Religious Morality: On The Coat-Tails of Secularism

One thing about theism that has struck me as quite an interesting phenomena is the idea of morality and the way it evolves over time for different peoples. When we look at history we can see several different paradigms of morality, starting with the ancient Greeks and the morality that existed there.  The civic belief that duty to ones city was of the utmost importance or the sexual belief that laying with young men was not only pleasurable for both, but beneficial.  The application of slavery was acceptable and often necessary in order for a society to move forward or to punish an enemy.  We can move to the Western European societies of the Middle Ages where the divine right of kings to rule with absolute authority was acceptable, and that it was not only socially unacceptable to speak out of your social status but immoral as well as it “put out” your “betters”.  Again we can view some societies that even exist today where women are not expected to participate in public discourse in any way shape or form other than of the property of a man.  Even in our society in the United States we struggle with moral choices that may seem to us so obvious in the year 2010, but were not always so.

The one thing that each of these examples has in common is the introduction of a theistic world view, or the view that a personal deity or deities presided over the earth and dictated what was right and wrong to humanity.  If anyone were to ask the Greeks why it was acceptable to enslave your rival they would point to the justice of the gods and how if they were not meant to be enslaved, they would have won.  To ask a king why he was chosen to be king, he would explain that god gave him the power and wealth necessary to achieve a lofty position.  Again with the treatment of women as property, a divine law by the supernatural instructs us to relegate women to mere objects rather than people.  So how is it in the year 2010 most of the modern world has moved beyond these archaic thought processes and taken on a morality that is more beneficial to a great number of people?

The answer can be found not in religious texts but rather in secular philosophy and ethical studies.  Rather, the answer has been found in spite of religious ideals.  In every single one of the examples above we have religious texts espousing the very ideals of slavery, totalitarianism, chauvinism, violence, and a general rule of “us versus them”, with “them” being anyone that you happen not to like.  We can take for example Mr. John Stuart Mill and his work with the idea of utilitarianism.  His ideals are not perfect, in fact far from it, however we can see a moral and political philosophy that does not require the existence of a theistic being, but one that is founded on reason and the idea of utility to society by and large.  Without going into detail on utilitarianism, it is plain to see that the ideals of this philosophy advocate the equality of women, the abolition of slavery, and the advancement of society as a whole as opposed to a few.  This is but one example of a secular philosophy achieving a better moral standing than that of the theists.

How this is relevant to our world today in a modern society in a country founded on the equality and liberty of all is all too clear.  It took until the 1700’s for rumblings for a free society and equality of women to begin to burst through the surface into mainstream political dialogue in the Western world.  This movement away from theological law has taken us to a place where women have the right to vote and attend schools, slavery is outlawed in all developed countries, minorities have equal status as citizens, the divine right of kings is known for the farce that it is, and pedophilia is looked down upon and for good reason.  However, when we look for an answer as to what took so long, when we stop and ask ourselves “what stood in our way to such an obviously better world?”, all one must do is turn back the page to the Greeks, to the Feudal Lords, to the antebellum South, or sometimes cast a glance to the Middle East.

The answer is religion.  Clinging to religious ideals has retarded the moral progress of the human race beyond measure.   True, there are several religious figures that have fought and died for the rights of the oppressed, but for every martyr there are several more that held their religious belief high and proclaimed moral authority.  One doesn’t have to look beyond the Catholic church in our current times to see the pains  that archaic law have inflicted upon the world (especially the worlds young Catholic children).  We can turn to the Middle East where women are treated as objects due to thousand year old writings on what a man can and cannot do to his property, or how much he should sell his daughters off for.  We can turn to the United States, the most religious country in the world where homosexuals are denied their Constitutional rights or where in some parts of the country you may find yourself under attack for laying to rest a deceased serviceman or woman.

There is hope for our world though, a hope that morality can evolve beyond Bronze Age mysticism and absolute authority from the supernatural.  History shows that as secular philosophy advances, so too does theistic morality.  Where once it was necessary to slay a non virgin bride this is no longer always the case.  Where once it was against the law to take a slave from his master it is now against the law to own a slave.  Where once it was the norm to be jailed for speaking out of class lines, we are now encouraged to.  Theists claim absolute morality and that they have the uncontestable word of god and that this god’s morality is absolute.  Funny how god’s moral code changes over time after secularists introduce a new morality, isn’t it?  Make no mistake, all of these changes are secular first, and romanticized into religious ones after the fact.

Jason Kelley

Advertisements

110 comments on “Religious Morality: On The Coat-Tails of Secularism

  1. Mike Demory says:

    It is interesting Jason, that you and others of your world view always point to the evil done by people who were not approved of by God (sorry for the use of the word). Just because a person or society makes the claim of being a believer, does not make it so. And the proof most definitely is in the proverbial pudding.
    Does Society need Religion? Absolutely, but true Bible based religion, not the brand of religion brought about by Catholicism, and Protestantism, but that found ONLY in the New Testament Scriptures. If it were not for true religion, this world would not exist.

    • Kristina Clement says:

      Mike, it was nice of you to respond so nicely, as we obviously don’t all agree, and I personally don’t feel it is inappropriate to make a reference to “God”, which you so kindly apologized for. 🙂 As a rule, I think Atheists know references will be made, we just don’t feel “God” is real. But, there are other things in the world that I don’t feel are authentic, and yet I make references to them. To us, “God” is just another mythical being, like Santa, the Easter Bunny, tooth fairy, and the Greek gods, etc. I personally think Christians are wrong in the factual nature of their religion, but, am not opposed to people that conduct themselves in a Christian fashion. My personal issue is with those that would use their “Christianity” as a personal shield, that makes it okay to hate gays, and the “holier than thou” attitude. And the problem with organized religion as a whole is the fact that there are so many variations, and everyone thinks that their particular sect is the “right” one. Even though I would consider myself a hardcore Atheist, I’m sort of fluid in regards to religion. Although I think others are wrong in regards to evolution, and history, I’m behind your right to pursue any religion you like. I would just like to see more tolerance between the religious sects. I’m a believer in the school of “it’s not right FOR ME, but, I support what is right FOR YOU”. Anyone that conducts themselves in a moral and legal fashion, and represents their sect to the best of their ability, I can be respectful towards. It just saddens me that there seems to be so little tolerance for other religions Only “our own”. Keep up the good fight, Jason. And finally, I am in agreement that there are many waving their Christian flag that give the rest a bad name, I’m sure if you interviewed most of those convicted murderers that claimed they heard voices, most would tell you it was God that told them to kill their baby, or mother, or whomever. Which is oddly funny to me, because no one ever says it was the “Devil”, or Hitler. 😀 And incidentally, Mother Theresa was one of my idols (lol, yes even though I am an Atheist), and in one of the last interviews I read from her, she stated she prayed for several hours every morning and evening, devoted her entire life to caring for the sick and poor and unloved, doing “God’s” work, in all those years she claimed she never once heard the “voice of God”. So, while I may not agree with her motivation for doing that particular work, I fully respect the work itself.

