An Analysis of Another Asinine Atheist Ad

An Analysis of Another Asinine Atheist Ad
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Atheists Claim They Make Better Lovers (But They Need Serious Help In the PR Department)

Sex is God’s invention. And since He created it, He maintains the rights to define it (which He did; 1 man and 1 woman) and to dictate its boundaries (in a marriage relationship), which are for our protection and our benefit. His definitions are only chains to those who hate even their own bodies.

By the way, if you read the article linked above, notice Backyard Skeptics founder Bruce Gleason’s words very carefully. Very telling. Backyard Skeptics was also the organization responsible for paying for a billboard that falsely attributed a quote to Thomas Jefferson. (Hence the “another poorly planned” text of the billboard on the right-hand side.)

For those among the readership who’ve pretty much resigned from considering alternative explanations that have more explanatory power and assume everything is the product of evolutionary processes, please read this delightful article that was brought to my attention by a recent visitor (Thanks, Getic.Apolo!):

[Evolutionnews.org] Sex, the Queen of Problems in Evolutionary Biology

160 thoughts on “An Analysis of Another Asinine Atheist Ad

  1. Pot, meet kettle.

    I agree: these are poor billboards because their messages are factually suspect. What’s true actually matters.

    Your description of sex is also factually suspect. You make a faith claim (Sex is God’s invention) and then draw all kinds of conclusions and justify assertions about human sexuality based on it. But is the original claim true? And does this matter?

    Well, it matters when we consider its effects, and I couldn’t help but think of your post when I came across this from Sigmund:

    “While fundamentalist Christianity impacts the teaching of science in public schools, particularly in those regions where politicians pander towards the faithful, it is primarily the more ‘moderate’ forms of religiosity that affect people’s lives. Be it discrimination against gays or denying proper healthcare and reproductive choice to women, religously-based resistance to equality and choice is derived almost entirely from the core doctrines of the major denominations, such as the Roman Catholic church. Such teachings on homosexuality and birth control are based on religious grounds— primarily the revealed opinions of an unquestioned and even unquestionable deity—and are therefore not amenable to secular reasoning.”

    And as long as you presume the truth of your faith claim rather than adjudicate it on what’s true in reality, you remain are very much part of this ongoing problem over respecting what’s true over and above respecting what some people merely believe is true and justifying actions on this suspect claim.

    1. Notice, readers, how the poster (and those like him) continues to give the impression that he and only those that agree with him know what’s true and respect it. Have you all caught on yet?

      But those of us who are not them can see that they merely believe that they know both: 1) what is true and; 2) that all those of us who don’t agree with him / them are wrong. But more importantly, please note, too, that his response entirely ignores the massive hurdles that sexual reproduction places in front of those who accept an evolutionary / materialistic origin for it. (NOTE: The Internet and libraries are open to all inquiring minds. Don’t take my word for it. Go and research the massive problems sexual reproduction present to the theory of evolution, then come back and see if the evidence of design the systems exhibit are evidence enough to say that they were designed by God.) Instead, he merely starts another argument, making the same, tired claim that belief in God is merely “belief” and has no correspondence to reality. (Ignoring that his statements assume that his take on reality and the non-existence of God are accurate and true.)

      But God bless him anyway.

      Is there anybody else out there?

  2. tildeb,

    Pot, meet kettle.

    I agree: these are poor billboards because their messages are factually suspect. What’s true actually matters.

    Your description of sex is also factually suspect. You make a faith claim (Sex is NOT God’s invention, I’m guessing you’d attribute it to evolution, no?) and then draw all kinds of conclusions and justify assertions about human sexuality based on it. But is the original claim true? And does this matter?

    Well, it matters when we consider its effects, and I couldn’t help but think of your post when I came across this from Graham Bell (from his book ‘The Masterpiece of Nature: The Evolution of Genetics and Sexuality’, and also found here – http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/07/spinning_fanciful_tales_about_048281.html):

    “Sex is the queen of problems in evolutionary biology. Perhaps no other natural phenomenon has aroused so much interest; certainly none has sowed as much confusion. The insights of Darwin and Mendel, which have illuminated so many mysteries, have so far failed to shed more than a dim and wavering light on the central mystery of sexuality, emphasizing its obscurity by its very isolation.”

    And as long as you presume the truth of your faith claim rather than adjudicate it on what’s true in reality, you remain are very much part of this ongoing problem over respecting what’s true over and above respecting what some people merely believe is true and justifying actions on this suspect claim.

    ;)

    1. Getic.Apolo.

      I have held both accountable for making a positive claim for which there is no evidence. This is where the burden of proof rests. Seems simple enough: make a claim about reality, back it up with evidence from reality.

      This approach seems to be too unreasonable for you to handle. You want to switch this burden away from those who make unsubstantiated claims and place it on those who ask for evidence from reality for claims made about it by pretending that they make the opposing negative claim (that you state inaccurately to be my position, namely, that “Sex is NOT God’s invention”).

      If you really are concerned about what’s true about the claim regarding the cause of human sexuality, then what evidence from reality do we have about its basis? Again, is this an unreasonable approach? Well, if you don’t like where the evidence leads you (ClaimCB350), then it makes sense to try to divert the burden of proof when it grows too heavy. This is all you are doing: diverting. It doesn’t aid or strengthen the original positive claim at all, leaving the integrity of the original charge (Pot, meet kettle) unscathed. If you label the criticism I apply to both original claims – the billboard and the cartoon – as merely rhetoric rather than reason, then its a failure of comprehension on your part to understand the legitimacy of the criticism I have raised against both: that what’s true about reality actually matters in claims made on its behalf.

      1. Yet again we have the charge that there is no evidence. Is it getting old to anyone else?

        Readers, please do click on the link provided in the comment above. If you do, you’ll notice that no actual evidence is provided. There are assertions, like “There are many intermediate stages”, but no examples are given. There is the hypothesis that sex evolved as “resistance to parasites”, but, again, no evidence is given. (And that particular point was touched on in the brief article I linked to under the cartoon.)

        Readers, male/female sexual reproduction shows all the signs of being an intelligently designed system featuring complementary, specific sexual organs. As close as anyone wants or is able to look, they can see that the intricate processes involved in reproduction require specific, fine-tuned elements, both seen in the organs and in the chemistry involved in sexual reproduction. For example, pregnancy.

        1) A woman’s sexual reproduction organs are designed for intercourse with a male (particular muscles make it so). Not only that superficial element is evidence of design, but also the way in which a woman’s body reacts to sperm is further evidence.

        2) A woman’s body doesn’t identify the sperm as harmful because semen contains elements that are immunosuppressive. (If you didn’t have one, you wouldn’t need the other.) And don’t forget the intricate and major changes that occur after a women becomes pregnant!

        What a sad state it would have been for a baby to be conceived, but there happened to be no umbilical cord to feed him or her. Don’t forget about the placenta! I’ll leave out the given that the circulatory, nervous, immune and various other miraculous, interdependent systems of the body need to be working and in place before any of this gets off the ground.

        But, don’t believe me. I direct you to the nearest library (real or virtual), physiology books, and books on human reproduction to show you what’s true and what’s real in reality that our visitor is keen to stress. And I’m glad he is keen to stress what’s real and true. The more and longer a person looks at what is real and what is true, the more evident it becomes that God exists. As it applies to this thread, the evidence that sexual reproduction is the product of intelligence is easily available for all to see. (That is, of course, unless your particular bias requires that you ignore, suppress, or ridicule any evidence that might imply demonstrate that you’re wrong.)

        So, don’t be fooled into thinking that evidence is absent or the antithesis of faith as some think and demand. No, no. God is gracious in that He gives us evidence to ignite and sustain faith.

        Joshua

      2. NAA, I understand you think human reproduction looks designed and have concluded that IS designed. Although I disagree and think the evidence from reality unambiguously reveals why this appearance is deceiving, let’s assume for the moment you are absolutely right. Understandably, you then go to the next step and assume a Designer. Okay, let’s go with that. Somewhere in our past has come a Designer that has designed human reproduction. Fine.

        You then take another step and assume that you happen to know enough about the intentions and purposes and meaning of the Designer’s plan to then draw certain conclusions about what is and is not appropriate human sexual behaviour. It is for THIS CLAIM that I repeatedly ask for evidence to see for myself if what you say is backed up by something more than your (and other’s) belief is backed up by more than belief alone. In this matter, the absence of evidence is quite telling. Without compelling evidence to link human sexual behaviour to the plans of this Designer, your conclusion – Sex is God’s invention – is nothing more and nothing less than a personal belief you hold. Even then I don’t have a problem with you having such a personal opinion. But when you extend that personal opinion and attempt to justify why others should behave this way or that on your assumption – especially when the reasons for your belief as anything other than a personal belief are so suspect to begin with – then what you are doing is trying to imposes your assumption upon reality of others. What you have failed to do is pretend your assumption is not a personal belief (as if it were true in fact when there is an absence of compelling evidence to justify and elevate your assumptions about what is and is not appropriate expressions of human sexual behaviour).

        Simply put, you make claims about reality based on your personal belief and try to extend that belief as if it were true to adjudicate the behaviour of others. Without evidence to show how you have access to the intentions, purposes, and meanings of the Designer’s Plan, I think you present your personal beliefs under false pretenses: rather than admit you don’t know the Designer’s Plan but believe it is this way or that, you pretend you do know… and justify other conclusions on exactly this. And that’s why this presumption of ‘knowledge’ rather than the more honest ‘belief’ is the same as the writer(s) of the billboard.

      3. Readers, notice still no counter-evidence has been provided to show the claim that God created sex is somehow false. Notice, too, that the commentator didn’t even acknowledge (though he may have considered) that the way the something works directly or indirectly tells of its intention(s) and purpose(s). Of course, in reality nobody argues like this about other organs, only the sexual organs. For example, has anyone every encountered anyone who will argue that it is irrational and mere “belief” that the purpose and intention of the heart is to pump blood to organs and keep a person alive? Or that the kidneys are for filtering liquids and waste disposal? Or that the lungs are for breathing air? (If you do, you’ve got my pity.) No one I know will say you are a bigot if you tell them that smoking will kill you because it (ab)uses the lungs in way that they weren’t intended, as entailed by their design and function. However, when those of us point out the state of reality — that sexual organs are complementary and work together to produce offspring, thus implying that the intent of their design is for 1 male and 1 female — we are somehow working on “assumptions” and “personal opinions”. Of course, I don’t want to get too far into the grizzly details of when those organs are abused and used in ways that their design screams is incorrect, but I’ll submit for the consideration of the readers this: What is the large intestine for? (Regardless of what anyone believes, it is not designed for sexual intercourse. How do I know? Its design and function!)

        Now, I could bring the text of the Bible into the discussion. It claims to be a written revelation of the Creator and give evidence of that claim through historical accounts and prophecy. In that, the Creator revealed that He created human beings and His intent in doing so. But the more disingenuous among us would right it off, having concluded that the Bible doesn’t count as evidence. Why? Well, they’ve already concluded beforehand that God doesn’t exist. So, nothing counts as evidence because there is none. Sounds so reasonable, no?

        So, mark these off:

        1) The function of organs doesn’t count as evidence of their intention and purpose.
        2) The revelation of the Creator regarding His intent in designing bodies the way they are doesn’t count as evidence of their intention and purpose.
        3) That the sexual organs “look designed” (which the commentator admits) and show every tell-tale of being designed both by their outward appearance and chemistry doesn’t count as evidence of their intention and purpose.

        Maybe the commentator will do us the courtesy of telling everyone what would / could count as evidence for the intent and purpose of sex and sexual organs. If someone would say their is none, then they must provide evidence, too.

        I commit my responses to the readers for their consideration and input.

        Thanks,

        Joshua

        PS – Here’s just a short, concise video about this topic:

  3. NAA,

    I apologise for not saying a formal hello =) Just want to add that I really love the way you draw your cartoons, they say a lot without saying much, if you know what I mean. And rest assured, as you’ve hoped, that the passing rational reader is sure to be able to distinguish reason from rhetoric. So you just keep doing what you’re doing, it’s working well for you.

    1 Peter 3:15. =)

  4. Speaking of short and concise videos about sex and evolution, you might want to take a look at this one.

    The video helps explain why all three criticisms (#1:The function of organs doesn’t count as evidence of their intention and purpose, #2: The revelation of the Creator regarding His intent in designing bodies the way they are doesn’t count as evidence of their intention and purpose, and #3:That the sexual organs “look designed” (which the commentator admits) and show every tell-tale of being designed both by their outward appearance and chemistry doesn’t count as evidence of their intention and purpose) has much evidence from reality to back them up.

    Again, physicist Feynman is absolutely right to remind us that we shouldn’t fool ourselves if we want to know about reality, and that we are the easiest people to fool because we prefer the easy answers to difficult questions. And the easiest way to fool ourselves is to assume that our beliefs are quite capable of adjudicating reality rather than taking the road less traveled and allowing reality to adjudicate our beliefs.

    As for the oft repeated demand that I (and those who allow reality to adjudicate causal effect claims made about it) disprove that god created the universe and everything it contains or Jesus is the default conclusion, let it be known (yet again and for the umpteenth time) this transference of the burden of proof is unreasonable.

    Consider:

    There’s no way to demonstrate conclusively that the telephone system works purely through the application of technology; there’s no inconsistency in supposing that certain elements of the phone system would cease to work if it weren’t for the daily intervention of some benevolent deity. We can’t look for God in every relay every second of every day, so we can’t prove He’s not at work there.

    But should we suppose such a thing? Should we argue such a thing? I must conclude that you think we should, given that there’s no real philosophical difference between your arguments applied to evolution and your arguments applied to the telephone system.(Dan L., commenting #40, at http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/can-god-create-mutations-eliottt-sober-says-we-cant-rule-that-out/#comments)

    1. Thanks for the links. They have been viewed. Now I wonder if the visitor has watched the link I left…

      (Questions in the following are meant for readers to consider.)

      Readers, please do watch the video linked above and read through the comments at the link provided. If you do, once again you will see that no actual evidence is being offered. The video is full of assertions and comparisons regarding the reproductive activities of different species. But no examples of intermediary forms of any of the species mentioned was shown. No explanation for how the male and female genders came about and for what reason. There was a mention of how irreducible complexity only addresses issues with forms that exist now. Right. So, let’s look around and at the fossil record and see what we find. Do we find intermediate males and females? Where?

      The video poses and answers many of its own questions. For example, the author says, “Do there need to be two sexes? No.” OK. So I don’t know anyone who can show us an example of a human being born through normal fertilization processes without the aid of a turkey baster or male partner. Now apply that to every other species that reproduces sexually.

      It’s an all-or-nothing proposition. If an organism doesn’t reproduce, either asexually or sexually, it’s not going to be around to evolve. Sexual reproduction just increases all the problems and then some of asexual reproduction, like finding living, compatible mates who just happen to have a physiology which is complementary to your own; you’ve got the mechanics, both shape and chemistry, which have to be complementary. Then sexual reproduction increases competition, both for food and for mates. But I’ll stop there. I’m getting way out of my field (art, music, and languages). There are many learned scientists who can write much more about this. Here’s a brief one (let’s hope it gets clicked on):

      Argument: Evolution of Sex by Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D. with Michael Matthews

      Suffice it to say: A half-developed anything, especially in the reproductive anatomy, is useless.

      And the video brings up meiosis. Great. So what evidence is there that there was some intermediary form of some organism — any organism — which had the potential for meiosis, but not the information? How do the cells know what to do? Who “taught” them?

      Slightly Off-Topic Note:

      And I have to mention that some (not all) of the comments here [click this text] were not just erroneous and disingenuous, but ridiculous and silly, but not in a funny way. For example, one Ben Goren, whom the commentator above mentioned in previous interactions here at NAA as having a large online reputation among the atheist / evolution community, said the following:

      And, similarly, we know that there are no gods.

      Jesus, for example, is said to want humanity to know and understand him. This mission of his was so important that he went out of his way to get tortured to death and then bring himself back to life as a zombie with a fetish for getting his guts groped, just so that people would believe he was the real deal. Oh — and it’s also so important to him that we believe in him that he’ll infinitely torture those who don’t.

      Now, does that sound like a reliable source of information to you, someone who doesn’t even know the difference between the body of a zombie and the body of the risen Jesus? And he knows there are no gods no less!

      If anyone knows him, suggest that he leave the Internet world (where anyone or any idea can gain a following) and publish some books or articles in actual magazines.

      Joshua

  5. To further our inquiries into the biology of reproduction, let us now turn to a sympathetic creationist with a Ph.D. in Spectroscopy (Physical Chemistry) to show the world of biologists the way (Sarfati).

    Clearly, after all is said and done, it makes much more sense that all the various kinds of reproduction we find in nature were POOF!ed into existence at the same time about 6,000 years ago and, therefore, Jesus is saviour.

    Good grief, NAA, but you are grasping at the thread of reality while letting it slip through your fingers. Flex the muscles of critical thinking and grab that thread before it’s too late. Stooping to quote mining is hardly surprising. Getting that desperate, are you, that you have to misrepresent people and what they write? What a pious – if not honourable – tactic!

    1. Notice how not one issue dealt with in the Sarfati article to which I linked was addressed. Rather than deal with the issues at hand, the commentator would like to make it one of personalities and to get us to not stare at the gaping hole in a cherished theory. To add insult to incredulity, the commentator then lays down a carelessly constructed caricature of Creation Ministries International, an unashamedly creationist organization that employs scientists from many different fields in many countries of the world.

      Are those the actions of a person interested in what is true or showing intellectual honesty? Nope. Readers, those are symptoms. You should be aware that the atheist side is infected with a type of nearly incurable intellectual pride in their approach to both knowledge and the mechanics of the universe (not everyone on it, but so many that even some self-proclaimed atheists have jumped ship). Many have lost the ability to have meaningful and coherent interaction with other people in an online format (Go to the Dawkins forum and see an example of this).

      This thread is dead. Hopefully, our resident atheist will venture along his way since he has apparently run out of substantive things to say. But then again he may choose to reply with another comment laced with personal insults (again) and avoid the issues (again) to showcase his intellectual prowess and his mastery of critical thinking.

      Perhaps I should retype the text on the NAA home page to be sure that people know the blog’s name is “No Apologies Allowed,” not “No Integrity Allowed”?

      But I’ve been too generous with my time even replying indirectly already. Lesson learned.

      Joshua

      *Readers note: Dr. Jonathan Safarti has a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Chemistry and a Ph D. in Physical Chemistry. I hope readers will see my references throughout this thread to the remarkable chemistry of the human body, as seen in sexual reproduction and elsewhere, and understand that the words of a trained chemist are relevant. Though, truth be told, it’s likely that the commentator didn’t read the entire article, even though I chose to link to it because it was short and wouldn’t require more than 15 minutes to read.

  6. Hello again, Joshua and tildeb, I apologise for the prolonged hiatus. I just got back from a short trip to Brisbane, and decided to drop by for an update on things. Oh, by the way, on the flight back home from Brisbane, I was thinkly fondly of Darwin, and how I love Darwin. No no, I don’t mean the spiritual leader of the religion Darwinism, but rather, the state Darwin that is in northeast Australia. Hmm, I miss that place. ;)

    But, humour aside, I’d like to now direct the next part of my response to tildeb, and do hope you reply, my friend. I’m happy to keep this thread alive.

    tildeb, you keep on suggesting that Joshua and I have made claims about reality that we cannot substantiate. To understand the foundation for our worldview, we have to take things a few steps back. And I think Joshua summed up our foundation excellently when he said this:

    “Now, I could bring the text of the Bible into the discussion. It claims to be a written revelation of the Creator and give evidence of that claim through historical accounts and prophecy.”

    What Joshua and I subscribe to is the rational understanding of the historical reliability of the Bible and the well-documented existence of Jesus of Nazareth (since this is not the subject of this discussion, I will stop my elaboration here). With our understanding of the evidence, we have come to rationally identify Jesus as the unique Son of God, and understand God through him.

    Now, do suspend your disbelief for one second and play along with me here. Suppose you have come to the reasonable, rational conclusion that God exists (just suppose). Now, if you understood God to exist, and understood that He said certain things about how we should live, what would be your rational response to His words? Would it be to accept what He said in bits and parts, or to accept His guidelines for good living in totality? Do think about it, my friend, because it brings me to my next point.

    I’m suggesting that Joshua, myself, and many others like us are not advocates of homosexual behaviour because the God whom we understand to exist has said that it is unnatural, and the only rational response to the words of a God whom we know exists would be to adhere to them. So Joshua does indeed have a rational, properly basic foundation for saying what he has against homosexuality, and is not making claims based on a false reality.

    Now, if you’ve noticed, even then, Joshua (and to a lesser extent, I) have taken great pains to ensure we don’t just impose our worldview on you, but rather, tried to engage you on your own terms, so that you can see that there is ample scientific reason to believe homosexuality is unnatural. And your responses so far have been a point of curiosity for me.

    For starters, in trying to suggest ‘conclusive’ evidence for the validity of homosexual behaviour, you posted a link, which I did visit. And all I found was a rebuttal to claims that Joshua didn’t make in their totality. Apparently, you feel countering claims we didn’t make counts as a point on your scorecard.

    I believe that is called a strawman, my friend. Do look up the definition. =D

    Interestingly, if you’d followed through with the only link I’ve provided thus far, you’d have found more recent findings that dismiss one of the two arguments that your link actually made (about resistance to deleterious mutation loads and resistance to parasites indicating evolutionary advantages to sex). Do feel free to let me know what you think about the information in the link, appreciate it.

    Also, apart from not exactly responding to some other excellent links that Joshua posted, you also go on to dismiss some valid scientific arguments made by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, not on the basis of their scientific relevance or irrelevance, but based on your belief that Sarfati must have said these things because he is a creationist, and that he probably doesn’t have the relevant expertise in biology. That too, my friend, is a fallacious argument.

    Certainly even you would concede that you do not have to hold a Ph. D in Biology just to understand Biology. Do you, for instance, hold Ph. D’s in the various scientific disciplines that you have taken the liberty to comment about? I would be the first to admit I don’t, but that is irrelevant to our rational pursuit in understanding and discussing God’s existence or science’s advances or failings. Trust me, if all of us required Ph. D’s to understand God’s workings through science, Heaven would be an awfully empty place! =D

  7. And finally, I must share with you that I have this annoying little habit (I really am a stubborn fella, if you will) of enforcing the idea that people subject themselves to the same standards that they expect of others. And don’t get me wrong: I well and truly believe that you are a rational, intelligent man, probably very nice to interact with in person. And I also trust that you are a good and moral man.

    With all of that, I am willing to make a bold suggestion here, and humbly challenge you to prove me wrong: that with regards to scientific understanding of human sexual behaviour, you do not hold a position of conclusively demonstrated truth, but rather, one of FAITH, not far detached from what you imply that any faith-system or religion might incorporate. In other words, you might have as much faith in your worldview as any other religious person might have. In line with that, kindly allow me to direct you to the following comments that you made through your series of responses to Joshua, along with questions I’m posing to you, just to see how far your worldview takes you:

    “… as long as you presume the truth of your faith claim rather than adjudicate it on what’s true in reality, you remain are very much part of this ongoing problem over respecting what’s true over and above respecting what some people merely believe is true and justifying actions on this suspect claim.”

    “I have held both accountable for making a positive claim for which there is no evidence. This is where the burden of proof rests. Seems simple enough: make a claim about reality, back it up with evidence from reality.”

    “Without compelling evidence to link human sexual behaviour to the plans of this Designer, your conclusion – Sex is God’s invention – is nothing more and nothing less than a personal belief you hold. ”

    You seem to imply that you know “what’s true in reality” and not us. So you wouldn’t mind me shifting the spotlight upon you with a few questions. Now note that I am not assuming any of your answers in advance, I’m genuinely interested in your responses. So I would really appreciate your answers to them (as silence on your end would actually be very telling). I thank you in advance for taking the time to think through the following:

    (1) Do you mean to say you know the absolute truth behind human sexual reproduction and behaviour? And no, you don’t have to find evidence for the negative “Sex is not God’s invention” statement. I did ask you before and you may have missed it, so I’ll ask again. What do you think sex is an invention of, evolution perhaps? Or something else? Is there any evidence you can present to suggest any positive claim on your end or to show conclusive truth about human sexual reproduction and behaviour, truth that settles the debate on the matter? Let’s see you – to borrow your words – “make a claim about reality, back it up with evidence from reality.” ;)

    (2) A hypothetical question: Suppose the very first generation of human beings were all exclusively homosexual and only maintained sexual relations with their own gender. Do you think it is possible that the entire human race would have been wiped out? Does that indicate anything about how unnatural homosexuality might be? Why or why not?

