Pages Menu
TwitterRssFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted by on Dec 18, 2012 in The Nativity, Theology, Uncategorized | 167 comments

AAAARRGGGHHH! William Lane Craig does it again. The school massacre sends the message that God provides hope for us…

Oh my cosmos, he does it again. William Lane Craig has moved from the Slaughter of the Canaanites to trying to make sense of the massacre in Connecticut in the context of Christmas. Get ready to scream at the computer screen.

 

http://youtu.be/TYHd2F3vnL4

  • pboyfloyd

    We should have been warned in a dream to not watch this, I’m thinking.

    But if Craig can twist stuff like this up this badly, it’s no wonder he can imagine that he’s made his case for God.

  • SmilodonsRetreat

    That man is disgusting

  • http://twitter.com/AndrewMarburger Andrew Marburger

    Does WLC strike anyone else as a used car salesman? Seriously there is just something greasy about this guy…

    And the things he says so often border on the completely insane that I am inclined to consider that he may just be playing an enormous (and lucrative) prank on his followers.

    We may never know.

  • Chill Chick

    His voice sets my teeth on edge, he has such a pedantic, hectoring tone.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

       He is one of the most smug son of a bitches I have ever watched. Even if I was a Christian I would distance myself from this crackpot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=600180458 Skeptnik Garrison

    You would think he would notice that “god coming into history” has not changed anything! 20 children are dead. Why would we hope in a god with such a lousy record?

  • http://twitter.com/Mike_OH_IO Mike OH_IO

    Adam Lanza (shooter) Payer - “Dear God, please help and guide me with my killings today.”
    GoD – “Sure thing my servant.  Ye pray. Ye shall receive.”
    Who says praying doesn’t work? 

  • donsevers

    WLC is a good Christian.  He says the hard stuff, the Authoritarian stuff that follows from Christian theology.  When God kills babies, it’s not a sin.

    You’d think that if more Christians realized what Christianity teaches, there would be fewer Christians.  But as Newtown shows, our culture keeps the idea of a loving God on life support despite rivers of blood.  They think Jesus taught peace, when we know he taught that the world would end, after eons of unnecessary brutality, in a divine genocide.

    We secularists can do more to push back, to let people know that God is unnecessary, that we can grieve and live in this world without the false comfort of gods.  We have our work cut out for us.  We need more, and more visible, secular humanist role models.

    • http://www.skepticblogs.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

      A well balanced comment, Don.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

    [[WLC is a good Christian.  He says the hard stuff, the Authoritarian stuff that follows from Christian theology.]]

    Like theistic evolution? Bible doesn’t mention it. Like the earth is 4.54 billion years old? Bible says nothing of the sort. WLC believes many things the bible is in clear opposition to.

    If you REALLY believed the bible you would be a young earth creationist that fought against evolution.

  • Whiteman Sayeth

    What an insidious wingnut.  Glad I celebrate the Solstice rather than christmas.

  • lartanner

    Is there any hope that WLC’s friends pull him aside and tell him to re-think what he said?

  • JohnM

    What a cheap shot, Jonathan… You really should be ashamed of yourself..

    He’s not in any way saying, that the school massacre sends a message of hope…

    As he said himself, there’s no hope in massacre.. It’s just meaningless wickedness..

    Rather, he’s reminding us.. that despite of wickedness in the world, there is hope, for those who are willing to repent and follow Christ.

    • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

      You miss the point, John.

      1) God does nothing about the massacre. It is more important not to, for some reason.
      2) God sees this as an opportunity for hope.
      3) It appears that either the notion of hope from this terrible episode is more important that saving these children  or  that hope is an extra byproduct of another reason why they should die which is more important than they be saved

      Remember that God killed someone for picking up sticks on a Sabbath which means that killing that man for that misdemeanour was more important that saving 27 children from a psycho-killer.

      So, John, cheap shot it was not. I think you need to do some explaining.

    • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

      I forgot to say that if God is using the children as a means to an end (hope for others or something else), then he is on rather saky moral grounds as far as theists who claim he is the benchmark and foundation of objective morality.

  • JohnM

    That’s not how it works.. This is how it works:

    Hebrews 9:2
    It is appointed to man to die once, and then face judgment

    So, John, cheap shot it was not.

    Of course it’s a cheap shot. And how lame of you to deny it..  Your title said:

    “The school massacre sends the message that God provides hope for us…”

    No matter how clueless one is, it’s impossible to get that message, from listening to the video. The school massacre is not sending any message of hope. WLC is saying saying the complete opposite. And you know it.

    • Andy_Schueler

      That’s not how it works.. This is how it works:

      Prove it or stfu.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

      [[How could God have a meaning with meaningless evil like that?]]

      Because God is supposedly Sovereign. Who is regulating the affairs, God or the Devil? You must believe in a puny God. Read Arthur Pinks, “The Sovereignty of God”

      [[The Gunman was a tool of Satan.]]

      In the Bible even Satan is doing God’s will. Remember the story of Job? You don’t believe in the God of the reformation JohnM. You believe in not the Christian god of the bible but some weakling you have devised in your imagination.

  • JohnM

    Prove it..

    I already did, you silly person.

    We are discussing what the Christian faith says on the matter.. And I quoted the bible.

    If you rather want to worship in some spider-man god, that goes around preventing any evil from occurring, then you go do that.

    But if you want to discuss Christianity, at least know what you’re talking about…

    • Andy_Schueler

      We are discussing what the Christian faith says on the matter.. And I quoted the bible.

      Nobody gives a fuck about your random Bible quotes. 

      If you rather want to worship in some spider-man god, that goes around preventing any evil from occurring, then you go do that.

      Praying to Spider Man is exactly as effective as praying to your imaginary friend. 

      • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

        Here is a comment from a poster who was unable to log on:

        “Can anyone transcribe this speech for me and send it to hup_frank@t-online.de? I would like to translate it into German and distribute.”

        • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

          I am a bit too busy at the mo, and would otherwise do it. anyone able to help Frank?

  • Pingback: Speaking Foolishly about God and Tragedy

  • Pingback: It’s Not Video Games | Avant Garde

  • JohnM

    John Grove:

    Because God is supposedly Sovereign. Who is regulating the affairs, God or the Devil?

    Well, do you actually know, what we read about that in the bible?

    In the Bible even Satan is doing God’s will. Remember the story of Job?

    That God permits Satan to test Job, is not the same as Satan actually doing God’s will.

    That’s completely flawed logic.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

    [[That God permits Satan to test Job, is not the same as Satan actually doing God's will.]]

    Then God is NOT sovereign. Are you saying that God permits things that are contrary to his will? Your god is a weakling. And that is not the God of the bible.

    Proverbs 16:4, “The LORD works out everything for his own ends–even the wicked for a day of disaster.”

    Eph 1:11, “….who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

    If god works out “everything”, than that means “everything”. 

  • JohnM

    That’s right. Everything will work out in the end.. The people who want to get saved, will be saved. The people who don’t want to be saved, won’t be saved. God will judge them, and there will be justice. Then Satan will be dealt with, and Sin and Death will be no more.

    And yes, God is sovereign. He could just deal with Satan here and now..  But that would mean, that the door of salvation would be closed, and all who are currently children of Satan would follow him into the lake of fire.

    Therefore God is patient. Therefore God is still holding back judgement. And therefore God allows Satan to be “The god of this world”, a little longer.
     

    • Andy_Schueler

      God will judge them, and there will be justice.

      Yeah, eternal torture for a little girl because she took something from the cookie jar and lied about it – now that is justice.

      Then Satan will be dealt with, and Sin and Death will be no more.

      I heard Satan teamed up with Gargamel, Voldemort and the wicked witch of the west – Yahweh is in big trouble!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

      [[The people who want to get saved, will be saved.]]

      The Bible says, “There is none that seeketh after God”. Apart from election NONE would come to Christ JohnM. Your lack of biblical theology is stunning.

  • JohnM

    And I heard, that there’ll be scoffers in the last days..

    On that note..  Think about it, for a second… People have been waiting for the return of Jesus Christ for 2000 years.. And all the past generations have been struggling to understand how Jesus could ever come as a thief in the night, while everyone were waiting for him..

    Now the tide has turned.. The masses are ignorant unbelievers.. The love of the many, have waxed cold…  They live like in the days of Noah.. They party and marry, and tell themselves that all is well.. Sin is rampant..  Human beings are more corrupt than ever..  And nature has run amok with labour pains, in the form of natural disasters..

    If ever there was a time right for the return of Jesus Christ, that resembles the days of Noah, where the ignorant masses live unaware of the coming disaster, then that time is now.

    • Andy_Schueler

      Let me summarize JohnM:
      GOD LOVES YOU!!! HE´S GONNA KILL YOU!!1!!!!111!!!!!11!!!

      They live like in the days of Noah..

      Was Noah the guy that broke Batman´s back ? 

  • JohnM

    Well, your mother loves you too. But that doesn’t mean that she’ll put up with everything you do. She’ll draw a line in the sand as well, and denounce you, if you cross it.

    • Andy_Schueler

      Let me summarize again JohnM:
      YOUR MOTHER LOVES YOU!!! SHE´S GONNA KILL YOU!!1!!!!111!!!!!11!!!

      Cool story bro, needs more dragons and shit.

  • JohnM

    http://www.cambridge2000.com/gallery/images/P40112687e.jpg

    There you go. A dragon, from the Ishtar gate.

    Now you just need to ask yourself, why the Babylonians would place such a creature, next to bulls and lions, on their gate..

  • JohnM

    Fantasy creatures?? What makes you think that?

    The Centaur is clearly our long lost ancestor from africa.. Let’s call him Lucy 2.0.

    And the 3 headed hound? Well that’s just a mutated wolf.. Apparently it was advantageous to have 3 heads at the time.

    Don’t you believe in evolution dude? I’ts pretty cool. You can use it to explain anything.

    • Andy_Schueler

      WOW, isn´t it simply amazing how much pure, undiluted ignorance, arrogance and sheer idiocy young earth creationists can spew using just 89(!) words ?! :-D

      The Centaur is clearly our long lost ancestor from africa.. Let’s call him Lucy 2.0.

      1. You clearly know nothing about horses – they are domestic animals and the wild horses from which they descended did not exist in Africa, they were introduced by humans. 
      2. The centaur is physiologically absurd – if he starts galloping and jumps over an obstacle, he would break his spine. 
      3. If something like a centaur species would exist, it could not be closely related to any mammal, reptile, bird or amphibian species, because a centaur does not have the tetrapod body plan (in case you didn´t notice, he has six(!) limbs).
      4. You seem to believe in an unfortunately very common creationist misconception:
      http://api.ning.com/files/A*tkidRMIQmYpAXVpVhkDpkfPUbCWRu9cz0TF0Ub1yd-KBA1qipZ-fSYskkByVC1KGnN6OZ93*NNsTnAHMqVBxu9qeWVxxOY/Crocoduck.jpg
      If you would be ten years old, that wouldn´t be a problem – but for an adult, this is really quite embarrassing dude. 

      And the 3 headed hound? Well that’s just a mutated wolf.. Apparently it was advantageous to have 3 heads at the time.

      Nope, multi-headed non-human animals are formed by the same developmental defects as conjoined twins. Without modern medicine, they would only in the rarest cases survive to adulthood and even for those rare cases that would, reproduction would be next to impossible. It is not that unlikely that a handful of three-headed wolf individuals were born in the course of history, and lived for a few hours / days. The odds are very low but not zero – you would need to multiply the odds of wolfs having monozygotic triplets with the odds of having one of the developmental defects leading to conjoinedness (there is so far one documented case for human triplets where this happened).
      Although this poor wolf would have never made it to adulthood and he certainly would not have been able to put up a fight. 

      Don’t you believe in evolution dude? I’ts pretty cool. You can use it to explain anything.

      Nope, if there would even be the tiniest kernel of truth to any of the claims in the first two books of your favorite collection of fairy tales for example, evolution would be a dead theory. 
      And evolution actually strictly requires that only a tiny subset of all possible observations regarding the fossil record, biogeography, comparative anatomy, embryology etc. is observed – those that correspond to a strict nested hierarchy of similarities between species. One single mammal fossil in a cambrian layer would be sufficient to disprove common descent. A half-human half-horse creature in the fossil record ? This would not only disprove common descent, but also pretty much every other aspect of evolutionary theory. The possibilities to disprove common descent or any other aspect of evolutionary theory are almost endless. 

      As for fire breathing dragons.. Why can’t they have existed?
      You just need to cross breed a Trex and a Bombardier Beetle.

      1. Bombardier beetles don´t breathe fire, they mix hydroquinones and hydrogen peroxide with catalases and peroxidases, which leads to the hydrochinones being oxidated (a strongly exothermic reaction), which heats up the secrete to ~100 degrees celcius (this is not even close to the temperature of any fire, a burning cigarette has already 4-7 times this temperature).
      2. A giant reptile that would breathe fire is physiologically impossible, even if they would exploit a similar strategy as bombardier beetles, by for example mixing chemicals that would ignite when combined, they would still melt their own face when they breathe fire. 
      3. Insects and Dinosaurs can´t be “crossed”. What you mean is genetic engineering – very big difference. And even by genetic engineering you could not simply introduce the relevant genes of a bombardier beetle into a reptile and thus teach the reptile the bombardier beetle defense mechanism.

  • JohnM

    You don’t need to go into genetic engineering. All you need a Rhinoceros that likes to fart, and some sort of torch. But anyway. Thanks for sharing all your speculations.

    • Andy_Schueler

      You don’t need to go into genetic engineering. All you need is a Rhinoceros that likes to fart, and some sort of torch.

      :-D Ladies and Gentleman, the creationist explanation for why fire-breathing dragons obviously existed!

      But anyway. Thanks for sharing all your speculations.

      You´re welcome. While we are at it, do you already know where babies come from and why this does not involve storches in any way ? If we continue at this pace, we just need 1-2 years and you might be at the level of scientific understanding of the average 10 year old ;-).

  • http://twitter.com/iamcuriousblue iamcuriousblue

    School shootings teach us the True Meaning of Christmas? Good grief!

  • http://www.facebook.com/al.hiebert1 Al Hiebert

    Sorry,
    Jonathan MS Pearce, I cannot find on this video (as you suggest) that WLC
    actually says that he is ” trying to make sense of
    the massacre in Connecticut in the context of Christmas.” What  WLC actually says is that the massacre in Connecticut a week ago
    was an unspeakable tragedy, especially so shortly before  Christmas and
    that this unspeakable tragedy reminds us of another unspeakable
    tragedy that did occur a few weeks after that first Christmas when
    Jesus was born. He goes on to argue that the message of that
    first Christmas (not last week’s massacre in Connecticut) is a
    real message of hope. Could you and your anti-Christian friends listen to such
    videos just a bit more carefully to get exactly what is being said, not just
    what you hope to hear from a Christian whom you are over-zealous to discredit?

    At the root of your
    outrage over WLC’s comments on the massacre in Connecticut seems to be a
    fundamental misunderstanding of what Christians mean by divine sovereignty. As
    mere humans, we consider ourselves sovereign only over those events
    concerning which we are the agent cause, and then tend to project the same to
    our creator. Not so. The Bible’s notion of “God’s will” is not so
    simplistic. Consider the following 5 uses of “God’s will” in
    the Bible:

    1. God’s Preference
    (e.g. 1 Peter 11:9)–God is ” not willing
    that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 

    2. God’s Permission
    (e.g. to sin freely by exercising our own free agency causation), e.g. to let
    Pilot sentence Jesus to crucifixion even when he found no fault in Jesus.