    • jastiger says:

      Frankly, I am confused by that first post. You claim that people that “claim of being a believer, does not make it so.” Are you saying there are different levels of faith? There is a REAL faith and anyone that has a contrary view of Christianity than you is wrong? I’m very confused by that statement because you argue against those that do not believe, yet also argue against those that purport to believe.

      As to your second point, does society need religion? I think the question should be “does society need some kind of authority from a divine being to ensure the survival of that society?” Well, then the answer is no. Does society need the kind of religion discussed in my post? No. Does Christianity, or any derivative of it use ONLY the New Testament to justify their beliefs? No. Again, I’m confused as to what you are claiming in your post.

  2. Mike says:

    Kristina & Jason,

    To clarify what I said. I understand basically why Atheism, Agnosticism, & Skepticism exists. As has been pointed out, there are so many different conflicting beliefs, ALL claiming to be Christian. I don’t know how much you know of the Scriptures, what your background is that led you to where you are today, but in the Old Testament – the Jewish people (Israelites) were God’s chosen people. Out of the all the nations in the world at that time, they were the only ones chosen by God to receive His blessings. That did not mean that God didn’t love all others on earth, because He did. All others could, if they so chose, proselytize into the Jewish faith and recieve God’s blessings.

    God is the same today, as He was then. He has chosen only ONE group to receive His blessings. Christians. But not all who lay claim to being Christians. ONLY those who follow the New Testament Law. That does not mean that they can’t chose to obey that law instead of their own creeds, and church manuals.

    Jesus said He would build only ONE church – His church – the church of Christ. It is His because He shed His blood for it. (please stay with me here so that I can explain what I said before).

    So the Roman Catholics, Mormons, Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, etc. etc., who all claim to be Christians, are not. Why? Because they have not obeyed the rules for what is required to become a true Christian. Jesus commanded that ALL His followers believe, and teach the same doctrine (John 17:20-21). Why? so that there would not be confusion in the world. But all men have the freedom to choose, and most have chosen not to obey His commands.

    It is for this reason that people are confused today, as they have been in the past and will continue to be, and why people are skeptical of religion. Because most who claim it, do not follow it.

    Only those who actually follow all the commands, are Christians only and the only Christians. And yes, Christianity is the only God approved religion for the world. Whether we like it or not.

    • jastiger says:

      So you are saying you see a case for Atheism not as a rational alternative to superstition, but a skepticism on the part of the abilities of Christians to be actual Christians.

      There are quite a few problems with your point of view, most egregiously the idea that some how you have the absolute Truth figured out while the rest of the world has it wrong. This is a symptom of any religion, especially one that purports to have the Truth in the first place, and is often the logical endpoint for such a train of thought. “I’m right, I’m right because I know I’m right, you’re wrong because I know I’m right, and if I’m right you are wrong.” It’s not a criticism of a persons character, simply their ability to apply critical thinking and a criticism of religious dogma in all forms.

      Let us grant that your first paragraph is true and that god loved all peoples but chose the Israelites. How then were Native American peoples to be spared from gods wrath? The Aboriginals of Australia? The Barbarians of Germania and major Asia? Where were they when this church was founded? Where did this confusion come from?

      Now to the case of the ten commandments, how do you reconcile the differences in the old testament with the differences in the new testament? How do you reconcile the morality of thousands of years ago with today’s morality involving slavery? Civil Rights? Equal protection under law? These are all concepts not found in the Bible unless we squint reeeaaaly hard and leave our thinking cap at home.

      How do you claim moral authority in the face of these things?

  3. Mike says:

    Jason,

    It is apparent that you do not believe in absolutes. So I understand your dilemma. And believe me, I don’t claim to know everything about what you believe.

    But you are under the wrong delusion that just because a person is religious, does not mean that they are superstitious, or that they don’t base their beliefs on critical thinking. Logic, rational thought are a must when any person examines the information offered on a particular subject matter.

    Christianity is not based upon some “blind faith” as many think, it is based solidly upon evidence.

    The Scriptures tell us that the gospel was sent into ALL the world. Again, I understand that you are opposed to the Bible, as I would be opposed to any Atheistic writings. But I am simply answering your questions in accordance to what I believe is the truth. There has been no evidence to the contrary, just as you believe the same for your position.

    But the Scriptures say that God sent His Word into ALL the world. He has also said that He has revealed Himself in two ways – #1 General Revelation (Creation), and #2 Special Revelation (Bible). General revelation should be enough to draw men to the idea that there is an intelligence that brought all into existence,which should then cause them to seek more about Him, because creation does not explain everything. So as intelligent beings, with the ability to reason, to choose, it is up to us to seek Him. No one will be without excuse in the end.

    As for the confusion. It came from men. Men who were given the freedom by God to choose right or wrong. Men who chose to invent their own brand of religion, instead of following God’s way.

    In the case of the ten commandments verses the NT, you must realize that the ten commandments were given ONLY to the Jews – not to men today. The ten commandments were just 10 out of more than 600 rules that they were required to follow. But God never meant for them to be permanent – they were merely a training tool for humanity. While the New Testament is not in force for all humanity today. Think of it this way – humanity was in its infancy, like a parent who begins training their young children, they tell them certain things are right and wrong, and they allow them some lea way while they learn.