    (3) Do you believe advances in medical technology that allow homosexual couples to have children without any ill effects or implications indicates that homosexuality is natural?

    (4) Which part of your worldview or scientific understanding allows you to draw the line on just how far human sexual behaviour should take us? Like, suppose a man or woman wanted to have sex with animals or children or their own parents/siblings/sons/daughters. Would you find that appropriate/inappropriate? Which part of your understanding of human sexual behaviour allows you to classify that as appropriate/inappropriate?

    That is all for now. I am happy to agree with your statement “that what’s true about reality actually matters in claims made on its behalf.” So please do enlighten me as far as you deem possible with regards to these questions and your worldview, I’d love to get to know more about you as a person, I believe that would make for a more satisfactory and compelling discussion.

    I’ll leave you with another set of articles with some superbly telling points with regards to the origin of human sexual reproduction and behaviour, feel free to let me know your thoughts on them. =)

    ‘The Origin of Gender and Sexual Reproduction [Part I]’ (http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=162)
    ‘The Origin of Gender and Sexual Reproduction [Part II]’ (http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=164)

    Thanks, have a great week ahead! =D

    1. I can see by the kind of questions you have asked that you don’t seem to have a good understanding of what evolution means. It is a framework of explanation in which all of biology fits. Sure, like human reproduction, all of biology is filled with a lot of unknown stuff. But this does not mean an alternative is necessary or even useful uless it adds to our understanding. This is where Intelligent Design fails to deliver. All we have is complex stuff that looks complex and ID pronounces “Therefore, a Designer.” But this is not an explanation for the evidence we do have. By all means let’s take a welcome look at reality and see why almost all biologists agree why evolution is true :

      If you revisit the links to the ‘superb’ paper you posted, you’ll immediately see the typical form of the argument for design: “It looks designed because there are all these complex components so we’ll take a shortcut and pretend it’s all rather obvious that ‘Therefore, a Designer’ must be a legitimate alternative.” This is cherry picking a very complex phenomena – human reproduction – and basically concluding that because it is complex it must have been designed. And it has been, in the sense of how evolution works. But is an uguided design and not a guided one.

      But you’ll notice that nowhere in all of Intelligent Design material does it also biologically account for the multiple and disparate avenues of inquiry that produce a very clear unified progression; the design approach simply ignores this mountain of evidence and point only to uncertainties of what at passing glance looks like highly complex biology. Ever year we are building an ever clearer understanding of many of these biological processes and how they have developed and we’re nowhere near done. We have not reached a definitive answer to all questions about how human reproduction developed. All we can do is see if the sum of the evidence available – information available in embryology, genetics, and so on – fits seamlessly with evolutionary models… and it does. In comparison, the design proponents produce no information at all but continues to poke at areas of uncertainty and dispute (and biology is FILLED with such) and use all of this as if the only alternative must be guided design. This approach is not just a science stopper, which is a ludicrous approach if one wishes to look at reality, but one that produces nothing in return. Evolution does produce all kinds of handy returns, from medical technologies to therapies to technological applications. And it continues to do so. In any fair comparison, belief in guided design is a dead end. Going to war against evolution is an undertaking that is turtles all the way down.

      So to answer your four questions:

      #1 No. My beliefs are irrelevant to the science. So are yours. Evolution – unguided design – as an explanation for biological development works better and is better informed with evidence from reality than any other scientific theory we now take for granted.

      #2 This shows the degree to which you do not understand evolution. Within your DNA, your oldest female ancestor lived somewhere in the vicinity of 50,000 years earlier than your oldest male ancestor. No wrap your head around that little genetic gem if you can. There is zero genetic evidence for a human bottleneck of two.

      #3 You confuse biological behaviour with god-sanctioned morality and try to put the lipstick of what’s ‘natural’ on this pig by producing a very weak argument supposedly deduced from genetics. But the argument isn’t about biology because you apply this cherry-picked reasoning only after the fact. In other words, you are not basing the argument for your morality on biology but religious belief. And when this route is followed, the fallout becomes an argument about supporting discriminating laws that subordinate legal individual rights of others on your religious beliefs.

      #4 Compelling reasons.

      1. Readers, notice the persistent condescension.

        Notice, too, that the commentator seems to be painting a picture that he merely “views” information from reality with no interpretations or biases (unlike 99.999% of the rest of humanity*). He also admits that, in reality, things look designed and that they were (!). (Richard Dawkins admits as much.) So, where else in reality do you a see a random, purposeless, intelligent-less process designing anything? We look at reality, reality indicates one thing (design), but we must believe another in spite of reality. Why? Well, because we know evolution is true. This is then followed by a caricature of creationist / intelligent design positions. (I’d be curious of that name of one book or even one technical paper written by a creationist that the commentator has read. Contrary to caricature, they are not filled with “God did it.”)

        In addition, many pro-evolutionists, the commentator above no exception, make accusations like “creation / ID isn’t testable”, like many other. Well, Casey Luskin has already shown it is here:

        A Positive, Testable Case for Intelligent Design

        And never forget that the theory of evolution has had science reach wrong, premature conclusions, even in the recent past. Things like junk DNA and vestigial organs / structures. From the creationist / ID side, you would predict that both have functions. And that’s what is being found out: Do Any Vestigial Organs Exist in Humans? by Dr. Jerry Bergman, Ph.D. (Biology) and ‘Junk’ DNA: Evolutionary Discards or God’s Tools? by Linda K. Walkup, Ph. D. (Molecular Genetics).

        And notice the bias of the video, which I hope you will watch. It’s title is “This is Why Every Scientist Accepts Evolution”. But I can give you the names of hundreds of scientists who have worked or are working in the field who don’t or didn’t. But the video goes beyond that to state that every rational person should accept evolution. So, every scientist before Darwin and those that don’t buy evolution even today were/are irrational.

        Don’t overlook the fact, readers, that all these explanations we’re hearing do not deal with the other data, namely information. There’s no explanation for the presence and origin of information that is required for all these “very complex phenomena.” Matter doesn’t produce information.

        I hope you will all consider all the comments you read here.

        Joshua

        *NOTE: This is becoming a common tactic among the atheist / evolutionist side. They state that they alone are merely relaying reality with no interpretation. If you listen to a debate on Unbelievable?, you’ll hear an otherwise intelligent atheist trying to imply that he has no bias or interpretation.

      2. From Luskin:

        Table 2. Predictions of Design (Hypothesis):

        (1) Natural structures will be found that contain many parts arranged in intricate patterns that perform a specific function (e.g. complex and specified information).
        (2) Forms containing large amounts of novel information will appear in the fossil record suddenly and without similar precursors.
        (3) Convergence will occur routinely. That is, genes and other functional parts will be re-used in different and unrelated organisms.
        (4) Much so-called “junk DNA” will turn out to perform valuable functions.

        Shorthand: if we find complex stuff that looks designed, it’s evidence for a guiding agency.

        Conclusion: (Gasp!) ID is testable! Oh look: that looks designed. Conclusion? Therefore a guiding agency.

        See? And some people think science can be hard. Pfft.

  8. “Notice, readers, how the poster (and those like him) continues to give the impression that he and only those that agree with him know what’s true and respect it. Have you all caught on yet?”

    Isn’t your own position exactly the same? You expressly say as much in the next sentence!

    “But those of us who are not them can see that they merely believe that they know both: 1) what is true and; 2) that all those of us who don’t agree with him / them are wrong.”

    1. Exactly. The difference is that I’ve never tried to hide the fact that we believe those two things. (And doublecheck us here. What is “true” in the context of the thread up to that point?) For example, how is one person going to prove their take on reality is the absolute correct one? The beginning of time, space, matter. The origin of life. You can’t “prove” those in the mathematical sense. So whatever side you’re on, it’s “tainted” with belief.

      Then there’s a technique called “engaging the readers”, since they are now forced to see both sides as making absolute truth claims. This side says “we know what’s true and respect it”. The other side says “we know what’s true and respect it”. Now a third party (readers) can get involved.

      Thanks for getting involved and leaving messages!

      God bless,

      Joshua

      1. You continue to misrepresent that I am suggesting that I determine what’s true about reality. Rubbish. I respect reality to arbitrate what is true about it, and respect the best methodology we (not I) have produced to yield the highest rate of return. It’s called science. You confuse (as you seem determined to do) certain scientific conclusions to be similar in kind to religious conclusions because they are seem to be equivalent in the form of being conclusions. What you conveniently forget is how the methods of inquiry used to reach these conclusions are incompatibly different in kind, namely, on how the claims are arbitrated. Whereas the method of science depends on reality to inform tentative conclusions (that my very well and often are updated as more evidence from reality is brought into considerations), the method of religion is to start with a truth claim and presume its truth by merit of faith that it is true. This is why religious beliefs do not evolve on their own but remain fixed and immutable. This is why you continue to cherry-pick whatever data you can find that gives the appearance of support to an already fixed religious belief but avoid accepting any burden of proof to show causal effect in reality. Your typical response is not to further any inquiries into whatever dispute may be under review and change your mind when better information is provided but to garrison your beliefs against the supposedly hostile intentions of those who doubt your beliefs.

        You prefer to privilege your beliefs. I get that. In the latest dispute, don’t engage in gay sex. You have all these reasons that you think are good ones to justify why you shouldn’t. Cool. But when you try to extend those reasons to justify why others should not engage in gay sex, then it becomes really important what reality has to say about the merits of your reasons. And this is where we run into problems when your reasons are fueled by your fixed religious belief rather than arbitrated by reality.

        Because your religious belief in this matter is a personal one, it makes sense that you apply it to your person. But to extend a personal religious belief into justifying legal discrimination in the real lives of real people is not just inappropriate but very silly. Just look at the extent of what you have to reject (evolution and the entire method of science that takes us to that conclusion) to maintain your religious belief as arbiter of the real world.

      2. Readers, the commentator is an atheist. He has determined that God doesn’t exist. So, any evidence for His existence doesn’t exist because there is none. He doesn’t dare admit anything as evidence for God, though as far as I recall he has not once stated what would be actual evidence of God’s existence. Is that not some form of someone determining their reality?

        Notice, too, that the commentator, as I’ve pointed out in previous comments, himself admits these two things: 1) things look designed; 2) and they are “through the process of evolution.” So, they are saying that you can’t really trust the reality you observe, you need to use something that is beyond the realm of any scientific testing and is itself immaterial. What is it? Logic. (And don’t forget that science presupposes the reliability of our senses. It can’t prove them. Ouch! How many of you are going to trust something that is the product of a random, blind design process?) But what does your logic tell you about random processes? What does your logic tell you when you see something that shows every sign that it was designed? Now, suppress that and convince yourself that you’re just being fooled by the same senses you need to do science. Easy, right?

        And notice, too, again the condescension and gross exaggeration. Rejecting evolution = rejecting “the entire method of science”. Well, it’s not news to him and those that live in his reality, but there are many scientists who don’t accept the naturalistic explanation for the origin of life and its continuance on this planet. Do I need to mention that the life from non-life is something that even Harold Urey of the famous Urey-Miller experiment said was a faith proposition?

        And who can honestly take for granted that first building block and then say with a straight face that they respect reality? (The reality, as those being intellectually honest and all will have to admit, is no pro-evolution scientists or proponent has any real idea about how the first life came about.)

        Conclusion: Many of us can see our own bias and presuppositions and admit them. As a young Earth creationist Christian linguist artist musician, I don’t walk around life with a pair of blinders over my eyes. Many things I see make sense when I interpret them through the framework that God exists and that He is the Creator. Things like information, conscience, love, truth, beauty, right, wrong, etc.

        RE: Homosexual Behavior and Laws

        Did anyone else see that “gay marriage” and “gay sex” are being used interchangeably here? They are not the same thing. There are many laws against specific types of gay sex in many places around the world. (And there’s probably some reason why those laws exist, though the opposition might say it’s merely “bigotry.”) The trouble is enforcement. I don’t think it’s possible or preferable to have a bedroom police. People are going to do what they’re going to do. I’m not going to try to beat someone over the head with a commandment about the wrongness of homosexual behavior. The design and operation of the human body can do that itself. But marriage is a different matter that receives benefits from the state simply because it benefits the state. Marriage between a man and a women deserves special status and protection for many reasons: 1) they provide the best potential atmosphere for raising children; 2) they can reproduce; 3) generally, married people (man and woman!) live longer and more productive lives; etc.

        To contrast, someone share with us one tangible benefit that gay marriage would bestow on society. (Something that extends beyond just the people involved.)

        I’m just curious whether or not the commentator has ever considered that making laws prohibiting and allowing certain behaviors may have something to do with the benefit of society as a whole and the potential adverse affects of them on the individual and others. Has he?

        Joshua

      3. “Readers, the commentator is an atheist. He has determined that God doesn’t exist. So, any evidence for His existence doesn’t exist because there is none”

        Sorry Josh, but this reads like Ad Hominem to me. Rather than respond to Tildeb’s points you’re just trying to undermine him by reference to his lack of religious beliefs. It’s particularly irrelevant because I can’t see any arguments in Tildeb’s post that couldn’t have been made by a theist anyway.

        “There are many laws against specific types of gay sex in many places around the world.”

        Right, any many parts of the world where women can’t vote. There are parts of the world where Freddie Mercury would be executed. So what?

        As for asking how society benefits from allowing gay marriage, I feel this question is unworthy of you. Gays are part of society, they would benefit from being allowed to marry, ergo society benefits by definition. That aside, it isn’t the state’s role to ask how it benefits before allowing a right. Rather the state must make the case for restricting rights. If you’re own rights were at stake you might not be so cavalier.

      4. Come on back, Andy! You’re getting a little wild there. The thing I was pointing at is that laws have some reason for being put into place and that we might want to investigate why.

        Andy, come on. I wasn’t saying that gays weren’t part of society. That’s why I qualified the question with “beyond just the people involved”. What benefit does gay marriage convey on society as a whole, not just the people involved? Tell us how “they would benefit from being allowed to marry, ergo society benefits by definition”. How?

        Well, currently the right to freedom of religion is at stake.

        Thanks!

      5. “Tell us how “they would benefit from being allowed to marry, ergo society benefits by definition”. How?”

        How is freedom of religion at stake? Remember that in the US, arguments against the abolition of slavery, and later the allowance of inter-racial marriage, were both made in EXPLICITLY religious terms, and explicitly by reference to the bible. Are you saying that abolishing slavery and allowing inter-racial marriage were both blows against religious freedom?

        Is this just a case of not wanting churches to be forced to marry gays? If so, would you be happy with gay marriage as long as churches had the right to opt opt? If so, out of interest, would you also accept the right of churches not to marry inter-racial couples?

        At any rate, what about the freedom of the religion of those who accept gay marriage?

        That aside, you should not HAVE to ask what YOU personally get out of allowing other people the right to marry. I don’t know any Japanese people, that doesn’t mean it’s valid for me to ask what benefit I get from allowing Japanese people living in my country to marry. If you must express the question in strictly selfish terms, we ALL benefit by living in a fair and free society. Remember that poem?

        First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
        Because I was not a Socialist.
        Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
        Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
        Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
        Because I was not a Jew.
        Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

      6. Hey, Andy. 1) Can you give us a reference to support your claims in paragraph 1?

        Thanks!

        Well, I’m a happily married man in an interracial relationship. Side note: My wife was a Buddhist and I live in a majority Buddhist / Atheist country. Are you equating skin color with sexual behavior? If you are, please remember that skin color is not a choice. Sexual intercourse, aside from rape, is always a choice. 2) Is that not a noteworthy difference?

        I’ve heard that poem before and I like it. And I would stand side-by-side with you condemning people who used the Bible to prevent interracial marriage or to prolong slavery. (I’ll wait for your answer to question #1 before proceeding further on that topic. By the way, have you heard of William Wilberfoce? What do you think persuaded him that slavery, as it was practiced in his age, should be abolished?)

        Let me just add that slavery in recent US history is not the type of slavery referred to in the Old and New Testaments. In Hebrew culture according to the Bible, servants were afforded many liberties and freedoms that slaves outside of Israel were not. (These freedoms and provisions are throughout Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers.) They had days off. They could be set free. They also couldn’t be abused sexually or physically. (If their employer injured them, like knocked out a tooth, they were to be freed. [Exodus 21:27]) Furthermore, foreigners were to be treated as native Israelites when they joined into their covenant through circumcision.

        Sorry, I didn’t mean to mistakenly give you the impression that gay marriage was a front to religious freedom. The two weren’t connected in my mind. I just meant that in England and elsewhere, there are reports of people reading the Bible aloud or preaching and then being fined or imprisoned under “hate speech” legislation. Examples:

        Christian preacher arrested for saying homosexuality is a sin

        Calif. Pastor arrested for reading Bible in public

        But those are minor cases. There are parts of Africa where being Christian can get you killed. Examples:

        Nigeria: Christians Killed in North

        North Korea Executes Christian For Distributing Bible: Rights Group

        I hope that we’d agree that murder is wrong. But I’m curious why it would be wrong from your point of view.

        Thanks,

        Joshua

      7. “Can you give us a reference to support your claims in paragraph 1?”

        Sure. Here’s quoting Ed Brayton on that very subject. I’m sure Google will find you the original – I’m guessing that if I include a link then it won’t post:

        Sure, there were Christian abolitionists, but The Southern Baptist Convention, the second largest denomination in the country, was formed for the purpose of defending slavery. The arguments in favor of slavery came straight out of the Bible, which endorses slavery over and over again in both the old and new testaments. The Texas declaration of secession could hardly be more clear:

        That in this free government *all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights* [emphasis in the original]; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations…

        For crying out loud, Christianity was a primary tool for the control of slaves. Slave masters taught their slaves Christianity because it taught that they were to obey their masters and that God had decreed the institution of slavery. Abolitionists, including those who were Christian, were condemned as heretics and infidels for their apostasy. Rev. Benjamin Palmer of the First Presbyterian Church of New Orleans said in 1860:

        “The Abolition spirit is undeniably atheistic, The demon which erected its throne upon the guillotine in the days of Robespierre and Marat, which abolished the Sabbath and worshipped reason in the person of a harlot, yet survives to work other horrors, of which those of the French Revolution are but the type. Among a people so generally religious as the American, a disguise must be worn; but it is the same old threadbare disguise of the advocacy of human rights. From a thousand Jacobin Clubs here, as in France, the decree has gone forth which strikes at God by striking at all subordination and law. . . . This spirit of atheism, which knows no God who tolerates evil, no Bible which sanctions law, and no conscience that can be bound by oaths and covenants, has selected us for its victims, and slavery for its issue. Its banner-cry rings out already upon the air: “liberty, equality, fraternity,” which simply interpreted, means bondage, confiscation, and massacre. With its tricolor waving in the breeze—it waits to inaugurate its reign of terror. To the South the high position is assigned of defending, before all nations, the cause of all religions and of all truths.”

        Frederick Douglass, a freethinker and escaped slave who became one of America’s most powerful orators and activists, had this to say in his autobiography:

        “The church and the slave prison stand next to each other; the groans and cries of the heartbroken slave are often drowned in the pious devotions of his religious master. The church-going bell and the auctioneer’s bell chime in with each other; the pulpit and the auctioneer’s lock stand in the same neighbourhood; while the blood-stained gold goes to support the pulpit covers the infernal business with the garb of Christianity. We have men sold to build churches, women sold to support missionaries, and babies sold to buy Bibles and communion services for the churches.”

        

        You can read the book The American Churches: The Bulwarks of American Slavery, written in 1840 by James Birney, by clicking here.

        And Christianity was responsible for women getting the right to vote? Seriously? The leaders of that movement, in the earliest days, were freethinkers like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott and many others. They often railed against Christianity and religion in general, for obvious reasons; the arguments against universal suffrage were based almost exclusively on the Bible and Christian tradition.

        As for the civil rights movement, here again it’s obviously true that many Christians, including Martin Luther King, were deeply involved in that battle. But he leaves out the fact that the primary opposition to equality came from most white churches. The arguments against Loving v Virginia, the Supreme Court case overturning state laws against interracial marriage, were stated in explicitly Christian terms. Indeed, even the trial court judge in that case said in his ruling:

        “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay, and red, and placed them on separate continents, and but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend the races to mix.”

        As I said, the Southern Baptist Convention was formed to fight for slavery, and long after the civil war they were still fighting equality in every way possible. The churches that were on the right side of those issues tended to be liberal denominations like Quakers, which were, and continue to be, condemned by the conservative churches.

        There is a clear pattern here. Every movement to increase equality and civil rights has had to battle against the full weight of institutional Christianity, often for decades and even centuries. After the battle is won and the traditional Christian churches have been forced to abandon the position that they maintained up to that point, often supported with violence, their apologists suddenly discover that some of the people they fought so hard against were Christians — almost always of some variety that they had always rejected as heresy and apostasy. And then they say, “See! This was a Christian idea all along!”

        I’ll make a prediction: 20 or 30 years from now, when anti-gay bigotry is viewed as being as anachronistic as racial bigotry is today, Dinesh D’Souza or his ideological descendants will point to Gene Robinson and some of the very same liberal leaders who embraced equality while they themselves stood foursquare against it, and they will declare that equal rights for LGBT people was based on Christian principles all along.

        [end quote]

      8. Thanks for this information. I hope you don’t mind, my time is very short at the moment (got a lot going on), so I’m just going to pull out some of the more bold of your claims and then ask you to provide evidence. Is that cool?

        Claim: “The arguments in favor of slavery came straight out of the Bible, which endorses slavery over and over again in both the old and new testaments.”

        Please provide evidence to support this claim. Pay particularly close attention to the distinction between “regulating” an existing institution and “endorsing” it.

        Claim: You would maintain that he following quote has its basis in the Bible:

        That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations…

        Please provide evidence that this has its origins in the Bible.

        Claim: “The arguments against universal suffrage were based almost exclusively on the Bible and Christian tradition.”

        Please provide evidence. Note: Christian tradition is not necessarily the same as the Christian doctrine.

        Claim: “The arguments against Loving v Virginia, the Supreme Court case overturning state laws against interracial marriage, were stated in explicitly Christian terms. Indeed, even the trial court judge in that case said in his ruling”:

        “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay, and red, and placed them on separate continents, and but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend the races to mix.”

        Please provide evidence for your claim. I don’t see anything “explicitly Christian” there.

        Claim: “Every movement to increase equality and civil rights has had to battle against the full weight of institutional Christianity, often for decades and even centuries.”

        But such a claim ignores that, even by your own admissions, not all Christians participated. It also ignores the abundance of missionary activity that has done much to bring medicine, sanitation, and many other things to many people around the world.

        Besides, as an outsider, I’m curious about what standard you would use to judge those within Christianity. You’ll have double the work for yourself, I think. (I say the following politely, not in an accusative voice.) For starters, you have to show that you understand Christianity and the Bible. Next, you’ll have to show that the conclusions of the people you’ve quoted were from the Bible. Third, you’ll have to show that anyone who disagrees with them isn’t really a Christian.

        I’ll add that as a Christian, I can judge their actions. I can go back to the Old Testament and on to the New Testament to show that there is but one race and its human.

        Thanks,

        Joshua

      9. A question back at you, Josh, how does it benefit society to allow post-menopausal women to marry? You can’t claim there’s a child-rearing benefit, so what is it? Is that a good enough grounds to oppose their right to marry? What if some religion claims it breaks one of its commandments – does that shift the balance further?

        For myself, I have no problem with couples marrying when one or both are infertile, whether through age or any other reason. I don’t make ability to produce kids a pre-condition of approving of a marriage.

      10. Fair question.

        First, could you just give us one tangible benefit that gay marriage offers to people outside of the people directly involved (i.e. the people getting married)? And I mean a specific example, like the three examples (not an exhaustive list, mind you) I gave you for heterosexual marriage, namely:

        1) they provide the best potential atmosphere for raising children;
        2) they can reproduce;
        3) generally, married people (man and woman!) live longer and more productive lives; etc.

        When you answer that, I’ll respond to the post-menopausal women question. I’ll need to think more about it…

        Thanks,

        Joshua

      11. See, this is exactly what I mean about misrepresentation as a technique too often used to substitute for a reasonable response:

        Readers, the commentator is an atheist. He has determined that God doesn’t exist. So, any evidence for His existence doesn’t exist because there is none.

