ARTIFICIAL LIFE WARBLGARBLE!!!

Okay, Ive been trying to figure out what I can add to the OMFGTHEYMADEABACTERIAFROMSCRATCH hysteria. I cant come up with much more than ‘WARBLEGARBLE!!!!!!!’, but luckily, many others in the blagosphere didnt totally lose their heads and have some great posts up (leave links to your favorites in the comments, I missed some, I know).

I just think its funny that a week ago I was bitching about how this group didnt explain how they synthesized their artificial genes (a few hundred nucleotides for each HIV-1 gene), cause it is really hard to go from “DNA sequence on a computer” to “DNA sequence in real life”, and then Venters like “Yeah, we made a genome thats about a million base pairs. heh.”

… OMFGWARBLEGARBLE!!!!

But this finding has raised up some old emotions in me:

Craig Venter: Figured out a faster, better, universally accepted/applied sequencing method, left the human genome project because of King Collins. Vilified by jealous loser scientists and ‘science journalists’ alike, cause hes ‘mean’ or ‘arrogant’ or something, which means as much in science as his favorite brand of pop. Travels round the world (and round your body) sequencing everything he can get his hands on. Sequenced the first complete human genome. Figured out how to make artificial creatures that run on man-made DNA.

Francis Collins: The ‘Good Guy’ of the human genome project. A ‘rock star’ in science. Scientific accomplishments include finding some disease genes, and patenting them (didnt cure/treat them, nor have they been cured/treated 20 years later). Got appointed as head of the human genome project after James Watson is forced out for opposing patents. Keeps getting appointed to political positions. Makes stupid websites and writes stupid books.

Makes the ‘battle’ between Venter/Collins at the turn of the century kinda funny, now. There is no comparing these two men, certainly not as scientists, but people will have them paired up in their brains for decades.

Man. Craig Venter and the teams working for him are innovative, awesome mother fuckers. Thats all I got to say.

Comments

  1. #1 Optimus Primate
    May 29, 2010

    Please prove that God’s decreed plan is not, in fact, perfect.

    Please prove that unicorn shit isn’t delicious.

  2. #2 Tommykey
    May 29, 2010

    Like the opening credits of Battlestar Galactica, which tells us that the Cylons “HAVE A PLAN.” By the end of the show, we realize that there really wasn’t a plan.

  3. #3 Rhology
    May 30, 2010

    Fortuna,

    You’ve already admitted you implied it, which was my point. Looking to the log in one’s own eye, and such.

    Where?

    I rejoice at the thought you may one day live up to your own standards.

    1) Well, in this point you’ve seen me ask for evidence over and over, and my opponents refuse to supply it. Your day has come.
    2) Besides, it’s not as if you don’t make massive assumptions as well. You can’t PROVE naturalism or the value of evidence, or the reliability of your cognitive faculties. You take that all on faith, so don’t point fingers when it comes to assumptions.

    Be it resolved that forced marriage is moral, according to you.

    1) Now you’re retreating to an argument from personal outrage. Why should anyone care?
    2) Why is this a surprise? ANYTHING that the God of the Bible commands or condones is by definition morally good. I’ve asked you to respond to that by demanding an objective standard of good and evil on your worldview. You never provide it. So… you’re stuck.

    “I can see why you wouldn’t want to imagine yourself in the circumstances of an ancient female war-captive”.

    Quite, b/c I like my life now. For the 4th time, so what?

    Your question was to provide a standard, and I have

    Fine, then. Since, on Christianity, ANYTHING that the God of the Bible commands or condones is by definition morally good, I guess we don’t have a problem. Your internal critique isn’t going to go far, sorry. (But kudos for at least knowing what that is. Virtually no other commenter around here does.)

    Was it moral at one time, but no longer?

    Not too many people are in that situation these days, wherein the actual nation’s laws are the Mosaic Law, but I don’t necessarily see why not, IF the war were just. But it’s hard to have a just war, to be sure.

    fathers may sell their daughters into slavery

    It’s clumsy to say “slavery” when you know the imagery that the word conjures in today’s discourse. More like indentured servitude, with a limited time scope.

    Husbands may also stone their wives to death if they can’t provide proof of their virginity upon being married.

    Yes. For the 10th time, provide an objective standard by which we can judge whether that’s right or wrong.

    treating women as chattel

    Premise rejected, thus question rejected too. Try proving that women were “chattel” first.

    Don’t assume it, prove it

    Read marriage vows? Ever been married? Besides, if we’re talking internal critique, read 1 Cor 7.

    So the marriage portion of the prescribed punishment is optional?

    You haven’t shown it’s obligatory. So go ahead and prove your own positive assertion.

    The real question is since you think rape is bad, how do you square that with the instances in which the Bible condones it?

    Just give us one and we can talk.

    I said that a perfect God condemning the results of his own plan makes no sense.

    Since you didn’t read about the 2 Wills of God, I have no idea why you feel qualified to speak so confidently and yet so ignorantly. You seem to be exhibiting a bit of a martyr complex just b/c I asked you to read an article. Silly me for proposing that you might want to learn about a position before critiquing it.

    TK,
    That’s textbook Nice Guyism. “Hey, I provide food and shelter for you, so you owe me sex.”

    Just quote me saying that, and we can go from there. But, since you can’t, uh oh for you.

    OP,
    Please prove that unicorn shit isn’t delicious.

    I can’t. That’s so funny – *I* realise that proving a universal negative is impossible.
    Now please answer MY question. (HINT – The correct answer is: “I can’t prove that God’s decreed plan is not, in fact, perfect.”)

  4. #4 Tommykey
    May 30, 2010

    Lighten up dude, was just kidding around with you. Maybe next time I should add a smiley face.

  5. #5 Fortuna
    May 31, 2010

    Rhology;

    Where?

    Your memory can’t seriously be that short, but OK.

    One wonders why you attempted to imply that they all consented to marriage, then.

    To show that YOU DON’T KNOW.

    Right there.

    1) Well, in this point you’ve seen me ask for evidence over and over, and my opponents refuse to supply it. Your day has come.
    2) Besides, it’s not as if you don’t make massive assumptions as well. You can’t PROVE naturalism or the value of evidence, or the reliability of your cognitive faculties. You take that all on faith, so don’t point fingers when it comes to assumptions.

    If you castigate people up and down for making reasonable assumptions, you lose the right to try to rebut them with ludicrous ones. Your entire response here is just a non-sequitur.

    1) Now you’re retreating to an argument from personal outrage. Why should anyone care?
    2) Why is this a surprise? ANYTHING that the God of the Bible commands or condones is by definition morally good. I’ve asked you to respond to that by demanding an objective standard of good and evil on your worldview. You never provide it. So… you’re stuck.

    It’s an internal critique, rather than an argument from anything. If you scroll upthread, you’ll notice I said that modern Christianity seems, from the perspective of an outsider, to take a dim view of forced matrimony. That means that the ethics of forced marriage, according to you at least, are situational, which takes some wrangling to square with the notion of objective morals.

    Quite, b/c I like my life now. For the 4th time, so what?

    It was fun times watching you try to wriggle out of the manifest unpleasantness of it all. If you’re not actually bothered by your dear and fluffy Lord grinding his beloved children into the dirt, then don’t be.

    Fine, then. Since, on Christianity, ANYTHING that the God of the Bible commands or condones is by definition morally good, I guess we don’t have a problem. Your internal critique isn’t going to go far, sorry. (But kudos for at least knowing what that is. Virtually no other commenter around here does.)

    Well, that depends on how cool you are with being impaled on Euthyphro’s horns. Either the nature from which those commands ultimately derive is itself arbitrary, or its goodness has to be defined in terms that do not simply refer back to it being God’s nature. Otherwise you’re left in a hopelessly self-referential mess.

    It’s clumsy to say “slavery” when you know the imagery that the word conjures in today’s discourse. More like indentured servitude, with a limited time scope.

    The passage quoted at Ken Pulliam’s site linked above only provides for a limited time scope of slavery (or servitude for the delicate) in the event that her master decides to dispense with her in one of several prescribed ways.

    Yes. For the 10th time, provide an objective standard by which we can judge whether that’s right or wrong.

    I don’t know how many times I’ve responded to a similar effect now, but according to some Christians, murder is objectively wrong, forever and always.

    Premise rejected, thus question rejected too. Try proving that women were “chattel” first.

    Selling people makes them chattel. Giving someone else the discretion to take their life for the crime of having used their own body as they see fit makes them chattel.

    Read marriage vows? Ever been married?

    Relevance to the treatment of war-captives under Mosaic Law?

    Besides, if we’re talking internal critique, read 1 Cor 7.

    Relevance to the treatment of war-captives under Mosaic Law?

    You haven’t shown it’s obligatory. So go ahead and prove your own positive assertion.

    The passage quoted phrases it as what shall be done in the event of rape. If you can provide something that plausibly demonstrates that these were meant to be taken as optional guidelines, I’ll concede the day on this point.

    Just give us one and we can talk.

    Ken has that covered, and I know that you know that. Deuteronomy 21:10-14.

    Since you didn’t read about the 2 Wills of God, I have no idea why you feel qualified to speak so confidently and yet so ignorantly. You seem to be exhibiting a bit of a martyr complex just b/c I asked you to read an article. Silly me for proposing that you might want to learn about a position before critiquing it.

    I straight up told you I didn’t feel like reading about your favorite form of fan fiction; I didn’t want to make a bigger thing out of it than I already have, but since you continue to remark on it, I will explain that I loathe reading theology for its own sake. I do hope you’re not under the impression that I am in any way embarrassed to be reminded of my own straightforward conduct.

    How about I just thank you for the link and promise to read it if and when I am curious. For the mean time, if you have no intention of giving me an explanation in your own words, just say so. Like I say, it’s entirely your prerogative what you explain or don’t, no harm no foul. Though you may want to explain the Ray Comfort reference; seriously, that guy is a tool.

  6. #6 Rhology
    June 1, 2010

    TK,
    Oh, OK. Sorry. It is admittedly difficult to lighten up around these here parts.

    Fortuna,
    F: You’ve already admitted you implied it, which was my point. Looking to the log in one’s own eye, and such.
    R: Where?
    F: One wonders why you attempted to imply that they all consented to marriage, then.
    R: To show that YOU DON’T KNOW.

    Hmm, that sounds an awful lot like I was saying that you don’t know. If you saw therein an implication that *I* know, I’m not sure that’s my fault. Maybe, just maybe, I meant “you don’t know” and that’s all.

    If you castigate people up and down for making reasonable assumptions

    Ah, an ipse dixit from you, that it’s reasonable. OK, gotcha.
    Apparently demanding evidence is only acceptable when it’s in service of Mother Atheism. If someone asks for evidence in a way that might reflect poorly on an assertion coming from an atheist, you’re suddenly not all that concerned with substantiation.

    Your entire response here is just a non-sequitur.

    Apparently you don’t know what “non sequitur” means, which is a shame.

    modern Christianity seems, from the perspective of an outsider, to take a dim view of forced matrimony.

    That might be the problem, then. I have zero interest in defending “modern Christianity” in most cases. One would have to be very specific, and I’d take it on a case-by-case basis. What I *do* defend is biblical Christianity and the Bible. Unfortunately, much as I wish they were synonymous, they’re not.

