August 19, 2008

What's the Purpose of Evil?

I cannot even answer if evil is eliminated will there be free will in Heaven? I know we won't want to leave and/or be tempted to leave.

We can appreciate Gods goodness in the presence of evil. Unlike Adam who didn't know evil, Satan who didn't know evil, until they fell. We do! Because of it, we so appreciate his goodness and no matter what temptation that will come our way in heaven, if that could even happen, there would be no way, why? Because we knew how horrible evil was and now we can fully appreciate his goodness.

The presence of sin allows God to demonstrate his righteousness, the presence of sin allows God to demonstrate His love, and how else could He show the character of love that loves enemies and sinners if there were none? God endures this horrible assault on His everlasting holiness; He endures the horrifying blaspheming, history of fallen beings, He suffers it, the imposition it is on His purity to display His wrath to the fullest extent, to put Himself on everlasting display.

Why are we here? What is the theological answer? To glorify God and enjoy Him ever more. How do you glorify God? Here is how, you sinner, go get saved. Get saved so God can be glorified, that's it; this is the purpose of this entire universe.

God knew we would sin, He knew we would rebel, He knew we would introduce evil, He knew it. So that he can send forth a savior born of a virgin, to live under the law to save us under the curse of the law so that, we can be a little trophy of his grace, he can always point to us as a testimony to his goodness. Ephesians 2:7

We wouldn't know how God is righteous as He is, everlastingly, and give him glory for it. If it hadn't of been for unrighteousness, we wouldn't know He's loving as He is if it hadn't been for sin, we wouldn't know He's holy if it weren't for judgment.

How holy is God? So holy that He must send out of His presence, everlastingly, anyone who is not fit. Why of all this? That he might make known the riches of his glory, that is, He did all of this in order that He might gather into heaven a redeemed humanity who would forever glorify Him for all that He is. (paraphrased from Todd Friel and Dr. John MacArthur)

bit.ly/whyevil

35 comments:

  1. Hi Dan,

    OK, Thanks for your answer at the previous thread. I thought I had lost you.

    So, the video at WOTM on evilution is linked here (the first video, titled "evolution").

    Now, someone at Ray's posted something about the video being "brilliant", so I wrote something oike this in response, and now I make the question to you. Remember that my "video" is an imaginary one, and that I would never ever be so dishonest so as t produce something like that:

    How could the WOTM about Evolution be brilliant? You call telling lies and doing ridiculous acts of dishonesty brilliant? What would you think of a video against God where I would go outside and ask unaware teens whether they have proof that God exists? Then I get them to hesitate about what they think that is writen in the Bible, get them to say they are no expert priests, then put them into some fallacious test where they would have to conclude that there is no God. Would that be "Brilliant"? Wouldn't you wonder why did I not interview Ray (for instance), or someone alike? Someone who has supposedly thought about it, rather than any random teen at the street?

    Then, suppose I also go and make false statements about the "theory of God's existence"? Imagine that I say that to prove the God of the Christians it is necessary to examine all of the printed copies of the Bible, no matter which version. Then I say: according to the Christians, the Bible is the inerrant word of God. To prove this we should not find a single typo in them, not a single copy of it with misprint, nor anything alike, because it is the work of God, and thus every copy has to be pristine and perfect. Then I show you a few copies, taken from some place where Bibles have to be old, odd printed, and tattered by time and use, let us say these come from a time and place when Bibles were forbidden, and thus printed in basements with poor equipment and low-quality paper, then I claim, you see, all Bibles are like this! Would that be "Brilliant"?

    Then I proceed and go searching for someone with mental problems, and take him/her for dinner, and I show that he/she has no manners, and spills everything, or whatever, then claim, well, he/she should be perfectly well behaved, this is what you should expect since the creationists would want you to believe that we were created to the image of God. How come this person has so much trouble with table-manners? Would that be "Brilliant"?

    I could continue, but seriously, would you call such a thing brilliant, or preposterous bunch of lies, full of treacherous tactics, and misrepresentations?

    Please be honest guys, now compare my imaginary video on "The theory of God's existence" with the Evolution video. Do you see the problem with Ray and Kirk or not?

    G.E.

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  2. G.E.- what you said. What I find even more disturbing than the way this video was made is that it, and Ray's approach in general, apparently work, at least for some people. Ray's site is full of gushing praise for him- so much so, that he obviously doesn't feel the need to address his critics there with anything other than high-handed dismissal.

