Sunday, 4 August 2013

Atheists seem to be generally convinced that religious people are either irrational, prejudiced, or indoctrinated.  One of their most common assertions is that religious people uncritically accept what is neither intuitively obvious nor easily explained, and that such acceptance is clearly wrong.  They’ll probe ever so slightly into a religious topic, show that some sort of difficulty seems to emerge, then suggest that religious people have clearly never thought about their beliefs.  As the argument goes, If religious people did think about things, they would obviously stop being religious people.

Now, I’m entirely in favor of people thinking about their beliefs–I’m entirely in favor of people thinking in general, contrary to the “feel don’t think” movement–but I disagree with the claim that it’s clearly wrong if they don’t critically engage their beliefs.  Even more, it doesn’t seem that atheists should really make that claim, since they don’t seem to agree with it either.

Atheists don’t object when people accept evolution without thinking, but it’s just as vulnerable to the kind of light probing they tend to use against theology.  Thinking about it just a little bit yields a bunch of obvious difficulties.  According to their own sort of reasoning, those difficulties ought to cause the average person to reject it.  Let me illustrate what I mean.

First though, let me be clear that my point here is not to argue against evolution, but to show that evolution isn’t intuitively obvious or easily explained.  It presents the same sort of obvious difficulties that can be produced by a cursory glance at theology.  A deeper analysis might eliminate the trouble, but I’m inclined to think that a deeper analysis of theology tends to produce the same effect.  My point is this, atheists should be more careful about attacking the uncritical acceptance of beliefs, since it’s an expedient that they themselves employ.

On Animals That Change Shape

I read an article recently about how polar bears are in the process of evolving into aquatic animals.  It didn’t mean that 50 years from now they would be something like seals, but that some untold millions of years from now, there would be a species of aquatic things which were the great…great grandchildren of polar bears.

Scientists usually explain what might happen to the bears a bit like this.  Certain animals are better adapted to living in the water already, so those animals are the ones that live longest and breed most.  Their cubs inherit their strong traits and continue to pass them on.  The process is refined further as minor but helpful traits have the chance to gain dominance over a large number of generations.  None of this is determined by chance, it’s all the result of the best suited animal being the most successful.

On first blush this is just optimization though, a matter of emphasis.  If two tall people get married and have kids, their kids will likely grow tall because they’re inheriting the tall example of the height gene.  If those kids then marry tall people and have tall kids, who then repeat the process until short people no longer occur, it will be because the tall example of the height gene is all that’s left.  It’s the same with the bears: the aquatic-ness of the bears is a manifestation of certain particular examples of bear genes.  Successive generations bring out those examples because they’re helpful to the bears.

Interestingly though, the genetic building blocks of both the bears and the tall people are the same after all of those generations.   They haven’t become a new sort of animal, they’ve just become a specific sort of people or bears.  If anything actually, they’re genetically less diverse than when they started.  All of the traits like shortness or non-aquatic-ness have become rare.  If those traits were genetically dominant–that is to say that they would appear if present–then they must have been eliminated entirely.

What this seems to mean is pretty straightforward:  unless they already had the genes to be water animals, the bears couldn’t become water animals.  Worse still, if they could become water animals and did become water animals, it was probably bad for them; genetic diversity is a good thing for a species, so losing it is a bad thing.

This isn’t evolution in a broad sense though, because these animals aren’t developing into other animals over millennia, and they’re certainly not developing into complex things from simple things.  They’re just changing shape as successive generations emphasize different and more helpful parts of their genetic code.  They’re more like those famous toy robots that can change shape when required.  If anything, this strengthens the exact problem evolution is supposed to solve: instead of wondering how a particular animal came about, we have to wonder how a species came about that could be so many different sorts of animal.

For evolution to make any sense, the actual genetic building blocks have to change too. This brings us to the next problem.

On Animals That Change Genes

If we want to imagine that the bears are actually going to become a different animal over millions of years, we have to imagine that their genetic code, their genome, is going to change.  As the theory goes, there are two general ways that this could happen.  The genome might develop through internal factors like mutation, or it might be influenced by external factors like hybridization with other species.

Lets look at mutation first and imagine that one of our bears has developed a helpful genetic mutation, like slightly better webbed feet or somewhat thicker blubber.  This is probably going to give the aspiring water-bear an advantage over its fellows, the sort of which evolution is comprised.  Unfortunately, we’re left with the awkward problem of spreading that mutation across the species.