        If you were to ask, you’d understand that my atheism means that I find the arguments for believing in the god so many people of different faiths find compelling and authoritative to be unconvincing in substance and detail due to a lack of evidence in reality for the various beliefs. You seem forgetful that your religious belief is invested in only one out of tens of thousands of gods. We are kin in our atheism to all these gods except one, and you allow this single exception to now define all kinds of things you imagine about me. But from misunderstanding what my atheism actually represents, you then go on to draw up false premises that lead you inevitably to false conclusions. The circular reasoning you present here, supposedly on behalf, is just another in a very long line of fabrications you invent to represent a reality that is not true – based yet again solely on your belief it must be so! You really must curtail this rather unpleasant habit of misrepresentation. That’s why it’s an Ad Hominem.

        You also utterly fail to understand what I mean when I say there is obvious design in how evolution selects, conveniently forgetting to mention the key word: natural. This word means unguided, whereas ID insists without evidence for the assumption of a guiding agency. This is what separates ID from science: there is zero evidence for guided or unnatural selection. You, for example, are not the product of ‘random’ selection (a gross misrepresentation relied on by creationists to muddy the waters of understanding) but designed by the genetic combination of your parents. You will possess a certain number of mutations but your biology is almost completely scaffolded on your parents combined contribution. If you can show me evidence of where a designing agency intervened in your biological development, only then will you have a talking point about unnatural selection at work. Just because your immune system is complex and looks designed does not mean it is evidence for a designing UNnatural agency. Until you grasp what this means, you’ll continue to fool yourself that you somehow grasp that which so many biologists miss. The question you should be asking is, “What do they understand that I do not?” That honesty will open up a whole new world to you.

        The honest answer about abiogenesis is, “I don’t know.” That’s not – as you try repeatedly to assert – a faith proposition. We can make an educated guess (that continue to mistake for a ‘belief’)… and this will be furthered when we do create life from non life, if it ever happens… but that’s all it is. What is a faith guess is that some kind of Oogity Boogity POOF!ed life into existence. For those who assume this is a reasonable alternate explanation, then there’s nothing any education can do to alter this willingness to believe in POOF!ism. For that, one must choose what constitutes reasonableness. My preference is to go with methodological naturalism because it works. That epistemology is no small achievement for our species and we should be proud we empower it over and above our cowardice to embrace superstitious nonsense… a nonsense that is equivalent in all ways to delusion, which we can ascertain as nonsense because such belief produces not one whit of knowledge about our universe nor any means to advance our technologies, applications, and therapies that depend on reality to work. It’s simply an intellectual capitulation to pretend POOFism is a reasonable explanation in figuring out how things are the way they are and operate the way they do. Creationism produces no knowledge, and this is important if we are honestly attempting to compare methodologies. There is no evidence that belief in creationism offers us anything useful and practical. That matters. Making stuff up to suit the beliefs we prefer rather than tailoring beliefs to be subject to reality is an intellectual failure. Extending that failure as a justification to reduce and curtail the legal rights and freedoms of others is a travesty of justice and a failure of critical thought.

      12. Did anyone else not know that there’s a difference between God as detailed and described in the Bible compared to the gods with which the commentator and I would agree don’t exist? What is the difference? Well, only one of them is said to have interacted in real, tangible ways in the reality that we both claim to embrace (and in ways that leave evidence and can be investigated). Did our resident atheist investigate any of the archaeological, textual, historical evidence related to this other potential reality before making his decision that God doesn’t exist? (Only he can answer that.) If you look at his past comments regarding Jesus, he disregards him with quite a superficial investigation, despite Jesus being the subject of serious scholarly inquiry for 2,000 years. Is that intellectually honest?

        Readers please note: Nearly everyone of the commentator’s insults and accusations hinges on whether or not his interpretation of reality is true and accurate. But he’s not including information and truth gathered through other means. But rather than be open to gathering information about reality from other realms, the commentator seems content with relying on just one of many methods: science. (I’ve heard none or very little regarding other means of investigation. He also refused to answer what religions he has actually studied in another thread.) Science is good, when done properly. We agree. It can answer how things work often, but not always. But it’s not the only means to find out what is true and real. (And don’t forget that science presupposes the reliability of the senses and logic. It can’t prove either.)

        Off-Topic Comment:

        Anyone who, like me, actually works in the teaching profession should know that if your aim is to educate someone, you don’t start off by seeing them as inferior to you. As someone once said, in fact, the duty of a teacher is to make themselves less and less necessary. It starts with accurate information and a genuine interest in seeing the pupil grow to be able to do and think on their own. And the impression I’ve continually got from the commentator is that he holds me to be the intellectually inferior and less honest of the two of us. (I don’t really have a problem with that because it’s coming from a total stranger using a fake name.) He will teach me. And just as he must continually return to the high priests of pro-evolution scientists to correctly understand reality, so, too, must I — my senses, inquiries, experiences, and investigations be damned.

        That’s not the way to educate someone, if you truly believe they are mistaken.

        So, I once hoped to have interesting, thought-provoking dialogs with the commentator. But then the condescension started. So, that fell into addressing him indirectly. That has now come to an end as well. He has persistently and intentionally been condescending, insulting, and disingenuous, not just to me but other visitors. And, frankly, I’m not going to come onto my own blog and be insulted by a total stranger using a fake name, especially when their avatar ruins one of the best logos ever conceived. :) I’ve got far better things to occupy my very limited free time. He has his own blog and he can make his long-winded assertions about his reality there. Constructive questions and short interactions are always welcomed. Insults, condescension and long, run-on essays are not welcomed here.

        Let me use the CAPS LOCK key for this:

        NOTE TO TILDEB: THIS MEANS I WON’T BE RESPONDING TO YOUR COMMENTS IN ANY WAY, NEITHER DIRECTLY NOR INDIRECTLY BEGINNING NOW.

        UPDATE: Well, I’m just going to ignore the diatribes and insults. Maybe the commentaries will get a little shorter?

        Sincerely,

        Joshua / NAA

      13. “And don’t forget that science presupposes the reliability of our senses. It can’t prove them.”

        How do you mean? If you mean that science presupposes that we’re not being hopeless confused by every input we get from our brain, then yes, I guess. But that’s pretty much a starting point for any deduction, including yours.

        Listen, last night I Skyped my mum. We discussed a conversation we’d talked about on Skype a week earlier. Now, there are two possibilities here:

        1) The conversation took place, the science that led to Skype’s technology works, or
        2) I fantasised the entire experience.

        You can no more insist that (2) is a valid possibility than you can dismiss the possibility that you’re fantasising everything yourself.

        So basically you’re saying that science cannot dismiss solipsism. If that’s the case, then neither can you.

        As for presupposing logic, logical axioms are self-explanatory – they don’t need explanation. Feel free for making a case that A does not equal A, but you’ll find you contradict yourself as soon as you start.

      14. See, now this is good interactions. Thanks, Andy.

        Well, regarding how you science presupposes our senses are reliable is simple: Before you start to investigate the external world, you must assume that the tools you are using (5 senses) are going to give you accurate information about it. And let me just throw this in here for your consideration:

        Here is a list of some of the presuppositions of science:

        (1) the existence of a theory-independent, external world;
        (2) the orderly nature of the external world;
        (3) the knowability of the external world;
        (4) the existence of truth;
        (5) the laws of logic;
        (6) the reliability of our cognitive and sensory faculties to serve as truth gatherers and as a source of justified true beliefs in our intellectual environment;
        (7) the adequacy of language to describe the world;
        (8) the existence of values used in science (e.g., “test theories fairly and report test results honestly”);
        (9) the uniformity of nature and induction;
        (10) the existence of numbers.

        source: William Lane Craig & J.P. Moreland, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), pp. 348.

        What do you think about those?

        In contrast, what good reason would anyone have to trust our senses if they were merely the product of a random process of evolution?

        Joshua

  9. You advise us to visit libraries to find out all the problems with evolution. The simple answer is that all the answers to those problems can also be found in libraries.

    “So, every scientist before Darwin and those that don’t buy evolution even today were/are irrational.”

    That’s a bizarre strawman – saying that today the evidence for evidence is overwhelming is not even slightly the same as saying it was overwhelming before Darwin. Quite obviously before Darwin the argument had barely been made, if at all!

      1. I dont know about ‘irrational’. I certainly think they’re wrong; I think they’re putting a fundamentalist religious belief ahead of good science. And sure, scientists in different fields may not ‘buy evolution’. It’s easy for a mathematician to compartmentalise – their own field doesn’t intersect with biology. Only a tiny percentage involved in biology doubt it though. And actual peer-reviewed papers setting out their research backing up their rejection of evolution is even slimmer on the ground.

        ” But I can give you the names of hundreds (maybe thousands) of scientists working in the field who don’t.”

        Where are you getting this list from? If it’s from the Discovery Institute, then that list has been somewhat undermined, to say the least. Whenever people to actually CHECK the list, and contact people on it, they find a large number say they do actually accept common descent and evolution, eg Doctor Daniel Kuebler. In fact of those who responded to enquiry, only 12% said they actually reject common descent. I’m happy to supply a link for this.

        If you have an alternative list – NOT the disputed Discovery Institute list, then disregard the above para, but please do fill me in on where it’s from.

      2. Creation Scientists

        If you’ve got the time and interest, here’s an article on the creationist organization Creation Ministries International regarding the peer review element of your inquiry. Creationism, Science and Peer Review

        Dr. Robert Gentry has published as-yet-unrefutted evidence of creation in Nature and other scientific, peer-reviewed journals. But people still just put him off, saying he’s merely uncovered a “tiny mystery” that science would eventually solve (ignoring the fact that he gave a testable way to falsify his conclusions). Yes, talkorigins.org might attempt to take Gentry to task, but, to my knowledge, no one has ever published a rebuttal in an academic journal or book form. Most critiques are done on the Internet, where any and every theory, regardless of how crazy, can get an audience, as Dr. Gentry himself points out.

        I’d be interested to know if you think they bring up some valid points about the limitations of peer review and peer review journals.

        I recall once talking to a pro-evolution, biology major one day in the office. When the peer-reviewed journal topic came up, he kind of brushed it aside and said that most scientists aren’t really pouring over the contents of those magazines (he seemed to be implying that it was casual reading of sorts for them). Only scientists, which I’m not, would be able to know the truth of his statement.

        By the way, did you ever wonder or ask why someone is a creationist? If you have — great! If you haven’t, try it sometime.

        Joshua

      3. Thanks, but regarding peer review, when it comes to science it’s ‘put up or shut up’. If you’ve got the arguments against accepted science, you put forward the experiments, you subject it to peer review. That’s how it works. That’s how the science you enjoy in your every day life works. That site can argue that peer review isn’t perfect, but unfortunately for the site, it remains the best system we have. Not participating because it isn’t perfect is simply a cop out. It’s like refusing to present your evidence in court on the basis that the court system isn’t perfect.

        The truth is that in biology terms, arguments against natural selection and common descent are a busted flush. There’s just nothing there. Evolution is backed up by so many different scientific disciplines that it’s now simply perverse to oppose it. We have more evidence for evolution than virtually anything else in science. You might as well seek credibility for an argument against the germ theory of disease.

  10. “What is the large intestine for? (Regardless of what anyone believes, it is not designed for sexual intercourse. How do I know? Its design and function!)”

    You’re begging the question both that it has a specifically designed function and that even if it did, it only had a single function. My ears are perfectly good at holding up my glasses, does that mean I have proved they were designed for that purpose?

    One can look at a body part and say that it well performs lots of different functions. Gay men can well make the argument that anal sex functions very well in bringing pleasure to both parties, not least due to the presence of the male G-Spot a few inches up the rectum, which can ONLY be stimulated by inserting an object up the bottom.

    “However, when those of us point out the state of reality — that sexual organs are complementary and work together to produce offspring, thus implying that the intent of their design is for 1 male and 1 female — we are somehow working on “assumptions” and “personal opinions”.”

    You ARE working on assumptions – the assumption that something having a specific effect automatically means that the effect was intended.

    That aside, your argument seems to be ‘Body part produces effect x, therefore it was designed for x’. If I hit someone on the face with my fist, I may well break their nose. That doesn’t automatically mean my fist was designed to break people’s noses. As it so happens, I think that our sexual organs did indeed evolve for the dual purpose of urination and sexual reproduction. And our sexual desires evolved because they were selected by natural selection. But some people are born sterile – talk or the ‘purpose’ of their sexual organs becomes moot. You could argue that our legs and feet have the purpose of walking. Does that mean that people who are born lame, unable to walk in the normal way, if at all, are going against God or nature if they get around by some other means? Are wheelchair users to be castigated by society?

    1. Glasses and Nose

      First, your glasses are not a natural part of any biological system. Second, we know glasses came after the ears. Third, the glasses were designed with the knowledge of facial anatomy in mind.

      Fist and Face

      First, if you hit someone’s face with your fist, you knew beforehand that you might break their nose. Second, breaking someone’s nose prevents their nose from functioning normally and naturally. (That’s how we determine healthy and unhealthy people.) Third, the entire action of punching someone in the face is not an uncontrollable response to the environment.

      I take your points about wheelchairs. Do you know anyone in a wheelchair? I did. My first mentor was reduced to a wheelchair. (From what I could gather, he, my dear friend he was, was an agnostic psychiatrist, by the way.) The purpose of the wheelchair was to enable him and others to do what comes naturally to the majority of us.

      But, please, don’t take my word for any of this. Get a physiology book. Check out the intestines. No organ is an island. The intestines connect and interact with other organs to perform specific body functions. Even any honest doctor will tell patients of the dangers of misuse of this and any other part of the body.

      People can feel free to amuse themselves using organs for ways other than intended, but I’m pretty sure the natural consequences will justify the position that the large intestine is for waste management only.

      Thanks for your comments, by the way.

      Joshua

      1. “First, if you hit someone’s face with your fist, you knew beforehand that you might break their nose”

        And people having sex know what the outcome might be, whether it’s an orgasm and/or a conception. That’s irrelevant.

        “Second, breaking someone’s nose prevents their nose from functioning normally and naturally.”

        So? Having a baby can often stop a women functioning normally and naturally. Believe me, I’ve seen babies being born. You could argue that forceps are unnatural because they prevented millions of deaths in child birth.

        “The purpose of the wheelchair was to enable him and others to do what comes naturally to the majority of us.”

        Yes, I’ve known wheelchair users. The many sex acts that gays can enjoy allows THEM to do what comes naturally to the us straight people – join sexually with the person they love. Telling them to find an opposite sex partner to shack up with is a bit pointless. Not quite as bad as telling your mentor to get out and walk, but still pretty pointless.

        “But, please, don’t take my word for any of this. Get a physiology book. Check out the intestines.”

        And you check out the positioning of the male G Spot! At any rate, many gays don’t even like or practice anal sex. And I’m sure that in the absence of wheelchairs, many legless people had to get around on their hands – I saw many such examples in India. And I’m sure they’re not doing their hands many favours. But having a go at them for doing something unnatural is missing the point again. They’re already in what you might call an unnatural situation. Gays who are simply not attracted to the opposite sex are in a similar situation. [leave aside any arguments for gay cures please].

        Thanks for your response Josh!

      2. Slightly Off-Topic Remarks:

        If you don’t mind me asking, I’d like to know whether or not you think homosexual attraction is a genetic abnormality, a mental decision, or a combination of multiple factors? (The reason I ask is because our dialog kind of veered into this topic via the sex topic. I just finished reading “Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would” written by Chad Thompson. He was gay himself and he details what he concluded were the causes which resulted in his homosexual behavior [which don’t apply to every gay person, I got it]. In a word, what started as seeking acceptance from male peers that he was denied by his father later turned into physical attraction.)

        Note: Now, I’m not trying to be offensive by drawing a line between homosexual attraction and homosexual behavior. I affirm that sexual intercourse is always a conscious decision on the part of the participants. If we don’t acknowledge that, I think we are treading on very dangerous ground. But, thankfully, your response to the “face with a fist” comment shows that you accept people know the consequences of their sexual behavior before participating in it. That’s promising.

        By the way, I don’t hate gays, in case you were wondering. As I’ve mentioned before in other threads (don’t worry if you haven’t seen them), I’ve been a Freddie Mercury fan for a long time. (Barcelona is his masterpiece, in my opinion.) I also wouldn’t tell them to “find an opposite sex partner to shack up”. I’d just ask them to consider their lifestyle in light of the facts and that I’ve always got an open ear to them. That’s all.

        Spent time in India? Interesting! I’d be interested to know whether or not your time there convinced you that either beliefs are irrelevant to life or define how we live life and interact with people on a daily basis. Would you care to share (if you’ve got the time)?

        Note: I live in the Far East.

        Thanks for your interactions, Andy! Even if we totally disagree, I genuinely appreciate the input. I don’t want to ever appear condescending or give the false appearance that I know everything about everything. The sad part of learning is being exposed to how much we don’t know. It’s interaction with different people from different places and backgrounds that help each of us work towards completing this intricate, mind-numbing puzzle of existence, in my opinion. :)

        Joshua

      3. “I’d like to know whether or not you think homosexuality is a genetic abnormality, a mental decision, or a combination of multiple factors? ”

        All the evidence I see is that is naturally occurring and is not associated with any mental disorders.

        There’s numerous intriguing correlations:
        a1) Physical factors – eg relative finger lengths,
        a2) Twin studies showing that identical twins are much more likely to share sexual preference than non-identical twins.
        b) The aforementioned studies into increased number of children sired by the siblings of gays
        c) The much increasing likelihood of a son being gay with each additional son you have. ie, the second is more likely than the first, the third more likely still etc. This remains so even when the kids are brought up apart, so it can’t be put down to “Younger brothers are more likely to be bullied by older brothers, hence an increased likelihood of being gay”.

        The above, to me, points to a multiple of factors – certainly points (a1) and (a2) are hard to explain through non-genetic means. So I reckon some people are more genetically likely to be gay, and perhaps something in the womb is more likely to ‘flick the switch’ that is already there. Point (c) suggests that something goes on in the womb that is more likely the more sons a woman has. This makes great genetic sense too – the more sons a woman has the less need she has for more. Having a gay son would actually be helpful if you’ve already produced lots of hetero sons, as you’ve got an extra pair of hands to help rear subsequent grandchildren.

        A side note on finding or not finding a ‘gay gene’ – I believe we don’t even have a gene for ‘tallness’ but it seems pretty certain that height is genetically related, certain dietary factors aside. Shaquille O’Neal’s mum is six foot tall, mine is almost a foot shorter. The best diet in the world wouldn’t have made me taller than Shaq…

        As for choice, for me, being heterosexual is NOT a choice. Simply isn’t. I couldn’t choose to be gay – I just don’t find men attractive. If I had to go down on a guy to save my wife’s life, I’d do it. But if you asked me to penetrate him, then I doubt I’d be able to rise to the occasion, no matter what the stakes were. And I can’t see that changing due to any life events. A gay man might say “It was because of x event in my past”, but I don’t see how he could pin point it. Furthermore, the vast majority of gays cite no such event, and seem to have had upbringings no different to the rest of us.

        I spent four months in India, 17 years ago. I can’t recall it affecting my beliefs! My mother goes there every year for yoga-related reasons. She’d be the person to ask there.

        Yes, I was a big fan of Barcelona too. I’ve got a friend who treated Freddie’s uncle for something a few years back. He insisted to her than his nephew hadn’t been gay.

        Regardless of how gays came to be gay, I see their sexuality as a fait a complis. It is what it is. Denying them the right to marry seems immoral to me, and I’ve seen no compelling reasons for the denial. A couple of decades from now it’ll be universal, and in time will be seen in the same light as inter-racial marriage. Then Christians will most likely be taking the credit for allowing gay marriage, same as they did for inter-racial marriage!

  11. Getic.Apolo: “(2) A hypothetical question: Suppose the very first generation of human beings were all exclusively homosexual and only maintained sexual relations with their own gender. Do you think it is possible that the entire human race would have been wiped out? Does that indicate anything about how unnatural homosexuality might be? Why or why not?”

    A quite point to start with – there was no ‘first generation of humans’. You’re question is like conjecturing about ‘The first generation to speak Spanish or Italian’. Both languages evolved from Latin – there was no point where you could say “Now they’re speaking Spanish”.

    But lets allow your point, let’s imagine that the whole of the NEXT generation decides they are gay. If none of them reproduced then the human race would obviously not have continued. But you could say we’d have the same result if the next generation all came out girls, or decided they wanted to be nuns and monks. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with being a girl, a nun or a monk. If everyone decided they wanted to work in plumbing then there’d be no-one to harvest crops. That doesn’t mean there’s no room for plumbers.

    As it happens, studies show that the female siblings of gay men tend to have more kids than the female average. [This holds even when the siblings were brought up separately – it’s not just because the girls are thinking “I need more kids to compensation for my gay brother]. Furthermore, the percentage of gays born in any group seems to hold up fairly steady too over the world. It seems that for whatever reason, humans and human reproduction already compensation for the presence of gays.

    So, no in answer to your hypothetical – I don’t draw any conclusions from that as to the naturalness or otherwise of homosexuality. Arguments from naturalism are seldom compelling anyway – getting cancer is more natural than flying first class. That doesn’t mean it’s better to get Bowel Cancer than it is to fly Trans-Atlantic to London for the weekend.

    At best you may be arguing that gay sex is about on a par with straight people enjoying falatio or using contraception. Good luck convincing the rest of the population on that one…

  12. “In contrast, what good reason would anyone have to trust our senses if they were merely the product of a random process of evolution?”

    Well, for a start evolution isn’t random! An animal whose senses were completely untrustworthy would die out. The whole point of senses is that they aid survival.

    Our senses are not PERFECT, but that remains the case regardless of how we got here. I’m sure you’ve seen at least one person wearing glasses today already. So given that our senses aren’t perfect (whether there’s a God or not), science works by attempting to remove the imperfections from the process. You generally don’t need 20/20 vision to confirm the results of a test. Unless, again, you’re arguing that we may be living in complete fantasy, a la The Matrix. If the latter, then that could equally apply to anyone, theist or not.

    But go back to my ‘Skype’ point. There really are only two options – either the science that created my computer, Skype, broadband etc all work, or I’m having extraordinarily complex delusions. In short – science works, we can see the results or its success.

    As for Craig’s list (he he…). Science assumes the existence of numbers? Eh? I don’t see what any of the point of that is. Have we moved on to a general argument that a deity is necessary for science to work? If so, I don’t see it. If someone wants to believe that, than they’re welcome to. I don’t have a problem with people believing in God. To me, the laws of nature CHANGING all the time would be more evidence for God than them simply remaining constant. But like I said, I have no argument with believers per se. But I see meta-arguments against science as flawed, and don’t see any value in Craig’s argument there (or indeed in any of his arguments!).

  13. “Are you equating skin color with sexual behavior?”

    No, of course not. I’m equating race with gender, neither of which are a choice. Hope that clarifies.

    Biblical slavery is clearly condoned. The children of your slaves can become your slaves. The bible clearly says that if you beat your slave, and they don’t die within a couple of days [or die AFTER a couple of days, in a different translation], then you get no punishment. Regardless of whether this type of slavery “isn’t as bad as more modern slavery”, that is still quite enough to make it objectionable, and it, together with all the other slavery-condoning parts of the bible, was certainly enough to give ballast to all the Christian apologists for slavery in 19th C America.

    Yes, good for Bill Wilberforce, I never claimed that some abolitionists cited the bible as their justification for opposing slavery (and were often branded atheists for that very opposition!).

    You raise other points (eg why is murder wrong), but there’s plenty there to be getting on with.

  14. Here’s the benefits for allowing gay marriage to the rest of the public:

    1) Increases the happiness of our gay friends and family. That’s a benefit to US.
    2) Marriage has been shown to increase longevity
    3) Promotes monogomy, which is good for society.
    4) It promotes marriage in general, which provides a good example for all.
    5) It’s good for the economy.
    6) We all benefit from living in a fairer, more equal society.
    7) It’s against the whole of society’s interest for gay couples to be separated in, say emergency rooms. It’s better for all if the person’s life partner is there with them.

    I’d also add that since gays already raise kids – whether you like it or not, it happens already either way – allowing those kids’ parents to marry provides a better environment for the kids. That’s an eighth point. And all that aside from my original point that benefits to those outside the group is not a valid concern when granting a group rights.

    Plenty to be getting on with there. I could go on, but have work.