    3. God’s Commands
    (e.g., the 10 Commandments, which he repeatedly permitted Israelis
    to break.

    4. God’s 
    Agent Causation (e.g., Numbers 22) — when He caused Balaam to bless
    the Israelis whom he had contracted with Balak to curse. This is
    most rare in the Bible as are miracles.

    5. God’s 
    Sovereign rule over the consistent operations of the laws of nature, ultimate
    justice, etc. Of this the Bible explans of fullfilments of OT prophecies,
    so that Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection were never in doubt
    even though the crucifiins very little, except the message to Job,
    that his limited insights prevent him from comprehending it, and the NT
    mentioxion involved innumerable free agency choices by rebellious
    humans.

    The
    first Christmas is what brings hope, not last week’s massacre in
    Connecticut. That’s the point of WLC’s comments. Listen again. Perhaps
    this time you’ll get it.

    • Andy_Schueler

      4. God’s Agent Causation (e.g., Numbers 22) — when He caused Balaam to bless the Israelis whom he had contracted with Balak to curse. This is
      most rare in the Bible as are miracles.

      Some people might consider it to be impious to quote from a book of the Bible that is largely about God´s “chosen people” committing genocide and slaughtering little children after an event like the massacre in connecticut. 
      Just saying…

      • http://www.facebook.com/al.hiebert1 Al Hiebert

        Right, Andy, some people might consider it inappropriate to quote anything from the Bible. They prefer to use their personal morality to dismiss anything from the Bible, especially without considering the historical or cultural context of the Old Testament. Space here does not permit a substantial treatment of genocide and the slaughter of little children there in the conquest of Canaan. However, let me recommend you responsibly digest Paul Copan’s “Is Yahweh a Moral Monster?” at  http://www.epsociety.org/library/articles.asp?pid=45&mode=detail. Here he addresses these objections as articulated by writers such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, etc. 

        When you’ve done that you might read Paul Copan’s 2011 book “Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God”.

        Then let’s dialogue.

        • Andy_Schueler

          They prefer to use their personal morality to dismiss anything from the Bible, especially without considering the historical or cultural context of the Old Testament.  

          You think it would paint Mein Kampf in a better light if you would consider the “historical and cultural context” – Jews being a despised and oppressed minority in germany – of the time ? Would this make it any less morally repulsive ? 
          Considering the historical and cultural context is useful if you want to understand how these moral views emerged and which cultural factors shaped them – this might make atrocious acts like genocides understandable, but it doesn´t excuse them. 

          Space here does not permit a substantial treatment of genocide and the slaughter of little children there in the conquest of Canaan. However, let me recommend you responsibly digest Paul Copan’s “Is Yahweh a Moral Monster?” at  http://www.epsociety.org/libra…. Here he addresses these objections as articulated by writers such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, etc. 

          Ok, let´s get to Copan´s defense of genocide:
          “Let me add a few more thoughts about warfare here. First, Israel would not have been justified to attack the Canaanites without Yahweh’s explicit command. Yahweh issued his command in light of a morally-sufficient reason-the incorrigible wickedness of Canaanite culture.”
          - Interesting, so an allegedly allmighty God is unable to convince some bronze age barbarians that they should follow him, and because of this “incorrigible wickedness”, said God orders his people to murder them all, including their children. 
          So all the canaanite children were “incorrigibly wicked”, does that sound very plausible to you ? 
          Also, history is written by the victors – had Hitler won WWII, german kids would now learn in school all about the “incorrigible wickedness” of the Jews…

          Let´s continue:
          ” Second, the language of Deuteronomy 7:2-5 assumes that, despite Yahweh’s command to bring punishment to the Canaanites, they would not be obliterated-hence the warnings not to make political alliances or intermarry with them. We see from this passage too that wiping out Canaanite religion was far more significant than wiping out the Canaanites themselves.”
          - So the best way an allmighty God can think of to get rid of a competing religion is murder all their followers including all of their children that are too small to even understand what “religion” means ?

          Let´s continue:
          “Third, the “obliteration language” in Joshua (for example, “he left no survivor” and “utterly destroyed all who breathed” [10:40]) is clearly hyperbolic.”
          - Ok, so they didn´t actually kill everyone, is that an excuse ? 

          Let´s continue:
          “Fourth, the crux of the issue this: if God exists, does he have any prerogatives over human life? The new atheists seem to think that if God existed, he should have a status no higher than any human being. Thus, he has no right to take life as he determines. Yet we should press home the monumental difference between God and ordinary human beings. If God is the author of life, he is not obligated to give us seventy or eight years of life.”
          - Ok, so the genocides Hitler ordered were bad, but the genocides Yahweh ordered were not, because Yahweh has a “higher status” than Hitler. Seriously ? So genocide is actually totally ok, as long as the guy who orders it is really powerful. Sounds like might-makes-right morality.

          Let´s continue:
          “What then of the children? Death would be a mercy, as they would be ushered into the presence of God and spared the corrupting influences of a morally decadent culture”
          - So Hitler actually did a good thing by sending many thousand jewish kids, who might have otherwise grown up without accepting Jesus as their saviour, straight to heaven ? Seriously ? 
          The same obviously applies to the shooter in Connecticut…

        • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

          Al

          When you have read Thom Stark’s (a Christian) deconstruction of Copan’s book, let’s talk.

          http://thomstark.net/copan/stark_copan-review.pdf

        • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

          This is something that Carrier alludes to which is one of the biggest problems in theistic thinking – the fallacy that he calls ‘possibiliter ergo probabiliter’. In the case of Copan, because someone has bothered to attempt to harmonise the issues of the OT with an omniGod, it means that there IS actually an answer, and that THIS IS IT. AN answer does not equate to THE answer.

    • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

       I cannot find on this video (as you suggest) that WLC actually says that he is ” trying to make sense of the massacre in Connecticut in the context of Christmas.”

      and then 

      What  WLC actually says is that the massacre in Connecticut a week ago
      was an unspeakable tragedy, especially so shortly before  Christmas and that this unspeakable tragedy reminds us of another unspeakable tragedy that did occur a few weeks after that first Christmas when Jesus was born

      Er, that is in the context of Christmas…

      Your idea of God’s sovereignty is exactly that. It depends on your theorising and your denomination. Either way, God knew what was going to happen, and could have made it happen otherwise.

      Therefore, in simple terms, this massacre served a purpose. This means that God was using these now-dead children as an instrument in a greater plan. This is morally problematic if God is supposed to be the grounding of objective morality.

  • http://www.facebook.com/al.hiebert1 Al Hiebert

    Well, now, Andy, if either Adolf Hitler or Adam Lanza had actually created our cosmos, its marvelous constants, first life and objective moral values and then revealed himself as an infinitely loving, true and just redeemer of morally rebellious humans, and provided a just basis for such redemption, then you might have a point here. If not, then your argument likely fails as a Fallacy of False Analogy.

    So who are you to demand that the Creator convince the Canaanites how to behave? Who are you to demand how the Creator deal with the incorrigibly rebellious?

    BTW, what is the ontological basis for your moral judgements on this issue or any other? Are you also a metaphysical naturalist who typically grounds your moral judgements on subjective social constructions that are culturally conditioned? If so, you have no ontological basis for your moral judgements on choices made by Adolf Hitler or Adam Lanza or anyone described in the Bible or anywhere else. Material particles or natural energies are simply impotent when it comes to making objectively sound moral judgments no matter how they are arranged. That’s not to suggest that you can’t make some sound moral judgments, only that you cannot establish their objectively sound ontological basis on the assumptions of metaphysical naturalism.

    • Andy_Schueler

      Well, now, Andy, if either Adolf Hitler or Adam Lanza had actually created our cosmos, its marvelous constants, first life and objective moral values

      If, by “objective moral values” you mean that there are moral values that exist independently and outside of the human mind, then you are currently demonstrating that such moral values do not exist. You don´t believe that genocide and infanticide is objectively wrong for example – if God orders it, it´s perfectly fine. 
      Also, you are simply rephrasing my earlier point about might-makes-right morality, you are essentially arguing that your God is more powerful than Hitler and Lanza, therefore he is allowed to kill as much as he wants.

      and then revealed himself as an infinitely loving, true and just redeemer of morally rebellious humans,

      If the OT gives an accurate picture of your God, you would have to replace “loving” by “petty” and “just” by “capricious”.

      So who are you to demand that the Creator convince the Canaanites how to behave? 

      I don´t believe in your God and the conquest of Canaan as described in the Bible is largely ahistorical anyway, so I´m not demanding anything. But if your God would actually exist and the conquest of Canaan happened exactly as described in the Bible, I would condemn the actions of your God for the exact same reasons as I would condemn any other instances of massacres, genocides, infanticides and mass rapes.

      BTW, what is the ontological basis for your moral judgements on this issue or any other? Are you also a metaphysical naturalist who typically grounds your moral judgements on subjective social constructions that are culturally conditioned? 

      The moral judgments of all healthy human beings are based on biological / cognitive factors like compassion, empathy and reasoning; and cultural factors like tradition, authority etc. 
      This is true for everyone – whether they are religious or not. Christians don´t get their moral views from the Bible, they cherry-pick Bible verses based on preconceived moral ideas. This is why the Bible was used for so many centuries to justify slavery and racism and now christians prefer to cherry-pick the verses that support equality and freedom.  

       If so, you have no ontological basis for your moral judgements on choices made by Adolf Hitler or Adam Lanza or anyone described in the Bible or anywhere else.

      All healthy human beings are capable of empathy and compassion, crimes like Hitler´s genocides are only possible if you indoctrinate people to believe that a particular group of people is not “really human”. In case of the Jews in third Reich, the germans were indoctrinated to believe that the Jews are “incorrigibly wicked”, that they are “Kinder des Teufels” (children of the devil) and “Gottesmörder” (god killers) and so on…. If you can make people believe that – if you can make them believe that a particular group of people is not human and absolutely wicked, than they are capable of comitting unimaginably horrible crimes against their fellow human beings. 
      And that is my basis for condemning Hitler´s and Yahweh´s genocides – the Jews are humans, just like us. And so were the Canaanites. No ethnic group is “incorrigibly wicked” – those are lies made up by bloodthirsty criminals to dehumanize their enemies.

      Material particles or natural energies are simply impotent when it comes to making objectively sound moral judgments no matter how they are arranged. That’s not to suggest that you can’t make some sound moral judgments, only that you cannot establish their objectively sound ontological basis on the assumptions of metaphysical naturalism.

      If by “objective morality” you mean morality that exists independent and outside of the human mind, then I don´t believe in objective morality. 

      • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

        Andy

        I find it interesting that Christians like Al claim an objective morality, and then actually don’t give an ontological description of it. Does it exist in a Platonic realm? Where is this objective entity? Or is it just a description, and hence a concept, and hence is just universally (at best) subjective?

        We have a problem of universals here, and that hasn’t been solved in milennia.

    • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

      BTW, what is the ontological basis for your moral judgements on this issue or any other? Are you also a metaphysical naturalist who typically grounds your moral judgements on subjective social constructions that are culturally conditioned? If so, you have no ontological basis for your moral judgements on choices made by Adolf Hitler or Adam Lanza or anyone described in the Bible or anywhere else. Material particles or natural energies are simply impotent when it comes to making objectively sound moral judgments no matter how they are arranged. That’s not to suggest that you can’t make some sound moral judgments, only that you cannot establish their objectively sound ontological basis on the assumptions of metaphysical naturalism.

      First, read this:
      http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2012/12/18/god-is-a-consequentialist/

      and then this

      http://commonsenseatheism.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Maitzen-Ordinary-Morality-Implies-Atheism.pdf

      And you might get some idea as to why your comments are wrong.

  • JohnM

    Jonathan:

    Therefore, in simple terms, this massacre served a purpose. This means that God was using these now-dead children as an instrument in a greater plan.

    Nothing that WLC has said, can justify that statement. It’s a gross misrepresentation.

    He proclaims the shooting to be “Unspeakable evil and unspeakable tragic” in the video.

    How can something be evil and tragic, while at the same time be meaningful and purposeful?

    It can’t!!! Your statements are completely contradictory to what we actually watch in the video you linked..  Have you no honour? Haven you no integrity? Why do you keep pushing this campaign of obvious lies?

    • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

      Brilliant.

      Again, critically enough. If God did nothing about the massacre, then God must have a greater reason than their ‘needless’ suffering in order not to have stepped in. In other words, their suffering was needed. We know that God used to step in all of the time (see the OT, though he HAS been on a 2000 year holiday ever since).

      So the inaction is for a greater good / reason. That means, by definition, they are being used instrumentally.

      And the idea that they can be adequately recompensed in heaven does not work, wince philosophers know that compensation theories can never be used to justify an evil. Paying you £1million after breaking your arms does not justify it – it merely compensates it.

  • JohnM

    I note that your statements are based on your own logic, rather than what WLC says in that video..

    If God did nothing about the massacre, then God must have a greater reason than their ‘needless’ suffering in order not to have stepped in.

    God is not responsible for the actions of others. And therefore, he’s not required to step in and stop their actions.. He’s not a cop as such. He’s more like a judge.. He makes sure that justice is done in the end, and that everyone is rewarded according to their own free willed actions.

    We know that God used to step in all of the time (see the OT,

    Sodom and Gomorrah, and The Flood, are warnings and examples not follow, rather than actually preventing their evil.

    We should only expect to experience evil, death and suffer, while on this earth.. Because Evil and death has been given authority over earth.. Not by God. But by us.

    God gave the authority over the earth, to Adam. At the fall, it passed from Adam to Satan. And so Satan became the “evil god” of this world, that we live in. Therefore we will all see meaningless suffering in this life.

    Not even followers of Christ can expect God to protect them from that. The servant is not greater than the master.

    though he HAS been on a 2000 year holiday ever since).

    Nah, he’s never been on holiday. God has been active around the world, to provide salvation to those who truly seek him, for last 2000 years… Before the Sheriff comes back to town, and rounds up all the bandits..

    • Andy_Schueler

      Sodom and Gomorrah, and The Flood, are warnings and examples not follow, rather than actually preventing their evil.
      We should only expect to experience evil, death and suffer, while on this earth.. Because Evil and death has been given authority over earth..
      Not by God. But by us.
      God gave the authority over the earth, to Adam. At the fall, it passed from Adam to Satan. And so Satan became the “evil god” of this world, that we live in. Therefore we will all see meaningless suffering in this life.
      Not even followers of Christ can expect God to protect them from that. The servant is not greater than the master.

      Wow, that is some truly excellent bullshit. In a stupidity-deathmatch, you might have a fighting chance, even against a Scientologist.

    • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

      Am just going to bed, but…

      God is not responsible for the actions of others. And therefore, he’s not required to step in and stop their actions.

      We have been through this before…. painful.

      So, if God designs and creates with full divine foreknowledge all that comes to pass. Everything. Down to the molecule. If every single things is within his knowledge BEFORE he creates, then how is he not responsible for it? How?

      You have failed to explain this adequately in our previous exchanges. Bearing in mind I had no input into how my soul was created (given there is one – I don’t believe in the soul). I also have no power over the environment or the genes or biology I am dealt. This is indisputable. So what do I have sovereignty over? And how, if God knew it would come to pass (and designed and created it), would God not be in some way culpable? And since he did not step in, he must be using that massacre for a greater good…. So… he must be using people’s lives instrumentally. As a means to an end. This is at the very core of utilitarian ethics. Something which you and Craig seem to decry….