Future cubs can only possibly inherit that trait from our single mutant bear and our mutant bear’s descendants.  Most obviously, this is a move away from diversity again.  Not only do all of the bears in our future species all come from the same family–a phenomenon called pedigree collapse–they all have to have the single mutant trait.  If the mutation isn’t successfully passed to the entire species, it isn’t really changing the genome of the species.  If the genome doesn’t change, we’re back to shape-changing animals.  In short, mutation can only help if it removes diversity, and removing diversity is generally bad.

Events like hybridization don’t fare much better.  Another article I read talked about how the cross-breeding of species is a normal part of evolution, unfortunately it didn’t explain how the result was helpful.  The example it gave was the interbreeding of coyotes and wolves to create a thing sometimes called a coywolf, so lets talk about them.  (And here we’re going to completely ignore the most obvious flaw with this approach, which is that the animals have to be similar in order to create hybrids at all, so this isn’t a particularly useful way of creating species change.)

There are three possibilities: the coywolf might be better fitted for survival than one or both of its parents, it might be equally fitted for survival, or it might be less fitted for survival.  If it’s less fitted for survival though, it seems obvious that it’s production isn’t aiding the survival of the fittest, so lets ignore that third option.

The second option–the coywolf being equally fitted for survival–becomes largely meaningless pretty quickly.  If the coywolf exclusively breeds with other coywolfs, then the process has certainly created a new and equally viable species–that sounds diverse–but the two original species remain genetically unchanged, so the hybridization hasn’t actually helped our evolutionary problem with regard to wolves and coyotes.  At best it’s created a third species for which we now have an evolutionary problem.

On the other hand, if the coywolf instead breeds with a member of one of its parent species–this is what usually happens, it seems–then the coyote genome might become slightly more wolfish or the wolf genome slightly more coyote-ish, nudging the two species together slowly over time.  The effect here would be roughly equivalent to that produced by the final hybrid possibility: the hybrid that’s more fit than its parents.

Whether the hybrid is more fit than its parents or is simply the inevitable consequence of repeated interbreeding, the result is one species where there used to be two.  That species might in fact have more genetic diversity, but at the cost of broader ecological diversity.  This might explain how one species develops, but it does so at the cost of explaining how any other species develop.  Rather than allowing for a move from simple to complex, from common to diverse, it goes the other direction.

On Experts Who Change Discussions

Now, I readily expect that scientists could refute all of that.  Like I said before, my goal wasn’t actually to argue against evolution.  My goal was simply to point out that it wasn’t intuitively obvious, wasn’t easily explained, and was susceptible to critique if examined by an average sort of person.

Scientists and experts of all kinds may be able to explain away all of the troubles I just mentioned and do it easily, but the average adherent to evolution probably can’t.  Even more, the fact that the average adherent probably can’t isn’t seen as much of a problem by most atheists.  They’re more than willing to accept uncritical belief in evolution because the average adherent is trusting someone with expertise.

There’s a parallel though.  The average Christian may not be able to answer all of the critiques that atheists level against theology, but it ought to be just as acceptable for that person though to appeal to an expert, in this case a trained theologian.  Reliance on a trusted authority isn’t inherently bad.  Any blanket attack on uncritical acceptance has to impugn the average atheist as well as the average Christian.

There is of course one additional point I’d like to make.  Since the majority of people don’t have the time and resources to become experts about these things, it seems reasonable that the majority of people have the right to rely on authority.  The crucial business becomes the choice of authority.  I think, according to almost every standard, the average person has more reasons to trust Christian authorities than atheist ones.

Not only have Christian authorities been around significantly longer (by thousands of years), been trusted by more people (on the order of billions), and produced more global good (like an end to slavery), they generally have better and more obvious arguments that explain more experiences more effectively.

I suspect that last statement could use some unpacking, but I also suspect that I’ve talked quite long enough.  I’m not running away though:  if you want to talk about Christian apologetics, feel free to leave a comment or write an e-mail. Likely better than talking to me however, you could also read someone like G. K. Chesterton or talk to priest or pastor.