    Now, Ray's tactics don't necessarily mean that he is wrong, of course. And there are certainly atheist bloggers who are also arrogant. But I have yet to hear anything from Ray that impresses me with its acumen- especially when he is talking about evolution, a subject I know a bit about. And until he publicly retracts his banana video, I have strong reservations about his ability to admit when he is wrong.

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  3. Why does everything have to have some conscious purpose with you all? Seriously, you spend way too much time trying to "understand" why earthquakes and famines, plagues and hurricanes kill millions; why people are murdered, raped, and tortured. Why, what grand purpose does all this serve?? Maybe we just live on a cooling planet with limiting resources. Ever considered that? Good and evil are not "things", they are how we perceive actions and events. We label things as such for obvious reasons. I don't see the mystery, and your explanation is just nutty. You presume to know the mind of the creator of the universe???? How arrogant.

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  4. God knew we would sin, He knew we would rebel, He knew we would introduce evil, He knew it. So that he can send forth a savior born of a virgin, to live under the law to save us under the curse of the law so that, we can be a little trophy of his grace, he can always point to us as a testimony to his goodness.

    If any of this is true, then god is evil, despicable, and unworthy whatsoever of worship.

    If his great plan was to make a world in which the first two sentient beings would sin, causing roughly 90% of their descendants to burn in hell for eternity, then he is also an idiot.

    Let's rephrase Dan's statement (or was that paraphrased as well?):

    The Christian god knew we would sin, he knew we would rebel, he knew we would introduce evil, he knew it. So that he can send most of us to hell, to live under eternal torment so that, we can be a giant monument to his capricious wrath, he can always point to us as a testimony to his malevolence.

    How unscrupulous would a person have to be to even consider worshipping such a thing?

    --
    Stan

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  5. Wow. I just watched that video at WOTM.

    What a farce. What tools.

    GE is nuts-on, even if his restaurant analogy could be improved. Rather than bringing an uncultured person, he should have brough Ray or Kurt's young child (read: no more than three years of age), and observed that child eat at the restaurant, without directly communicating with the child -- whether by way of punishment or encouragement.

    To say that modern primates are highly intelligent, and use a ruse such as this to suggest otherwise, is the same as saying that Ray or Kurt's young child is retarded for the same reasons.

    There art thou tools.

    At one point, Kurt points out that Darwin was sexist and racist -- charges no one denies, and which have no bearing on the modern version of the theory with which he is credited -- and continues as though he has discovered something damning and profound.

    Nevermind, Kurt and Ray, that your bible is every bit as sexist and racist (more, even) than Darwin, and as Dan, myself, and others have shown here, the bible matter-of-factly proclaims the man as the ruling member of the household, gives him twice the legal recognition (as a witness) that a woman has, grants him full rights and privileges as a citizen (as opposed to women), and proclaims that women should keep their stupid mouths shut in church lest they embarrass their husbands.

    Nevermind that the bible not only endorses slavery, it regulates it. Nevermind that god commands (through Moses, et al) that rape and murder be carried out on multiple occasions.

    There art thou tools.

    At the end of the video, we see standard WOTM rhetoric and tactics, by misrepresenting the ten commandments, by badgering interview subjects, and by explicitly endorsing "scare tactics" in order to convert "sinners".

    In the parachute metaphor, they illustrate how each party claims to have evidence of the airplane's apparent safety, and how this approach is time-consuming and not especially effective. They then suggest inducing panic by describing the effects of gravity on a human body falling from significant altitude -- a tactic which ignores completely the argument concerning the airplane's apparent safety, and the fact that they claim the airplane to be a new design by a perfect designer...

    I especially liked the part where Ray told the teenager about how he could be redeemed, without addressing the fact that the whole situation was contrived by god in the first place (if that view is to be accepted), and that sending people to hell is god's idea.

    Ray said, "even though you [have sinned], god can make an exception for you [but he doesn't do this automatically, or for everyone, and in those cases in which the exception is not made, he sends the sinner to hell for eternity]."

    There art thou tools.

    Dan, if you're going to promote tools such as Ray Comfort and his lap-dog Kurt Cameron (to whom Ray must be providing an unlimited prescription to anti-depressants), you could at least do so critically, and recognize when and how they are wrong -- dogmatically, rationally, tactically, and truthfully.