      So, do us a favour by not wriggling and dealing with the issues…

  • http://www.facebook.com/al.hiebert1 Al Hiebert

    It’s reassuring to note that at least one person on this site knows of one critique of Paul Copan’s book that I mentioned. Who knows if anyone on this site has actually read Copan’s book or Thom Stark’s 344-page critique of it.

    No one should think that Copan’s book is the first Christian attempt to understand what’s actually happening in some of the shocking instructions of the Old Testament God that so
    scandalize writers such as Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, Harris and some on this site, nor is Stark the last to address these issues. Reflective Christians have offered diverse opinions on these issues for some two millennia now and will continue to do so.

    In my opinion both Copan and Stark offer some useful perspectives and miss the mark on some points. This is not the place to launch a 100-page critique of either Copan or Stark or both.

    A few observations may be useful:

    1.     Narrative of history does not teach normative ethics or theology
    (e.g., much of the Old Testament).

    2.     “The Law” can mean: a) the whole Old Testament, b) just the Torah / Pentateuch Genesis through Deuteronomy), c) just the 10 Commandments, d) the “moral law” (eternal principles of righteousness), e) Israel’s “ceremonial law” (much of Leviticus, etc. –  clearly
    fulfilled in Christ and not incumbent on New Testament believers, as clearly argued in the Epistle to the Hebrews), f) Israel’s “civil / administrative law” (much of Exodus, some of Leviticus, much of Deuteronomy –  clearly geared as a case law guide for judges in theocratic Israel, not applicable to non-Jews).

    3.     Justice implies that guilty criminals be punished, whether or not they or we like it. Among the range of just punishments in Israel’s “civil / administrative law” was capital punishment. There is nothing “petty” about this, regardless of how Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, Harris et al evaluate this. This includes “corporate personality” peoples — such I suspect Dawkins,
    Dennett, Hitchens, Harris et al know or understand virtually nothing.

    4.     God’s clearly expressed “will” in the sense of His “preference” (1st of the 5 I listed earlier) was that His covenant newly-liberated people should enter the Promised Land (Canaan) at Kadesh Barnea trusting His fear to go before them and drive out the incorrigibly rebellious Canaanites. No human knows how that might have played out — because of Israel’s refusal to proceed that way. Instead, they massively chose to side with the 10 spies who feared military defeat at the hands of the Canaanite “giants.” Only Caleb and Joshua believed God that He would give them the Promised Land (Canaan) as He had promised. The next 38 years in the Sinai wilderness that generation of rebellious Israelites paid with their lives for their rebellion “permitted” by God (2nd of the 5 I listed earlier), and their children entered Canaan on the military conquest terms set by their parents. In that context God “commanded” (3rd of the 5 I listed earlier) them in various military tactics that were predicated on the current situation generated by Israel’s earlier rebellion. God even intervened as “agent cause” (4th of the 5 I listed earlier) in some of these military tactics. Thus God was “sovereign” (5th of the 5 I listed earlier) lord of history, including these horrific events. I fail to see any improvement on our understanding of these horrific events provided by metaphysical naturalism.

    5.     Given the social construction view of ethics embraced by metaphysical naturalists such as Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, Harris et al I can understand that they fail to evaluate these events appropriately in historical and moral context.

    6.     But then metaphysical naturalism leads naturally to determinism which emasculates all moral judgment anyhow. So why are they still complaining? I suspect likely, because they either don’t understand metaphysical naturalism or they really don’t believe it.

    7.     Dawkins has coined a neologism “meme” to describe and dismiss theism, which is so wide-spread across the globe and throughout history. Ironically, fellow Oxford don Alister McGrath has noted that if one accepts “meme” as a useful description of replicating “units of cultural inheritance,” then one needs to regard atheism as equally worthy of that description.

    Does any of this make sense?

    • Andy_Schueler

      It’s reassuring to note that at least one person on this site knows of one critique of Paul Copan’s book that I mentioned. Who knows if anyone on this site has actually read Copan’s book or Thom Stark’s 344-page critique of it.

      I have to be quite frank here, but after reading Copan´s essay that you linked to, I´m really not interested in reading a book-length attempt to sugarcoat genocide, infanticide, torture, slavery and rape. Also, since he approvingly quotes utterly dishonest and anti-intellectual demagogues like 
      Dinesh D’Souza, I don´t trust his scholarship at all. 

      1.     Narrative of history does not teach normative ethics or theology
      (e.g., much of the Old Testament).

      The Old Testament is much more mythology than history, and the little bits and pieces of actual history are so biased and exaggerated that they are almost useless for historians. 
      But anyway, the question is whether Yahweh is a moral monster (similar to the question of whether Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter books or Sauron in the Lord of the Rings is a moral monster). And he most certainly is. 

      3.     Justice implies that guilty criminals be punished, whether or not they or we like it. Among the range of just punishments in Israel’s “civil / administrative law” was capital punishment. There is nothing “petty” about this

      Justice means that the punishment is fitting the crime. Capital punishment (and being tortured to death by stoning to boot…) for victimless crimes, like working on the Sabbath or believing in a different God or being raped and not screaming loud enough while being raped is as unjust as it gets.

      4.     God’s clearly expressed “will” in the sense of His “preference” (1st of the 5 I listed earlier) was that His covenant newly-liberated people should enter the Promised Land (Canaan) at Kadesh Barnea trusting His fear to go before them and drive out the incorrigibly rebellious Canaanites. 

      I fail to see any improvement on our understanding of these horrific events provided by metaphysical naturalism.

      1. The conquest of Canaan as described in the Bible is largely mythological – there is not much to understand. 
      2. The only evidence that the Canaanites were “incorrigibly rebellious / wicked” is that the people that murdered them said that they are “incorrigibly rebellious / wicked”. And again, had Hitler one WWII – the germans would now learn all about the “incorrigible wickedness” of the Jews, history is written by the victors.

      5.     Given the social construction view of ethics embraced by metaphysical naturalists such as Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, Harris et al I can understand that they fail to evaluate these events appropriately in historical and moral context.

      The appropriate evaluation being “genocide, infanticide and mass rape is totally cool but only if Yahweh orders it” ? 

      6.     But then metaphysical naturalism leads naturally to determinism… 

      No, it doesn´t. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics (still one of the most popular interpretations) for example, is non-deterministic.

      …which emasculates all moral judgment anyhow.

      No, it wouldn´t (if naturalism would imply determinism, which it doesn´t).

      7.     Dawkins has coined a neologism “meme” to describe and dismiss theism

      Where the hell did you get this nonsense from ? 

      • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

        Well said.

        The historicity of coming out of Egypt?

        …how bad at Geography must you be to take two million people[1] and
        assorted livestock into the wilderness and not find your way out for forty years?  Where were the pastures and food to support this multitude?  Marching ten abreast would have meant a line 150 miles long etc…

        [1] Taking the figures in the bible of 603,550 fighting men, that gives an estimate of 2
        million people in total. There is no archaeological evidence for the exodus, the number of Egyptians in Egypt only numbered some 3-6 million. With a more plausible estimate of 20,000 people, all the same issues still remain. There has also been found no archaeological evidence of anyone in the wilderness area, especially requiring
        settlements of the size necessary to support such large numbers.

        The point being that all the archaeology in the area has never found any evidence of such a mass of people. However, they have found evidence of contemporary bedouin tent sites… Hmmm.

  • http://www.facebook.com/al.hiebert1 Al Hiebert

    “So the inaction is for a greater good / reason. That means, by definition, they are being used instrumentally.” — Jonathan MS Pearce.

    By what stipulative definition do you judge the motives of a Creator you believe does not exist?

    By “ontological moral values” I mean moral values that actually exist outside some human’s imagination or subjective cultural tradition. A Creator of a physical and moral universe can be (I believe is) the ground for such. Higgs Bosun particles, sub-atomic particles and all forms of natural energy in our cosmos cannot generate such.

    It seems all humans intuitively believe there really is something we call “justice” and “injustice,” “truth” and “falsehood,” “love” and “hate,” etc., etc. 

    I realize that Dawkins thinks there is no such thing as “ultimate justice” and that living with this realization is a mark of nobility. How does that belief help the grieving families of Newtown, CT this Christmas season? That just compounds their grief.

    • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

      It seems that you are rather hellbent on equating us with Dawkins et al and on equating Dawkins with Hitchens with Harris. This, of course, is nothing more than a straw man of our positions and a straw man of their positions, though there will be some obvious overlaps. I don’t even know why you brough Dawkins up.

      “By what stipulative definition do you judge the motives of a Creator you believe does not exist?”

      So I, nor you, cannot argue against the conceptual existence of Zeus unless I believe in him?

      “By “ontological moral values” I mean moral values that actually exist outside some human’s imagination or subjective cultural tradition. ”

      But you have not explained how they exist. I asked in what way do they exist, not whether they exist. If they exist, they have existence properties. What existence properties does morality have? There might be a problem here, because morality is usually ascribed to actions. This means that each and every action has another conceptual property. And yet the same action committed by an animal or someone with different mental properties (a child, someone with mental dysfunction) has a different set of existence properties attached to the same action.

      So, you have failed to answer the question. In what way does morality objectively exist? Eg is there another realm / locus where these moral conceptions exist? Or is it in this realm / dimension? Can you touch them? Can morality causally interact with this world? With the physical?

      It is one thing to claim objective morality exists, as I could claim zuglubbage exists. It is another things to show it does and explain its ontology.

  • Pingback: Merry Christmas Everybody – it never happened though, and here’s why (and also why we shouldn’t believe anything else about Jesus)… | A Tippling Philosopher

  • JohnM

    Jonathan:

    We have been through this before…

    Yes. And you still don’t get it..

    Free will means that people are themselves responsible for their own actions.

    So, if God designs and creates with full divine foreknowledge all that comes to pass.

    Foreknowledge changes nothing in a free will scenario.

    Even if you look into the future, it’s still the choices of free humans, that you see.

    You have failed to explain this adequately in our previous exchanges.

    You’re not the judge of that.

    Bearing in mind I had no input into how my soul was created (given there is one – I don’t believe in the soul). I also have no power over the environment or the genes or biology I am dealt. This is indisputable. So what do I have sovereignty over?

    How you play the cards that you are dealt in life.

    And you’re still stuck in determinism.

    You’re game is not a product of your cards.

    Your game is how you choose to play your cards.
     

    • Andy_Schueler

      You say:

      Foreknowledge changes nothing in a free will scenario.Even if you look into the future, it’s still the choices of free humans, that you see.

      In response to this statement by Jonathan:

      So, if God designs and creates with full divine foreknowledge all that comes to pass. Everything. Down to the molecule. If every single things is within his knowledge BEFORE he creates, then how is he not responsible for it? How?

      You did not even try to answer Jonathan´s question, as you always do. You try to use the free will escape clause every single time this topic is brought up, ignore all refutations, and start the same bullshit in a new thread.
      For a thought experiment involving an omniscient version of Dr. Viktor Frankenstein, who creates a Monster that has libertarian free will, and that will go on a murderous rampage (which Dr. Frankenstein, having omniscience, knows in advance) – you would claim that the good Dr. Frankenstein is in no way, shape or form responsible for the murderous rampage caused by his creation although he knew it would happen and could have easily avoided it.
      But you will obviously never address this thought experiment and instead lie by claiming that you dismantled it with your objection that not creating something “would be prejudgment, which is unjust”. 
      And afterwards you will (again), ignore all refutations of this “prejudgment” nonsense like: “Did God “prejudge” Leprechauns by never creating them ?”, “How is it even conceptually possible to judge something that doesn´t exist ?”, “Will God eventually actualize all potential humans ? (And why only potential humans ? Why not an infinite array of other potential beings ?)”

      Don´t you get tired of being so wrong, so dishonest and sooo predictable ?

      • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

        Sometimes, Andy, I think you are too harsh on John. But I am wrong. He really does evade every opportunity to clarify and defend his LFW position. We call him out. Silence. You are so on the money here.

        • Andy_Schueler

          Sometimes, Andy, I think you are too harsh on John.

          Yeah, I think so sometimes as well to be honest ;-).
          In general, I don´t think that harsh language is very effective in making people think about their views. But for those cases where someone repeatedly and dogmatically (without even considering other points of view, as JohnM does) insists on claims that not only contradict reality, but that are not even internally consistent – I think that the only way to push people out of this cycle:
          http://blogforthelordjesuscurrentevents.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/break-the-cycle.jpg
          is a mixture of harsh criticism and mockery – maximizing the discomfort of holding and defending wrong beliefs.

    • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

      Yes. And you still don’t get it..
      Free will means that people are themselves responsible for their own actions.

      This is hilarious. You do understand, John, that just asserting it does not make it true. You have to, at the very minimum, explain how it COULD be so!
      Even if you look into the future, it’s still the choices of free humans, that you see.
      Show how this could be so. Show how if God would see that I would always choose X, that I would never choose Y, this could be free. The grounding objection, for example, of middle knowledge, states that if God knew I would do X, then in causal circumstance C I could not do ~X (not X). Thus, given C, there must be something that grounds that knowledge (ie, determining variables).
      You cannot simply assert that knowing a freely willed decision doesn’t make it determined without showing how it is not incoherent. You have to establish what, in philosophy, is known as the Principle of Alternate Possibilities. You have not done so, and thus your thesis does not get off the ground.
      You’re not the judge of that.
      i am indeed the judge of that. You need to establish the aforementioned. You have not done so. Assertions are not good enough.
      How you play the cards that you are dealt in life.
      And you’re still stuck in determinism.
      You’re game is not a product of your cards.
      Your game is how you choose to play your cards.

      You are, like a minority of philosophers (who also predominantly happen to believe in God – coincidence!), stuck in Libertarian Free Will. You have not established it. When asked, you have terribly failed to do so.

  • Reasonably Faithless

    “When disaster comes to a city,
        has not the Lord caused it?”- Amos 3:6

    • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

      “When Reasonably Faithless comes to ATP, has he not called JohnM out?” The Lost Book of Amos, 1.1

  • JohnM

    Reasonably Faithless :

    “When disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it?”- Amos 3:6

    That is true, of Israel.

    Are you a Jew live in Israel?

    Or are you once again, reading a words said about Gods chosen people, into a pagan context?

  • JohnM

    Jonathan :

    i am indeed the judge of that.

    The High Court Judge has once again ruled in favour of himself.

    I really didn’t see that one coming :)

    Show how this could be so. Show how if God would see that I would always choose X, that I would never choose Y, this could be free.

    The possibilities of this world, are not limited to what Jonathan can understand and comprehend.

    • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

      AMAZING!!

      The possibilities of this world, are not limited to what Jonathan can understand and comprehend.

      I’m not even sure what this fallacy is – the argument from ignorance? Assertion? randomly assorted words?

      • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

        So, again, you have failed to supply anything of substance. One more time, for laughs: How do you establish (philosophically and empirically) a libertarian free will?

  • JohnM

    Well I hold it to be a self-evident fact of life, that we have free will.

    And so do you. Which is why you get angry at me. If you actually believed your determination causation gibberish, then you would get angry at yourself, for causing me to ask such question, and give such replies.

    • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

      That is your one and only argument, in the face of logical fact? wow.

      And I do not find it self ecident. Whichi s why I wrote a whole book on it. 

    • Andy_Schueler

      Well I hold it to be a self-evident fact of life, that we have free will.