    That means that the ethics of forced marriage, according to you at least, are situational, which takes some wrangling to square with the notion of objective morals.

    Yes, I see what you’re saying. I’d agree that the Deut 21 psg does refer to a more or less forced marriage (which, again, does not equate with rape w/o an argument to that effect). The difference is that God commands certain things for certain contexts and other things in others. Whatever those commands are, they are objective and objectively applicable to the persons to whom the commands are directed, but not every command is necessarily applicable to everyone at all times. We can be sure if the commands applies to us, to obey it is objectively good and to disobey it is objectively wrong, but of course not every communication from God applies to everyone, and not all apply equally.
    A few examples of across-the-board application: Don’t kill anyone w/o justification (ie, murder). Don’t rape.
    An example of specific application: OT Israelites are not to wear mixed fabrics. (Here’s the why and how we know the difference.)

    Well, that depends on how cool you are with being impaled on Euthyphro’s horns.

    Euthyphro is a paper tiger. I take one “horn” – things are good b/c God commands them. Yes, God’s commands are arbitrary, but He’s the Creator and the omnipotent and all-good one, the very standard of goodness and righteousness. He makes the rules, and tbh I’m only too happy to let Him do so.

    Otherwise you’re left in a hopelessly self-referential mess.

    Like you are. But fortunately, I’m in a theoreferential situation.

    The passage quoted at Ken Pulliam’s site linked above only provides for a limited time scope of slavery (or servitude for the delicate) in the event that her master decides to dispense with her in one of several prescribed ways.

    1) Yes, precisely. So what’s the problem?
    2) Pulliam, BTW, has proven himself incapable of discussing these things with any deep degree of understanding. Y’all both are apparently ignorant of the laws of Sabbath restoration and of Jubilee.

    according to some Christians, murder is objectively wrong, forever and always.

    Correct, murder is always wrong.
    1) Now prove that you know the definition of murder (hint: I provided one in this very comment), and how this can’t apply to God.
    2) You apparently know the meaning of the TERM “internal critique”, but you’re having difficulty applying it to me. Let me help – I’m a conservative, inerrantist, Calvinist Reformed Baptist. I’m not a liberal or a mainliner – your critiques of “modern Christianity” mean nothing to me. I agree that most of modern Xtianity is biblically ignorant and neglectful. So you need to deal with MY position, or go over to the Mainstream Baptist blog and try your wares there. Not that Prescott will let you comment more than once if you disagree with him…

    Selling people makes them chattel

    OK, well, fair enough.
    Will you recognise that the OT system of indentured servitude means that one can render himself chattel?

    Relevance to the treatment of war-captives under Mosaic Law?

    B/c, again, if you read the whole psg, you’ll see that they, you know, get married to their captors.

    Besides, if we’re talking internal critique, read 1 Cor 7.
    Relevance to the treatment of war-captives under Mosaic Law?

    Not the war-captive part of their life. The married part, after they get married. And I refer to the part in 1 Cor 7 about the wife’s body not belonging to herself and the husband’s not to himself.

    The passage quoted phrases it as what shall be done in the event of rape

    Yep, and directed TO THE MAN.

    I straight up told you I didn’t feel like reading about your favorite form of fan fiction;

    So you admit that you had no desire from the beginning to learn about the critique you were making. Why should anyone respect that, again?
    Tell you what, lemme demonstrate. Evolution is false b/c bananas are perfectly designed and situated for human consumption. Booyah, I have now used the kind of argumentation (ie, ignorant) that you apparently favor to prove evolution is garbage. Boo. Yah.

    How about I just thank you for the link and promise to read it if and when I am curious.

    That’s fine, when you concede that you do not have close to sufficient understanding to mount a meaningful internal critique on your original challenge about decree vs command.

    since you continue to remark on it

    Um, YOU brought it up, and YOU’RE whining about how I won’t condense it to a few sentences. Me, I have every reason to doubt that atheist interlocutors have very much meaningful knowledge of Xtian theology; why would *I* bring it up or harp on it?
    If you don’t want to keep talking about it, say: “Fair enough, I threw that out there w/o any substantiation. I retract.”

    Though you may want to explain the Ray Comfort reference; seriously, that guy is a tool.

    You know, you’re a trifle tiring.
    For now the, what, 15th time, please explain on what basis you make any pejorative towards anyone? What is the telos to which you appeal? I’d say that leaving the same question unanswered 15 times makes the not-answerer a bit of a tool, myself.

    Peace,
    Rhology

  7. #7 Joe
    June 1, 2010

    Rhology

    What is rape?

  8. #8 Stephen Wells
    June 1, 2010

    Rhology, you seriously need to grasp that before you make any objective claims on the basis of theology, you need to show that there is a theo to have an ology about. I realise you get your jollies claiming that your morality is all nice and objective because God said to do like so, but since gods are imaginary, they don’t justify any moral viewpoint; come to which, if they weren’t imaginary, they still wouldn’t, but that’s another Euthyphro-esque story.

    This is a god-free universe, as far as we can tell, and this one life is the only go round any of us gets, as far as we can tell. Filling another person’s life with needless pain and suffering, or ending their life against their will, is an asshole thing to do, because you’re treating other people in ways you really wouldn’t want them to treat you.

    That enough of a telos for you? Or do I have to dress it in Santa Claus or Xenu or whichever imaginary friend you favour- oh yeah, Yahweh, right, the one with the foreskin fetish and the taste for barbecue- before you’ll consider that being nice to people is maybe better than being horrible?

  9. #9 bossmanham
    June 1, 2010

    This is a god-free universe, as far as we can tell

    This is quite a convo. I think this is hilarious, because Stephen demands evidence for God, any of which Rhology would give him would simply be discarded and interpreted through the obvious presupposition of naturalism that Stephen holds to, and then Stephen offers up his own little claim to truth himself. Saying there is no God is as much a claim to truth as saying there is a God, which requires the same burden of proof. The “hidden” assumption of atheism is quite glaring. So, what’s your evidence for atheism?

    Filling another person’s life with needless pain and suffering, or ending their life against their will, is an asshole thing to do, because you’re treating other people in ways you really wouldn’t want them to treat you.

    Am I the only one who sees the irony here? The people who think that all life exists as it does now because of a system where animals treated other animals the way they didn’t want to be treated are complaining that it’s “wrong” for Rho to question them. Who are you to tell another individual what is “wrong”? What if Rhology doesn’t think it’s “wrong”? Prove that he’s “wrong”.

  10. #10 Tyler DiPietro
    June 1, 2010

    “Saying there is no God is as much a claim to truth as saying there is a God, which requires the same burden of proof.”

    Saying “there is no god” is the negation of “there is a god”. So if we assess the probability of “there is a god” as a binomial random variable according to Bayes rule and find that the probability of god existing given the evidence is zero or close to zero, then the negation (lets call it ng = (1 – pg) is either one or close to one. Thus, if we agree that there is a lack of evidence for god then we also agree, by implication, that there is positive evidence for there being no god.

  11. #11 Fortuna
    June 1, 2010

    Rhology;

    Hmm, that sounds an awful lot like I was saying that you don’t know. If you saw therein an implication that *I* know, I’m not sure that’s my fault. Maybe, just maybe, I meant “you don’t know” and that’s all.

    If you admit you implied something in order to illustrate that “we don’t know”, I take as a given that you implied it. Maybe I’m just silly like that.

    Just so you don’t repeat it yet again, yes, I realize you also meant “you don’t know”, at least eventually.

    Apparently demanding evidence is only acceptable when it’s in service of Mother Atheism.

    This is apparent to no-one but you.

    If someone asks for evidence in a way that might reflect poorly on an assertion coming from an atheist, you’re suddenly not all that concerned with substantiation.

    I take it you are inferring that from the silence towards the atheists on this thread? I hope I don’t have to explain the fallacy.

    Apparently you don’t know what “non sequitur” means, which is a shame.

    Non of that vebal spew addressed my point.

    That might be the problem, then. I have zero interest in defending “modern Christianity” in most cases.

    Fair enough.

    Whatever those commands are, they are objective and objectively applicable to the persons to whom the commands are directed, but not every command is necessarily applicable to everyone at all times.

    Fair enough.

    Euthyphro is a paper tiger. I take one “horn” – things are good b/c God commands them. Yes, God’s commands are arbitrary, but He’s the Creator and the omnipotent and all-good one, the very standard of goodness and righteousness. He makes the rules, and tbh I’m only too happy to let Him do so.

    Providing an explanation for why God’s nature itself is good, non-arbitrary and not vacuously self-referential in its goodness is the problem for you.

    Also…holy shit, really? You outright admit you take one of the horns? Cool.

    1) Yes, precisely. So what’s the problem?

    The slave-owner is under no actual obligation to free their property unless they feel like it. That edges the practice more towards slavery than indentured servitude.

    Correct, murder is always wrong. etc. etc.

    If I have you correctly, then, killing a non-virginal bride was justified back in the day. No need for the inevitable “so what’, I get that you’re cool with it.

    Will you recognise that the OT system of indentured servitude means that one can render himself chattel?

    Sure.

    B/c, again, if you read the whole psg, you’ll see that they, you know, get married to their captors.

    What is the relevance of modern-day marriage vows in this context? You asked me if I had heard any such, and obviously I have, but so what?

    Not the war-captive part of their life. The married part, after they get married. And I refer to the part in 1 Cor 7 about the wife’s body not belonging to herself and the husband’s not to himself.

    Why should one think that this psg, from the New Testament, is relevant to the events of the OT?

    Yep, and directed TO THE MAN.

    So?

    So you admit that you had no desire from the beginning to learn about the critique you were making. Why should anyone respect that, again?

    Respect it or not as you please, but you can’t say I had no desire to learn. I’ve asked you directly several times to explain it yourself; why would I do that if I wasn’t at least somewhat interested in an answer?

    Um, YOU brought it up, and YOU’RE whining about how I won’t condense it to a few sentences.

    It’s like you can’t go more than a handful of sentences without misrepresenting me. I’ve only invited you to explain it in your own words, not to condense it into “a few sentences”. At no point have I actually complained at your refusal to do so; on the contrary, how many times have I said it’s no big deal what you choose to address?

    At this point, you’ve probably expended more sentences just being pointlessly snarky than an actual explanation would have taken.

    You know, you’re a trifle tiring.

    The feeling is mutual.

    For now the, what, 15th time, please explain on what basis you make any pejorative towards anyone?

    I do believe that would actually be the first time you’ve asked me that particular question, old bean.

    Deploying arguments one knows to be mind-meltingly incorrect (but appealing to some) in service of one’s agenda makes one a tool of said agenda; at that point, one is holding “the cause” in higher regard than one’s personal integrity.

  12. #12 Stephen Wells
    June 2, 2010

    @bossmanham: the claim that “as far as we can tell, there are no leprechauns” has a vastly different standard of proof from “There are leprechauns”. You propose the existence of the entity, you have the burden of proof. Please learn to think before typing.