    But as they grow older, more is expected of them to the point that they become more accountable for their actions. The Old Testament was that training method which leads us to Christ’s law. It is for the full grown man.

    As for the morality over the centuries, again, because sin is in the world and everyone has a choice as to who they will follow and obey, men will make their own path and many times chalk it up to religion, giving it a bad name, when it was never God’s intention for it to be that way.

    • jastiger says:

      I do actually see a case for absolutes, however my account of absolutes is based on evidence and logic rather than faith. That is completely different.

      As to your first claim that Christianity is based on evidence; I would ask you to then provide some evidence for the claims you make. Please do show me exactly how water was made to wine, how the Bible was somehow “given” to man, how Noah actually got all of those animals on his ark, and so on. If Christianity was based on evidence as you suppose it is then there would not be mountains of evidence CONTRARY to the theistic belief system. I fear you may have to find other ground to argue from if you are going to claim evidence.

      I also do not understand what you mean when you say that I believe there is no evidence to the contrary. For my position of atheism I do not require any sort of evidence to “uphold” my position, I merely look at the evidence that is contrary to yours and make my decision.

      You still did not address the issue of people not living in the Middle East not receiving the word of god. For some reason you feel that this General Revelation is sufficient to explain how Native American mysticism or African shamanism is wrong. It does no such thing, you merely make a claim and then somehow reach a conclusion that has nothing to do with that original claim. Please explain this.

      Again, I am going to grant what you say is true for the next part. We are going to ignore the contradictions, historical inaccuracies, and general impossibility. You claim that the NT was a “training tool” for humanity. So how does this translate to us believing anything that is present in it? If a section of the NT says to “cast off a man so that he withers away” what does that mean for us in today’s world? Do we kill him? Jail him? Ostracize him? Leave him alone? We literally have no way of understanding what that means if we use your explanation.

      Lastly, you close by saying that men choose their own way and that they attribute immoral actions to a moral religion, which you say is wrong. However, I argue that you only see it as wrong because you are living in a world shaped by secular morality. If we use the bible as a basis for morality we find ourselves dragged back hundreds of years in terms of civil progress and equality and even our personal freedoms. How can we be so sure that what you say is correct when you base your morality on the same book as those that you claim are immoral?

      The answer is that secular morality is what has shaped our current view of, well, everything. Our current view of Christianity, Islam, what is socially acceptable in a republic such as the United States. To claim otherwise is to claim that you somehow “know more” than anyone else when they read a particular passage in a bible. Alone, that is fine, but you have to back that up!

      You are increasingly unable to do so.

  4. Mike says:

    Well Jason, it sounds you like might be interested in a debate. I’m ready any time.

    My beliefs in absolutes are also based completely upon logic and evidence, and not on faith alone.

    Yet you state a logical contradiction – when you said you don’t require evidence to uphold your position but yet you do require evidence to make your decision. Which is it?

    I understand your confusion with passages you pull out of a hat and with no attempt to maintain context or harmonize it with the rest of the Bible. That is why there are so many different denominations in the world – because men refuse to understood how to properly interpret the Scriptures.

    I am completely able to back up my claims, just not in their arena. Public debate anyone?

    • jastiger says:

      I don’t understand what you are saying about evidence? Myself, I wish to examine evidence before placing any merit in an idea. I do not see what is contradictory in that.

      I’m open to debate any time, feel free to message me on this blog or email me at jastiger1@hotmail.com

      • Kristina Clement says:

        Evidence? Where would an ark the size of seven football fields go missing to? Where is the entombed Christ mysteriously at? The cross? The bodies of ANY biblical people? Any presumed evidence found cannot be accurately carbon dated. If said people were revered in their living times, it would seem they would be remembered with statues, or specialized burial rites, where are they? And are we really going to discuss the disparities of dinosaurs, and man-primate skeletons? The duck-billed platypus? You may not believe that Evolution was the origin of man, but, evolution naturally occurring is not disputed in the scientific community, it is a fact. Natural selection has and does presently occur. So, I would consider those “facts to the contrary”. But, I do agree with Jason, the burden of proof does not lie with us, we have looked, can’t find any, and so now, it’s in your lap. But, as of yet, the only “proof” I’ve ever been provided is one book, written by numerous men, translated incorrectly by King James.

  5. Mike says:

    Jason, just look at your post – you said “for my position on atheism, I DO NOT require any sort of evidence to uphold my position, I merely look at the “evidence” that contrary to yours and make my decision.” That my friend is a logical contradiction.

    I will give you the benefit of the doubt and say that you mis wrote what you meant to say. That you do in fact require evidence as I do.

    Kristina, you are incorrect – evolution is mere theory not fact. and no, it is in fact disputed in the scientific community. Anyone with an open and honest mind can clearly see the dilemma of evolutionists.

    As for the king james version, it is just that a “version” english version to be precise. The New Testament portion of the Bible was originally written in the Greek language, so it is that we must turn to find the truth. It is sad that men have chosen to insert their false doctrine in the many English translations, but that is the problem that we face while this world exists – “sin.”

    • jastiger says:

      What is contradictory to me saying that? It’s like this. Everything is equal to 0 right now, for the sake of argument. 0 is the belief in nothing, no gods, completely neutral.

      You come and say “Hey look at this! I have 1! Look at all this evidence for 1! We should do this, that, and the other because this book says we should believe in 1”.

      I examine your books, I examine your “this that and the other” and I find it to be not only lacking, but at times evil and contradictory. So in view of your evidence I reject 1 in favor of 0 which there is plenty of evidence for.

      Then I see other evidence for 0 surface in direct contradiction to your 1. Perhaps 0 is a much safer and helpful belief structure than yours. In this way I do not necessarily require evidence for 0. I can, however, reject your idea on the grounds of insufficient evidence.
      See now?

      Mike, I think we’d love to debate you on the point of evolution. This is a topic that has been tackled by people much more qualified than any of us, and the evidence is overwhelmingly in our favor. Perhaps you could provide us with this dilemma of evolution?

      So…should we all read the Greek version then?