    As an aside:
    “Marriage between a man and a women deserves special status and protection for many reasons: 1) they provide the best potential atmosphere for raising children; 2) they can reproduce; 3) generally, married people (man and woman!) live longer and more productive lives; etc.”

    1) Is only an argument for FERTILE couples. We’ve established that many straight couples do not have kids, for whatever reason.
    2) See above
    3) Why wouldn’t point three apply equally to gay married couples?

  15. Josh, my time is also limited.

    I stand by all those claims. However, my point is not affected by my ability or otherwise to back them up. You talked about religious freedom being affected. I replied that the bible was explicitly used to justify slavery, anti-miscenegation laws etc. In other words, those fighting to continue slavery and oppose inter-racial marriage made exactly the same claim that their religious rights were challenged by abolition etc. That there were other people who claim their religion made opposing claims underlines my point still further – there’s always going to be someone who thinks some law or other affects their religious freedom, because many religious claims are directly opposed.

    “But such a claim ignores that, even by your own admissions, not all Christians participated.”

    It may ignore it, but only because it is irrelevant to the point being made. I’m not arguing that ALL Christians were pro-slavery. I’m saying that the majority of justification for it was framed in exactly Christian terms with reference to the bible. And there were examples of that in the text I quoted.

    “Third, you’ll have to show that anyone who disagrees with them isn’t really a Christian.”

    Why? Christians disagree on all sorts of things. If anyone who was accused of not being a true Christian by another Christian was therefore NOT a true Christian, then there’d be no such THING as a true Christian!

    Lastly, the bible does explicitly condone slavery, and ill-treatment of slaves:
    “When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.” (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB).

    A good law? Seriously, defending these passages doesn’t help you.

    The bible was able to say “Don’t do this” about many, many things, but never does so about slavery, instead telling slaves they should obey their masters. Check up on all the bible quotes that 19th C religious men cited when they were defending slavery.

    “I’m curious about what standard you would use to judge those within Christianity.”

    I can certainly point out inconsistencies and special pleading. Go back to the point I was making when I brought up slavery in the first place.

    And if you want to go down the rabbit hole of meta-ethics, be prepared that’ll we’ll likely never get out, and the rest of the discussion will fall by the wayside.

    Suffice it to say, if you want to argue that theism provides an ‘objective morality’ lacking without theism, then you’ve got a HUGE topic to get through first, and one that I’ve engaged in countless times before. In short, even William Lane Craig has yet to provide a proper non-question begging response to Euthyphro’s Dilemma. Again, it’s a whole separate topic. If we can’t start from a common ground of certain ideas without you questioning my basis for them – fairness, the idea that arguments should be consistent, murder is wrong – then any discussion is pointless.

    1. Well, I stand by my right to require evidence for claims, especially since none of the people you cited in your previous post quoted from the Bible. And don’t forget that it was you (or the person you were quoting; I can’t tell where the one ends and the other starts) who said “God had decreed the institution of slavery”. Claim. Evidence?

      But to save us both time, let’s do this:

      Define slavery for us. Then show us why it is wrong.

      Interesting closing sentence there. If we’re not in a debate about the merits or lack of merits of the basis for certain ideas about the world and reality, then why in the world are we talking?

      Joshua

      Note: Perceived problems with WLC and whatever you think he has not addressed are not the topic of discussion here. Two possible alternatives: You haven’t read everything he has written. Maybe even misunderstood something he wrote. (I’m not saying you did, merely suggesting an alternative to your problem.)

      1. “Perceived problems with WLC and whatever you think he has not addressed are not the topic of discussion here”

        You said your time was limited; I’m trying to save you time. If you want to go down the meta-ethics route in this discussion then you’re leaving us discussion reasons to allow or disallow gay marriage based on our common ground, and going down a different discussion of “Just what is ‘wrong’ anyway”. From there we go up against Euth. Dilemma, and just possibly you bring up a variance of WLC’s answer on that, as most apologist discussions end up with his ideas (95% of the discussions I’ve had with apologists, anyway). I was cutting to the chase, given that, as you said, you’re short of time.

        Define slavery? Josh, I’ve already explained why it’s completely off the point I was originally making. If you’re happy to accept the idea of one person owning the children of any other people they own, then fine.

        “or the person you were quoting; I can’t tell where the one ends and the other starts”

        Read the Ed Brayton link I posted, it makes it clear who’s saying what, and it includes links that you can chase up.

        Again, your questions are not pertinent to the point I was making, which was explicitly addressing your claim of religious freedom being compromised. Your argument with those 19th C Bishops about the specific meaning of different bible passages doesn’t really affect my rebuttal. We might as well set you against the many Christians nowadays who dispute that the Christian God is against gay marriage, including the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, who is a renowned biblical scholar.

      2. Andy, I think you’re getting way off. My comment about freedom to practice religion being at stake was in response to your earlier claim that I wouldn’t be so cavalier if my rights were at stake. It was an aside. The “freedom of religion” wasn’t we weren’t discussing. We were talking about gay marriage. Then it got off onto slavery.

        So, let’s restore some sense to this interaction. See if this is the parallel you’re drawing:

        1) Some Christians support slavery. Some Christians support gay marriage.
        2) Some Christians oppose slavery. Some Christians oppose gay marriage.
        3) Some Christians use the Bible to support their position on slavery. Some Christians use the Bible to support their position on gay marriage.
        4) Some Christians who use the Bible to support their approval of slavery are wrong. Some Christians who use the Bible to oppose gay marriage are wrong.

        Is that a fair assessment of your main point?

        (If not, please do it better.)

        And the question(s) regarding the rightness or wrongness of something is extremely relevant. After all, you’re maintaining that slavery is wrong and I need to know whose standard you’re using and where it came from. It would be wrong to assume that “everybody knows it’s wrong”, wouldn’t it? (Well, it’s still practiced today all around the world. In fact, some maintain that there are more slaves today than in the past.)

        Joshua

        Side note:

        Also, I think you’re reading my comments too one-sided. When I commented that I couldn’t tell where it was you writing or the person you quoted, go back and look at the comment. Throughout the comment there are quotation marks. The comment ends with [end quote]. Well, I don’t see where and with which quote it works because there’s a glitch in the message. Do you see that?

      3. “After all, you’re maintaining that slavery is wrong ”

        No, that was – deliberately – not part of my argument. I was saying that if YOU oppose SSM on the basis of it affecting YOUR religious freedom then to be consistent you would need to accept pro-slavery Christians making the same argument.

        You asked for actual biblical quotes from all those 19th C Reverends and Bishops who claimed their God supported slavery, or later, that he opposed inter-racial marriage. But your own argument that God had specific purposes in mind for our organs made NO biblical reference at all. You made an appeal through logic and reason to infer God’s intentions, exactly the same as they did.

        And yes, I got your original point about religious freedom, which is why I didn’t understand the tangent we then started going on. Hope we’re on the sane page now…

      4. Andy, I wasn’t opposing same-sex marriage on the basis of it affecting my religious freedom. If you had read earlier posts in other threads (like this one), you would have seen that I oppose homosexual behavior because it is unnatural and unhealthy. (I can cite studies, too!)

        Now, you came here, made the claim that “God decreed slavery”. Now I want some evidence. Show me in the Bible where it shows that. Otherwise, the claim is an empty one and you’ve committed a — dare I use the philosophical term — fallacy.

        Joshua

      5. ” you would have seen that I oppose homosexual behavior because it is unnatural ”

        Your unnatural charge – on this thread at least – is couched in theistic terms: things not being used for their designed purpose, with your God being the designer. In that regard it’s no different to the argument I referenced against inter-racial marriage. ie, a religious justification that doesn’t cite specific bible verses.

        You’re still flogging the slavery point. Again, since we’re both clear that it was irrelevant to any point either of us were actually making, I thought we were leaving it? I’m sure you can perform apologetics to explain away the dozens of slavery condoning bible passages, but I don’t see how this is different to pro-SSM marriage Christians doing the same to support their position. Lastly, again, my original point didn’t require me to defend the bible as a pro-slavery doc at all. All it required was to demonstrate that other Christians used it for that purpose, which I believe I did. That said, I still view it as perverse to argue the bible does not condone slavery, but I’m not sure I can be bothered to trawl for quotes when it was relevant to my point in the first place.

      6. Andy, I didn’t cite verse because (and you’ll be forgiven for not knowing this) if you’ve ever quoted the Bible to someone who doesn’t like it — regardless of whether or not they’ve actually read it — they will automatically discount what you say and call you a “Bible thumper” or some other term they heard once on The Family Guy. Would you like some verses that tell us that man was created woman and woman for man? That the design of the body was for 1 man and 1 woman? Genesis 2:24 (note: 1 man and 1 woman uniting to become 1 body; 1 father and 1 mother).

        A physiology book is just about all a guy needs to point out that the structure of the human body is for 1 man and 1 woman.

        Well, I certainly understand your final paragraph and your frustration. I was wondering where the discussion had wandered off to myself. But if someone comes into your house and calls your mom “a liar”, you might get angry. If they came into your house, saying that so-and-so called your mom a “prostitute”, you might get out of your chair and go find Mr. So-and-so. You know your mother enough to know it’s a false charge. (If you don’t know your mother, I apologize.) The equivalent is that you came onto the blog, saying “God decreed slavery”. That was my prompt to get up and go find Mr. So-and-so. Like someone calling my mother a prostitute, I know enough about the Bible (and still need to learn more) to know that’s a false charge. I just wanted you to prove it to yourself.

        Joshua

      7. Re: the false charge, I’m sure all the pro SSM Christians and pro-evolution Christians equally feel they’re calling THEIR mom’s prostitutes too. And the pro-slavery Christians certainly would feel that way about you also. You’ve all got your different interpretations certainties.

      8. “All the more reason for outsiders to resign themselves to the sidelines and let us battle it out amongst ourselves.”

        Several things occur to me in response to that:
        1) Let’s hope it takes less time for the right answer to win out than it did in the ‘slavery – good or bad?’ debate (several hundred years).
        2) You don’t seem keen to take the same attitude to scientific studies, trusting experts to know more about it.
        3) When you use the bible to argue positions that affect others’ rights, then you make it other people’s business to examine the bible and see how consistently the opposers treat the book.
        4) The fact that there are 30,000 sects of Christianity in the US alone, all of whom disagree on something, shows that it’s impossible to cite ‘religious freedom’ as a reason to restrict anybody’s rights. Note also that your examples of religious rights being restricted came from the UK, where gays cannot marry. I don’t see what difference granting SSM marriage will make to anyone’s religious rights, no more than could be claimed for granting many rights that YOU agree with. In other words, many rights you accept could have been said to have been against someone else’s religion, regardless of whether you see their religion as being based on misreadings of holy texts. At any rate, virtually every sect sees other sects as misreading texts, otherwise they wouldn’t be different sects in the first place.

      9. If you get a chance, read this article by Dr. Michael Brown: Is There a “Civil Right” to Gay “Marriage”?

        One point brought up specifically was slavery. Here’s a portion:

        “In the past, the Bible was used in America to promote slavery, segregation, and the suppression of women, just as it is now being used to suppress gays and lesbians.”

        It is true that the Bible was misused to promote slavery, segregation, and the suppression of women, but it was actually the proper use of the Scriptures that fueled the anti-slavery and anti-segregation movements, while there are numerous verses in the Bible that speak in glowing terms of the importance of women. In fact, anthropologist Rodney Stark pointed out that one reason that Christianity spread so rapidly in the ancient world was because it was so egalitarian and so liberating for women. In contrast, there is not a single verse in the Bible that extols homosexual behavior, to the point that even the gay-affirming biblical scholar Walter Wink noted that, “The Bible is negative toward same-sex behavior, and there is no getting around it. ” He also stated that “Paul wouldn’t accept [a nonexploitative homosexual] relationship for a minute.”

        Joshua

      10. On WLC, I don’t have a problem. I haven’t read everything he write, but I HAVE read his reply to the Euryphro Dilemma. I understand it. I don’t think he solved the problem, it still stands. Even if you think I just don’t get it, that still means there’s little point in going down the meta route.

        We’re not in court here, but imagine how little would ever get discussed in trials if before it started each time everyone had to sit down and argue about what truth means, what’s wrong with inconsistency, how we account for logic…. When I entered the conversation you were offering arguments against gay marriage, we got a discussion going. If you’re now saying I need to explain basic axioms to you, then it seems like our previous conversation is over, and all my recent points are unanswered.

      11. That would be a farce. I agree. Thankfully, we’re not in court and, thankfully, we’re not trying to define every philosophical term in the dictionary. However, if we were taking someone to court accusing them of a crime, we’ve at least got to let them know why they’re guilty and what law they have broken. Otherwise, there’s no sufficient cause for taking them to trial or, in this case, to task.

        Joshua

  16. NAA writes, Let me use the CAPS LOCK key for this:

    NOTE TO TILDEB: THIS MEANS I WON’T BE RESPONDING TO YOUR COMMENTS IN ANY WAY, NEITHER DIRECTLY NOR INDIRECTLY BEGINNING NOW.

    You haven’t for a while. You make notes to readers about ‘this’ commenter… as if what you write about the intentions and motives and supposed hostility of ‘this commenter’ to your empty claims means you have addressed the reasons why your claim remains empty. The latest egregious example is the first of three claims you make about why a one man/one woman marriage should be privileged in law:

    1) they provide the best potential atmosphere for raising children;

    This is a lie, in the sense that it is presented to be true when it it is not true in reality and known to the author to be not true in reality. I don’t know what else to call it. It is a falsehood repeated over and over again by those who wish to use the lie to support legal discrimination. To any reader who actually values what’s true in reality – and I suspect most do – please take a moment to appreciate why supporting a position knowingly that is based on what is not true is hardly a good advertisement for being in a position to castigate the motives of another – especially the motives of another who dares to challenge such lies with better informed information. Apparently, the use of this tactic by ‘this commenter’ to advocate for what is true (when the administrator chooses not to) is really quite rude, I know… but then, reality often suffers from a lack of good manners and appropriate delicacy to consider the false beliefs of some to receive special privilege and dispensation. All of us must make such allowances.

    Because my character is so questionable, I will introduce you to the decision of Judge Walker who heard much testimony when considering if California’s Prop 8 was constitutional. Here are some relevant conclusions from his decision with some bold thrown in for your reading convenience:

    Judge Walker (in the case of ruling California’s Prop 8 as unconstitutional) found that:

    70.The gender of a child’s parent is not a factor in a child’s adjustment. The sexual orientation of an individual does not determine whether that individual can be a good parent. Children raised by gay or lesbian parents are as likely as children raised by heterosexual parents to be healthy, successful, and well-adjusted. The research supporting this conclusion is accepted beyond serious debate in the field of developmental psychology. a.Tr 1025:4-23 (Lamb: Studies have demonstrated “very conclusively that children who are raised by gay and lesbian parents are just as likely to be well-adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents.” These results are “completely consistent with our broader understanding of the factors that affect children’s adjustment.”);b.PX2565
    American Psychological Association, Answers to Your Questions: For a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality
    at 5 (2008): “[S]ocial science has shown that the concerns often raised about children of lesbian and gay parents —— concerns that are generally grounded in prejudice against and stereotypes about gay people —— are unfounded.”;c.PX2547 (Nathans on Nov 12, 2009 Dep Tr 49:05-49:19:Sociological and psychological peer-reviewed studies conclude that permitting gay and lesbian individuals to marry does not cause any problems for children); PX2546at 2:20-3:10 (video of same).

    71.Children do not need to be raised by a male parent and a female parent to be well-adjusted, and having both a male and a female parent does not increase the likelihood that a child will be well-adjusted.

    73.Studies comparing outcomes for children raised by married opposite-sex parents to children raised by single or divorced parents do not inform conclusions about outcomes for children raised by same-sex parents in stable, long-term relationships.Tr 1187:13-1189:6 (Lamb)

    So when the phrase ‘best potential atmosphere’ is thrown into this claim made by NAA, appreciate the fact that he’s simply making a claim that stands contrary to good information. He’s not alone in making this claim but, as a premise for justifying legal discrimination, it is a demonstrably false premise. When one of an argument’s premises is shown to be false, we can usually be pretty sure that the conclusion based on it deserves to be revisited to account for this change. Those who alter conclusions because better information becomes available show what I call intellectual integrity. It means that the efforts of another to clarify and promote good information over a lack of it are taken seriously. I just have the bad manners to point out that those who do not adjust, or who refuse to address a false premise in their own argument, and who characterize the motives of the person offering the correction as morally suspect, shows a lack of exactly this.

    1. This deserves one final note:

      Readers, an important note (that may or may not have been overlooked by the commentator): Keep in mind when reading the decisions by Judge Walker — he is not an unbiased or disinterested observer merely being objective (and I suspect the commentator isn’t either). Judge Walker himself is gay and had been in a relationship for years up to the point of his conclusions. Reference: AP: Gay judge never thought to drop marriage case

      For anyone interested in reading a brief overview of the many problems with research and studies involving homosexual parenting, please read this:

      Homosexual Parenting: Placing Children at Risk

      I also submit a short article for the consideration of readers:

      Is There a “Civil Right” to Gay “Marriage”? by Dr. Michael Brown, Ph. D. Quick quote from the article:

      A meta-analytical study by pro-gay researchers Stacy and Biblarz indicated that children raised in same-sex households were more prone to promiscuity, crossing gender lines, and same-sex attraction.

      The information to contrast and compare and to draw a conclusion is available to all. Readers, please extend your research of this subject outside the comments section of my blog. The first link above has 72 references to additional information for interested parties.

      That’s all!

      Joshua

      Minor Side Notes:

      1) I’ve been misquoted. I didn’t use the word “commenter”, I used the word “commentator”. There’s a reason.

      2) My name is Joshua, not “NAA”. I don’t need to hide behind a fake name.

      1. From the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry:

        “Current research shows that children with gay and lesbian parents do not differ from children with heterosexual parents in their emotional development or in their relationships with peers and adults. It is important for parents to understand that it is the the quality of the parent/child relationship and not the parent’s sexual orientation that has an effect on a child’s development.”

        From the American Psychological Association:

        “In summary, social science has shown that the concerns often raised about children of lesbian and gay parents’ – concerns that are generally grounded in prejudice against and stereotypes about gay people – are unfounded. Overall, the research indicates that the children of lesbian and gay parents do not differ markedly from the children of heterosexual parents in their development, adjustment, or overall well-being.”

        These professional conclusions do not have to be this way. If the data showed that gay and lesbian child-rearing practices were harmful then these conclusions would be different. In comparison, the source you use to try to discredit the professional conclusions from the Family Research Council is a religious organization which does not represent tens of thousands of practicing counseling healthcare professionals nor the tens of thousands of studies relied upon to arrive at these unbiased conclusions.

        In stark contrast, NAA continues to rely on exactly that which is factually wrong, the religious belief (and sources that promote this religious belief) grounded in prejudice and stereotypes that gay and lesbian parenting is somehow inherently bad for children when the professional consensus from gathered data clearly and unambiguously shows this this is not true in fact.

        As if this religiously inspired bigotry wasn’t bad enough, the research also clearly demonstrates that ongoing prejudice against gay and lesbian parents DOES cause measurable harm to children. And this is why it remains important for commenters (or commentators, if you prefer) to point out that this issue is not some neutral consideration that has two equivalent sides in some theoretical debate but a very real and pressing concern to right a religious wrong. This prejudice and bigotry exercised by believers in the name of piety and love must be publicly challenged and shown to be the cause of real harm to real people in real life. Believing that gay marriage harms children is a lie.

      2. Readers, and for the slower ones I’ll spell it out: I am being called a bigot. So, I ask: Who is being the bigot? Is not the commentator himself guilty of bigotry? Do you see the hatred (edit: tildeb isn’t guilty of hatred; I falsely accused him and apologized) and intolerance of not just religion, but religious people, especially Christians? Where’s my right to be passionate and vocal about my view? Where’s my right to express myself?

        Yet again the obviously upset commentator doesn’t even extend the courtesy of providing us with a clear citation or link for the texts he is quoting. And the irony is that he is quoting from APA material!

        And I’m not sure whether or not the data on the link to the FRC was even read, but I’ll restate their conclusions about such studies, although I have no way of knowing whether or not they extend to the studies referred to in the quotes about (see previous and following paragraphs). Studies relating to same-sex parenting were shown to contain:

        1) “methodological defects”;
        2) “openly lesbian researchers sometimes conduct research with an interest in portraying homosexual parenting in a positive light”;
        3) “reliance upon an inadequate sample size”;
        4) “lack of random sampling”;
        5) “lack of anonymity of research participants”;
        6) “and self-presentation bias”.

        So maybe, just maybe, the “scientific” studies aren’t as scientific as they might seem. And maybe, just maybe, they also aren’t as unbiased as the commentator would have us believe? (I don’t know because we have no names in the quotations to reference. No titles of the texts. And before the accusation that this point is irrelevant creeps in, I ask: If the studies were conducted by gay researchers, doesn’t that have some bearing on their results? Not all but certain amongst the more vocal and less tolerant of the homosexual and atheist communities these days would have us believe that they alone stand unbiased and impartial!)

        But we’ll each have to read them to find out, now won’t we?

        Joshua (NOT “NAA” — I don’t need to hide behind a fake name.)

        Brief Aside:

        There’s a reason why I link to brief articles. (In fact, the entire point of this blog was brevity: no apologies allowed = a play on words indicating no long, drawn out essays about a particular position were going to be allowed.) I understand that people have a lot happening in their lives, so most probably don’t have time to read a long, lengthy essays on one single subject. But, thankfully, there are blogs and sites which do have those things for interested people (see the blogroll here). This isn’t one of them. The blog was also intended for BRIEF comments, not long commentaries. Please don’t forget that.

        For the really hard of reading: Comment = a few sentences, no more than 10. Commentary = longer than a comment.

        The commentator enjoys giving me lengthy materials to read at times (once posting a several hundred page long legal document). These case studies may be no different. I wish I could give you a page count, but, again, we’re not being provided clear citations or links. Regardless, I wonder whether or not the commentator himself has read all the things he has been passing on to me, like the legal documents and the case studies he’s quoting (or that the quotes are referring to) in their entirety. (If he has, I stand corrected.) But it was because of the type of reaction that I anticipated above that I distinctly pointed out that the link to the Family Research Council had 72 references at the bottom for those interested in pursuing the other side of the story.

        UPDATE: I just notice that the FRC page that I linked to earlier today has been moved or removed. I’m not sure why or what’s happened to it.

        Got no interest in pursuing thread further. It has already strayed a loooooooooooooong way from the topic, which was an atheist billboard.

      3. I didn’t include the multiple links because it means my comment goes into moderation so I quoted directly.

        I use ‘NAA’ because that’s the author handle that shows up at the top of the comment and I respect that handle.

        I use the handle ’tildeb’ because I and my family have been subject to harassment, death threats, and violence for me daring to voice an opinion in a public forum. Although I am willing to take the heat for my opinions, it’s not fair that they should, too. So my opinions need to stand or fall on their own merit rather than be contextualized and personalized.

        You mistake justified criticism for ‘hatred’. I base the criticism not on my personal opinion but sourced from the consensus of the most highly respected professional organizations that deal with these issues in a non-biased, non-partisan way. If you find that ‘hostile’ then that’s your issue. I draw conclusions about how well you present good and compelling reasons to back up opinions; better reasons will affect my conclusions. Yours in this case leave something to be desired by relying on biased and partisan sources only while failing to account for contrary and broad professional consensus. Again, that’s your problem. I’m just pointing it out and calling the biased and prejudiced conclusions you maintain for what they are: bigoted. If you don’t like the term, change your mind.

      4. I didn’t include the multiple links because it means my comment goes into moderation so I quoted directly.

        Fair enough. But I know whenever there are new comments and even those that go into moderation I approve. So, don’t let that be an excuse anymore. I don’t think it’s fair to make the other party do all the leg-running, especially now that I’ve made it clear that this blog is for brief comments (implying that my time is extremely limited, as yours probably is).

        I use ‘NAA’ because that’s the author handle that shows up at the top of the comment and I respect that handle.

        OK. Fair enough. I prefer “Joshua” though, if it matters.

        I use the handle ’tildeb’ because I and my family have been subject to harassment, death threats, and violence for me daring to voice an opinion in a public forum. Although I am willing to take the heat for my opinions, it’s not fair that they should, too. So my opinions need to stand or fall on their own merit rather than be contextualized and personalized.

        Understandable, but sorry to hear that happen. But it happens to many of us.

