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April 24, 2012 11:14 am

Darwin Akbar! “Darwin is God, and I – Dr. Jerry Coyne – Am His Prophet!” (Part 1)

avatar by Moshe Averick

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Dr. Jerry Coyne, evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago

“We could best promote evolution…by concentrating on bringing Catholics and mainline Protestants into the “no religion” category! Ultimately, the best strategy to make Americans more receptive to Evolution might require loosening the grip of religion on our country…such secularism is possible and, indeed, occurring in the United States right now.”

The above citation is from an article entitled “Science, Religion, and Society: The Problem of Evolution in America,” in which Dr. Jerry Coyne, evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago, has declared his own form of jihad on believers who refuse to display proper fealty to Coyne’s grand atheistic/scientific, and of course, Darwinian view of reality. Coyne has already gone on record and stated that anyone who questions the validity of evolutionary theory should not be allowed to teach science and certainly should not be accepted for any type of university level position.

I have no intention of getting involved in the debate about neo-Darwinian theory, I will leave that to people with the proper expertise; the purpose of this article is to expose the attitudes of materialistic scientists like Coyne, who in their atheistic zeal attempt to squelch free expression and the open exchange of ideas. Coyne asks his readers:

“Why do Americans hate evolution?…the answer seems pretty clear: religion…there is much evidence that America’s resistance to evolution is truly a byproduct of America’s extreme religiosity…evolution of course contravenes many common religious beliefs – not just those involving Biblical literalism, but those involved with morality, meaning, and human significance.”

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What Dr. Coyne has written above is very misleading. Much of what he calls “America’s resistance to evolution” is not resistance to evolution at all. He himself quotes a study that found that nearly 40% of all Americans accept a “guided” evolution (theistic evolution). The problem is that this is not good enough for Coyne. He insists on an atheistic version of evolutionary theory; oddly enough, he insists that this ideological stance is the only scientifically valid version of evolution:

[Theistic evolution is] unscientific, since biologists see humans, like any other species, as having evolved by purely naturalistic processes. There’s a reason after all, why Darwin’s greatest idea was called “natural” selection.

It seems to me that this conflating of atheistic ideology and scientific data  raises serious doubts regarding Coyne’s objectivity and credibility. It is clear that Dr. Coyne is not promoting Science, he is promoting Atheism and all that it entails. Coyne sees his role as being much greater than that of just a professor teaching a scientific discipline; he has donned the mantle of Atheologist and is spreading the good word wherever he can. It is for this reason that many Americans are justifiably antagonistic towards the worldview of Jerry Coyne.

The Declaration of Independence is not a Darwinian document

Americans in particular have good reason to be suspicious and resistant to the ideology that is espoused by aggressive proponents of the “New Atheism” like Coyne. (Since Coyne is Jewish, we’ll call it “NU?! Atheism.”  For those who don’t get the joke, find an older Jewish person and they’ll explain it to you.) American democracy is built on, and inextricably bound to, fundamental religious principles. The Declaration of Independence states that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America…appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for rectitude of our intentions…solemnly publish and declare…with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

The entire Declaration of Independence and the moral dynamic that has driven the people and history of the United States for nearly 2 ½ centuries melts into incoherent nonsense in the context of an atheistic world view. Men are created equal as they stand in front of their infinite, transcendent Creator; they do not evolve equally at all! In fact, as pointed out by G.K. Chesterton, they evolve astonishingly unequal. Human beings can be endowed with unalienable rights by their infinite Creator; Darwinian evolution endows nobody and nothing with any inherent rights at all. America is built on the notion that we are accountable for our actions to a Supreme Judge. Darwinian evolution is built on the principle that the human being is to the shark, what the shark is to the cockroach – it is not accountability to a higher power that drives evolution; it is the pitiless, indifferent, and unrelenting pressure of survival of the fittest.

The façade of a “humanistic” atheism is only able to stand as long as one accepts the basic principle, as espoused by the Declaration of Independence – based on the opening chapters of Genesis – that every human being possesses infinite preciousness. Humanism ascribes dignity to human beings based on a religious principle, and when no one is looking, they simply subtract God from the equation, “pretending” that without God the concept retains a rational and philosophical basis. In fact, Jerry Coyne has declared that not only are there no objective moral truths in a godless/materialistic universe, but in a recent USA Today article he informed us that free-will itself is an illusion! We are, in fact, not responsible for our actions or decisions at all! This, of course, includes the decision to believe in God or believe in Darwinian evolution. It seems patently absurd for Coyne to argue so vehemently for his position if his audience’s beliefs – and his own for that matter –  are determined, not by decisions based on arguments, but by causes and effects beyond human control. How Coyne reconciles this dilemma is beyond me.

American Democracy is based on the principle that all men stand equal before their infinite Creator.

Coyne is so determined to denigrate belief in God that he informs us that America is a “sick” society and that our “social dysfunction is associated with high degrees of religious belief.”  He cites a study by one Gregory Paul that concluded that of 17 prosperous First World democracies, the United States ranked dead last in terms of Paul’s “Successful Societies Scale.” I have never seen the study and frankly it does not interest me much at all. Despite the fact that Coyne considers us to be “sick and dysfunctional,” perhaps he should consider the following: In the 20th century the world bore witness to the emergence of three of the most evil empires and ideologies in human history:  Communist Russia and China, Nazi Germany, and Imperial Japan. In less than 70 years these three empires spawned incomprehensible amounts of human suffering and resulted in the deaths of close to 150 million people. To which country did humanity look to for salvation? Which country had the resources, will, and most important of all, the moral fortitude to fight in order to prevent the entire world from being enveloped in a dark cloud of evil? Yes, Jerry, it was the “sick,” “dysfunctional,” and “religious” land of the free and home of the brave; a nation that lives, fights, and dies by a Judeo-Christian moral ethic as so eloquently fashioned by our founding fathers.

In the 21st century the greatest evil that threatens mankind is a nuclear-armed radical Islam. Will freedom-loving people look to atheists in Denmark and Czechoslovakia to save them? Once again, mankind looks to the “dysfunctionally religious” United States of America to stand on guard. If last place on Gregory Paul’s “Successful Societies Scale” and a healthy skepticism about your version of evolution are necessary pre-conditions for being the guardians of moral decency and freedom for mankind, then these particular “badges of shame” are ones that I and almost all Americans will wear with pride.

Perhaps Dr. Coyne should consider the possibility that the most important realms of human thought, experience, and yearning, are areas in which Science has little or nothing to say, and in fact, are areas where Science may be completely irrelevant. In Part 2 we will examine Dr. Coyne’s article from the perspective of the actual scientific claims that he puts forward.

Rabbi Moshe Averick is an orthodox rabbi, a  regular columnist for the Algemeiner Journal, and author of Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused and Illusory World of the Atheist. It is available on Amazon.com and Kindle. Rabbi Averick can be reached via his website. If you wish to be informed when new articles appear, send an email to moe.david@hotmail.com with the email address and the word  “Subscribe” in the subject line.

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  • ___At the subatomic level the old-fashioned classical lines of discrete objects are non-existent.___

    We don’t live “at the subatomic level,” but is that where you believe God is? Is it “God and the Holy Fizz” now?

    • John Jordan

      Stoddard, from the character of your replies I can tell that you are intelligent. What I can also tell is that you are using the power of your intelligence to try and denounce and/or repudiate the essential mystery of life and being alive. Are you allowing the anger that you, and I, and many other have toward the corruption of man-made organized religion to keep you from the enlightenment of God? Don’t you know that God needs no religion to have a relationship with one of his people? The information I have offered re: the quantum of action in our present form of existence has been an effort to show how even in the scientific world the profound mystery of our present situation is evident. With respect to the question you pose: “Is it God and the Holy Fizz, now?” We both know that is a silly question because whether you or I like it or not, the stuff that our bodies and our world is made of has its foundation in that fizz. The Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum electrodynamics to which you claim to subscribe was advanced in the early 1920’s by Neils Bohr as a first step in coming to grips with what the then-new quantum mechanical theory meant vis-a-vis classical Newtonian physics. In the years since, quantum theory has become the most successful scientific/physical theory ever invented but as Richard Feynman http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Feynman often said, “Anyone who says they understand quantum mechanics does not understand quantum mechanics.”
      You and I both are spending quite a bit of time here on Rabbi Avrick’s thread and what we or anyone else says here does nothing whatsover to change the ACTUAL mystery of how and why things are as they are. Here is another link to a Stanford University layman’s summary of the so-called Copenhagen Interpretation: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-copenhagen/ FTA: “He [Don Howard (2004)] holds that “the Copenhagen interpretation is an invention of the mid-1950s, for which Heisenberg is chiefly responsible, [and that] various other physicists and philosophers, including Bohm, Feyerabend, Hanson, and Popper, hav[e] further promoted the invention in the service of their own philosophical agendas.”

      • ___The Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum electrodynamics to which you claim to subscribe …____

        Oops. John, you had better re-think your response, since I’ve pointed out that I reject the “Copenhagen Interpretation” as baloney. Why you feel that means that I “claim to subscribe” to it really IS a mystery.

        • John Jordan

          Stoddard, I apologize for my error. The reason for it is that I am put off by your flippancy. Rabbi Averick allows links to be posted if they are relevant to the discussion. I would like to see your most favorite and special piece of 3rd-party information that gives you such great confidence in the humanistic explainability of all things in heaven & earth. A few Questions: Where does rejection of any honest inquiry or attempt to explain the unexplainable end? How can any explanation of any phenomena be considered as anything but “an opinion” from the atheist perspective? Are you aware that at the turn from the 19th to the 20th century (before Einstein’s theory) the best & brightest scientific minds believed that ALL that could be known about the natural world had been discovered? How wrong were they? Are you conscious of the fact that the once-respected “scientific method” is now totally corrupted by greed, ambition, and political motivation? Are you aware that the spiritual element of being called “truth” is just that: s-p-i-r-i-t-u-a-l? Are you aware that all of human awareness can be, and in fact is, categorized in terms of valid or invalid FACTS either supported or destroyed by the power of Truth?

          In fact, Stoddard, I think you could use a seriously factual dose of “Funky Nassau” from Blues Bros 2000. It’s not strictly relevant to this discussion but maybe the Rabbi will let this one pass and it will help to clear your head: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIPzucr7pLs

          • {}{}…the once-respected “scientific method” is now totally corrupted by greed, ambition, and political motivation? {}{}

            That never happened. Another figment of your imagination . . . .

      • ___the stuff that our bodies and our world is made of has its foundation in that fizz.____

        In your dreams. In reality, the subatomic foundation for the perceptual world is NOT “fizz.” You can call it “fizz” to your heart’s content, but you cannot turn it into “fizz.”