  6. Mike says:

    Well, you go on thinking a logical contradiction is ok.

    As for evolution – talk about needing a blind faith to believe in something – evolution certainly is it.

    ALL theory, no fact. ALL blind faith – no evidence.

  7. Mike says:

    zntneo – I don’t deny, that “some” things do change, that metamorphasis occurs, but to depend upon “macro” evolution as your defense is really grasping for straws isn’t it?

    jastiger – I have made the point at least twice, showing exactly how you made a logical contradiction, but it is you who are refusing to acknowledge it. Maybe the third time will be the charm – you said “for my position on atheism, I DO NOT require any sort of evidence to uphold my position, I merely look at the “evidence” that contrary to yours and make my decision.” That my friend is a logical contradiction. That is no different than saying “all dogs are brown, but all dogs are not brown.”

    • jastiger says:

      Hmm I think you are equivocating on what I said because it may be unclear. I mean the default status is that we have this world that we live in, no need for an external deity. Theism comes along and tells me “Hey, there is this god fellow and the bible, etc. etc.”. I then examine the evidence, and find it lacking to uphold any sort of rational belief. Therefor, I don’t necessarily have “evidence” for atheism, so much as the evidence for theism is insufficient to incur belief. This leaves me with the original rational position of atheism.

    • zntneo says:

      No its not grasping at straws did you read my link?

  8. Mike says:

    Jason,

    it’s more like the ole saying, “if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.”

  9. Mike says:

    Does everyone agree that there are only TWO plausible scientific models for the origins of the universe? Evolution or Creation?

  10. jastiger says:

    I would agree as far as I know that there are to main schools of thought as to the origin of the universe, that of science and reason, and that of superstition and wishful thinking.

  11. Mike says:

    So in other words you are willing to relegate evolution to superstition and wishing thinking and creationism to science and reason?

  12. jastiger says:

    Could you please tell me how evolution has anything to do with superstition, and how believing a divine being created the universe with Humanity as its end goal is based on science?

  13. Mike says:

    The word superstition is defined as “a belief or beliefs justified neither by reason nor evidence.” Thus we have the belief in the evolutionary model.

    Science, is defined as “knowledge acquired by careful observation, by deduction of the laws which govern changes and conditions, and by testing these deductions”
    Thus we find belief in the creation model, as science proves the existence of God and the universe.

  14. jastiger says:

    So, please do tell me how evolution is not based on reason nor evidence and how science proves the existence of God?

  15. Mike says:

    Are you ready for a public debate to prove your “Theory?”

  16. Mike says:

    Jason,

    Evolution is based upon fantasy. No critical thinking or reason as you love to taut. Evolution is “anti-knowledge.” With all the scientific proof for the creation model, evolutionaists for the most part, are dishonest in order to maintain their fantasy.

    Evolutionists ignore the basic laws of physics, which the creation model does not.

  17. jastiger says:

    What basic law of physics is that? Would it be perhaps the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics?

  18. Mike says:

    That would be one.

  19. zntneo says:

    Well evolution doesn’t break any laws of thermodynamics or basic laws of physics.

    The second law of thermodynamics states that disorder will increase in a CLOSED system. The earth is not a closed system it has a energy source called the sun.

    • Mike says:

      I never said that the evoluntionary model breaks any laws of thermodynamics or laws of physics. Those laws just prove that the creation model is more plausible than the evoluntionary model, therefore casting doubt on evolution. Many scientists now agree with that, but many refuse to accept it – therefore are being dishonest with the data.

  20. jastiger says:

    I too would like to know more about this. Don’t you think it odd that I knew exactly what your criticism was, and you don’t even question that?

    In any case, zntneo is right. The second law of thermodynamics described a closed system. The sun provides us with an infinite source of energy with which to open the system. This isn’t some kind of mental gymnastics to make it work, this is science finding an answer within science. There was no “end point” that was preconceived and then worked towards, this was scientific discovery. Huge difference between that and what you purport to do, which is “how can I make evolution NOT work. Ah I see there might be a problem here, so I’m calling it a night”.

    Very dishonest.

  21. Mike says:

    So according to the “critical” thinking of the two of you, matter is eternal, not mind?

  22. jastiger says:

    I am interested to see Mikes response to the three separate sources you cited that disprove his claim.

  23. Jacob says:

    “So according to the “critical” thinking of the two of you, matter is eternal, not mind?”

    Dur, matter is energy. E=mc^2, and we know from the first law that energy can neither be created nor destroyed (well, there goes the whole creation thing right out the door. We don’t even need to get to that second law you have no understanding of).

    So, you think something that is absolutely known to be eternal was created, and something- a mind- that we have never observed existing without a physical brain absolutely exists? I believe you are fundamentally confused.

    • Mike says:

      I’m not the one confused, but you certainly have been brainwashed.

      • zntneo says:

        How has he been brainwashed? You are the one that keeps saying “prove this” or “prove that” where is your evidence?????

        Furthermore, i get tired of all the unfounded (since you have provided zero evidence) accusations about us.

  24. jastiger says:

    Care to explain how or why? I would really enjoy a public debate, but when there are accusations made without any evidence (See entry on believing things without evidence) it make myself and others very wary of debating you.

  25. Mike says:

    Thank you all for your continued discussion in this matter.

    There is no doubt that for your belief system to appear plausible, that you must believe in a closed system. The closed system model says that there is no God, because mass/matter/energy spontaneously generated (so you do believe in miracles).

    The First Law of Thermodynamics states that in a closed system, the amount of energy present in that system is CONSTANT, though it transforms into other forms of energy.

    The point being, that IF the Universe as a whole initially contained NO mass/matter/energy (zero), then in the flash of a nano-second spontaneously generated all the mass/matter/energy we now find in the Universe – you have violated the First Law.

    • zntneo says:

      Its called the uncertainity principle at times less the planck time we are uncertain about any number of things including the mass/energy of a system. Furthermore, i would say that matter/energy existed always in some form or another.