        So, why do you persistently attack my level of honesty and intelligence if you don’t like things personalized?

        You mistake justified criticism for ‘hatred’.

        Kind of silly. Anybody could say that when they are accused of “hate”. Would you prefer “an antagonistic attitude”? Surely you’ll say that describes your attitude towards me? But maybe there are other reasons why you want to avoid the word “hate”…

        I base the criticism not on my personal opinion but sourced from the consensus of the most highly respected professional organizations that deal with these issues in a non-biased, non-partisan way.

        None of the unnamed researchers has a bias or is any way partial to any one side? And what evidence do you have for that?

        I’m done on this thread and it’s past midnight. Please do read my updated comment policy.

        Joshua

  17. Josh, are you dismissing the whole of Tildeb’s post because the Judge was gay? Didn’t Tildeb cite several studies? Are we to equally dismiss as biased any anti-SSM studies from you if the authors are straight?

    1. That’s a perfect example of Ad Hominem, same as dismissing an entire well-worded post from Tildeb on science on the basis that he’s an atheist, a point completely irrelevant to anything he’s said.

      The whole point of scientific studies is that anyone can check and replicate the results. Dismissing the results just because they don’t meet your previously held views is going about things backwards.

      1. Andy, did you read any portion of the first link in the post?

        If you did, you will see that charge that same-sex parenting studies show:

        1) “methodological defects”;
        2) “openly lesbian researchers sometimes conduct research with an interest in portraying homosexual parenting in a positive light”;
        3) “reliance upon an inadequate sample size”;
        4) “lack of random sampling”;
        5) “lack of anonymity of research participants”;
        6) “and self-presentation bias”.

        So maybe, just maybe, the “scientific” studies aren’t as scientific as they might seem. But we’ll each have to read them to find out, now won’t we?

        Here it is again: Homosexual Parenting: Placing Children at Risk

        Side note:

        Andy, you’ve accused me of ad hominem attacks twice. OK. Do you understand what ad hominem actually is? There are other terms in the philosophical dictionary, too. (I would, however, suggest that you watch what you’re writing and don’t end up being a hypocrite.) The important distinction is this: relevance. You keep insisting that this-and-that point are irrelevant as if the position (philosophical, theological) of the person has nothing to do with their conclusions. That is stretching ad hominem. I was not attacking his character, but his position on the existence of God, which prompts him to accuse we, Christians, of “not respecting reality and what is true”. The veracity of his claim all depends on whether or not God exists! If I had said he was a circus clown for twelve years, so that invalidates his views on God and the nature of existence, then your charges, which you seem quick to make, would be valid.

        But to double-check, I’m going to ask an acquaintance who knows philosophy to review these interactions and see if I’m indeed guilty.

        Joshua

    2. Andy, aren’t you an editor? How could you miss the fact that I wasn’t responding in detail to the entire contents of the post, but to that specific section of it? (Remember the whole limited time thing?)

      Please. I beg you. Be a little more considerate.

      I didn’t read the case studies, so I’m not qualified to comment on them. (Of course, a link or clear citation would have been nice. Instead, we’re left with cryptic semi-citations sprinkled throughout.)

      Did you read the case studies yourself?

      Joshua

  18. “It is true that the Bible was misused to promote slavery, segregation, and the suppression of women, but it was actually the proper use of the Scriptures…”

    Well, he’s calling one interpretation ‘misusing’ and his own interpretation ‘the proper use’. For hundreds of years biblical scholars were equally convinced and fervently made the case that the bible supported slavery. They gad access to exactly the same text.

    Does that give you any pause for thought or feelings of humility when you use the same book to argue with such confidence against a right that you enjoy yourself, one you’d have been denied too a few decades ago? How do you know that a few decades from now, people won’t have decided your OWN interpretation won’t be seen as a ‘misuse’?

  19. ANDY RYAN!! TILDEB!!

    Heh.. I figured I’d be dramatic with the opening in the hope that you’d notice that this post is meant for you two, what with the wave of exciting activity that has been going on in my absence (you have to pardon me for the infrequent post, my work takes me overseas and away from home quite often). So much to say, so little time, where shall I start? In the spirit of randomness (pun intended), let me flip a coin. There, I shall start with tildeb then. Do note that my post is in good spirit, so do grant me the occasional attempt at humour alright? =)

    To begin with, tildeb, I was pretty intrigued, maybe even slightly amused, to read your response to me. From my point of view, it kinda read something like this:

    “Alright, I’ll begin by steering away from the specific topic of human sexual behaviour and reproduction and tell Getic.Apolo with chest-out-head-held-high that evolution wins, and that Getic.Apolo knows little about evolution (even if I do not know much about him through the only two posts of his I’ve read so far). I’ll then proceed to draw a strawman caricature of intelligent design and back that up with a video called ‘This Is Why Every Scientist Accepts Evolution’, because any video with a name like that must be the final, absolute authority on the matter right? Wait, what? There are Nobel laureates who have dismissed evolution? Err, nope, I didn’t hear a thing. La la la… Anyway, I will then employ my trusty hand-waving technique to dismiss the numerous papers and links that Getic.Apolo and Joshua have provided specifically on the topic of human sexual reproduction and behaviour, not based on their scientific merit or lack thereof, but based on my assumptions that they fit my strawman idea of design arguments that I’ve already drawn, and because I choose to believe that intelligent design cannot be scientifically tested, even if there might be proof otherwise. After all, no one believes in intelligent design. Then, in a final, majestic move of pigeon chess checkmate, I will avoid answering most parts of Getic.Apolo’s 4 questions, providing incomplete responses fused with ad hominems. Because evolution wins. Period.

    Tweet tweet.”

    (I’d be the first to admit that some parts of this are playfully exaggerated, but you can’t deny that the ideas you’ve conveyed are very similar to what I’ve played out above, can you?)

    Okay, very quickly now (because I do want this topic to be focused firmly on sexual behaviour and refuse to let it derail), allow me to disappoint you in some quarters:

    a) Tell you what, if it makes you happy, let’s all assume you know more about evolution than I do, how about that? In fact, that you think EVERYTHING in biology fits into the framework of evolutionary theory is more telling about your understanding of the theory than it is of mine. You’ve gotta love the way anything and everything goes in your brand of evolution, right? Some SCIENTIFIC theory, huh? To the extent that, even evolutionists seem split on exactly what evolution entails. Hmm, evolutionists must be a confused lot! =D

    In fact, in recent years, the word ‘evolution’ has been perceived by some to be the ultimate weasel word. In an illuminating article called “The Meanings of Evolution,” Stephen Meyer and Michael Keas attempt to catch the weasel by distinguishing six different ways in which ‘evolution’ is commonly used:

    1. Change over time; history of nature; any sequence of events in nature.
    2. Changes in the frequencies of alleles in the gene pool of a population.
    3. Limited common descent: the idea that particular groups of organisms have descended from a common ancestor.
    4. The mechanisms responsible for the change required to produce limited descent with modification, chiefly natural selection acting on random variations or mutations.
    5. Universal common descent: the idea that all organisms have descended from a single common ancestor.
    6. ‘Blind watchmaker’ thesis: the idea that all organisms have descended from common ancestors solely through unguided, unintelligent, purposeless, material processes such as natural selection acting on random variations or mutations; that the mechanisms of natural selection, random variation and mutation, and perhaps other similarly naturalistic mechanisms, are completely sufficient to account for the appearance of design in living organisms.

    So, which definition do you subscribe to, my friend? Perhaps you’d like to enlighten everyone by openly stating which description of evolution shapes your worldview? I ask because I am genuinely interested (Andy Ryan, do feel free to share your take on evolution as well, appreciate it!)

    But nah, you’re right, what do I know about evolution? ;)

    b) Every scientist accepts evolution and dismiss ID, you suggest? Think again. ;)

    ‘Seven Nobel Laureates in science who either supported Intelligent Design or attacked Darwinian evolution’ (http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/seven-nobel-laureates-in-science-who-either-supported-intelligent-design-or-attacked-darwinian-evolution/)
    ‘Twenty-one more famous Nobel Prize winners who rejected Darwinism as an account of consciousness’ (http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/twenty-one-more-famous-nobel-prize-winners-who-rejected-darwinism-as-an-account-of-consciousness/)

    c) Intelligent design is not testable or falsifiable, you reckon? I reckon you should do just a wee bit more homework on ID. =D

    ‘Is Intelligent Design Testable? by William Dembski, Ph. Ds in Mathematics & Philosophy’ (http://www.arn.org/docs/dembski/wd_isidtestable.htm)
    ‘A Positive, Testable Case for Intelligent Design’ (http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/03/a_closer_look_at_one_scientist045311.html)
    ‘Does ID Make Testable Scientific Predictions?’ (http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/does-id-make-testable-scientific-predictions/)

    d) ID is nothing but a critique of evolutionary theory, you say? Hmm…

    For starters: ‘Frequently raised but weak arguments against Intelligent Design (An ID FAQ section)’ (http://www.uncommondescent.com/faq/)
    Then:
    ‘Revisiting the Positive Case for Intelligent Design’ (http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/04/revisiting_the058771.html)

    Oh, and on a sidenote, you have other parts of history quite mistaken, my friend. First of all, I think that you, like many evolutionists or their adherents, inappropriately conflate genetics with evolution. In fact, historically, genetics was conceived as an ANTI-evolution argument. In fact, it was the theory of evolution that impeded its embrace by the biological community. The idea of relatively static genes being inherited in whole pieces was decidedly Aristotelian in thought. Evolution did eventually swallow genetics, but to say that evidence and research on genetics is de facto evidence and research about evolution is simply misguided, both logically and historically.

    Something else you said that I would love to follow through with you about:
    “If you were to ask, you’d understand that my atheism means that I find the arguments for believing in the god so many people of different faiths find compelling and authoritative to be unconvincing in substance and detail due to a lack of evidence in reality for the various beliefs.”

    Hmm, you claim there is a lack of evidence for the various beliefs, so specifically what kind of evidence is it that you are seeking, if you don’t mind me asking? What kind of evidence will qualify as ‘evidence’ in your books? I ask because that would allow me to better appreciate you. =)

    Finally, what was of great curiosity for me was that, as mentioned earlier, all 4 of my questions remain unsatisfactorily answered. To prove my point, I’ll place my questions and your responses here, just so you can correct me should you feel any of your answers sufficiently address my questions:

    (1) Do you mean to say you know the absolute truth behind human sexual reproduction and behaviour? And no, you don’t have to find evidence for the negative “Sex is not God’s invention” statement. I did ask you before and you may have missed it, so I’ll ask again. What do you think sex is an invention of, evolution perhaps? Or something else? Is there any evidence you can present to suggest any positive claim on your end or to show conclusive truth about human sexual reproduction and behaviour, truth that settles the debate on the matter? Let’s see you – to borrow your words – “make a claim about reality, back it up with evidence from reality.” ;)

    tildeb: “#1 No. My beliefs are irrelevant to the science. So are yours. Evolution – unguided design – as an explanation for biological development works better and is better informed with evidence from reality than any other scientific theory we now take for granted.”

    (2) A hypothetical question: Suppose the very first generation of human beings were all exclusively homosexual and only maintained sexual relations with their own gender. Do you think it is possible that the entire human race would have been wiped out? Does that indicate anything about how unnatural homosexuality might be? Why or why not?

    tildeb: “#2 This shows the degree to which you do not understand evolution. Within your DNA, your oldest female ancestor lived somewhere in the vicinity of 50,000 years earlier than your oldest male ancestor. No wrap your head around that little genetic gem if you can. There is zero genetic evidence for a human bottleneck of two.”

    (3) Do you believe advances in medical technology that allow homosexual couples to have children without any ill effects or implications indicates that homosexuality is natural?

    tildeb: “#3 You confuse biological behaviour with god-sanctioned morality and try to put the lipstick of what’s ‘natural’ on this pig by producing a very weak argument supposedly deduced from genetics. But the argument isn’t about biology because you apply this cherry-picked reasoning only after the fact. In other words, you are not basing the argument for your morality on biology but religious belief. And when this route is followed, the fallout becomes an argument about supporting discriminating laws that subordinate legal individual rights of others on your religious beliefs.”

    (4) Which part of your worldview or scientific understanding allows you to draw the line on just how far human sexual behaviour should take us? Like, suppose a man or woman wanted to have sex with animals or children or their own parents/siblings/sons/daughters. Would you find that appropriate/inappropriate? Which part of your understanding of human sexual behaviour allows you to classify that as appropriate/inappropriate?

    tildeb: “#4 Compelling reasons.”

    Gotta love the 4th answer in particular. =D

    So, as before, I’ll leave the 4 sets of questions, and refer you back to the many links Joshua and I provided pertaining to human sexual behaviour and reproduction, in the hope that you do look at them and discuss the material with us if you’re interested yeah? My challenge to you (and now, Andy Ryan) remains: that science does not have the answers at the moment, and so your views on human sexual behaviour and reproduction are not cast in scientific stone, but are part of a FAITH position you hold, not unlike many religions, and if I were to be generous in saying so, they’re conjectures at best. I’m open to you proving to and convincing me otherwise. Cheers. =)

    Up next, Andy Ryan! =)

  20. Hello Andy! =D

    Before I proceed, I’d just like to thank you for having played your part in what I found to be an exciting, engaging discussion between Joshua and you.

    First off, I love how you completely glossed over a few issues or points that Joshua raised, including:

    (1) Joshua’s point that there is a different between tradition and what the doctrines advocate, and his request asking you to provide specific, conclusive evidence for your various claims tagging Christianity firmly to arguments for slavery, against interracial marriages, against universal suffrage, etc. (your views on the topic suggest a severe lack of understanding of many of the positive contributions that Christianity and in particular, the Protestant Reformation have made in these area and to society at large. On a side note, have you read the Bible in full before? If yes, simply as a pick-and-read or through the rigours of a formal/informal course in systematic theology? Just asking.);

    (2) Dr. Robert Gentry’s model of creation, which is testable AND falsifiable, and;

    (3) the worldview foundation that allows you to make moral statements about what is right and what is wrong (as in, if you are an atheist, where within your worldview do you find an objective basis for morality? – I apologise in advance if you are not atheist, in which case, please disregard my question).

    Do feel free to elaborate on how you feel about any of his views on these. And I know the initial part of the entire thread was directed towards tildeb, but you are also warmly welcome to share your views on the various links and references Joshua and I put up with regards to sexual behaviour and reproduction, in the absence of any trenchant critique from tildeb. On that note, thanks for your response to my hypothetical question (2), appreciate it, really. =)

    Further, I noticed that in response to Joshua’s statement “There are many laws against specific types of gay sex in many places around the world”, you had this to say:

    “Right, any many parts of the world where women can’t vote.”

    Hmmmmm… right. You might want to head out more often (just kidding, of course). Malaysia has strict laws against gay sex and marriage. Malaysian women vote. Singapore has laws against gay sex and marriage. Singaporean women vote. Jamaica, Puerto Rico, India, Thailand, Indonesia, the list really goes on. You sure you were going somewhere with that statement of yours? =D

    By the way, you also mentioned this:

    “Thanks, but regarding peer review, when it comes to science it’s ‘put up or shut up’. If you’ve got the arguments against accepted science, you put forward the experiments, you subject it to peer review. That’s how it works. That’s how the science you enjoy in your every day life works.”

    I see. In case you didn’t know, some of the most important and groundbreaking work in the history of science first appeared in published form not in peer-reviewed scientific journal articles but in scientific books. That includes Copernicus’ ‘De Revolutionibus’ and Isaac Newton’s ‘Principia’. Einstein’s original paper on relativity was published in a scientific journal (Annalen der Physik), but did not undergo formal peer-review. Indeed, Darwin’s very own theory of evolution was first published in a book for a general and scientific audience – his ‘On The Origin of Species’ – not in a peer-reviewed paper. Let’s see you dismiss that one! =D

    Moreover, important scientific work has not uncommonly been initially rejected by peer-reviewed journals. As a 2001 article in Science observed, “Mention ‘peer review’ and almost every scientist will regale you with stories about referees submitting nasty comments, sitting on a manuscript forever, or rejecting a paper only to repeat the study and steal the glory.” Indeed, an article in the journal Science Communication by Juan Miguel Campanario notes that top journals such as “Science and Nature have also sometimes rejected significant papers,” and in fact “Nature has even rejected work that eventually earned the Nobel Prize.” In an amusing letter titled “Not in our Nature,” Campanario reminds the journal of four examples where it rejected significant papers:

    (1) In 1981, Nature rejected a paper by the British biochemist Robert H. Michell on signalling reaction by hormones. This paper has since been cited more than 1,800 times.

    (2) In June 1937, Nature rejected Hans Krebs’s letter describing the citric acid cycle. Krebs won the 953 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine for this discovery.

    (3) Nature initially rejected a paper on work for which Harmut Michel won the 1988 Nobel prize for chemistry; it has been identified by the Institute of Scientific Information as a core document and widely cited.

    (4) A paper by Michael J. Berridge, rejected in 1983 by Nature, ranks at number 275 in a list of the most-cited papers of all time. It has been cited more than 1,900 times.

    I haven’t even taken into account the many fraudulent research results that have previously cleared peer-review, only to be exposed subsequently (ask me for references if you’d like them). So science, my friend, is not necessarily settled on peer-review or consensus, at least that’s NOT how the science you enjoy in your every day life works. Just saying… ;)

    Also, I noticed that you mention these:

    “All the evidence I see is that is naturally occurring and is not associated with any mental disorders.
    There’s numerous intriguing correlations:
    a1) Physical factors – eg relative finger lengths,
    a2) Twin studies showing that identical twins are much more likely to share sexual preference than non-identical twins.
    b) The aforementioned studies into increased number of children sired by the siblings of gays
    c) The much increasing likelihood of a son being gay with each additional son you have. ie, the second is more likely than the first, the third more likely still etc. This remains so even when the kids are brought up apart, so it can’t be put down to “Younger brothers are more likely to be bullied by older brothers, hence an increased likelihood of being gay”.”, and

    “As it happens, studies show that the female siblings of gay men tend to have more kids than the female average. [This holds even when the siblings were brought up separately – it’s not just because the girls are thinking “I need more kids to compensation for my gay brother]. Furthermore, the percentage of gays born in any group seems to hold up fairly steady too over the world.”

    GIven your affection for peer-reviewed literature, could you cite the references you used in stating the above? I would like to explore these a bit more. =)

    And also, could you feel free to elaborate on what kind of theistic or atheistic position you hold? I only ask because I have, in my experience, met many an atheist who has used all kinds of smokescreens to avoid committing to a worldview, in the hope that they can draw from any and every worldview for the simple sake of winning an argument. And I’m well wise to that tactic, and fully trust you’re not that kind of a discussion-person (as is evident from your fantastic tone and conduct throughout the discussions thus far).

    I have one final piece that involves BOTH of you, tildeb and Andy, and your comments, and it is the most exciting piece on this thread yet. I’m affectionately calling it ‘How To Catch A Bluff’. In it, I will draw out extraordinary claims made by both tildeb and Andy, and in the typical evolutionist/atheistic spirit of “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”, I will put your claims to the bluff-test, and see how they fall way short of expectations. Don’t worry, I’ll try to do it in the gentlest and least confrontational way possible, because I genuinely care for you guys. =)

    Stay tuned for this exciting piece (should be up within the next 2 or 3 days)! =D

    1. Tsk, tsk, G.A… copying and pasting without notation or reference (although you say “I haven’t even taken into account the many fraudulent research results that have previously cleared peer-review, only to be exposed subsequently (ask me for references if you’d like them)). Much of your comment is written by Casey Luskin – the only Discoveroid who isn’t a Fellow, poor fellow. And the only purpose of the Discovery Institute for which he writes (funded largely by Templeton money) is to promote the Wedge Document and get creationism back into science classrooms under the stealth term ‘Intelligent Design’. He’s not fooling anyone who isn’t willing to be fooled about the role of peer review, mistakenly portraying only published journal papers to be reviewed by peers. But hey, he’s a Discoveroid; this is what he gets paid to do.

      All that aside, there are only 469,000 references with a quick Google search to become aware of just how widely recognized are the problems with published peer review in an age where academics publish or perish. In other words, Luskin isn’t bringing us any new information here: iIt’s no mystery about the problems with published peer review. Note the word ‘published’. Even the Supreme Court decision notes that “While the Court noted that “submission to the scrutiny of the scientific community is a component of ‘good science,'” it ultimately held that “publication (or lack thereof) in a peer reviewed journal” is merely “a relevant, though not dispositive, consideration in assessing the scientific validity” of a claim.”

      But this doesn’t cover the material you ‘borrowed’ and failed to note to try to paint peer review as useless, though, does it? At my university you would be charged with and convicted of plagiarism and kicked out for this little breach, but I’m sure your motives were pious if not pure. Just saying… ;)

      1. Well, what do you know, you are sharp and spot-on, tildeb, I’m really glad you pointed out my mistake, and a genuine one at that. And hey, I’m happy to man up too, I do apologise. You see, I have a habit of drafting my responses on Microsoft Word, and oftentimes, I am scrolling up and down the draft, adding excerpts, putting in links, deleting sentences, so on and so forth. And in my hurry to finish this before heading to work, I must have missed putting in this one citation.

        In fact, if you look across all my posts, you’ll find that they’re littered with information, and it should be well clear that I am quick to acknowledge various people for quotes, excerpts, articles and many other sources of material. So I hope you see that I have nothing much really to gain from not accrediting 2 small paragraphs to the correct person, amidst the almost 30 other references that I have properly acknowledged. Rest assured that if this were your university and not some online conversation, I’d be proofreading my essays 20 times over and this little breach would have been easily spotted. Still, my apologies, I am, after all, only human, not, um, God. ;)

        So here it is, placed in the proper sense (corrections place in caps):

        [ By the way, you also mentioned this:
        “Thanks, but regarding peer review, when it comes to science it’s ‘put up or shut up’. If you’ve got the arguments against accepted science, you put forward the experiments, you subject it to peer review. That’s how it works. That’s how the science you enjoy in your every day life works.”
        I see. In case you didn’t know, THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE, LIKE CASEY LUSKIN, WHO WOULD BEG TO DIFFER, LIKE IN HIS ARTICLE ‘INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS PEER-REVIEWED, BUT IS PEER-REVIEW A REQUIREMENT OF GOOD SCIENCE?’ (http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/02/intelligent_des056221.html):
        “Some of the most important and groundbreaking work in the history of science first appeared in published form not in peer-reviewed scientific journal articles but in scientific books. That includes Copernicus’ ‘De Revolutionibus’ and Isaac Newton’s ‘Principia’. Einstein’s original paper on relativity was published in a scientific journal (Annalen der Physik), but did not undergo formal peer-review. Indeed, Darwin’s very own theory of evolution was first published in a book for a general and scientific audience – his ‘On The Origin of Species’ – not in a peer-reviewed paper.
        Moreover, important scientific work has not uncommonly been initially rejected by peer-reviewed journals. As a 2001 article in Science observed, “Mention ‘peer review’ and almost every scientist will regale you with stories about referees submitting nasty comments, sitting on a manuscript forever, or rejecting a paper only to repeat the study and steal the glory.” Indeed, an article in the journal Science Communication by Juan Miguel Campanario notes that top journals such as “Science and Nature have also sometimes rejected significant papers,” and in fact “Nature has even rejected work that eventually earned the Nobel Prize.” In an amusing letter titled “Not in our Nature,” Campanario reminds the journal of four examples where it rejected significant papers:
        (1) In 1981, Nature rejected a paper by the British biochemist Robert H. Michell on signalling reaction by hormones. This paper has since been cited more than 1,800 times.

        (2) In June 1937, Nature rejected Hans Krebs’s letter describing the citric acid cycle. Krebs won the 953 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine for this discovery.

        (3) Nature initially rejected a paper on work for which Harmut Michel won the 1988 Nobel prize for chemistry; it has been identified by the Institute of Scientific Information as a core document and widely cited.

        (4) A paper by Michael J. Berridge, rejected in 1983 by Nature, ranks at number 275 in a list of the most-cited papers of all time. It has been cited more than 1,900 times.”