        Wishing won’t make it “fizz.”

  • John Jordan

    STODDARD SEZ: That “perfectly uniform chaos in the subatomic quantum-of-action” is a figment of your religious imagination. Nothing comes from nothing, and, like God, Chaos isn’t there for anything to “arise from.”

    I say o.k. Stoddard take the level of analysis all the way down beyond the realm of electron microscopes into the realm of nothing but the subatomic fizz. When you get there show me the boundary between the end of your finger and the space surrounding the end of your finger. At the subatomic level the old-fashioned classical lines of discrete objects are non-existent. Stoddard, do you believe scientists actually DO understand how consciousness and thought and self-awareness arise from the subatomic quantum? If you do then You are the Luddite here Stoddard, not me. Do some homework. Start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_entanglement …and notice what Dr. Albert Einstein had to say re: “classical lines of thought”. Also look up the results of Alain Aspect’s Bell Test Experiments. Spooky action at a distance? You bet. And since Aspect proved it existed, no brave scientist has done the first thing to explain why what Aspect discovered is true. You’ll probably say it’s “Dark Matter” which modern astrophysicists estimate makes up 80% of our universe. You’ve heard the term “Dark Matter” haven’t you? Sure you have; it’s the foundation of the atheist mind. Sweet dreams, Stoddard.

    • }}}You’ve heard the term “Dark Matter” haven’t you?{{{

      I’ve heard of it, but I don’t believe in it any more than I believe in God. I’m not a mystic.

      }}}At the subatomic level the old-fashioned classical lines of discrete objects are non-existent.{{{

      In my neighborhood, we still have discrete objects. If you feel you have lost touch with such real things, then maybe you are more comfortable with mysticism.

      }}}Spooky action at a distance?{{{

      As I’ve said, I’m not a mystic. I don’t believe in God and the Holy Spook.

    • }}}… do you believe scientists actually DO understand how consciousness and thought and self-awareness arise from the subatomic quantum?{{{

      No, I don’t believe they do.

      Heck, I don’t even think there is such a thing as “the subatomic quantum.” Are you trying to translate monotheism into “monoquantism”? There is only one God, and He is The Subatomic Quantum from which the whole universe arose?? The One Who declared, “Let there be discrete quanta of light”??

      • John Jordan

        Stoddard, you’ve said yourself right here on this thread that nothing comes from nothing. So in the above comment you are contradicting yourself, aren’t you? The stuff that EVerything we know of comes from something. The SOMEthing (as far as physicists have broken it down so far) is the subatomic fizz. That is a verifiable scientific fact. From the human perspective the fizz looks chaotic and no discrete objects exist at that level. It looks like all fizz without form. Soooo, what power shapes the forms from the fizz if the fizz itself is chaotic & unformed? Saying you do not “think there is any such thing as the subatomic quantum” is the same as saying nothing exists. Why? Because nothing CAN exist as it does without the foundational elementary subatomic stuff from which all these discrete objects (persons, places & things) are drawn. What was that? Did you mumble something, Stoddard?

        • }}}Saying you do not “think there is any such thing as the subatomic quantum” is the same as saying nothing exists.{{{

          No, that’s just saying that I think there are lots of different quanta, not just one.

          And that religious fervor to believe that all those different quantum-level particles and forces are nothing more than a “chaotic fizz” is more subjectivist mumbling than any legitimate “human perspective.”

        • }}}you’ve said yourself right here on this thread that nothing comes from nothing. So in the above comment you are contradicting yourself, aren’t you?{{{

          Not a bit.

          I think the subatomic world really IS something. I don’t buy the “chaotic fizz” theory — or the “without form, and void” theory, as Genesis put it.

          In other words, I think the “Copenhagen Interpretation” is the physics version of “Intelligent Design,” viz., an attempt to cloak a religious approach with a scientific facade.

        • Think: “continental drift” — with the “fizzists” taking on the role of the “fixists” and turning out to be quite wrong.

    • )))Sweet dreams(((

      No problem.

      After all, I’m not the one who believes in hellfire, brimstone, and Original Sin.

  • Just a short foreign policy note to contrast with some strange stuff in Emma’s (Emma May 2, 2012 8:56 pm) post.

    Not only should Iran not be allowed to have nuclear weapons, Iran should not even be allowed to have the ruling regime it currently has.

  • John Jordan

    The knowledge of good and evil confused the processes of human thought. Confused thoughts give rise to deceiving desires. Apostle Paul says that we are corrupt according to deceiving lusts (desires). In itself the supernatural knowledge of good and evil is not evil. The knowledge of good and evil is what it is: something that God created and placed in the Garden of Eden. The evil in the world today came into the world through mankind’s very first act of disobedience: touching & eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil. At present, there is no way for us to discover what sort of “fruit” the fruit of the knowledge of good & evil actually was. What we can know with absolute certainty is that all of us who are not insane know the difference between good & evil and all of us have a date with Death in our future. Confusion & Death came into the eternal structure of mankind’s Soul as a result of touching and eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil. The painful physical and moral consequences of our initial act of disobedience are plain. The 12 Hebrew tribes of Israel in the Old Testament were fatally afflicted with what God calls “the evil heart of unbelief”. No explanation today for the troubles of the world is any better than the explanation given in Genesiss. At least the explanation in Genesis explains why, of all the creatures in the world, only mankind has an inborn sense of good & evil or, as C.S. Lewis described it, “a universal sense of oughtness.” Genesis explains why mankind is able to discern and distinguish between things that are good and things that are evil. Science gives no explanation.

    • Neither money nor knowledge grows on trees. And though Genesis is a somewhat popular story, it has no sound explanation of good and evil, of life and death and knowledge.

      • John Jordan

        SEZ WHO, STODDARD? yOU?

        • I’m the one who happens to be pointing it out to you at the moment, John, but it has been well-known for some time. Why you are ignoring such basic understanding is a good question, but not one you seem ready to pursue.

          It does take work both to make money and to gain understanding. You cannot honestly have either just by randomly picking something off a tree.

          And Genesis is a myth or an allegory — it is not a sound and valid explanation of anything. Stories can help us understand things, but not as substitutes for the actual facts on the ground.

          • John Jordan

            Well Stoddard if you can show me where ANYone satisfactorily explains how consciousness, self-awareness, & life itself arise from the perfectly uniform chaos in the subatomic quantum-of-action then I will reconsider the claims modern atheists apply to the Genesis literature. I admit that the word f-r-u-i-t applied to describing the in-taken knowledge of good and evil is allegorical. Knowledge, wisdom & the processes of human thought are spiritual states influenced by the spiritual powers of Good and Evil. We may not know how to explain what makes Good good and Evil evil any more than we can explain how Order arises from Chaos but we DO know the difference between good & evil. We also know that sooner or later everybody dies. When you get right down to it, aren’t Good, Evil and Death the 3 most influential powers on earth? So far I have found no better explanation than the explanation given in Genesis for how Good, Evil & Death gained the influence they have today. American Indian lore and Chinese lore and Hindu lore are in some ways equal but really no better. Modern science has no explanation at all for ancient spiritual verities that were accepted as “the water of life” thousands of years before Johannes Kepler lived.

          • ___“We may not know how to explain what makes Good good and Evil evil any more than we can explain how Order arises from Chaos …”___

            We do know how to explain what makes good and evil good and evil — even if you would rather believe otherwise.

            And you are making an invalid assumption that somehow, miraculously, there ever was “Chaos” rather than “Order.” You are taking a mystical trip that isn’t warranted by real life.

          • ]]]“… if you can show me where ANYone satisfactorily explains how consciousness, self-awareness, & life itself arise from the perfectly uniform chaos in the subatomic quantum-of-action then …”[[[

            That “perfectly uniform chaos in the subatomic quantum-of-action” is a figment of your religious imagination. Nothing comes from nothing, and, like God, Chaos isn’t there for anything to “arise from.”

  • Emma

    1. The Declaration of Independence is not a legally binding document, it was a “screw you” letter to the King of England from the Founding Fathers. By the way, several of the Founding Fathers were deists and frequently very anti-clerical. (The Jefferson Bible, for instance, was written to exclude any references to the supernatural on purpose, leaving only the moral messages intact.) If you’re looking for an actual legally binding document written by the Founding Fathers, then I happily refer you to the Treaty of Tripoli signed by John Adams in 1797, which said that “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion”. Adams was not one of the deistic or anti-clerical Founding Fathers, but a Unitarian.

    2. Communist China, the USSR, Nazi Germany, and Imperial Japan sucked because they failed epically at ensuring any basic human rights, not because their societies “lost God.” In fact, Imperial Japan wasn’t even an atheistic society – not even close. It was a Shinto theocracy that revered the Emperor as a god in human form. Not that any of this matters, I’m just pointing out the factual fail. The reasons for why any of these countries did what they did has no bearing on whether evolution is correct or not. All of your arguments against evolution, Moshe, seem to boil down to “guilt-by-association” fallacies and “I clearly have no idea how evolution works so it must be false.”

    3. The same nation that you say “lives, fights, and dies by a Judeo-Christian moral ethic” also had institutional slavery, committed genocide against the American Indians, dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, has a history of eugenics and forced sterilization in several states (to the point where Nazi Germany considered them a model), imprisoned loyal Japanese-American citizens in internment camps for all of WWII, committed the My Lai Massacre, sprayed Vietnamese civilians with Agent Orange (which still results in birth defects today), still tortures illegally-detained prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, forced the Queen of Hawai’i into abdicating her throne, attempted to colonize the Philippines, and continues to support unanimously illegal Israeli occupation in Palestine today. Our school history textbooks and media do not want to show you this dark side of America’s history, as it would undermine the blind jingoism that can be so easily roused into a lust for war. I’m not saying that America’s crimes are worse than the Axis Powers, but it’s certainly not the caped crusader it’s cracked up to be.

    4. “In the 21st century the greatest evil that threatens mankind is a nuclear-armed radical Islam.” As if all Muslim nations are inherently the same – violent, savage, hateful, and incapable of peace.

    Hearing Americans condemn Iran’s possibility of nuclear weapons is amusingly hypocritical, seeing as America’s the only nation that’s ever used nuclear weapons in wartime in the first place. Israel also has nukes (it’s like the worst-kept secret in the Middle East), but I don’t see you condemning either of them – or, for that matter, some other nations that possess nuclear weapons: Russia, the United Kingdom, France, India, and Pakistan. Are these nations threats to America’s national security, or are you simply (as I suspect) condemning Iran because it happens to be a Muslim nation that is daring to defend itself with promises of Mutually Assured Destruction?