    • Jacob says:

      Oh, this is deligtfully fun. This whole closed/open system nonsense is stupidity. The laws could only say something about a closed system, which is defined by the observer. If I have a box on an insulated box on a counter with a cold and hot chamber, I call it a “closed system,” even though the rest of the universe certainly exists. But, within that closed system, I can observe the first and second laws with little error, as the box is not perfectly insulated.

      Hey, speaking of that, why does your God only intervene in ways that equal 0? I mean, with all the energy he must be adding to the universe with miracles, why do we never observe a breach in the first law? THAT would be evidence that the universe is not a closed system. Too bad with all the sensitive, constantly monitoring equipment we have all over the world that never seems to happen.

      At any rate, back to this universe thing- what came from what? I don’t see anything. Everything I see in our universe equals zero. In fact, the third law demands it. Every reaction has an equal and opposite reaction- for every piece of matter, anti-matter or something equivalent. For every bit of energy, an equalizer. Our universe is equivalent to a big 0. It could most definitely “come from nothing,” because in a very real way it still IS nothing, just an unbalanced nothing as opposed to a balanced one. That doesn’t violate any of the laws at all, it just violates your imagination.

      We still have a problem with your God and creating something which cannot be created, though. Also, before energy was created, what would he use to create it? Hmm.

  26. Mike says:

    So your answer to evolution violating the first law of Thermodynamics is to say there are “uncertainities?” Very rational and scientific.

    As I have said before, if you want evidence, then let’s debate it. I have plenty, as I’m sure you do for the opposite. You appear to have all the answers, and I’m just an ignorant religious smuck who can’t tie his shoes – so you should have no problems proving that your belief system is more plausible than mine. Or can’t you?

    • Jacob says:

      It would help if you made sense for a change. Finish this sentence in an intelligible manner: “Evolution violates the first law of thermodynamics, which states that energy is conserved, because…”

      If you can manage this, I’d love to rebut. Good luck trying to finish that sentence. Also, nobody called you a religious schmuck who can’t tie their shoes, so cut out the self-victimizing. Some of the things you’ve said have been painfully stupid, no doubt, but that does not make you stupid or below anybody. Anybody has the power to say something stupid, especially when they’re talking out of their realm of solid understanding – please, stop abusing that power.

    • zntneo says:

      You are the one who believes he has the answer to everything its called god. Right? is there a question that I could ask that you couldn’t answer with god (about the universe)?

    • Jacob says:

      By the way, Mike, I’ll be willing to have an open, written debate on anything of your choosing, or any number of things of your choosing. Set some topics and stipulations, and I’m sure we can have something arranged.

    • zntneo says:

      Furthermore, since you have presented an either or model if i say i don’t know (which i will) then you will think you have won. Whereas if you had said i don’t know anywhere i would not automatically declare a win.

    • zntneo says:

      Oh one last thing evolution DOES NOT equal cosmology.

  27. Mike says:

    Jacob said……
    “Some of the things you’ve said have been painfully stupid, no doubt, but that does not make you stupid or below anybody.” There you go again with your circular reasoning. I’m not a stupid theist, but I am a stupid theist. You guys kill me with your logic.

    Jacob asked,
    It would help if you made sense for a change. Finish this sentence in an intelligible manner: “Evolution violates the first law of thermodynamics, which states that energy is conserved, because…”

    You have qualified this question by the idea that it must be done in an “intelligible manner” which apparently is according to YOUR line of thinking, and not what the truth actually is. I hate to answer it, and cause you pain again. By the way, how to you think I feel about the answers that all of you are giving? I’m going to have to use that pillow to protect my head.

    There are going to be some difficulties in our discussion since there are things that I bring out that you don’t believe in, and visa versa.

    And yes zntneo, there are either or models because of absolutes – unless of course you don’t believe in absolutes, which apparently you do not.

    • zntneo says:

      And how do you know i don’t believe in absolutes? I was saying that the origin of the universe (not evolution) is not either big bang theory or creation that does not exhaust all possibilities which is what you are claiming. You are committing the false dichotomy fallacy.

    • zntneo says:

      I also get tired of you assuming that you know what i believe because you think you know my worldview.

      • Mike says:

        Please then, fill me in so that I DON’T have to assume. I’ve been waiting for you to do so, so until you do, I must then, based upon your comments, conclude your stance. I await your corrections.

    • Jacob says:

      Hey now, I asked you kindly to not abuse your power to say stupid things, but here we are again. What I meant by an “intelligible answer” is just one that addresses the context of the first half of the sentence, and demonstrate your knowledge of thermodynamics, so nothing like “…GOD DID IT,” because it just contextually doesn’t make any sense. Go ahead, answer it and “cause me pain.” Call me a sadist, but I’m hanging on your every word, Mike.

      What you gave me instead was a “we don’t share certain beliefs” sidestep- yeah, Mike, that’s the whole nature of a debate. That’s the whole nature of disagreeing. It’s obvious you like to argue with strawmen, but in the real world people have diverse and complex opinions on things, and they don’t always match what fits into your preconceptions. Well, then DEMONSTRATE some intelligible reason to believe a single thing you claim. Use some of that logic you claim is so obvious instead of pussyfooting around.

      You can start by finishing one single, simple sentence I prompted to. Come on, I double dog dare ya.

      • Jacob says:

        Let me clarify: you can use God in your answer, it just can’t be so simpleminded as “GODDIDIT!” It must actually relay some information and be specific to the topic at hand. We all know perfectly well that you believe in God. There is no need to try and convince us further.

    • jastiger says:

      Your first paragraph is painfully disingenuous. You framed his question in such a way as to take it out of context in order to argue against it. Mike, I really feel that Zack and others were wise in avoiding a debate with you. You time and time again have been unwilling to examine evidence, either for or against your claims, and you insist upon misrepresenting what others say to you in order to make your viewpoint seem better. I can not help but think that if you were engaged in a public debate that you would do anything in your power to demonize your opponent and paint them as immoral and thus somehow their evidence is less “real” or “true”.

      I was seriously considering inviting you to a debate, I think it’d be great! However, I’d like to prove to me that you can argue with written words before I’m going to step into the intellectual arena with you. So far you seem to be extremely lacking in explaining your position, let alone arguing against another.