    If you're going to continue to post comments which proclaim your willful ignorance (e.g. "I reject your reality and replace it with my own."), or make topics which explicitly recognize god's criminal negligence (e.g. "God knew we would sin, He knew we would rebel, He knew we would introduce evil, He knew it."), then perhaps you should save us both the trouble and "rebuke" me now.

    If you refuse to listen to reason, or to recognize the inherent logical flaws in your own position, then you waste my time, and I yours. Whereas you have budged in the past on certain subjects (admitted errors, really), you have not yet apologized for any actual wrong-doing, nor have you even come close to admitting, despite mountains of rational arguments, that your theological views are logically inconsistent.

    Until you can do any of that, you are as impotent as your despicable god, whom I loathe.

    --
    Stan

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  6. What's the purpose of evil? None. Next question.

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  7. Hey guys,

    Sorry I went out of topic, but I owed this to Dan. I promised him I would show him something obvious about Ray's dishonesty.

    I know the whole plot could be improved, but a no-more-than-three year old would not do. Remember that the purpose is to be treacherous, not just convincing, but truly treacherous.

    As of:

    At one point, Kurt points out that Darwin was sexist and racist <-- See Dan? This is what ad hominem means!

    Now how about you admit that Ray is a truly dishonest liar, and a disgrace to Christianity? (Or something that beautiful.)

    G.E.

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  8. Oh guys, the other video below the one of evolution is the banana one! Whatch if you have the stomach, Ray insists that the video was taken out of context. The first time I saw it was this one, the WOTM one, and I found it ridiculous. No need for atking anything out of context.

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  9. Dan: one of your sidebar links is extremely interesting. I'm not sure if they're automatic or if you select them yourself, but thanks for putting me onto it anyway:

    Atheists and apostates: similarities and differences

    Regarding Ray Comfort: the man's actually quite entertaining, provided you've got a severely twisted sense of humour and enough intelligence to realise how dishonest he truly is.

    Why is it that the most vocal creationists always seem to use such slimy tactics? Hovind, Comfort, Cameron, Gish, Behe, Dembski, Wells, etc... Not that atheists are entirely innocent: I'll admit that Dawkins comes across as a bigot and P.Z has a short fuse: but they're just intolerant and tactless, they're not dishonest.

    Anyhoo... take a look at that link: as I said, it's very interesting.

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  10. Well, I think Ray got the best idea of them all. Just recycle the same crap previously published by the likes of AiG. Add some production videos, simplify a bit, use other kinds of fallacies, but do not waste too much effort. This gives him a source of income without the hassle of creating a new religion, or coming with his own arguments. Easy does it, do that and live out of the dumbest believers. They will buy anyway, they love anything that ridicules their perceived enemies and glorifies their beliefs.

    G.E.

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  11. Oh, just in case there could be any misunderstanding, the ad hominem is what Kirk is doing by describing Darwin as misogynistic and racist. He was trying to discredit evolution by attacking the ethics/morals of the author.

    G.E.

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  12. get_education,

    Then, suppose I also go and make false statements about the "theory of God's existence"?...I could continue, but seriously, would you call such a thing brilliant, or preposterous bunch of lies, full of treacherous tactics, and misrepresentations?

    Just wait until that movie religulous comes out there will be a whole bunch of things you will consider brilliant that none of us will. We will see if you consider it preposterous bunch of lies or not.

    Do you see the problem with Ray and Kirk or not?

    Look, I see a great deal wrong with Ray and Kirk. They are wicked sinners that is in need of Salvation as well as you and I. We all fall short of God's glory, we all fail.

    There is one thing that Ray and Kirk is doing that stands above what you are doing though and that is seeking to save the lost. They are trying to pull people out of the burning fire and you are convincing people the water "fire" is warm. What I think is brilliant is that little spiel that Ray came up with. "Have you ever lied, What's that make you ..." You know that one. The simplicity of it was God given and I am convinced of that. Ray gets it, I just wish you did also.

    At one point, Kurt points out that Darwin was sexist and racist <-- See Dan? This is what ad hominem means!

    I understand your point but that isn't an ad hominem because he isn't claiming evolution was false because Darwin was a sexist and a racist. The statement is true as an added truth to the story, not to debunk evolution.

    Now how about you admit that Ray is a truly dishonest liar

    Have you ever lied get_education? Then you are a liar just like the rest of use, including Ray, Kirk and yes even myself. Unless you are claiming that you are holier than thou?

    Oh guys, the other video below the one of evolution is the banana one!