    • RexTugwell

      Emma, America is the only thing standing between you and a nice, fashioable burka. America ain’t perfect but it’s the best by far.

    • Moshe Averick

      Emma,

      I don’t have time right now to fully respond to the points you raised but I will try an abbreviated version.

      1. Don’t understand your point about whether or not the Dec. of Ind. is legally binding or not. That is beside the point. Never said that USA was founded on the Christian religion, I said “Judeo-Christian Ethics”, which in a nutshell means that human beings are created in the image of God and ultimately our value and rights emanated from our connection to God. (as opposed to emanating from the fact that we emerged by some fluke from a pre-biotic swamp)

      2. You did not read the article carefully. I didn’t write anything at all about evolution. I never do. I’ve stated many times that I don’t have the expertise to write publicly on that subject. In a communist society humans have no inherent rights because they have no inherent value. The state is all important. Radically different than the American God-based model.

      3. Don’t get your point. We live in an imperfect world. If you think you’ll have a better life in another country, be my guest.

      4. Iran has publicly threatened to destroy the US and Israel and all infidels. Nobody is afraid of Israel dropping the bomb on innocent people. Frankly Emma, anyone who isn’t afraid of Iran doing the same is either disturbingly misinformed or a politically correct idiot.

      • ____… I said “Judeo-Christian Ethics”, which in a nutshell means that human beings are created in the image of God and ultimately our value and rights emanated from our connection to God. (as opposed to emanating from the fact that we emerged by some fluke from a pre-biotic swamp) …___

        There is a lot wrong with that little rant, Rabbi Averick. For one thing, nobody believes that humans emerged from a “pre-biotic swamp,” let alone that rights could possibly “emanate from” such a thing even if it were possible.

        For another thing, there is no such thing as “the image of God” for humans to be created in.

        And rights don’t “emanate.” And there is no actual “connection to God,” anyhow — unless you count the fact that humans made up God as an imaginary character.

      • ___Radically different than the American God-based model.___

        The American system of government as the protector of individual rights is NOT a “God-based model.”

        The notion that we have rights because God has rights (we are “made in God’s Image”) is rather silly. Imagine believing that God could have His rights violated.

    • ___… “condemning Iran because it happens to be a Muslim nation that is daring to defend itself with promises of Mutually Assured Destruction?”___

      Iran would have no trouble if it ceased threatening other nations, particularly the U.S., and if it just stayed quiet and out of the way — and gave back all the oil it stole 60 years ago.

      Iran should be condemned now for the same kinds of reasons Nazi Germany should have been condemned 80 years ago, and the Soviets even earlier.

    • “Hearing Americans condemn Iran’s possibility of nuclear weapons is amusingly hypocritical, seeing as America’s the only nation that’s ever used nuclear weapons in wartime in the first place. Israel also has nukes …”

      Let’s hope Israel uses their power, as the U.S. did to end WWII, to end the current Islamist war against the Western allies (notably the U.S. and Israel). Iran needs to be stopped just like the Axis powers (and throw in the Soviets) of WWII needed to be stopped.

      There is nothing “hypocritical” about wanting Iran stopped now because we wanted Japan stopped back then.

  • ___“The first great ideology that eliminated God from the equation was communism and we all know how well that worked out.”____

    In the first place, Communism was bad because it eliminated capitalism and individual rights from the equation — not because it “eliminated God from the equation.

    In the second place, you are wearing blinders about God. Note that in Czarist Russian God was included in the equation, and that certainly didn’t work out well.

    But go back in history. Rome was a pretty substantial system for centuries without your God, but fell after God was “included in the equation.”

  • As far as I know, there is no version of the Bible written to make God the “True Author” of quantum mechanics or the U.S. Constitution.

    Rabbi Averick is just making this stuff up on the fly. There is no scholarship or sense to it.

  • ___For those of you still struggling with the concept of near-zero, Stephen Meyer, in his devastating (to materialists) book “Signature in the Cell”, reports on Douglas Axe’s research showing that the ratio of all possible amino acid sequences of a 150-amino acid protein to functional proteins “is roughly equal to the ratio of the size of the Milky Way galaxy to the size of a cotton ball.”___

    Meyer devastatingly fails to understand that since life exists in nature, the “ratio of all possible amino acid sequences of a 150-amino acid protein to functional proteins” is not significant. He wants to feel that it somehow makes God a possibility, but it doesn’t.

  • ___“If you want to put all of your metaphysical eggs into the cotton ball basket,…”

    Cotton balls actually do exist, so that is not a problem. On the other hand, the metaphysics of the supernatural is pure fiction; there’s no basket of unnatural eggs.

    • RexTugwell

      How do you get bold text? Are you using HTML tags?

      • Yeah, that’s all. Only a few of them work, though. For instance, blockquote doesn’t work.

      • RexTugwell

        Testing

        • RexTugwell

          Thank you!! You’re a generous soul 😉

  • RexTugwell

    “It’s an interesting coincidence that the ‘New Deal’ guy, ‘RexTugwell,’ also got something fundamentally backward — with his claim that the near-zero chance of life arising without supernatural aid is still, somehow, less than the absolutely zero chance of there even being anything supernatural in the first place.”

    Are you still harping on the near-zero thing, Steve? You must be really bothered by it. I don’t blame you. A lot of origin-of-life scientists are bothered by it also. In fact, some have even come over to the intelligent design side precisely because of the improbability of life from chance and/or necessity.

    For those of you still struggling with the concept of near-zero, Stephen Meyer, in his devastating (to materialists) book “Signature in the Cell”, reports on Douglas Axe’s research showing that the ratio of all possible amino acid sequences of a 150-amino acid protein to functional proteins “is roughly equal to the ratio of the size of the Milky Way galaxy to the size of a cotton ball.” If you want to put all of your metaphysical eggs into the cotton ball basket, Steve, go right ahead.

    As for there being zero chance of the supernatural, Richard Dawkins won’t even go so far as to admit that. The farthest he will go is to say that God “almost certainly” doesn’t exist.

    • Amino acid sequences actually exist, and can be researched. Supernatural Beings do not exist, and cannot be researched (other than as literary devices).

      The so-called “improbablity of life” does not mean either that life does not exist, or that some form of the supernatural does exist. That we can study life is 100% certain. That we cannot study God is also 100% certain.

      Life is not fiction; God is not fact.

    • ___As for there being zero chance of the supernatural, Richard Dawkins won’t even go so far as to admit that. The farthest he will go is to say that God “almost certainly” doesn’t exist.

      Dawkins never presents any research showing any possibility of God. Nobody ever presents any such research.

      The lack of such research is not mere happenstance, but is the logical consequence of the contradiction between the supernatural and the real world. “Supernaturalist research” could not be part of the actual, physical universe — there’s nothing to study.

      What in the world could you ever study if you wanted to prove the possibility of the supernatural? As compared to fantasizing about the supernatural, which is what religion does. . . .

    • ___As for there being zero chance of the supernatural, Richard Dawkins won’t even go so far as to admit that. The farthest he will go is to say that God “almost certainly” doesn’t exist.

      Dawkins never presents any research showing any possibility of God. Nobody ever presents any such research.

      The lack of such research is not mere happenstance, but is the logical consequence of the contradiction between the supernatural and the real world. “Supernaturalist research” could not be part of the actual, physical universe — there’s nothing to study.

      What in the world could you ever study if you wanted to prove the possibility of the supernatural? As compared to fantasizing about the supernatural, which is what religion does. . . .

    • ___“In fact, some have even come over to the intelligent design side precisely because of the improbability of life from chance and/or necessity.”___

      Why go from the improbable to the impossible? Why not stick to reality?

  • God Akbar! “God is God, and I – Rabbi Moshe Averick – Am His Prophet!”

    • Moshe Averick

      Steve,

      YOu’re finally getting the idea!

      • So God really did say, “Let there be discrete quanta of light!”?

        • Moshe Averick

          By George, he’s got it!

          • Which translation of the Bible was that? I think everybody else missed it.

            The point is, Moshe, that you fail to realize how ridiculous it is to try to claim credit, “God Akbar,” for God as the True Author of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution — as if there were no such thing as the First Amendment, and Jefferson had never written that people’s religious opinions “shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”

            You are trying to have our cake — and have God eat it, too!

            Of course, we should remember that Jefferson did say that, if there were a God, He would approve of the Declaration. Jefferson notably did not claim that God had revealed it to him, but that it was a matter of reason rather than “blindfolded fear,” i.e., religious faith.

          • In your claims for Divine Revelation in American history, you seem to be confusing Thomas Jefferson with Joseph Smith.

            Your vision that everything depends on an “Infinite Creator” is a sound as an Obama vision that his policies (especially since he killed bin Laden) would have brought unemployment down below 1% if only there were no Republican officeholders in the land.

  • An atheistic view of reality is the only one that makes sense, since the alternative is a theistic view that can only be held by blind faith in defiance of reason.

  • Darwin is not God. And he has no “prophets” — not even of any kind.

    Hyperbole notwithstanding, God still doesn’t exist. There was no “Unnatural Creation.”

    There was no “Unnatural Design,” aka “UD”/”ID”.

    The UNLIKELY — yes, that sometimes happens. The IMPOSSIBLE — not so much. Not ever, if you want to be really accurate (e.g., the supernatural).

  • Rabbi Averick wrote about “… the basic principle, as espoused by the Declaration of Independence – based on the opening chapters of Genesis – that every human being possesses infinite preciousness.”

    There are only a couple of things wrong with that proposition.

    1. The Declaration of Independence is not based on Genesis.

    2. No human being “possesses infinite preciousness,” since that is a nonsense phrase, and the Declaration of Independence doesn’t pretend that anybody does.

    • In Genesis, God says things like, “… let dry ground appear …” and “… rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky,…”

      Now how in the world does Rabbi Averick get that confused with the Declaration of Independence?!

      Is he just making this stuff up as he goes along, trying desperately to make it seem like everything and anything good in the world sprang from the loins of religion!?

      Is quantum physics based on Genesis, too? Like when God said, “Let there be discrete quanta of light!”?

  • To put the point simply: The United States was NOT founded on the religious principles it was designed to oppose. The U.S. stands for freedom, not submission to God (and His Commandments and Kings). American is based on individual rights (to life, liberty, and property), NOT on seeking “a jealous God’s mercy” (to avoid His threats of “visiting the iniquity”).

  • It’s an interesting coincidence that the “New Deal” guy, “RexTugwell,” also got something fundamentally backward — with his claim that the near-zero chance of life arising without supernatural aid is still, somehow, less than the absolutely zero chance of there even being anything supernatural in the first place.