  13. #13 Tommykey
    June 2, 2010

    Saying there is no God is as much a claim to truth as saying there is a God

    But Stephen wrote “as far as we can tell.” That means he admits there is some possibility. However, probably like myself, he thinks it is one thing to speculate about the possibility of our universe being created by a higher intelligence, whereas it is entirely another thing to claim that one’s religious beliefs provide an objective standard that is binding on all of us.

    Am I the only one who sees the irony here? The people who think that all life exists as it does now because of a system where animals treated other animals the way they didn’t want to be treated are complaining that it’s “wrong” for Rho to question them.

    I don’t have a problem with Rho questioning anything, and I believe it was on the Mainstream Baptist thread where I defended his right, as he would surely acknowledge himself if he remembers it. I also chided a commenter for using vulgar language.

    And as for your jibe at natural selection, it entails a lot more than that. You left out the impact of climate change, plate tectonics, volcanic eruptions, asteroid collisions and other events that played a role.

  14. #14 Rhology
    June 2, 2010

    @108 Stephen Wells,

    before you make any objective claims on the basis of theology, you need to show that there is a theo to have an ology about

    1) Ask Fortuna what an “internal critique” is. This’ll help.
    2) Before you make any objective claims on the basis of evidence, you need to show that your cognitive faculties are reliably aimed at interpreting evidence, and that evidence actually exists.

    because you’re treating other people in ways you really wouldn’t want them to treat you.
    That enough of a telos for you?

    Nope, not even close. Why SHOULD I treat people according to the “Silver Rule”? Why not abuse them to gain power, and then abuse them even more once I have the power I desire? Give me one good reason.

    @111 Fortuna,

    If you admit you implied something in order to illustrate that “we don’t know”, I take as a given that you implied it. Maybe I’m just silly like that.

    Sorry, man. Sometimes “you don’t know, prove your case with some evidence” just means “you don’t know, prove your case with some evidence”.

    This is apparent to no-one but you.

    Great! So, where’s your evidence?
    If you don’t have any, why haven’t you done the intellectually honest thing and conceded that yet?

    I take it you are inferring that from the silence towards the atheists on this thread?

    After 111 comments, you think there’s been “silence” on this thread? OK. Seems to me there’s been a lot of noise made, a lot of attempts, and as many failures to bring forth that evidence.

    Providing an explanation for why God’s nature itself is good, non-arbitrary and not vacuously self-referential in its goodness is the problem for you.

    The impossibility of the contrary. That is, God has identified Himself as the ultimate grounding for good, and if God Himself does not ground ultimate good, then there is no alternative other than solipsistic tautological “Whatever I do and prefer = moral”.

    You outright admit you take one of the horns? Cool.

    Yep, really. Why should it bother me to confess biblical theology, when that’s always been my position? Like I said, paper tiger.

    The slave-owner is under no actual obligation to free their property unless they feel like it.

    Wrong. This isn’t the only way in which you’re wrong but it’s a good start.

    If I have you correctly, then, killing a non-virginal bride was justified back in the day.

    Correct.
    If I have you correctly, you might think you’re above that sort of nonsense. I merely insist that you give me a reason to think you are.

    What is the relevance of modern-day marriage vows in this context

    B/c the war brides are brides.

    Why should one think that this psg, from the New Testament, is relevant to the events of the OT?

    B/c they reflect God’s attitude toward marriage from the beginning.

    Respect it or not as you please, but you can’t say I had no desire to learn.

    Sure I can. Let me quote you:
    There’s no way I’m reading the multiple linked articles in sequence, though. I’m not honestly that curious about your favorite myth.

    Deploying arguments one knows to be mind-meltingly incorrect (but appealing to some) in service of one’s agenda makes one a tool of said agenda; at that point, one is holding “the cause” in higher regard than one’s personal integrity.

    1) Well, we’d need some evidence that these claims are incorrect, wouldn’t we?
    2) Please give a reason anyone should think that “personal integrity” is of any great import.
    3) Please also objectively define “integrity”.

  15. #15 Prometheus
    June 2, 2010

    If opinion is offered empirical evidence is demanded.

    If empirical evidence is provided the blather begins regarding the weakness of empiricism.

    If a question is answered it is claimed to have gone unanswered.

    When it is demonstrated to have been answered fully, definitions will be demanded.

    When definitions are provided they will be dismissed as subjective.

    When they are demonstrated to be objective by empirical evidence the blather begins regarding the weakness of empiricism.

    And round and round goes the Rho.

    Rho@#94

    “1) Yes. Being married sort of usually implies consent to sex.”

    That is repugnant beyond words.

    You can’t believe that.

  16. #16 Jesse
    June 2, 2010

    Funny, I was under the impression that having non-consensual sex with your wife could still land your ass in prison, where your ass might get to experience yet more non-consensual sex.

  17. #17 Tommykey
    June 2, 2010

    Jesse, going to prison sort of implies consent to sex!

  18. #18 Rhology
    June 2, 2010

    That is repugnant beyond words. You can’t believe that.

    Please provide evidence that what you intuit as “repugnant” should apply to anyone else. Is the statement “I, Prometheus, find this view repugnant” similar or identical to “This view is morally wrong”? If not, why should I care? If so, please offer your argument to that effect.

  19. #19 Tommykey
    June 2, 2010

    You go you righteous online warrior for Christ! :-)

  20. #20 Joe
    June 2, 2010

    Rho,

    Maybe I missed your answer, but what is rape?

  21. #21 Rhology
    June 2, 2010

    @120 Joe,
    Rape: the compelling of someone through physical force or duress to engage in sexual activity.

    I doubt “my” definition differs much from anyone else’s here, but what hasn’t been shown is that the Deuteronomy 21 war brides never gave their consent. It’s just been assumed, despite my requesting evidence I don’t know how many times.

  22. #22 Prometheus
    June 2, 2010

    Please provide evidence that what you intuit as “repugnant” should apply to anyone else.

    No.

    Not because I can’t but because your prose is also repugnant.

    Is the statement “I, Prometheus……yadayadayada

    Again no.

    See #115

    For, as always, you are pointlessly prolix, fatuous and florid with no interest in the fruit of discourse.

    Your attempt to engage in the dialectic is just borrowing additional ears to attend what you regard as the world’s most exquisite sound.

    The sound of your own gums flapping.

  23. #23 Tyler DiPietro
    June 2, 2010

    “If not, why should I care?”

    Because you’re not an island. You live in a world with other human beings and their collective subjective opinion of you affects your life, sometimes in profound ways.

    “I doubt “my” definition differs much from anyone else’s here, but what hasn’t been shown is that the Deuteronomy 21 war brides never gave their consent.”

    In other words, a negative hasn’t been proven.

    “It’s just been assumed, despite my requesting evidence I don’t know how many times.”

    As has been explained to you before, the evidence is the fact that they were fucking war brides and the Bible never says anything about getting their consent first. I would think that the latter criterion would matter quite a bit to a Biblical literalist, but I guess they’re just as selective as anyone else. Who knew?

  24. #24 Dave
    June 2, 2010

    If not, why should I care?

    Dunno, but you certainly appear to care.

    BTW, I too find that view repugnant, although unlike Prometheus, I think you actually believe it.

  25. #25 Joe
    June 2, 2010

    “Rape: the compelling of someone through physical force or duress to engage in sexual activity. ”

    Good, we have a definition.

    Your position is that rape is never condoned, ordered or approved of by God in the Old Testament. Is this correct?

  26. #26 Stephen Wells
    June 2, 2010

    Rhology, you’re failing to read for comprehension. Whether other people share my moral judgements depends on how closely they share my moral premises, which I conveniently stated for you, rather than saying “because God says so”. If you don’t share my premises, then at least we all know to avoid you like the backstabbing weasel you would be if you dared. If you’re only restrained by snivelling fear rather than rational morality, that’ll do for practical purposes, but I pity you for it.

    Also, it’s irrelevant whether war brides in Deuteronomy NEVER gave consent; for rape to have occurred it suffices for even one of them to have not given consent. Nice attempt at a goalpost-shift but you’re not getting away with that one.

  27. #27 Jesse
    June 2, 2010

    Also, it’s irrelevant whether war brides in Deuteronomy NEVER gave consent; for rape to have occurred it suffices for even one of them to have not given consent. Nice attempt at a goalpost-shift but you’re not getting away with that one.

    <Rho>
    B-b-b-b-b-b-but PROVE IT!
    </Rho>

  28. #28 Stephen Wells
    June 2, 2010

    Rho will never understand that, to have the right to say that a thing is wrong, all we have to do is say: here are my standards of judgement, and by these lights, the thing is wrong. You disagree with my judgement, you get to argue, by saying what your standards of judgement are. This raises the terrifying spectre of taking responsibility for your own moral judgement, not claiming that a god made it OK. I don’t think Rho has the courage for it.

  29. #29 Prometheus
    June 2, 2010

    “Shekels” 50 old testament shekels=160-200 bucks @ 250 grams of silver with the rarity level/purchasing power for the region and adjusting forward because everybody everywhere in every time has some description that involves bitching about the price of bread.

    “War Brides” are women who voluntarily marry members of an occupation force, allies stationed in their country or liberation forces of another country. This term applies to nice Australian Army nurses who marry nice fighter pilots from Kansas….not a 13 year old Canaanite girl being dragged away by some slobbering old patriarch with blood in his beard because the last two children he violated hit menopause or died in childbirth without giving him sons.

    You guys are discussing “captives”. Civilian prisoners treated as chattel slaves. If you rape one of the chattel slaves they are “ruined” for ransom and you can’t sell them because you might be selling your own potential offspring into slavery.

    You can “legitimize” them by taking one home and after allowing her to mourn for her family (the one you murdered)rape her. If you don’t enjoy it, kick her out to starve but don’t sell her (offspring into slavery problem again).

    Just clearing things up.

    If you want to spin your wheels in the mud let’s make sure they are the regulation wheel for that sort of thing.

  30. #30 Stephen Wells
    June 2, 2010

    Good point, Prometheus.

  31. #31 Jesse
    June 2, 2010

    @129

    Wouldn’t finding a conversion from shekels to goats or something of the sort be a little more useful? I suspect that the way we value precious metals differs significantly from the way they were valued back then. Food, on the other hand was certainly valued more then than it is today because of our behemoth agricultural machine and refrigeration, but it is still food and people still require it to live.

  32. #32 Prometheus
    June 2, 2010

    Jesse@131

    It turns out the best system for adjustment is how much of whatever denomination buys a days weight in bread/rice. Then you test the formula against other exemplars from the period to see how your conversion and adjustments forward hold up.

    You can extrapolate pretty effectively in Southern Europe, the far east and the middle east from gold to silver to bronze in set proportions with a few anomalies for trade fluctuations like Byzantium being cut off of silver supply and Egypt being fairly closed with very little silver and a buttload of gold.

    The norm is 12 to 1 silver to gold and the third world day wage matches up pretty well with an unskilled ancient labor wage of about a buck fifty.

    I know a Bulgarian PhD who has done nothing but valuation and denomination studies of ancient middle eastern coinage for 40 years.

    The subject still bores the pants off of me but he is inestimably important to curators all over the planet.