      Very few things are “self-evidently true” but many seem to be. The curvature of the earth is only 0.000126 per mile – that is why it seemed to be “self-evidently true” to so many people for such a long time that the earth is flat.
      No one doubts that people feel like they have libertarian free will, but whether this is real or an illusion created by our minds is a completely different question. And if you want to know why many scientists and philosophers doubt that we have libertarian free will, you would have to read a book (for example Jonathan´s). 

      Determination and causation is just a flawed idea in your head, caused by a flawed assumption about materialism

      You mean “determinism” and “causality” – and you´ll find plenty of scholars that doubt libertarian free will without being determinists. (oh and btw: materialism does not imply determinism, that is a very popular misconception, but still completely wrong)

      Clearly you do hold me responsible for what I write, despite it being incompatible with what you claim to be your world-view.

      There have been many philosophical debates about what it would mean for our legal system (for example) if it could be conclusively demonstrated that libertarian free will does not exist. And no one argues that people should never be held responsible for their actions – personal responsibility is a very meaningful concept with or without free will, because our beliefs can be altered by external causes, and holding people responsible for their actions can and often does change minds (many people leave prison after all and never commit a crime again). 
      There are some cases however where people have argued that punishment / taking responsibility is meaningless (for example for criminals that cannot understand why their actions are “wrong” due to mental retardation or damage to the frontal lobe or the Amygdala – these criminals can be locked away to protect the society, but they can´t take responsibility for what they did because they don´t even understand it).  

      • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

        Beat me to it, Andy.

        So, self-evidence is THE ONLY argument John has?

  • JohnM

    In the face of a logic fact?

    Determination and causation is just a flawed idea in your head, caused by a flawed assumption about materialism, completely incompatible with the reality that we actually do live in.

    • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

      Yawn. one formulation might be this:

      (1) Every human choice or action is an event.
      (2) Every event has its explanatory cause.
      (3) Therefore, every human choice or action has its explanatory cause.
      Building upon (3), we have our second syllogism:
      (3) Every human choice or action has its explanatory cause.
      (4) To have explanatory cause is not to be free.
      (5) Therefore, human choice or action is not free.

  • http://www.facebook.com/al.hiebert1 Al Hiebert

    Jonathan argues: “(3) Every human choice or action has its explanatory cause.
    (4) To have explanatory cause is not to be free.
    (5) Therefore, human choice or action is not.”This sounds all too familiar from my first year logic prof in 1964 (who perpetually pushed both atheism and determinism). My response to him then, and now to you, was / is: a) your proposition #4 is false because it arbitrarily dismisses as non-existent those “explanatory causes” that are moral agents who create moral evaluations of the most significant dimensions in the moral decision-making situation, and b) if your argument is sound (both deductively valid [yes] with inductively true premises [no]), then I for one must be determined to believe that free will is real for persons — as it appears is the case for the vast majority of humans, especially those professionally involved in our justice system.

    It seems to me that metaphysical naturalists really have no place for persons in their worldview.

    Ironically, Andy recommends as a debate strategy “a mixture of harsh criticism and mockery – maximizing the discomfort of holding and defending wrong beliefs.” This is more appeal to emotion than to reason. Dawkins also recommends mockery as a debate strategy. But mockery is an appeal to emotion, not to reason.

    When I say “By what stipulative definition do you judge the motives of a Creator you believe does not exist?” Jonathan merely responds with mockery – not very rational. My point is that it is irresponsible for anyone to argue the motives of anyone else “by definition.” I gather, Jonathan, you simply don’t get that. 

    Your dismissing Dawkins interests me. It also interests me how you dismiss as mythical any ancient history events not corroborated by archeology. Professional historians don’t normally operate that way. I wonder what motivates you to do so.

    • Andy_Schueler

      Ironically, Andy recommends as a debate strategy “a mixture of harsh criticism and mockery – maximizing the discomfort of holding and defending wrong beliefs.” This is more appeal to emotion than to reason.

      I don´t recommend this as a “debate strategy” – JohnM has a history on this blog, he repeats the same nonsensical arguments over and over and over again, completely ignores criticism, and then starts the same bullshit in a new thread as if nothing happens. 
      For those cases, I do think that mockery is the only appropriate response. 
      I also would be interested in why you dishonestly ignore what I said before the part you quoted - “In general, I don´t think that harsh language is very effective in making people think about their views.”

       It also interests me how you dismiss as mythical any ancient history events not corroborated by archeology. Professional historians don’t normally operate that way.

      If an event would have left behind archaeological evidence if it happened (e.g. the Exodus) but nothing is to be found, no matter how hard and long you look for it – it most likely did not happen.
      If it further contradicts other well established facts about history, it decreaes the likelihood that it actually happened even further.
      The old testament is much more mythology than history – that´s the consensus of biblical scholars, historians and archaeologists – only evangelical scholars disagree because they would be fired if they publicly doubt biblical infallibility.

      In your estimate is atheism a “meme” or is it not?

      Before you ask that, you might want to find out how Dawkins actually described his meme hypothesis (it has nothing to do with “dismissing theism” as you claimed earlier) and how other scholars criticized it. 
      You´ll find the original description in The Selfish Gene and further elaborations / criticism on this idea are all over the place (the wikipedia article on memes has many links). See for example:
      http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/POSC_a_00057

    • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

      Th epoint wasn’t whether one CAN/ refute the argument (one can try to refute any and every syllogism), it is the point that after 3 months of asking, JohnM hasn’t, nor has he tried. And yet he claims we are soo wrong. He has offered nothing. The funny thing is that in one short post, you have offered more than he has in some 2 or 3 dozen threads!

      your proposition #4 is false because it arbitrarily dismisses as non-existent those “explanatory causes” that are moral agents who create moral evaluations of the most significant dimensions in the moral decision-making situation, and b) if your argument is sound (both deductively valid [yes] with inductively true premises [no]), then I for one must be determined to believe that free will is real for persons

      As for what you say, your criticism fails on the incoherence of doxastic voluntarism, which underlies your claim about belief.

      Secondly, the idea that a decision can have an explanation and still be free is nothing but an appeal to compatibilism, itself a thinly veiled form of determinism. IT seems to be mere assertion with no backing up.

      Thiddly, the rest of what you say is an argument from desire. Whilst you have done better than John, you have only done a little better.

      As for memes, every concept is a meme. Some memes are true. Religion has defence mechanisms which keep it going (reward / threat of heaven / hell for not believing etc)

    • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce
  • http://www.facebook.com/al.hiebert1 Al Hiebert

    In your estimate is atheism a “meme” or is it not?

  • JohnM

    Andy_Schueler :

    JohnM has a history on this blog, he repeats the same nonsensical arguments over and over and over again, completely ignores criticism, and then starts the same bullshit in a new thread as if nothing happens.

    I do read your criticism / attempts at mockery / whatever you want to call it.

    I just think it’s false, based on flawed logic, and lack of insight into the bible.

    So why would I change anything?

    • Andy_Schueler

      I just think it’s false, based on flawed logic, and lack of insight into the bible.

      1. When you think something is “false”, you simply declare it to be false or it´s negation to be “self-evidently true” – without providing any argument whatsoever.
      2. When you declare something to be “flawed logic” you again make a mere assertion, because you don´t even try to argue for why the statement you think is illogical is indeed illogical.
      3. What you call “insight into the Bible” is simply you taking Bible verses literally whenever it suits you, and making some Bullshit up if you don´t like their literal interpretation – again, without any actual argument whatsoever.

      You do this in every single thread you comment on. In this particular thread, you declare libertarian free will to be “self-evidently true” without providing any argument whatsoever, without demonstrating any understanding of the issue and without consideration of any of the criticisms that we provided. You further declare that your God is in no way, shape or form responsible for his creation without providing any argument whatsoever, and again, completely ignore all criticism. 
      We already cut you a lot of slack – we could dismiss everything you say until you demonstrate that a personal God indeed does exist, that it happens to be the God you believe in, and that your particular interpretation of the Bible (involving idiocy like young earth creationism) is true. When we talk to you, we assume for the sake of the argument that your beliefs are true, although we know that they either are completely unsupported by evidence (e.g. the existence of a God) or absolutely and transparently bogus (e.g. young-earth creationism).

      So why would I change anything?

      If you want to be taken seriously, you have to argue for your case – if you simply repeat the same mere assertions over and over and over again without ever providing an actual argument, all that´s left for us is mock you for the dishonest clown that you are. 

  • JohnM

    Andy_Schueler :

    If you want to be taken seriously, you have to…

    I find your comment here to be rather silly.

    On one hand, your view is, that people like me should never be taken serious, but should just be mocked and ridiculed into silence.

    On the other hand, you blame me for not making an effort to be taken serious by “Christ Myth Lunatics” like yourself.

    In essence, you have just revealed your hand.. 

    All you know is to mock and ridicule.. Suddenly you come across someone who couldn’t care less. And now you’re completely lost, not knowing what to do.. So you try and “force” me to attempt to be taken serious by you, so that your mockery and ridicule will actually have an effect, and not just be completely irrelevant.

    In this particular thread, you declare libertarian free will to be “self-evidently true” without providing any argument whatsoever

    Which you caused, according to your own world view. So stop blaming me. And start acting in accordance with your own world view, by blaming yourself.

    But why would you? You don’t even believe that gibberish yourself. It’s just something that you adopt, to build a house of cards, that you hope will shelter you, from the inescapable consequences of human beings having free will.

    Face it.. The view that there’s no free will, and that what I write right now, was indeed determined by what you wrote, and not what I chose to write, is a mild form of insanity, where one has completely lost connection to the reality that we live in.

    You know that. I know that. And no amount of philosophical arguments will change that.

    So, no. I don’t really need to come up with all sort of wannabe smart arguments. All I really need to do, is to be that little kid, that yells “The Emperor has no clothes on”.

    • Andy_Schueler

      On one hand, your view is, that people like me should never be taken serious, but should just be mocked and ridiculed into silence.

      You confuse cause and effect, I explained to you what you could do to be taken seriously, I mock you not because of what you are / what you believe (“people like me…”) but rather because of how you defend your views and attack other views (by repeating mere assertions ad nauseam and completely ignoring all refutations and requests for clarification)

      On the other hand, you blame me for not making an effort to be taken serious by “Christ Myth Lunatics” like yourself.

      I could ask you to explain which particul Jesus mythicist theory you refer to and why exactly you think this is “lunacy”, you will then reply by saying “even Bart Ehrmann argues that…” (as if you had read anything that Bart Ehrman has ever written) without mentioning any details (because you actually don´t know anything about the subject). But I´m not going to – because I´m not a Jesus mythicist (as I already explained to you – so why are you lying about this ?). When it comes to the historicity of Jesus, I am an Ignosticist – meaning that I don´t know and don´t care if there was a historical Jesus or not. 

      All you know is to mock and ridicule..

      You had soooo many chances on this blog to prove that you are not just a dishonest troll – I started mocking you after you blew your ~20th chance to prove that you are not a troll. 

      Which you caused, according to your own world view. So stop blaming me. And start acting in accordance with your own world view, by blaming yourself.
      But why would you? You don’t even believe that gibberish yourself.

      See, you do it again – you simply completely ignore what I actually said about this subject and repeat the same bullshit again. Because you are a dishonest clown.

      Face it.. The view that there’s no free will, and that what I write right now, was indeed determined by what you wrote, and not what I chose to write, is a mild form of insanity, where one has completely lost connection to the reality that we live in.
      You know that. I know that. And no amount of philosophical arguments will change that.

      Let me stoop down to your level for a moment:
      Nice argument bro! But you´re wrong because yo momma´s fat and you know it !!11!
      But seriously, if you want to troll, you shouldn´t make it too obvious that you are trolling – if you want to attack straw men for example, try at least to come up with something that is remotely similar to what your opponents argued.

      So, no. I don’t really need to come up with all sort of wannabe smart arguments.

      Translation: leave me alone with your fancy-ass science, logic and evidence, I don´t need any of that shit as long as I got my degree from google university and my trusty old Bible.  

      All I really need to do, is to be that little kid, that yells “The Emperor has no clothes on”.

      Well, you´re more similar to this guy:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GsR–4NFpw

  • JohnM

    Apparently, I have no free will to believe otherwise. Only you can cause me to believe otherwise. So I would, if only you did it right, as I have no free will to choose, not to.

    And it’s not my fault that I defend my views nor that I attack and expose your flawed views. You caused me to do it. So don’t blame me.

    You’re the failure around here, either because you’re doing it wrong, or because you can’t even be consistent with your own world-view.

    • Andy_Schueler

      Apparently, I have no free will to believe otherwise. Only you can cause me to believe otherwise.

      Yes, this is exactly what we believe – we believe that christians have not only no libertarian free will, we also believe that christians cannot change their mind about anything by reading, thinking, debating, reflecting etc. – that´s right, we believe that the only way for christians to change their mind about anything is atheists using their free will to convince them.
      That´s exactly what we believe and totally not a completely idiotic and not-even-coherent caricature of our views, that would need several promotions to be classified as a completely moronic straw man fallacy.

      And it’s not my fault that I defend my views nor that I attack and expose your flawed views. You caused me to do it. So don’t blame me.

      Exactly! The absence of libertarian free will would totally imply that personal responsibility becomes a totally meaningless concept, that´s totally not completely idiotic and also totally not the exact opposite of what I actually wrote about this topic.

      You’re the failure around here, either because you’re doing it wrong, or because you can’t even be consistent with your own world-view.

      Translation: you have some completely idiotic and incoherent ideas about what we should believe and you don´t give a fuck what we actually believe or try to argue. You will repeat attacking your completely idiotic and not-even-coherent caricature of our views, which would need several promotions to be classified as a completely moronic straw man fallacy, and you´ll keep ignoring everything we actually say.

  • JohnM

    Andy_Schueler :

    we believe that the only way for Christians to change their mind about anything is atheists using their free will to convince them.

    What do you mean change their mind? Christians cannot change their mind themselves. They have no free will. They can only be caused to do so, by outside causes, outside of their influence.

    The absence of libertarian free will would totally imply that personal responsibility becomes an absolutely meaningless concept

    Of course. How could you hold someone responsible for something that they had no control over and no say in? You only hold people responsible, if they are responsible. And if it’s the outside causes that are responsible for the deed, then the persons themselves are not responsible.

    we believe that Christians have not only no libertarian free will, we also believe that Christians cannot change their mind about anything by reading, thinking, debating, reflecting

    Yeah.. we cannot even choose to read, think, debate or reflect ourselves. We can only be caused to do so, by outside causes. So why haven’t you caused me to do that? Why haven’t you caused me to be an atheist already?

    I have no free will, apparently. I have no way of refusing to be converted by your ideas. And I’ve been around here a while, thereby being caused to read, debate, and reflect upon your thoughts, which should have made me an atheist long ago, provided that your world-view is true, and that your arguments are not completely useless.

    So clearly, you have some explaining to do…
     

    • Andy_Schueler

      What do you mean change their mind? Christians cannot change their mind themselves. They have no free will. They can only be caused to do so, by outside causes, outside of their influence.

      Even if we assume that humans do indeed have libertarian free will, this would refer to choosing actions, not choosing beliefs because our belief-forming capacities operate subconsciously.
      We´ve been all over this so many times:
      http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2012/12/12/can-we-choose-what-we-believe/ (and the comment thread on this post was yet another example of you simply repeating your argument from an earlier thread although it had already been refuted at least a dozen times and was refuted in the very post that you were commenting on)
      http://www.iep.utm.edu/doxa-vol/
      But of course, you will ignore all of that completely and simply repeat the same bullshit again. 