  • ___“… it is the scientists who are trying to shut down free inquiry, not ID proponents.”___

    The scientists are not trying to “shut down free inquiry.” They are simply sticking to inquiry instead of retreating into religious fantasy (where the “ID proponents” prefer to retreat).

  • Poster “Sivan” asked what I thought was the difference between “objective values” and “subjective values.” Then he choose to argue based on using a definition of “objective” that was the opposite of the one I used — which was finally admitted in this post:

    ___Sivan (April 27, 2012 11:11 am): “Objectivity is independent of context. That’s what objective means.”___

    I defined “objective” as “fact-based.” Sivan substituted “arbitrary” for “fact-based.” I use “objective” to mean “dependent on the facts”; Sivan uses “objective” to mean “in disregard of the facts (the context).”

    Then Sivan goes on to offer a definition for “subjectivity” that for all practical purposes matches the definition I gave for “objectivity”!

    ___“Subjectivity depends on context. There is no absolute correct answer. That’s what subjective means.”

    No, subjective means going by your feelings (or blind, i.e., religious, faith — or some other non-factual consideration) in spite of the relevant factual context.

    Lastly:

    ___“An objective truth that depends on context is a round square.”___

    That means: “an objective truth that depends on the objective facts is a contradiction.” I disagree. I think the contradiction lies in believing that an objective truth must ignore the objective facts (i.e., be “independent of context”).

    Ignoring the objective facts is subjectivity, the opposite of objectivity (which means taking the context seriously, rather than wishing it weren’t so — or praying for a miracle from God).

  • _____It’s a fact that the “best” medical care is “that which helps sustain life and health”? Based on what?_____

    Based on being human, and making the choice to live up to your potential. IF you make that choice, then the objective value in regard to medical care is “that which helps sustain life and health.”

    IF, on the other hand, you do not choose to life a fulfilling life as a human, then you won’t put much value on effective medical care. You could subjectively place your desires elsewhere.

    Conditions. Don’t forget the conditional nature of “what’s best.” And remember that “conditional” doesn’t mean “subjective.”

    Don’t ignore free will.

  • _____“The concept of ‘best’ is subjective.”_____

    It would be subjective if you define it based on emotional consideration without respect to facts.

    It would be objective if you define it based on facts without regard to emotions, feelings, fears, hostility, etc.

    It is invalid to say that a concept of value is necessarily “subjective” because, as humans, we get to choose whether we will approach values objectively or subjectively.

    Choice is not subjectivism. (Choice is not chance, either.)

  • Rabbi Averick contends that “American democracy is built on, and inextricably bound to, fundamental religious principles.

    Now that is clearly untrue since the Constitution’s Bill of Rights specifically outlaws the establishment of religion by the government.

    Also, America is a republic, not a democracy.

    Further, the principle of individual rights is NOT a “fundamental religious principle.” Neither is the principle of the separation of powers between branches of government.

    Even “consent of the governed” is NOT a “fundamental religious principle.” (God’s Commandments are not premised on “the consent of the commanded.”)

    The American founders rejected the “Divine Right of Kings,” rather than accepting it.

  • This country is sick with religion. The fact we have to fight to keep creationism from being taught in science class year after year is pathetic. The fact religion can, and has , been used in any way to hinder scientific progress is unforgivable. It’s been 2000 years we have been waiting for religion to find it’s way to the ‘myth’ section of the library. It keeps holding on, not because of it’s validity but because of ignorance. People are too lazy to learn about what the bible says, they just want to accept the parts shown to them by preachers who are more like used car salesmen than the servants of some god. Check out this ride, it has 4 brand new tires and a new paint job. You don’t learn about the engine running on 2 cylinders and leaking oil til you get it home but you look nice sitting in it, so what the hell. One more point- The founding fathers were mostly deists and I have had to point that out far too many times to people who should know better. Deists are hardly equal to the christian idiocy we have to deal with these days. The ability they have to be hypocritical and egotistical is so incredible I do not have words to describe it.

  • >>>>>“… there no objective moral truths in a godless/materialistic universe,…”<<<<<

    That is backwards. It would be in a Godly immaterial universe that there could be no objective moral truths: nothing could be objectively knowable if everything were merely subjectively dependent on “God’s Mood” (aka “God’s Will”) and had no substantial existence.

    In the actual material universe, objective moral truths are a definite feature.

  • >>>… consider the possibility that the most important realms of human thought, experience, and yearning, are areas in which Science has little or nothing to say, and in fact, are areas where Science may be completely irrelevant.<<<

    While science has great utility, it cannot substitute for philosophy (particularly in ethics and politics). But religion is definitely irrelevant to every aspect of life on Earth. That is a philosophic issue, not a scientific one.

  • >>>… aggressive proponents of the “New Atheism” …<<<

    Has someone come up with a "New God" or a "New Theism" for people to not believe in?

  • Sivan

    Still waiting for an answer.

    Why does “being created in the image of God [mean] that a human being has an importance or significance that is beyond and transcends the atoms, molecules, and chemistry that compose their material being”?

    I was trying to help you out by prompting you to define “value”, but you wanted to be a douche about it.

    • ||| Why does “being created in the image of God [mean] that a human being has an importance or significance that is beyond and transcends the atoms, molecules, and chemistry that compose their material being”? |||

      It doesn’t.

      The fact is there is no such thing as “the image of God.” As Moshe likes to point out, God is not-of-this-world and “totally other.” Only physical things have images, and God is automatically ruled out.

      Also note that individual rights do not derive from humans being “like God” — because God doesn’t have any rights!

      • John Jordan

        STODDARD SEZ: The fact is there is no such thing as “the image of God.”

        How do you know this is a fact Stoddard? People have been arguing about it for 5000 years and now you declare the debate is over and the facts are clear? Pray avail us, Stoddard. Tell us how you were able to settle “the facts of the matter.” The FACT is what you say is is either an attitude, an opinion, or a belief. No more, no less. And where God and the Soul of mankind are concerned, yours are no more valuable than anyone else’s. I do not doubt the scientific facts which show water to be 2 parts O and 1 part H. But any scientist or devotee of science (is Stoddard a scientist or a devotee?) who spouts certainties about the unknown and unknowable is not to be taken seriously (IMO, hahaha).

        • John Jordan

          Uhh, that should be 2 parts O and 1 part H. I am correcting myself with a real, verifiable, established, settled and accepted FACT.

        • John Jordan

          Uhh, pleas pardon my error in the above description of a molecule of water. It should be 2 parts H and 1 part O. I am correcting myself with a real, verifiable, established, settled and accepted FACT.

  • AW

    I love how moshe just dodges the second question altogether!

    “You are being obnoxiously pedantic. If you do not accept the concepts of “worth” and “value” then we have no common ground for a discussion”

    Translation: asking moshe to justify his claims with reason or evidence is “obnoxious”.

    • Moshe finds it “obnoxious,” Rex finds it “obtuse” — these guys are some flocking “birds of a feather”!

      • RexTugwell

        No, I find you obtuse You’ve got to work on your reading comprehension, Steve. That’s why I’m glad you’re around…for comic relief.

        • But look, Rex, you only feel that I am “obtuse” because you don’t have any good arguments to support your unnatural ideas. If you could argue, you wouldn’t bother with the ad hominem.

          It’s not rocket science.

        • RexTugwell

          I’ll let others be the judge of my arguments. Unlike you though, I’ve got a life. I don’t have time to contribute half the comments on Rabbi Maverick’s articles only to say the same question-begging nonsense.

          • You need to have some arguments, first, before anyone can judge them. Just saying, “I’ve got a life,” isn’t relevant.

            If you really do believe you have some arguments, you could let us know what they are. Even Rabbi Maverick puts his ideas out there to be seen.

            “Question-begging”? No, thanks.

  • >>>>Humans do not inherent value because of their intelligence, physical abilities, or business acumen.<<<<

    Actually, human intelligence (including business acumen) is the unique attribute which leads to the concept of individual rights. People need to be free to exercise their intelligence because their lives depend on it.

  • Sivan

    “[Human beings’] value comes from the fact that they are created in the image of God.”

    Moshe,

    1. Define value.
    2. Explain how being created in the image of God makes human beings valuable.

    • Sivan,

      A measure of worth, significance, or importance

      Being created in the image of God means that a human being has an importance or significance that is beyond and transcends the atoms, molecules, and chemistry that compose their material being

      • Sivan

        1. That definition isn’t helpful, as you just listed a series of synonyms. Can you define “worth”, “significance”, or “importance”?

        2. Why does “being created in the image of God [mean] that a human being has an importance or significance that is beyond and transcends the atoms, molecules, and chemistry that compose their material being”? Reiterating a statement with added verbosity is not an explanation.

        • Sivan,

          If that is not a definition then there is no definition. You are being obnoxiously pedantic. If you do not accept the concepts of “worth” and “value” then we have no common ground for a discussion. Define helpful, that, isn’t, you, statement, explanation,. listed, with, added, ad nauseum.

          • Sivan

            And there it is. “Value” is subjective regardless of whether human beings are the product of Creation or Nature.

            That’s why you can’t explain what it means to have “objective value” or why Creation renders human beings objectively valuable.

            So, you resort to name calling. Pathetic.

          • Values are an objective component of life, since all living things act in pursuit of them. Human, additionally, have the choice to decide on their values either objectively or subjectively. The choice is not predetermined or “inherent.”

          • Sivan is not being “pedantic,” but rather is being obnoxiously obscurantist. He likes to use words in ways opposite to what they really mean.

      • If God created the universe, then — from HIS pov — atoms have just the same “importance or significance” as humans or anything else.

        If you wish to claim that humans are somehow “special” in God’s Eyes and therefore have “rights” which He has arbitrarily denied to everything else, you’d certainly have a hard time proving it.

        It looks like you are taking for granted the natural distinctiveness of humans and, working backwards, are trying to put a “supernatural spin” on it — without the slightest bit of evidence or logic.

        • Sivan

          Ding, ding, ding!

          • Even if you’ve had your bell rung, the fact remains that values can be — and need to be — objective. Going the subjectivist route on values does not lead to the best results. Sticking to reality has a much better track record.

          • Sivan

            What is the difference between between a “subjective value” and an “objective value”?

          • The basic difference is that subjective value is based on feelings independent of facts and objective value is based on facts independent of feelings.

            Subjective values is emotion-based. Objective value is fact-based.

          • Sivan

            Can you give an example of an objective value?

          • Example:

            If you have a medical condition that can be fixed with brain surgery, it is an objective value to have a brain surgeon who can do the job.

            But you don’t have to utilize such an objectively valuable service. If you prefer, you could follow the subjective value of believing that politicians can give you better medical care than real doctors. So you could go to your Congressman’s office in Washington, instead of going to the hospital.