  33. #33 fnxtr
    June 3, 2010

    Wow. You guys got from artificial life to angels-and-pinheads in record time. Way to throw a penny on the track there, Rho. Too bad, really, it was an interesting post.

  34. #34 Stephen Wells
    June 3, 2010

    @131: consider the difference between “a measure of wheat for a penny” and “a measure of wheat for a day’s wages”; both valid translations of a verse from Revelations, but with very different implications.

  35. #35 Dawn
    June 3, 2010

    First, let me say that the work of Venter is fascinating. It gets us closer to learning how life may have begun. I have to admit that a lot of it is over my head, but it’s definitely cool to read about.

    Second: Rho, as a woman who has been raped,all I can say is if you TRULY believe what you are saying, you are a despicable human being. Rape isn’t about sex. Rape is about POWER. Rape shows that person A is more powerful then person B (at least in person A’s mind). It might entail holding a gun to someone’s head, or being a fully grown adult male overpowering a young teenage girl and shoving his penis into her. It is dehumanizing to ignore fact that UNCONSENSUAL SEX of ANY type is rape. It doesn’t matter if I say no to my husband or to a stranger off the street; NO means NO and if either person continues with the activity it is rape. NO money in the world can make up for the feeling of loss. And I can’t fathom being turned over to my rapist as a wife. THINK about what you are saying. If a woman forced you into having sex with her (yes, women can rape men), would you feel OK about your father giving her money and forcing you to marry her? After all, your bible says that if you have sex with someone you should be married or it’s adultary. So fine. You be raped and marry your rapist.

    ERV: sorry for the rant, but Rho really pushed my buttons.

  36. #36 Rhology
    June 3, 2010

    @122 Prometheus,

    So, no answer to my question. Didn’t think so.
    Tell you what, to help illustrate, let’s swap the terms a bit but keep Prometheus’ “argument”.

    Raymond: I believe in young-earth creationism. It is my intuition that YEC is true and that to believe in evolution is repugnant beyond words. You can’t believe that.
    Prometheus: Please provide evidence that what you intuit is true. Please provide evidence that what you intuit as “repugnant” should apply to anyone else.
    Raymond: No. Not because I can’t but because your prose is also repugnant. For, as always, you are pointlessly prolix, fatuous and florid with no interest in the fruit of discourse.

    Wow! What an impressive argument! I mean, you even used some big words; I’ll bet your 6th grade teacher would be proud.
    Anytime you feel like actually trying to substantiate your assertions, I’m willing to listen.

    @123 Tyler,
    You live in a world with other human beings and their collective subjective opinion of you affects your life, sometimes in profound ways.

    1) So what? What’s the prescriptive and normative power of the statement “you live with other humans”?
    2) Maybe I’m glad to live with other humans, b/c that means more slaves to do my will. What is morally wrong with that statement?

    In other words, a negative hasn’t been proven.

    Exactly! Now you’re getting it. Maybe those who were so hasty to try to make this statement should be more careful in the arguments they use.

    As has been explained to you before, the evidence is the fact that they were fucking war brides and the Bible never says anything about getting their consent first.

    And it doesn’t say anything about NOT getting it either. You’re assuming 4 problematic things:
    1) You can’t prove the sex was forced. All you can make is anachronistic judgments from your comfy chair 5 millennia later.
    2) You have no idea of the state of mind of the women or the men in question.
    3) Deut 21 is not an exhaustive treatise on how married men are to treat their wives. After all, these are wives, not sex slaves, not even concubines (which themselves had legal rights). Deut 21 is dealing with redeeming some women from their self-destructive communities whom God had judged, putting these women into a situation where they could know God and have legal rights under God’s Law, and by which some Israelite men could obtain wives. You want laws governing how to deal with one’s wife, look elsewhere.
    4) If some men forced sex from the women in question, you have even further to go to prove this would be God’s fault. God lays down laws; it comes as zero surprise to the Christian that some people might actually –gasp!!– sin and deviate from His Law.

    In short, you’ve got nothing, that’s been clearly seen here. Despite all your attempts, even you had to admit that a negative hasn’t been proven.
    When that’s all you have, maybe you should move on.

    @124 Dave,
    Dunno, but you certainly appear to care.

    About Prometheus’ moral pontifications? Um, not really. What gave you that impression?

    @125 Joe,
    Your position is that rape is never condoned, ordered or approved of by God in the Old Testament

    Correct.

    @126 Stephen Wells,
    If you don’t share my premises, then at least we all know to avoid you like the backstabbing weasel you would be if you dared.

    I’m devastated, shedding hot tears. Just so you know.
    Look, maybe you’re not getting this – I’m after facts on these questions, not your opinions, as if you were some sort of Pope of Morality. I don’t know where you think you got your authority to make moral pronouncements that you think should prescribe and proscribe behavior for anyone else, but that’s why I asked you to provide the factual basis for it. If you can’t provide that substantiation, then I don’t see why I and everyone else shouldn’t dismiss your judgmental attempts to tell us what we get to and don’t get to do.

    for rape to have occurred it suffices for even one of them to have not given consent. Nice attempt at a goalpost-shift but you’re not getting away with that one.

    So prove one of them didn’t give consent. It’s not like I haven’t asked for evidence 12 times now.

    all we have to do is say: here are my standards of judgement, and by these lights, the thing is wrong.

    Um, I think I knew that already – that your standards of judgment are self-referential and tautological. I’m looking for the prescriptive power, the justification of the standards you use.

    This raises the terrifying spectre of taking responsibility for your own moral judgement

    Prove that it is morally a good thing to “take responsibility for my own moral judgment”. Don’t assume it. Prove it.

    @133 fnxtr,
    Way to throw a penny on the track there, Rho.

    Maybe you weren’t paying attention, but look at Comment #2.
    ‘Twas the ignoramus Jesse @16 who brought up the issue of rape. See? Doesn’t it feel better to get your facts straight?

    Peace,
    Rhology

  37. #37 Prometheus
    June 3, 2010

    Stephen Wells @#134

    Good example.

    You then adjust for time and location of writing (somewhere between Nero and Domitian) and you get around two bucks or an eighth of a bushel of wheat or three eighths of a bushel of barley.

    A whole loaf of bread or two beers.

    If we carry this valuation back to the old testament time and location (mideast @ 630 years earlier) without modification (which you shouldn’t but its a silly topic anyway)then you have a heuristic value.

    Hence:

    Rape means you must buy the girl’s Dad 100 beers or if he’s a Cananite you can just stab t Dad in the belly grab the girl and buy yourself a couple of goats.

    The only thing more absurd than trying to make Old Testament savagery defensible is trying to make it applicable now.

  38. #38 minimalist
    June 3, 2010

    Way to throw a penny on the track there, Rho.

    Yes, but what KIND of penny is it? One of the classics with the Lincoln Memorial on the back or the new, asstarded “Captain America shield” penny? Moreover, if we backcalculate to Phoenician times, would we etc etc etc.

    (I kid because I love. These days I pretty much only click comment threads when I see Prometheus’ name on the sidebar.)

  39. #39 Joe
    June 3, 2010

    Rho,

    Ok, it’s clear that your position is that rape is never condoned, ordered or approved of by God in the Old Testament.

    What about forced marriage, where forced marriage is a marriage in which the woman has no choice or say in the matter and/or is married without her freely given consent and despite her objections to the marriage? Is this ever condoned, ordered or approved of by God in the Old Testament? I believe that you said that you’d agree that the Deut 21 passage does refer to a more or less forced marriage, and I assume that you’d agree that that God is commanding, ordering or condoning the actions describe in Deut 21. I’m asking the question anyway, because I want to be certain that I understand your position.

  40. #40 Rhology
    June 3, 2010

    @139 Joe,
    Yes, it would appear that Deut 21 does refer to forced marriages, more or less.
    1) To begin with, in the AncientNearEast, marriages were arranged. The idea of consensual marriage is anachronistic.
    2) You’d need to offer an argument for why your modern, provincial, socially-conditioned view of marriage is morally superior to traditional customs which still prevailed in many parts of the world (if indeed you mean to criticise the biblical law here).
    3) A war bride enjoyed civil rights. Instead of suffering the fate of an involuntary concubine, she enjoys the rights of a Jewish wife, which is more than she would enjoy under ANE law in general.
    4) Keep in mind the historical circumstances. We’re talking about survival in a world of warrior cultures. In the ANE, a woman without men to protect her would be completely defenseless. (HT: Steve Hays)
    5) Plus what I said above about having been redeemed from an evil culture.

  41. #41 Rhology
    June 3, 2010

    Dawn @135,

    I have no words to express how horrified I am at your having been raped. Please hear me – I am not attempting in any way to minimise the horror of rape.

    It is dehumanizing to ignore fact that UNCONSENSUAL SEX of ANY type is rape.

    I agree, for modern Western women. However, that is not how it’s been for much of human history. It’s one thing to grab a girl off the street, hold a knife to her throat, and force yourself on her, and it’s quite another to arrange a marriage that the girl might not have been totally thrilled about, but with which she reluctantly cooperates, and as a matter of marital conscience, grudgingly has sex with her husband.

    And I can’t fathom being turned over to my rapist as a wife.

    And I wouldn’t expect you to. But I hope you’ll look at the comments I’ve made over the course of this thread related to counterfactual hypotheticals, putting myself into the position of an Ancient Near East woman 5 millennia ago, and agree that such speculation is really not possible.

    would you feel OK about your father giving her money and forcing you to marry her?

    Dawn, the bottom line is that my feelings are of secondary importance. God is the absolute standard for morality, and I obey commands that I don’t feel like obeying, and I am obligated to obey much more than I do, for things I like even less.
    (Note that I’m not granting that rape is condoned in the Bible; I’m just saying that God trumps mere man.)

  42. #42 Joe
    June 3, 2010

    “Yes, it would appear that Deut 21 does refer to forced marriages, more or less.”

    Now, once the marriage is official, what happens when the man wants sex? Presumably, these marriages would almost all include sex, and in the case of the captive virgins, the passage makes it very clear that the man is strongly motivated by sexual desire. The soldier has brought back the virgin because he wants to have sex with her.

    What happens if the woman doesn’t want to have sex with the man? Given the circumstances of many forced marriages, and especially in the case of the war booty marriage, this is very, very likely to be the case. What are her options? Is she fully free to refuse, given that she was forced against her will to marry, and is required to submit to her husband and/or if she refuses, she will fail to please and be dumped as a dishonored, humbled, humiliated, forced-to-bend-the-knee cast-off?

    If saying no means terrible consequences, and if the woman only agrees to sex as a means of avoiding those consequences, then how is this NOT “compelling someone through physical force or duress to engage in sexual activity”?

    Put it another way, how can marriage “imply consent to sex” when the woman did not consent to the marriage in the first place?

  43. #43 Paul C
    June 3, 2010

    I agree, for modern Western women.

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

    I am not attempting in any way to minimise the horror of rape.

    Yeah, you are. You’re attempting to minimize it by pretending that it isn’t rape.

  44. #44 Dawn
    June 3, 2010

    I had a long response to Rho that I just deleted, because a) he will never understand how a woman feels because he is male and his god is male and therefore males rule and b) this thread has been de-railed enough.