    Yea, that was taken at Hume Lake which is very close to my house. It's absolutely gorgeous here, a fine example of God's Creation. Ray has good taste in locations.

    Quasar,

    I was going to do an entire post about "Atheists and apostates: similarities and differences" but since you linked to it I am relieved of that duty. It was interesting points from someone with a background in "evolutionary biology, with a particular focus on evolutionary, population and quantitative genetics."

    I have read some other things also at his blog but my time is being crunched lately to comment on any of it.

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  13. He was trying to discredit evolution by attacking the ethics/morals of the author.

    Evolution is false in it's own right, excluding the additional facts of Darwin's beliefs. Does that still make it an ad hominem?

    Haven't you done the same towards me though, if that were the case? Isn't that what you are doing with your whole "Brilliant" rant?

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  14. No Dan, no, please, you can do much better than that. Do you see the treacherous tactics in Ray and Kirk's evolution video or not? Do not come with those circumlocutions about we all being sinners in need of salvation. Was that an example of dishonesty or not?

    I understand your point but that isn't an ad hominem because he isn't claiming evolution was false because Darwin was a sexist and a racist. The statement is true as an added truth to the story, not to debunk evolution.

    Really? Then why did they say it? What was the purpose? Come on, you know quite well that they were doing an ad hominem to "debunk" evolution. You know quite well that sexism and racism were prevalent during those times, and thus the fact, or not, is taken out of historical context just to strengthen their claims against evolution.

    I insist, you can do much better than this Dan. I know you can. It is OK if you do not have the time now, but please do not avoid this confrontation with Ray and Kirk's dishonest reality.

    --- Oh I see a new note---

    Evolution is false in it's own right, excluding the additional facts of Darwin's beliefs. Does that still make it an ad hominem?

    Kirk's tactics were still ad hominem whether evolution is true or not.

    Haven't you done the same towards me though, if that were the case?

    First, Dan, if I use ad hominem is it automatically justfied for Kirk to do so as well? Second: No, I have not done that to you Dan. What I have done "to you" is tell you to make sure you understand what you post so that you do not expose yourself to ridicule. I know it sounds insulting, but it is not attacking you to debunk your argument, it was an honest try at giving you some advice if you were to start discussing with atheists. Then, I did note that those scientists you cited were stupid, but that was based on THEIR ARGUMENTS, so their arguments showed they were stupid, not the other way around, and I told you to avoid them because they were not to be trusted. That is not ad hominem either.

    Isn't that what you are doing with your whole "Brilliant" rant?

    Well, no. The whole "brilliant rant" purpose is to show how Ray and Kirk are dishonest, willful liars, and all of that, because of their arguments! The arguments were treacherous and fallacious all in all, and I have shown you that. This makes Ray and Kirk liars for Jesus (or for the gullible's money). That is unavoidable, and thus not ad hominem.

    (If their mission was to attract people into "the truth," then why use treachery? If I were perceptive to God, and were presented with such obvious liars, I would run away from this particular religion. Sure thing.)

    So, when the idiocy and the arguments are tied together, it is not ad hominem Dan. Are we both in agreement about what ad hominem means now?

    I am listening.

    G.E.

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  15. Here's a few of the statistics I found interesting on the Atheists and apostates blog post.

    2nd chart: Kind of disproves the old "There are no atheists in foxholes" adage.
    4th chart: Marital status. Note the "Divorced" percentage.
    11th chart: Gender. Nice clean trend there. I suppose it makes sense: one of the biological differences between men and women is whether their brain is geared towards logic or emotion.
    13th chart: Whaddya know: us atheists do use big confusing words!

    As for Kirk attacking Darwin: if you are in the middle of 'refuting' a subject and you waste time attacking the personal viewpoint of the author, you are guilty of ad hominem, whether or not your ad hominem or your position is accurate.

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  16. For his time, Darwin was actually quite the opposite of racist.

    "I will not even allude to the many heart-sickening atrocities which I authentically heard of; -- nor would I have mentioned the above revolting details, had I not met with several people, so blinded by the constitutional gaiety of the negro as to speak of slavery as a tolerable evil. Such people have generally visited at the houses of the upper classes, where the domestic slaves are usually well treated, and they have not, like myself, lived amongst the lower classes. Such inquirers will ask slaves about their condition; they forget that the slave must indeed be dull, who does not calculate on the chance of his answer reaching his master's ears.

    ...