          • Subjective value is emotion-based. Objective value is fact-based.

          • Sivan

            Who can provide the best medical care depends on how one defines “best” with respect to medical care. The concept of “best” is subjective. Your example does not make the least bit of sense. Do you have another?

          • Notice that I did not refer to the “best” medical care. The example was about whether one would choose to go to a hospital for brain surgery, or to Congress. The hospital is the objectively correct choice.

            Still, with respect to medical care, we can define “best” objectively as “that which helps sustain life and health” — or subjectively as “that which is popular with politicians even though it’s harmful to life and health.”

            Note that politicians and bureaucrats running death panels would consider it “best” to let some people die rather than get medical care.

          • Sivan

            It’s a fact that the “best” medical care is “that which helps sustain life and health”? Based on what? The definition you just made up? Making up a definition of what constitutes the “best” medical care = subjectivity. You can make up your own definition. I can make up my own definition. Everyone has their own definition. That’s what subjective means.

          • Sorry you got it wrong, but maybe you’ll survive anyway. Who knows.

            But if you don’t want to live and be healthy, then when you get sick, by all means go to Congress instead of a doctor. Be a subjectivist about it — it’s your choice.

            Regardless, choice does not necessitate subjectivity. Objectivity is always an option for humans who haven’t lost their minds.

          • Sivan

            Let’s try a less asinine example.

            I define the best medical care as that which maximizes quality of life, so I want 4 months of palliative care after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

            You define the best medical care as that which sustains life, so you want surgery and chemo to live for 9 months.

            Whose definition of best medical care is objectively right? Whoever repeats their definition the most times in bold?

          • Even though you are being asinine, Dinger, I shall answer your question — just in case there is someone who is interested in the answer (admittedly a long shot).

            Given the available facts in your examples, it looks like both answers are the objectively correct ones in their contexts.

            In contrast, the subjectivist approach would be if you wanted to live longer than any medical prognosis, so blew off your doctors and went to a faith healer instead.

          • Sivan

            Objectivity is independent of context. That’s what objective means.

            Subjectivity depends on context. There is no absolute correct answer. That’s what subjective means.

            An objective truth that depends on context is a round square.

          • Sivan, you have taken the normal (i.e., dictionary) definitions and switched them to their opposites. I am interested in seeing if you have an argument for why that switch ought to be pulled. (If you are doing it just to be onery, though, I could understand that, too.)

          • Sivan

            Ha, ha. You got me. Greatest troll ever.

          • Why do you have such a low opinion of yourself?

            So you were just doing it to be onery . . . . it’s not such a wonderful accomplishment as you seem to think.

          • Sivan

            I was congratulating you on being such a fantastic troll. You definitely snared me. And now you just got me to post again. Kudos.

          • But I’m not a troll, Dinger. That’s something else to add to the list of things you’ve got backwards.

            How the heck big can that list grow?

    • “Value” is that which one acts to gain and/or keep.

      That is the practical general definition of the concept. To get into specific values, one needs to consider the questions of “to whom” and “for what.”

      Notice that if an “infinite, transcendent, omnipotent” being somehow managed to exist, such a being could have no possible values — because it would have nothing to gain and nothing to lose.

  • RexTugwell

    Where were all these Wizards of Smart when we were debating Stephen Meyer’s “Sigature in the Cell” for the past 2 weeks?

    Maybe Tom G is right. These guys were merely sent here to do damage control; ineffectively I might add.

  • Human beings can be endowed with unalienable rights by their infinite Creator;

    You know that–how?

    Come on, you must have seen it done, or have some great data indicating at least that it has happened. We need those data.

    Darwinian evolution endows nobody and nothing with any inherent rights at all.

    Biochemistry endows nobody and nothing with any inherent rights at all. Not only does it see chemistry as being quite similar across life, it sees chemistry as being quite similar both in life and in non-life. I guess biochemistry is the scourge of religion and the American way.

    America is built on the notion that we are accountable for our actions to a Supreme Judge.

    Really? Then why does the Constitution (you know, the actual basis of our nation, hence the name) avoid any reference to said being, and to prohibit religious tests for office, and via the First Amendment, to prohibit establishment of religion (originally, on the national level)?

    I’m not very fond of Coyne’s remarks, and especially his universal claims made about religion that are in fact based primarily in particular American religions and society. But the overreaching of his theist opponents seems like to make Coyne’s lapses fade by comparison.

    Glen Davidson

    • Lest anyone try to make a cheap point, yes, there is one formality in which the “Lord” is mentioned in the Constitution, as “in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven.”

      It does not appear to be a meaningful reference to what Moshe claims is the basis of our nation.

      Glen Davidson

    • Moshe Averick

      Glen,

      Perhaps you misunderstood what I was trying to say. I was not trying to PROVE the truth of the statements made in the Declaration of Independence, which of course preceeded the Constitution. When the founding fathers composed the Bill of Rights they took the principles set forth in the Declaration of Ind. for granted. They took it for granted that every human being had unalienable rights because of the unique relationship of the human being to his infinite, transcendent Creator. Humans do not inherent value because of their intelligence, physical abilities, or business acumen. Their value comes from the fact that they are created in the image of God, and that is inviolable. An upright walking primate who by a “lucky” fluke has more intelligence than a chimpanzee does not have inherent rights at all. He simply is what he is. There is no way to compose a document like the Dec. of Ind. or the Constitution whose philosophical basis is Darwinism. There is no way to escape that fact. If the truth is that we are nothing more than intelligent apes, then the chips will have to fall where they may. You can make up any value system that pleases you.

      You are entirely correct, biochemistry has nothing at all to tell us about the value or non-value of human life. That was actually the point I was trying to make.

      If Coyne wants to denigrate religion, then he should have the courage and integrity to carry it to it’s logical and philosphical consequences. He should condemn the Dec. of Ind. and Constitution as meaningless, baseless documents which are built on arbitrary and false constructs.

      • Perhaps you misunderstood what I was trying to say. I was not trying to PROVE the truth of the statements made in the Declaration of Independence, which of course preceeded the Constitution.

        No, I actually get that you’re trying to smuggle in the “truth” of creationism without the requisite evidence. I just recognize that if you’re going to say “Human beings can be endowed with unalienable rights by their infinite Creator,” you actually owe us some evidence for that audacious claim. And still we receive none.

        When the founding fathers composed the Bill of Rights they took the principles set forth in the Declaration of Ind. for granted.

        One can certainly raise some decent questions about that (about the extent and certainty of those beliefs in various framers), but I don’t actually think that it’s very far from the truth.
        Clearly the context was a deistic/theistic one, and it would seem that one would look at “rights” differently in another context.

        Their value comes from the fact that they are created in the image of God, and that is inviolable.

        Yes, well, the question of how you know this to be true again rises. You’re not just saying that this was the “theory” of rights prevalent in the framing of the Constitution, which it probably was, you go beyond that to claim that this is also the truth, while disparaging “Darwinian evolution” for not making similar empty claims (if it did, it wouldn’t be science as we know it).

        There is no way to compose a document like the Dec. of Ind. or the Constitution whose philosophical basis is Darwinism.

        Yes, and there’s no way to compose D of C or the Constitution on the basis of biochemistry or relativity. Why would anyone think of “Darwinism” as being a philosophical basis for any political framework?

        You are entirely correct, biochemistry has nothing at all to tell us about the value or non-value of human life. That was actually the point I was trying to make.

        Yet you continue to fault evolutionary theory for not providing the basis for the D of C or the Constitution. It does not become a worldview just because IDists/creationists attempt to cast it as one.

        He should condemn the Dec. of Ind. and Constitution as meaningless, baseless documents which are built on arbitrary and false constructs.

        I wouldn’t go that far, certainly, since the deistic/theistic context in which those were written were part of the continuing evolution of religion/thought in the European tradition, and the Constitution has feet in both theism and in secularism–and it appears to tilt explicitly toward the secular side. Nevertheless, there is truth in the idea that social beliefs about humanity that are rooted primarily in religious “theory” have not been seriously reconsidered as to their basis when and where religion is held no longer to have force and power.

        Glen Davidson

        • Glen,

          Not trying to smuggle in anything at all. Just trying to lay out the implications of the two world views. If you want the full exposition of the evidence for God, the reality of the world of spirituality, and that life is necessarily the result of a supernatural act of creation, you’ll have to read my book. (On AMazon and Kindle)

          The only basis for the belief that humans have inherent value and inherent unalienable right is in a dogma of a Divine creation. If that is not true (again, I did not attempt to prove this in the article) then human beings have no inherent rights or value any more than a cockroach has inherent rights or value.
          In an atheistic world the rights and value of a human being is subjectively determined by the individual or a group of individuals (society).

          To say that the worldview espoused by the founding fathers in D of I and Con. are secular is self-evidently absurd. There is a big difference between saying that the founding fathers wanted to force Americans into accepting a particular claim of Divine revelation and saying that they took for granted the basic notion that there was an act of Divine creation and that human rights derive from that act.

          From the athiest/materialist point of view they are nothing more than fabricated, artificial constructs.

          • ___To say that the worldview espoused by the founding fathers in D of I and Con. are secular is self-evidently absurd.___

            Except for the fact that it IS secular (rather than religious).

            I think you are confounding the Enlightenment with the long history of religious belief that preceded it. You are indulging in a post hoc fallacy: since the Declaration of Independence came after religion, therefore religion must have been the cause of it.

          • The only basis for the belief that humans have inherent value and inherent unalienable right is in a dogma of a Divine creation. If that is not true (again, I did not attempt to prove this in the article) then human beings have no inherent rights or value any more than a cockroach has inherent rights or value.

            And, because you don’t bother backing up the “truth value” of your claims, you don’t show that theism/deism actually can found anyone’s rights at all.

            To say that the worldview espoused by the founding fathers in D of I and Con. are secular is self-evidently absurd.

            The Constitution is unquestionably secular. That’s not to say that it is atheistic, merely that it doesn’t trouble with the junk claims that religions make.

            There is a big difference between saying that the founding fathers wanted to force Americans into accepting a particular claim of Divine revelation and saying that they took for granted the basic notion that there was an act of Divine creation and that human rights derive from that act.

            Of course that’s true, and what of it? I acknowledged the religious (although not solely religious) origin of such beliefs, but there’s not a shred of evidence that religion either reliably leads to such concepts, or that it can provide a meaningful basis for “rights.”

            From the athiest/materialist point of view they are nothing more than fabricated, artificial constructs.

            Actually, they are attempts to rationalize societal beliefs, ways of getting along with each other.