    I don’t plan on responding to Rho again.

  45. #45 Paul C
    June 3, 2010

    Rhology: I’m not suggesting that God would ever command you to rape a woman; but if he did, would you carry out his command? I don’t need a complicated answer – a simple yes or no will do.

  46. #46 phantomreader42
    June 3, 2010

    Rhology the lying sack of shit:

    I am not attempting in any way to minimise the horror of rape.

    Yes, you are. By pretending rape isn’t rape, and by endorsing the barbaric practice of selling women to rapists, you ARE trying (and failing) to minimize the horror of rape. And you’re lying about it because you’re too much of a worthless fucking coward to own up to the vile shit you’re saying. You are scum.

    Rhology, devil worshipper:

    God is the absolute standard for morality, and I obey commands that I don’t feel like obeying, and I am obligated to obey much more than I do, for things I like even less.

    This “absolute standard of morality” that you’ve been babbling about here, endorsing the sale of women to rapists, genocide, and countless other atrocities, isn’t worth shit. The god you worship is a god of pure evil. You are the willing slave of an imaginary monster, and you have torn out yor conscience, compassion, your very humanity to offer as a burnt sacrifice to this figment of your diseased mind. If your psychotic god were real, it not only would not be worthy of worship, but it would deserve to be put down like a rabid dog for the good of the human race.

    Rhology BELONGS in the spam filter. Rhology is a sick apologist for a murderous rapist death cult, without a speck of honesty or shame. Such a lowlife has no place in civilized society.

  47. #47 Tommykey
    June 3, 2010

    sorry for the rant, but Rho really pushed my buttons.

    No worries, Dawn. He tends to have that effect on people. The trick is to recognize that fact and then not let what he writes ruffle your feathers. Like water off a duck’s back. Rho is obviously very passionate about his religious faith. Other commenters here might not realize that he spends a lot of his Internet time in debates and arguments with Catholics and Eastern Orthodoxers in addition to us merry atheists.

    My sympathies also for the terrible experience you had. I can’t imagine that it is easy to deal with.

    Rhology: I’m not suggesting that God would ever command you to rape a woman; but if he did, would you carry out his command? I don’t need a complicated answer – a simple yes or no will do.

    Paul, the problem with that question from what I understand to be the Christian point of view is that since God’s commandments are expressed in the Bible, God is not going to suddenly appear or speak to Christians today and tell them to act in ways that are not in accordance with what has already been laid out in the Bible.

  48. #48 Tommykey
    June 3, 2010

    Rhology is a sick apologist for a murderous rapist death cult, without a speck of honesty or shame. Such a lowlife has no place in civilized society.

    Now there’s someone whose buttons have been pushed! LOL!

    Phantomreader, while the bulk of us here vehemently disagree with Rho’s views, it’s going a bit over the top to describe him as you did above. Do you honestly think he and members of his church are or are likely to be going around committing acts of murder and rape in central Oklahoma?

    I agree with you that the god he worships is a mental construct rather than an actual existing entity. One of the appeals of monotheistic religions such as Christianity, as well as Islam, is that they espouse universal messages, and what are perceived to be god’s commandments transcend race, nationality and ethnicity. That is why they like to claim that their morals have an objective basis. Of course, their own moral codes are the subjective beliefs of the people who set them down and then wrapped them up in the guise of a divine command system to give them the appearance of objectivity. But we can discuss things like that without slinging mud at each other.

  49. #49 phantomreader42
    June 3, 2010

    tommykey @ #148:

    Phantomreader, while the bulk of us here vehemently disagree with Rho’s views, it’s going a bit over the top to describe him as you did above. Do you honestly think he and members of his church are or are likely to be going around committing acts of murder and rape in central Oklahoma?

    If Rhology, or anyone who believes the bullshit he claims to believe (though I don’t discount the possibility that he’s been lying through his teeth all along), became convinced that his imaginary god wanted him to rape and murder people, then he would rape and murder any number of innocent people, anywhere, any time he had the chance, without any shame or remorse. And since the allegedly holy book of this imaginary deity has it endorsing rape, human sacrifice, genocide, and countless other acts of depravity, there is nothing at all stopping Rhology or someone like him from deluding himself into believing that god DID want him to commit such atrocities. The nature of a religious cult encourages delusions of divine endorsement for whatever the cultist already wants to do, discourages questioning such delusions, and promotes leaders who abuse the faith of the followers for money and power, sometimes ending in death. Maybe Rhology himself isn’t a budding serial rapist and murderer. But if he is, what checks are there on his behavior, since he thinks whatever madness enters his hollow head is the perfect will of almighty god?

    Rhology’s idea of “morality” is nothing more than mindless obedience to an imaginary and purely arbitrary tyrant. He cares not at all about the consequences of his actions in the real world. Nothing from outside will penetrate his delusions, as is quite clear from this thread. Even if Rhology himself isn’t going to go on a rape and murder spree, how large a church does it take before some members will, without even considering the possibility that there might be a problem with that? And what if the rapist manages to get into a leadership position?

  50. #50 phantomreader42
    June 3, 2010

    Got a response stuck in moderation. A moral system based entirely on mindless obedience, with no check in reality, does nothing to stop people from commiting atrocities, and actively encourages it if they end up with a bad leader. And bad leaders love to seek out such groups, since they don’t think for themselves or question authority.

  51. #51 phantomreader42
    June 3, 2010

    If god were real, it would be evil, and the world would be better off without it. People who fear imaginary punishments so much that they would obey such a monster without question deserve pity and contempt, not power or deference.

  52. #52 Tyler DiPietro
    June 3, 2010

    Well Rhology, you asked why you should “care”. Mu answer was presumably the same as the answer you’d give if I asked why I should care what God thinks: he’d pwn my ass if I didn’t.

    I don’t think moral prescriptions are facts, they’re, well, prescriptions. Morality works in practice because humans are social creatures with a strong inclination toward empathy and solidarity, but the morals themselves are arbitrary. It’s unfortunate, but I’ve never seen any way around it (that would god(s)).

  53. #53 bossmanham
    June 3, 2010

    @ Tyler 110

    That’s actually a terrible line of thinking that according to probability theory. Now it seems to me you are quite adept with some mathematical proofs, which is great. But you seem to have a nack of misapplying them.

    Absence of evidence is not positive evidence for anything. Without evidence for something, we cannot therefore conclude that thing doesn’t exist. For instance, if we were to apply this method to evolution pre 19th century, we would have to say evolution didn’t exist prior to that, since there was very little evidence of it. No, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. You’re probably good at discrete math, but I’d avoid probability theory for the moment.

    Also, you assume I have no evidence for God’s existence, but that’s a bit presumptuous of you.

    @ Stephen 112

    the claim that “as far as we can tell, there are no leprechauns” has a vastly different standard of proof from “There are leprechauns”.

    There are good reasons (ie evidence) to believe there are no such Irish small people, as with leprechauns we would expect to see some sort of evidence, like an end of a rainbow. When looking for evidence of something, you must consider whether you should expect to see evidence of that thing. For instance, if someone said there was an elephant in your bedroom, you would probably discount it out of hand because you’d expect to see quite a bit of evidence. But if someone told you there was a flea in your room, the absence of evidence for that flea should not convince you that the flea is not there.

    Now, I think there are great amounts of evidence given to us to think God exists. You need to show we should expect to see more evidence if God does exist than we do. I think, however, that your closed minded worldview is what causes you to interpret the evidence that is given incorrectly.

    I’ve never seen good evidence to think God does not exist. The claim that God does not exist carries as much of a burden of as the claim that God does exist, plain and simple.

  54. #54 Tommykey
    June 3, 2010

    Phantomreader, I think using his full nom de Internet is what causes the comment to go into moderation because my comment in response to yours that contained a quote from you with his name caused by comment to go into moderation too.

  55. #55 Tommykey
    June 3, 2010

    Absence of evidence is not positive evidence for anything. Without evidence for something, we cannot therefore conclude that thing doesn’t exist. For instance, if we were to apply this method to evolution pre 19th century, we would have to say evolution didn’t exist prior to that, since there was very little evidence of it.

    Doesn’t quite work that way, Bossmanham. Evolution was an explanation offered upon observation and collection of data which caused people to ask “How did this come about?” Just as an explanation for how craters formed on the moon did not become necessary until Galileo and others turned their telescopes on the moon and became aware of their existence. No one is seriously suggesting that the craters poofed into existence in the split second before Galileo trained his telescope on the moon.

    The claim that God does not exist carries as much of a burden of as the claim that God does exist, plain and simple.

    As I wrote above, I am sure that most of us leave open the possibility that our universe was created by a higher intelligence. I know I do. However, when one makes specific claims about reality based on one’s religious beliefs, then the burden of proof is on the believer to back up those claims. Of course, science should be held to the same criteria as well (man-made global warming, for example), lest you think I am just singling out religion.

  56. #56 phantomreader42
    June 3, 2010

    bossmanham @ #153:

    Also, you assume I have no evidence for God’s existence, but that’s a bit presumptuous of you.

    We assume you have no evidence for your imaginary god’s existence because neither you nor any other member of your cult nor any member of ANY religious cult has EVER offered the slightest speck of objective, verifiable, legitimate evidence of ANY deity whatsoever. You’re claiming to have evidence, so quit bullshitting and put it on the fucking table. No more weasel words or whining, just put up or shut up. If you don’t, we’ll take that as an admission that you’ve got nothing, and you were lying when you said otherwise.

  57. #57 Tyler DiPietro
    June 3, 2010

    “Without evidence for something, we cannot therefore conclude that thing doesn’t exist.”

    Well, we can certainly do so. Our conclusion will no doubt be fallible and provisional, but it can still be justified. If we ever encounter evidence for god(s) existing, our conclusions can change.

    “For instance, if we were to apply this method to evolution pre 19th century, we would have to say evolution didn’t exist prior to that, since there was very little evidence of it.”

    And you would be correct to do so, from a methodological perspective. I certainly would not accept evolution without a good deal of evidence if I were a scientist in the 19th. century, or any century for that matter.

    “You’re probably good at discrete math, but I’d avoid probability theory for the moment.”

    HEEEEEY, that hurts! Besides, what about probability theory with discrete random variables? :P

  58. #58 Rhology
    June 4, 2010

    For my next amazing trick, I’d like to remind everyone of 2 facts:
    1) Tyler DiPietro, @157, says:
    “Without evidence for something, we cannot therefore conclude that thing doesn’t exist.”
    Well, we can certainly do so. Our conclusion will no doubt be fallible and provisional, but it can still be justified. If we ever encounter evidence for god(s) existing, our conclusions can change.

    Thanks Tyler! So we’ll conclude that absence of evidence is indeed evidence of absence.
    And given that I’ve asked repeatedly, I don’t know how many times, for evidence of rape in the Deut 21 psg, and gotten nothing in response except for “how would you feel?” and “it’s just obvious!” and “well, they coulda raped the brides!” (neglecting to mention that the Law, which is what I’m interested in defending, gives no permission for rape, but if sinful humans might choose to rape someone, that’s not the Law’s fault), per Tyler D, we can conclude that rape is not, in fact, condoned by the Bible. Thank you!

