evidence of this. And the OP is going to kick you in the ass, since the big complaint there is that the missionaries were not helping tame them damn injuns into loyalty to the nation. You did read the OP, right?

The colonists felt they were free to take the land and kill the heathens.

Riiiight. Because there were no considerable amount of Christians appalled at treatment of natives in exploitative cases? And there were no transparently secular motives and desires at work?

By the way - you own land that belongs rightfully to the indians, Skep? Still waiting on that one.

Karl Grant said...

The "savage heathens" were viewed as subhuman by the colonists precisely because they weren't Christian. The colonists felt they were free to take the land and kill the heathens. This attitude carried over to the post-colonial period.

Really, let's see what academic sources have to say about that. From the University of Nebraska:

Despite ethnocentric biases, religious leaders advocated the potential equality of all Christians. Missionaries provided tribes with support for their bodies and minds while hoping to cultivate Christian souls. Jotham Meeker served the Ottawas in Franklin County, Kansas, for more than twenty years as a physician and Baptist minister. Isabel Crawford taught domestic skills at a remote Kiowa camp in western Oklahoma during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Catholic sisterhoods, including the Grey Nuns, Sisters of the Presentation, Benedictines, and Franciscans, taught in mission schools and developed health-care facilities.

Hmm, That doesn't sound too good for your case. But since the Spanish Empire was the biggest colonizer of the New World and predominantly Catholic lets take a look at what the Catholic Church said on the issue (this is from the This is from The National Library of Medicine):

Pope Paul III issues a decree, “Sublimus Deus,” opposing the enslavement of indigenous peoples and calling them “true men.” This papal bull becomes the policy of Spain’s leaders—but conquistadors and colonists break with it. In the Americas, the Spanish use various official means to subjugate Native peoples: the Royal Encomienda (tribute paid to the Spanish crown from profits from forced labor), Repartimiento (forced labor), and Hacienda and Rancho (land grants).

“The said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved; should the contrary happen, it shall be null and have no effect.” —Pope Paul III, “Sublimus Deus”


Well, that doesn't help your case at all. May we see your sources for your blanket statement concerning the actions of about five different empires and dozens of private companies in colonizing America, all of which had competing agendas and goals?

Karl Grant said...

Crude,

You did read the OP, right?

No, he didn't. He is gonna pretend he read it and then try and come up with a dozen increasingly asinine excuses as to why that part of the OP doesn't count. It's I'm Skeptical's Standard Operating Procedure.

im-skeptical said...

Karl Grant,

"He is gonna pretend he read it and then try and come up with a dozen increasingly asinine excuses as to why that part of the OP doesn't count."

I make replies to asinine comments, including yours.

Karl Grant said...

I make replies to asinine comments, including yours.

Hmm, lets score that comeback.

Originality: 0. The No, You has been done to death on the comment boxes. It also requires zero brain power to come up with.

Effort: 0. Personally, I expected a little bit more from a twenty-minute delay from my jibe to your retort. Not a hell of a lot more, you are not exactly blessed in the brain power department but you are doing what you can with what you have bless your little heart, but a little something more, at least to get you a 1 on scoring. You don't have to shot for a 10 you know.

Pertains to the Subject at Hand: 0. Has nothing to do with Native Americans and Christian views thereof.

And lastly, and the most important, Actually Rebuts Accusation Leveled at You (that actually read and comprehended the paper Dr. Reppert linked to in the op) 0. We know you didn't read it, because as Crude pointed out, you wouldn't have made a statement like you did if you had realized the OP contained a historical speech directly contradicting your statement. You have done nothing to dispute this charge.

Now, do you have anything to actually say about the subject at hand? You know, the subjective nature of popular views espoused in intelligentsia during specific time periods?

Gyan said...

There is absolutely nothing objectionable about the term "Christian colonizers" since they were in fact Christians, a part of Christendom, and often they colonized as Christians.
I have read that Columbus was partly motivated by the idea that the Second Coming would be hastened by the spread of Gospel throughout the world.

There is nothing wrong in the fact of conquest, in itself. It is peculiar that the moderns feel ashamed of having benefited from previous conquests, since the ancient people were proud of being conquerors.

Papalinton said...

[1] "The Role of Religion[edit]
The colonization of the New World by European adventurers and the genocide of native populations to that end was "justified" at the time on spiritual and religious grounds. In the conquest of the Americas, the Christian duty to evangelize non-believers took form of (often forced) conversion of Indians and other pagans, at the hands of Roman Catholic priests. Christianity was also used to justify the state’s policy of enslavement of Indians, and the often violent pacification of native communities who resisted."
Wiki

[2] "Historians and academics agree that the colonization of the New World saw extreme expressions of racism - massacres, forced-march relocations, the "Indian wars", death by starvation and disease. Today, such practices would be called ethnic cleansing and genocide. What seems even more appalling for contemporary minds is that the subjugation of the native peoples of the New World was legally sanctioned. "Laws" of "discovery", "conquest" and "terra nullius" made up the "doctrines of dispossession", according to Erica Irene Daes, chairperson/rapporteur of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations, in a study on indigenous peoples and their relationship to land.

Specifically, in the fifteenth century, two Papal Bulls set the stage for European domination of the New World and Africa. Romanus Pontifex, issued by Pope Nicholas V to King Alfonso V of Portugal in 1452, declared war against all non-Christians throughout the world, and specifically sanctioned and promoted the conquest, colonization, and exploitation of non-Christian nations and their territories. Inter Caetera, issued by Pope Alexander VI in 1493 to the King and Queen of Spain following the voyage of Christopher Columbus to the island he called Hispaniola, officially established Christian dominion over the New World. It called for the subjugation of the native inhabitants and their territories, and divided all newly discovered or yet-to-be discovered lands into two - giving Spain rights of conquest and dominion over one side of the globe and Portugal over the other. The subsequent Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) re-divided the globe with the result that most Brazilians today speak Portuguese rather than Spanish, as in the rest of Latin America. The Papal Bulls have never been revoked, although indigenous representatives have asked the Vatican to consider doing so."
Read the rest of this from the United Nations report HERE

CONT

Papalinton said...

CONT
[3] "When Christopher Columbus first set foot on the white sands of Guanahani island, he performed a ceremony to "take possession" of the land for the king and queen of Spain, acting under the international laws of Western Christendom. Although the story of Columbus' "discovery" has taken on mythological proportions in most of the Western world, few people are aware that his act of "possession" was based on a religious doctrine now known in history as the Doctrine of Discovery. Even fewer people realize that today - five centuries later - the United States government still uses this archaic Judeo-Christian doctrine to deny the rights of Native American Indians." Read the rest at nativeweb.org HERE

[4] "Of course in the 16th and 17th century, nearly anyone crossing an ocean anywhere and travelling to a "new world" was a Christian of some sort or another. Portuguese and Spanish sailors were circling the globe and "discovering" South America; the French and the British were dividing up North America between them; and everybody was trying to find an easy way to get to the East. It was the great era of Christian exploration and conquest. According to a new book by Native American author Steven T. Newcomb, Pagans In The Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery, published by Fulcrum Publishing, it's here we need to look to find the roots of American policy towards the indigenous people of the North American continent. " This is a book review at Fulcrum Books HERE

Whatever Karl Grant is attempting to peddle simp[ly doesn't accord with the truth. The above resources tell a very different narrative. #3 and 4 are accounts from the native American perspective and # 2 is from the United Nations. But I guess history is always written by the victors, right? And the victors in this case from Karl Grant are all scrambling over themselves to mitigate or expunge the Christian holocaust that befell the native Americans, from Columbus onwards. Religion was front and centre in the decimation of the native Americans, and just like the Turks about the Armenian massacre, the US is still in denial of the Christian-inspired and motivated onslaught agaisnt the first Americans.

im-skeptical said...

"There is nothing wrong in the fact of conquest, in itself. It is peculiar that the moderns feel ashamed of having benefited from previous conquests, since the ancient people were proud of being conquerors."

Just like the Hebrews and the Amalekites. Like I said, there are dinosaurs.

Gyan said...

The pre-Colommbian natives were not living in some kind of Edenic innocence. They had war, genocide, slavery.
All nations are subject to conquest. The conquering Spaniards were recently freed from Moorish domination.
And it would be utmost folly to imagine that the nations now are now free from the danger of conquest.

The Christians have some things on their side. The natives did convert to the Christian religion, en masse.

Karl Grant said...

Oh look, Paps is actually trying to make an argument. Let's see how long that lasts.

First source, the Wikipedia page (which you suspiciously did not link to), has been flagged by the Wiki moderators: This article does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Well, you are off to a promising start right there.

Now for your second source, the UN. No one here is denying that Christianity was a motivator, one of several, for the colonization of the New World. What is being disputed is I'm Skeptical's blanket assertion that The "savage heathens" were viewed as subhuman. Said link does nothing to support that statement.

Third link. Wow, you mean Christopher Columbus, having been on the payroll of the Spanish Monarchy, actually claimed the land he discovered for said monarchy? Shocking I tell you, absolutely shocking. Still says nothing about the Christians viewing the Indians as subhuman. Three strikes, in baseball you would be out.

Fourth link, so the sailors from predominately Christian nations were predominately Christian? Next on news of the obvious, water is wet. Also, still says nothing about the Christians viewing the Indians as subhuman.

Karl Grant said...

Just like the Hebrews and the Amalekites. Like I said, there are dinosaurs.

Alright, let's apply your reasoning to this situation. Harris and Hitchens cheerleaded the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, both writing several articles on why it was good and just and how western atheist movements would benefit and should support said invasions and occupations. Therefore, by your reasoning, Harris, Hitchens and those who supported them are dinosaurs.

im-skeptical said...

Karl Grant,

If you were concerned about having references to back up what you say, surely you would accept what is generally known about American history. And surely you could have come up with a more representative sample of references yourself.

The European settlers in America saw themselves as Christians, and the natives as heathens. While there were those who espoused a more enlightened view of how to treat the savages, the general population of settlers wanted nothing more than to kill them off.

You said I didn't read or comprehend the OP, but actually, I think you didn't. Go back and take a closer look. Check out the last paragraph, that speaks of the general attitude a mere twelve decades ago. Try to understand what the 'enlightened' Pratt is saying.

Here are some more views from the enlightened intelligentsia in the 1700s, expressing views that were in opposition to the general sentiment. Note particularly how they refer to the Europeans as 'Christians'.

http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/becomingamer/peoples/text3/indianscolonists.pdf

Now you say, "Alright, let's apply your reasoning to this situation." You first have to understand what people are saying before you can critique their reasoning. You don't even know what the OP is about.

Karl Grant said...

I'm Not Skeptical

If you were concerned about having references to back up what you say, surely you would accept what is generally known about American history.

I am accepting what is generally known about American history.

And surely you could have come up with a more representative sample of references yourself.

Considering up until this post you didn't so much as provide one reference (and said reference contradicts your previous blanket statement)....what is that saying, that if you are gonna try and strike me down you better occupy the high ground?

The European settlers in America saw themselves as Christians, and the natives as heathens. While there were those who espoused a more enlightened view of how to treat the savages, the general population of settlers wanted nothing more than to kill them off.

Skeppy, Skeppy, so now you are saying that there were differences of opinion and differences in handling the Native American among the colonists? Well, thank you for capitulating. My entire point, and Crude's entire point, is criticizing your blanket statement concerning the actions of about five different empires and dozens of private companies in colonizing America, all of which had competing agendas and goals. Yeah, some colonists wanted to wipe the natives out, others championed their rights as human beings and treated them as equals. Now are you actually gonna provide evidence that the ethnic cleansing view was the predominant one?

And when are you gonna address Crude's comment And there were no transparently secular motives and desires at work? Because I got this sneaking suspicion that even if religion was removed from the equation, that the Spanish still would have wanted that Aztec and Mayan gold.

Now you say, "Alright, let's apply your reasoning to this situation." You first have to understand what people are saying before you can critique their reasoning. You don't even know what the OP is about.

"No you" again? You are a one-trick pony aren't you? Now answer the question: in supporting and lobbying for the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and saying these two wars benefited them and their followers are Hitchens (were in his case) and Harris and their followers dinosaurs, to use your terminology?

B. Prokop said...

"The European settlers in America saw themselves as Christians, and the natives as heathens."

Well, duh.

" While there were those who espoused a more enlightened view of how to treat the savages, the general population of settlers wanted nothing more than to kill them off."

Absolutely false. As at least a former Catholic (which if I recall correctly, you once said you were), you ought to remember something about Saints John de Brebeuf and Isaac Jogues, two Jesuit missionaries who in the 17th Century spent years among the Huron and Iroquois peoples, attempting (unfortunately without success) to prevent a genocidal war between the two tribes. After suffering from truly awful tortures, they were eventually murdered by the Iroquois.

These two were not representative of "those [few * ] who espoused a more enlightened view", but were the norm in the early years of European settlement. The unfortunate (and inexcusable) wars of extermination were generations later (and often begun by the natives).

* Implied.

grodrigues said...
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grodrigues said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
grodrigues said...

@B. Prokop:

The same applies verbatim to the Imperial Empires like Spain and Portugal. It was Catholic priests like Victoria and Vieira who railed against slavery, the abuse of the natives, that formulated international law based on natural law ethics, etc. The same applies verbatim to the abolitionist movements. Etc. and etc.

I sometimes try to conjure up the following scenario: imagine you find yourself in the 19th century, right in the middle of the slavery debate. Try to imagine how an atheist, with the "Origin of the Species" in one hand and some polemical tract railing against priestcraft (an eternally popular literary genre right down to the Middle Ages and before) on the other, would argue. I immediately give up, and not because of any paucity of imagination, but because de facto, Western society is living off the crumbs of morality dropped off by Christianity. And once the source and rational grounding is shed off ("all men are equal?" Giggle), what shall we turn to?

B. Prokop said...

Back to the OP, it's quite telling that often the very same people who ask, "Why did our ancestors accept slavery?" or some other outrage, seem oblivious to the things going on today that our descendants will be asking of us. Such as:

"Why did people in the year 2013 thoughtlessly buy consumer goods manufactured under slave labor conditions in China and elsewhere?"

or

"How could Western consumers not give a thought to child labor when wearing clothes made in Bangladesh or Vietnam?"

or

"How could they have so obliviously burned megatons of fossil fuels in the 20th and 21st Centuries, trashing the planet for us now living in the 22nd?"

Crude said...

Bob,

"How could Western consumers not give a thought to child labor when wearing clothes made in Bangladesh or Vietnam?"

By not looking at the tags and no one talking much about it outside of a particular enclave. I think when we're talking about an ill that takes place literally on the other side of the world, ignorance becomes a lot less culpable.

The same goes for China.

"How could they have so obliviously burned megatons of fossil fuels in the 20th and 21st Centuries, trashing the planet for us now living in the 22nd?"

You're talking about a hypothesized projection of the results of the far future regarding behaviors that, even if one accepts as gospel the scientific claims behind them, are tremendously indirect. Do you really think a factory using fuel is comparable to slavery in the relevant ways?

You may as well be forecasting, in 1900, how the world is going to run out of food by 1970 unless draconian sterilization measures are adopted.

And since I'm in the mood to throw a bomb or two...

"How can people have voted for politicians who openly supported abortion up to the moment of birth?"

"How can people have voted for politicians who spied on their own citizens, or openly agitated for getting their people involved in wars that had little to do with their national interests?"

"How can people have voted to spend their way into unrecoverable national debt?"

There, left and right offended.

B. Prokop said...

"Do you really think a factory using fuel is comparable to slavery?"

Nope, I don't. I'm just listing hypothetical questions our descendants might someday be asking, wondering why we today didn't think the same as they will.

Papalinton said...

"I am accepting what is generally known about American history."