            Of course it’s fair to say that Nietzsche did a whole lot better at really questioning Christian assumptions than did Marx or bourgeois true believers do, and that these latter sorts have no adequate response to Nietzsche’s challenge to give up Xian assumptions. That said, there’s no obvious reason to overthrow relatively prosperous and what most of us consider to be relatively decent government.

            Glen Davidson

          • “In an atheistic world the rights and value of a human being is subjectively determined by the individual or a group of individuals (society).”

            Yes. Just as they are in any group that believes in God(s). The litany of bad or outdated rules in societies throughout monotheistic history are testament to that. The rules of Gods change over time, even if they write books about them (then they get re-interpreted). This happens because societies evolve, what was ok yesterday may not be seen the same way tomorrow. But we, as a species, are capable of creating our own rules, however misguided they may sometimes be. Many would argue that the Atheistic/Darwinian view cannot support a just society. As you stated in your own peice

            “they do not evolve equally at all!”

            But I disagree. This is a distortion of the idea of fitness within Darwinian theory. Humans have a greatly evolved capacity for co-operation. This would tend to indicate that natural selection has in fact favoured the retention of co-operative traits. We are socially evolved to the point where we are capable of living among millions of other humans in vast metropoli (and creating the metropoli in the first place). Among humans we love charisma and social productivity, it is “fit” to be a social climber and that requires diplomacy and “playing nice”.

            Co-operation is in our nature, to the point where we can recognise behaviours that disrupt the harmony in groups and we negatively sanction them. This also occurs among other social animals. The Darwinian view is misrepresented by those that see evolution as only producing brutality.

        • Sure, Moshe owes us some evidence to support his claims, but that is a debt can’t pay. What chapter is religious bankruptcy?

      • \\\*… every human being had unalienable rights because of the unique relationship of the human being to his infinite, transcendent Creator.*///

        Consider the transparent absurdity of that notion. If God is supposed to have created the whole physical universe, along with people, then there is nothing “unique” about humans in that regard: God created rocks and cockroaches just like He did people.

        Notice also that humans do not exist as “the image of God” — since humans are not infinite, not omniscient, not even omnipotent, infallible, and transcendent. The whole “image of God”/”existence of God” scenario is pure fiction and wishful/magical thinking.

    • }}}You know that-how?{{{

      He doesn’t know it. He simply has faith and hope.

      No one can know something like that which cannot possibly be true.

    • ___… why does the Constitution … avoid any reference to said being[i.e., a supernatural Creator], and prohibit religious tests for office, and via the First Amendment, prohibit establishment of religion …___

      One reason is that religion, as such, is a danger to freedom (not a support for it). Another reason is that no such supernatural Creator exists.

  • salvage

    Mushe.

    Gods aren’t real.

    Grow up.

    • PG

      I have coined the term for Coyne’s antics. Its called “NOGODJIHAD”.
      Unfortunately for Coyne, he is starting his atheists Holy War right when his own evolutionary camp of colleague’s such as James Shapiro et.al are blowing up his Dawinian ammo dumps!

      • salvage

        What are you babbling about?

        • Moshe Averick

          Salvage,

          See the latest blog by Dr. James Shapiro, a University of Chicago microbiologist, on the Huffington Post.

          • salvage

            Just read it and OH WOW! Evolution isn’t true! It was all magic, those make no sense myths are true! Stunning!

    • Moshe Averick

      Hi Unsalvageable,

      Always good to hear from you. I agree, actually. gods are not real, GOD is real.

      • salvage

        See that’s part of your delusion, you somehow think your god is different from the thousands of others.

        It came from the same place and contains the exact same substance; none.

        But tell me Mushe, what makes your god different from Zeus?

  • THEMAYAN

    The Clergy Letter Project is also another attempt to dismantel the fundamental doctrines of Christianity in favor of metaphysical naturalism.

    I also include these two statements below which attest to how metaphysical naturalism itself is guarded with its own brand of (as the writer put it) “jihad” like like fervor, in spite of many well known failed predictions and assumptions associated with the theory.

    Dr. Richard Lewontin—Dr. Coyne’s mentor at Harvard—”wrote Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door”

    “There is a fundamental conflict” between science and religion, Coyne wrote in 2008, and it “can never be reconciled until all religions cease making claims about the nature of reality.” In fact, “the only contribution that science can make to the ideas of religion is atheism”

    • Note how carefully these people clip out the context (or copy people who did so. Here’s a bigger part of what Lewontin wrote:

      “With great perception, Sagan sees that there is an impediment to the popular credibility of scientific claims about the world, an impediment that is almost invisible to most scientists. Many of the most fundamental claims of science are against common sense and seem absurd on their face. Do physicists really expect me to accept without serious qualms that the pungent cheese that I had for lunch is really made up of tiny, tasteless, odorless, colorless packets of energy with nothing but empty space between them? Astronomers tell us without apparent embarrassment that they can see stellar events that occurred millions of years ago, whereas we all know that we see things as they happen. When, at the time of the moon landing, a woman in rural Texas was interviewed about the event, she very sensibly refused to believe that the television pictures she had seen had come all the way from the moon, on the grounds that with her antenna she couldn’t even get Dallas. What seems absurd depends on one’s prejudice. Carl Sagan accepts, as I do, the duality of light, which is at the same time wave and particle, but he thinks that the consubstantiality of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost puts the mystery of the Holy Trinity “in deep trouble.” Two’s company, but three’s a crowd.

      Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.”

      [Bolding added–if the html tags work here]

      I don’t especially like how Lewontin wrote about these matters, but restore especially the last couple of sentences and it’s more than a bit clear that Lewontin’s concern is epistemological. Start saying that magic happens, and what can we possibly conclude? A witch killed that person, not the accused murderer. Light was magically created en route from the stars, so means nothing about the age and composition of the universe. A magical deity made first life. The mind has a magical dimension beyond the brain. These are all roughly equivalent, and meaningless claims based on the idea that magic intervenes–when in fact we have no evidence for said magic.

      Lewontin overdoes the “commitment to materialism” (which itself is nothing fundamental), for the fact is that we simply take the world as it presents itself to us when we refuse to add in fictions that make nonsense of what it actually is.

      Glen Davidson

      • Moshe Averick

        Glen,

        I don’t think what you added about Lewontin’s statement makes any difference. The most important part about Lewontin’s statement is that he has a priori told us that he is not interested in seeking the truth. He is interested in pursuing a materialistic/scientific/atheistic agenda. Science is supposed to serve truth, not the opposite. He is essentially saying, for example, that even if Scientific investigation would lead us to conclude that the first life requires a supernatural creator he would not be prepared to consider the possibility. The same goes for neurosience’s total inability to make heads or tails out of human consciousness and self awareness. He is not prepared to even consider the possibility that the “self” is separate from the brain and is non-material, no matter what the evidence indicates. In my book, I illustrate the absolutely absurd positions that materialists are prepared to put forward rather than consider a non-material soul. Coyne’s rejection of free will is just one example.

        • The most important part about Lewontin’s statement is that he has a priori told us that he is not interested in seeking the truth.

          Of course he hasn’t. He’s made the crucial point that you can’t just say “anything goes” in science.

          There is much in his essay that I think is badly stated, perhaps because Lewontin really didn’t understand what’s going on at all well–he was no philosopher. And the way that he wrote about “materialism” being a priori was bound to be quote-mined. But Beck just happens to be right, you give an inch to fictions, and there’s no reason to deny last Tuedayism or for Behe to claim that God didn’t confer chloroquine resistance to P. falciparum. Behe has limits, they’re just arbitrary, and relegated to the mysteries of the past, a favorite trope of humans.

          He is essentially saying, for example, that even if Scientific investigation would lead us to conclude that the first life requires a supernatural creator he would not be prepared to consider the possibility.

          If he is, he’s just plain wrong. And I’m not entirely sure, because, as I wrote previously, there’s much in his essay with which I don’t agree, at least as written. He seems to rather overstate a “commitment to materialism,” only to pull back to the legitimate position of being unwilling to say that anything goes.

          He is not prepared to even consider the possibility that the “self” is separate from the brain and is non-material, no matter what the evidence indicates.

          Or, one would more rightly say, contrary to all of the evidence that we have.

          Glen Davidson

        • >>>>In my book, I illustrate the absolutely absurd positions that materialists are prepared to put forward rather than consider a non-material soul.<<<<

          Moshe, you have stuck yourself with the problem of having a manifestly false alternative. You wish us to believe that our souls are supernatural since they couldn’t exist otherwise.

          But take a sensible look at reality here. The “materialists” are wrong to claim that the soul doesn’t exist, and the “supernaturalists” are wrong to claim that the soul is supernatural. Neither side wants to admit that human consciousness is a perfectly natural aspect of our lives — which it obviously is.

          You present us with denial as our only choice: denial that the soul is real or (what amounts to the same thing) denial that the soul is natural.

  • “Our brains are simply meat computers that, like real computers, are programmed by our genes and experiences to convert an array of inputs into a predetermined output.”
    –Dr. Jerry Coyne, (biologist, U. of Chicago)

    The Meat Machines, it appears have been let loose…..

    Judging from most of the comments so far, I’d say that some of Jerry Coyne’s (or PZ Myers’) atheistically “determined* robots have been given their marching orders.
    And we all know how much “free will” folks like this admit to having when it comes to resisting such an order……
    Well, at least we can be grateful that the folks giving them the orders are a relatively powerless lot…unlike their genetic kinsmen and religiously philosophical forefathers, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot…….(and other similarly inclined Spawns of Meister Darwin).

    Just for fun….

    We’ve determined….”truth”’s subjective!
    Even then, it’s just a mist;
    We’re determined….There’s no Purpose;
    All true Meaning’s been dismissed!

    So, you see, we’re quite determined…
    Oh, my yes! We’re lean ‘n’ mean!
    We’re the Cult of Chemo-Cousins
    From the Tribe of Meat Machines..

    • RexTugwell

      Like!

  • Rabbi Averick tries to make it seem like Jefferson was a “Creationist” — but that is not the actual case.

    Jefferson was not even religious, let alone a fundamentalist or a “Creationist.” Jefferson was not Christian, not Jewish, not Muslim, not Hindu or Buddhist or any sort of religionist. The closest he came, and it’s not really close, is that he might be described as a “deist.”

    • THEMAYAN

      “Jefferson was not even religious, let alone a fundamentalist or a “Creationist”

      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator etc…..

      Steve do you know who said those words?

      • Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. You could look it up.

        Rabbi Averick’s problem in this regard is that he is propounding the ludicrous notion that since Jefferson used the word “Creator,” then Jefferson must be a believer in “Creationism.”