        I haven’t even taken into account the many fraudulent research results that have previously cleared peer-review, only to be exposed subsequently (ask me for references if you’d like them). So science, my friend, is not necessarily settled on peer-review or consensus, at that’s NOT how the science you enjoy in your every day life works. Just saying… ;) ]

        So there, done. It WAS an honest mistake. Wait, maybe this guys say it better in the chorus:
        ‘The Bravery – Honest Mistake’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8vzbezVru4)

        Hmm, anyone else here into rock music? =D

      2. Well, what do you know, you are sharp and spot-on, tildeb, I’m really glad you pointed out my mistake, and a genuine one at that. And hey, I’m happy to man up too, I do apologise. You see, I have a habit of drafting my responses on Microsoft Word, and oftentimes, I am scrolling up and down the draft, adding excerpts, putting in links, deleting sentences, so on and so forth. And in my hurry to put this up before heading to work, I must have missed putting in this one citation. In fact, if you look across all my posts, you’ll find that they’re littered with information, and it should be well clear that I am quick to acknowledge various people for quotes, excerpts, articles and many other sources of material. So I hope you see that I have nothing much really to gain from not accrediting 2 small paragraphs to the correct person, amidst the almost 30 other references that I have properly acknowledged. Rest assured that if this were your university and not some online conversation, I’d be proofreading my essays 20 times over and this little breach would have been easily spotted. Still, my apologies, I am, after all, only human, not, um, God. Heh..

        So here it is, placed in the proper sense (corrections place in caps):

        [ By the way, you also mentioned this:
        “Thanks, but regarding peer review, when it comes to science it’s ‘put up or shut up’. If you’ve got the arguments against accepted science, you put forward the experiments, you subject it to peer review. That’s how it works. That’s how the science you enjoy in your every day life works.”

        I see. In case you didn’t know, THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE, LIKE CASEY LUSKIN, WHO WOULD BEG TO DIFFER, LIKE IN HIS ARTICLE ‘INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS PEER-REVIEWED, BUT IS PEER-REVIEW A REQUIREMENT OF GOOD SCIENCE?’ (http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/02/intelligent_des056221.html):
        “Some of the most important and groundbreaking work in the history of science first appeared in published form not in peer-reviewed scientific journal articles but in scientific books. That includes Copernicus’ ‘De Revolutionibus’ and Isaac Newton’s ‘Principia’. Einstein’s original paper on relativity was published in a scientific journal (Annalen der Physik), but did not undergo formal peer-review. Indeed, Darwin’s very own theory of evolution was first published in a book for a general and scientific audience – his ‘On The Origin of Species’ – not in a peer-reviewed paper.

        Moreover, important scientific work has not uncommonly been initially rejected by peer-reviewed journals. As a 2001 article in Science observed, “Mention ‘peer review’ and almost every scientist will regale you with stories about referees submitting nasty comments, sitting on a manuscript forever, or rejecting a paper only to repeat the study and steal the glory.” Indeed, an article in the journal Science Communication by Juan Miguel Campanario notes that top journals such as “Science and Nature have also sometimes rejected significant papers,” and in fact “Nature has even rejected work that eventually earned the Nobel Prize.” In an amusing letter titled “Not in our Nature,” Campanario reminds the journal of four examples where it rejected significant papers:

        (1) In 1981, Nature rejected a paper by the British biochemist Robert H. Michell on signalling reaction by hormones. This paper has since been cited more than 1,800 times.

        (2) In June 1937, Nature rejected Hans Krebs’s letter describing the citric acid cycle. Krebs won the 953 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine for this discovery.

        (3) Nature initially rejected a paper on work for which Harmut Michel won the 1988 Nobel prize for chemistry; it has been identified by the Institute of Scientific Information as a core document and widely cited.

        (4) A paper by Michael J. Berridge, rejected in 1983 by Nature, ranks at number 275 in a list of the most-cited papers of all time. It has been cited more than 1,900 times.”

        I haven’t even taken into account the many fraudulent research results that have previously cleared peer-review, only to be exposed subsequently (ask me for references if you’d like them). So science, my friend, is not necessarily settled on peer-review or consensus, at that’s NOT how the science you enjoy in your every day life works. Just saying… ;) ]

        So there, done. It WAS an honest mistake. Wait, maybe this guys say it better in the chorus:
        ‘The Bravery – Honest Mistake’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8vzbezVru4)

        Hmm, anyone else here into rock music? =D

    2. Well sure – I simply ‘loved’ how Josh glossed over all of my points just to focus on the slavery issue, which wasn’t even relevant to the discussion anyway. I guess a lot of these things come down to time. I could say that you’ve been ignoring my replies the past few days, when in reality you’ve probably just been busy doing something else.

      Google is your friend regarding the studies I cited. I’ve put considerable time into my replies already. If you don’t trust me, so be it. Frankly, I’m surprised you’re not aware of the studies in question already.

      1. Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt. The last sentence in your first paragraph was correct. However, you were equating Christian’s (ab)use of the Bible to prolong and support slavery to that of Christians, like myself, who oppose gay marriage. You used an upward of over 1,000 words in two posts on the slavery topic alone!

        I can quote Bible verses that establish marriage as being 1 man and 1 woman. I can’t find any that establish slavery. That was the point. Now that we both know that saying “God decreed slavery” is a false claim, we can move on.

        I’m not going to discuss gay marriage further because we’ve strayed from the original intent of this cartoon which dealt with a group advertising the there’s no God watching people have sex, so atheists make better lovers.

        What do you think of the logic of that organization?

        Joshua

      2. ” Now that we both know that saying “God decreed slavery” is a false claim, we can move on.”

        I’m happy to move in Josh, but I in no way accept that. I just haven’t got time to start trawling for the quotes. As for one man, one woman, how many wives did Soloman have?

      3. “Marriage was decreed for 1 woman and 1 man (Genesis 2:24). Joshua”

        And not just any woman, Josh, a virgin woman. Else she should be stoned – Deuteronomy 22:13-21.

        “20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:

        21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.”

      4. Yep. That was the law that God gave to Israel.

        Don’t you hold to the position that morality is the result of a social consensus? If so, why do you have a problem with that? If that’s what Israel decided to do to women who were not virgins (their social consensus), by what right do you have to point fingers?

        And what does any of this have to do with the discussion of the atheist billboard? (See previous comment.)

        Joshua

      5. Josh, this is the way Christians will quote from the bible. You’ll ‘prove’ a universal law with one quote, then someone shows you a quote from the SAME chapter and you reply ‘oh that just applied to a particular people at a different time’. Hence you can argue a vast number of contradictory positions from the same giant book of multiple choice. I’ve heard long well-argued positions from Christians for gay marriage using just that method of ‘those passages were applicable just to a particular time’.

        And you ARE making elsewhere a ‘without God it’s moral relativism’ argument, making ED an appropriate response.

      6. Andy, your criticism does bring up a great point that deserves a little longer comment than usual. (Sorry in advance.) And, you might not believe me, but I understand your frustration. If you ever get two Christians in a room, you’ll have three different opinions (about some things).

        If people quote from the same book, maybe even the same chapter, how can they come to opposite conclusions?

        Well, the Bible is a complex book. You know that. It requires study. Things have to be considered carefully and studied carefully. It’s a collection of different books in different genres written by different people. And, no, that’s not a negative thing. But some books themselves are like miniature Bibles; that is, they contain multiple genres. Numbers is a good example.

        Now, since I’ve spent the past 6 weeks intensely studying Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, I think I can address a common misconception about the Bible that usually involves the latter three.

        Common misconception #1: Every law in the Old Testament applies to everyone, Jews, Christians, and everyone alike, throughout all time.

        That is simply not true.

        First, there are distinctions within the laws and, essentially, 4 different types: 1) moral laws; 2) religious laws. 3) ceremonial law; 4) customary laws. Because there’s no temple or priesthood, that does away with religious and ceremonial laws that governed how Israel worshiped. Israel, as a people group, is no longer restricted to a particular ethnicity, which does away with customary laws (like how we should keep our hair, the clothes we wear, etc). That leaves moral law, things addressed in the 10 commandments and related laws (things that govern murder, theft, sex). Those are the only laws that are binding.

        Secondly, the whole of the laws collectively and their punishments were never applicable to anyone outside of the people of Israel. From the Christian perspective, once the temple was destroyed in 70 AD, it was a clear signal for the hardest of hearing that the religious laws and ceremonials laws of Judaism were no longer necessary in light of the coming of Jesus, whom the sacrifices had foreshadowed. And rather than establish some new, unheard of laws that would sound alien in a Jewish context, Jesus relayed and amplified the moral law of the Old Testament. He Himself even predicted that the temple would be destroyed and that the time would come when people who really sought to worship God would worship Him in spirit and in truth, not in some physical location on Earth, namely Jerusalem (<a href="http://niv.scripturetext.com/john/4-21.htm"John 4:21-24).

        Some examples: The Old Testament defines murder as wrong. The New Testament amplifies it, saying that even being angry at your brother is tantamount to killing him. The Old Testament defines male homosexual behavior explicitly as wrong (not mentioning of lesbianism directly). The New Testament amplifies it, noting that both male and female homosexual behavior are wrong (Romans 1:26, 27.

        Hope that helps at least a little.

        Joshua

    3. ” You sure you were going somewhere with that statement of yours? =D”

      I’ve no idea where you are trying to go here. Josh tried to make some point by talking about other countries’ laws against being gay. I asked what that proved, one might as well point out that many countries don’t allow women to vote. Ie, just because other countries make something illegal, that says nothing about how we should view the morality of that that thing – some countries outlaw buggery, some outlaw women voting, what of it?

      Your ‘rebuttal’ is to point out that some countries have laws against being gay but also allow the vote to women? That’s a non sequitur. Do I need to go through the rest of your post dealing with every other sarcastic misunderstanding? I don’t think it’s worth my time!

      1. Well, Andy, if morality is subjective and determined by society and if that society has laws that outlaw homosexual behavior and marriage, by what right do you have to says its wrong and seek to overturn it? (That was the point of saying that some countries have laws that outlaw things like homosexual behavior. Yeah, sometimes the laws can be bizarre and even hilarious. But they are the morality that is determined by that society.)

        Joshua

      2. Again Josh, Euthryphro’s Dilemma. Busy with small kids, breakfast time where I am…

      3. Well precisely Josh! Yet you’re asking me questions that pertain exactly to that dilemma…

      4. Where’d I do that? The Euthyphro dilemma deals with morality as it relates to God.

        My question in the previous post dealt with laws made by people, not laws in the Bible. In other words, if I asked you that if Canada, for example, has a law that said walking dogs on Fridays is wrong and the law was the result of a social consensus, then what right would you have to protest it, especially if you were the minority position?

        Joshua

    4. “as in, if you are an atheist, where within your worldview do you find an objective basis for morality”

      I dealt with this already. I posted a lot, so can’t expect you to read it all, but I’d rather not repeat myself. If you want, try to work out your response to Euthryphro’s Dilemma. In other words, work out what difference positing a God makes to your morality question. If you’re making your morality subject to God’s existence then by definition it isn’t objective.

      I’ve had this conversation with several well-known apologists, and none had a decent response. NB, searching for ‘meta’ or ‘Euth’ on this page should find you my previous response to Josh.

  21. JOSHUA!

    Well, would you look at my manner? I didn’t say hi to you at the start again, and here I am shouting at you in CAPS! Haha..

    Hope all’s been fine with you, my friend. I apologise for my delayed responses here (and I owe you an email reply as well, will get to that over the next few days). Just wanted to reassure you that I’m well and truly here to stay. And hey, I may be slow to appear, but better late than never, no? ;)

    (Btw, I just realised after my two mammoth posts that you have put up a new entry asking for shorter comments. I am sorry about the earlier ones, but I do hope this one’s short enough for you to say hi back, no? Heh..)

    Take care, Josh! =D

    1 Peter 3:15

  22. By the way, I’ve several times referred to pro-SSM Christian apologetics that directly references bible passages. It’s only fair that I actually give you an example. Everything that follows is quotes, but perhaps it would be clearer just to read from the link:

    “Stephen B Says:
    February 8th, 2012 at 4:16 pm
    It is naive hermeneutics to read the above passages as being relevant to same sex marriage.
    http://www.wouldjesusdiscrimin…..ticus.html

    “If we wish to understand the true meaning of these verses, we must look at their context, both textual and historical. Until we understand what prompted these rules in Old Testament times, we will not be able to determine if the rules should be applied to the case of two people in committed, loving relationship.

    Note 1. Leviticus 18:2-3, 18:24, and 20:23.
    The text itself gives us a big clue as to the intended meaning. Three different times we are specifically told that the rules set forth in chapters 18 and 20 are meant to prevent the Israelites from doing what the Egyptians and Canaanites did. (See note 1.) The term Canaanites refers to the group of nations who lived in the land into which the Israelites migrated when they left Egypt. It follows, therefore, if we can determine what type of homosexual behavior was common among the Canaanites and Egyptians, we will better understand what these verses were meant to prohibit.

    Note 2. Some recent scholarship has called this truism into question (e.g., see the article The end of the male cult prostitute: A literary-historical and sociological analysis of Hebrew qades-qadesim [Source: Congress Volume, pages 37-80, E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1997] by Phyllis A. Bird, published in the Vetus Testamentum, 66). But even if these practices were not as prevalent as scholars once thought, the biblical text indicates the biblical authors believed they were, and their writings are based on that factual premise. See also, Homoeroticism in the Biblical World by Martti Nissinen, pages 41-42, for a discussion of this.
    Biblical historians tell us the Canaanite religions surrounding the Israelites at the time of Leviticus often included fertility rites consisting of sexual rituals. These rituals were thought to bring the blessing of the god or goddess on crop and livestock production. During the rituals, whole families, including husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, cousins, aunts and uncles would sometimes have sex. Also included was sex with temple prostitutes. In short, every kind of sexual practice imaginable was performed at these rituals, including homosexual sex. (See note 2.)

    Note 3. For a lengthy discussion of the worship of Asstarte/Ishtar, see The Construction of Homosexuality (University of Chicago Press, 1988), David F. Greenberg, pages 95-97.
    Consider one specific example. Historians tell us that many Canaanites and Egyptians worshipped a goddess of love and fertility called Astarte or Ishtar. Within her temples were special priests called assinu, who were deemed to have special powers. Physical contact with the assinu was believed to ward off evil and promote good luck. These priests were, in effect, living good luck charms, and worshipers would often ritually touch them as part of their worship practices. Sexual intercourse was considered especially effective for gaining the goddess’s favor, because the male worshiper was offering his greatest possession, semen (which was thought to be the essence of life), to the goddess through her priests. Depositing semen in the body of a priest of the goddess was believed to guarantee one’s immortality. Similar cultic sexual practices flourished in connection with many other ancient pagan deities. (See note 3.)

    This is what was going on in Canaan and Egypt at the time the Levitical rules were announced — homosexual temple prostitution. And as already noted, Leviticus 18 and 20 specifically say they were written to address pagan religious practices. Leviticus 18 begins with the admonition, “You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you.” (18:3) Chapter 20 is even more specific, beginning with an injunction against the pagan practices associated with a god named Molech. And both chapters include long lists of sexual practices common in the cultic rituals we mentioned above. However, neither of them speaks to the question of whether two people of the same sex can live in loving relationship with the blessing of God.

    Note 4. Greenberg, page 92.
    In fact, historians tell us our model of loving, long-term homosexual relationships did not meaningfully exist in Canaanite culture. This was a tribal culture in which it would have been virtually impossible to form such relationships. Offspring were essential to survival in this primitive agricultural economy. Moreover, there were rigid distinctions between women’s work and men’s work. If two men had lived together as a couple, for example, one of them would have been placed in the position of doing women’s work, and the presence of a man working among the women of the village would not have been tolerated. (See note 4.)

    It simply is not reasonable to believe the author of Leviticus intended to prohibit a form of homosexual relationship that did not exist at the time. When read in textual and historical context, the prohibitions in Leviticus 18 and 20 are clearly directed at homosexual temple prostitution, and that is how they should be applied.

    Some people may object, saying, “But if you ignore the context and just read the words of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 in black and white, they appear to prohibit all sex between men, not just sex in pagan rituals.” But that is the whole point: The meaning of words depends on context. Remember, the words of 1 Corinthians 11 also appear to require long hair and head coverings for all women in all circumstances. But, because we have studied the context, we know that is not what was meant. A text taken out of context is pretext. Let’s apply the same common-sense rule here.

    The Leviticus passages were clearly written in the context of pagan religious ritual. Since we are not bringing a question about the appropriateness of cultic sex practices for modern Christians, we can safely set aside these clobber passages.”

    Quote ends.
    http://www.wouldjesusdiscriminate.org/biblical_evidence/leviticus.html

    1. Andy,

      I’m still investigating the site, but I did want to respond to the section you quoted, but just briefly.

      If you read the quoted section, you’ll immediately notice that the author(s) are not using the Bible! They see what the Bible says and then argue that’s not what it means by using extra-biblical sources — the conclusion of two or three scholars who may have a particular ax to grind (as do we all), scholars like David F. Greenberg who has numerous affiliations with homosexual associations. Martti Nissinen, one of the scholars quoted above, even states in his book the following:

      Paul does not mention tribades or kinaidoi, that is, female and male persons who were habitually involved in homoerotic relationships, but if he knew about them (and there is every reason to believe that he did), it is difficult to think that, because of their apparent ‘orientation,’ he would not have included them in Romans 1:24-27… For him, there is no individual inversion or inclination that would make this conduct less culpable… Presumably nothing would have made Paul approve homoerotic behavior.

      source: Homoeroticism in the Biblical World. Fortress, 1998, 109-12

      The author(s) deals weakly in the next-to-last paragraph with the obvious fact that the context of all the verses in the Bible about homosexual behavior make no distinction between it as practiced in pagan rituals, one night stands, or committed relationships.

      Now, I want to restate that nowhere in the Bible is there a punishment prescribed for homosexuality in the world, that is, non-Israelites. Israel was to stone to death people that practiced homosexual behavior, yes, but, again, the punishment was only for practice within Israel itself. (Note: There are natural penalties that are incurred, those mentioned by Paul in Romans 1:27.) And Christians are in no way at all given permission to execute homosexuals or demand such punishment be forced on society. To do either would be an abuse of the law and a misuse of the Bible.

      Maybe you and others reading this might have something to say about the punishment. So, to close, I’ll just ask a third time: If morality is determined by consensus and Israel collectively determined that is what should be done to homosexuals, how can you say they are “wrong”?

      Joshua

      1. Josh, the article did discuss specific biblical quotes, and it used historical information to aid their correct interpretation. That’s just standard hermeneutics.

        How can we judge them for stoning virgins? Are you saying YOU think that’s a good, fair law? I’m confused why you were so upset by the slavery charge, but are so happy to accept stoning to death young women simply for not being virgins.

        By the logic you offer, we can’t say the Nazis were wrong for the holocaust. You’re saying ‘might is right’. Have you not heard of the American principle of protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority?

      2. By the way, don’t feel you have to explain to me where that article goes wrong, or why you reject it. I have no expectation it’ll change your mind, and that’s not why I posted it. People change their minds based on their experiences. Pro-SSM Christians are generally those who’ve had family members or friends come out to them. They’ve seen for themselves the truth of the relationships involved and their minds have been changed. That’s the case for all the high profile right-wing Christians who support SSM, from Cheney and Huntsman downwards.

      1. Yes Joshua, I do know that some don’t have cures. Thanks to hearty condom use I’ve never had any problems. Promiscuity hasn’t hurt me or any of my current/past girlfriends/FWBs. If anything I am happier than ever.

      2. Well, speaking as a guy who pretty much got his sex education from Frank Zappa and Prince, I’d use the following adjectives to describe promiscuity: immature, reckless, irresponsible, dangerous, insensitive, stupid, harmful, unhealthy.

        You may have dodged the bullet so far, but, Jay, have you ever once thought about what might happen if you get HIV? Don’t do something you’re going to regret to the grave, man!

        And, Jay, I won’t doubt your “happy.” But whenever you’re contemplating things in the other 23 hours 49 minutes and 30 seconds each day that are not spent in orgasm, I pray that eventually you’ll see that there’s more to life than 30 seconds of “happiness”, especially 30 seconds of happiness that comes at the potential expense of your life and health.

        Please just consider it, man.

        Joshua

      3. Joshua, we’re born with one leg in the grave already. I once had to drag my friend’s body into a house as his brain bled out of the hole in the back of his head. He was killed by a sniper three weeks after his 21st birthday. He was three days younger than me and I rarely go a day without thinking about him. This reminds me constantly how short life can be and that we have no excuse to waste our time incubating ourselves from the horrors of life and death. We all go back to being lifeless stardust at some point.

        I’m sorry that I was vague in my last comment. My happiness is attributed to my new life in a new city. I have a great social circle, a wonderful home with my dog, a job that pays for my lifestyle and savings, and a healthy sex life. It would be considered serial monogamy but I’m sure that’s still promiscuity in your book. I mitigate my risks by pursing younger, more attractive women who are themselves very selective when it comes to dating. Obviously not foolproof but it works for a lot of people.

        I share your concern with people who try to “screw themselves to happiness.” It’s not a healthy mindset. Pleasure does not equal happiness. One of the goals of my own blog is to help people discern what makes a healthy, happy, and fulfulling life.

        Joshua, why do you feel such negativity towards promiscuity? What lead you to these conclusions you have?

      4. Jay, really tragic story there about your friend. I mean it.

        Well, don’t you worry after a night out? (I mean, you’ve always got to be wondering if the person you’re being intimate with is being monogamous, too.)

        Answer to your last two questions: personal experience. :(

        Joshua

      5. I’m the serial monogamous person, not them. I’m usually too busy to date more than one person. What happened? Infidelity? Disease?

      6. No. None of that. But I appreciate your kind response. I felt blessed to have learned quickly (and virtually hurt-free) that there’s a much better and more worry-free life — marriage.

        What do you think about marriage, if you don’t mind me asking?

        I mean, committing yourself and your body to one person in front of witnesses doesn’t mean too much these days. But as a happily married man in an interracial relationship, I can say it has definite benefits.

        Joshua

      7. I’m happy to hear you avoided those bullets. I still love the idea of marriage and one day want to start a family with a wonderful woman. I thought I’d marry the first girl I had a long relationship with but it didn’t work out for several reasons.
        I kept dating and found that my persona at the time was attracting a certain kind of woman. They’d be needy, have no self-esteem, and be manipulative. After so much of it I said no and started reading about dating culture and ways to go out and find what you want.
        I’m now going out and finding women that I’m really attracted to and avoidng the one’s I’m not 100% sure on. Getting over the anxiety of approaching spectacular women has led me to some very fun times and taught me a lot about human interaction across the board (business, friendships, etc.)

        But back to your main question. Marriage is great and I want to experience it. Right now I’m finishing my BS and hoping to move forward into Law. When I’m prepared enough to give a family as good as a life as my father did I will do so.

  23. Andrew Ryan:

    ” ” You sure you were going somewhere with that statement of yours? =D”

    I’ve no idea where you are trying to go here. Josh tried to make some point by talking about other countries’ laws against being gay. I asked what that proved, one might as well point out that many countries don’t allow women to vote. Ie, just because other countries make something illegal, that says nothing about how we should view the morality of that that thing – some countries outlaw buggery, some outlaw women voting, what of it? ”

    Hmm, I know what I read, and I certainly didn’t read anything into your statement, more so than the phrasing of your statement gave its own implications, I humbly suggest you open your mind to that possibility =) I’ll put your words up one more time. In response to Joshua saying “There are many laws against specific types of gay sex in many places around the world,” you said these exact words:
    “Right, any many parts of the world where women can’t vote.”

    English language-wise, this essentially implies that the many places in the world where there are laws against gay sex ARE ALSO the many places where women can’t vote. Do you see that? So either:
    (1) your usage of English was way off and you actually meant what you subsequently claimed you meant, or
    (2) you actually did mean to say that there are anti-gay sex laws in the very places where women can’t vote, and are now trying to back out.

    I’m not going to assume one or the other, I’m happy to give you the benefit of the doubt here. =)

    Also, you said:
    “Do I need to go through the rest of your post dealing with every other sarcastic misunderstanding? I don’t think it’s worth my time!”

    Well, I just finished reading my entire response to you twice over, and I can’t at all see what would cause you to make such a comment. I don’t see any hint of sarcasm in my post at all, let alone the plentiful that you seem to suggest. All I see are lots of questions, gently asking you to elaborate on positions of yours that I don’t have a clear understanding of. In fact, at one point, I even praised you for “your fantastic tone and conduct throughout the discussions thus far”. So I’m not sure what is causing your defensive posture here.