    2) Naturalists like y’all generally deplore the biblical doctrine of the total depravity of man. Instead, you generally assume that mankind is generally basically good.
    Yet you have almost unanimously jumped to the least generous and least charitable conclusion (again, I hasten to add, w/o evidence) about these men, that they were raping these women. I find that ironic, and of course quite inconsistent.

    Joe @142,
    once the marriage is official, what happens when the man wants sex?

    Now apparently comes the part where you assume he just hits her across the face and forces himself upon her, rather than romancing her or asking her.
    Neither of us have evidence, but I’m not the one making these dogmatic statements.

    Given the circumstances of many forced marriages, and especially in the case of the war booty marriage, this is very, very likely to be the case. What are her options?

    No recognition of the anachronistic judgment you’re engaging in. Already been refuted; now you’re just repeating yourself.

    Paul C @143,
    You’re attempting to minimize it by pretending that it isn’t rape.

    Prove rape occurred. You’d be the 1st on this thread to do so if you did. Not that many haven’t tried.
    And remember, absence of evidence…

    I’m not suggesting that God would ever command you to rape a woman; but if he did, would you carry out his command?

    God never has commanded rape. God never has condoned rape. As Tommykey said @147, since God’s commandments are expressed in the Bible, God is not going to suddenly appear or speak to Christians today and tell them to act in ways that are not in accordance with what has already been laid out in the Bible.
    With that firmly in mind, this is me being consistent, as opposed to everyone else on this thread so far (except for bossmanham): I’m not sure if I *would* b/c I’m a sinner and often don’t carry out God’s commands, but it would be objectively morally right to do so and objectively morally wrong to refuse.
    Attention, everyone – that’s what “being consistent with one’s position” looks like. You should try it sometime.

    ph42 @146

    And you’re lying about it because you’re too much of a worthless fucking coward to own up to the vile shit you’re saying. You are scum.

    Is that a scientific conclusion? Or are you just emoting?
    Do you expect that anyone would take such stuff seriously? If so, why? If not, why say it?
    Do you have some evidence that I’m lying? If not, isn’t that sort of a serious charge to make without grounds? Why do you disagree with Tyler DiPietro about the evidence of absence? Shouldn’t you put your own atheist house in order when it comes to evidence than to throw profanities in my direction?

    Rhology, devil worshipper…Rhology is a sick apologist for a murderous rapist death cult, without a speck of honesty or shame.

    1) Not even a speck? Didn’t I at least quote the Bible correctly?
    2) If I’m not honest, why would you expect that I actually believe that which I’ve been saying here? Or are you really trying to say that you’re an emotional blithering idiot?
    3) You forgot, since we’re discussing my cult, to mention our weekly candlelit meetings wherein we drink the blood of babies born to Democrats. I can’t believe you left that out.

    @152 Tyler,
    you asked why you should “care”. M(y) answer was presumably the same as the answer you’d give if I asked why I should care what God thinks: he’d pwn my ass if I didn’t.

    That’s part of my answer, yes, though not all of it.
    But if I can gain the power over all challengers, it would appear you have no answer for the contention that I could then exercise my own morality and, free from the spectre of reprisals, be moral in whatever I intuit I should do. Line up all the girls in the world before my door, rape them one at a time, kill their mothers, burn their bodies, enslave all the menfolk… if I intuit that it’s right and can accomplish it, what’s the problem?
    This is the fundamental conclusion of atheism – there is no way to prove that such a thing would be objectively wrong. Whatever human has the power makes the rules.

    Morality works in practice because humans are social creatures with a strong inclination toward empathy and solidarity, but the morals themselves are arbitrary.

    You mean, morality works in practice…except when it doesn’t.
    Further, morality works right now b/c it just so happens that most people in the West, around you, think similarly to you. And what if you disagree with most? What if you lived among the Yanomamo, or the circa 1945 Auca people? Since you’ve hitched your wagon to what people think/what you think, your morality has no power.

  59. #59 Joe
    June 4, 2010

    “Now apparently comes the part where you assume he just hits her across the face and forces himself upon her, rather than romancing her or asking her. Neither of us have evidence, but I’m not the one making these dogmatic statements.”

    I don’t think that you understand.

    What if the woman does not want to have sex? Surely this will be the case in many cases. I’m not saying that this will be true in every single case, but I don’t think it’s “anachronistic” to assume that a woman would not want to have sex with a man who butchered her people. Do you really think that young woman were so incredibly different 3000 years ago? I am not making “dogmatic statements”. I am making the very reasonable and supportable assumption that in many, many cases, a woman would not want to have sex with a man who killed her family.

    So, we have woman who have been forced (under duress), into marriage with the killers of their people. Everything up to this point is clearly at the command or approval of God. Now, given that all of these God-commanded events have occurred, if she does not want to have sex with butchers, what are her options? What happens if she refuses to have sex?

    There are many kinds of “duress”. There are the kinds that involve knives to the throat and there are the kinds that involve the threat of being discarded as a humiliated woman into a world in which, and I quote the illustrious Steve Hays, “a woman without men to protect her would be completely defenseless”.

    You see, the problem is that God has command, condoned, order or created the conditions under which at least some rape (forced sex, sex under duress) is inevitable. If God condones the throwing of a ball into the air, it doesn’t make sense to say that God does not condone part of the continuous action in which the ball falls back to earth.

    Also, how can marriage “imply consent to sex” when the woman did not consent to the marriage in the first place?
    And how does a butcher “romance” the surviving victims?

  60. #60 phantomreader42
    June 4, 2010

    Rho, lying through his teeth:

    God never has commanded rape. God never has condoned rape.

    That’s only true in the sense that god, due to not existing, is incapable of commanding anything. But since you continue to insist that your god is real, and that it condones selling women to rapists and forcing the surviviors of genocide to marry their families’ murderers, you’re lying yet again.

    Rho, marriage involves sex. You have admitted that your imaginary god commanded forced marriage. Therefore, it commanded forced sex, which is by definition rape. Case closed. You either worship a rapist, or you are pretending to worship a rapist so you can be an asshole troll. Either way, you’re worthless scum. Go die in a fire.

    Rho’s dishonest projection:

    This is the fundamental conclusion of atheism – there is no way to prove that such a thing would be objectively wrong. Whatever human has the power makes the rules.

    You’re both projecting AND using a strawman. YOU are the one whose “objective” morality involves mindlessly obeying the admittedly arbitrary commands of an imaginary tyrant in the sky. You don’t give a flying fuck about the consequences of your actions, or your fellow human beings, you never did, you never will. You can’t even comprehend the very concept of empathy. You’re stuck at the most infantile stage, “daddy will spank me if I don’t do what he says”.

    You say the problem with atheism is that it offers no basis for morality other than power. That’s not true, but even if it were true your cult doesn’t have anything better, it just props up a phony cosmic mob boss who forces his will (which somehow always ends up matching the will of the cult leader) on followers by fear of unending torture. You bow down before a supernatural terrorist because you think it’s stronger than you. “Might makes right” is the fundamental conclusion of your cult.

  61. #61 Joe
    June 4, 2010

    There is one thing that I don’t understand. You have no problem with the notion that God commanded genocide, because you hold the position that if God commanded it, it’s a good and moral act. So why go all squishy on us in the case of rape?

    If God commanded a series of actions that would inevitably result in rape (by your definition of rape), then you could just use the same rationalization that you’ve used for genocide. One is forbidden to kill unless ordered by God, one is forbidden to kill if ordered to rape. If the excuse if valid in the case of genocide, why not use it in the case of rape? You have your all-purpose, get out of jail free card, so why not just shrug and say that God can condone rape, too, because God rules? After genocide, condoning rape is a pip.

  62. #62 Joe
    June 4, 2010

    Sorry, one of the above sentences should read…

    One is forbidden to kill unless ordered by God, one is forbidden to rape unless ordered to rape.

  63. #63 Stephen Wells
    June 4, 2010

    Since Rhology is A-OK with God commanding genocide- you know, the bit about slaughtering all the inhabitants of the land except the virgin women – you’d think he could just come out and say that the subsequent rapes are also fine.

    Also, Rho, it’s hilarious that you think a standard of morality based on people’s life and happiness “has no power”, whereas one based on a book of myths is fine. Of course morality is based on people’s interactions with each other. What else could it be based on? Fictitious celestial tyrants are no basis for a way of life.

  64. #64 phantomreader42
    June 4, 2010

    Stephen Wells:

    Fictitious celestial tyrants are no basis for a way of life.

    Nor for a system of government. Frankly I’d prefer strange women in ponds distributing swords. :P

  65. #65 Kemanorel
    June 4, 2010

    Nor for a system of government. Frankly I’d prefer strange women in ponds distributing swords. :P

    What?! You can’t suppose to weild supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you!

  66. #66 phantomreader42
    June 4, 2010

    Kemanorel @ #165:

    What?! You can’t suppose to weild supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you!

    No, supreme executive power should derive from a mandate from the masses. But the farcical aquatic ceremony is at least more amusing than “trust me, the big guy in the sky said you have to do what I say or he’ll torture you forever.”

  67. #67 Kemanorel
    June 4, 2010

    No, supreme executive power should derive from a mandate from the masses.

    I think it should be *some* of the masses. I honestly think there should be a test about what each candidate actually advocates, and if you can’t answer at least 70% (60%? 80%) of the questions correctly (probably because the person is too damn lazy to take the time to learn), you shouldn’t get a vote.

    Pre-emptive:

    *BLAH BLAH DESCRIMINATORY WARBLE GARBLE*

    Only in the sense that people that don’t bother to learn about what their voting for won’t have their vote count.

  68. #68 Tommykey
    June 4, 2010

    But if I can gain the power over all challengers, it would appear you have no answer for the contention that I could then exercise my own morality and, free from the spectre of reprisals, be moral in whatever I intuit I should do. Line up all the girls in the world before my door, rape them one at a time, kill their mothers, burn their bodies, enslave all the menfolk… if I intuit that it’s right and can accomplish it, what’s the problem?

    But Rho, that can happen in any society, religious or secular. Persons who acquire power and the ability to inflict violence on others can claim to be carrying out God’s will rather than acting on some atheistic preference. Tamerlane considered himself to be a devout Muslim, and yet he apparently delighted in having pyramids made of the severed heads of the people in the cities he sacked. In a little known chapter of American history, President William McKinley, in the wake of the Spanish-American War, declared that it was America’s duty to “Christianize” the mostly Roman Catholic Philippines. Estimates are that about 200,000 Filipinos died in resisting American occupation. The Taiping Rebellion in mid 19th century China was led by a man who believed he was the brother of Jesus Christ, and in the decade or so in which the rebellion ran its course, some 20 million people died.

    This is the fundamental conclusion of atheism – there is no way to prove that such a thing would be objectively wrong. Whatever human has the power makes the rules.

    Proving that rape and murder is wrong, for example, is not the same thing as proving that the Earth orbits the sun rather than the sun goes around the Earth.