  • Mark Orman

    There is no such thing as “theistic” vs. “atheistic” evolution; there is only evolution by natural selection, as propounded by Charles Darwin and his successors. Any attempt to introduce G-d into this picture goes beyond the bounds of science, eviscerates the meaning of the word “natural”, and puts one squarely into the realm of the supernatural. Which is fine, and for those so inclined entirely appropriate, perhaps even the most important thing we as humans can do. But call it by its proper name; i.e. theology, not science. Attempts to conflate the two (e.g. scientific creationism, an oxymoron if I ever heard one)is nothing more than a cheap attempt to muddy the waters by religious fundamentalists who choose to stick to an unecessary narrow literalist interpretation of the bible. It has been a Jewish tradition for over two thousand years to recognise that our understanding of Torah must be leavened by oral knowledge and human insight. As we learn more about the world in which we live, our understanding and interpretation of Torah needs to be deepened and broadened to incorporate newfound wisdom. We need a Rambam for our age to accomplish such a synthesis.

    • Moshe Averick

      Mark,

      personally I don’t think that random mutations and natural selection is anywhere near adequate to explain the organized complexity of the living world, unless there is an intelligence guiding the process. However, as I said in the article, I don’t have the expertise so I leave that battle to experts.

      However, some people who also don’t think that a purely unguided evolutionary process could account for say, the sonar of a bat, comporomise and are willing to accept a guided evolutionary process. You seem to have an aversion to the supernatural, others don’t.

      • The supernatural, of course, cannot explain anything in nature because it is not part of nature. The supernatural is “totally other,” not connected to reality.

        In other words, the supernatural is not real. Except as a literary devise (asking for the suspension of disbelieve).

        • leebowman

          “The supernatural, of course, cannot explain anything in nature because it is not part of nature.”

          That is an assumption (presumption).

          “The supernatural is “totally other,” not connected to reality.”

          Only if your conception of supernatural is of a magic unreality.

          “In other words, the supernatural is not real.”

          If you define supernatural as ‘outside of the natural universe’, perhaps. But (1), our knowledge of what constitutes the ‘natural universe’ is limited, but expanding. So (2), ‘supernatural’ is perhaps an added dimension, but somewhat beyond our present understanding of say, quantum physics.

          “Except as a literary devise [sic, noun form is device], (asking for the suspension of disbelieve).”

          The term is just that; a term. And it is largely used as a means to discredit intelligence(s) beyond ours.

          • 1. That’s history, not presumption.

            2. “Totally other” is Rabbi Averick’s conception of God.

            3. “Outside the universe” is also Moshe’s notion of God.

            4. “God” is still a literary device asking for “suspension of disbelief” — rather like Voldemort, for example

          • leebowman

            1. True, that ‘supernatural’ by the ‘historical’ definition [most common]“cannot explain anything in nature” as stated above. I just differ on it’s definition.

            2. It may be simply *your* assessment that he defines God as “totally other”, which you then termed as “not connected to reality”. Taken together, those two connotations do not fit his [or any theist’s] concept of God, since the second part pigeonholes the first part as imaginary.

            3. “Outside the universe” is a commonly held concept of a force that created the known universe, and would logically imply an external existence, but not of necessity remaining external to the universe.

            If, for example, the force that created all matter also created bioforms, it would have to interact *within* the universe, at least to a degree.

            Further, there is some evidence that the universe is layered [multiple dimensions], making a discernment of higher forms difficult, given our limited knowledge.

            But in or out of the universe is not knowable or verifiable, and is thus a moot question. What is somewhat addressable by ‘science’, is the questions regarding more recent, and to a degree empirically verifiable, historic biologic events, a valid pursuit.

            What is not ascertainable at this juncture is the factuality of natural causation at all levels.

            But the above are my own current conclusions, and subject to revision.

            4. “God” employed as a literary device can indeed be employed to “suspend disbelief”, but by the employment of subjectivism [questionable Biblical citations, as well as logical fallacies, David Hume et al}, it can (and does) *promote* disbelief as well.

            Best evidence of God (or gods, surrogates of God, angelics, other intelligentsia} are what’s in plain view. Denial of a created realm (biologic formations), based on specific criticisms of past and present religious tenets, does *NOT* address the evidence. Straw men erected ad nauseam.

          • ___Further, there is some evidence that …___

            Whatever there is evidence for (and there is a lot of it around), it is not evidence for the supernatural.

            The supernatural is a matter only of blind (i.e., religious) faith. If there is actual evidence for something, then that something cannot possibly be supernatural. The notion of “evidence of the supernatural” is self-contradictory.

          • leebowman

            “Whatever there is evidence for (and there is a lot of it around), it is not evidence for the supernatural.”

            “The supernatural is a matter only of blind (i.e., religious) faith.”

            Not if defined properly. For those, like yourself, that regard the term as connoting magic, leprechauns, sky fairies and orbiting teapots, if is of course nonsense.

            But rather, the supra-natural realm is real, but likely based upon as yet undefined matter, possibly quantum physics based.

            But again, the worn thin args against the possibility of additional realms have no basis, other than historical and anecdotal religious debasements.

            And updated hypotheses are based on probabilities (a created realm), rather than religious dogma. It is entirely possible that some religious revelations may have merit, but are not offered as being scientifically accredited.

            They are and will remain ‘faith based’, and in no way an encumbrance to scientific inquiry. What harms science is its own imposed dogmas.

          • “Religious revelations” are necessarily fake.

          • leebowman

            So, all of the prophets from the past were liars? Or our accounts of them were contrived?

            I’ve read that of the ~ 2500 Biblical prophecies, 2000 have been fulfilled.

            Since not only the factitude of the prophecies [dates, source, content], but confirmations of fulfillment are historical document based, there is no way to prove those figures. But to state that none occurred is a bit of a stretch.

          • There was the speech where Abe Lincoln asked the audience, “How many legs does a dog have if you count the tail as a leg?” The audience answered, “Five!” — and Lincoln had to point out to them that the dog had four legs. They couldn’t change a tail into a leg by calling it a leg.

            Similarly, you cannot change “religious revelations” from fake to having “factitude” by denying the fakery.

  • Kevin Bjornson

    Theism does not give dignity to humans. We already have that, because of human nature. Rather, religion relegates man to a subordinate position, relative to an alleged supernatural power. So it does the opposite of what you claim.

    There is no such thing as “atheistic humanism”. That would be like saying, there is a type of humanism that opposes the idea that an unknown, undescribable entity does not exist. How can we say it does not exist, when we cannot define it?

    Neither does “vegetarian humanism” exist. Because vegetarianism has nothing to do with humanism.
    One can be a vegetarian or carnivorous humanist. Humanism means, proper fulfillment of human nature, and development of arts, sciences, business, and other distinctly human actions.

    Human nature provides the only proper grounding for human ethics. Because the “ought” is necessarily derived from the “is”. The only alternative is to say, the “ought” is derived from the “is not”. However, ethics is something, “is not” is nothing, and something cannot come from nothing. Human nature is the nature of humans, and is, therefore, the only possible “is” of humans (from which human ethics is derived).

    • “Theism does not give dignity to humans. We already have that, because of human nature. Rather, religion relegates man to a subordinate position, relative to an alleged supernatural power. So it does the opposite of what you claim.”

      No, this is false. Atheism does not raise us up to a common level of dignity. Rather it pulls us down to a common level of lowliness. We are not raised up to the level of “humans made in God’s image” but rather we are lowered to the common level of the earthworm. We are reduced to a level of meaninglessness and irrelevance, blobs of goo on a speck of stardust, preparing for an eternity of heat death.

      • How dare you insult my cousin the earthworm! From a Darwinian perspective each creature is a marvellous piece of chemical and biological engineering. Best of all, we did it on our own, through the process of evolution, very empowering. I am proud to be a part of the animal kingdom and I do consider my cousin the earthworm to be “low” in any way. It (they are hermaphrodites, I struggled with the correct pronoun here due to my human limitations) is one of the most important creatures on our planet as it breaks down waste into soil for the rest of us (animals and plants). I am proud of my connection to such a wonderful creature.

        • sentence should be: “I do NOT consider my cousin the earthworm to be “low” in any way.”

        • Moshe Averick

          Alan,

          If you are proud to be an earthworm, perhaps we should feed you to the birds also.

          • I wouldn’t willingly let any of my cousins eat me. But I have eaten many of them, as the bird eats the worm. That is life. Even the worm destroys countless organisms in its search for food.

            You sever yourself from such a close and complex history for a distant fairytale. To me it can only satisfy some need to feel superior. Why so afraid of being related or compared to animals?

        • salvage

          It’s blather like this that makes it clear that you haven’t even bothered to understand evolution.

          It’s funny that you don’t let your ignorance get in the way of talking about it.

      • Moshe Averick

        Apologize,

        could not have said it better myself.

      • salvage

        >Atheism does not raise us up to a common level of dignity.

        Nor does it claim to. Atheism means no such things as gods, it says nothing about anything else.

        >Rather it pulls us down to a common level of lowliness.

        So people are low because there are no such things as gods? Why is that?

        >We are not raised up to the level of “humans made in God’s image” but rather we are lowered to the common level of the earthworm.

        Ooooh, I see, you want to believe that a universe making perfect god created you! Can’t handle being a product of nature?

        >We are reduced to a level of meaninglessness and irrelevance, blobs of goo on a speck of stardust, preparing for an eternity of heat death.

        Uh no.

        It’s truly a sad arrogance that you possess if you can’t find meaning in anything beyond Bronze Age mythology.

        And we are made of stardust, that’s a proven fact unlike your silly god but because that clearly terrifies you you’ll delude yourself to think otherwise.

        Oh and your god? It’s a psychopathic mass murderer who demands love, hardly a fount of dignity.

    • Moshe Averick

      Kevin,

      Human nature also includes selfishness, rage, jealousy, and murder. Therefore what?

      • That seems like backup for Kevin’s point. You recognise those things as dangerous. Likewise, except for a statistically small group of humans, most of us are also capable of this recognition. Furthermore these emotions and acts are recognised as dangerous by many animals. There is clearly a survival trait in the ability to recognise when the guy (thing) next to you is angry, homicidal or attempting to freeload. Especially if you live in a group or a crowded/dangerous area.

  • Sal Bro

    Mr. Averick’s first argument is bad: the Declaration of Independence wouldn’t make sense if there were no god, but because it’s the Declaration of Independence, it has to make sense, ergo god?

    His second argument is just obscene: The world looked to the US for “salvation” during/following World War II because the US is a religious nation? Apparently, resources & lives contributed by allies with large religious populations don’t count for anything in the rabbi’s mind. Any atheist Americans who lost their lives during WWII also don’t count; let’s just forget that Germany was a majority-Christian nation during WWII; and we can chalk up atomic bombs and Japanese-American internment camps to the US’s “moral fortitude”.