Precisely. History written by the victors. Who gives a bugger about the native Americans and how they see the account of the clashes that decimated their homes, their lifestyle, their religions, their way of life, their families, their cultures. For what purpose? To turn them into little christians so that they can praise god for their salvation from being heathen and to be thankful to Him for the decimation of their loved ones in defending their homelands. Victorious malignant christianity now re-writing christian history by writing out the last vestiges of the exact same narrative from the first-American perspective. Grant pooh-poohs the contra-narrative of the United Nations and the native American account of the same passage of history.

Forget about the Amalekites. One needs only to read how christians dealt with the first Americans and the wholesale dispossession of life, property and homelands, to understand the insidious message and 'justified' action perpetrated under religious belief. To this very day, native American presence is still generally perceived as a blight in wider American society, a nagging impediment to the glory of American internal history.

Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat those same atrocities.

oozzielionel said...

POT/KETTLE
"As a result of forced assimilation, by the late 1880s most aborigines had joined white rural and urban communities. Aboriginal people became economically marginalized and were exposed to new diseases. The consequence was massive depopulation and extinction for some aboriginal tribes.

Land and property rights fueled an important civil rights movement in the 1970s. Aborigines spoke out for equal rights, and specifically for land rights for property that had been forcibly taken by British settlers. The Aboriginal Land Rights Act, passed in 1976, became instrumental in territories with tribal associations. The 1990s witnessed further rights milestones, including government legislation that returned a great degree of autonomy, and increased wages and welfare benefits to aboriginal people.



Read more: Aboriginal Australia: History, Culture, and Conflict | Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/spot/aboriginal1.html#ixzz2iaWNkKd7

oozzielionel said...

I have had some contact with refugee families. Each family has their own approach to assimilation or separation from the US culture. It is not an easy issue. For some, it full speed ahead to become "American" in every detail. Some view an aspect of this as conversion from Hindu to Christian. For both Hindus and Christians, it is shocking adaptation to living in a different culture would result in a nonchalant change of worldview, values, and basic beliefs. One stated, "I am a Hindu. I want my children to be Christians."

Karl Grant said...

Paps,

Precisely. History written by the victors.

What is this but ad hominem circumstantial? History is written by the victors, you were the victors in this case, therefore historical evidence doesn't count, facts be damned!

Now let's see now:

One needs only to read how christians dealt with the first Americans and the wholesale dispossession of life, property and homelands, to understand the insidious message and 'justified' action perpetrated under religious belief.

Well, if you are gonna hold Christianity responsible for that then you should also hold Charles Darwin and the Evolutionary Theory responsible also, if you were intellectually honest, which we know that you are not. Or did you forget that the full title of Darwin's book was The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. To quote here:

In such influential and momentous writings Darwin applied his evolutionary idea of natural selection not only to animal development but also to the development of human “races.” He saw natural selection at work in the killing of indigenous peoples of Australia by the British, wrote here of blacks (some of the “savage races”) being a category close to gorillas, and spoke against social programs for the poor and “weak” because such programs permitted the least desirable people to survive.

By the late 1800s a racist perspective called “social Darwinism” extensively developed these ideas of Darwin and argued aggressively that certain “inferior races” were less evolved, less human, and more apelike than the “superior races.” Prominent social scientists like Herbert Spencer and William Graham Sumner argued that social life was a life-and-death struggle in which the best individuals would win out over inferior individuals. Sumner argued that wealthy Americans, almost entirely white at the time, were products of natural selection and as the “superior race” essential to the advance of civilization. Black Americans were seen by many of these openly racist analysts as a “degenerate race” whose alleged “immorality” was a racial trait.
Though some have presented him that way, Darwin was not a bystander to this vicious scientific racism. In their earlier book, Darwin, Adrian Desmond and James Moore summarize thus:

‘Social Darwinism’ is often taken to be something extraneous, an ugly concretion added to the pure Darwinian corpus after the event, tarnishing Darwin’s image. But his notebooks make plain that competition, free trade, imperialism, racial extermination, and sexual inequality were written into the equation from the start–‘Darwinism’ was always intended to explain human society.


So where is your indignation of Darwin and the Evolutionary theory? We're waiting.

im-skeptical said...

"So where is your indignation of Darwin and the Evolutionary theory? We're waiting."

You have made my original point. Humankind progresses. Much of our morality is culturally based. Our culture is morally superior to what we had then. We are shocked by the social mores of those who wrote the bible. Disgusted by the attitudes of the founders of our nation. In Darwin's day, blatant racism was normal. But we're getting better. (Except for the dinosaurs.)

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "... We are all too quick to issue a blanket condemnation the witch hunts of the past without first asking ourselves whether or not there was any actual evil being combatted in them. Turns out that there was."

Indeed.

And even today there are witches (or "witches") who are doing vile and wicked deeds ... and need to be killed. Just a few examples:
* murdering albinos for their body parts with which to do magic
* murdering children for their body parts with which to do magic
* violating virgins as a "cure" for the sexually transmitted one has already acquired

B. Prokop said...

"Our culture is morally superior to what we had then."

Really? Really? Really??? You gotta be kidding me!

Is there anything more ridiculous that the eternal myth of Human Progress? I just dare Skep to claim he is "morally superior" to the author of Job or the Daodejing. Please, let me hear you say it!

Crude said...

You have made my original point. Humankind progresses. Much of our morality is culturally based. Our culture is morally superior to what we had then.

That's an adorable thought, Skep. There's just one problem: it is positively laden with value judgments and teleology. Big problems for a materialist evolutionary view.

Please tell us - is morality on some teleological trajectory onward and upward, such that in 100, 1000, 10000 years time, we'll have 'better' morals? Is evolution selecting for 'better' morality?

See, insofar as you support cracking open infant skulls and sucking the brains out with a vacuum for any reason desired, I regard you as... not so much a dinosaur, as a moral rodent. But that makes sense: I'm not a materialist, I accept an objective morality, etc.

But you? Are dinosaurs 'worse' than the other animals? Last I heard, they were just different. Suited for their environment. And the environment shall keep on changing.

Better learn to like dinosaurs. ;)

B. Prokop said...

Ilion,

I'm not terribly up on the doings of contemporary witchcraft, and I wouldn't even know as much as I do about past atrocities, had I not been a fan of Charles Williams. The only reason I ever read his book Witchcraft was because he was the author. As it was, I almost didn't finish it, so appallingly disgusting were the accounts of the actual crimes of historical personages in the name of witchcraft.

I would recommend the book to anyone who thinks out ancestors conducted the (unquestionably awful) witch hunts solely out of ignorance. But bring a strong stomach with you!

B. Prokop said...

Hoo boy, the typo demon is active today!

In my posting right above this one, I should have typed "who thinks our ancestors", instead of "out". In the posting previous to that one, it should have read "more ridiculous than", and not "that".

Karl Grant said...

You have made my original point. Humankind progresses

No, Humankind has not really progressed. Technology has advanced but Man has remained largely the same. Horse thievery got replaced with grand theft auto, that's it. And while slavery had been mostly eradicated as a state sanctioned institution by the dawn of the twentieth century, it quickly returned on a massive industrialize scale in places like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

Much of our morality is culturally based.

So slave owners were being moral, were they?

Disgusted by the attitudes of the founders of our nation.

Ah, so you find the phrase All men are created equal to be disgusting? Or do you just disagree with certain attitudes that conflict with your world view?

In Darwin's day, blatant racism was normal.

It still is. Go to Europe and see how they treat the Arab and North African migrant workers. Better yet, go to a country like Japan and see how they treat mixed race children. In the fields of science, look at the blatant racism of James D. Watson or the xenophobia of Dawkins and Harris. Hell, Harris advocates launching nuclear weapons against cities in countries that are on friendly terms with us or even our allies; an act that would make him an even bigger mass murderer then Hitler. And for what? Because he is scared? He wants to feel safe and secure? Some moral progress.

B. Prokop said...

Karl,

And you could have mentioned the contemporary exploding curse of human trafficking; untold numbers of women and children sold into sexual slavery. Plus, domestic slavery is still the norm throughout the Gulf Region and many other parts of the globe. And how can one describe the conditions of workers this very day in places like China other than slavery.

No, slavery is alive and well in 2013.

Human Progress? No... there were good and evil in the world in 5000 B.C.; there are good and evil today. No more, no less. And so it will be until the Day of Doom.

Walter said...

Human Progress? No... there were good and evil in the world in 5000 B.C.; there are good and evil today. No more, no less. And so it will be until the Day of Doom.

I am not sure that I would agree that humanity has made no collective moral progress in the entirety of its recorded history. We no longer engage in human sacrifice to appease the perceived wrath of a deity; we no longer believe that it is alright to engage in genocidal exterminations of entire populations during the prosecution of our wars; we no longer treat women as the property of men but as our equals.

That is not to say that individuals are not any more or less evil than they were in 5,000 BCE. We are hard wired to be self-centered, looking out for number one, often at the expense of those around us. But I do think that collectively many contemporary cultures have shown moral progression.

im-skeptical said...

It seems to me that the theists reject the notion that we are improving over time. What's the problem? It is a fact, objectively observable. Sure, there is human traffiking, but pales in comparison to the common practices of slavery and bondage of centuries past. We certainly have our moral shortcomings, but I wouldn't want to go back.

Karl Grant said...

Skeppy,

It seems to me that the theists reject the notion that we are improving over time. What's the problem? It is a fact, objectively observable.

No it is not, I will let Chris Hedges answer this:

The Enlightenment faith in moral advancement through science, reason and rationality should have ended with the First World War. Europeans, many of whom enthusiastically greeted the war, participated between 1914 and 198 in collective suicide. This new industrial warfare, so massive in its scale, so unrelenting in its slaughter and so absurd in its reasoning, was often beyond the realm of imagination. It left eight and a half million soldiers dead, another six million maimed and took the lives of ten million civilians. It was followed two decades later by the Second World War, which saw sixty million people slaughtered, two-thirds of which were civilians. Since the end of the Second World War, the military historian John Keegan estimates, another fifty million people have died in various conflicts.

Compare that to the 19th century. There is no question which century was more bloody and cruel and it wasn't the 1800s.

im-skeptical said...

Karl Grant,
There have been atrocities throughout the history of mankind. That doesn't change that fact that societal norms of morality have improved. When the bible was written, genocidal behavior was acceptable and even lauded by common people. That's no longer the case. No doubt there will always be morally deviant people, and the tools available to them may become more effective, but as a whole, there's no question about the trend. As a society, we see things differently from times past. I, for one, am quite grateful that we have shed the objectionable morality of biblical times.

Karl Grant said...

Skeppy,

That doesn't change that fact that societal norms of morality have improved.

You keep saying that but you haven't demonstrated it.

When the bible was written, genocidal behavior was acceptable and even lauded by common people.

Really? Let's see your sources for that statement. If you simply say its in the Bible then I want passages and verses.

That's no longer the case.

A few dozen historical events from the last decade say otherwise: Holocaust, Stalin's Purges, China's Cultural Revolution, the Rwanda Genocide, Darfur, Idi Amin's Regime, The Killing Fields of Cambodia, Saddam Hussein's Regime, North Korean Regime, the Armenian Genocide...that's just the ones I can think of off the top of my head and that is by no means a complete list. Awful lot of events for genocide to have gone the way of the Dodo.

No doubt there will always be morally deviant people

Is Sam Harris one of them? You seem awfully unwilling to address his approval of, and recommendation for, nuclear holocausts. Probably because acknowledging the existence of a current prominent pop atheist who recommends and endorses crap like that blows a not so little hole in both your assertions that the world is advancing morally and atheist morality is inherently better than Christian morality. But then again, that is to be expected. We know you are not exactly strong in the intellectual fortitude department.

and the tools available to them may become more effective

Tools they cannot use and methods they cannot implement without the willing support of the common man in their own nation. Do you have any idea what the staff requirements are for a concentration camp like Aushcwitz are? The logistical requirements? We are not talking a few dozens men here.

I, for one, am quite grateful that we have shed the objectionable morality of biblical times.

Ah, so you are happy to do away with Thou Shall Not Kill, Thou Shall Not Steal? Well, that's interesting to know.

im-skeptical said...

Karl, Grant,

You refute yourself and you don't even know it. Why do you think the behavior of Hitler and Pol Pot are bad? Could it have anything to do your modern sense of morality? Or did you get it from reading Deuteronomy?

B. Prokop said...

Karl,

Whatever you do, try not to get too frustrated when discussing anything with Skep. Getting a straight answer out of him is like trying to nail jello to the wall.

As to the much-vaunted superior morals of Modern Times, note how Skep conveniently brushes aside actual behavior in favor of his fantasy "this is the way I believe it ought to be".

Ve-e-e-e-r-y convenient.

And by the way, I usually find that people who spout off about "biblical morality" haven't the faintest clue as to what they are talking about. Skep, there's more to the Old Testament than cherry-picked verses out of contest from the Five Books of Moses. Try reading the prophets and still disagree with "biblical morality".

Ilíon said...

I-pretend-to-reason-morally: "You refute yourself and you don't even know it. Why do you think the behavior of Hitler and Pol Pot are bad? Could it have anything to do your modern sense of morality? Or did you get it from reading Deuteronomy?"

Ha, ha ha!

I wonder, will 'I-pretend' ever figure out that *he* is refuting his own avowed atheism/naturalism by making an appeal to transcendant -- which is to say, *real* -- morality?

If it's just his "modern sense of morality" that tells him that "the behavior of Hitler and Pol Pot are bad", then next week his "modern sense of morality" may well tell him that "the behavior of Hitler and Pol Pot [is not] bad". Thus, his "modern sense of morality" is meaningless and worthless.

But, notice, even as he is phrasing his supposed "Gotcha" in tems of his "modern sense of morality" -- which he vainly imagines is superior to Deuteronomy (how? by what measure or standard?) -- he's *really* making an appeal to transcendant/real morality.

There is no such thing as "progress" unless on is progressing toward a goal. Mere change is not progress, it's merely change.

im-skeptical said...

"Try reading the prophets and still disagree with "biblical morality"."

Try reading the New Testament. What were Jesus' thoughts on slavery?

B. Prokop said...

Read Philemon *. The most devastating blow to the idea that slavery might be OK ever written.

As far as what Jesus tells us about slavery, have you ever seen Him show any sort of favoritism between persons, whether they be rich or poor, healthy or sick, young or old, male or female, Jew or Samaritan, common worker or ruler? Thought not.

* That's in the New Testament, in case you're wondering.

im-skeptical said...

Bob,

From Wikipedia: "Diarmaid MacCulloch, in his A History of Christianity, described the epistle as "a Christian foundation document in the justification of slavery".[9] Due to its ambiguity, the letter was a cause of debate during the British and later American struggles over the abolition of slavery. Both sides cited Philemon for support."

But let's assume that Onesimus was freed by Philemon (and only at the urging of Paul). All it tells me is that he would free a "brother in Christ". He didn't free the rest of his slaves, did he?

B. Prokop said...

Philemon was a death blow to the idea that any man could ever own another one. It was simultaneously a total rejection of any idea of attempting to transform Christianity into some sort of political agenda (as Jesus Himself said when asked to divide an inheritance between two quarreling brothers, essentially telling them to leave Him out of it(Luke 12:13-14)).

And that's precisely where the Christian Socialists of the 19th Century and the so-called "Religious Right" of the 20th-21st Centuries went so far astray. You cannot (successfully) drag God into your private politics.

So yes, the New Testament is 100% incompatible with the idea of slavery, but it also lays the burden for straightening things out squarely on our human shoulders (and thus Paul's "urging").

im-skeptical said...

"So yes, the New Testament is 100% incompatible with the idea of slavery"

Now that's a real stretch. Only if you choose to ignore all the parts that aren't incompatible with slavery.