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5 thoughts on “Sunday, 4 August 2013

  1. I have crises of faith fairly often – every three or four years or so. This one was shortly after I got married, when I was 21. I was trying to find out why Christians believe what we do – what, actually, was the evidence about Jesus’ life? and so on. The significant insight came when read in a book (on the “Historical Jesus” or something similar) the assertion that “It is impossible to believe” that the God who created the Universe should take a personal interest in us mere humans. I replied (out loud, I seem to remember): “No it isn’t!” If it was possible for people whose intellects I admired and lifestyles I respected, like C. S. Lewis and my dad for example, to believe such a thing, then it was possible for me to take it on faith until I was old and well-read enough to work it out for myself. If that should ever happen. And in the meantime, I liked the Christians I knew better than the non-Christians and saw that their morality was better for society, so that would do for me.

    It’s too dry to base one’s faith on long-term but thinking like that can help one through the inevitable emotional deserts.

  2. “Atheists seem to be generally convinced that religious people are either irrational, prejudiced, or indoctrinated.”

    I try not to generalize about anybody, but this entirely depends on what you mean by “religious”. When I think of “religion” I think about indoctrination, blind faith, fear-based belief, dogma etc. Take those away and you have philosophy.

    “Atheists don’t object when people accept evolution without thinking,”

    A few things to note – 1) people aren’t killing or persecuting or hating or starting wars in the name of evolution, the bad things done in the name of religions and scripture are generally why non-believers care what people think to begin with and without this motivation to disagree someone could believe in unicorns and it would, to me, be an academic issue 2) science is based on observations and tests on actual physical things we find in reality and the findings of scientists are peer reviewed by the most qualified experts in the world, science is a form of highly organized, meticulous skepticism. Yes people should inform themselves but accepting the findings of scientists uncritically is still not the same as believing whatever some revival tend preacher spouts on a sunday on faith. Science puts men on the moon and cures diseases, it’s earned the credibility it enjoys today.

    “but it’s just as vulnerable to the kind of light probing they tend to use against theology.”

    No, it isn’t. Evolution science has stood up to the skepticism of the best minds in over half a dozen fields of life science for over 150 years, that is a lot more than “light probing”. What you are doing is dangling your feet in complex science until you find something that doesn’t make sense to you, then declaring the science false based on your own ignorance. That is your “light probing”.

    “A little learning is a dangerous thing;
    Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
    There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
    And drinking largely sobers us again.”

    – Alexander Pope

    As for your problems with evolution you don’t seem to understand much about the mechanisms of biology. First of all mutations are not hypothetical, they are extremely common. You have probably a hundred or more mutations from your parents’ DNA in your DNA right now, and if you have a kid at a relatively old age they could inherit a thousand or more mutations from your DNA. Mutations do not magically make new whole traits appear, they simply cause variations, like family traits (which is why no two people are exactly alike). Most mutations don’t seem to do anything and we have lots of DNA that is inactive or consists of fragments of viruses and other clutter. Rarely mutations cause a physical change in the organism and when they do, useful mutations seem to be slightly less common than birth defects, but it’s hard to quantify for obvious reasons. Genetic mutations can also copy genes, modify them, activate/inactivate them, “intensity” how they are expressed or delete DNA. As a result we often have multiple copies of the same gene and only one is active, allowing the others to freely mutate with no harmful effect or loss of biodiversity. Intelligent design advocates often either make the mistake (or mislead people into believing) that living things are like precision clockwork machines where every cog has a specific function and if you take one away the whole thing comes grinding to a halt. But living things aren’t like that at all, we have useless parts and spare parts and leftover parts and some people have more parts and some have less parts and no two peoples’ parts are exactly the same. Evolution is a messy process of tons of variations accumulating or becoming less common over different rates on average over long times.

    Another misconception is this talk of one animal turning into a “different animal”, when everything on earth is biologically and genetically similar to some degree, which is why the idea of universal common ancestry has a leg to stand on to begin with. A dog and a person are not very different biologically at all, and a horse and a banana share 25-50% of their DNA (as do a human and a banana btw). The reason for this is that life has been evolving for about 4 billion years and multi-cellular life has only existed for less than 1 billion, so animals, insects and plants are all cousins to one another, we go way, way, way back. So when creationists insist on seeing one species turn into a “completely different” species before their eyes I tell them why should that happen when it hasn’t happened in 4 billion years of evolution? Everything is built on and modified from what comes before.