    1. No, Getic, that doesn’t follow at all. Bar a typo of ‘any’ for ‘and’, I think it’s pretty clear.

      Josh says ‘Gay sex is illegal in many places’
      Andy replies ‘Right, and many places where women can’t vote’

      If it would have made it clearer if I’d included the word ‘also’ or ‘too’, then I beg your pardon. But seeing as I already clarified the meaning, and you already apologised yourself for not clearly crediting a post, I don’t see why this warrants an extra post from you on the subject. Suffice to say I’m typing this on a small iPod screen. It only fits three lines on the screen and doesn’t allow me to go back and review/change. Often it’ll change words to ones I didn’t want. Typing on it is he’ll!

    2. “I’m not going to assume one or the other, I’m happy to give you the benefit of the doubt ”

      So why the extra post on it? You’re not going to assume that when I subsequently clarified what I meant, that was ACTUALLY what I’d intended? That’s not ‘giving me the benefit of the doubt’, that’s saying you cannot assume I’m not lying to you…

      Forgive me if I saw sarcasm in your ‘fantastic tone and conduct’ line, as a) it was immediately followed by an acusation of avoiding questions, and b) in a slightly patronising way it seemed to be inferring you were impressed simply by me not, I don’t know, swearing and getting angry.

    3. “I see no hint of sarcasm”

      What, not even a hint here: “You sure you were going somewhere with that statement of yours?”

      Hmm… And then on the next post:
      “…Wait, what? There are Nobel laureates who have dismissed evolution? Err, nope, I didn’t hear a thing. La la la… Anyway, I will then…”

      1. “Forgive me if I saw sarcasm in your ‘fantastic tone and conduct’ line, as a) it was immediately followed by an acusation of avoiding questions, and b) in a slightly patronising way it seemed to be inferring you were impressed simply by me not, I don’t know, swearing and getting angry.”

        It’s not difficult to see that you’re reading way more into the situation than it warrants, and thinking too much. Even as I pondered the various possibilities of your statement, when I said I was giving you the benefit of the doubt, I MEANT I was giving you the benefit of the doubt. When I said you had a fine tone and conduct, I MEANT you had a fine tone and conduct, no subliminal messages there, I was enjoying the discourse between you and Josh. =)

        Plus, when I said you glossed over Josh’s questions, you could tell from my tone that it was a casual observation, and certainly nothing as serious as “an accusation”. And yes, I was genuinely curious to know where you were going with that statement because I thought you had a valid point you were following through to. Besides, I’m hearing now for the first time that the “any” was a typo that was meant to be “and”.

        By the way, that second excerpt on Nobel laureates wasn’t even directed at you, it was meant for tildeb. So I suppose all of this clears up a great deal of confusion on some things, I apologise for my part in proceedings. Cheers. =)

      2. “Even as I pondered the various possibilities of your statement, when I said I was giving you the benefit of the doubt, I MEANT I was giving you the benefit of the doubt.”

        Getic, you said: “So either: (1) your usage of English was way off and you actually meant what you subsequently claimed you meant, or (2) you actually did mean to say that there are anti-gay sex laws in the very places where women can’t vote, and are now trying to back out. I’m not going to assume one or the other”

        You specifically said you are not going to assume one way or another, with one ‘way’ being that I’m lying to you. That’s not giving someone the benefit of the doubt. If when I directly clarify what I meant in a previous post you then you go on to posit the possibility that I’m lying to you, then there’s not much point in us discussing anything.

        “By the way, that second excerpt on Nobel laureates wasn’t even directed at you, it was meant for tildeb.”

        I know. As a heads up, you quoted something I’d said and directed it at tildeb as if it was from him.

        I’ve made several arguments in this thread, and thoroughly addressed several of Josh’s points, that have never been responded to. eg the benefits to all of gay marriage. If anyone wants to pick up on them, then go ahead. And the studies I cited should be pretty easy to find if your google-fu is strong. And The Bravery are/were a poor tribute act to The Killers.

  24. (this is a continuation of comments to Andrew Ryan):

    All of the above, including the various references Joshua and I have made with regards to human sexual behaviour, you can take your time to think through and respond to. The next part, however, couldn’t wait. I just had to voice my opinion. In response to my question “as in, if you are an atheist, where within your worldview do you find an objective basis for morality”, you actually said this:

    “I dealt with this already. I posted a lot, so can’t expect you to read it all, but I’d rather not repeat myself. If you want, try to work out your response to Euthryphro’s Dilemma. In other words, work out what difference positing a God makes to your morality question. If you’re making your morality subject to God’s existence then by definition it isn’t objective.

    I’ve had this conversation with several well-known apologists, and none had a decent response. NB, searching for ‘meta’ or ‘Euth’ on this page should find you my previous response to Josh. ”

    Oh Andrew, Andrew, lots of questions begging to be asked here. Where do I begin? =D

    Perhaps I should start by stating that I respected your wishes and did exactly as you asked, searching for everything you had written on this thread with regards to objective morality in a atheistic worldview (searching for ‘meta’, ‘Euth’ etc.), to see the strength of your argument. Tell you what, I’ll place all the comments I found here, so we can both look at them, how about that?:

    1. “And if you want to go down the rabbit hole of meta-ethics, be prepared that’ll we’ll likely never get out, and the rest of the discussion will fall by the wayside.”
    2. “Suffice it to say, if you want to argue that theism provides an ‘objective morality’ lacking without theism, then you’ve got a HUGE topic to get through first, and one that I’ve engaged in countless times before. In short, even William Lane Craig has yet to provide a proper non-question begging response to Euthyphro’s Dilemma. Again, it’s a whole separate topic. If we can’t start from a common ground of certain ideas without you questioning my basis for them – fairness, the idea that arguments should be consistent, murder is wrong – then any discussion is pointless.”
    3. “You said your time was limited; I’m trying to save you time. If you want to go down the meta-ethics route in this discussion then you’re leaving us discussion reasons to allow or disallow gay marriage based on our common ground, and going down a different discussion of “Just what is ‘wrong’ anyway”. From there we go up against Euth. Dilemma, and just possibly you bring up a variance of WLC’s answer on that, as most apologist discussions end up with his ideas (95% of the discussions I’ve had with apologists, anyway). I was cutting to the chase, given that, as you said, you’re short of time.”
    4. “On WLC, I don’t have a problem. I haven’t read everything he write, but I HAVE read his reply to the Euryphro Dilemma. I understand it. I don’t think he solved the problem, it still stands. Even if you think I just don’t get it, that still means there’s little point in going down the meta route.”

    Please enlighten me, and I do mean this with all due respect: how in the world do the comments above amount to being anything more than a smokescreen? I asked you how you ground objective morality in an atheistic worldview, and apart from not finding an answer in all your posts that you have referred me to, all I see are suggestions that theism has its own problems grounding objective morality in a God. And that is supposed to be an answer to my question?? And yet, you claim that “I dealt with this already” and, strangely, that I should “try to work out your response to Euthryphro’s Dilemma”. Which really makes me question your understanding of the dilemma in the first place.

    Here, let me direct you to a Wikipedia entry on the dilemma (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthyphro_dilemma) –
    Excerpt:
    ” The dilemma can be modified to apply to philosophical theism, where it is still the object of theological and philosophical discussion, largely within the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic traditions. As (German philosopher) Leibniz presents this version of the dilemma: “It is generally agreed that whatever God wills is good and just. But there remains the question whether it is good and just because God wills it or whether God wills it because it is good and just… ”

    In fact, even though it is still irrelevant to my question, it is worth pointing out that the Euthyphro Dilemma (along with your statement “If you’re making your morality subject to God’s existence then by definition it isn’t objective”) has been effectively dismantled numerous times and in different ways:

    ‘Q&A: Euthyphro Dilemma’ (http://www.reasonablefaith.org/euthyphro-dilemma)
    Excerpt:
    “When the atheist says, “Is God’s nature good because of the way God happens to be, or is it good because it matches up to some external standard of goodness?”, the second horn of the dilemma represents nothing new—it’s the same as the second horn in the original dilemma, namely, that God approves something because it’s good, and we’ve already rejected that. So the question is whether we’re stuck on the first horn of the dilemma. Well, if by “happens to be” the atheist means that God’s moral character is a contingent property of God, that is to say, a property God could have lacked, then the obvious answer is, “No.” God’s moral character is essential to Him; that’s why we said it was part of His nature. To say that some property is essential to God is to say that there is no possible world in which God could have existed and lacked that property. God didn’t just happen by accident to be loving, kind, just, and so forth. He is that way essentially.”

    ‘Q&A: The Euthyphro Dilemma Once More’ (http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-euthyphro-dilemma-once-more)
    Excerpt:
    “First, we can give good reasons for why God commands what He does, as I have said. But that doesn’t imply that there should be good reasons why love, kindness, and patience are virtues, and why greed, cruelty, and hate are vices apart from the nature of God. Second, I think you’re confusing being ultimate with being arbitrary. If something serves as one’s explanatory ultimate, there can be no further explanation why that thing is as it is. But that doesn’t imply that it is arbitrary in the sense that it could have been otherwise and so just happens accidentally to be the way it is. God’s nature, like Plato’s Good, is ultimate, but as James discerned in his question, it is not arbitrary. Nor is taking God’s nature as paradigmatic of the Good arbitrary, for He is the greatest conceivable being and it is greater to be the paradigm of goodness than merely to exemplify it.”

    ‘What is the Euthyphro dilemma?’ (http://carm.org/euthyphro-dilemma)
    Excerpt:
    “The Euthyphro dilemma is actually a false dichotomy. That is, it proposes only two options when another is possible. The third option is that good is based on God’s nature. God appeals to nothing other than his own character for the standard of what is good, and then reveals what is good to us. It is wrong to lie because God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), not because God had to discover lying was wrong or that he arbitrarily declared it to be wrong. This means that God does not arbitrarily declare something to be good (ignoring his own nature) or say that something is good by nature (recognizing a standard outside of himself). Both of these situations ignore the biblical option that good is a revelation of God’s nature. In other words, God is good by nature and he reveals that nature to us. Therefore, for the Christian, there is no dilemma since neither position in Euthyphro’s dilemma represents Christian theology.”

    And finally, if you have half an hour to spare, do watch this fantastic lecture on the dilemma by Dr. William Lane Craig, with many relevant points – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSRZGxwiNQg

    Speaking of Dr. Craig, you keep saying, without any substantiation of course, that ” William Lane Craig has yet to provide a proper non-question begging response to Euthyphro’s Dilemma”, and that ” I don’t think he solved the problem, it still stands”. Lest people suspect you of putting forth question-begging self-indulgent claims yourself, I think it’d be best you elaborate on exactly what you mean by those statements. Better yet, I’d recommend you direct them to the foremost Christian apologist of our times, Dr. Craig himself (at http://www.reasonablefaith.org). He’s definitely way more of an expert on the subject than I ever was, and I’d certainly be very interested to hear you engage Dr. Craig on the topic. Go for it! =D

    So, before I finish, I’d like to respectfully ask a few more short questions:

    1. (since it remains unanswered) If you are an atheist, where within your worldview do you find an objective basis for morality? Note that I am not at all implying that you have no morals, I trust you have goodness in you to the extent that I or anyone else does. I’d just like to know what in your worldview is a foundation IS that grounds an OUGHT.

    2. You claim that “I’ve had this conversation with several well-known apologists, and none had a decent response.” May I know who these “well-known apologists” are?

    That is all for now, going off overseas for a few days, have a great week Josh, Andrew and tildeb! =D

    1. “The Euthyphro dilemma is actually a false dichotomy. That is, it proposes only two options when another is possible. The third option is that good is based on God’s nature.”

      Yes, I heard that before. That isn’t a third option. It’s just a rephrasing of one of the existing two options.

    2. ” If you are an atheist, where within your worldview do you find an objective basis for morality?”

      Please can you explain what you mean by ‘objective morality’? I do not find it a coherent concept. Even theists subject their morality to their God’s nature. What do they actually mean by ‘God’s nature is good’, if ‘good’ is defined by being ‘God’s nature’? It’s just a circular claim.

      I’ve heard Craig’s responses. They include question-begging phrases like “God is maximally great, and morality is a ‘great-making’ property, therefore God is moral”. Where’s he getting the ‘great-making property’ claim from?

    3. The “well-known apologists” include Frank Turek, author of “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist’. He debated Christopher Hitchens.

    4. GA asks, how (do) you ground objective morality in an atheistic worldview?

      Simple. Exactly the same way you do: biology, but I don’t pretend morality exists independently of the species.

      As for WLC and his claim of an objective morality from some god, let’s look at where it leads him regarding the immorality of killing Canaanite children by jewish soldiers:

      “Moreover, if we believe, as I do, that God’s grace is extended to those who die in infancy or as small children, the death of these children was actually their salvation. We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven’s incomparable joy. Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives.
      So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgment. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. So who is wronged? Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalising effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.”

      Yes, let us feel sorry for the child killers. In the same way, let us feel sorry for the SS charged by Himmler to carry out the mass killing of jewish children in Poland in 1943, who told a large gathering of these ‘brutalised’ killers:

      ““Most of you know what it means to see a hundred corpses lying together, five hundred, or a thousand. To have gone through this and yet – apart from a few exceptions, examples of human weakness – to have remained decent fellows, this is what has made us hard. This is a glorious page in our history that has never been written and shall never be written.”

      I don’t see any difference in the apologetic thinking of a WLC or a Himmler. But I do know neither is an example of ‘objective’ morality.

      1. Hey, tildeb. I read the WLC quote. I don’t agree with him. (Don’t pass out!)

        However, since you brought up the topic of the killing of children, please do let us know your stance on abortion, since it also involves the killing of children. After all, it would seem strange to be pro-choice and then get angry at an instance of God being “pro-choice.”

        In the end, if God commanded that they be killed, He is to be held ultimately responsible for it. As a Christian I acknowledge that and that He would have morally sufficient reasons for commanding it be done under the command of my namesake (whose book I’m currently researching at this very minute). And I know you’ll disagree. That’s fine. But, regardless, someone being upset would only make sense if it actually happened. Would you grant that it actually happened in history? If you won’t, then why the fuss? (We don’t see anybody getting upset over the Great Jedi Purge in the Clone Wars.) If you do accept that it actually happened (and would rightly justify a response), what about the rest of the Bible?

        Now, I’m not prodding you and trying to make you angry or give you an ulcer. I’m legitimately interested. Show us the thoughtful, non-vitriolic side of tildeb that has appeared multiple times in the comments section here.

        Thanks, man!

        Joshua

    5. Josh, rather than veer off into the anti-choice debate or the historicity of the OT, I wanted to show that Craig’s reasoning (divine command theory) to try to validate objective morality leads him (and other disagreeable people set in their certainties… like Himmler) to support immorality in action… in the name of morality. It is always a good indication of something fundamentally wrong in the thinking whenever up becomes down and black becomes white. This should be a clue that we’ve gone off the rails of clear thinking. There has to be a better explanation for behaviour we call moral than first having to torture language and convolute ts meanings… an apologetic undertaking that in the end doesn’t make a dent in the Euthyphro dilemma.

      I still think the problem of a benevolent god raised by Euthyphro is better expressed and made more evident in the world if we substitute the word ‘suffering’ for the tautological original word ‘evil’. I think a serious consideration of real suffering in the world reveals why it makes no sense to talk about the actuality of a benevolent god.

      1. I see, tildeb. Well, I was just curious what sort of justification a person who can justify abortion today but object to the recorded slaughter of the Canaanites in Joshua in the past might have.

        Leviticus 18:6 ~ 23 details the types of immoral behavior the Canaanite people were involved in: bestiality, homosexuality, promiscuity, incest, child sacrifice (verse 24 is key). To Jews and Christians, we can refer to historical records (leaving aside the argument of their historicity for a minute) AND archaeological discoveries within Canaan to show that the people of that time did, indeed, practice child sacrifice heavily. So, at the very least, there were a lot of guilty people doing whatever to whomever whenever including to children, people who were punished via Israel under the command of Joshua.

        This contrasts starkly with modern-day abortion in which innocent children are being slaughtered, guilty of nothing except being unexpected, unwanted, or “a financial burden” in most instances. And let me mention that if we were looking at it coldly and cruelly through numbers alone, however many Canaanites were slaughtered at the time, it doesn’t compare with the 50 million+ abortions in America alone to-date (and 3,700 a day in America alone).

        Don’t you think it’s hypocritical to point fingers, saying, “You’re wrong to defend the slaughter of the Canaanite children”, and then turn right around and defend abortion (which is far less justifiable)?

        Joshua

      2. “…details the types of immoral behavior the Canaanite people were involved in: bestiality, homosexuality, promiscuity, incest, child sacrifice”

        So… the punishment for them sacrificing some of their children is for someone else to come in and kill ALL the children? You see no inconsistency here?

        Plus, you’re putting being gay in a list that includes bestiality and child sacrifice, as a ‘sin’ worthy of being slaughtered? Really Josh? Do you back the words of Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, N.C., who this month called for gays and lesbians to be put in an electrified pen and ultimately killed off.

        “Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there… Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out…and you know what, in a few years, they’ll die out…do you know why? They can’t reproduce!”

        Again, I’m not seeing much morality here, let along ‘objective morality’.

      3. Please re-read my comments. The distinction is easy to see: 1) God’s right to choose to end a life; 2) a woman’s right to choose to end a life. And you could sit there and say, “Well, the kids didn’t do anything wrong!” And I’d say the same back to you. We’d get nowhere.

        Besides, Andy, if the events in the Bible are not true, then why do you pretend to care? Why do you care what happened to an imaginary group of people?

        I don’t back Charles Worley. I completely disagree with him and would tell him so. And, let me remind you again, that the Bible doesn’t prescribe the death penalty for adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, or incest outside of Israel, though it considers each of them equally immoral. So, I can stand on a firmer foundation in condemning Worley.

        Regardless, isn’t your view that morality is just the product of a consensus? So, if a majority (that would certainly not include me) determined tomorrow that what Worley suggested is what should be done to homosexual people, then how would you respond? What if Worley et al. said, “They’re not really humans!” to justify their actions? What would you say to refute them?

        Thanks, man!

        Joshua

      4. “And you could sit there and say, “Well, the kids didn’t do anything wrong!” And I’d say the same back to you. We’d get nowhere.”

        You’re getting confused between the two arguments. Saying “The embryos did nothing wrong” doesn’t show my POV is inconsistent. If it has no brain activity then it’s a bit meaningless to talk about it doing ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Whereas YOU were attempting to cite sins to justify the slaughter. In that case, it’s a fair question for me to ask what crimes, say, all the kids from the age of a few months to ten years old supposedly committed to justify their slaughter. Did EVERY kid of those ages partake in the child sacrifice, homosexuality etc that you cited? Really?

        “The Bible doesn’t prescribe the death penalty for adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, or incest outside of Israel”.

        But you DO think that these things were bad enough to justify the slaughter of children IN Israel?

        “Regardless, isn’t your view that morality is just the product of a consensus?”

        No. Where did you get that idea from? You’ve talked several times about morality coming from consensus, or countries deciding what is moral for its people, and I’m pretty sure that at least once I’ve pointed out that this view could be used to support the holocaust (as could the support of Israel murdering people for being gay).

        “What if Worley et al. said, “They’re not really humans!” to justify their actions? What would you say to refute them?”

        I’d ask him to justify the outrageous statement. I can point out that embryos have no brain activity for the first few months – up to about week 25 I think. What’s his argument?

        “Besides, Andy, if the events in the Bible are not true, then why do you pretend to care? Why do you care what happened to an imaginary group of people?”

        Hey, you’re attempting to use the bible to justify denying gay people the right to marry. That makes the moral consistency of both the book and your interpretation of it relevant, whether I like it or not.

        Anyway, who says the murders didn’t actually happen? Just because it wasn’t sanctioned by God, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Here’s a simple yes/no question for you: If it was just a bunch of soldiers murdering all these men, women and kids, and it was NOT on the say so of a God – all the same just without God – would you still approve of the gutting and slaughtering?

      5. Well, the events of Canaanite slaughter were done in a context. Take them out of it, then parts of your questions are valid.

        The point in bringing up the origin of your own morality is simple: I want to know by what standard you can accuse Joshua and the Israelites and God of immorality in executing capital punishment. Where did your standard come from? If it’s not objective, then it isn’t binding on anyone outside yourself and the most you would be able to say is, “That’s different”.

        You want to say “Killing all the Canaanites is wrong”, but given that morality-by-consensus isn’t binding, then it’s an opinion, not an established fact. The people of Israel could just as easily appeal to consensus to defend themselves in this exchange.

        Joshua

      6. Josh, what do you mean by ‘binding’? You mean how do I force my morality on others? Probably not… Please clarify. Lots of people can force their morality on others – that says nothing about the ‘objectiveness’ about the morality.

        As for how do we know the age ranges of the population… Really? Any community of a decent number will have a full range of ages. These people were reproducing, no? We’re told there were pregnant women!

    6. “He is the greatest conceivable being and it is greater to be the paradigm of goodness than merely to exemplify it.””

      Just wanted to point out that this is a rubbish ‘argument by definition’. We define God as being the greatest conceivable whatever, therefore he must be.

      All those links you posted seem to come down to “God has this nature and we give this nature the name ‘good'”.

      “I’d just like to know what in your worldview is a foundation IS that grounds an OUGHT.”

      Same to you: how are you getting from the ‘is’ of God’s nature to an ‘ought’ of how we should behave? What does it MEAN to call it good, when good is only explicable in terms of God’s nature?

      “I’d recommend you direct them to the foremost Christian apologist of our times, Dr. Craig himself”

      As Tildeb has pointed out, do you really think that a man who condones genocide is a great person to ask about morality?!

  25. Andy Ryan:

    Your defensive stance is really unnecessary. Even if I had laid out A MILLION possibilities to what you could’ve meant, that is irrelevant; the fact that I said you get the benefit of the doubt clearly implies that I respect your take on things and take your word for it, the other possibilities therefore fall by the wayside. So I’m not going to keep digressing just to clarify something that obvious.

    ” “By the way, that second excerpt on Nobel laureates wasn’t even directed at you, it was meant for tildeb.”

    I know. As a heads up, you quoted something I’d said and directed it at tildeb as if it was from him. ”

    Um, I really don’t know where to begin with this one. tildeb had clearly implied in an earlier post that almost every if not every scientist had accepted evolution, and to counter him, I put up this link highlighting Nobel laureates who would beg to differ. I had even clearly demarcated that post as being for tildeb. Exactly how you imagined this to be related to something you said is for you to think about.

    You should really take a chill pill, my friend. I mean it from the heart when I say that I do not hate anyone, including you. It goes against everything my worldview stands for, and I wouldn’t do that. I admit, I may think some of the things that you and tildeb say are wrong, but that does not in any way mean that I have hatred or animosity towards you, really. I respect your points of view. No hard feelings, really. =)

    If it helps, I’m gonna totally agree with you that The Bravery are nothing compared to The Killers, I only put up the link because the title of the song was relevant to my post. The Killers are an awesome band. You into rock music? I love Muse too, by the way. =D

    1. ” Exactly how you imagined this to be related to something you said is for you to think about”

      Err…, because you directly quoted my post of 2012/05/16 at 3:15 PM?

      “By the way, you also mentioned this: “Thanks, but regarding peer review, when it comes to science it’s ‘put up or shut up’. If you’ve got the arguments against accepted science, you put forward the experiments, you subject it to peer review. That’s how it works. That’s how the science you enjoy in your every day life works.” I see. ”

      I figured that the ‘you’ there was Tildeb, and yet you were quoting something that I said. It’s no biggie, I’m pretty chilled actually, I was just trying to clear up a (possible) confusion on your part. Hence me prefacing it with “As a heads up…”, rather than a ‘How DARE YOU!’?

      Yeah, Muse are great. From Devon, a great place to go on holiday, and not far from my family in Dorset.

      Is there anything else you want to ask me then, now that’s all cleared up?

  26. Glad to know all’s cleared up. =D

    Actually, it’s interesting that you mention it, because I had actually written another post with some questions meant for you right after the post on “2012/05/21 at 6:08 AM”. That one’s on “2012/05/21 at 6:20 AM”, but here on my computer it still shows up as “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” Not sure if Josh might have missed it, but in any case I’ll wait out a few days before posting it up again. Watch this space. ;)

    Muse are my favourite band in the whole world, there’s this certain quality about English rock bands that you can’t quite find anywhere else =) So you’re from the UK, are you? Nice! Would you happen to be into football then? I ask because I’m a big fan of BPL.