    Lastly, Mr. Averick has had plenty of opportunities to educate himself about evolution, considering that this is far from the first time that he’s written poorly on the topic. It’s obvious that he is incapable of understanding even the most basic principles of natural selection. Dr. Coyne would do well to ignore this load of trip, lest he taint it with an ounce of credibility.

    • Moshe Averick

      SAl,

      You did not seem to grasp my point. I did not say…ergo god. I was simply pointing out the logical consequences of an atheistic world view. American democracy, the Const. and Dec. of Ind. are ridiculous from the viewpoint of an atheist. I was just making clear what the consequences of each side is. You can decide for yourself which side you want to be on.

      Your second point: Dont’ blame me. Jerry Coyne was the one who called our religious society dysfunctional not me. I just pointed out the simple reality: that our “dysfunctional religious society” (as Coyne describes it) was the one that saved the whole world.

      Your third point: You really don’t seem to be reading the article carefully. I did not talk about Darwinian evolution at all, so I don’t understand about what you are commenting. Please read more carefully before commenting.

      • From your comments, Moshe, you show little understanding of either the Constitution or atheism.

        The U.S. Constitution does not depend on religion; it doesn’t need religion in any way. And there are plenty of us atheists who think the Constitution is great — and that trying to tie it to religion is ridiculous.

      • Also, remember that America is not a democracy, but a constitutional republic.

        And religion is hurting the country, not helping it.

  • Bennett

    “We could best promote evolution…by concentrating on bringing Catholics and mainline Protestants into the “no religion” category!”

    Speaking as a Catholic, thanks but no thanks. I’m just fine with my understanding of theology and microbio, anthopology, etc. as they stand–on their own respective feet, with an appropriate understanding of the difference between final, efficient, material, and formal causes. Maybe if Dr. Coyne read some Thomas Aquinas, he’d appreciate how a little philosophy goes a long way toward a balanced paradigm.

    And perhaps he could best promote science by moving biology into the “no religion” category, too. At least Alain de Botton and A.C. Grayling just write books and draw up plans for temples to atheism. Absurd wastes of time and money, but harmless. This jihadism, replete with calls to mock and marginalize people, embodies all the worst qualities of the ‘evil’ ‘dysfunctional’ force he claims to hate.

    Makes you think of certain nations in the Near and Far East who decry “imperialism” while propping up kings and dictators who relentlessly seek the extermination of all their political, ideological, and religious enemies.

    Just ask Moshe what happens when intolerant bigots start conflating religious intolerance, neo-Darwinian biology, social planning, and the need for a ‘solution’ to society’s ills.

  • steve oberski

    “In the 21st century the greatest evil that threatens mankind is a nuclear-armed radical Islam. Will freedom-loving people look to atheists in Denmark and Czechoslovakia to save them? Once again, mankind looks to the “dysfunctionally religious” United States of America to stand on guard. ”

    So we are depending on one “dysfunctionally religious” society to protect us from another ?

    Good job if you can get it, but wouldn’t we be overall better off if religiously informed geo-politics just went away and international relations stopped being a pissing contest over whose imaginary friend can beat up the other side’s imaginary friend ?

    And if one want’s to lay blame at anyone’s doorstep over who has enabled Muslim theocracies become the threat to world stability that they are we need look no further than short sighted US foreign policy, once again informed in large part by, you guessed it, religion.

    • Moshe Averick

      Steve,

      After reading your post, I wondered if you were going to suggest that we all hold hands and sing “Everybody get together, gonna love one another right now” (an old, but quite good song from the 60’s)

      What would you suggest to replace the principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence? The first great ideology that eliminated God from the equation was communism and we all know how well that worked out.

      In all seriousness, what would you suggest?

  • Chris Weiss

    The problem I see with the premises of Rabbi is the place of religion in society. Respect for the private personal practice of religion is not the same as integration into government and education. If you do a search on the words “god” or “creator” in the constitution, which is the charter of our federal government, you will find no references to god, creator, etc. In fact, the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli made it clear that the founding fathers did not consider the government or the country to be founded on a religious perspective. The freedom of individuals to practice religion as they see fit is a personal right, and religion has no role in government.

    Coming back to science, one has to ask how would someone’s beliefs affect the outcome or direction of research?? How does a scientist search for god in empirical inquiry? If god is truly spiritual, then the answer to these questions should be “not at all” and “you can’t.” Coyne and the “New Atheists” are reacting to the attempted at ideological hegemony by the religious who are trying to force creationism and ID into primary school education. Even though there are multiple court cases banning creationism and ID from public school science, the lack of respect for this separation spear headed by groups such as the Discovery Institute and Answers in Genesis.

    • Moshe Averick

      Chris,

      “How does a scientist search for god in empirical inquiry?”

      One example: What is the most reasonable explanation for the Origin of Life? Science is as clueless now as it was in Darwin’s time. In fact, now it is worse, because we have a much deeper understanding “of the magnitude of the problem” as Woese and Wuchtershauser put it. Are scientists prepared to consider the possiblity of a Creator or not? In fact they are not. They have a priori rejected the idea. This means it is the scientists who are trying to shut down free inquiry, not ID proponents. Coyne is among the worst.

      • ___“What is the most reasonable explanation for the Origin of Life?”____

        It is still too early to say. Nobody has yet figured out an explanation much beyond the fact that there obvious is one.

        ___“Are scientists prepared to consider the possiblity of a [supernatural] Creator or not?”___

        Obviously NOT. At least, not rational, objective scientists (doing actual science, as contrasted to indulging in religious fantasies). The explanation can only be found in the real world, i.e, in nature, not in some imagined “supernatural realm.”

  • [[[Human beings can be endowed with unalienable rights by their infinite Creator;]]]

    Only if by “infinite Creator” you mean nature and not something somehow “transcendent” (i.e., unnatural).

    Individual rights are a natural attribute of humans, they are not a literary fiction like God.

  • [[[… he informed us that free-will itself is an illusion!]]]

    Well, someone can say “free will is an illusion,” but they cannot actually mean it, since meaning to say something is possible only because humans actually do have free will.

    Saying that “free will is an illusion” is logically equivalent to saying that “a circle is square.”

  • [[[“… not only are there no objective moral truths in a godless/materialistic universe,…]]]

    That philosophic notion has it backwards. Realistically, it is the notion of “God as Ruler of the Universe” that wipes out objective moral truths by trying to replace them with “God’s Commandments.”

    Following “God’s Will” is the opposite of rationally understanding and following objective moral principles.

    • Randy

      Your premise on objective moral truths falls a bit short. How could people apply objective standards for morality across the entire human race? It would be individual opinions or generally held standards by groups of people. But you could not achieve “objective” standards across the entire human race from within the human race itself.

      To achieve true objectivity, you would have to have some transcendent standard applied equally to all people. God has provided that standard in the Bible. Whether you choose to believe it or not is your exercise of free-will.

      • ]]]To achieve true objectivity, you would have to have some transcendent standard applied equally to all people.[[[

        Objectivity is precisely what a “transcendent standard” cannot give you. In fact, practically speaking, the purpose of setting a “transcendent standard” is to avoid objectivity (that is, to “transcend” it).

        To achieve objectivity in morality, we need to deal with the actual objective facts and conditions of human life, rather than ignoring them in favor of some “transcendent standard” (i.e., some non-human considerations).

  • RexTugwell

    Hey, what a surprise. Steve Stoddard is the first to comment and not say anything new.

    • That religion is anti-science is certainly not news. You can check back, for instance, to the 16th century where Copernicus had some trouble — and Giordano Bruno was murdered by the Roman Inquisition.

  • Science, as such, is necessarily atheistic. To attempt to introduce the supernatural, the miraculous, into an explanation of something is to drop the context of science and retreat into religion.

    The idea of “theistic science” is a contradiction. “Creation, by God!” is an anti-science belief.

    • Randy

      Does true science follow evidence to the truth, no matter what that truth may be? Or does true science ignore an outcome because the truth does not fit its presuppositions?

      Your statement that the idea of a Creator is de-facto “anti-science” only works if you limit science by your presuppositions.

      The fact is that the universe had a beginning. No credible science is to be found that suggests otherwise. If science is defined as purely naturalistic, only what the five senses can tell us, then the concept of origins is beyond the realm of scientific inquiry. It is pointless for science to try and explain what is, by definition, beyond its scope of inquiry.

      Therefore, the consideration of a Creator is not “anti-science” – science has no basis for studying past the beginning of the time/space continuum.

      • ___“Does true science follow evidence to the truth, no matter what that truth may be?”___

        Yes! That is what it does. No religious mumbo-jumbo need apply.

        Gaining knowledge of the actual, objective reality is the goal — not something somehow “transcedent” or “supernatural.”

      • /__Your statement that the idea of a Creator is de-facto “anti-science” only works if you limit science by your presuppositions.__\

        No, it works when you limit you “presuppositions” TO REALITY.

        You can only get a supernatural “Creator” into your thinking if you “presuppose” that you are not going to stick to reality.

      • -\-If science is defined as purely naturalistic, only what the five senses can tell us,…-/-

        Science is so much more than “only what the five senses can tell us”!

        The senses are only the starting point. Real scientists actually get to think.

    • MaxMarie

      Are you nutty? Science IS Miraculous! Science is amazing and wonderful.

      Some of the greatest scientific leaps have been made by deeply religious people.

      Nicholas Copernicus, Catholic layman (very devout), posed the Heliocentric Theory. Albert the Great, Catholic priest, founder of what we now call “natural science.” One of THE most critical thinkers of the middle ages. Georges LeMaitre, Catholic priest, posed the Big Bang Theory. Fr. Gregor Mendell, also a Catholic priest, is called the father of genetics. Nicholas Steno, Catholic priest, first geologist. Creator of “Steno’s Principals.” André Marie Ampere, Catholic layman, when we refer to “amperes” in terms of electricity – yeah. Comes from discoveries this devoted (attended daily mass) man made. Andrew Gordon, Catholic priest, created the first electric motor. Jean Picard, Catholic priest, first person to measure the size of Earth. A solar observatory is named after him.

      I really could type a much bigger list. But you’re just going to bury your head and ignore or disregard it. Which is what people like you accuse others of doing. This is a tiny list of folks from my own faith. You simply cannot dismiss religious scientists.

      I love science. Always have. My IQ is above average. Assuming we are all ignorant, the way you have, is – well – ignorant. Assuming that we immediately attribute a gap in our findings to God is also ignorant.

      • \\\Some of the greatest scientific leaps have been made by deeply religious people.///

        Yes, when they were doing science instead of doing religion.

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