    Oh and some of population A producing a hybrid with some of population B to produce group C does not mean populations A and B burst into flames, there is no reason for any decrease in biodiversity, organisms in nature do not all act with one mind identically. One example of this is humans, we have neanderthal DNA but not all of us – everyone is a human-neanderthal hybrid except people whose ancestry is exclusively from africa. You talk about populations becoming less diverse as a “problem” but ignore that while yes some things lead to less diversity spontaneous natural variation (which happens at an astronomical rate) coupled with genetic isolation (which happens from things like continental drift, mountain ranges, rivers, coast lines, islands etc splitting off one group into isolated pockets) produces tons of diversity. Look at humans, we slowly spread across the globe and when we meet our relatives again they’re different shapes, sizes and colors. If there isn’t anything I haven’t dealt with or you have any questions feel free to ask.

    “Not only have Christian authorities been around significantly longer (by thousands of years),”

    That makes them more right? Jews have been around longer. Hindus have been around longer than them. And the further back we go in history the more *ignorant* we were. Is the idea that illness is caused by demons more trustworthy than the germ theory of disease because it’s older?

    “been trusted by more people (on the order of billions),”

    That’s more to do with psychology and politics. A lot of people trusted hitler too ya know. Peer pressure, positive and negative reinforcement, indoctrination, intimidation, theocracy. These things make people believe something, but they have no connection to that belief being true and can be employed to popularize any conflicting belief just as easily.

    “and produced more global good (like an end to slavery),”

    My jaw literally dropped when I read this. That’s like saying germans ended racism in the 40’s. Here’s are a few descriptions from people who actually lived through abolition:

    “There was no place in the land where the seeker could not find some small budding sign of pity for the slave. No place in all the land but one – the pulpit. It yielded at last; it always does. It fought a strong and stubborn fight, and then did what it always does, joined the procession – at the tail end. Slavery fell. The slavery text remained; the practice changed, that was all.”

    – Mark Twain

    “I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of the land. Indeed, I can see no reason, but the most deceitful one, for calling the religion of this land Christianity. I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, and the grossest of all libels. Never was there a clearer case of ‘stealing the livery of the court of heaven to serve the devil in.’ I am filled with unutterable loathing when I contemplate the religious pomp and show, together with the horrible inconsistencies, which every where surround me. We have men-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries, and cradle-plunderers for church members. The man who wields the blood-clotted cowskin during the week fills the pulpit on Sunday, and claims to be a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus. . . . The slave auctioneer’s bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave-trade go hand in hand together. The slave prison and the church stand near each other. The clanking of fetters and the rattling of chains in the prison, and the pious psalm and solemn prayer in the church, may be heard at the same time. The dealers in the bodies and souls of men erect their stand in the presence of the pulpit, and they mutually help each other. The dealer gives his blood-stained gold to support the pulpit, and the pulpit, in return, covers his infernal business with the garb of Christianity. Here we have religion and robbery the allies of each other—devils dressed in angels’ robes, and hell presenting the semblance of paradise.”

    – Frederick Douglass

    The bible is consistently pro-slavery, old and new testament.

    “they generally have better and more obvious arguments that explain more experiences more effectively.”

    More obvious? You mean simpler and easier to digest than complex science. A simpler explanation may be easier to accept but it doesn’t make it correct. “Zeus makes it” is the simple explanation for lightning. It doesn’t make it the right one.

    • First, before anything else, thank you for taking the time to respond! You clearly put thought and effort into this, so I’ll try to return the favor.

      “I try not to generalize about anybody, but this entirely depends on what you mean by “religious”. When I think of “religion” I think about indoctrination, blind faith, fear-based belief, dogma etc. Take those away and you have philosophy.”

      Well, philosophy isn’t a bad thing–I have a degree in it!

      I can’t really agree with your characterization of religion though. I suppose that will be unpacked as we go forward:

      “A few things to note – 1) people aren’t killing or persecuting or hating or starting wars in the name of evolution, the bad things done in the name of religions and scripture are generally why non-believers care what people think to begin with and without this motivation to disagree someone could believe in unicorns and it would, to me, be an academic issue”

      I’m certainly not going to deny that people do bad things in the name of religion, probably more than they do in the name of unicorns. Aside from that though, your objection isn’t accurate of course, and you probably know that. Hitler murdered millions of Jews in the name of evolution, trying to promote the development of his master race.

      The interesting thing is that atheists usually dismiss the Hitler example, most obviously because he doesn’t accurately reflect the movement he’s being used to impugn. However, all this proves is that someone can champion a cause without accurately reflecting that cause. In the same way, monsters can claim to serve religion, but that doesn’t mean religion is the problem.