B. Prokop said...

"all the parts that aren't incompatible with slavery"

Oh, really? And which parts are those?

B. Prokop said...

Oh, and by the way... I'm ready for you to start "proof versing" like any good fundamentalist. Just remember, biblical interpretation doesn't work that way. So don't even try it. You'll just expose yourself for being a bigger fool.

Karl Grant said...

I'm Skeptical,

You refute yourself and you don't even know it. Why do you think the behavior of Hitler and Pol Pot are bad? Could it have anything to do your modern sense of morality? Or did you get it from reading Deuteronomy?

We are not talking about my modern sense of morality. We are talking about whither humanity has changed morally as a species over the centuries. Pathetic try to change the subject. Stupid too: I live in the modern era, so technically any sense of morality I espouse is modern, Biblical inspired or not. I grew up in a predominately Christian culture and that has shaped my moral outlook (and unless you grew up in Shanghai or some other exotic local instead of the USA it has shaped yours too whither you want to admit it or not), so yeah, the Bible has shaped my moral out look.

Now the answer the questions I have posed to you: Harris advocates the use of torture in the War on Terror, advocates nuclear war against Muslims and supported the invasion and occupation of both Iraq and Afghanistan. Is he a dinosaur, to use your terminology? Hitchens had a similar track record, was he a dinosaur too?

B. Prokop said...

"What were Jesus' thoughts on slavery?"

Actually, I've decided to wait for your answer to your own question, Skep. What are Jesus's thoughts on slavery? Please tell us. This topic ain't going nowhere until you answer this.

Karl Grant said...

Bob,

Whatever you do, try not to get too frustrated when discussing anything with Skep. Getting a straight answer out of him is like trying to nail jello to the wall.

You need not worry there. I recognized months ago the guy was a weasel.

As to the much-vaunted superior morals of Modern Times, note how Skep conveniently brushes aside actual behavior in favor of his fantasy "this is the way I believe it ought to be".

Yeah and he accuses theists of living in a fantasy world a lot of times. God, I love irony.

Papalinton said...

Karl
"So where is your indignation of Darwin and the Evolutionary theory? We're waiting."

Don't get too comfortable with Desmond and Moore's rendition of Darwin. Their book has run into a terrific amount of criticism from some of the scholarly-world's big-hitters.

"In a largely sympathetic review of the biography, Margorie Grene acknowledges that the authors’ central theses about the political roots of Darwin’s theories are implausible, and she explains how the method of citation used to support those theses is “just a bit fraudulent”. Actually, as Grene’s own examples demonstrate, the methods used by Desmond and Moore are not just “a bit” fraudulent; they are flagrantly and systematically dishonest.” P.299 Read HERE. Indeed for a full account of context read Pp 299-300

George Levine is the Kenneth Burke Professor of English and director of the Center for the Critical Analysis of Contemporary Culture at Rutgers University.

You might also wish to read Allen Esterson on "Desmond and Moore's Misreading of the Historical Record Darwin's Sacred Cause". Read HERE

In fact Esterson writes a compilation article that brings together the significant criticisms of Desmond and Moore's take on Darwin citing the key scholars who have themselves been documenting Darwin's biography over decades. The article can be read HERE.

Professors John van Wyhe, Joseph Carroll, Michael Ruse, Helena Cronin, to mention a few, are heavily critical of the populist tactics Desmond and Moore use to spuriously characterize Darwin. Michael Ruse notes: ”They are wiriting with an end in view, namely, to show how Darwin was a cork bobbing on the surface of the society of his day, and how his theory was a product of the various ideologies of him and his family and his class”. [Ruse 1993,p.229]

Esterson continues: ”But, as we shall see, they achieve their aims by a highly selective use of evidence, and by insinuating connections between Darwin’s evoliutionary writings and concurrent political events for which there is no documentary warrant. Marjorie Grene observes that in “follow[ing] the social constructivist route’ to understanding the sources of Darwin’s scientific views, Desmond and Moore “are inventing a politicized Darwin, and cleverly they do it”. [Grene 1993,p.672] “ He summarizes:

"In other words, what we have in Desmond and Moore’s biography is a Darwin carefully crafted to accord with a preconceived view of scientific history, one wjich needs to be viewed “with extreme caution” and “contested at almost every sentence” [Levine 1994,p.194]. That their DARWIN won, among other awards, the 1997 British Society for the History of Science Dingle Prize “for the best book of the decade in communicating the history of science to a wide audience” is a measure of how successful Desmond and Moore have been in promoting both their portrait of Darwin and their social constructivist view of the origins of his evolutionary theory. But close reading of the text, such as those by well informed and conscientious historians like Grene and Levine which reveal the authors’ dubious techniques of persuasion, indicates that the book does not merit the accolades it has received."

You need to pick your reading material with a lot more discerning discrimination than you have currently demonstrated, Karl. To punt to Desmond and Moore is the equivalent of relying on facts from FoxNews

im-skeptical said...

"Oh, really? And which parts are those?"

http://www.religioustolerance.org/sla_bibl2.htm

Karl Grant said...

* given your mental facilities

im-skeptical said...

"* given your mental facilities "

And which facilities do you use, Karl?

Karl Grant said...

And which facilities do you use, Karl?

Dealing with you and Paps? The bored ones; you guys rank somewhere between solitaire and minesweeper when it comes to intellectual stimulation. Now, when are you gonna to answer that question on Harris and Hitchens?

im-skeptical said...

I kind of figured you were boarding.

B. Prokop said...

"Now, when are you gonna to answer that question on Harris and Hitchens?"

Skep also is incapable of answering the question on what does Jesus say about slavery. All he can do is pathetically link to someone else's website, which in any case does nothing to answer the question.

Besides, Skep, we wish to hear what you know and think - not what someone else does. You have a long, painful, and documented track record of linking to sites that you do not understand or may not even have read. So... in you own words, and without plagiarism, what does Jesus have to say about slavery?

This conversation proceeds no further until you answer this question (and Karl's as well).

Karl Grant said...

Yawn,

Quit trying to change the subject, Skeppy, answer the question. Are Harris and Hitchens, in their support for the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afganhistan, dinosaurs by your own criteria? Of course, we all know you ain't gonna to answer it, don't we? =)

Karl Grant said...

Paps,

George Levine is the Kenneth Burke Professor of English and director of the Center for the Critical Analysis of Contemporary Culture at Rutgers University.

But the book you linked to ain't written by Goerge Levine, dumbass, it's written by Joseph Carroll, a professor at the University of Missouri-St Louis. Strike One. Furthermore, at the bottom of page 299 Carroll quotes Levine as saying that Desmond and Moore's book is arguably the best biography on Darwin. What's the matter, that paragraph have too many big words for you? Strike two.

Allen Esterson, I had a tough time finding information on him mainly because he is a nobody. In fact, all the information I could find out about him is that he has physics degree but isn't attached to any university and that he writes primarily about Einstein's wife and Sigmund Freud. Hardly one of those, what did you call them, scholarly-world's big-hitters. Strike three.

Then you make a comment about Fox News while at the same time linking to Butterflies and Wheels whose about statement reads as follows: At the beginning it focused mainly on various kinds of pseudoscience and epistemic relativism, aka postmodernism. The latter prompted an increasing focus on moral or cultural relativism and a defense of universalism and human rights. This in turn led to concern with the chief opponent of universalism and human rights, which is religion. My, that sounds like an atheist version of Fox News. Pot, Kettle, Black. Strike Four. (Though given your mental facilities I doubt you could tell the difference between Fox News and Al-Jazeera.)

* Decided to fix some typos in this post

im-skeptical said...

"Now, when are you gonna to answer that question on Harris and Hitchens?"


I don't know what they think, and it is irrelevant to the discussion in any case. If they agree with Bush and Cheney about torture, so what? Am I supposed to defend that?

As for the question I asked you about where Jesus stands on slavery, I think the link I provided answers the question perfectly well, in addition to flatly refuting your assertion that "the New Testament is 100% incompatible with the idea of slavery".

Your lame attempt to turn the tables on me aside, the fact of the matter is that slavery was considered perfectly normal in that time, and Jesus, despite having plenty to say on all kinds of moral issues, never said anything to indicate that he thought slavery was wrong.

Karl Grant said...

I don't know what they think, and it is irrelevant to the discussion in any case. If they agree with Bush and Cheney about torture, so what? Am I supposed to defend that?

No Skeppy, it is very relevant. Throughout the entire discussion you have been making comments like:

the savagery of the Christian colonizers vastly exceeded that of the natives, whose population was devastated, homeland was stolen, culture and customs were laid to waste, and despite being sent into exile, never managed to find a safe haven. Yes, we have to understand things were different then.

Just like the Hebrews and the Amalekites. Like I said, there are dinosaurs.

Humankind progresses. Much of our morality is culturally based. Our culture is morally superior to what we had then. We are shocked by the social mores of those who wrote the bible. Disgusted by the attitudes of the founders of our nation. In Darwin's day, blatant racism was normal. But we're getting better. (Except for the dinosaurs.)

It seems to me that the theists reject the notion that we are improving over time. What's the problem? It is a fact, objectively observable. Sure, there is human traffiking, but pales in comparison to the common practices of slavery and bondage of centuries past. We certainly have our moral shortcomings, but I wouldn't want to go back.

There have been atrocities throughout the history of mankind. That doesn't change that fact that societal norms of morality have improved. When the bible was written, genocidal behavior was acceptable and even lauded by common people. That's no longer the case. No doubt there will always be morally deviant people, and the tools available to them may become more effective, but as a whole, there's no question about the trend. As a society, we see things differently from times past. I, for one, am quite grateful that we have shed the objectionable morality of biblical times.


You entire train of thought, every meaningful comment you have made in this discussion, has been to say that the world has been progressing morally; that said moral progress was made by abandoning Abrahamic ethics and that modern secular morality is superior to older Abrahamic-religion based morality. If multiple popular (as in they have a lot of followers and all that implies) atheist thinkers can be demonstrated to champion a rebirth of colonialism, to call for a revival of the methods and tactics of the Inquisition, to approve of and lobby for war (even going so far as to approve the use of WMDS in said wars) then the idea that modern secular morality is somehow superior to old-school religious morality takes a major hit. It destroys your claim to the high ground.

And no, you don't have to defend it. You have to condemn it and condemn Harris and Hitchens and anybody else that supports those views. Otherwise, you are a hypocrite and you have no right to condemn the actions of the European colonists and their treatment of the Native Americans.

im-skeptical said...

"If multiple popular (as in they have a lot of followers and all that implies) atheist thinkers can be demonstrated to champion a rebirth of colonialism, to call for a revival of the methods and tactics of the Inquisition, to approve of and lobby for war (even going so far as to approve the use of WMDS in said wars) then the idea that modern secular morality is somehow superior to old-school religious morality takes a major hit. It destroys your claim to the high ground."

Well, Karl, what you don't seem to understand is that I don't have religious leaders like you do. I don't follow everything they say, and I'm certainly not obliged to agree with it. And given your demonstrated lack of understanding, I'm not about to condemn anyone based on what you say about them.

But more to the point, what I have been saying all along is what you utterly fail to comprehend: that the trend of society is to progress morally, the behavior of individuals notwithstanding. Most of us agree that torture is wrong, that genocide is wrong, that slavery is wrong. That has not always been the case. We're getting better, and your bible does absolutely nothing to guide our progression.

B. Prokop said...

"I think the link I provided answers the question perfectly well"

No, Skep, it doesn't. Not by a long shot. Besides, we're still waiting for your words and your thoughts - not what somebody else thinks. And no plagiarism, please.

And in any case, since you don't seem to have noticed, that link you provided says not one single word about what Jesus has to say about slavery. It shows only that He included the institution in His parables (and why not, since they also include unjust judges, crooked overseers, greedy landowners, wicket servants, and all sorts of people in them?), but that is hardly a window onto His thoughts on the subject. Or are you saying that a contemporary writer of murder mysteries is approving of murder?

So once again - in your words, "What does Jesus have to say about slavery?" I don't believe you know.

B. Prokop said...

That would be "wicked" servants. I did not mean to drag the game of cricket into this.

B. Prokop said...

And speaking of cricket, might I offer THIS for everyone's consideration?

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "Read Philemon *. The most devastating blow to the idea that slavery might be OK ever written.


* That's in the New Testament, in case you're wondering.
"

Actually, the entire Bible condemns slavery ... but, perhaps the condemnation isn't "woodenly literal" enough for most moderns to pick up on. On, perhaps, one needs to have been raised "low church" -- wherein the OT is not viewed as an embarrassment (by those who seem to imagine themselves more moral than God), but as the very foundation of the NT.

The OT explicitly condemns the slave-taker to death: “And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.” – Exodus 21:16

The OT places regulations upon the limited slavery it does allow – and it gives slaved rights, including the right to demand freedom if their rights are violated.

The OT also regulates divorce … but only an idiot, or a liar, would say that it approves divorce. The same is true of slavery: among the ancient Hebrews, Christ (for the “God of the OT” is Christ, after all) had bigger fish to fry than personal slavery among them, so he gave them regulations that limited slavery amongst them to the personal-and-familial.

Moreover, the entire OT constantly reminds the Hebrews/Jews, “I brought you out of slavery”, and commands: don’t mistreat foreigners in your midst because (you should remember that) you were once foreigner and slaves.

The Bible, both NT and OT, likens human’s sinful state to slavery: to be enslaved to sin it to be, well, enslaved.

Ilíon said...

Now, it true that these Christ-hater will never acknowledge that the entire message of the Bible is about deliverance from slavery (both spiritual slavery and physical slavery).

But, why do you who claim to love Christ continue in your Stockholm Syndrome?

B. Prokop said...

Ilion,

How Catholic of you! The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church has always frowned upon the notion and employment of "proof verses", maintaining rather that every word of holy scripture must be read and interpreted in light of every other word.

And you are absolutely correct here. The Bible, when read in the above manner, is one giant blast of opposition to every kind of slavery.

Another of my favorite examples of how ignorant people misread the Old Testament is the Lex Talionis (Exodus 21:24). So often cited as an example of primitive savagery or a supposed justification for revenge, it is actually quite the opposite. God tells the Hebrews that if a person injures you, you may not retaliate by killing him. One's response to an injury may not exceed the injury itself. This was in dramatic contrast to generally accepted behavior of the time, and a tremendous step forward.

Karl Grant said...

Well, Karl, what you don't seem to understand is that I don't have religious leaders like you do.

Could have fooled me Skep, especially considering how you refuse to criticize any atheist despite them publicly supporting positions you claim to disapprove of. Not to mention how you regurgitate their talking points and have shown little to no evidence that you actually think for yourself instead of unquestioningly believing everything some loud-mouth New Atheist with a published book or a blog tells you.

I don't follow everything they say, and I'm certainly not obliged to agree with it.

I am not asking you to agree with it dumbass. I am asking you to be intellectually and morally consistent. If you are gonna criticize and condemn Christianity as a whole because of the actions you claim to despise then you had better criticize and condemn the public advocacy for the exact same actions from the self-proclaimed public spokesman of atheism. Or do you secretly approve of war, torture and genocide when its directed at the infidel theists?

But more to the point, what I have been saying all along is what you utterly fail to comprehend: that the trend of society is to progress morally, the behavior of individuals notwithstanding.

Oh I understand perfectly what you are saying Skeppy. What you can't, and don't want to get, through that thick head of yours is that wars, genocide and institutionalized torture are not the actions of individuals but nations. Hitler did not personally kill every single Jew. In fact, Hitler never killed anyone in person except himself. Instead we have entire divisions (literally tens of thousands) of German soldiers guarding and overseeing the camps; we have engineers purposefully designing them including the furnaces and the gas chambers; the construction companies who built them, knowing full well what they were; the truck drivers and railroad engineers who transported the prisoners to the camps; the SS Field Police and Gestapo units that rounded them up in the first place (which is more tens of thousands of soldiers); the neighbors who stood by and watched as they did it or willingly helped; the chemical companies who made the gas that actually did the deed; the list goes on and on.