      Of course. How could you hold someone responsible for something that they had no control over and no say in? You only hold people responsible, if they are responsible. And if it’s the outside causes that are responsible for the deed, then the persons themselves are not responsible.

      The purpose of holding people responsible for their actions is to make them reconsider their views and reflect on their behaviour. The criminal justice system in many countries has long ago stopped focussed on punishment and instead started focussing on correction – because forcing people to confront the people they wronged and taking responsibility for what they did (for example by serving prison time) is very effective in changing minds and reintegrating criminals into society. Holding people responsible for their actions is also how social progress happens and how our children learn to behave within a civilized society.
      Whether there is libertarian free will or not is completely and utterly irrelevant for the question of whether it is meaningful or not to hold people responsible for their actions. The only exception are people who are inable to change their behaviour (e.g. due to mental retardation or brain damage to the frontal lobe, Amygdala etc.) – and they are already treated differently by the criminal justice system.
      I already said that in a previous comment, you completely ignored it, and you´ll keep ignoring it. 

      I have no free will, apparently. I have no way of refusing to be converted by your ideas. And I’ve been around here a while, thereby being caused to read, debate, and reflect upon your thoughts

      We never had a debate. A debate would require at least some intellectual honesty from your side. But you are not interested in learning anything new, you are not interested in understanding what we actually do believe or not, you are not interested in questioning your own beliefs – you just spew the same bullshit over and over and over and over again….
      And it is this complete and utter lack of honesty that causes people to mock you.

  • JohnM

    Andy_Schueler :

    this would refer to choosing actions

    You cannot choose your actions. You have no free will.

    The purpose of holding people responsible for their actions is to make them reconsider their views and reflect on their behaviour.

    If there’s no free will, and people therefore cannot choose differently, it’s an absolutely meaningless concept. The only sensible thing to do, would be to change the environment, causing them to commit criminal actions, in the first place.. 

    Punishment, reconsideration and reflection won’t make any difference, in a no free will scenario, as once they have served their time, will enter the same environment and be caused to act exactly the same.

    • Andy_Schueler

      You cannot choose your actions. You have no free will.

      I thought you believe in libertarian free will ? You should make up your mind.

      If there’s no free will, and people therefore cannot choose differently, it’s an absolutely meaningless concept. The only sensible thing to do, would be to change the environment, causing them to commit criminal actions, in the first place..

      And that´s exactly what you do by forcing criminals to face the people they wronged and take responsibility for their crimes.

      Punishment, reconsideration and reflection won’t make any difference,

      Of course this makes a difference. Again, the absence of libertarian free will does in no way, shape or form imply that people cannot change their mind by thinking, reflecting, discussing etc.

      in a no free will scenario, as once they have served their time, will enter the same environment and be caused to act exactly the same.

      The absence of libertarian free will does not imply in any way, shape or form the absence of reason, compassion, empathy etc. (if these abilities would depend on libertarian free will, it would be trivially easy to prove that libertarian free is will is real). Forcing criminals to face the people they wronged, think about their crimes and take responsibility for them does not depend on libertarian free will at all – it would be effective with or without it. 

  • JohnM

    Andy_Schueler :

    Of course this makes a difference. Again, the absence of libertarian free will does in no way, shape or form imply that people cannot change their mind by thinking, reflecting, discussing.

    You would need free will, to decide to make changes, after having thought about, reflected upon, and discussed your own actions.

    People have no free will, according to your world-view. They aren’t in control of their own action. They cannot choose to act any different.

    A criminal, is caused to do criminal things, by causes outside of his control. And no amount of thinking, reflecting and discussion will change that.

    • Andy_Schueler

      You would need free will, to decide to make changes, after having thought about, reflected upon, and discussed your own actions.

      It doesn´t work like that. 
      Example:
      You are called for Jury duty in a murder case. You watch the defense and the prosecution presenting their evidence, you listen to the witnesses and experts they present, you think about it, you discuss the case with your fellow jurors etc. 
      And after all that, you have no opinion whatsoever on the defendant´s guilt until you “use your free will” to decide whether you believe that the defendant is guilty or not ? Of course not – you are either convinced of his guilt at this point, or convinced of his innocence, or undecided. And whichever of the three options you end up believing, you did not decide to believe it (if you did, you could simply decide to believe it´s negation as well – if you are absolutely convinced of the defendant´s guilt, you could just decide to be absolutely convinced of the defendant´s innocence!). What happens is, that you gradually start forming an opinion throughout the trial – some evidence might push you in the direction of believing in the direction of believing that the defendant is guilty, then you might hear an eyewitness that you find very credible and trustworthy, who exonerates the defendant, thus pushing you in the direction of believing that the defendant is innocent, and so on…. At no point is there any choice involved, if the prosecutor presents some evidence that looks very convincing to you, you couldn´t just make the decision to believe that it´s actually not at all convincing although you actually believe the exact opposite! 
      You do end up with an opinion on the case without ever having to make a free choice (assuming that you could make one).
      It is exactly the same concept with a criminal realizing that his crimes were wrong. To give one example – if you confront him with the consequences of his crimes (by for example by showing him pictures of the wife and kids of a man he killed in a robbery) he does not choose to feel empathic distress, if he´s capable of empathy, he will feel it naturally.

  • JohnM

    You clearly don’t grasp the meaning of no free will..

    Everything your do is a product of chemical processes in your brain. You raise your arm, because of chemical processes in your brain. You think a thought, because of chemical processes in your brain. You reflect upon something, because of chemical processes in your brain. You open your mound and speak, because of chemical processes in your brain.

    If you have no free will, it means that you have no control over the chemical processes in the brain. So on the “no free will” scenario, your chemical processes in your brain, are a product of outside causes. And so your actions and thoughts are a product of those outside causes, which you have no control over.

    No free will means, no free thoughts, no free reflection, no free action, no free speech, no free choice, no free nothing. The chemical processes in your brain, controls you, though outside cause, and you do not control them.

    Now… What’s rather hilarious, is that you seem to be saying, that we have no free will… Yet.. we do have the ability to will to think about our deeds, to will to reflection upon our actions and to will to change our ways..

    In essence, you’re saying, that we actually do have free will, and the ability to change our actions ( and the chemical processes in our brain ), if we just will to reflection upon our actions, and will to think about our deeds.

    • Andy_Schueler

      You clearly don’t grasp the meaning of no free will..

      No, you don´t get it. Let me demonstrate how:

      No free will means, no free thoughts, no free reflection, no free action, no free speech, no free choice, no free nothing.

      Yes, it means that the precise thoughts, reflection, speech, actions etc. of a person are not freely chosen out of a set of alternatives. 
      And I already gave you a detailed example that illustrates that this is exactly how your thought processes operate in everyday life – you don´t choose to find a particular eyewitness trustworthy or not, you don´t choose to find a particular piece of evidence conclusive or not, you don´t choose to find the prosecutor´s argument persuasive or not, you don´t choose which conclusion you´ll reach wrt the defendant´s guilt, you don´t choose which emotions are triggered by thinking about the defendant and his alleged victims, you don´t choose the mental associations that are triggered by discussing the case with your fellow jurors etc. Your thoughts / emotions / convictions etc. are not freely chosen – this is not controversial, almost no one who is qualified to weigh in on this issue disagrees with that.  What is controversial is whether you can freely choose your actions based on your unfree thoughts, emotions, convictions etc. – if you want to know why this is controversial and what both sides argue, you would have to read some books. 

      Now… What’s rather hilarious, is that you seem to be saying, that we have no free will… Yet.. we do have the ability to will to think about our deeds, to will to reflection upon our actions and to will to change our ways..

      In essence, you’re saying, that we actually do have free will, and the ability to change our actions ( and the chemical processes in our brain ), if we just will to reflection upon our actions, and will to think about our deeds.

      Nothing I said implies in any way, shape or form that I believe that humans can “freely choose / will” to do anthing. What I argued wrt our criminal justice system is that confronting the criminals with the consequences of their crimes is an essential part of the correction process because it forces them to think about those consequences; this is also the reason why things like group therapy sessions where  criminals have to talk about their crimes are part of the correction process in many countries. Nothing of this has anything to do with freely choosing / willing to do anything – the idea is to bring offenders / criminals into a situation where they cannot avoid thinking about the consequences of their crimes (for themselves, for their family and for the rest of society), talk about those consequences with them and educate them about possbilities to lead a life as an integrated part of society after they leave prison.

  • JohnM

    Andy_Schueler :

    Nothing I said implies in any way, shape or form that I believe that humans can “freely choose / will” to do anything.

    LoL. Weren’t you the one who claimed, that Christians could just “change their mind” by choosing to read atheist books and using their free thoughts to reflect upon them?

    How far down that rabbit hole do you really want to go?

    • Andy_Schueler

      LoL. Weren’t you the one who claimed, that Christians could just “change their mind” by choosing to read atheist books and using their free thoughts to reflect upon them?

      There is some advice against lying and bearing false witness in your favorite collection of fairy tales. Seriously, look it up. You are being a naughty boy again – Santa will be quite mad with you. 

      • JohnM

        Andy_Schueler :

        JohnM: Weren’t you the one who claimed, that Christians could just “change their mind” by choosing to read atheist books and using their free thoughts to reflect upon them?

        Andy_Schueler: There is some advice against lying and bearing false witness in your favorite collection of fairy tales. Seriously, look it up. You are being a naughty boy again – Santa will be quite mad with you.

        Andy_Schueler: Yes, this is exactly what we believe – we believe that christians have not only no libertarian free will, we also believe that christians cannot change their mind about anything by reading, thinking, debating, reflecting etc. – that´s right, we believe that the only way for christians to change their mind about anything is atheists using their free will to convince them.

        • Andy_Schueler

          Leviticus 6:1-4, “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbour…or hath deceived his neighbour…and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein: Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty,”Proverbs 17:4, “A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.”

          Proverbs 12:22, “Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.”

          Proverbs 19:5, “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.”

          Jeremiah 7:4, “Trust ye not in lying words,”

  • JohnM

    John Grove :

    The Bible says, “There is none that seeketh after God”. Apart from election NONE would come to Christ JohnM. Your lack of biblical theology is stunning.

    That’s falsehood, commonly found in sects such as Calvinists or Jehovah’s Witnesses ( Watchtower folks ).

    And it’s easily refuted… First by pointing out, that we have several people in the gospels, who actively seek out Jesus, of their own initiative. Such as Nicodemus, in John 3.

    Secondly by quoting John 3:16
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    Thirdly by pointing out what Paul is actually saying in that verse..

    Romans 3:10-12
    As it is written:
    “There is no one righteous, not even one;
    there is no one who understands,
    no one who seeks God.
    All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
    there is no one who does good,
    not even one.”

    So what is Paul actually saying?

    No one seeks God (as they should). No one is righteous, but rather workers of evil. And we are all walking according to our own lusts and sinful desires. 

    Paul is basically saying, that we are all sinners. No one is seeking God, as in seeking to do what is righteous in the eyes of God. No one is giving praise to God as they should ( seeking his face ). And therefore we are all sinners, in need of salvation.

    This verse has nothing to do with election.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

    [[ First by pointing out, that we have several people in the gospels, who
    actively seek out Jesus, of their own initiative. Such as Nicodemus, in John 3.]]

    Read John 6:44, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day”

    As for suggesting that John 3:16 (which was preached before the Pauline revelation) is in any refutes Reformed doctrine you are just kidding yourself. Those who believe were those who the Father drew.

  • JohnM

    John Grove :

    Read John 6:44, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day”

    Notice that he’s talking about the last day.

    There’s a huge difference between coming to Jesus on that last day.. And coming to Jesus in this life. Not all who Say lord, Lord to Jesus in this life, will be with him on that last day.

  • JohnM

    John Grove :

    BTW, the verse says that none seek God. You say, “No one seeks God (as they should)” Notice your interpolation and commentary. It doesn’t say that.

    Lol! Look who’s talking…  Where does it say anything about election?

    It’s clear form the context, that the entire passage is about how sinful all human beings are.

    Nice job shooting yourself in the foot.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

      [[Lol! Look who's talking...  Where does it say anything about election?]]

      I didn’t say that verse was teaching election, I only stated the fact of election as taught in the Bible. However, you quote that Nicodemus from his own free will came to Jesus despite the fact that Jesus said that no one can come to him apart from the father drawing them. You are in direct opposition to what Jesus taught.

      [[It's clear form the context, that the entire passage is about how sinful all human beings are.]]

      Yes, that IS the context. But you miss something, not only are humans sinful, they are unable to come to Christ apart from election. They are ‘dead’ in trespasses and sins. Dead men are unable to do anything. It’s not like throwing a life preserving to one who can catch it or willing to catch it. The person is dead, sunk to the bottom already.

      [[Nice job shooting yourself in the foot.]]

      Actually you shot yourself in the head. You say, “First by pointing out, that we have several people in the gospels, who actively seek out Jesus, of their own initiative. Such as Nicodemus, in John 3″

      The bible says clearly, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day”. You over emphasize “last day” as if he is speaking to the crowd about end of days. The last day is a reference to the day of resurrection of which believers who die await for. Apart from resurrection, there is no life..

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

    [[Notice that he's talking about the last day.]]

    The context IS NOT the last day, he merely says He will raise those the father draws the Last day (The day of resurrection). Dude, you need serious help. The context is Jesus is telling the listeners that he is the bread of life. He says, ” For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up…” Who are these that believe in the son? Well those the Father draws.

    [[There's a huge difference between coming to Jesus on that last day.. And coming to Jesus in this life.]]

    No, there is no difference. Since all are ‘dead’ in trespasses and sins and none seek God and only those who come to Jesus are drawn by the Father, it is exactly the same. Those that the Father draws, Jesus redeems.This is basic bible theology. I’m sorry you missed that day of class.

  • JohnM

    John Grove :

    The context IS NOT the last day….

    The context is Jesus is telling the listeners that he is the bread of life.

    Yet all people are doing to die. So what sort of life?

    Eternal life, after the first death, maybe?

    He says, ” For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up…” Who are these that believe in the son? Well those the Father draws.

    Raise them up, when? Now? Or on that last day?

    Have eternal life, when? Now? Or on that last day?

    Draw them, when? Now? Or on that last day?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

    What you say has absolutely no bearing on the fact that the bible is teaching election and mans inability to come to god. Yes, the “life” of which the believer awaits for is in resurrection. Jesus is emphasizing the fact of it, not necessary the time of it. The bible is quite clear about election, limited atonement, irresistible grace and perseverance of the saints.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

    You need to read the bible with more attention to detail. You have a very shallow understanding of it. 

  • JohnM

    John Grove :

    John Grove : I didn’t say that verse was teaching election

    John Grove : The Bible says, “There is none that seeketh after God”. Apart from election NONE would come to Christ JohnM. Your lack of biblical theology is stunning.

    John Grove : you quote that Nicodemus from his own free will came to Jesus despite the fact that Jesus said that no one can come to him apart from the father drawing them. You are in direct opposition to what Jesus taught

    No. Jesus never taught that gibberish. It’s something that you’re attempting to read into the bible. And it’s directly contradicted by the bible itself, as in the case of Nicodemus.

    John Grove : that IS the context. But you miss something, not only are humans sinful, they are unable to come to Christ apart from election.