    1. No, football completely passed me by.

      Thanks for all the Euth/Craig stuff, but honestly I’ve seen it/read it all before. That’s what I meant by ‘saving you time’. It’s a massive argument that I’ve discussed at length already, and with people who, you’d be the first to admit, are far more experienced in these arguments than you. Unless you’ve got a new argument, we’d just be going over the same stuff again.

      I wasn’t trying to offer something ‘without evidence’ regarding Craig, or throw up a smokescreen. I’m happy to elaborate on my points or assertions. I could add “…in my opinion” to the end of every statement I make, but that really should be taken as read to some extent. Obviously I don’t expect you to necessarily think “Ah right, so that’s Craig’s arguments debunked then” just because I say I reject his arguments, but you should at least understand that I’m not convinced by them, even if you are.

  27. Sorry, no disrespect intended really, but based on the very few ‘concerns’ you’ve shared regarding the Euthyphro dilemma and moral argument, I don’t quite think you even understand the arguments as much as I do, let alone your claim that you got no decent response from “several well-known apologists”. You are, of course, entitled to your point of view, but you’ll probably understand why I am unconvinced.

    In fact, I personally wouldn’t recommend approaching Dr. Craig until you get a better appreciation of certain concepts pertaining to the dilemma and the moral argument for theism. But in any case, I welcome you to direct your concerns to him if that should serve for an enlightening experience (you can get him anytime at http://www.reasonablefaith.org). =D

    By the way, it so happens I Googled all round and in many ways, with both ‘Andrew Ryan’ and ‘Frank Turek’, and couldn’t find anything pertaining to any direct discussion between you and Mr. Turek regarding either the dilemma or the moral argument. Do you have any references, links or details of the discussion that I can look up online? Also, you mentioned SEVERAL well-known apologists, care to mention who else is part of that group of several? =)

    There are good reasons for what I ask, so believe me when I say that it’d serve you well to share your answers to my questions here. On another note, I have greater concerns and questions about some of the responses and claims you’ve made in your posts, and I intend to address them in my very next post, which I’ll put up when I’m back from overseas in 2 or 3 days’ time. Watch this space. ;)

    1. “you’ll probably understand why I am unconvinced.”

      Getic, at the moment I’ve got no idea why you’re unconvinced because you’ve not told me. However, you’re welcome to your opinion. If you think you’ve got a better grasp of it than me, then congratulations. Equally no disrespect, but I seriously doubt it.

      Regarding Turek, how hard were you googling? Find his website, then search for my name with the word ‘objective’ and you start getting results. Not that hard. You can also do that with the name ‘Nathan Barley’, which I started posting under when the combination of my first daughter being born and readers of the site starting to try to get in contact with me…

      I’ll save you the bother, anyway. Here’s one particular discussion specifically on the Euthyphro Dilemma. Frank’s guest poster Neil Mammen is the main protagonist (that’s another apologist for you).

      http://www.crossexamined.org/blog/?p=161

      To summarise the discussion, Neil claimed that the key to God being the author of our morality is that he had authority, and he admitted that to make this argument he needed to establish the basis of God’s authority. Ultimately his argument for God’s authority, he said, came down to ‘Property rights’. I asked him if he was therefore saying that property rights existed EXTERNALLY to God’s morality – as they would have to if he was using them to JUSTIFY God’s morality, otherwise it was another circular argument. That’s when Neil started to get genuinely annoyed… By the end Neil was deleting my posts and then summarising what he THOUGHT I’d said.

      You can also search for my name on Bill Pratt’s website “Toughquestionsanswered”. I also had a discussion recently on Objective Morality with a presuppositionist I’d never heard of who calls himself “Rhology”.

      http://rhoblogy.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/when-shallow-thinkers-create-facebook.html

      I stopped posting there when Rhology said that he can’t see any reason not to torture people if you don’t believe they’re going to live forever. Presumably then he sees no problem with torturing animals – unless he believes flies, worms, guinea pigs, mice and snakes all go to heaven.

      Again, I don’t expect you to read these discussions and declare me the ‘winner’. The people I debated (most likely) figured they were right, so why should I think you’ll disagree with them? My point is that this is a discussion I’ve had many times before. If you think there’s something I missed in those discussions, go ahead and let me know what they are.

      Thought of you this morning seeing a pic in the paper from yesterday of Muse taking it turns carrying the Olympic flame.

    2. I’ve posted a long reply, but you’ll have to wait for the links in it to pass moderation. I did your hard googling work for you…

  28. Here’s a bit more on 19th Century biblical-based justification for slavery:

    You can read much of “Scriptural researches on the licitness of the slave-trade: shewing its conformity with the principles of natural & revealed religion, delineated in the Sacred Writings of the Word of God” by Raymond Harris:
    http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Scriptural_researches_on_the_licitness_o.html?id=1dUDAAAAMAAJ

    More info/links here”
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/sla_bibl.htm

  29. “Don’t you think it’s hypocritical to point fingers, saying, “You’re wrong to defend the slaughter of the Canaanite children”, and then turn right around and defend abortion (which is far less justifiable)?”

    Far less justifiable? You’ve yet to justify the slaughter of the Canaanite children at all! You’ve said that some of the parents engaged in activities you look down on, many of which I seriously doubt you genuinely agree deserves the death penalty. You’ve not shown that ALL the CHILDREN engaged in activity that deserved DEATH.

    One might as well say to you: “Don’t you think it’s hypocritical to point fingers, saying, “You’re wrong to defend abortion”, and then turn right around and defend the slaughter of the Canaanite children?”

    As for our own justification for abortion, you might not agree with us or like our justification, but it isn’t hypocritical or inconsistent. We don’t see a two-day old clutch of cells as being a human being. Or even a ten-week-old blastocyst or embryo. I draw the line around the same point the law does. Beyond that point, you’ve got to show that the mother’s life would be in serious danger if the pregnancy were allowed to continue. So no, killing an embryo at a few weeks is not even slightly the same as gutting a child or adult with a sword.

    Again, obviously we differ on where life begins, but that doesn’t make my position hypocritical – it’s is quite consistent.

  30. Hey Josh, I thought I’d start with a wider comment section but refer back to my point that I wanted to show that Craig’s reasoning (divine command theory) to try to validate objective morality leads him (and other disagreeable people set in their certainties… like Himmler) to support immorality in action… in the name of morality.

    I seriously think this point is very revealing about the common religious notion of a god-sanctioned ‘objective’ morality. Rather than veer away from it into an abortion debate, let us stick with why the divine command theory is not a good argument when it leads us into believing that an immoral action like murdering innocent infants and children in the name of god is suddenly moral in an objective sense. I don’t think it is because I see no qualitative difference between Craig’s thinking and Himmler’s that both lead to atrocities in the name of morality. If such actions are examples of what ‘objective’ morality looks like, then I hope you can understand and appreciate why many of us want nothing to do with it and will refuse to respect the kind of thinking that accommodates it. Craig’s solution for the Euthyphro Dilemma requires the Divine Command Theory, which is shown to be insufficient to justify any knowable ‘objective’ morality from god when it just as easily leads to atrocity as it does charity; in other words, it’s completely variable in practice. Anyone claiming to be directed by god can use it to justify anything they do. Literally anything (note that Craig omits the consideration of the 6th commandment to pertain to these ‘Israeli’ soldiers because they commit atrocities by divine command. How convenient.). As an explanation for objective morality somehow separated from the motives of those who use it, the DCT is demonstrably without merit. The Euthyphro Dilemma still stands.

    1. Tildeb, I could be wrong, but I get the impression that you cannot rely on Josh agreeing with you on the idea that Craig’s view leads to justifying atrocities, because Josh appears to agree with Craig – and those Israeli soldiers – that the sins of the Caananites DID justify their almost complete slaughter, including the sinful five, six and seven-year-olds. I’m guessing Josh has no kids, or he’d probably be less accepting of the idea of small children being run through with swords.

      1. Where are the ages recorded, Andy?

        I’m not being snotty, but if you do a word study on “children”, you’ll find that it had a much wider range of usage in the Old Testament. Sometimes it’s even translated as “young men”. There’s the possibility that there were no children of the ages you listed there.

        And I won’t be offended by your comment, man, since you said it out of spite or lack of information or both. For the record: I have kids and I work with kids (3 ~ 12) all day every day of the week.

        Joshua

      2. The only reason why I mention the wholesale slaughter of the Canaanites is because Craig uses it to justify Divine Command Theory, meaning that as long as god commands an action, it is moral. Further, he points out that we should feel bad for the soldiers who are ‘just following orders’.. a defense we know is insufficient to justify the commission of atrocities by people trying to use this defense (from the Nuremberg Trials). We don’t feel bad for the individual SS soldier busy killing terrified women and children; we feel bad for the women and children. One would think this point is rather obvious to any moral person. So why do we feel bad for the women and children?

        Well, Craig would have us believe that the same action – killing terrified women and children – by command presumably is not justified if the order comes from a Himmler but is if it comes from god. God – not circumstance or intention or respect for human well-being – makes an act moral, he argues.

        At an absolute minimum, surely it is important to have some checks and balances in place to determine – to at least the same extent used for capital punishment crimes today – that a command to kill terrified women and children is actually from god and not the deranged mind of some crazy person hearing voices. Yet we know perfectly well that no such reliable method exists, and this is not a trivial problem. The argument against Craig’s DCT is that almost all humans without significant brain impairments react strongly against against the slaughter of terrified women and children. The consensus among people is that mass slaughter is not justified… ever… REGARDLESS of who (or what) gives this command. If god doesn’t know this, then god cannot be moral.

        It is absolutely shocking that any civilized person today – able to look at the horrors of what the Holocaust produced and see where such thinking leads in reality – can be so morally confused to think differently… to not just think differently but argue that the slaughter of terrified women and children is somehow okay because of who (or what) commands it. This position – where through rationalization and special pleading the immoral becomes moral – reveals the depth of confusion wrought by misplaced belief in some other agency who will determine on our behalf what actions will or will not be moral… determined not by best reasons for promoting human well-being and respecting rights and freedoms of all but solely by authority. In other words, it should be self-evident that it is not moral to grant greater respect to an authority than we are willing to grant to the well-being of another.

        If we honestly believe that morality must come from authority, then we have failed to be moral. We have rejected any way for us to become autonomous moral agents. By giving in to authority, we give up any way to determine the difference on our own right actions from wrong actions – rejecting our personal role to weigh the various factors at play within circumstances and influenced by intentions; we rely on an ever-present parental authority to tell us what to do, to do this detail work for us.

        But how do we know the moral authority has it right to justify us giving up our moral autonomy to it? From some other authority? Doesn’t this infinite regress clearly demonstrate why this thinking is skewed?

        When we submit our moral autonomy to some other authority then we are no longer moral agents; we are those same SS soldiers, those same ‘Israeli’ mass murderers, those same genocidal maniacs who lose touch with their own humanity busy in the slaughter of others on behalf of Craig’s objective ‘moral authority’. This is the very argument that we know is necessary for good people to do very bad things… things as morally repugnant as we can imagine. It is this willingness to give away our moral autonomy to some other authority than our selves that leads to a Holocaust, leads to the commission of atrocities, leads to genocides and mass slaughter, leads to the moral relativism of respecting that authority more than the fundamental respect for the well-being of another. Craig would have us give away our moral autonomy, give away our personal responsibility for our actions, and give in to the celestial Himmler he thinks of as god.

        No thanks. It’s a recipe for immorality. I think Craig’s Divine Command Theory is immoral and unjustifiable in reality. It is a dangerous allowance to excuse atrocity in the name of god.

      3. While I certainly appreciate this extended comment, I think there are a couple of things you are overlooking.

        1) Why equate executing capital punishment with giving up moral autonomy? Evidence of them forfeiting their moral autonomy would have to include indiscriminate killing. But the soldiers did not go out and kill whomever they encountered, only those they were instructed to take out (a group that had previously attacked them in the desert unprovoked Exodus 17).

        2) If God exists and He actually did interacted with Joshua to give him and the people of Israel the moral authority to execute capital punishment against a nation steeped in immorality for centuries (since the time of Abraham; Genesis 15:16) in His Name, then I think objections fail. Why? Well, I think it’s disingenuous to paint a picture of a simplistic people who were just sitting around with nothing to do until someone came by and said, “Hey, God just told me to tell you to go kill those people — everyone of them!” No. Their willingness to follow Joshua’s orders was based on evidence of all the things they had experienced leading up to that point. That’s the difference between now and today. So, if some random person came up to a group of Jewish people and said the same thing, they’d have the right to accuse him of being mentally ill and the right to refuse to follow his orders. There’s no personal history of his interaction and there’s no sign to show his authority to speak in God’s Name. (And if a person reads the events recorded in Numbers and Deuteronomy, you can see God giving such evidence to show who was to speak on His behalf.) And I know you don’t accept the Bible as a reliable record of anything. I understand. But, again, a large part of your objection hinges on whether or not God genuinely did interact in human history in this way.

        3) I think it is a feigned sense of outrage that some people show when discussing this dark, grizzly event in the history of the world. I say “feigned” because when we look at a modern holocaust or slaughter — abortion — one not performed in the name of “God” but of “a woman’s right to choose”, people will accept granting the authority of a human being to murder (unlawfully killing) an innocent human being. Maybe you will say that it isn’t illegal, so it’s not “unlawful”. Technically, you’d be absolutely correct — after 1973. So what changed in 1973? What invisible standard made something illegal now legal?

        4) I also think it’s inconsistent to be outraged, yet deny the historicity of the event. If a person won’t affirm the historicity of the event, then, at least in my judgment, they have no real reason to be outraged. Furthermore, there are no Christians or Jews that I know of who are using the book of Joshua to institute a policy of mass slaughter. (On the contrary, they have been the target of it throughout history.) So, if someone isn’t going to affirm that it was an historical event, the outrage is unnecessary, since, to be consistent, every “fictional account” of slaughter would have to be under your radar, regardless of who’s name it was done in. But if you acknowledge the historicity of the events, then you have a context that grounds it to an ethical and moral system that let’s readers clearly and unquestionably understand that murder is wrong, but one that had provisions for capital punishment (the lawful killing of a person).

        5) Does motive have any place in the debate? After all, motive can be used to distinguish murder from self-defense.

        Something to consider:

        When America dropped a bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, an event which killed nearly 200,000 people (including innocent women and children), it was illegal according to international law. What was their motive? How many people objected to that? Well, according to sources, not only did people want more to be dropped, but even the US was prepared to drop as many as 7 more there! (And look into the history of why they chose those two locations.) And which country now has the largest say on the matter of atomic weapons in the world? The US, of course. But didn’t they forfeit their right to enforce atomic bomb usage ethics on the world when they became the only nation in the world to actually (and illegally!) use one? Was America wrong to do it? If so, by what standard? What may have happened if they didn’t?

        As I’ve said before, I affirm the historicity of the event. I understand it in its context. It was a singular event in the history of Israel in which a specific group of people were to be judged at a specific time for specific immoral behavior. It was a judgment. It is not a principle and it is not a repeatable practice that any Christian or Jew is expected or required to perform.

        And I’m kind of out of steam on this one. You’ve given a solid defense so far. So, maybe after your next message, tildeb, let’s let this thread retire and let readers consider all the viewpoints. What do you say?

        But let me just say that even though this is a grizzly topic that we’ll continue to disagree on until the end of the age, it has been the most interesting and educational thread I think I’ve had on the blog. So thanks, tildeb and Andy!

        Joshua

      4. Why equate executing capital punishment as giving up moral autonomy?

        Craig uses the actions of the soldiers to be an example of why these are moral: because god commands it. Morality is determined in this example by authority. My extended comment was meant to explore whether or not this reason was sufficient, so I compared and contrasted it with Himmler’s orders to the SS troops to commit atrocities and that this was moral because it respected the authority that so ordered it. Craig respects the authority of a god that commands the same kind of atrocity, namely, the murdering of innocent women and children. But by doing so, each soldier has in fact and deed given away the personal autonomy necessary to be a moral agent; instead, each has become an instrument of an authority that is not subject to morality because any act carried out is supposedly moral. This position effectively neuters any moral responsibility of people carrying out any acts and transfers it to the authority… in Craig’s case, god, where all and any commands are ‘moral’. If every act is moral by nature of who commands it, then no commands are immoral.

        Now what effect does this have on, let’s say, interpreting scripture? In for a penny, in for pound, right?

        Craig has given away his moral authority to be subject to his god’s commands, so this means that he has no right to morally interpret scripture but to simply follow this ‘moral authority’, this divine commander. Period. End of story. There is no personal role in this, no mitigating factors allowed, no advancement of any moral zeitgeist. God alone determines what is and is not moral by decree. But Craig does not think slavery is a moral institution, nor does he think it is moral to participate in stoning those who pick up sticks on the sabbath. He doesn’t agree that we should kill unruly children nor advocate capital punishment for those who dare trim the corners of their beards. Craig, in other words, reveals the depth of his chosen hypocrisy necessary to pretend Divine Command Theory works in practice. It doesn’t. It didn’t work for the SS soldiers, and it surely doesn’t work for ‘Israeli’ soldiers slaughtering terrified women and children simply because god commands it. Such a philosophy as Craig’s is, in fact and deed, immoral.

    2. Well, the key question that surfaces here is, “How do we know that killing innocent children is wrong when DCT and scripture tells us it’s not?” Another one, but no less interesting, is, “How does Craig and any other apologist for this atrocity (advocating for Divine Command Theory) rank this notion of following god’s will over and above following the 6th commandment?” Where does this sense of justification to do so come from when it obviously does not come from scripture?

    3. tildeb, I really appreciate the posts you’ve left lately. They are thoughtful and I’ll need to read them a couple of more time, if you don’t mind.

      But at this point, I’d like to point out something extremely relevant and important: Neither I nor anyone I know or can think of who believes that the Bible is God’s inspired word would ever think that the command to kill the Canaanites in the book of Joshua is a license to slaughter anyone else at random. As the texts makes clear, it was a judgment on a specific group of people who lived in a specific area at a specific time for specific sins. When read in its context inside the Bible, that is the only fair conclusion.

      Now, I ask these questions in all seriousness: If it makes God unjust to execute capital punishment, would that mean that police officers who do the same are also unjust and immoral? (Of course, the answer is no, they were just doing their job.) What about the people who wrote the laws which require capital punishment for certain crimes? Are they immoral and unjust, too? What was their intent?

      Note: Capital punishment was instituted in Genesis 9:5-6.

      Appreciate these types of interactions, tildeb!

      Joshua

      1. “If it makes God unjust to execute capital punishment, would that mean that police officers who do the same are also unjust and immoral?”

        I’m generally against capital punishment – yet another innocent man executed has recently been uncovered.

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/15/carlos-texas-innocent-man-death

        Even if I accepted capital punishment for CERTAIN extreme crimes, that doesn’t mean I would accept what amounts to ‘vigilante’ justice, where a group of soldiers invade a whole city and indescriminently slaughter EVERYONE, for ‘sins’ such as being gay.

        Did you accept the Nuremberg defence of many Nazis on trial who claimed they were ‘only following orders’? The court didn’t.

      2. Andy, the important thing to remember is this: Nowhere in the book of Joshua is slaughter laid down as a principle or instituted as a practice.

        As I said before, the slaughter of the Canaanites was done in a context of the Bible were readers are told over and over that we are not to murder. No honest person could read everything leading up to Joshua (and after) and come away with the idea that “slaughter = OK with God”. In fact, as the people of Israel were heading toward Canaan, they asked permission to cross through places, not even wanting to drink the water of the places they passed through.

        Well, I think the Nuremberg defense is a question that you should answer. What did the court say to the guilty parties, by the way? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to recall that they said there was a moral standard that was above any law of man, no?

        Now, I know I keep repeating it, but if morality is not objective, that means whatever a group decides is right and wrong is “morality” as far as they can enforce it. In a world like that, no one is safe. And that type of society is the exact thing we see in the book that follows Joshua immediately: Judges. It is mentioned several times in that text that “everyone did what was right in their own eyes” and the darkness and gruesomeness it contains is just a sampling.

        Joshua

      3. “That means whatever a group decides is right and wrong is “morality” as far as they can enforce it. In a world like that, no one is safe.”

        Introducing God into the equation makes no difference to this problem. In a world where everyone cites the rule of their God, no-one’s safe either. In fact one might argue you are WORSE off in such a world. Remember the words of CS Lewis:

        “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

        The Nazis claimed THEY were doing God’s work too. Anything you do probably breaks the laws of someone’s God, somewhere, according to their interpretation. We already know your own marriage wouldn’t have been allowed in many American states just a few decades ago.

  31. Excellent discussion all round fellas! =)

    May I add that I am overseas and will be back home (and at my workspace) in a matter of 2 days, and when I’m back, I’ll make sure to formulate my response to a few matters. In the meantime, have a great week! =D

    (P.S.: Thanks for the tip, Andrew Ryan. Wow, Muse carrying the Olympic torch, through their hometown as well, how awesome is that? Wonder if they were humming ‘Guiding Light’ the whole time. Heh..)

    1. Getic, regarding music tips, I think of Muse as a cross between Depeche Mode and The Manic Street Preachers. That is, the synths of the former together with the guitars of the latter. Compare ‘Map of the Problematique’ with Depeche Mode’s ‘Enjoy the Silence’. Also check out The Manics’ ‘La Tristesse Durera’.

      Though you may well already be aware of all of that if you’re older than I think you are…

      1. Oh, I didn’t see this! I’m a fan of The Manic Street Preachers myself. Their album “Holy Bible” is their masterpiece. I’ve been meaning to do a short review of that one for the blog here, but I haven’t done it yet. (“Die In the Summertime” is actually a deep, sensitive piece of poetry.)

        Joshua

      2. This is a Nicky Wire thing from today’s Guardian. You may not be able to view it abroad though. http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/interactive/2012/may/25/wales-manic-street-preachers-tenby

        You’d be jealous of me: I’ve seen the Manics live several times, plus James Dean Bradfield solo. Also seen Radiohead and Muse, The Killers, Janes Addiction, Kasabian, Beta Band, Massive Attack plus many others… Many were free for me when I edited the student paper in Wolverhampton.

      3. Did you see any of their concerts with Richey?

        I’m actually a musician, too, (surprise!) and music has been a huge part of my life; my brother is a classically trained guitarist and my cousin is the famous harpsichordist, Bradley Brookshire (only met him once and we spent the entire time talking about Frank Zappa). But most of the bands and musicians I like are dead or not touring or won’t dare come to the Far East, except for King Crimson, who I got to see in concert in Japan just recently, though it was a DVD. (Déjà Vrooom is an awesome live concert, if you’re interested.)

        One more note: In my opinion, once Richey Edwards disappeared, I think the band lost the philosophical edge that made their lyrics so interesting to read and hear AND a challenge to memorize (since Richey wrote them). The most recent album of theirs that I own is the post-Edwards “Know Your Enemy”. Personally speaking, I thought it was really weak lyrically (ref. “Wattsville Blues” and “Intravenous Agnostic” for examples), though some of the music was pretty interesting (“Let Robeson Sing”). After trying to make it through the entire album, I just limited myself to MSP music that Richey penned the lyrics to. :)

        If you want to talk about this stuff more, I’d be more than happy to discuss these in e-mails. Although these things are interesting and I really enjoying talking about them (and I see you do, too), let’s just keep the comments here on the really big issues.

        Joshua

  32. Although I appreciate the shout-out, I’m mystified by the assertion that I am a cousin of Joshua’s. I have a small group of cousins, all of whom I have met hundreds of times, so it’s unlikely that I would have a cousin whom I only met once, although – based on the credible reference to Frank Zappa – I’m sure the conversation mentioned in the prior post did take place. Still, if I am actually related to Joshua, it is a very distant familial relationship.

    For the record, in addition to having what I would say is a fairly deep spiritual life (about which I talk very little, since talk is cheap and contentiousness abundant), I have published on Renaissance and Reformation Studies as well as a bit on Jewish Studies.

    I am also a happily married homosexual. God willing and the creek don’t rise, I will be permitted to maintain that status in this newly hostile environment.

    Bradley Brookshire

    1. Mr. Brookshire,

      Although I stand by my story 100% and I have a photograph of us standing outside together, years of living in the Far East have made me appreciate privacy and I won’t give any more details to prove it other than saying “Edna”. Regardless, I can remove the reference to you and all related information if you’d like. You just let me know.

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