That is what genocide is; that is what colonization is; that is what war is: a national endeavor not an individual's actions. Hitler could never have done what he did without the support of a fairly large chunk of the German people. The same goes for Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong, etc... To quote the historian Omar Bartov:

It is not the brutal SS man with his truncheon whom we cannot comprehend; we have seen his likes throughout history. It is the commander of a death squad, with a Ph.D in law from a distinguished university in charge of organizing the mass shootings of naked men, women and children whose figure frightens us. It is not the disease and famine of the ghettos, reminiscent of ancient sieges, but the systematic transportation, selection, dispossession, killing and distribution of requisitioned personal effects that leaves us uncomprehending, not for the facts but for their implications for our own society.

But you can never understand that, can you? Because understanding that would shatter your faith in moral progress.

B. Prokop said...

I think we'd better be clear about one feature of "moral progress", which is there has been verifiable progress in moral teachings, but no discernible progress in mass behavior (due to Mankind's fallen state).

But interestingly, all of that progress in teaching has come from People of Faith, whether they be Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, or whatever. Please tell me some corresponding advance attributable to a purely atheist source. (And dollars to donuts, I'll bet you I could trace said teaching back to the Faith culture that surrounds this purely hypothetical atheist.)

The Law of Moses was a definite advance over the pagan cultures that surrounded it. But did it actually change the behavior of the Hebrew culture? Not according to the prophets. Similarly, the Sermon on the Mount is a quantum leap over every other moral teaching yet seen, but does society live by its precepts? Unfortunately, no.

So I'll split the difference with Skep here. Yes, over time moral teaching has progressed for the better (but not actual behavior). But unfortunately for Skep's case, all of that advance is directly and verifiably traceable to religion.

im-skeptical said...

"Actually, the entire Bible condemns slavery ... but, perhaps the condemnation isn't "woodenly literal" enough for most moderns to pick up on. ... The OT explicitly condemns the slave-taker to death:"

... If you consider condoning and supporting the institution of slavery to be condemnation. The slave-taker is condemned for stealing the property of another slave-owner, not for having slaves. Yes, it's not exactly "literal" condemnation of slavery. It's literal support for the institution of slavery.

im-skeptical said...

"And in any case, since you don't seem to have noticed, that link you provided says not one single word about what Jesus has to say about slavery."

As I said, Bob, That article seems to sum it up fairly well. And in case you didn't notice, I did answer the question in my own words.

"But unfortunately for Skep's case, all of that advance is directly and verifiably traceable to religion."

Well, now you've got to show a lot of evidence to support that whopper.

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "Please tell me some corresponding advance attributable to a purely atheist source."

*fidgeting in seat* I know! I know!

As one God-hater has already so wisely pointed out, “[w] e no longer engage in human sacrifice to appease the perceived wrath of a deity” … or, more historically accurately, attempting to purchase the favor of the city’s main god for the good of the polis. That is, instead of the citizens of Tyre or Carthage collectively sacrificing scores of children to Melqart to purchase his favor for the city-as-a-whole, *our* citizens individually sacrifice children by the millions to Venus for her favors for themselves alone.

B. Prokop said...

NO, Skep, all you did was point out what He didn't say. I asked you specifically, "What does Jesus have to say about slavery?"

I still think you do not know.

And as for your contesting my statement "all of that advance is directly and verifiably traceable to religion", that should be easy for you to disprove - just show me an instance where it is not. Otherwise, you're just blowing smoke!

Ilíon said...

B.Precon(servative): "How Catholic of you!"
Not at all! It's Fundamentalist of me.

B.Prokop: "Another of my favorite examples of how ignorant people misread the Old Testament is the Lex Talionis (Exodus 21:24). So often cited as an example of primitive savagery or a supposed justification for revenge, it is actually quite the opposite. God tells the Hebrews that if a person injures you, you may not retaliate by killing him. One's response to an injury may not exceed the injury itself. This was in dramatic contrast to generally accepted behavior of the time, and a tremendous step forward."

Exactly. It's also a "favorite" of mine ... in the sense that no matter how carefully one explains the fact, most people will refuse to acknowledge that "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" is a vast moral-and-justice improvement over what *they themselves* would do, if left to their own devices, in response to an injustice against themselves or those they consider theirs.

im-skeptical said...

Well then, Bob, since my answer to my own question isn't good enough for you, please tell me your answer. I bow to your superior knowledge.

B. Prokop said...

Oh, no, Skep. You ain't getting off that easy! In your posting "Try reading the New Testament. What were Jesus' thoughts on slavery?". you strongly implied that there was something in the words of Christ that supported slavery. So I ask you - where is it? Let's see it. If you can't, then you have merely exposed yourself as someone who will say quite literally anything to befog the issue and befuddle the discourse.

As has happened more times than I can count, you have once again been caught on this website in spouting off without any idea of what you are talking about. You habitually link to websites in preference to actually expressing yourself, and in the majority of instances the site you link to actually contradicts your stated argument.

I'm beginning to suspect that "im-skeptical" isn't a real person at all, but rather a sock puppet created by some theist who wants to make atheists look really stoo-pid!

Karl Grant said...

Bob,

You habitually link to websites in preference to actually expressing yourself, and in the majority of instances the site you link to actually contradicts your stated argument.

There is one other person who regularly comments on this site that does the exact same thing: Paps. In fact, him and Skeppy often operate in tandem. I wonder...

im-skeptical said...

Bob,

I asked you a question with the intention of finding out what evidence you have to support your assertion that all the evidence of biblical support for slavery is "cherry picked". You said the NT is "100% incompatible with the idea of slavery", but you have failed to substantiate your claims with any evidence. Instead, you try to put the burden on me. But I already provided evidence for my case. Now if you want to claim that you have refuted me, you need to come up with something other than a couple of cherry-picked verses (none of which actually say what you assert). put your money where your mouth is. make your case.

The truth is you don't have a case to make. If you did, you would have answered the question immediately.

Karl Grant said...

Now if you want to claim that you have refuted me, you need to come up with something other than a couple of cherry-picked verses (none of which actually say what you assert). put your money where your mouth is. make your case.

This coming from a guy who weasels out of every tough question thrown his way? It is to laugh. Alright Skeppy, let's give you a taste of your own medicine. You claim that the trend of society is to progress morally but you have not provided any hard evidence to back up that claim. And that is a positive claim and by making it you shoulder the burden of proof.

So Prove It. Give us a chart comparing the number of wars in the 1900s, 1800s and the 1700s and number of people killed in said wars. Or how about showing us the crime rates of major cities like New York, London, Paris, etc... from 2010, 1910 and 1810. How about you list the massacres by the centuries. I want hard facts, not vague assertions by your or some windbag like Pinker.

And I still want a straight answer, Yes or No, are Harris and Hitchens dinosaurs? Will you condemn them for advocating the very same actions committed by Christian individuals that you have condemned Christianity for, Yes or No?

B. Prokop said...

"You said the NT is "100% incompatible with the idea of slavery", but you have failed to substantiate your claims with any evidence. Instead, you try to put the burden on me."

Of course the burden is on you. You make a claim that Jesus makes some statement in support of slavery, so it's your task to show me where He has done so. What you need to do is in your own words (i.e., not link to someone else's website) show us why you think Jesus approves of slavery. If you cannot do this, then you have nothing to say on the matter, and you have been doing nothing but spread Darkness Visible.

You are desperately trying to avoid having to answer your own question because you don't know the answer! Let's hear it. As Tom Cruise said, "Show me the money!"

(And in any case, you'll have an awfully hard time explaining why the abolitionist movement was inspired by The Bible, and used it extensively to explain and promote their cause.)

B. Prokop said...

"you need to come up with something other than a couple of cherry-picked verses (none of which actually say what you assert)"

Huh??? I just read through all the comments on this thread to make sure I hadn't forgotten something, and verified that I never once quoted the Bible at all in favor of the proposition that the New Testament is anti-slavery. So where in the world do you come up with the above statement that I somehow "cherry-picked" verses "none of which actually say what you assert".

Well, I guess in a bizarre fashion you can maintain that, since I quoted no verses at all (in support of this argument), that "none" of none do say what I assert. I'm curious, do you also divide by zero?

im-skeptical said...

> "You make a claim that Jesus makes some statement in support of slavery"

No, I didn't. I asked you what his thoughts were on the matter.

> "What you need to do is in your own words (i.e., not link to someone else's website) show us why you think Jesus approves of slavery."

I said (in my own words): "slavery was considered perfectly normal in that time, and Jesus, despite having plenty to say on all kinds of moral issues, never said anything to indicate that he thought slavery was wrong."

> "You are desperately trying to avoid having to answer your own question"

No. You are desperately trying to answer my question.

> "So where in the world do you come up with the above statement that I somehow "cherry-picked" verses "none of which actually say what you assert"."

That bit about Philemon is cherry-picked (to support your case that the NT is anti-slavery), and doesn't actually say what you claim.

> "I never once quoted the Bible at all in favor of the proposition that the New Testament is anti-slavery"

You said: "So yes, the New Testament is 100% incompatible with the idea of slavery.

Bob, if you want to have an argument, make your case on its own terms, and refute mine on its own terms. All this moving the goalposts, shifting the burden, denying what you said after it has been refuted, is for the birds.

im-skeptical said...

should be: No. You are desperately trying to avoid answer my question.

B. Prokop said...

Skep,

Mentioning the name of a book (Philemon) is not quoting verses, unless you speak some language other than English.

And I'm not moving any goalposts. They were set up by you (who started this whole thing, as anyone can see by looking back over the comments), when you asked what Jesus's "thoughts" were on slavery. Please do not deny that you believed there was some "smoking gun" in His words. Otherwise you never would have gone down that road. So I ask you yet again - where does Jesus make any statement even capable of being construed as a support for slavery?

And talk about hypocrisy! First you cynically demand that I prove my statement that the NT is 100% anti-slavery (which I do indeed unhesitatingly declare), but simultaneously proactively label any quotations (that I haven't even made) as "cherry picking". Gimme a break! Why should I bother, if you're going to dismiss any evidence before I even present it?

You got nothing, and it's clear to all that you don't. This is my last comment on this subject until you answer the question (and Karl's while you're at it).

im-skeptical said...

"Please do not deny that you believed there was some "smoking gun" in His words"

I do deny it. I never said or implied such a thing.

And the story of Philemon is certainly cherry-picking. You're trying to find something in the NT that supports anti-slavery, when the fact is the NT doesn't. So you come up with this story that you can construe to make your case if you interpret it in the right way while ignoring the greater context. That's cherry-picking.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_picking_%28fallacy%29

Crude said...

While I think the others in this thread have done a good job of showing why I regard Skep as the Ernest P. Worrell of intellectual discussion, I'll give my own view of the Christianity-slavery topic.

* It is absurdly difficult to square the most commonly imagined forms of slavery - civil war era 'go buy them off people who kidnapped them out of the jungle, kill them if they try to escape, beat them if they fail to perform, screw them at your leisure' style - with Christianity. Yes, yes, I know, some Christians claimed to find a way to justify it during the civil war. I think it is tremendously easy to doubt their sincerity. You have to go through so many twists of logic to pull it off, and everyone knows the secular motivation here - it's not like they were enslaving people because, gosh darn it, it doesn't benefit them at all but they're pretty sure Christ is big on this stuff.

* 'Slavery' can be rough to define. To give an example of what I mean, let's take a look at the spread wikipedia gives: "Historically, slavery was institutionally recognized by many societies; in more recent times, slavery has been outlawed in most societies but continues through the practices of debt bondage, indentured servitude, serfdom, domestic servants kept in captivity, certain adoptions in which children are forced to work as slaves, child soldiers, and forced marriage."

That's some broad definitions there, and I bet you could squeeze in some more. If you are an employer, and your employee is desperate to keep the job he has? Congratulations - you've arguably got a master-slave situation on your hands, like it or not. To say nothing of situations where prisoners are forced to work, or free men are forced to work to pay debts, and more. Of course, if you define it that broad, I'll bet you some forms of slavery will start to look mighty good and justified. (And don't blame me for that - wikipedia is the one casting that broad of a net to begin with.)

im-skeptical said...

The intellectual honesty of the Christian defending his faith against truth ... Slavery? What is this slavery that you imagine? Having a job is slavery. You can't reconcile it with Christianity anyway. Pay no attention to those words you see in the bible. It's just the incoherent ranting of fools ...

Crude said...

You can't reconcile it with Christianity anyway.

Civil war style slavery? You can't. Which is why... you haven't. Everyone here has given you opportunity after opportunity to support your claim on this front. What a surprise: you're not only unwilling, you're unable. Cult of Gnu style atheists need a diaper change whenever they find themselves with a burden of proof.

As for the various definitions of slavery - that'd be wikipedia. Not me. But hey, if you want to say "debt bondage, indentured servitude, serfdom, domestic servants kept in captivity, certain adoptions in which children are forced to work as slaves, child soldiers, and forced marriage" are not slavery, be my guest.

It's always a pleasure, Skeppy. ;)

B. Prokop said...

Crude (and Karl),

This exchange has convinced me that there is no point in further interaction with Skep. In some ways, he's even worse than Linton. They're both under the delusion that they're engaging in some sort of conversation, when nothing that could truly be labeled such is actually going on. Neither of them understands the issues involved, nor makes the slightest attempt to do so. Asked to speak in their own voice, and all one gets in reply is either a link or plagiarism. Where they differ is in the more unsavory aspects of any "dialog" with them. Linton descends to mockery and insult; Skep just lies and mischaracterizes others' contributions to the debate (see: "cherry picking").

I'm adding Skep to my "Do Not Reply" list.

I might reconsider if he deigns to answer Karl's question, but I'll have to see his answer first.

grodrigues said...

@B. Prokop:

"This exchange has convinced me that there is no point in further interaction with Skep. In some ways, he's even worse than Linton. They're both under the delusion that they're engaging in some sort of conversation, when nothing that could truly be labeled such is actually going on. Neither of them understands the issues involved, nor makes the slightest attempt to do so. Asked to speak in their own voice, and all one gets in reply is either a link or plagiarism."

All this is quite correct, except I would add that im-skeptical, besides being an ignorant idiot, is intellectually dishonest. He is not "deluded", at least not in the usual sense of the word; he cares for the Truth only insofar it comports to his own self-serving interests.

Ilíon said...

GRodrigues: "All this is quite correct, except I would add that im-skeptical, besides being an ignorant idiot, is intellectually dishonest. He is not "deluded", at least not in the usual sense of the word; he cares for the Truth only insofar it comports to his own self-serving interests."

A quibble: properly speaking, I-pretend is not an 'idiot' (or a 'moron' or any of the other terms of that nature that people toss around); for an 'idiot' does not choose to be, and cannot help being, illogical and/or stupid (i.e. slow to understand facts and/or logical relationships). Rather, I-pretend chooses to behave as though he were stupid; he willfully chooses to behave as though he cannot reason logically and as though he were slow to understand facts and/or logical relationships. The proper "Anglo-Saxon" term for such willful ignorance is 'fool'; the more Latinate phrase is 'intelllectual dishonesty'.

A warning: around here, it is a crime of major proportions to use the term 'intelllectual dishonesty' when it actually applies.

Ilíon said...

Prokop: "(And in any case, you'll have an awfully hard time explaining why the abolitionist movement was inspired by The Bible, and used it extensively to explain and promote their cause.)"