  28. Mike says:

    jastiger said,

    “You time and time again have been unwilling to examine evidence, either for or against your claims, and you insist upon misrepresenting what others say to you in order to make your viewpoint seem better.”

    This could also apply to each one of you. None of you have answered anything that I have pointed out. Instead you point me toward websites that only demonize the other side.

    I have given a plausible argument for what I believe is a logical answer to the origin of the universe, but each of you have ignored it and say all I have done is argue non-sense. I will post my argument once again for your examination.

    There is no doubt that for your belief system to appear plausible, that you must believe in a closed system. The closed system model says that there is no God, because mass/matter/energy spontaneously generated (so you do believe in miracles).

    The First Law of Thermodynamics states that in a closed system, the amount of energy present in that system is CONSTANT, though it transforms into other forms of energy.

    The point being, that IF the Universe as a whole initially contained NO mass/matter/energy (zero), then in the flash of a nano-second spontaneously generated all the mass/matter/energy we now find in the Universe – you have violated the First Law.

    Now then, I have looked at yours, and I have looked at mine, have each of you done the same? By no means have I given you everything that would prove my case, any more than you all have given me everything you would use. Those things are saved for the debate.

    Please don’t confuse my passion for wanting to publically debate this as denominization of any one here. I by no means want to side track the issue with such things. I have taken nothing that any of you have said as being demonizing. It is hard to know the attitude or demeanor of the person through these types of discussions, unlike personal, one on one, where you can hear the anger, or see the frustration. While this discussion has been heated so to speak, I would hope that none of us feel that their character has been called into question. I don’t feel that way, but if any of you do, then please accept my apology. I will try not to get into a war of words, but simply stay on target with the subject at hand.

    • jastiger says:

      Well the reason we may not respond to your allegations is because you attempt to paint what any opposition argument may be into something that you can argue against. This is called a Strawman Fallacy. You’ve been given several links from both Liberal, Conservative, and Science websites that state a refutation of your criticism on the grounds of a closed system. I do not know why you insist upon that being the case when it is simply not so. The world as we know it is an open system in that we have a (in)finite source of energy: the Sun. That throws any possible violation of thermodynamics out the window.

      I also do not see how you infer miracles into this equation, so I’d like further explanation there.

      So to reiterate, you keep attempting to attribute things to arguments posted here against you that are simply not true. Once you stop doing this, then maybe we can have a more constructive debate.

      • Mike says:

        Jason, let me get this straight – you believe in an open system? Did I get that right?

        • jastiger says:

          I am not a physicist, but my understanding of the Law of Thermodynamics is that heat energy cannot be spontaneously generated and cannot move from a lesser heat energy to a higher heat energy on its own. Basically to use easy-speak energy dissipates in a closed system and is not a constant thing-this is called entropy. When we use this to describe evolution and our world we must see that our system is not entirely closed. Why? We have the sun that provides us with a seemingly infinite amount of heat energy. As the energy on our planet dissipates it is replenished by solar heat energy.

          Would this not be a description of an open system and not a closed one?

    • Jacob says:

      So many words, and so little information. We already talked about why the universe doesn’t violate the first law, but I’ll expand it a little- first, the net energy of the universe is zero. Everything has an equal and opposite reaction. It started as zero, it changed into a different zero, and it’s going to end in zero. Second, you know perfectly well that the big bang states that the knowable timeline of the universe started with all of the matter and energy compacted into a single point – as in, nothing magically appeared. It was all there in a state of maximum entropy, nothing added, no violation. Only you believe that something literally came from nothing, not us, though I personally don’t think you can draw the lines between “something” and “nothing” so well when talking about these sort of things.

      Mike, I’ll give you every shred of a decent argument I have here and now. I don’t need to “save” anything for any debate, because each idea is going to be just as valid today as it is tomorrow, the next day, and so on. I also think that I know pretty much any argument you could ever attempt to throw at me more thoroughly than you know it yourself, and I’m ready to crush them all. So don’t be scared of “blowin’ my mind” with your elite arguments for the existence of God, a young earth, against evolution, or any other thing you think you can squeeze a victory on. I’m prepared. I’ll put them all in their rightful place.

      • Mike says:

        I’m out of town at the present, but will get back to you soon. In the mean time, be thinking about how you think this debate should be take place, and I’ll get back to you on what I think.

    • zntneo says:

      Are you seriously saying that CONSERVAPEDIA demonizes your side? conservapedia???? Furthermore i don’t see how it demonizes it unless refuting your arguments is a form of demonization.

      Also, why do you think energy had to be created? Its possible given the first law of thermodynamics that energy/matter always existing in some form. ALso. i have already explained how it is possible for matter/energy to come into existence without a miracle occurring. Clearly you are not reading what i’ve said.

      • Mike says:

        You like to use “possibilities” not and theories, and maybe’s more than facts.

        You are correct that it had to be one of three ways – (1) mass/matter/energy existed eternally, but if that is the case, the second law would tell us that all energy would be gone by now, so that can’t be true; (2) mass/matter/energy spontaneously generated out of nothing; but this one is false because NO evidence exists today to so that this ever happened – so it is false; or (3) mass/matter/energy was created by some intellegence, and by the first and second law, this is the only plausbile explanation.

        • zntneo says:

          why would the second law tell us 1 is wrong? and what evidence exists that an intelligence created things ZERO! So by your logic thats false too and we just don’t know.

          Furthermore i use possibilities because it seems your argument is “we don’t have an explanation therefore god” which a) is a logical fallacy and b) i am trying to provide alternative possibilities and f i can then your explanation doesn’t win automagically.

  29. Mike says:

    Jastiger said….
    “Basically to use easy-speak energy dissipates in a closed system and is not a constant thing-this is called entropy. When we use this to describe evolution and our world we must see that our system is not entirely closed. Why? We have the sun that provides us with a seemingly infinite amount of heat energy. As the energy on our planet dissipates it is replenished by solar heat energy.”

    No, I’m sorry it would not. The sun is IN the system, therefore it does not and cannot provide NEW energy from outside the system like an open system does.