      “2) science is based on observations and tests on actual physical things we find in reality and the findings of scientists are peer reviewed by the most qualified experts in the world, science is a form of highly organized, meticulous skepticism. Yes people should inform themselves but accepting the findings of scientists uncritically is still not the same as believing whatever some revival tend preacher spouts on a sunday on faith. Science puts men on the moon and cures diseases, it’s earned the credibility it enjoys today.”

      First, it’s important to be clear about terms. Science is one thing, atheism another. Science doesn’t imply atheism, nor does it actually support atheism. Using your own definition, cosmological assumptions like materialism fall outside of the purview of science because they can’t be observed or tested. That people sometimes assume science implies atheism is actually a failure of meticulous skepticism. Skepticism points out that this is the logical fallacy called “Ignoratio elenchi.”

      In fact, if you want to find the clearest, most elaborately detailed, and most rousing defense of the scientific method; if you want to find the staunch defenders who fostered the development of science as we know it today; you have to turn to saints: Thomas Aquinas and Albertus Magnus.

      So in general I have no trouble with science, and actually rather enjoy it. It’s important to be clear about that before I go on.

      Again, your argument isn’t factually accurate. Scientific consensus is actually rather remarkably fluid. Historically speaking, it wasn’t that long ago that scientists talked about abiogenesis or treated illness with leeches. It wasn’t that long ago that Einstein overthrew Newton and then Heisenberg said Einstein didn’t go far enough.

      This is all in stark contrast to Christianity which has been espousing the same message for two thousand years, and which for two thousand years has been addressing the real and observable lives of people everywhere. It hasn’t been stagnantly accepted for most of that either. It’s sometimes portrayed that way, but even a hasty glance at actual history is enough to disprove the portrayal. In fact, many of the smartest and most articulate people in history have probed it at levels that modern critics barely touch, and none of them have found it lacking. If anything, Christianity has endured a longer and more thorough peer review than any scientific theory ever.

      The bulk of your objection though seems to be that science is practical. After all, you mentioned the moon landing and cures for diseases as evidence for believing it. Now, generally, most religious people find religion to be practical as well. We’ll discuss this more in a little bit though, under the category of whether Christianity has been useful.

      “Evolution science has stood up to the skepticism of the best minds in over half a dozen fields of life science for over 150 years, that is a lot more than “light probing”. What you are doing is dangling your feet in complex science until you find something that doesn’t make sense to you, then declaring the science false based on your own ignorance. That is your “light probing”.”

      Actually, this is a very good description of the exact point I was trying to make. (I think you misunderstood me.) I wasn’t trying to disprove evolution by my probing. I thought I said that. In fact, I think I said that my objections could be easily overturned.

      My point was this: the exact method you describe here is what atheists tend to use with theology. Atheists dangle their feet into something complex and then declare it false when they find something to which they object.

      And, as I mentioned above, while evolution might have endured 150 years of skepticism; Christianity has endured 2000 years of skepticism.

      “[Being around longer] makes them more right? Jews have been around longer. Hindus have been around longer than them. And the further back we go in history the more *ignorant* we were. Is the idea that illness is caused by demons more trustworthy than the germ theory of disease because it’s older?”

      I think this is a misunderstanding again. The mere age of a thing doesn’t make it trustworthy, of course. However, when it comes to criteria for judging the trustworthiness of an authority, a long track record is a valid consideration. After all, this is why employers ask for resumes and references. An old theory might not be better than a new theory, but the new theory isn’t necessarily better because its newer either. There’s always an element of judgment involved.

      More on this in a moment.

      “[Being trusted by more people]’s more to do with psychology and politics. A lot of people trusted hitler too ya know. Peer pressure, positive and negative reinforcement, indoctrination, intimidation, theocracy. These things make people believe something, but they have no connection to that belief being true and can be employed to popularize any conflicting belief just as easily.”

      It would be interesting to see what evidence you have for your claim that the history of religious belief is primarily caused by psychology and politics. I’m willing to grant that psychology and politics were probably involved in places, because humans were involved, but most people who claim the primacy of those things are claiming such based on assumptions about religion rather than on the evidence at hand. That is to say, they tend argue, “since religion isn’t true, it must have been believed for such and such a reason.” But that’s circular and generally requires that they dismiss the bulk of human testimony out of hand. (That may be warranted, but it certainly isn’t scientific to have it as one’s starting point.) You may not be doing this though, which is why I said it would be interesting to see your evidence.