American (and some others in the "Anglosphere") God-haters like to point to the well-known fact that the American anti-abolitionists made convoluted appeals to the Bible in their attempts to justify the continuance of slavery in the US. "Ah-ha!", they cry in premature triumph, "the Bible supports slavery!" But, this little happy-dance ignores at least two things:
1) any fair-minded reading-and-reasoning shows that these pro-slavery arguments relied upon misrepresentation of the Bible;
2) and IMPORTANTLY, the very reason the anti-abolitionists were trying to make appeals to the Bible is precisely because the very concept of slavery was being attacked from the Bible.

im-skeptical said...

It appears that illogic has won the day. I'll stop trying to argue with you people. It is quite clear what the bible says about slavery, and what the attitudes of its authors were. Anyone whose mind is not addled by their irrational religious beliefs can see it for what it is. Anyone who's honest can admit that slavery was generally accepted when these texts were written. But not the Christian. To admit that human morality has evolved over time would be to admit that your cherished beliefs about god-given absolute moral values might be flawed - or even worse than that - that the authors of the bible might have been ordinary humans. And you could never do that.

Karl Grant said...

Anyone who's honest can admit that slavery was generally accepted when these texts were written.

Yes, it was generally accepted during the time period the texts were written. You're job is to show the texts support said practice and simply saying the authors were alive during a time the practice was prevalent does not accomplish that. Any one with a working brain can tell you that.

To admit that human morality has evolved over time would be to admit that your cherished beliefs about god-given absolute moral values might be flawed

Skeppy, you have to first show human morality has evolved over time nor have you disproved Bob's assertion that advancements in the teaching of morality are the result of religious influence. You are not gonna win an argument by default.

that the authors of the bible might have been ordinary humans.

No shit, the mainstream Christian view of the Biblical writings was that they were written by Man but Divinely Inspired.

And you could never do that.

Really? I just did admit the authors of the Bible were ordinary humans; it is common knowledge. Now when are you gonna answer that question on Harris and Hitchens?

im-skeptical said...

Yes, Karl.

Ordinary people - who just happen to be chosen by god himself to be his voice on earth. And this god inspires them to write down his own laws - on how to treat slaves, and homosexuals, and women, and adulterers, and disobedient children ... And this god's inspired word reflects the morality of the day, and the science of the day, and is riddled with contradictions and inconsistencies. Yes, Karl. Just the words of ordinary people.

Karl Grant said...

And what do we have here? Still no answer to the question posed to you (Are Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, in their advocacy of the use of torture and support for the wars in the Middle East, moral dinosaurs according to your standards?) Another blatant unsupported assertion (this god's inspired word reflects the morality of the day, and the science of the day, and is riddled with contradictions and inconsistencies) with no evidence to back up. A failure to realize ordinary people can do, or be chosen to do, extraordinary things. All in all, a post that is sound and fury, but signifies nothing.

But we didn't expect anything else, did we? Because you are an intellectual coward and a hypocrite. An ideologue masquerading behind the facade of skepticism and everybody here knows it. I have no problem admitting Biblical authors were ordinary people - that is what most writers, historians, biographers and reporters are - which is something you said I could never do. Another statement which shows you have no idea what you are talking about.

But I am right that you will never condemn Harris and Hitchens for advocating the same actions that you have condemned Christianity for. No, that would require guts, wouldn't it? Nor will you provide any verses in which Jesus says he supports slavery. That would require intellectual honesty, wouldn't it? No, you will just keep blindly repeating that the world has advanced morally despite the events of last century; that said events are just the actions of individuals (despite the scale and infrastructure necessary to carry out something like the Holocaust and Stalin's Purges required the willing participation of hundreds of thousands-shit, millions-of people in their respective nations). To do otherwise would require you to live in the real world instead of your fantasy construct, wouldn't it?

Now you could always prove me wrong, give me a yes or no answer to the question on Harris and Htichens. Or maybe you could explain how war crimes that required literal armies of men to carry out are the actions of individuals instead of societies (good luck there). Or try and provide Bob what he asked for.

But odds are, you won't. Can't really expect a leopard to change it's spots, can we?

B. Prokop said...

Karl,

Don't worry about getting an answer to my question. I've figured out by now that we're not going to get one. And even if we did, it would be some subject-changing dodge that neither addresses the question or advances the conversation. That's why I've decided that from now on, Skep gets the same treatment from me as does Linton, which is [.....] *

* Silence.

Karl Grant said...

Bob,

Yeah, I think I am going to follow you and Crude's example here.

im-skeptical said...

One last thing, Karl. I gave you your answer long ago. Read it. Read it again. Let it sink in. Got it?

Karl Grant said...

One last thing, Karl. I gave you your answer long ago. Read it. Read it again. Let it sink in. Got it?

What? You mean this:

I don't follow everything they say, and I'm certainly not obliged to agree with it. And given your demonstrated lack of understanding, I'm not about to condemn anyone based on what you say about them.

That ain't an answer, that is a refusal to answer said question. An evasion, pure and simple and everybody here knows it. It is the rhetorical equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and your tongue out your mouth; I ain't been so impressed since kindergarten. But you say you don't have clergy? Prove it, show us something you disagree with from one of the pop atheist leaders (of course, we Christians criticize clergy all the time, look how Pope Francis just sacked the Bishop of Bling). And you had better follow what they say because they claim to speak for the atheist community as a whole. A community which you are a part of. So they claim to speak for you, on a national and international stage no less, and you don't even pay attention to what they say? Well, one more piece of evidence to prove you ain't the sharpest tool in the shed.

And I'm gonna follow Bob's lead here. Until I get a Yes or No out of you Harris and Hitchens this conversation is over.

im-skeptical said...

I'll address this issue if you can tell me clearly and accurately in your own words what their positions are (which I seriously doubt).

B. Prokop said...

Careful, Karl, it's a trap (and not a very good one). If you quote either Harris or Hitchens to demonstrate what they said, then you're not using "your own words". If you don't quote them, then you'll be accused of not accurately representing their positions. Good grief, how transparent can one get? It's like digging a bear trap, and then pasting a big "Bear Trap" label on it!

Crude said...

Gentlemen, I admire your resolve. In the meantime, I'll try to promote a conversation about the OP.

Here's one thing I'm curious of what you all think. Victor's 'how could they have thought that?' question: do you think there is every such a thing as a culture-wide self-bullshitting? The slavery one is a good example. We know the 'Christian' arguments for civil war chattel slavery are rotten. Do you think the slaveowners who relied on them really knew they were rotten? Did they actually deceive themselves into thinking they weren't? Were some of them just THAT ignorant?

I'm of the mind that moral self-deception can be large-scale, where everyone knows X is immoral, but no one is willing to say it.

Karl Grant said...

I'll address this issue if you can tell me clearly and accurately in your own words what their positions are

I have: Harris advocates the use of torture in the War on Terror, advocates nuclear war against Muslims and supported the invasion and occupation of both Iraq and Afghanistan. Is he a dinosaur, to use your terminology? Hitchens had a similar track record, was he a dinosaur too?

You want proof? Here it is. On Hitchens:

Item One: "All that made sense to me," Guttenplan says of Hitchens's early responses to 9/11. "What didn't make sense to me was saying we're getting on the bus with George Bush." Which, in effect, is what Hitchens has been saying for the past several months. "There may be some stupid and...self-righteous ways of being in favor of this war or of the Bush foreign policy, but there is no intelligent and no principled way of being against it,"

Nor is he troubled by the mounting civilian toll exacted by America's crusade in Afghanistan. "I don't think the war in Afghanistan was ruthlessly enough waged," he says. What about the use of cluster bombs?

[Hitchen's Response] If you're actually certain that you're hitting only a concentration of enemy troops...then it's pretty good because those steel pellets will go straight through somebody and out the other side and through somebody else. And if they're bearing a Koran over their heart, it'll go straight through that, too. So they won't be able to say, 'Ah, I was bearing a Koran over my heart and guess what, the missile stopped halfway through.' No way, 'cause it'll go straight through that as well. They'll be dead, in other words.

"It pains me to hear that," says Edward Said, a friend of many years. "He's gone back to nineteenth-century gunboat diplomacy--go hit the wogs."


Item 2: I should perhaps confess that on September 11 last, once I had experienced all the usual mammalian gamut of emotions, from rage to nausea, I also discovered that another sensation was contending for mastery. On examination, and to my own surprise and pleasure, it turned out be exhilaration. Here was the most frightful enemy--theocratic barbarism--in plain view. All my other foes, from the Christian Coalition to the Milosevic Left, were busy getting it wrong or giving it cover. Other and better people were gloomy at the prospect of confrontation. But I realized that if the battle went on until the last day of my life, I would never get bored in prosecuting it to the utmost.

Hey Skeppy, what do you call somebody who gets excited by mass murder and then invokes said excitement as an explanation of his support for perpetual war?

Item 3: The way to win the war is to kill so many Moslems that they begin to question whether they can bear the mounting casualties….

“This was made even more clear in the Q&A. He was asked to consider the possibility that bombing and killing was only going to accomplish an increase in the number of people opposing us. Hitchens accused the questioner of being incredibly stupid (the question was not well-phrased, I’ll agree, but it was clear what he meant), and said that it was obvious that every Moslem you kill means there is one less Moslem to fight you … which is only true if you assume that every Moslem already wants to kill Americans and is armed and willing to do so.

“Basically, what Hitchens was proposing is genocide. Or, at least, wholesale execution of the population of the Moslem world until they are sufficiently cowed and frightened and depleted that they are unable to resist us in any way, ever again.


Next stop Harris. I got more of Hitchens but that will do for now.

Karl Grant said...

Sam Harris Item One:

“Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them. This may seem an extraordinary claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live. Certain beliefs place their adherents beyond the reach of every peaceful means of persuasion, while inspiring them to commit acts of extraordinary violence against others. There is, in fact, no talking to some people. If they cannot be captured, and they often cannot, otherwise tolerant people may be justified in killing them in self-defense. This is what the United States attempted in Afghanistan, and it is what we and other Western powers are bound to attempt, at an even greater cost to ourselves and to innocents abroad, elsewhere in the Muslim world. We will continue to spill blood in what is, at bottom, a war of ideas.

Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (New York: W. W. Norton, 2004), 52–53.

Item Two: Given what many of us believe about the exigencies of our war on terrorism, the practice of torture, in certain circumstances, would seem to be not only permissible, but necessary

Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (New York: W. W. Norton, 2004), 194.

Item 3: In such a situation, the only thing likely to ensure our survival may be a nuclear first strike of our own. Needless to say, this would be an unthinkable crime—as it would kill tens of millions of innocent civilians in a single day—but it may be the only course of action available to us, given what Islamists believe.

Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (New York: W. W. Norton, 2004), 129.

Karl Grant said...

Bob,

I know full well what he is trying to do. He is so utterly predictable.

Karl Grant said...

Crude,

Yeah, I think they could have bullshitted themselves into believing it but I think the money and the power that came from chattel slavery contributed more to their refusal to give it up.

im-skeptical said...

"Careful, Karl, it's a trap (and not a very good one)"

"I know full well what he is trying to do. He is so utterly predictable"

Just for your information, I don't play those stupid little games like crude and others here are so fond of. If you want to discuss an issue, let's do it.

I'm being asked to condemn someone's position, and I don't even know what it is. So now I need to go and see if I can find out for myself. But I want you, Karl, to summarize those positions so that I know exactly what I'm supposed to address that you think is worthy of condemnation. If you want to limit it to positions on torture for the sake of containing the discussion, that would be fine. So please, tell me in your own words, what these positions are. And I may need some time to gather information myself.

Karl Grant said...

I'm being asked to condemn someone's position, and I don't even know what it is. So now I need to go and see if I can find out for myself. But I want you, Karl, to summarize those positions so that I know exactly what I'm supposed to address that you think is worthy of condemnation. If you want to limit it to positions on torture for the sake of containing the discussion, that would be fine. So please, tell me in your own words, what these positions are.

Bullshit. I have said several times in this discussion what their positions are:

including the Iraq War that Sam Harris (Hell, Harris wants to legalize torture, supports preemptive killings and talks of nuking Mecca in addition to cheer-leading said war) and the late Christopher Hitchens so happily endorsed (how many Iraqi refugees did we create there?).

Harris and Hitchens cheerleaded the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, both writing several articles on why it was good and just and how western atheist movements would benefit and should support said invasions and occupations. Therefore, by your reasoning, Harris, Hitchens and those who supported them are dinosaurs.

Harris advocates the use of torture in the War on Terror, advocates nuclear war against Muslims and supported the invasion and occupation of both Iraq and Afghanistan. Is he a dinosaur, to use your terminology? Hitchens had a similar track record, was he a dinosaur too?


I have said it about a dozen times in this discussion. You condemn Christianity because some Christians because of what they did to the Native Americans whose population was devastated, homeland was stolen, culture and customs were laid to waste, and despite being sent into exile, never managed to find a safe haven your exact words. Harris and Hitchens want us to do the same thing to the Muslims. Do you have a reading comprehension problem? Do you need glasses?

And I may need some time to gather information myself.

So, you're telling me that in this thread in which you have been repeatedly claiming modern secular morality is superior to Biblical morality that you do not know what actions and behaviors the self-proclaimed purveyors of modern secular morality (Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape ring any bells?) have actually endorsed?

im-skeptical said...

OK. Let's start with Harris.

"Hell, Harris wants to legalize torture, supports preemptive killings and talks of nuking Mecca in addition to cheer-leading said war"

On legalizing torture: False. I could find no place where he said that. He is against legalizing torture. "... some readers have mistakenly concluded that I take a cavalier attitude toward the practice of torture. I do not. Nevertheless, there are extreme circumstances in which I believe that practices like “water-boarding” may be not only ethically justifiable, but ethically necessary. This is not the same as saying that they should be legal"

On preemptive killing and nuking: Again, false. "Clearly, I was describing a case in which a hostile regime that is avowedly suicidal acquires long-range nuclear weaponry (i.e. they can hit distant targets like Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, etc.). Of course, not every Muslim regime would fit this description. For instance, Pakistan already has nuclear weapons, but they have yet to develop long-range rockets, and there is every reason to believe that the people currently in control of these bombs are more pragmatic and less certain of paradise than the Taliban are. The same could be said of Iran, if it acquires nuclear weapons in the near term (though not, perhaps, from the perspective of Israel, for whom any Iranian bomb will pose an existential threat). But the civilized world (including all the pragmatic Muslims living within it) must finally come to terms with what the ideology of groups like the Taliban, al Qaeda, etc. means—because it destroys the logic of deterrence. There are a significant number of people in the Muslim world for whom the slogan “We love death more than the infidel loves life” appears to be an honest statement of psychological fact, and we must do everything in our power to prevent them from getting long-range nuclear weapons."

On the war in Iraq: False. "I have never written or spoken in support of the war in Iraq. This has not stopped a “journalist” like Glenn Greenwald from castigating me as a warmonger (Which is especially rich, given that he supported the war. In fact, in 2005 he appeared less critical of U.S. foreign policy than I am.) The truth is, I have never known what to think about this war, apart from the obvious: 1) prospectively, it seemed like a very dangerous distraction from the ongoing war in Afghanistan; 2) retrospectively, it was a disaster."

So, Karl, you clearly don't know or don't understand Harris' position on these things, and you're asking me to condemn them. The caution I expressed earlier about your lack of understanding has proven to be well justified. How pathetic.

B. Prokop said...

"I'm of the mind that moral self-deception can be large-scale"

No question about it, Crude. Where do you want me to begin? Let's see...

- worship of money, possessions, and material success
- widespread pornography
- elevation of celebrities to idol status
- "greed is good"
- pervasive sex, violence, profanity, etc. in the entertainment media
- rap music (sic) lyrics
- apathy toward child labor used in third world countries
- apathy toward working conditions in China
- road rage
- divorce

And I've just restricted myself to phenomena that people either passively approve of or apathetically fail to condemn.