    Certain acts are recognized as being acts of violence that are done to other persons. The spectrum of possibilities ranges from “It is always okay to inflict violence on another person” to “It is never acceptable to inflict violence on another person.” No one wants to be on the receiving end of such violence. Therefore, the most universal standard that one can apply is that no one should ever be raped or murdered.

    The trick of course is in promoting the universal standard. Both theistic and nontheistic value systems that embrace such universality can serve this purpose. Different methods work with different people. A Christian who opposes slavery, for example, will try to persuade other people by appealing to Christianity, while secularists will appeal to notions of human dignity. An Islamic feminist will try to appeal to fellow Muslims by presenting her arguments in the context of Islamic teachings.

    The difference between us of course is that theistic morals purport to have a source external to humanity, whereas proponents of nontheistic morals believe that the source comes from within us based on our accumulated experiences. For you, the objective standard is one that has been set for us, whereas for me, the objective standard is the one that applies to everyone, such as “No one should be raped.”

    A lot of the conflict, it seems to me, between theists and non-theists, or between members of different religions, are matters of morality that do not involve acts of violence against persons but rather acts of mutual consent that are deemed to be in violation of the commandments of various religious faiths (the issue of abortion being a notable exception). For example, conservative Muslim societies where the “Virtue” police harass women in the streets who are not dressed in a sufficiently modest attire, the Muslim prohibition against the consumption of alcohol, the Roman Catholic position against the use of contraception even between married persons, the condemnation of most religions against consensual sex between adult men and women who are not married, or if Adam kisses Steve instead of Eve.

    Okay, my lunch break is coming to an end, so apologies for ending this abruptly.

  69. #69 Prometheus
    June 4, 2010

    Yawn.

    Morality is a crap idea anyway. It always implies some supernatural overriding code of conduct. Everybody falls into this trap with otherwise perfectly reasonable people trying to shoehorn moral propositions into genetically expressed evolutionary survival advantages (some sort of evolutionary pythagorianism).

    There aren’t any morals. There are just cultural aesthetics people tart up with divine authority or pseudo-scientific conjecture so they don’t prolapse if you look at them too critically.

    Ethics are social perceptual tools with a basis in cause and effect.

    So, is the nasty old murderous Israelite coot raping captive orphan children immoral?

    In a scabby wasteland Egypt and Babylon didn’t care about, full of self important lying warlords and around 700-600 B.C…. probably not.

    But before Rho puts notches on his bible belt and we all run out to volunteer at Falls Creek Baptist Camp this summer, guess what?

    Israelite coot is still ethically wrong.

    The Atheist proposition of rational ethics based on utility is not regional or temporal context dependent.

    Ethics always win and most people who are acting in a fashion they describe as “moral” are acting ethically (rationally anticipating the consequences of their actions).

    A North Korean guy who objects to cannibalism for the greater glory and greater waistline of Dear Leader is, in his context, acting immorally because his moral climate is dictated by a state religion.

    Ethically, he is a rock star.

    Rho is just exploiting a popular error where the terms are used interchangeably as a distraction. It isn’t a position or even an argument, just an exercise.

    Suckers bet. It’s probably the first bullet point in the ‘Why All Atheists are Sociopaths.’ chapter of “Christan Apologetics for Dummies”.

  70. #70 Rhology
    June 4, 2010

    Hi everyone,

    This thread is winding down, for a few reasons.
    1) Y’all are going farther and farther afield. Yeah, that tends to happen when you make your best attempts to provide evidence for your assertions and then can’t, over and over again.
    2) You’re not answering the questions about morality’s basis, but are just repeating yourselves or moving the question back one more step. I don’t really see a reason to continue battering you over and over again to actually answer the questions I’m asking, b/c it’s clear you can’t. Your worldview has no answer.

    @159 Joe – irrelevant.

    @160 ph42 – irrelevant and prejudicially ignorant.

    @161 Joe and @163 SW – I don’t say that b/c I’m interested in truth. If God had commanded rape, I’d say so and deal with it consistently. But since He didn’t…
    Plus you’re apparently unfamiliar with comparing worldviews on the basis of internal critiques. I’d suggest you look into that.

    @164-165 – irrelevant.

    @166 ph42 – yet ANOTHER naked assertion. You’re what’s wrong with this thread.

    @167 Kemanorel – yet ANOTHER naked assertion. You too are what’s wrong with this thread.

    @168 TK – so what’s the answer, if this can happen anywhere?
    And wouldn’t it be more consistent to NOT criticise others’ actions, no matter how much you dislike them, if saying “rape is wrong” is not the same kind of claim as “the Earth revolves around the sun”? Be consistent. Or else I’ll point it out and make fun of you, which I’ve been doing (and been enjoying).

  71. #71 Joe
    June 4, 2010

    I believe that the word “irrelevant” is Rho’s way of saying that God pleads the Fifth.

  72. #72 bossmanham
    June 4, 2010

    Tommy @155:

    Doesn’t quite work that way, Bossmanham. Evolution was an explanation offered upon observation and collection of data which caused people to ask “How did this come about?”

    This is irrelevant to my point, and actually works to confirm it. It was claimed by Tyler that absence of evidence of God is positive evidence against His existence, which is just silly. It’s neutral in telling us whether God exists or not. Without any evidence, one would need to remain agnostic. Atheism is a positive truth claim that requires justification.

    You’re claiming to have evidence, so quit bullshitting and put it on the fucking table. No more weasel words or whining, just put up or shut up. If you don’t, we’ll take that as an admission that you’ve got nothing, and you were lying when you said otherwise.

    This is what we call emoting, people. It shows a weak mind and an inability to deal with arguments. Tell you what, when you give me a good reason to not believe in God, I will give you some of my reasons to believe in God.

    Tyler @ 157:

    Well, we can certainly do so. Our conclusion will no doubt be fallible and provisional, but it can still be justified. If we ever encounter evidence for god(s) existing, our conclusions can change.

    Absence of evidence is not a good reason to postulate that something does not exist. For instance, physicists postulate the existence of things that, as of yet, there is no evidence for. You can only use a lack of evidence as a justified reason to reject belief in something, as I said, if you would expect to see more evidence for it, like the elephant flea example shows. You can also use the absence of evidence to justify withholding judgment on something. For instance, bigfoot is something that many people claim to have seen with fervent conviction. I don’t know whether bigfoot exists or not, because I have no evidence either way. I am inclined to not believe in him because of different reasons, but I will withhold final judgment, as I do on a lot of things.

    Likewise, one would not be justified in concluding “God does not exist” based on a purported lack of evidence, as there is no reason to think we should see more evidence than we do if He existed.

    And you would be correct to do so [reject evolution pre 19th century], from a methodological perspective

    No, I wouldn’t. What I would be justified in doing if I were some 18th century dude presented with the hypothesis of evolution would be to say “I really have no compelling reason to accept this theory, but I may withhold judgment since I have no reason to not believe it.” (I actually do have reasons I don’t believe in neo-Darwinian evolution, but this is for argument sake).

    Now, on the rape thing, since it seems to me, as a Christian, that God would not command rape, I would expect to see evidence in His revelation that He did command it if it were some sort of moral duty. Since there isn’t such a command or allowance, and there is actually punishment applied to rape, then I shall conclude that my moral sense and the penalty are correct and rape is objectively wrong.

  73. #73 Jesse
    June 4, 2010

    This is what we call emoting, people. It shows a weak mind and an inability to deal with arguments. Tell you what, when you give me a good reason to not believe in God, I will give you some of my reasons to believe in God.

    Regarding the evidence for God, put out or STFU.

  74. #74 Tommykey
    June 4, 2010

    Or else I’ll point it out and make fun of you, which I’ve been doing (and been enjoying).

    Oh no! Don’t make fun of me! LOL! As you have probably learned, there is nothing you can do to unsettle me or reduce me to spittle-flecked rage like some of the other commenters here. :-)

  75. #75 phantomreader42
    June 4, 2010

    Thank you, bossmanham, for admitting that you do not have any evidence for god, and were lying when you claimed you did. Want a good reason not to believe in god? The fact that even when a believer claims to have evidence, he will go to any lengths to avoid actually having to say what that evidence is, thus demonstrating that he is full of shit. If there actually was a god, it would have real effects on the real world. No such effects have been demonstrated, and even the people who claim to have observed them flee in terror when faced with the prospect of actual scrutiny for their claims. Just like you just did.

    And it seems Rho considers pointing out the fact that what he is saying is blatantly false to be “irrelevant”. More projection on his part.

  76. #76 Tommykey
    June 4, 2010

    Bossmanham, I am just checking in here real quick, so no time for substantive comments. But I just wanted to point out that the the “You’re claiming evidence” quote was from Phantomreader42, not me, as you erroneously seem to imply, though I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you forgot to attribute the quote to him rather than to me. I just wanted it noted for the record.

  77. #77 phantomreader42
    June 4, 2010

    OH, you want another good reason not to believe in god? The catholic church has been engaged in a decades-long criminal conspiracy to enable the rape of children, and protect the rapists from justice, all while publicly claiming to be official representatives of almighty god. And yet, the Vatican has not been sucked into the bowels of the earth, nor incinerated by lightning, nor crushed by a meteor. In fact, not one single person involved in this despicable enterprise has suffered the slightest rebuke from the divine. It took human justice and human outrage to even suggest that there might be a problem with what they’ve been doing. God did nothing at all. And this isn’t an isolated incident. Countless religious groups, each claiming divine guidance, have been robbing, raping, murdering and torturing for centuries. God has done nothing. God has made no effort whatsoever to punish those misusing his name, nor to clarify his will, nor to defend his followers. If there is a god, it is so lazy and impotent as to be utterly meaningless. A god who does nothing is indistinguishable from no god at all. There is no reason to believe in something so useless and irrelevant. Belief in god is a waste of time.

  78. #78 Rhology
    June 4, 2010

    put out or STFU

    Ooooh, more emoting! Keep it flowing, y’all. I need a few more giggles today.

  79. #79 Rhology
    June 4, 2010

    ph42, if you want evidence for God, which I doubt you really do, see my blog sidebar. ‘Some good arguments for theism’

  80. #80 bossmanham
    June 4, 2010

    Jesse @ #173

    Regarding the evidence for God, put out or STFU

    I told you, I’d give you an argument for the existence God when I see one good argument against it. I tend to think belief in God is fairly properly basic, so I think the burden of proof begins w/ you.

    phantom @ #175

    Thank you, bossmanham, for admitting that you do not have any evidence for god,

    That’s weird, I don’t remember doing that. Are you always this dishonest?

    and were lying when you claimed you did

    Really? What’s your evidence? You don’t want to think anything without empirical evidence now do you? Might lead to a belief in God. Uh oh, you’re on your way.

    The fact that even when a believer claims to have evidence, he will go to any lengths to avoid actually having to say what that evidence is, thus demonstrating that he is full of shit.

    Or he is lol-ing at how intellectually inept the unbeliever’s worldview is. Now, do you have a reason I shouldn’t believe what is patently clear to me?

  81. #81 Joe
    June 4, 2010

    “I would expect to see evidence in His revelation that He did command it if it were some sort of moral duty. Since there isn’t such a command or allowance, and there is actually punishment applied to rape, then I shall conclude that my moral sense and the penalty are correct and rape is objectively wrong.”