    • zntneo says:

      It provides new energy to earth as a locally open system. You can have local order within a closed system. If you’d like i’ll give you a metaphor.

  30. Jacob says:

    The first and second law don’t apply if you think it is an open system. At all. And intelligence is a ridiculously ordered thing – perfect intelligence would likely require perfect order. Yet God violates the second law himself, and that’s fine all by itself because you can do special pleading and say “but God is above the rules” or whatever nonsense you wish, but YOU brought it up. YOU’RE the one trying to make it make sense with the second law. So you dug your own grave.

    • zntneo says:

      Just because the second law applies inside the universe doesn’t mean it applies to the universe itself, which would be a composition fallacy.

      Furthermore, you would think given an all-powerful being that the universe would start out ordered and then become more disordered, but the best evidence we have is that it started out maximally disordered and has become more disordered(this isn’t a contradiction because as the universe grew, the maximum entropy increased but the actual entropy increased at a slower rate.)

  31. Jacob says:

    Mike, you’re missing one thing – as nonbelievers, all we need is “possibilities.” All we need is consistent alternative explanations, with equal evidence (which is none, because there is no evidence of a supremely intelligent being) in order to tell you that your conclusion is based on nothing but personal preference. All that needs to be introduced is a healthy amount of doubt, and your ridiculous claims are gone with the wind and enter the level of mediocrity that every attempt to explain the universe has achieved thus far. We simply do not know – why give special attention?

    You also love to jump back and forth between talking about a deistic God and a theistsic God – the God of Abraham. I cannot debate the existence of a deistic God, it is a waste of breath and will get one nowhere, but as for YHWH, he is an obvious character portrayed by man who can just as easily be dismissed as all of the Greek gods. If you are going to have this discussion, do not jump back and forth between a vague, intelligent being and YHWH. They are not the same, and even if you COULD give evidence in support for a deistic god, it is so very, very far from supporting your notion of God that you might as well not waste the time to even write out whatever you incorrectly think is evidence for it.

  32. Jacob says:

    How about this for the debate: you may pick two topics, being specific about what you wish to demonstrate about each, and write the following – an introduction on your philosophical position, your introductory argument to each topic, clearly separated (say (1) and (2) and separate with paragraphs), and a conclusion, hopefully preemptively addressing any criticisms you expect. I do not care what the length- be as absolutely thorough as you can and support whatever you can, and remember that your sources will be thoroughly analyzed and subject to scrutiny – if I see every link is from AiG about evolution, I’m probably going to laugh you out of the debate – do NOT find news articles to support your claims. Journalists jobs are to write and get people to read, and 99% of the time none of them have a clue what they’re talking about all around.

    I’m not sure where we should do this. Does anybody have any suggestions or could we set up a page on here dedicated to it or something of the sort? Tell me what you think, Mike.

    • Mike says:

      I’m assuming we are still doing a written debate?

      If so, like a public debate I propose that we do so more formally.

      Four exhanges on each proposition by each of us. Each exhange will be a maximum of 8 pages. In keeping with the general rules of debate the last negative writer shall not introduce any new material to which the affirmative writer does not have opportunity to reply.

      The Affirmative will present material first on each proposition.

      There will be a 2 page rejoiner at the end of each proposition.

      No more than 15 days shall elapse between exchanges (time to be counted from reception of manuscript).

      Each of us will have permission to publish the material (if we wish) agreeing not to change or add materials.

      So that we have no interference, I can post our material on my website for anyone to view, if that’s all right with you.

      Propositions for Debate

      1. RESOLVED: I know that the God of the Bible does not exist.

      Affirm:
      Deny: Mike Demory

      2. RESOLVED: I know that the God of the Bible does exist.

      Affirm: Mike Demory
      Deny:

      I believe that you can agree that such an exhange would be fair and benefical to all.

  33. jastiger says:

    Again I’m beat to the punch Mike. If you want to count the Sun as being inside the system, if we grand you that, then you would still have

    “The sun is not generating an endless supply of energy, but it is supplying so much energy that it is impossible for us to measure the end or extent of that energy, so for any practical purpose, the sun is an infinite supply of energy”

    Basically if the sun is “in” the system so to speak it still has an infinite amount of energy as measured by us. Furthermore, even if it is not generating new energy, it is supplying more to Earth on a constant basis which still supports the idea of energy entering into Earths smaller “in” system.

    The theory still holds up.

  34. Jacob says:

    I’d rather not do full-out formality simply for the fact that I’ve never done it before and, personally, I don’t think it’s necessary. And I’d hate for you to pretend that you have won because I have made some structural error. And, of course, it would be the context of the second choice: me being the denier of your supposed evidence for God. I hate how inspecific that topic is, though. You cannot limit it down at all?

    • Mike says:

      How specific do you want the prositions to be? The purpose of the formality is to keep us both on target, and as for me “pretending” I have won, the proof will be in the facts, not in the debater. But if you feel you are unable to defend your position, then I guess we can just call it quits now.

  35. Jacob says:

    Well, first of all you would have to describe you specific God and his characteristsics, not just God. I won’t tolerate any pretending that an uncertainty of any existence of any higher power is positive evidence for the existence of a very specific supernatural being.

    The other reason I don’t want to make things too formal is, depending on your position, I don’t know if your point of view even warrants the time. Are you a young earth creationist? If you are, it would be like debating a holocaust denier. In fact, historians DON’T formally debate them and their response is much the same lines of “you just won’t debate me because you know I’m right.” No, it’s because their position is a joke, and I’d rather not partake in putting on a circus and letting such a painfully ignorant point of view pretend for even a second that it gets to sit on the same stage as a respectable opinion. If that’s rude, I’m sorry, but that’s how it is. If you are YEC, you flat out don’t deserve a formal debate. If you believe in a literal worldwide flood, you don’t deserve a formal debate. These are groups of people who know not the meaning of the word fact, and judging by our conversation, the words “law,” “theory,” “system,” and so forth.

    Such things warrant little more than a platform for entertainment. If we’re gonna put on a circus, let’s at least not try to dress the clowns in business suits.