B. Prokop said...

Karl,

I think you've decisively proved your point. Atheists do indeed have an infallible priesthood that none may dare question or criticize. You have earned the right to retire the field victoriously.

"Hominem te esse memento! Memento mori!"

Karl Grant said...

Well, aren't we a little nitpicker?

Did you miss the part where Harris said: there are extreme circumstances in which I believe that practices like “water-boarding” may be not only ethically justifiable, but ethically necessary. Many people consider water-boarding and the like to be torture, Harris just said it was ethically necessary. So much for moral progress. And bullshit, if you say something is ethically justifiable you are arguing for the legality of it since ethics, by definition, are rules of conduct. Hell, he even has an article entitled In Defense of Torture.

Point two, even if he is talking only about potentially hostile regimes he is still talking about preemptive killing and nuclear war. Or do you think that nuking somebody because your afraid they might attack you but haven't actually done so yet to be something other then preemptive strikes? Do you need some lessons in reading comprehension?

Point three. First, what about the wars in Afghanistan, Libya, etc... You don't talk about them because Harris openly supports them. Second, Harris is full of it. as Thomas Sayeed says here:

Like so many prowar commentators, Harris has attempted to deny that he backed the Iraq invasion when events took a turn for the worse, preferring the more agnostic position “I have never known what to think about this war”, but this denial must not be taken at face value. The only occasions in which he sees fit to discuss the war in his book is for the purpose of defending George Bush from his antiwar critics like Chomsky, or to sing the praises of those who cheered the invasion like Berman, Lewis and Fareed Zakaria, or to support interventionism generically in the Middle East himself though with the added twist of imposing not democracy, for which he thinks Muslims are unfit, but a benign pro-American dictator, or to hobgoblinise Iraqis for not receiving American troops as liberators.

There is not a single word of criticism against the Iraq war in print or on his blog, except to say, more recently, that it was poorly strategised and launched before the revenge attacks on Afghanistan could be wrapped up.


And you claim you don't play those stupid little games? And no, I understand Harris all too well; he shot his mouth off and came under fire for it and promptly tried to weasel his way out. Kind of like you. And I noticed you didn't say anything about Hitchens. What's the matter? Can't justify the unjustifiable?

Karl Grant said...

Thank you Bob.

Crude said...

Bob,

And I've just restricted myself to phenomena that people either passively approve of or apathetically fail to condemn.

I'm actually more interested in a position which cannot be apathetic. A slaveowner beating/killing slaves. Can he really think 'Well hey this is totally Christian'? Can most of them think that?

One popular reply is to say, 'They really DO think that, because that is the power of their self-deception.' I'm skeptical of that. I think a lot of people know that they're doing something wrong, but give the appearance of believing otherwise.

Atheists do indeed have an infallible priesthood that none may dare question or criticize.

I think there is a big different between Cult of Gnu atheists, and the rest. Some nitpicking of my own, but I think it's necessary to. I don't want to lump all atheists together.

As for Hitchens, I have no resource onhand, but I recall he also had a 'Oh well, it was necessary' attitude towards slaughtering the clergy and religious in Russia. Some interview.

im-skeptical said...

Now for Hitchens.

"the Iraq War that ... the late Christopher Hitchens so happily endorsed (how many Iraqi refugees did we create there?) "

"You condemn Christianity because some Christians because of what they did to the Native Americans .... Harris and Hitchens want us to do the same thing to the Muslims."

Well. This, too is utterly false. Hitchens did indeed support the Afghan war, as well as the Iraq war. The first, because of his desire to defeat the "Islamo-facists" (ie. Al Quaeda, who had attacked us, and were still viewed as a significant threat). The latter, because of his opposition to the Hussein regime, which he also considered to be a threat. See "A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq". Despite his rather hawkish position, he never advocated anything remotely like the genocide that Christians perpetrated on the American Indians.

Your problem, Karl, is that you live in a bubble where you only hear the things that fit your beliefs. You read the rantings of anti-atheist journalists, and you believe them. You should check your facts, because those people lie. Now I admit that I don't know everything Hitchens has said, but I could find nothing in his own writings (not what others have written about him) that would support such a claim. If you have, Id be interested to hear about them.

B. Prokop said...

"I think there is a big different between Cult of Gnu atheists, and the rest."

You are correct. I need to be more careful.

Crude said...

Your problem, Karl, is that you live in a bubble where you only hear the things that fit your beliefs. You read the rantings of anti-atheist journalists, and you believe them.

I like how Skep's got a habit of trying to echo what I've told him in the past, but he does it in this creepy, awkward, clumsy way.

A tip, Skep: 'You only read the writings of the people you agree with and they lie!' doesn't work when someone is A) quoting their opponents directly, and B) is actually grasping what said person is saying.

If nothing else, this has been a fun exchange to watch. ;)

im-skeptical said...

"Well, aren't we a little nitpicker?"

Neither Harris nor Hitchens has ever taken a position that remotely resembles what you accuse them of.

"You condemn Christianity because some Christians because of what they did to the Native Americans .... Harris and Hitchens want us to do the same thing to the Muslims."

I addressed the substance of your accusation. And you think my response is nitpicking?

Karl Grant said...

The latter, because of his opposition to the Hussein regime, which he also considered to be a threat.

Yeah, he considered Saddam Hussein a threat because it became politically expedient to do so. Before that, he praised the man.

Despite his rather hawkish position, he never advocated anything remotely like the genocide that Christians perpetrated on the American Indians.

Bullshit. I provided you a link that proved otherwise. Here is PZ Meyers take on it and he was at the speech Hitchens made:

This is insane. I entirely agree that we are looking at a clash of civilizations, that there are huge incompatibilities between different parts of the world, and that we face years and years of all kinds of conflict between us, with no easy resolution. However, one can only resolve deep ideological conflicts by the extermination of one side in video games and cartoons. It’s not going to work in the real world. We can’t simply murder enough Moslems to weaken them into irrelevance, and even if we could, that’s not the kind of culture to which I want to belong.

Your problem, Karl, is that you live in a bubble where you only hear the things that fit your beliefs.

I think you are projecting your actions on to me here.

You read the rantings of anti-atheist journalists, and you believe them.

Hey Shit-for-brains, one of the articles I linked to about Hitchens was written by Justin Raimondo, who is an atheist. You know, you could actually read the articles and the biographies of their authors before trying to dismiss them via ad hominem circumstantial.

You should check your facts, because those people lie.

I just quoted PZ Meyers, who claims to have heard PZ Meyers endorse genocide. Does he lie? See Skeppy, I check my facts very carefully before committing them to argument. You don't.

Karl Grant said...

Neither Harris nor Hitchens has ever taken a position that remotely resembles what you accuse them of. I addressed the substance of your accusation. And you think my response is nitpicking?

Let's see, I say Harris supports torture. I provide articles to back it up, including an article written by Harris titled In Defense of Torture. You reply with a qoute by Harris that says he views torture as ethically justifiable and sometimes ethically necessary but he doesn't want to make it legal just yet. All the while proclaiming modern secular morality does not approve of torture. Not impressed.

Or you try to say Harris doesn't support preemptive strikes by quoting in article saying he would only condone it against states he considers hostile. I got a question Skeppy, does 2 + 2 = 5?

Papalinton said...

Karl
"So, you're telling me that in this thread in which you have been repeatedly claiming modern secular morality is superior to Biblical morality that you do not know what actions and behaviors the self-proclaimed purveyors of modern secular morality (Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape ring any bells?) have actually endorsed?"

Modern secular morality is indeed far superior than biblical morality. Of that there is little doubt. History is the great leveler of Christian belligerence, obduracy and plain pig-headedness. Take any moral issue over, say, the last couple centuries, and it is the Christian version that has had to make the momentous transition from the old to the new and accepted protocols. On each and every occasion the moralism of Christianity has been dragged kicking and screaming into the new paradigm that every societal and community demand for change has necessitated since the Renaissance. On every occasion Christianity was shown to be nothing more than a medium for equivocation. That has not changed to this very day.

Slavery, Christian equivocation at its pristine, with as many Christian advocates proof-texting biblical scriptural support for its continuation under the banner of Christianity as there were who advocated otherwise, who also quote-mined biblical passages in support of its abolition, was not a Christian victory. It was humanitarian victory, a secular victory. The Christian bible and Christian ethics was not the cause of the abolition of slavery. It was the over-riding secular values of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights that charted the course for freedom of black Americans from the festering conservative Christian mould. The argument over slavery wasn't a case of Secular vs Religious, it was front and centre, a grubby Christian vs Christian debacle that required the independent secular arbiter of the Constitution to adjudicate the proper course. The abolition of slavery was a victory for secular, logical and reasoned commonsense. And this same lesson is being witnessed today with the issue of homosexuality and gay marriage.

In a couple decades Christians will be trumpeting how they advanced the just cause of supporting human rights and non-discrimination of homosexuality and homosexual marriage in our community. And supporting scriptural proof-texting will become the order of the day with all those other Christian biblical texts against homosexuality so strongly advocated today by the likes of Prokop, crude, and others, quietly relegated to the backblocks of Christian history and reduced to allegory, metaphor, legend and a host of other Apologetical literary devices that will characterize them as historical anathema to good 'Christian' values and morality.

It was superior secular values that set the right and proper path of the SCOTUS decision on Roe v Wade in order to balance the competing interests between the progressive and secular interests of the community against the unchecked, unbalanced and regressive demands of conservative reactionaries. And a great job they did there.

There are no lessons here that indicated that Christian understanding of morality and values are a mandatory necessity. In fact every instance has demonstrated that Christianity has been largely an impediment towards progressing good social order and governance.


im-skeptical said...

Karl Grant,

"You reply with a qoute by Harris that says he views torture as ethically justifiable and sometimes ethically necessary but he doesn't want to make it legal just yet."

You only hear what you want to hear. You're in a bubble. Oblivious to truth. Harris doesn't think it should be legal. That's what he says. He believes there may be certain limited circumstances where it may be ethical to break the law. He certainly does not advocate the use of torture. What you say is a LIE.

"Or you try to say Harris doesn't support preemptive strikes by quoting in article saying he would only condone it against states he considers hostile."

Again, I didn't say that, and Harris didn't say that. He said it would be essential to keep certain groups like Al Quaeda from obtaining nuclear weapons. What you say is a LIE.

For a more complete discussion of where Harris stands, read this:

http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/response-to-controversy2/

Don't tell me what others say about these guys. I'm telling you what *they* say, and it's not what you claim.

B. Prokop said...

"I'm of the mind that moral self-deception can be large-scale, where everyone knows X is immoral, but no one is willing to say it."

Been thinking a bit more about this, Crude. A lot of times, it isn't so much self-deception as cowardice (or justified fear). In the Soviet Union, millions were aware that the Stalinist show trials were bogus, but to say so meant throwing one's self into the meat grinder. Not many people can rustle up that kind of courage, especially when one's family and friends might suffer along with you for your speaking out. It would have taken similar heroic courage to speak out in Nazi Germany or any other totalitarian state.

Even in the relatively free United States, there can be enormous social pressure to go against prevailing social trends. In my day (back in the '60s and '70s), to criticize someone for smoking weed could result in ridicule and ostracism. Nowadays, college kids are pressured into binge drinking and casual sex. They know it's not right, but the current is very strong and hard to resist.

I know I'm merely stating the obvious, but I'm think I understand what you're getting at. Look no further than on this website. It doesn't satisfy some people here if you merely "tolerate" a gay lifestyle - if you're not actively celebrating it, you're labeled a bigot and a dinosaur. That is cultural totalitarianism at its worst. And in many circles, once again the prevailing current is fearsomely strong, and great courage is necessary to resist it. Some voices here will knee-jerk celebrate such a state of affairs, but they need to keep in mind that some currents are destructive floods.

Crude said...

Bob,

One of my favorite quotes was about... I think Joseph Smith? Whoever tried to engage in an armed slave rebellion. They mentioned he was more or less just one man, but he was able to get incredibly far with his plan - everyone kept running from him until they had overwhelming opposition to him in place. The explanation offered was that everyone knew Smith's cause was just, and no one was willing to put their life on the line to stand up to him as a result. They were willing to fight back only when winning was a sure thing.

I can't be sure if that's correct, but I think it's a very interesting perspective. Either way, my thoughts on this go in an unhappy direction, one that is usually not productive to talk about, but is worth keeping in mind: not all intellectual disputes are honest disputes. In fact, a great many may not be.

By the by, you may enjoy the most recent post at Ed Feser's as a result, where he talks frankly about bullshit. (Literally, 'bullshit' is the subject, and the difference between bullshit and lies.)

Karl Grant said...

You only hear what you want to hear. You're in a bubble. Oblivious to truth. Harris doesn't think it should be legal. That's what he says. He believes there may be certain limited circumstances where it may be ethical to break the law. He certainly does not advocate the use of torture. What you say is a LIE.

Bullshit Skeppy, if you think it is sometimes ethical to break a law prohibiting torture than you are advocating the use of torture. Worse yet, you are also saying you don't think the laws should apply to you and your standards. I mean, this is your and Harris defense? Harris: Yeah, outlaw torture but I reserve the right to break said law against torture and engage in it whenever I deem it necessary and doing so is ethical too! I'm Skeptical: See! He doesn't want to make torture legal he just wants to break the law prohibiting torture when he wants to! He doesn't support torture! You lie!

I wonder, is your and Harris's hypocrisy genetic or learned?

Again, I didn't say that, and Harris didn't say that. He said it would be essential to keep certain groups like Al Quaeda from obtaining nuclear weapons. What you say is a LIE.

No Skeppy, he said regime as in I was describing a case in which a hostile regime from your quote on October 26, 2013 4:20 PM. A regime is a government, not a terrorist group. More to the point, he has the statement I quoted in your little link:

In such a situation, the only thing likely to ensure our survival may be a nuclear first strike of our own. Needless to say, this would be an unthinkable crime—as it would kill tens of millions of innocent civilians in a single day—but it may be the only course of action available to us, given what Islamists believe.

Now I don't know what goes on in your sorry excuse for a brain but I think it is reasonable to assume that if someone, like Harris in this instance, explains themselves by saying it was the only thing I could do in order to ensure my survival that they are defending their actions.

Don't tell me what others say about these guys. I'm telling you what *they* say, and it's not what you claim.

Hey shit-for-brains; I quoted Harris directly from his fucking book and provided the page numbers. What did you think this meant:

Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (New York: W. W. Norton, 2004), 129.

Have you never seen a bibliographical reference before?

Karl Grant said...

Crude,

A tip, Skep: 'You only read the writings of the people you agree with and they lie!' doesn't work when someone is A) quoting their opponents directly, and B) is actually grasping what said person is saying.

Yeah, just when I thought he couldn't get more idiotic he keeps typing.

im-skeptical said...

"Hey shit-for-brains;" Now who's nitpicking? He said, "What will we do if an Islamist regime, which grows dewy-eyed at the mere mention of paradise, ever acquires long-range nuclear weaponry?" You said, "Harris wants to legalize torture, supports preemptive killings and talks of nuking Mecca". You are a LIAR, shit-for-brains.

Karl Grant said...

What will we do if an Islamist regime, which grows dewy-eyed at the mere mention of paradise, ever acquires long-range nuclear weaponry?

Harris is arguing that Islamists can't be trusted to use their nukes merely as a deterrent. So if an entire country that has both long-range nuclear capability and an Islamist regime Harris says its OK to nuke them even if they haven't actually done anything hostile towards you yet? That's still advocating preemptive nuclear strikes. Do I need to quote you the dictionary definition of preemptive strike? Because it is not dependent upon the people you are launching the strike against.

You are a LIAR, shit-for-brains.