    No, that’s falsehood, commonly found in sects such as Calvinists or Jehovah’s Witnesses ( Watchtower folks ). They need that gibberish to mind-control their members.

    John Grove : They are ‘dead’ in trespasses and sins.

    God didn’t enslave them with Sin. Satan did that.

    Why would Satan be able to prevent people from hearing the Word of God and be saved?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

    [[John Grove  : The Bible says, "There is none that seeketh after God". Apart from election NONE would come to Christ JohnM. Your lack of biblical theology is stunning.]]

    Notice a bifurcation of thought. I state the fact the bible says NONE come to god. The second is me just stating a biblical fact.

    [[And it's directly contradicted by the bible itself, as in the case of Nicodemus.]]

    No, in the same book (John), Jesus said none can come to him except the Father draw them. So Nicodemus was drawn by the father.

    [[No, that's falsehood, commonly found in sects such as Calvinists or
    Jehovah's Witnesses ( Watchtower folks ). They need that gibberish to
    mind-control their members.]]

    I don’t even see anything resembling an argument here. Just a rant.

    [[God didn't enslave them with Sin. Satan did that.]]

    God permitted Satan to. But that is neither here nor there. The fact is the bible teaches man is enslaved to sin, period. And apart from election there is no hope.

    [[Why would Satan be able to prevent people from hearing the Word of God and be saved]]

    He has no control over who the father draws. Those the father draws WILL be saved. It is as simple as that. You think Satan is stronger than God?

  • JohnM

    John Grove :

    What you say has absolutely no bearing on the fact that the bible is teaching election

    Lies. You and your watchtower friends, are teaching election, by passing on false interpretations, to people that don’t know their bible, and therefore allow themselves to be mislead by wolves.

    You need to read the bible with more attention to detail. You have a very shallow understanding of it.  You should read:

    1. God Chose to Save: Why Man Cannot and Will Be Saved Apart from Election by Joseph M. Bianchi

    Known Calvinist.

    2. Chosen by God by R. C. Sproul

    Known Calvinist.

    3. The Bondage of the WIll by Martin Luther

    Lutheran..

    4. The Sovereignty of God by Arthur Pink

    Known Calvinist.

    And where did you get that list from?

    5 – “Must Read” Books on Calvinism, Election & Predestination
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmnRtl1FDDA

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

       [[Lies. You and your watchtower friends, are teaching election, by passing
      on false interpretations, to people that don't know their bible, and
      therefore allow themselves to be mislead by wolves.]]

      If you knew your bible, you wouldn’t be doing all this ‘guilt by association’ but would have a clear refutation. Saying “boo” doesn’t advance your case.

      So I guess that John Calvin, Theodore Beza, the Westminster Assembly,
      Francis Turretin, Matthew Poole, the 1689 Baptist Assembly, Matthew
      Henry, John Gill, John Brown of Haddington, Robert L. Dabney, and Edward
      F. Hills are all to be considered “outside the realm of meaningful
      scholarship?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

    Anywho, I’m outta here for tonight, catch up with you all later.

  • JohnM

    Calvinism is a small sect, not much different from Jehovah’s Witnesses ( Watchtower folks ) and mormons. You would have to be pretty ignorant about Christianity, to think that their teachings represent the majority of Christians.

    • Andy_Schueler

      Calvinism is a small sect, not much different from Jehovah’s Witnesses ( Watchtower folks ) and mormons. You would have to be pretty ignorant about Christianity, to think that their teachings represent the majority of Christians.

      Since when do you give a fuck about majority opinions ? Roughly 60% of all christians are roman catholics, and we´ve heard your opinions about catholicism before…

  • JohnM

    Calvinism is very similar to Catholicism, on many points. They also practice infant baptism and so on.. But Calvinism is famous for some silly doctrines that John Calvin invented himself. And you can find lengthy critiques of theses doctrines, all over the internet. Like this one:

    http://www.biblelife.org/calvinism.htm

    So I do find it rather silly, when atheist attempting to tell me, what the bible says, by quoting Calvinists, and putting forward an argument from authority.

    You may as well have quoted Mormon “scholars” for all I care.

    • Andy_Schueler

      But Calvinism is famous for some silly doctrines that John Calvin invented himself. 

      That suggests that there actually is a christian doctrine that is not silly and / or not made up – have fun proving that. 

      And you can find lengthy critiques of theses doctrines, all over the internet. Like this one:
      http://www.biblelife.org/calvi

      Thanks, that guy is hilarious
      Excerpt from his article on “Proving that Evolution is Impossible”
      “The evolutionist ignores the problem surrounding the human female egg and the male sperm in the evolutionary theory. The human female like other mammals has XX sex chromosomes, and the male has XY sex chromosomes. The female egg contains the X-chromosome, and the male sperm contains either an X-chromosome for the reproduction of a female or a Y-chromosome for the reproduction of a male. The female eggs all develop within the ovaries while she is a baby (fetus) within her mother’s womb. Evolutionists claim environmental factors cause small changes in the offspring in the evolutionary chain. However, the environmental experience of the female cannot change the chromosomes within her eggs and cannot have any effect upon her offspring. Her body cannot go into the eggs contained within her ovaries at her birth to make an intelligent genetic change. Females cannot be a part of the evolutionary theory for these reasons.
      Awesome – this is going straight in the hall of fame of dumbest creationist arguments. This is even better than the craptacular bullshit you linked to from the WorldNutDaily or UfoTV.
      Please keep posting links – you have an absolutely excellent bullshit radar!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

      [[Calvinism is very similar to Catholicism, on many points. They also practice infant baptism and so on..]]

      You are in gross error, reformed theology says nothing of infant baptism. There may be some who practice this in their respective denominations but reformed theology is agnostic to whatever one holds as to baptism. There are many reformed baptists and dispensational Christians who happen to be reformed. Furthermore, the reformation was OVER this very topic, see Martin Luther’s “Bondage of the Will”.

      Those who hold to “free will” are clinging to Catholism. The Catholic church got so sick of  Martin Luther they sent Erasmus to spearhead him and when he did Luther produced one of the most influential books in Christendom. I can only conclude you are either ignorant in church history, have not read anything the reformers wrote and you present no argument against reformed theology. All your criticisms towards so far are rants and ‘guilt by association’ scare tactics but the one thing you haven’t done is show you are even the scintilla informed on church history. Reformed theology was not the minority when the reformation took place, nearly ALL who were “protestant” were reformed.

      Today may be a different story, but that is expected since people like to explain away “much” of the Bible.

      [[Basically, John Calvin's theology goes back to Saint Augustine.. You
      know.. The guy that invented concepts such as “Original sin” and “Just
      war”]]

      Augustine’s work remain influential to the vast majority of Christians today and I can wager money you have never read anything he wrote.

  • JohnM

    Did you actually read the article that I linked? You know… The one about Calvinism.

    Or have you just randomly changed subject once again?

    • Andy_Schueler

      Did you actually read the article that I linked? You know… The one about Calvinism.

      Nope, I read the crap you link to for comic relief, and I don´t find arguments for or against calvinism particularly funny.

  • JohnM

    Well since you prefer to be ignorant about Calvinism, let’s just go back…

    Andy_Schueler: the absence of libertarian free will does in no way, shape or form imply that people cannot change their mind by thinking, reflecting, discussing etc.

    How does people “Change their mind” by thinking, reflecting, discussing etc. ?

    According to you, they have no free will. No free thoughts. No ability to decide to sit down and think about stuff. No will to initiate reflecting upon something.

    And how does thinking, reflecting, discussing things, actually change the chemical processes in peoples brains? Keep in mind that the chemical processes are caused and controlled, by things outside of the persons control. Otherwise they would have free will.

    • Andy_Schueler

      How does people “Change their mind” by thinking, reflecting, discussing etc. ?According to you, they have no free will. No free thoughts.

      That is not “according to me”, that people cannot consciously choose their thoughts, emotions, beliefs etc. out of a set of possible alternatives is almost completely uncontroversial. What is controversial is whether our actions (which are obviously influenced by our thoughts, emotions, beliefs etc.) can be freely chosen out of a set of alternatives.

      No ability to decide to sit down and think about stuff. No will to initiate reflecting upon something.

      Example: I listen to a really interesting conversation in the train about austerity politics (on which I am completely agnostic at the moment), I get interested in the subject, read some articles online and discuss it with friends – and I´ll end up believing that austerity politics is superficially a plausible solution to a debt crisis but actually completely counter-productive. So I ended up changing my mind without any requirement to consciously choose between alternatives.
      I did not consider the alternatives:
      a) become interested in the subject of austerity politics 
      or
      b) continue not giving a fuck about austerity politics
      and consciously chose one of those alternatives.
      I also did not consider the alternatives:
      a) find a particular argument for austerity politics to be very persuasive
      b) find a particular argument for austerity politics to be persuasive
      c) find a particular argument for austerity politics to be somewhat persuasive
      d) find a particular argument for austerity politics to be not very persuasive
      e) find a particular argument for austerity politics to be not at all persuasive
      and consciously chose one of the alternatives.The ability to make conscious choices between a set of alternative actions / thoughts / beliefs / emotions / whatever – is in no way, shape or form a requirement for the ability to change your mind on things. It would only be a requirement for the ability to freely choose to change your mind.

      And how does thinking, reflecting, discussing things, actually change the chemical processes in peoples brains? Keep in mind that the chemical processes are caused and controlled, by things outside of the persons control. Otherwise you would have free will.

      Your knowledge of even the most elementary biological concepts is basically non-existent (in this very thread you seriously tried to argue that fire-breathing dragons once existed to give just one example….). Before I could give you a crash-course on neurons, synapses, neurotransmission etc. you would have to catch up on high school biology first.

  • JohnM

    Andy_Schueler :

    I listen to a really interesting conversation in the train about austerity politics

    Why are you listening to that? Did you choose to do that? Or were you caused to do that? If so, what caused you to do that?

    I get interested in the subject

    Why is it interesting? Did something dictate to you, that it’s interesting for you? Or did you yourself “make up your mind” about it being interesting ( Aka free thought ) ?

    read some articles online

    Did you decide to do that all by yourself?

    and discuss it with friends

    Did you force you friends to do that? Or did they choose to discuss it with you, of their own free will?

    and I´ll end up believing that austerity politics is superficially a plausible solution to a debt crisis but actually completely counter-productive.

    Was that the result of free thought? Or did someone dictate to you, what the right conclusion was?

    So I ended up changing my mind without any requirement to consciously choose between alternatives.

    How did your thoughts, change the chemical processes in your brain? You thoughts have no control you brain. They are a product of your brain. They do not control, what goes on in your brain.

    If you had any control over what goes on in your brain, you would have free will, as you would be able to change the processes to fit what you wanted to think, feel and behave.
     

    • Andy_Schueler

      Why are you listening to that? Did you choose to do that? Or were you caused to do that? If so, what caused you to do that?

      Cause: sitting in audible distance.

      Why is it interesting? Did something dictate to you, that it’s interesting for you? Or did you yourself “make up your mind” about it being interesting ( Aka free thought ) ?

      I already answered that.

      Did you decide to do that all by yourself?

      I already answered that.

      Did you force you friends to do that? Or did they choose to discuss it with you, of their own free will?

      1. False dichotomy.
      2. I already answered that.

      Was that the result of free thought? Or did someone dictate to you, what the right conclusion was?

      1. False dichotomy.
      2. I already answered that.

      How did your thoughts, change the chemical processes in your brain? You thoughts have no control you brain. They are a product of your brain. They do not control, what goes on in your brain.
      If you had any control over what goes on in your brain, you would have free will, as you would be able to change the processes to fit what you wanted to think, feel and behave.

      I already answered that.

  • JohnM

    Thank you for not answering.. So let’s just continue..

    …. and consciously chose one of those alternatives.

    You have no choice. You have no free will to choose. It’s not you making any choices. You were caused to choose one over the other, by outside causes/processes, that you have no control. 

    You’re a machine. You do what your brain tells you. And your brain gets the input, from outside causes, that you have no control over. So your thoughts cannot cause anything.

    You’re trying to have your cake and eat it. Your world-view does not allow for such things.

    • Andy_Schueler

      Thank you for not answering.. 

      You must really hate the ninth commandment….

      You have no choice. You have no free will to choose. It’s not you making any choices. You were caused to choose one over the other, by outside causes/processes, that you have no control. 
      You’re a machine. You do what your brain tells you. And your brain gets the input, from outside causes, that you have no control over.

      Poorly worded but pretty much correct. (except for the “outside causes” – that is not an accepted neurobiological term, and if you mean “sensory stimuli” by that, it would not be completely wrong, but incomplete)

      So your thoughts cannot cause anything.

      Non sequitur.

      You’re trying to have your cake and eat it. Your world-view does not allow for such things.

      By “such things”, you mean:
      “…. and consciously chose one of those alternatives.”
      Let me give you the full quote that you replied to:
      “I DID NOT consider the alternatives:
      a) become interested in the subject of austerity politics 
      or
      b) continue not giving a fuck about austerity politics
      and consciously chose one of those alternatives.”
      => I highlighted the part that you must have missed (your reading comprehension is in desperate need of improvement).

  • JohnM

    JohnM : You have no choice. You have no free will to choose. It’s not you making any choices. You were caused to choose one over the other, by outside causes/processes, that you have no control. You’re a machine. You do what your brain tells you. And your brain gets the input, from outside causes, that you have no control over.

    Andy_Schueler : Poorly worded but pretty much correct.

    For your thoughts to have any effect on your future behaviour, they would need to have some kind of effect upon your brain. But there’s no input going back to the brain.

    Your brain doesn’t use that kind of input. The machine doesn’t feed itself. If it ran on thoughts, it would never get going in the first place. The machine gets the input, not from your thoughts, but from outside causes, outside of your control.

    Therefore you cannot change your mind. Only outside causes, can change your mind. And if the causes are your genes, then they never change.

    • Andy_Schueler

      For your thoughts to have any effect on your future behaviour, they would need to have some kind of effect upon your brain. But there’s no input going back to the brain.

      A guy that believes that fire-breathing Dragons once existed tries to explain how the brain works – awesome :-D. As I already told you, much simpler cognitive processes than discussing or reflecting already lead to observable and measurable effects in your brain – merely trying to access a simple memory (e.g. how old am I ?) already does that. And if you wouldn´t have slept through your biology classes, you probably would have already a vague idea why this is so. Btw, try to define “input” in this context – I predict hilarious results for that…  

      Your brain doesn’t use that kind of input. The machine doesn’t feed itself. If it ran on thoughts, it would never get going in the first place.

      OMFG :-D 
      “Running on thoughts” ?? What the fuck does that even mean ?? That is some excellent bullshit again JohnM!

      The machine gets the input, not from your thoughts, but from outside causes, outside of your control.

      Please, please try to define “input” and “outside causes” – this is really quite hilarious dude ;-). 

      Therefore you cannot change your mind. Only outside causes, can change your mind. And if the causes are your genes, then they never change.

      Sooo…. you believe that the “outside causes” / “input” that your brain “feeds on” are genes ? Wow. Just WOW. This whole comment of yours might be single dumbest thing I´ve seen in my life. It´s on par with Miss Teen South Carolina 2007:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQdhMSEqhfg

  • JohnM

    Andy_Schueler:

    Sooo…. you believe that the “outside causes” / “input” that your brain “feeds on” are genes ?

    No. I’m referring to all those studies that can be generalized as “criminal genes”. That is, genes that according to those theories affect brain chemistry, making some people more or less prone to violence, and other criminal acts.