    • Mike says:

      First of all, if you would read the propositions, you will find that I HAVE SPECIFIED

      Just what I thought,

      • Mike says:

        sorry about that, for some reason it submitted my comment before I completed it.

        Anywho, I have specified the God we will debate, it is THE God of the Bible, not the man made gods, but the Creator God. But we can get more specific if you want.

        However it is apparent that you are no desire or ability to debate, so I guess there is no point in discussing this further. Typical popinjay.

        • Jacob says:

          Which God of the Bible, Mike? Which one of the tens of thousands of denominations? The God of the Bible is also the God of the Quran and the God of the Jews, so I guess we have to distinguish it from all of those, too.

          Typical cry of rejection. You also didn’t answer any of my other questions, such as are you YEC and do you believe in a worldwide flood, because plenty of people who believe in the “God of the Bible” don’t believe those things are literal.

          Like I said, if you believe these things, I particularly find no insult in your bleating. Your ideas are worth little more than mocking, and you’ve proven that in all the conversation we’ve had so far – telling me the second law describes an “open system.” I’ve never heard of such a stupid thing! Laws do not “describe” anything other than an observation. The second law MUST be talking about a closed system. A system is simply arbitrarily defined. Saying the universe is the closed system doesn’t mean there’s nothing outside of it, it means that’s where you’re setting your boundaries for observation. And guess what, it appears that when we set that boundary, the second law applies perfectly well. Entropy has always increased, and that’s why there’s no need to believe in anything external.

          Why would I *formally* debate somebody who cannot follow simple sentences and whose scientific vocabulary is more butchered than an eight year old’s? Why, Mike? I’d still “debate” you if we change the structure a bit and don’t call it “formal.”

  36. Mike says:

    Jacob,

    why would you waste your time with an eight year old? I’m not the one backing out here, you are. I have no problem at all debating formally, it is you who are unable to do so. So let’s not talk about inabilities, look in the mirror.

    Your belief system is just as ridiculous and unfounded to me, as you think mine is to you. As a matter of fact there is only ONE God of the Bible. As I pointed out – the Eternal Creator whom the Jews follwed as well as the Christians. Muslims do not follow the God of the Bible, nor does another other cult.
    “Christian” denominations who claim to follow the God of the Bible, do not follow him, but their own creeds.

    If the proposition was not specific enough for you, all you had to do was send one you thought was more specific. But since that is beyond your ability, I will do it for you.

    RESOVLED: I know that the God of the Bible (the eternal God who created the Heavens and the earth, the God of the Old and New Testaments, the God whom the Jews of old and Christians today serve) does not exist.

    Affirm:
    Deny: Mike Demory

    RESOLVED: I know that the God of the Bible (the eternal God of the Old and New Testaments, the God whom the Jews of Old and Christians today serve) does exist.

    Affirm: Mike Demory
    Deny:

    If that is not specific enough, then send something that you believe more defines the debate. (If you are able) – if not, just ask and I will do it for you.

  37. Jacob says:

    ” I’m not the one backing out here, you are.”

    I never said you backed down, just that you’re a proven fool time and time again when you post absurdly silly things like “the second law points to an opens system” (if you want me to explain why that makes absolutely 0 sense, I’d be glad to do it again) or “evolution defies the first law.” I never accused you of not having the guts, because trust me if blind confidence was the thing in question here, you’d win hands down. Heck, not even the textbooks, colleges, and professors can tell you you don’t know what entropy is, so how would I stand a chance?

    But we’re not talking about unsupportable levels of confidence, are we? What we’re discussing requires actually being able to make progress. How can you make progress with somebody who doesn’t know the difference between evolution – biology and the big bang – cosmology? They’re not the same. People don’t always accept both or neither. If God magically poofed everything into existence and created the first compound protein himself, the evidence for evolution still stands- separate from the big bang, abiogenesis, and everything else that you don’t understand in the slightest and are MORE THAN HAPPY to come on here and demonstrate to us for our entertainment! Why ruin a good thing by letting you play Mr. ego with a formal debate? If you want to have a short, less-formal written exchange about any number of topics and try to get inside my mind and exchange ideas, I’m your man. If you want to go on a macho ego trip with nothing to back it up, like I said, I’m not putting the business suit on the monkey.

  38. Jacob says:

    And go ahead and fire back “entropy means things tend towards disorder” so I can laugh you out of the reply section again, because I’d love to. Sure, that’s a ridiculously simple way of explaining it to little kids, but if that’s your actual understanding of entropy, that’s sad.

  39. Mike says:

    Jacob,

    How you can possibly say that I am the one who is backing is beyond reason, but then you haven’t said a reasonable thing yet, so at least you are consistent, I’ll give you that much.

    It’s amazing to me that you want to establish conditions for debate. You won’t debate if I hold certain ideas that you find absurd, yet I am perfectly open to debating ALL of your absurdities.

    Talk about blind faith – it is you my friend who is walking about blindly and just accepting fantasy as truth. Evolution still stands with a Creator – yep, no logic whatsoever. But, I’m still willing to debate you, but only in the arena of formal debate. Otherwise, we are wasting our time.

  40. Jacob says:

    “Talk about blind faith – it is you my friend who is walking about blindly and just accepting fantasy as truth. Evolution still stands with a Creator – yep, no logic whatsoever. But, I’m still willing to debate you, but only in the arena of formal debate. Otherwise, we are wasting our time.”

    See? You don’t understand a simple sentence – explain to me how a creator and evolution could not be compatible. A creator doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I laid out the hypothetical situation very clearly – this unnamed creator god created the universe, he created the earth, and he created the first self-replicating protein out of thin air. With that, the evidence for evolution still stands. The theory of evolution explains ONE thing and ONE thing only – the diversity of life through natural selection, not its origin, not the origin of matter, not the origin of the universe, not the presence or lack of presence of a god or gods, nothing of the sort. You want to play ball but you can’t even find the damn stadium. If I wrote you an eight page paper explaining my position, it’d be like showing a magic trick to a dog.

    I fully understand your position, I understand your supposed evidence, and everything else. I practically have Kent Hovind’s slides committed to memory. You, however, can’t find a clue when it slaps you in the face for the other side.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s