Oh, copying other people's insults? I apologize, calling what you have in your skull shit-for-brains is an insult to manure. But if it makes you feel any better, alright, Harris doesn't advocate legalizing torture. Instead, he advocates breaking laws prohibiting torture whenever he deems it necessary and calls this ethical. Which is worse than just legalizing it since it combines advocacy of the use of torture with hypocrisy.

im-skeptical said...

" Do I need to quote you the dictionary definition of preemptive strike?"

You just go on quote-mining whatever you like. But you're still a liar. Now, like your buddy crude, I realize that you do not want to discuss anything. So I won't bother.

Karl Grant said...

You just go on quote-mining whatever you like.

Quote mining? I quoted entire multiple paragraphs.

But you're still a liar.

Because I said something you don't like? Because I pointed out one of your idols is a racist warmonger? Because, really, insults is all you got anymore. We already found out you can't handle hard evidence too good. =)

Now, like your buddy crude

Well, at least I am in good company. I am pretty sure he is gonna save this thread for posterity.

I realize that you do not want to discuss anything.

Skeppy, your idea of a discussion is to have the other person agree with you one hundred percent even when it's clear you don't know what the fuck you are talking about.

Papalinton said...

Bob
"I know I'm merely stating the obvious, but I'm think I understand what you're getting at. Look no further than on this website. It doesn't satisfy some people here if you merely "tolerate" a gay lifestyle - if you're not actively celebrating it, you're labeled a bigot and a dinosaur. That is cultural totalitarianism at its worst. And in many circles, once again the prevailing current is fearsomely strong, and great courage is necessary to resist it."

You say this as if if it is a bad situation. You seem to have ever so conveniently forgotten that the US is overwhelmingly Christian, with some 80-90% of the total population being christian god-botherers of some smell and/or stripe, So all this cultural totalitarianism you speak of is but a reflection of the internecine squabble between liberal progressive Christians telling the christian conservative bigots and dinosaurs where to get off.

I say that is a good thing. And while ever christian-woosters are bickering among themselves, as exemplified between Yachov on one side and Ilion on the other, it will continue to demonstrate the callow and shallow nature of supernatural superstition to the remaining and ever growing numbers of non-religious members of the community.

I say, knock yourselves out.

Crude said...

So all this cultural totalitarianism you speak of is but a reflection of the internecine squabble between liberal progressive Christians telling the christian conservative bigots and dinosaurs where to get off.

You'd think the fact that a 'dinosaur' is now your prime minister would have taught you a lesson, Linton. Funny thing about the delusional march of progress you cultists screech about - it has a remarkable habit of taking a route you didn't expect. ;)

B. Prokop said...

Crude,

Apropos of your question, I offer this quotation from George Orwell:

"At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to state this or that or the other, but it is “not done”… Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals."

Ilíon said...

B.Proleft: "Philemon was a death blow to the idea that any man could ever own another one. It was simultaneously a total rejection of any idea of attempting to transform Christianity into some sort of political agenda ...
And that's precisely where the Christian Socialists of the 19th Century and the so-called "Religious Right" of the 20th-21st Centuries went so far astray. You cannot (successfully) drag God into your private politics.
"

How fortunate that the "Christian" socialists of "Religious Left" in the 20th-21st centuries aren't doing "private politics", and thus are free to drag God anywhere they damned well wish.

B. Prokop said...

Ilion,

I stand by Christ's words to the two brothers wrangling about splitting their inheritance and trying to drag Him into their dispute (Luke 12:13-14). I take that as a Divine Command to "leave Me out of your political arguments".

It's wrong whichever side does it.

Ilíon said...

B.Proleft: "I stand by Christ's words to the two brothers wrangling about splitting their inheritance and trying to drag Him into their dispute (Luke 12:13-14). I take that as a Divine Command to "leave Me out of your political arguments"."

Is wrangling about how to split their inheritance *really* a "political argument"? The laws of Moses already laid out how the inheritance was to be split: Christ was telling the brother who called out to go to the already-established judges of such matters, and then used this incident as a segue into a parable about the worship of worldly wealth and position.

B.Proleft: "It's wrong whichever side does it."

Ah! So, are you admitting that you have been wrong all this time when you demonize me for rejecting and arguing against your political agenda to enslave me (and all other Americans) to the our fellow Leftists?

B. Prokop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B. Prokop said...

"Ah! So, are you admitting that you have been wrong all this time when you demonize me for rejecting and arguing against your political agenda to enslave me (and all other Americans) to the our fellow Leftists?"

In your dreams! (You still subscribe to Hell's Own Governing Constitution. But there's Hope for you yet.)

B. Prokop said...

Besides, I'm too busy fuming right now about last night's blown call in the World Series game.

The Sox was robbed!

Ilíon said...

I still subscribe, as I always have, to minimal coercive interference in the lives of others. I still subscribe, as I always have, to the denial of your (singular and plural) assertion of ownership of me and mine and he and his.

Besides, I'm too busy fuming right now about last night's blown call in the World Series game.

The Sox was robbed!


You’re concerned about justice with respect to a damned ball game, played my millionaires … even as you assert the damnable lie (*) that I “subscribe to Hell's Own Governing Constitution” because I will not meekly submit to the slavery-and-tyranny you wish to impose upon me (and everyone else), which tyranny if pleases you to conflate with Christianity?

(*) for which, assuredly, you damn yourself to that very Hell you vainly imagine I inhabit.

im-skeptical said...

"I still subscribe, as I always have, to minimal coercive interference in the lives of others. I still subscribe, as I always have, to the denial of your (singular and plural) assertion of ownership of me and mine and he and his."

Matthew 25:40

Ilíon said...

B.Proleftist:: "You still subscribe to Hell's Own Governing Constitution."

Ilíon: "I still subscribe, as I always have, to minimal coercive interference in the lives of others. I still subscribe, as I always have, to the denial of your (singular and plural) assertion of ownership of me and mine and [that fellow over there] and his."

I-pretend-to-give-a-damn-about-what-Christ-said: "Matthew 25:40"

Ah, that you be this: The King will reply [to those who ask him, 'When did we ever see you hungry, and feed you? naked, and clothe you?'],'I tell you the truth, whenever you organized with your like-minded fellows to use "the democratic process" -- and threat of violence-unto-death -- to loot your fellow citizens to pay patronage-in-the-from-of-salaries for your political allies, and with whatever is left over as spoils for your political "base", having done so *claiming* to be feeding and clothing the least of these brothers of mine, then you did it for/to me.' -- Matthew 25:40, Lying Leftist Translation

im-skeptical said...

It's all part of our modern, evolved morality. In earlier times, people who couldn't provide for their own needs were left in the streets to beg for scraps, and would eventually die. In a new, more enlightened age, we, as a society, have chosen to use a small portion of our resources to help those who need it.

Bear in mind, the resources applied to helping the needy is a tiny fraction of the public resources we apply to enriching the already-wealthy. This accounts for hundred of billions of dollars annually in the federal budget for defense and other bloated departments. But it's all good as long as those wealthy beneficiaries don't have to pay a proportionate share of taxes themselves. Right?

Not to mention the fact that conservatives like you are more than happy to use the coercive power of government to force your religious beliefs on others. So we have Governor "Ultrasound" McDonnell using the power of the state to force women to have medically unnecessary medical procedures at their own expense. Any complaints about that?

B. Prokop said...

"[only * ] a ball game"

!?!?!?!?!

Hey, now when yer talkin' baseball, yer talkin' serious! As George F. Will himself (a genuine Conservative, by the way) wrote, "Proof of the genius of ancient Greece is that it understood baseball's future importance."

He also championed Intelligent Design in the following: "Let us begin at the beginning, and I mean the Beginning. The Big Bang got the universe rolling and produced, among the flying debris, the planet Earth. It (and here we may have evidence of a kindly Mind superintending things) is enveloped in a thin membrane of atmosphere. The membrane is not too thick to keep out necessary energy and not too thin to let in lethal rays. And it is just right to cause raindrops to patter on Pennsylvania ridges where ash trees grow. They grow surrounded by other trees that protect the ash from winds that might twist and weaken them. In this protection they grow straight toward the sunlight. The result is wood wonderfully suited to being made into baseball bats."

It's hard to argue with that. I call it The Sixth Way.

* Implied.

Papalinton said...

"You'd think the fact that a 'dinosaur' is now your prime minister would have taught you a lesson, Linton."

Yes it has. It shows how dangerous totalitarian religious neanderthal thinking can still infect and take over a population. Prime Minister Abbott, aka, 'the Mad Monk', is not only a rabid catholic troglodyte but is also an anti-scientific climate change denier, and his government has lodged an appeal to the High Court [the SCOTUS equivalent] against recent legislative changes in the Australian Capital Territory [similar to your federal District of Columbia] allowing gay sex marriage even though some 80-85% of Australians support same sex marriage should be a done deal.

Yes even this country is not immune to religious hegemony. But that is not a reason for throwing in the towel.

im-skeptical said...

Papalinton,

While, crude takes smug pleasure in the victory of hard right in Australia, he should note that where they have control in the US, they are alienating people by the millions - women, minorities (including the growing Hispanic population), gays, students, people who lack healthcare, etc. He can look forward to 2016, when I predict Hillary Clinton will be elected president.

B. Prokop said...

"Is wrangling about how to split their inheritance *really* a "political argument"? The laws of Moses already laid out how the inheritance was to be split: Christ was telling the brother who called out to go to the already-established judges of such matters."

I always read the words of Christ with the assumption that they are never just addressed to the person at hand, or deal only with the specifics of the immediate situation, but are intended for all times and all people. It's entirely possible (indeed almost certain) that Jesus on occasion said something or other to somebody standing by that was of no further significance, but these were not recorded.

When He asked the Samaritan woman for a drink, yes, He was thirsty and would have a appreciated a bit of water from her bucket. But the seemingly simple question also has deep and extensive meaning for every last person on Earth.

When He told John from the Cross "Behold your Mother," yes, He was committing her to his care, but He was also simultaneously telling every future Christian that Mary was the Mother of the Church.

In the case of the disputing brothers, you are entirely correct in your explanation of the immediate circumstances of the conversation, but His reply to them also has meaning for us. I think my take on said meaning can stand up to scrutiny.

Crude said...

While, crude takes smug pleasure in the victory of hard right in Australia, he should note that where they have control in the US, they are alienating people by the millions - women, minorities (including the growing Hispanic population), gays, students, people who lack healthcare, etc. He can look forward to 2016, when I predict Hillary Clinton will be elected president.

Little boy, Australia is on the other side of the planet from me - what they do is of little concern, or pleasure, to me ultimately. Politics is not my religion - it is yours. And you fail to understand the point of my bringing it up.

You nitwits keep yammering about the inevitable march of your delusional, wildly emotional definition of 'progress' - and then find yourself blindsided when the 'dinosaurs' get elected. You may as well be talking about the inevitability of Soviet world domination in the mid-1900s, the coming Islamicization of the world during the crusades, or the perpetual dominance of America throughout the modern world. All certain futures that turned out not to be very certain at all.

You also make the mistake of thinking that the course of the future is determined by which party is in power. Do you think the greeks suddenly became the party of small government? Circumstances well beyond their control have forced them to shrink it. The US is one crisis of loan confidence away from a vastly smaller government than either major party wants to see.

See, that's yet another difference between you and me. You have this inane confidence that the future - even the far future - will work out precisely as you not only expect, but hope. Despite all evidence to the contrary. Despite it not working out that way *in the here and now*, and despite it not working historically. But by all means, embrace your delusion, just as you embraced it with Hitchens and Harris. Just don't be surprised, when you finally succumb to old age, to notice that dinosaurs still walk the earth. ;)

Crude said...

As for the political warfare conversation between Bob and Ilion (well, mostly Ilion - Bob stays out of these aside from asides), I will say that Christ clearly commanded Christians to engage in charity. Governments? Not so much.

If someone cannot at the very least appreciate the difference between personal, direct charity (close to what you yourself claim to engage in, Bob, and for which you should be commended) and the machinations of law, they are in a sorry state.

Karl Grant said...

You may as well be talking about the inevitability of Soviet world domination in the mid-1900s, the coming Islamicization of the world during the crusades, or the perpetual dominance of America throughout the modern world. All certain futures that turned out not to be very certain at all.

Tell me about it. Our biggest creditor, the People's Republic of China, is already talking about de-Americanizing the world financial system because of Congress' performance in the last month, China and Japan look like they are ready to go to war over the Senkaku / Diaoyu islands (and if Obama tries to interfere there, ohhh boy), Putin's getting steadily more pissed at us interfering along Russia's borders and with Russia's allies, etc....

A lot can happen before November 2016.

B. Prokop said...

Anybody who thinks they know today how the 2016 presidential race is going to shape up is a lunatic. To my knowledge, there is currently only one declared candidate from either (major) party - Democratic Governor of Maryland, Martin O'Malley. As Karl said, all kinds of stuff can happen between now and then (including one off-year election, which can potentially have huge consequences for 2016). War is always a game-changer, and there are way too many trouble spots around the world to be sanguine about the immediate future. Plus, Americans have the attention spans of gnats. Whatever is the Big Issue today will be Ancient History by then. Folks are up in arms about the shutdown right now, but I guarantee you that in three years time, you'll have to remind people that it ever happened. It will be "old news".

im-skeptical said...

Take it easy, Bob. I'm not claiming supernatural powers.

BenYachov said...

>While, crude takes smug pleasure in the victory of hard right in Australia....

Crude hasn't been taking smug pleasure in the victory of rational sanity & conservatism in Australia.

That was me a few time & the lest time I checked I am not Crude I am the Son of James(aka BenYachov).

BenYachov said...

BTW the offer to trade your awesome President for the commie we have here in the USA is still open there Kangaroo dude.

im-skeptical said...

Ben,

If crude stole your little barb, take it up with him. Apparently he has already denied it, though.

Crude said...

Apparently he has already denied it, though.

Your reading comprehension is the same as it ever is. ;)

But please, Skep - predict the future some more. Tell us about the state of politics a thousand years from now, or better yet, as it will be for the rest of time. I love it when clueless Cult of Gnu atheists suddenly infuse evolution, both cultural and biological, with massive teleology.

Peer into your crystal ball and whip a little prophecy in our direction. And I'll add a question on top of it all.

Do you think they'll regard you as a dinosaur? ;)

Papalinton said...

"You nitwits keep yammering about the inevitable march of your delusional, wildly emotional definition of 'progress' - and then find yourself blindsided when the 'dinosaurs' get elected."

Conservatism by its very nature has never been about progress. It has been about stasis, or more broadly atrophic.

Pogress has always been a two steps forward and one step backwards. Australia is in the one-step back reactionary phase at the moment under which the country will atrophy under the dinosaurs and their regressive conservatism; denial of global anthropogenic climate change, repeal the carbon tax, repeal the mining taxes and give it back to the wealthy miners and their sycophants, stop gay marriage against the wishes of 85% of Australians. The dinosaurs are a real friendly bunch, not.

But then the troglodytes will be tossed out and society will progress forward two steps once again. And in a couple of years all these things will come to pass and progress will once more wipe away the hardships the public is going to experience over the term of this Abbott government.

Papalinton said...

"But please, Skep - predict the future some more. Tell us about the state of politics a thousand years from now, or better yet, as it will be for the rest of time."

Karl's done a fine job at that. And I know you god-botherers all agree with him because he sounds so like reflecting the Apocalypse of John, you know the christian armageddon. It's almost as if he wishes it to come on real quick:

"Tell me about it. Our biggest creditor, the People's Republic of China, is already talking about de-Americanizing the world financial system because of Congress' performance in the last month, China and Japan look like they are ready to go to war over the Senkaku / Diaoyu islands (and if Obama tries to interfere there, ohhh boy), Putin's getting steadily more pissed at us interfering along Russia's borders and with Russia's allies, etc...."

Crude said...