    And in the light of that, it’s pretty ignorant for you to claim, that people can just think about and reflect upon their actions, to change their behaviour.

    A guy that believes that fire-breathing Dragons once existed tries to explain how the brain works – awesome

    Your brain is just a biological information processor. A computer. I’m a computer programmer. And I’ve worked with AI programming, in the game industry (AI aka free will computers). You have no idea what you’re actually talking about. I do.

    As I already told you, much simpler cognitive processes than discussing or reflecting already lead to observable and measurable effects in your brain merely trying to access a simple memory (e.g. how old am I ?) already does that.

    You don’t go though the CPU to reach the memory banks. That would be like going though the production line of a factory to reach the warehouse.

    And why should picking something up or leaving something in storage, affect what’s being produced on the production line? The warehouse is a separate system. It merely stores what comes out of the production line. It doesn’t affect what’s being produced, on the production line. You have no idea what you’re actually talking about.

    “Running on thoughts” ?? What the fuck does that even mean ??

    The production line doesn’t run things that I has all read produced.. Such as your thoughts.. They are stored at the warehouse.. And they don’t affect what’s being produced on the production line.

    If your thoughts that the ability to control what’s going on, on the production line, then you would have free will.

    Just like computers would have AI, if they could control and set the rules for what their CPU would produce. The only reason that we don’t have true AI’s yet, is that even the most complex computers, are still running by rules, programmed by humans.

    • Andy_Schueler

      No. I’m referring to all those studies that can be generalized as “criminal genes”. That is, genes that according to those theories affect brain chemistry, making some people more or less prone to violence, and other criminal acts.
      And in the light of that, it’s pretty ignorant for you to claim, that people can just think about and reflect upon their actions, to change their behaviour.

      I already addressed this point (three times already…) in this thread.  

      Your brain is just a biological information processor. A computer. I’m a computer programmer. And I’ve worked with AI programming, in the game industry (AI aka free will computers). You have no idea what you’re actually talking about. I do.

      I have a degree in Molecular Biology and a degree in Bioinformatics (and 9 years of programming experience). And I know that calling the brain a “computer” and artificial intelligence “free will computers” is completely moronic. You apparently do not – which makes it rather hard to believe that you have any experience whatsoever with artificial intelligence. Prove it – which games have you been working on ? Which programming language did you use ? (and be careful – I will challenge you to write the code for a small program to prove that you are not just making this up ;-) ).

      You don’t go though the CPU to reach the memory banks. That would be like going though the production line of a factory to reach the warehouse.

      :-D So you think that there is a dedicated part of the brain that corresponds to the  “CPU” and another part that corresponds to the “memory bank”…. Amazing, simply amazing. 

      And why should picking something up or leaving something in storage, affect what’s being produced on the production line? The warehouse is a separate system. It merely stores what comes out of the production line. It doesn’t affect what’s being produced, on the production line. You have no idea what you’re actually talking about.

      Translation: I have no clue about biology and no clue about computer science, let me explain how the brain works!
      Continue – this is great entertainment ;-).

      The production line doesn’t run things that I has allready produced.. Such as your thoughts.. They are stored at the warehouse.. And they don’t affect what’s being produced on the production line.

      Here is a drawing of the structure of the human brain:
      http://brainspedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/5-Functions-Of-The-Human-Brain-4.jpg
      Would you mind showing us the “production line” and the “warehouse” (and while you´re at it, could you also show us where the bathroom, the wine cellar, the lobby and the manager´s office in the human brain is ?)

      If your thoughts had the ability to control what’s going on, on the production line, then you would have free will.

      So, you think that thoughts can visit the “production line” in your brain ? Can they visit the bathroom in your brain as well ? 

      Just like computers would have AI, if they could control and set the rules for what their CPU would produce. The only reason that we don’t have true AI’s yet, is that even the most complex computers, are still running by rules, programmed by humans.

      Ok, now I´m absolutely convinced that you never ever had any experience working on any artificial intelligence project. You could easily prove that you did – answer the questions I mentioned above. But we both know that you are making this up, don´t we ? ;-) 

  • JohnM

    So much talk. Yet no answer.

    Trying to change subject again, are we?

    You apparently do not – which makes it rather hard to believe that you have any experience whatsoever with artificial intelligence. Prove it – which games have you been working on ?

    NDA. If you have any clue about the industry, you know what that means.

    Which programming language did you use ? (and be careful – I will challenge you to write the code for a small program to prove that you are not just making this up ;-) ).

    LoL. All languages are the same, once you get to know the syntax.. From Java to pascal to C to C+ to C# to whatever. Clearly you have no programming experience.

    So you think that there is a dedicated part of the brain that corresponds to the “CPU”

    CPU means central processing unit. All information processes has one. It wouldn’t be one, without one, silly.

    and another part that corresponds to the “memory bank”

    LoL. And you claim to have a degree in Biology?

    “Scientists have identified the region of the brain responsible for long-term memory, bringing closer the development of treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/1461304/Brain-memory-bank-is-key-to-Alzheimers.html

    • Andy_Schueler

      NDA. If you have any clue about the industry, you know what that means.

      You are making this shit up, got it.  

      LoL. All languages are the same, once you get to know the syntax.. From Java to pascal to C to C++ to C# to whatever. Clearly you have no programming experience.

      Exactly, the only, I repeat, the ONLY difference between Prolog, Haskell, Lisp, Fortran, Perl and C# is syntax. Everything else is exactly the same. That´s why I could easily use mutable datatypes in Haskell, or run C code without compiling it, or write Java code in a procedural instead of an object-oriented way, amirite ?!
      There are only two possibilities, you have either not the foggiest clue about programming or you one of those kids that learned some Java and think they can play with the big boys now. Which one is it ? 

      CPU means central processing unit. All information processors has one. It wouldn’t be one, without one, silly.

      Every single neuron in your brain is “processing information” you idiot, there is no distinct part of the brain that could be regarded as the “CPU” (and another hint: the way information is processed has almost nothing to do with the way information is processed in a computer for a very long list of reasons – input-output mapping is not deterministic; the information that is processed is analog and not digital; there is no hardware/software distinction; processing information and accessing information is done by the same structures (Neurons necessarily modify their synapses (if only very slightly sometimes) when they process information, but their synapses are the substrate of “memory”!),  there is no distinction such as with CPU and RAM in a computer – to name just the four most important reasons.

      LoL. And you claim to have a degree in Biology?
      “Scientists have identified the region of the brain responsible for long-term memory, bringing closer the development of treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.”
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new

      This seems to be a mixture of bad science journalism (well, maybe the journalist was innocent, the headlines are usually picked by the editor) and a completely uneducated and gullible reader (you).
      Calling the anterior cingulate cortex is completely moronic. The brain doesn´t have “memory banks” – the structures that access and process information are the same (what is true however is that specific regions are associated with procedural memory, episodic memory, semantic memory etc.)

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

        [[Every single neuron in your brain is "processing information" you idiot,
        there is no distinct part of the brain that could be regarded as the
        "CPU"]]

        Andy is right, see the book, “Incognito, The Secret Lives of the Brain”.

  • JohnM

    Andy_Schueler :

    If you’ve never come across a Non-disclosure agreement in your line of work, then you’ve never worked with anything important.

    Exactly, the only, I repeat, the ONLY difference between Prolog, Haskell, Lisp, Fortran, Perl and C# is syntax. Everything else is exactly the same.

    That’s right. A programming language that can be compiled, is just an easier way for human beings to write 1 and 0.

    This seems to be a mixture of bad science journalism

    Haha. Epic fail comeback.

    • Andy_Schueler

      If you’ve never come across a Non-disclosure agreement in your line of work, then you’ve never worked with anything important.

      Right, which is why publicly funded research, which is not only non-confidential, but even has to be made accessible to the general public, is totally non-important.
      I guess this is why the work of doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters etc. is also completely unimportant.
      Moron.
      Also, I guess that you signed one of those NDA´s that requires you to never ever mention a single word about any of the projects you ever worked on, even after the games are already released. That sounds totally plausible and not at all as if you are making shit up without trying very hard to come up with plausible lies!

      That’s right. A programming language that can be compiled, is just an easier way for human beings to write 1 and 0.

      :-D 
      No, it´s actually quite the opposite – interpreted languages like Perl, Python, Ruby etc. make it much easier to get executable code compared to compiled languages like C or hybrids like C#, because you save the compiling step (which can take hours for complex programs). This is usually taught in the very first lecture in an introduction to programming. But I guess they don´t teach this at Google University, right JohnM ? ;-)
      Also, since you ignored the rest of the comment, I take this as an admission that you realize that there are much deeper differences between procedural, functional and object-oriented languages than merely different syntax (or that you have simply no clue what any of these terms mean).

      Haha. Epic fail comeback.

      You have to try harder little troll ;-).
      Come on – keep explaining how the brain is totally like a factory with production lines and storage units and shit – that was pretty hilarious so far!

      • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

        John, you are getting owned here, no other way of putting it.

        Just to rewind a little. As my favourite band, James, sung “stop, stop talking about who to blame, start talking about how to change”.

        The importance to crime, punishment and rehabilitation is not retribution as you and your god like, but about how to influence the causal circumstance so that in the future, those crimes and misdemeanours are less likely to happen. 

        You still haven’t shown, logically, how free will can work in a libertarian sense. Please show, logically, as well as empirically, how this is the case.

        Examples of interesting research that I pointed out to you before:

        cohorts were tested at age 3/4 and found:

        those with poor fear conditioning were those who went on to commit crimes 20 years later
        those with poor delayed gratification techniques were those who went on to score lower SATs and have less competency as measured by their parents in later life

        Also
        men are less likely to believe in God than women (due to having less empathic cognitive abilities) – this also partly explains why mathematicians and scientists tend to be men (though there are other factors too)

        autistic (eg Asperger’s) are much less likely to believe in a personal god for the same reasons.

        and 
        people with the COM-T gene variant are more likely to be pro-social (kind)

        kindness is an automatic functioning of the amygdala, rather than, how people used to think, an active suppression of feelings of selfishness

        so on and so forth. The research is phenomenal. For every correlation, there is a cause involved. For every pattern in social science, free will is chipped away. For every twin study that shows either environment or genes / phenotype as the cause, free will is eroded.

        Not only do you have nothing, logically, but you are fighting the entirety of neuroscience and genetics, social science and suchlike.

  • JohnM

    John Grove :

    You are in gross error, reformed theology says nothing of infant baptism. There may be some who practice this in their respective denominations but reformed theology is agnostic to whatever one holds as to baptism.

    Everyone knows that John calvin was a strong supporter of infant baptism. He tied his own salvation to his infant baptism.

    There are many reformed baptists and dispensational Christians who happen to be reformed.

    Baptism comes from a completely different place, than John Calvin. They trace their roots back to anabaptism, who strongly condemmed infant baptism. That’s why they were called ana-baptist in the first place.

    I can only conclude you are either ignorant in church history, have not read anything the reformers wrote and you present no argument against reformed theology.

    There were many groups of the reformation. Such as Wesleyan and Anabaptist. Not just Lutherans and Catholics. And John Calvin was neither. He was a little sect in Geneva, like Mormons in United states.

    To say that Augustine and John Calvin was influential to the vast majority of Christians, is like saying that Joseph Smith was influential to the vast majority of Christians in United states.

    It’s just not true. Christians are influenced by the bible. These men appear long after Christianity had spread into the world.

    And I seriously do not understand, why you would defend a false faith, that you yourself have dismissed as falshood.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

    [[Everyone knows that John calvin was a strong supporter of infant baptism. He tied his own salvation to his infant baptism.]]

    As I said, it has absolutely nothing to do with “Calvinism” which can be summarized in the TULIP acronym.

    1. Total Depravity
    2. Unconditional Election
    3. Limited Atonement
    4. Irresistible Grace
    5. Perseverance of the Saints

    This is what the reformation was about. And as I said many different denominations embrace reformed theology.

    [[To say that Augustine and John Calvin was influential to the vast
    majority of Christians, is like saying that Joseph Smith was influential
    to the vast majority of Christians in United states.]]

    Faulty analogy, many Christians still read and study the works of Augustine and John Calvin.

    [[It's just not true. Christians are influenced by the bible.]]

    Not solely as evident from the many Christians who believe all kinds of strange things. They simply “use” the bible to rationalize their beliefs. But these men are still heavily read to this day by many Christian Universities and Christians themselves.

    [[And I seriously do not understand, why you would defend a false faith, that you yourself have dismissed as falshood.]]

    Yes, I think the Bible is bullshit from start to finish and I don’t embrace it. I only say THIS is what the bible clearly teaches using a sound hermeneutical principle of interpretation. I realize you and others do like like this, but it is what it is.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

    Johnny, I have been skimming through the pdf by the Christian gentleman you recommended who is brutally honest about Yahweh and I have to admire his honesty. He flay says for believers to say to Copan, “Ask him to take off his apologist hat and start talking straight, consequences be damned.”

    Now THAT is a Christian!

    • http://www.www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

      I sometimes wonder at Thom Stark’s Chrsitianity. He is certainly harsh on people like Copan – and for good reason.

  • JohnM

    Jonathan:

    Just to rewind a little.

    Yes, let’s do that.. But first of all, Jonathan.. As a no free will’er… Do you actually believe, that human beings can change their mind, by reading, reflecting and discussing their own actions?

    • Andy_Schueler

      Yes, let’s do that.. But first of all, Jonathan.. As a no free will’er… Do you actually believe, that human beings can change their mind, by reading, reflecting and discussing their own actions?

      So you can play your stupid gotcha game again ? 
      FFS, grow up punk.

  • JohnM

    John Grove :

    As I said, it has absolutely nothing to do with “Calvinism” which can be summarized in the TULIP acronym.

    1. Total Depravity
    2. Unconditional Election
    3. Limited Atonement
    4. Irresistible Grace
    5. Perseverance of the Saints

    This is what the reformation was about.

    No, that’s not what the reformation was about.

    Those are the 5 points of Calvinism, you silly person.

    And if that is the Christianity you knew, then you never knew Christianity.

    As for the reformation, John Calvin was one of the reformers so he was instrumental and influential.

    No. John Calvin was the leader of a minor insignificant sect in Geneva. I was only later, that his false theology started infiltrating Lutheran churches.

    many Christians still read and study the works of Augustine and John Calvin.

    Only so that they are informed, and unlike you, are able to tell the difference between Calvinism, Lutheranism, Wesleyanism, Catholicism, Anabaptism, Mormonism and so on.

    I only say THIS is what the bible clearly teaches using a sound hermeneutical principle of interpretation.

    No, the bible does not teach Calvinism. If that was the case, then you wouldn’t need to read John Calvin, to be a Calvinist. And all bible readers would be Calvinist, if that was the case, which is far from the case. Calvinist are a little sect, on pair with Mormons and Jehovah witnesses.

    At least think your arguments though, before posting them.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

      [[ Calvinist are a little sect, on pair with Mormons and Jehovah witnesses.]]

      I wouldn’t say 80 million is a small sect would you?

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

      BTW, there are 14.1 million Mormons and at least 12 million Jehovah’s Witnesses. Add Mormons and Jehovah’s together 14.1 + 12 = 26.1 million

      Still 53.9 million behind Calvinists.

  • JohnM

    Andy_Schueler  :

    …interpreted languages like Perl, Python, Ruby etc. make it much easier to get executable code compared to..