      However, it’s true that people can believe in false things, and that they can believe in both true and false things for bad reasons. (People use peer pressure, various reinforcements, indoctrination, intimidation and government to make people believe scientific claims too.) The mere popularity of a thing doesn’t mean its true any more than being old makes it true.

      Just like with age though, when trying to decide on the credibility of an authority, consistent popularity across racial, political, cultural, and historical boundaries is a valid consideration. That is to say, the massive bulk of historical Christians may be wrong, but their existence is certainly something to consider.

      “My jaw literally dropped when I read this [about an end to slavery]. That’s like saying germans ended racism in the 40′s. Here’s are a few descriptions from people who actually lived through abolition…. [long quotes omitted….] The bible is consistently pro-slavery, old and new testament.”

      Well, in addition to being a glaring example of the sort of light probing to which we both object, this is again not factually accurate. It’s obvious with even careless study that the OT and NT both radically deconstruct the ancient assumptions underpinning slavery, even going so far as to renounce the difference between a free person and slave and to demand that slave owners self-sacrificially serve their slaves. That Christians supported slavery in recent history is first, an example of what we’ve already discussed, the doing of bad things in the name of a good thing, and not necessarily an indictment of the good thing. Second, and more importantly, it would have been fixed not by them being less religious, but more religious. That’s actually the point of your quotes; that Christians at the time were commonly hypocrites because they weren’t acting on their beliefs. The beliefs were the solution though, not the problem.

      Which brings us to the far more prevalent history you overlook. The bulk of abolitionists weren’t rational men of science–those men were the ones who promoted slavery because they saw black people as obviously more savage and therefore of less value than rational white people (their judgment, for the record, definitely NOT mine)–the bulk of abolitionists were pious people. In fact, the most famous and effective abolitionist of all time, William Wilberforce, became an abolitionist because of his conversion to Christianity.

      “More obvious? You mean simpler and easier to digest than complex science. A simpler explanation may be easier to accept but it doesn’t make it correct. “Zeus makes it” is the simple explanation for lightning. It doesn’t make it the right one.”

      It would be an interesting rhetorical move indeed for me to assert the complexity of Christianity–such as to promote the reliance on trained experts–and to assert it’s obvious simplicity. I suspect you misunderstood me again. I probably wasn’t being particularly clear. (A general lack of clarity which I think I might have alluded to when I said people should probably consult someone other than me!)

      However, there are forms of “obvious” rather than “simple.” I meant obvious in the sense of approachable and apparent, not in the sense of “dumbed down” or “over-simplified.” A knowledgeable and articulate atheist might be able to construct an introduction to atheism that’s obvious in this way, but I think that apologists like Lewis and Chesterton have constructed introductions to Christianity which are more obvious in this way.

      This is actually the point of the rest of the sentence to which you didn’t respond, that Christianity explains more experiences and explains them in a more satisfying way. A lot of Christian apologetics are built off of the simple tasks of starting with common experience and thinking about what it might mean. The result is obvious (approachable) because it doesn’t ignore or dismiss that experience. A lot of atheist arguments require that the reader relinquish the right to claim certain experiences, and change their evaluation of other experiences in ways that are at best counter-intuitive.

      (An example of what I mean might be found in the work of the famed atheist ethicist who argued that killing babies isn’t as bad as killing something like a dog or a dolphin. That may be a consistent world-view, but it isn’t obvious to any person who has even a vague understanding of parenthood.)

      “Just as over a billion muslims are proud to take the religion and values of their parents and peers. As for christian morality being better for society, one you are a christian saying that and everyone thinks their country, their values, their culture etc is the best. That a christian thinks christianity is the best moral system is no more surprising than that a muslim thinks islam is the best moral system.”

      The sad part of this is that you clearly believe exactly what I was trying to counter. Religious people just accept what they’re given, but you “seek truth.” You’re clearly not including yourself in the “everyone” you mention; you actually mean “everyone else,” or at least everyone else who doesn’t agree with whatever truth you think makes sense.

      Maybe you should ask yourself who, in this discussion, is most promoting prejudice and hatred.

  3. I’m agnostic and don’t care what anyone believes in, as long as you’re a good honorable person, live and let live, and don’t push your beliefs or non beliefs on others. 🙂

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