The only ones predicting the future here, plagiarist, are you two idiots. I don't need to predict that the grand and glorious party you worship as a god will be routed - that is called 'recent history'. And for all you know, Linton, the Abbott administration is the last one you'll see before old age takes its final payment.

See, you both are having a very important, nasty truth shoved in your faces: the worldview you both subscribe to permits no substantial talk of 'progress'. Tell us the world is inevitably trending towards some idyllic, objective moral state, and you'll have contradicted your (quite possibly feigned) materialist, evolutionary commitments. The world is rife with a fundamental teleology that the living cannot help but become part of, it turns out. You don't reject eschatology - you merely have a different one.

But if you pull back and say, 'No, no, it's all ultimately directionless, there are temporary trends only, and our moral and intellectual future is subject to radical change', then oops - so much for 'progress' and 'dinosaurs'. Today's progress becomes tomorrow's stupidity, the men and women you call dinosaurs may and likely will one day be regarded as the forward-thinking progressives, and you both are likewise troglodytes to some future civilization - if there is a future civilization to even speak of.

Which means, at absolute best, your talk of 'progress' translates to 'I sure would like it if X were the situation right now. The future, alas, is wide open'. See, man of decay, you have more to worry about than 'what comes after Abbott.' It's also, 'what comes after what comes after Abbott', and so on.

Those of us with other worldviews, however, have a different suite of intellectual options before us. 'Progress' is a live option beyond the short term and subjective.

Now go enjoy your coal while the coal is cheap. ;)

Karl Grant said...

Karl's done a fine job at that. And I know you god-botherers all agree with him because he sounds so like reflecting the Apocalypse of John, you know the christian armageddon. It's almost as if he wishes it to come on real quick:

Nah, just describing current events that would be real bad for the Obama administration if they got out of hand. Of course, I can see how you would be confused over the differences between phrases describing something happening in the here and now (looks like and is currently talking about) and phrases predicting future events (like is gonna and they will). Totally understandable, anybody who failed third grade English would make that mistake.

B. Prokop said...

Hoping to not derail this entire conversation (that is, if it was ever on any rails), but I've for decades now considered The Apocalypse to be a-historical. I.e., the very real situations described therein are applicable to all times and places. (This method of reading it goes along with the comments on scriptural interpretation that I made to Ilion in my posting yesterday at 4:48 PM.) Those who try to foretell the future by reading Revelation are no different than the fortune teller peering into her crystal ball. One should always read scripture with a focus on the present, even when it deals with past (or future) historical events.

im-skeptical said...

"Totally understandable, anybody who failed third grade English would make that mistake."

So tell me, Karl. What hours do they let you out of the mental facility?

Karl Grant said...

So tell me, Karl. What hours do they let you out of the mental facility?

Yawn. I have known kindergartners to come up with better insults.

Anyway tell me Skeppy, does the definition of preemptive strike change depending on whither you consider the party you're attacking to be a potential threat or not? Does consistently defending the actions of people who launched a war indicate on some level you approve of said actions? Does arguing torture to be ethically necessary and that you reserve the right to break the laws prohibiting torture whenever you deem it necessary indicate you support the use of torture?

im-skeptical said...

"Yawn. I have known kindergartners to come up with better insults."

Karl,

Between your elementary-school-level mastery of English and your facile understanding of people who at least have 3-digit IQs, I can say that you make even crude look intelligent.

Karl Grant said...

Between your elementary-school-level mastery of English

Still copying other people's insults? Have you no imagination? Person One: You're an asshole. Skeppy: Well, you're an asshole too! Well, I'm not surprised really. So far you haven't shown any indication that you think for yourself.

and your facile understanding of people who at least have 3-digit IQs

Skeppy, I have a three digit IQ; one hundred and thirty-two to be exact. That score was determined when I took part in a study done by Duke University. What's yours? Now off course, you can always argue that people with three digit IQs are not always right or can lie but that would undercut your attempted put down.


I can say that you make even crude look intelligent.

Of course, we are all so impressed with the intellectual sophistication guy who hurl insults (and copies of other people's insults at that) or whines or tries to change the subject every time he is asked a tough question or had is faced with some inconvenient facts.

Now if you actually had a brain in your head you would realize that your present course of action -continuing to try and insult (and not doing a good job of it )- only shows that I got to you. That I hurt your pride and your ego, that I faced you with a very uncomfortable set of facts. The fact you do the same to Crude shows he also got to you.

im-skeptical said...

"Still copying other people's insults?"

That whole bit about mental facilities went right over your head. It is quite ironic that you remark about others' mastery of the language when I've been mocking yours all along, and you don't even know it. Still don't know what I'm talking about, do you?

Karl Grant said...

Still don't know what I'm talking about, do you?

What? That you are spouting off insults in a vain, asinine attempt to distract from fact that Harris and Hitchens are racist warmongers and your defense of them was piss-poor? That you are trying to derail the conversation now that it has turned against your position? That your ego is bruised and lashing out is the only way you know how to cope with that? Skep, we know all too well what you are talking about.

im-skeptical said...

Oh yes. About Harris and Hitchens. You don't have a clue what they are saying. If all you do is quote-mine, you can't understand the points they're making. I've tried to show you that your depictions of their positions are ridiculous and facile. Rather than try to understand what they're saying, you demand that I condemn a stance that they don't take. If you want to keep arguing this issue, it's your turn to come up with evidence. Show me where Harris advocates nuking Mecca, or even where he advocates the Iraq war. Show me where Hitchens reveals his genocidal attitude toward Muslims. Go ahead - put your money where your big mouth is.

BenYachov said...

>Hoping to not derail this entire conversation (that is, if it was ever on any rails), but I've for decades now considered The Apocalypse to be a-historical. I.e., the very real situations described therein are applicable to all times and places.

Might I suggest they like all Hebrew prophetic literature refer to contemporary historical events(contemporary to the Author i.e. St John) as a foreshadowing of future events?

But since we don't know the day and the hour of the second coming we won't know when they apply currently till the End of Days actually happens.

Beside we should preach forgiveness of sins now & let the End happen when it will happen.

im-skeptical said...

"Hoping to not derail this entire conversation"

I must apologize to the group. I started out on topic. There are trolls who always manage to suck me in. I'll try to do better.

Karl Grant said...

I've tried to show you that your depictions of their positions are ridiculous and facile.

Yeah, you answered the charge that Harris supports the use of torture by by linking to and quoting an article by Harris where he says:

My argument for the limited use of coercive interrogation (“torture” by another name) is essentially this:

- See more at: http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/response-to-controversy2/#sthash.TAkc0rex.dpuf

Still getting a kick out of that one. The rest of your defense ain't much better.

or even where he advocates the Iraq war.

Sure, here is an article written by Sam Harris in the Washington Times way back in 2004. You don't have to get much further then the first paragraph to see what side of the issue he is on:

However mixed or misguided our intentions were in launching this war, we are attempting, at considerable cost to ourselves, to improve life for the Iraqi people.

That entire article is pro-war propaganda for dear old Dubya by Sam Harris. Want more?

Show me where Hitchens reveals his genocidal attitude toward Muslims.

I have already provided a link to an article by PZ Meyers (know of him? He ain't Christian or friendly to Christians) quoting Hitchens at speech advocating genocide of the Muslims and his reaction to Hitchens speech. Which you ignored, as usual.

There are trolls who always manage to suck me in. I'll try to do better.

Skeppy, everybody here has two working eyes and can see who started the derogatory crap.

Crude said...

The great thing about PZ Myers is that a number of Cultists of Gnu don't know what to do with him. They loved him when he was a religion-basher exclusively - but he's shown himself to be entirely willing to savage anyone who doesn't toe his political line, including fellow atheists.

Makes for a lot of awkward moments!

Karl Grant said...

The great thing about PZ Myers is that a number of Cultists of Gnu don't know what to do with him. They loved him when he was a religion-basher exclusively - but he's shown himself to be entirely willing to savage anyone who doesn't toe his political line, including fellow atheists.

Yeah, but what I love here is the article critical of Hitchens, written by Justin Raimondo a self-professed atheist, included links to PZ Meyers blog post. None of which stopped Skeppy from declaring that I read the rantings of anti-atheist journalists, and you believe them in response to said article. Which I think is proof enough that he didn't bother to read the evidence that I provided of Harris and Hitchens viewpoints.

Papalinton said...

Crude
"The only ones predicting the future here, plagiarist, are you two idiots. I don't need to predict that the grand and glorious party you worship as a god will be routed - that is called 'recent history'. And for all you know, Linton, the Abbott administration is the last one you'll see before old age takes its final payment."

Here is one thing I can predict with a very comfortable degree of certainty. And I am pretty sure I will see a sizeable result of it in my remaining time. Religion in general, and Christianity more particularly will continue the downward trend until such time it serves no more than would be expected at the margins of society. It will become a peripheral, eccentric and a somewhat bohemian way of life for those who wish to continue with its ludicrously bohemian worldview - very much in keeping with its contemporary counterparts such the Druidic followers of today and even the Wiccan. The only thing that distinguishes them are the books they read. "You think the Scientologists are wrong the way they think you are wrong. You think the Muslims are wrong, they think you are going to hell. You think the Mormons have been fooled, they think they have been specially chosen. You believe in Jesus-god, souls and Satan-- Scientologists believe in Thetans, Xenu, and reincarnation. Ergo-- you all imagine that you have found a way to tell true supernatural claims from false ones. You think your magic is the true magic and that theirs is the false one. They think that the opposite is true. Religious people believe in "objective morality" but they don't agree on what it is... they believe in good and evil.. but again they don't agree. They believe their book is a moral guide but they don't agree on what anything means." This astute observation and highly intellectually-informed comment by blogger, Articulett, at Debunking Christianity, strikes at the very core of what it is that drives the Christian mytheme, supernatural superstition.

You delude yourselves into imagining alternative worldviews and a different suite of 'intellectual'[?] options. As you try to imagine the rise of the Christian phoenix, the reality that is being reported day after day is its trend of inexorable shrinking. Why? The Christian worldview is old, tired, enervated, and trite. The hackneyed, uninspiring Jesus-god narrative has largely been superseded by scientifically-informed philosophy in which resort to miracles no longer resonates with the community as a satisfactory method of explanation. No one, not even liberal Christian believes the resurrection as anything but a metaphor. You know that's the case. Equally, you know Feser is at the lunatic fringe of contemporary philosophy and that whatever he might say about Aquinean Scholasticism only manages to stir a ripple in the theological puddle. Another troglodyte dinosaur peddling a minor worldview that has largely passed its use-by date.

This STORY characterises the utterly parlous state that the christian mytheme is currently in. It speaks of nonsense over nonsense about nonsense, be it traditional, conservative nonsense or liberal nonsense. It remains nonsense; rudderless, waffly, full of contradictions, conflicting interpretation and magical woo. It is essentially, all 'eisegesis' [read 'I-see-jesus']. I see jesus therefore it's all true. Just like Francis Collins, he is convinced Jesus is true because he saw a three-fork frozen waterfall. Collins practised eisegesis; I-see-jesus, therefore the waterfall must be the 'Trinity'.

And you think this is kosher support for Christianity? My other leg plays 'Jingle Bells'.

Sheesh!



Crude said...

Here is one thing I can predict with a very comfortable degree of certainty. And I am pretty sure I will see a sizeable result of it in my remaining time.

Watch carefully - granting, for the sake of argument, the truth one of the few fantasies that can still arouse you in your declining, bitter years - as I dash your hopes with two words:

"And then?"

Your proclaimed worldview has no room for progress beyond a whimpering 'Maybe, for a brief flash of time, a view I kinda-sorta like will be popular'. It's funny how this thread started out with the two resident Cultists of Gnu proclaiming the march of progress - but now reality is setting in. On your own worldview, both of you are simply dinosaurs-in-waiting, whereas today's dinosaurs may well be tomorrow's progressives. To think otherwise - to think that our species must inevitably be progressing towards a perpetual and particular result, a place of objective moral superiority, and yea, now and forever it shall be - is to impart nature, even evolution, with the exact teleology and direction that you'll ineffectively fight in any other context.

And you know I'm right, Linton. As does Skep. I'm not arguing against you right now so much as spelling out the results of your own (again, quite possibly feigned) materialism: you are not part of progress, because there is no progress to be had. Your every view - from supporting gay marriage, to atheism - is has an expiration date on it, after which it shall be - from the perspective of some future people (if there are such things) - spoiled. 'Did you know some dinosaurs used to believe there was no God? Ha!' 'Can you believe those moral monsters used to celebrate abortion? And gay marriage? How far we've come.' And so it will repeat, until it can't repeat anymore.

And that's on your own worldview! The story doesn't get better on others.

Hope for real progress, little man, is one of the many things you sacrificed years ago. Meanwhile, you are reduced to hoping that you can put up with the catheters, oxygen masks, and weakening physicality long enough to... what? See the results of a religion poll tick down a bit more? For that, you'll fight to struggle with a few more years of decline?

Go for it. Just remember these two words that are going to come back to haunt you, no matter what state of civilization you imagine and dream of:

"And then?" ;)

Papalinton said...

"Hope for real progress, little man, is one of the many things you sacrificed years ago. Meanwhile, you are reduced to hoping that you can put up with the catheters, oxygen masks, and weakening physicality long enough to... what?"

Hardly? The catheters, oxygen masks etc etc are what Christians desperately look to using to forestall as long as possible meeting their 'god', knowing full well deep down that reality finally catches up with them. And when they cark it they know there is no turning back. That is why they avail themselves of every known scientific instrument that can sustain life in the hopes they can forestall if not cheat death, clinging desperately to their one and only life. There is no grace or humility in Christians facing death. They cling onto dear life like any good atheist knowing full well that they only have one crack at life and they know just as I know in stark reality that they will become as dead and as putrified a carcass as their Jesus, his bones still lying out there somewhere in the dump at Gehenna where he was chucked or any other dead dog after life has been extinguished. There is no rising after we are committed to the ground. Such crap is supernatural superstition and people are slowly waking up to this fact. Jews have known right from the very beginning that when life ends that's it. Anything read into the old testament that tries to put a spin on the Jewish bible about life-after-death is a peculiarly christian fantasy, an artifice of Christian gobbledygook that ordinary folk are increasingly seeing for what it is; primitive shamanism.

A far more beautiful and poignant end-to-life narrative than the unreal and unnatural crapola of a Christian resurrection, is that when we die, we once more become the stuff of stars, absorbed back into the universe out of which the accident of evolutionary biology resulted in our fleeting moment. We were grown naturally, through the evolutionary process from stardust [oxygen, carbon, iron etc etc elements that can only result from exploding stars and nebulae hot enough to form the heavy elements of which all organic matter is made from], There is far greater transcendence moment and import in the natural reality of this narrative than the utter superstitious nonsense about some ethereal putatively live non-human entity created us. I ditched the Christian mytheme because it is only a mytheme. The Christian origin story is a facade; all front, no back or sides, an unsubstantiated unidimensional viewpoint that takes no account of the reality of science because the origin story promulgated was born out of and is product of pitiful ignorance, primitive superstition, ancient fable and antediluvian oral history.

Materialism is the base. Everything supervenes on materialism. that is a fact. The physical world is all you get and all that we know. Even quantum mechanics and quantum physics, despite its eccentricities is becoming clearer as a function of materialism, just as thoughts, thinking, memories etc are all aspects best explained from the material perspective. No attempt at explaining the world as we know it from a supernatural perspective has ever seen the light of day apart from religious, theological ramblings. Supernaturalism is simply an indispensable catchall for persistent and pathological ignorance and a reluctance to come to terms with the relentless reality of life as a manifestly physical condition. Christianity is nothing more than a salve for the weak-minded in the absence of any form of veritable and verifiable intellection.

You must look to expanding your little mind, little mind.

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