    None of those are considered “real programming languages TM” . They are know as scripting languages in programmer circles. And mentioning them, at a programmer party, will make you enjoy just about the same respect as a HTML “Programmer”. Which is closer to laughter, than respect, really.

    Come on – keep explaining how the brain is totally like a factory with production lines and storage units and shit

    Actually, I think you need to explain, why that Telegraph article clearly says, that there are regions of the brain, responsible for long-term memory.

    And let’s not stop there. Let’s talk Ram as well..

    A widely accepted theory regarding the function of the brain’s prefrontal cortex is that it serves as a store of short-term memory.

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

    • Andy_Schueler

      None of those are considered “real programming languages TM” . They are know as scripting languages in programmer circles. And mentioning them, at a programmer party, will make you enjoy just about the same respect as a HTML “Programmer”. Which is closer to laughter, than respect, really.

      1. Until a few minutes ago, you did not even know what the difference between an interpreted and a compiled programming language was. Moron.
      2. There is no such thing as “real” and “not-real” programming languages – what you mean is languages that are turing-complete or not. Moron.
      3. You are still trying to distract from your embarrassing statement that “the only difference between different programming languages is syntax” – which demonstrates that you don´t know the first thing about programming.  Moron. 
      4. Javascript and Python are insanely popular – not only for web development, Python is also widely used for database programming, games development, research etc. ( http://redmonk.com/sogrady/2012/09/12/language-rankings-9-12/ ). Moron.
      5. HTML is a MARKUP language you idiot, not a programming language. 

      Actually, I think you need to explain, why that Telegraph article clearly says, that there are regions of the brain, responsible for long-term memory.
      And let’s not stop there. Let’s talk Ram as well..A widely accepted theory regarding the function of the brain’s prefrontal cortex is that it serves as a store of short-term memory.

      I did explain it, several times - procedural memory, episodic memory, semantic memory etc. are associated with specific brain regions but there are no such things as memory banks that could be distinguished from other structures – because the structures that access (which is technically not “accessing” but rather “recreating” when it comes to the brain) information are the SAME that process information. Learn to read you idiot. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

    [[No, that's not what the reformation was about. Those are the 5 points of Calvinism, you silly person.]]

    The subject matter according to Luther is “the hinge on which the whole gospel turns” which was what the reformation was about you silly person.
     
    [[And if that is the Christianity you knew, then you never knew Christianity.]]
     
    Yet another blow of hot air. Yes, those reformers just didn’t know jack about the bible huh?

    [[No. John Calvin was the leader of a minor insignificant sect in Geneva.]]

    No, he was a reformer. He was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was also a polemic and apologetic. He wrote commentaries on most books of the bible, wrote “Institutes” as well as theological treatises and confessional documents. He regularly preached as well as write. All reformed and Presbyterian churches look to Calvin as a chief expositor of their beliefs.

    [[Only so that they are informed, and unlike you, are able to tell the difference between Calvinism, Lutheranism, [Wesleyanism, Catholicism, Anabaptism, Mormonism and so on.]]

    I am able to tell the difference quite well. You are the one trying to re-write history.

    [[No, the bible does not teach Calvinism. If that was the case, then you wouldn't need to read John Calvin, to be a Calvinist.]]

    From apologist Nick Peters, “There is this idea that Scripture is meant to be plain and clear to everyone. This is not the case. Scripture requires work to understand…This is not the case. The person interested in truth will be open to studying their views by reading leading scholarship.”

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

      [[No, the bible does not teach Calvinism. If that was the case, then you wouldn't need to read John Calvin, to be a Calvinist]]

      How about all those Christians who interpret the bible in light of scientific discoveries? Can you show me theistic evolution in the bible? The Gap theory? Old earth creationism?

      No, these interpretations take place when more light is known. Just think soon, people will finally realize the whole thing is complete bullshit.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

    [[No, that's not what the reformation was about. Those are the 5 points of Calvinism, you silly person]]

    Dude, read “The Bondage of the Will”

  • JohnM

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

    John Grove : He was also a polemic and apologetic.

    Wikipedia : Calvin was a tireless polemic and apologetic writer who generated much controversy.

    If he generated much controversy, then i guess a lot of people rejected his teachings, huh?

    John Grove : He wrote commentaries on most books of the bible, wrote “Institutes” as well as theological treatises and confessional documents.

    Wikipedia : In addition to the Institutes, he wrote commentaries on most books of the Bible, as well as theological treatises and confessional documents. He regularly preached sermons throughout the week in Geneva.

    He seems to spend a lot of time in Geneva, huh?

    John Grove : All reformed and Presbyterian churches look to Calvin as a chief expositor of their beliefs.

    Wikipedia :The Reformed and Presbyterian churches, which look to Calvin as a chief expositor of their beliefs, have spread throughout the world.

    The Reformed and Presbyterian churches, which look to Calvin…

    John Grove : I wouldn’t say 80 million is a small sect would you?

    The World Communion of Reformed Churches includes all sort of churches.

    You are the one trying to re-write history.

    No, you’re the one trying to re-write your wikipedia copy-paste.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

    [[If he generated much controversy, then i guess a lot of people rejected his teachings, huh?]]

    Yes, mostly Catholics.

    [[No, you're the one trying to re-write your wikipedia copy-paste]]

    Do you have an answer to any of this or are you going to just parrot what I said back to me?

    [[The World Communion of Reformed Churches includes all sort of churches. ]]

    Yes, and they ARE ALL Calvinistic.

  • JohnM

    Andy_Schueler :

    Moron. Moron. Moron. Moron. Learn to read you idiot.

    I think it’s great, that you allow your little fragile and hurt ego, write post on behalf of you.

    • Andy_Schueler

      What is your major malfunction ? 
      You are a notorious liar, and not a very good one…. Did you even think for a second that you could fool anyone by pretending that you are some bigshot games programmer, working on fancy new AI technologies – so novel and competetive that you have to sign an ultra-restrictive NDA ? 
      And that although you obviously do not even know the first thing about programming, as demonstrated by utterly moronic quotes like:
      “That’s right. A programming language that can be compiled, is just an easier way for human beings to write 1 and 0.” 
      “LoL. All languages are the same, once you get to know the syntax.. From Java to pascal to C to C++ to C# to whatever. Clearly you have no programming experience.”

      You seem to be in need of professional help – I hate armchair diagnosis, but that you are suffering from delusions of grandeur and that you are a pathological liar is more than obvious. 
      Seriously, get help.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

    Let’s evaluate JohnM response to all that been said with respect to Calvinism.

    1. It is a small sect (It’s not, it is at least 80 million strong)
    2. John Calvin was a small figure in the reformation. (He was a huge figure)
    3. Fails to realize all reformed churches teach Calvnism.
    4. Doesn’t understand reformed theology
    5. When confronted with facts that he can’t handle instead shows how I can paraphrase something instead. You know to avoid answering anything tough…We getcha JohnM.

  • JohnM

    John Grove :

    Yes, and they ARE ALL Calvinistic.

    I know of many Evangelical and Presbyterian churches that reject Calvinism.

    But even if that was actually the case, it’s 80 million out of 2 billion+.

    So what’s your point?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

      [[But even if that was actually the case, it's 80 million out of 2 billion+.]]

      1.18 billion being Catholics. So your defense is simply that 80 million is trivial? That is your defense? Dude, your ARE a moron.

  • JohnM

    Andy_Schueler : Seriously, get help.

    Help! HELP! Apparantly, i need some help, with something!!!

    John Grove : Dude, your ARE a moron.

    Thanks for the info, Dude.

    • Andy_Schueler

      Help! HELP! Apparantly, i need some help, with something!!!

      It´s “apparently”.
      And you should really consider making an appointment with a specialist. Your behaviour is alarming.
      Honesty is good for you ( http://www.samharris.org/images/uploads/LYING.pdf ), you should try it once.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

    [[I know of many Evangelical and Presbyterian churches that reject Calvinism.]]

    JohnM, name one Presbyterian church that rejects Calvinism. If they reject Calvinism than they ARE NOT Presbyterian. That is the HALLMARK of Presbyterian. They are all strictly Calvinistic. I am not concerned with “Evangelical” churches at the moment because that can mean anything.

  • JohnM

    JohnM, name one Presbyterian church that rejects Calvinism.

    Presbyterians in Ireland who rejected Calvinism and the Westminster Confessions formed the Non-subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland.

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

  • John Grove

    Wow, a whole 4,000 group who call themselves presbyterian and yet reject calvinism. That equates to .00005

    Calling yourself presbyterian and rejecting calvinism is like calling yourself a baptist who sprinkles.

  • JohnM

    You just asked for 1, and got 31.

    So why are you crying?

    Because they are not ALL strictly Calvinistic?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/ESW7H5OMMEVF6L3THU5OIGSOBU Matt

       Lets do a little mad lib…….

      Dear Dr. Craig

      You are becoming
      increasingly known as “the apologist who defends genocide and
      infanticide in Germany”, mainly due to your Q and A response on the
      question of the JEWS.

      Many people seem to
      react emotionally, without engaging with the detail of your arguments
      and without providing their own moral foundations on which their
      outrage can stand…..

      ( Dr. Craig responds )

      I’ve seen those kind of
      responses too, Wilhelm, and to find them dissappointing because they
      fail to grapple intellectually with the difficult questions raised by
      such stories. Emotional outbursts take the place of rational
      discussion, leaving us with no deeper understanding of the issues
      than before we began.

      I find it ironic that ANTI-HOLOCAUST people should often express such indignation at
      Hitler’s commands, since on naturalism there is no basis for thinking
      that objective moral values and duties exist at all and so no basis
      for regarding the slaughter of the Jews as wrong. As Doug Wilson has
      aptly said of the liquidation of the Jews from a naturalistic point
      of view, “The universe doesn’t care”. So at most the
      anti-genocidist can be alleging that Nazi historians have a sort of
      inconsistency in affirming both the goodness of Hitler and the
      historicity of the conquest of Eastern Europe. It’s an internal
      problem for devout Nazis which is hardly grounds for the moral
      outrage on the part of the non-genocidist. If there is an
      inconsistency of the narratives, taking them as either legends or
      else misinterpretations of Hitler’s will. The existence of the Master
      Race and soundness of the moral argument for Hitler’s existence as
      the savior of the Aryans don’t even come into play.

      The topic of Hitler’s
      command to destroy the Jews and all other undesirables was the
      subject of a very interesting exchange at the Racial Superiority
      Society Session last November at the Society for Aryan Domination in
      Munich. Matt Flannagan defended the view put forward by Paul Copan in
      his “Is Hitler a moral monster?” that such commands represent
      hyperbole typical of Zionist accounts of military conquests.
      Obviously, if Paul is right about this, then the whole problem just
      evaporates. But this answer doesn’t seem to me to do justice to the
      Mein Kampf text, which seems to say that if the Wermacht soldiers
      were to encounter Jewish women and children, they should kill them (
      Mein Kampf, page ##)

      Mein Kampf scholar
      Rudolf Hess took a different line in his paper: he construes the
      command literally but thinks that no women and children were actually
      killed. All the battles were with inner-city Jewish conspirators and
      shop owners, where women and children would have not been present. It
      is, in fact, a striking feature of Wermacht records that there is no
      pre 1945 accounts whatsoever that women or children were actually
      killed by anyone. Still, even if Hess is right, the ethical question
      remains of how Hitler could command such things, even if the commands
      weren’t actually carried out. Whether anyone was actually killed is
      irrelevant to the ethical question, as the story told by the History
      Channel illustrates.

      So even if Copan is
      right, I’m still willing to bite the bullet and tackle the tougher
      question of how an all-good, all-aryan-loving Hitler could issue such
      horrendous commands. My argument in “Question of the week” is
      that Hitler has the moral right to to issue such commands and that he
      wronged no one in doing so. I want to challenge those who decry my
      answer to explain whom Hitler wronged and why we should think so. As
      I explained, the most plausible candidate is, ironically, the SS
      soldiers themselves, but I think that morally sufficient reasons can
      be provided for giving them so gruesome a task.

      There is one important
      aspect of my answer that I would change, however. I have come to
      appreciate as a result of a closer reading to the Mein Kampf text
      that Hitler’s command to the SS was not primarily to exterminate the
      Jews but to drive them out of Eastern Europe and resettle them. It
      was the land that was (and remains today!) paramount to the Aryan
      People. The Jewish shop owners which occupied the land were to be
      removed to make more living space for the Aryan People, not
      necessarily to be liquidated. The judgement of Hitler upon these
      inner-city Jews, which were conspiring to suppress the Aryan Race, is
      that they were being divested of their citizenship. Eastern Europe
      was being given over to

      Germany, whom Hitler
      had now brought out of suppression from under the Jewish heel. If the
      Jews, seeing the armies of SS soldiers, had simply chosen to flee, no
      one would have been killed at all. There was no (official) command to
      pursue and hunt down the Jewish peoples.

      It is therefore
      completely misleading to characterize Hitler’s command to the SS as a
      command to commit genocide. Rather it was first and foremost a
      command to drive the Jews out of Eastern Europe and to occupy it.
      Only those who remained behind were to be utterly exterminated. There
      may have been no non-combatants killed at all. That makes sense of
      why there are no pre-1945 accounts outside of Germany of the killing
      of women and children, such as I had vividly imagined. Such scenes
      may have never taken place, since it was the Jewish conspirators and
      business owners that remained to fight. It is also why there were
      plenty of Jewish people discovered in the concentration camps by
      allied soldiers after the reconquest of Europe by the allies, as the
      History Channel attests.

      No one had to die in
      this whole affair. Of course, that fact doesn’t affect the moral
      question concerning the command that Hitler gave, as explained above.
      But I stand by my previous answer of how Hitler could have commanded
      the killing o any Jews who attempted to remain behind in Eastern
      Europe.

      l

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

      JohnM,
      Yes, I asked for just one Presbyterian group that didn’t accept Calvinism BECAUSE you said, “I know of many … Presbyterian churches that reject Calvinism”

      A tiny group consolidated ONLY in Ireland of 40 or so small churches is hardly “many”. In fact, as I already noted, they make up a total of .00005. Basically ZERO. Also, notice they call themselves “non conformists”. May as well branch off from Presbyterian altogether because it is as I already noted like a Baptist who believes in sprinkling. There comes a time when you deviate from your denomination so much you can hardly qualify as being a part of it. Since there are over 80 million Presbyterians who are all “reformed”, that is, they are ALL Calvinistic they would reject the non-conformists just as mainstream mormons reject the so called “reorganized church of jesus christ”. In fact, just recently the reorganized church FINALLY renamed their group, “Community of Christ” in 2001.

      The non conformists are NOT Presbyterian anymore than I am the new King Tut.

  • Colin White

    Craig uses the debate format to his advantage by making so many absurd claims and charges in the time that he is given that it is impossible for his opponents to address everything he says in the time that they are given without flushing their own argument down the toilet. That’s just one way to “win” a debate, especially when you’re preaching to your own choir.

    The used car salesman and defense lawyer comparisons are apt, because that’s how intellectually dishonest he is. And this isn’t even addressing how disgusting his comments on Sandy Hook and the Canaanites were, or how creepy his voice and face are.

    Richard Dawkins was right not to associate with this narcissistic demagogue.

    • http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

      The old scattergun approach. There are so many ‘clever’ tactics that he uses that is is, indeed, impossible to beat him….

  • Pingback: Merry Christmas Everybody – it never happened though, and here’s why (and also why we shouldn’t believe anything else about Jesus)… | A Tippling Philosopher