    I would expect to see evidence in His revelation that He did command genocide if it were some sort of moral duty. Since there is such a command, and there is actually a a reward of land and virgin hotties applied to genocide, then I shall conclude that my moral sense and the reward are correct and genocide is objectively good.

  82. #82 Dawn
    June 4, 2010

    I love killfile. Rho just ended up there.

  83. #83 phantomreader42
    June 4, 2010

    bossmanham @ #180:

    I told you, I’d give you an argument for the existence God when I see one good argument against it.

    And since you’d gouge out your own eyes before you’d dare admit to seeing such an argument, you’ve got another excuse to weasel out. What a transparent fraud you are. If the fact that your imaginary friend doesn’t do a damn thing to stop crimes committed in its name, hasn’t updated its holy book in centuries, hasn’t spoken in public or appointed a prophet in over a millennium, and has never left a speck of evidence of itself behind anywhere on the fucking planet isn’t enough reason not to believe, what could possibly convince you to drop this obvious dodge of yours?

    bossmanham fleeing in terror from the burden of proof:

    I tend to think belief in God is fairly properly basic, so I think the burden of proof begins w/ you.

    No, it doesn’t. A properly basic belief needs to either be something true by definition (x=x, there’s no such thing as dry water), evident to the senses (which your god isn’t), or a self-evident axiom (which belief in god isn’t as no two cultures have independently arrived at identical concepts of god, and the imagined deities are mutually exclusive). Your imaginary friend is no more a “properly basic belief” than Amaterasu, Bastet, Cthulhu, Dionysius, Enki, Frith, Ganesh, Hathor, Isis, John Frum, Kali, Loki, Marduk, Nerull, Osiris, Poseidon, Quetzalcoatl, Ra, Suzumiya Haruhi, Tiamat, Utu, Vecna, Wotan, Xochipilli, Yu Yevon, or Zeus.

    Besides, YOU are the one who falsely claimed to have evidence to support your delusions. So either you have evidence, but you’re withholding it so you can act like a petulant asshole, or you don’t have evidence, and you’re acting like a petulant asshole in a desperate (and failed) attempt to hide the fact that you’re lying about it. Since you’ve offered not a speck of evidence for god and plenty of evidence that you’re a petulant asshole, it looks like the latter. Again, put up or shut up. Your refusal to present your alleged evidence, and your whining about being asked, only makes it more obvious you’re full of shit.

  84. #84 Jesse
    June 4, 2010

    I told you, I’d give you an argument for the existence God when I see one good argument against it. I tend to think belief in God is fairly properly basic, so I think the burden of proof begins w/ you.

    1) You are an idiot.

    2) “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

    - Stephen Roberts

    3) You did not put out after your grandiose implications, now STFU.

  85. #85 Tyler DiPietro
    June 4, 2010

    “Absence of evidence is not a good reason to postulate that something does not exist.”

    Absence of evidence is a perfectly sound reason to reject a hypothesis, especially if the hypothesis is binary in nature. In the case of the existence of god(s), I’m inferring a conditional probability using Bayesian reasoning of one hypothesis given the data. If the probability of that hypothesis is zero or close to zero, if I plug in its negation I get a value of one or close to one.

    This can all change if the evidence changes. Let us formulate the evidence we observe a Markov chain of finite order. We can always observe something new, something that we didn’t expect, etc., which means we would have to reformulate our predictive hypothesis on said Markov chain. This is the essence of science.

    “Likewise, one would not be justified in concluding “God does not exist” based on a purported lack of evidence, as there is no reason to think we should see more evidence than we do if He existed.”

    That’s a separate argument. My argument only pertains to your contention that “there is no god” is a separate statement with its own burden of proof. I say, no, evaluating the evidence for the proposition that god(s) exist is the same as evaluating the evidence for said proposition’s negation, from a probabilistic perspective. Whether that evidence is actually concordant with one proposition or the other is a separate issue.

    “No, I wouldn’t. What I would be justified in doing if I were some 18th century dude presented with the hypothesis of evolution would be to say “I really have no compelling reason to accept this theory, but I may withhold judgment since I have no reason to not believe it.””

    That would be what you would say if you haven’t completed the process of hypothesis identification, which we can think as a certain iteration of a program on a universal Turing machine to compute the posterior probability of the hypothesis. Or, this could be said if the computation terminates and the result is ambiguous. Otherwise, what you’re doing is equivalent to rejecting a hypothesis or affirming the null hypothesis.

  86. #86 Paul C
    June 5, 2010

    Now, on the rape thing, since it seems to me, as a Christian, that God would not command rape, I would expect to see evidence in His revelation that He did command it if it were some sort of moral duty.

    How about genocide then?

  87. #87 Joe
    June 5, 2010

    I know what Bossmanham’s reply with be to all of these questions. God commanded it and what God commands is always objectively moral. Problem is, there’s no way to validate the claim that God commanded anything. All we have are the words of the those who committed rape and genocide.

    You can be “consistent” and “objective” (except when appealing to cultural relativism in the case of rape). You can be ever so pleased with yourself for being consistent and objective, and laugh at those disagree. However, many works of fiction are “internally consistent”, and if one’s objectivity and consistency are all based on a work of fiction, it’s all pointless. Why anyone would want to base their internally consistent arguments on the words of ANE tribesmen is beyond me. Personally, I prefer more recent fiction.

  88. #88 Paul C
    June 6, 2010

    Joe:

    I know what Bossmanham’s reply with be to all of these questions.

    One thing that I give Bossmanham credit for is that he doesn’t tell “atheists” what they think – unlike Rhology, who regularly pronounces on what “atheists” think with all the hubris one might expect from him.

    Short version: Joe and others, please be more like Bossmanham than Rhology.

  89. #89 Stephen Wells
    June 7, 2010

    Any bets that Rhology will ask us to prove that the Canaanites didn’t consent to being massacred?

  90. #90 Rhology
    June 7, 2010

    @181 Joe,
    I would expect to see evidence in His revelation that He did command genocide if it were some sort of moral duty.

    It was a moral duty – to the people who received the command. But not everyone receives the same commands.

    then I shall conclude that my moral sense and the reward are correct and genocide is objectively good.

    You’re right except for one thing – genocide is NOT licit for you. It was for the OT Israelites with respect to certain populations, but not all and not all the time. And Christians are never commanded to do anythg even close to genocide. So no, sorry, that won’t work. Only on the basis of extreme biblical ignorance could someone make such a statement.

    @184 Jesse,
    “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

    That is really, really stupid.
    1) Here’s why.
    2) And here’s also why.
    IOW, fail.

    @186 Paul C,
    How about genocide then?

    On the level of abstract history, God has never commanded nor condoned rape, but He has a few times commanded genocide.
    This is me being consistent again, and again, it’s something I’d commend to the rest of you except bossmanham: To disobey the order to commit the specifically-commanded genocide would have been evil.

    2189 Stephen Wells,
    Any bets that Rhology will ask us to prove that the Canaanites didn’t consent to being massacred?

    What does that have to do with anything? My argument that the slaughter of the Canaanites was morally right has nothing to do with whether they gave consent.
    Here’s an idea – try giving some evidence when asked for it.

  91. #91 Stephen Wells
    June 7, 2010

    Rhology, you don’t understand the nature of the conversation. I know how your moral system works, you’ve made it plain. I’m just happy to encourage you to make explicit statements, viz. that genocide was commanded by god and therefore morally right, which make plain just how much of a monster you are. Keep it right up.

  92. #92 Rhology
    June 7, 2010

    Stephen,
    For the zillionth time, please provide us all an objective moral standard by which we can know that your personal subjective appellation “monster”, which implies a moral value judgment, is really bad. Rather than just distasteful to you, like brussels sprouts.

  93. #93 Paul C
    June 7, 2010

    On the level of abstract history, God has never commanded nor condoned rape, but He has a few times commanded genocide.

    It is of course true that God had never commanded genocide right up until the point where he commanded genocide; therefore to say that God would not command rape because God has not yet commanded rape is a non-argument.

    This is me being consistent again, and again, it’s something I’d commend to the rest of you except bossmanham: To disobey the order to commit the specifically-commanded genocide would have been evil.

    Just to clarify for the viewers at home: you don’t believe that any act has moral content in itself except insofar as God has commanded or prohibited it. So, for example, you don’t believe genocide is itself evil.

  94. #94 Rhology
    June 7, 2010

    therefore to say that God would not command rape because God has not yet commanded rape is a non-argument.

    Failed internal critique, again. There will be no further revelation on par with Scripture until the Eschaton.
    Not a bad try, though.

    you don’t believe that any act has moral content in itself except insofar as God has commanded or prohibited it.

    Correct. Unlike y’all, I take Hume’s Guillotine seriously.

  95. #95 Paul C
    June 7, 2010

    Failed internal critique, again. There will be no further revelation on par with Scripture until the Eschaton.

    It’s far from a failed internal critique, since it wouldn’t have to be revelation “on par with Scripture”.

    Personally I find it funny that you say things like “rape is wrong” when you don’t actually believe that rape is wrong.

  96. #96 Rhology
    June 7, 2010

    since it wouldn’t have to be revelation “on par with Scripture”.

    This is asking alot from an atheist, but I invite you to show how any revelation from God wouldn’t be the equal of Scripture in authority and truthfulness.

    “rape is wrong” when you don’t actually believe that rape is wrong.

    Sure it is, and sure I do. It’s wrong b/c God has said it’s wrong. This is why I don’t have a lot of confidence in your ability to provide a valid internal critique. Prove me wrong.

  97. #97 Joe
    June 7, 2010

    “It was a moral duty – to the people who received the command. But not everyone receives the same commands.”

    Oh, I understand. Sometimes genocide is moral and sometimes it’s not. It’s a matter of whether or not you feel “commanded”.

  98. #98 Paul C
    June 8, 2010

    This is asking alot from an atheist, but I invite you to show how any revelation from God wouldn’t be the equal of Scripture in authority and truthfulness.

    You said “There will be no further revelation on par with Scripture until the Eschaton” (my emphasis added), which means that there also exists revelation that is not on par with Scripture. If there was to be no further revelation at all, then presumably you would have said that.

    If you want to retroactively make the argument that there will be no further revelation at all, then I’ll need you to show it rather than assert it. Full biblical citations, obviously! Although I’m not sure why you’d want to prove that God no longer acts in the world.

    Also, you might want to read up on what constitutes revelation from God, since Christian theology is fairly clear that Scripture is not the only source of revelation.

    Sure it is, and sure I do. It’s wrong b/c God has said it’s wrong.

    I’m sorry, I missed the part where you cited the Bible verse which states that rape is wrong. Could you point me to it please?

  99. #99 Joe
    June 8, 2010

    “I’m sorry, I missed the part where you cited the Bible verse which states that rape is wrong. Could you point me to it please?”

    That would be the one that says that butchers can discard their war booty if the booty displeases. No, wait, that can’t be right.

  100. #100 Rhology
    June 8, 2010

    Paul C, rape falls under sex outside of marriage, and sexual immorality is condemned all over the place.
    Here you go.

    The rest of the comments since my last comment here merit no response.

    Ta ta!