    It is often attempted to palliate slavery by comparing the state of slaves with our poorer countrymen: if the misery of our poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin; but how this bears on slavery, I cannot see; as well might the use of the thumb-screw be defended in one land, by showing that men in another land suffered from some dreadful disease. Those who look tenderly at the slave owner, and with a cold heart at the slave, never seem to put themselves into the position of the latter; what a cheerless prospect, with not even a hope of change! picture to yourself the chance, ever hanging over you, of your wife and your little children -- those objects which nature urges even the slave to call his own -- being torn from you and sold like beasts to the first bidder! And these deeds are done and palliated by men, who profess to love their neighbors as themselves, who believe in God, and pray that his Will be done on earth! It makes one's blood boil, yet heart tremble, to think that we Englishmen and our American descendants, with their boastful cry of liberty, have been and are so guilty"
    - The Voyage of the Beagle; Charles Darwin, 1839

    "As man advances in civilization, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all the members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him. This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races. If, indeed, such men are separated from him by great differences in appearance or habits, experience unfortunately shews us how long it is, before we look at them as our fellow-creatures. Sympathy beyond the confines of man, that is, humanity to the lower animals, seems to be one of the latest moral acquisitions. It is apparently unfelt by savages, except towards their pets. How little the old Romans knew of it is shewn by their abhorrent gladiatorial exhibitions. The very idea of humanity, as far as I could observe, was new to most of the Gauchos of the Pampas. This virtue, one of the noblest with which man is endowed, seems to arise incidentally from our sympathies becoming more tender and more widely diffused, until they are extended to all sentient beings. As soon as this virtue is honored and practiced by some few men, it spreads through instruction and example to the young, and eventually becomes incorporated in public opinion.

    The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts, and "not even in inmost thought to think again the sins that made the past so pleasant to us." Whatever makes any bad action familiar to the mind, renders its performance by so much the easier. As Marcus Aurelius long ago said, "Such as are thy habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of thy mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts."
    - Charles Darwin; The Descent of Man, 1871

    From what I can tell, saying Darwin was a racist is a lie.

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  17. I might consider Darwin a brilliant scientist and intellectual, but it is for passages such as this that I truly admire the man.

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  18. Those graphs were interesting indeed.

    For me, the evident disparity regarding IQ between believers and non-believers is obvious -- and not because I'm an elitist prick (which I may well be). Rather, it stands to reason that the uneducated will find hope in faith.

    Instead, the most interesting graph was the "time spent with relatives" graph.

    Granted, some people are unable to spend time with relatives due to geographic separation, but presumably those would even out. Ideally, I would think an effort would be made to identify and remove from the results those respondents who had these distance barriers.

    In my own case, just over a year ago I and five of my six siblings lived within a 20-mile radius of my parents' house. The graph in question represents precisely the likelihood that any of us might be at my parents' house any given evening. The running joke was that my sister (by far the most devout) never actually moved out (she's married, with three kids). I have actually called my parents' house first when I intended on talking to her.

    Again, I hope that the results for this graph aren't skewed by distance, but it seems probable that this apparent correlation relates directly to both lower educational ceilings and higher levels of devotion. Strength in numbers, as it were.

    I agree that the "no atheists in foxholes" cliché is debunked, but that, too, was interesting -- atheists are likely to serve, but we won't reenlist; and you can forget about having us stick around until retirement.

    RE: Comfort and Cameron?

    Bad street magicians. Not even that credible. They clearly edit their material so that only suitably weak "atheists" are interviewed (although I appreciated the hot chick), and it is obvious that they further edit their material so that if even these weak "atheists" pose a threat, that threat disappears from the final cut.

    Amusing in all of this is their constant admission that they are intellectually inferior. As I've mentioned, they are only able to prey upon weak "atheists", but even then, they tremble at their intellectual prowess. They seem to readily admit to resorting to cheap tactics -- if a logical, rational discussion is unable to discover a resolution, appeal to the emotions.

    How quaint.

    Nevermind that they never once address the myriad of competing, mutually exclusive religions -- appeal to authority.

    Nevermind that they have no evidence to support their claims whatsoever -- poison the well, and commit ad hominem.

    --
    Stan

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  19. Dan- I, too, have been wondering why you put up that link to the Atheists and Apostates blog, since it doesn't have much encouragement for believers, unless you believe that education is a bad thing. Do check it out.

    About ad hominems: perhaps an example would make it clearer why calling Darwin a racist (regardless, for the moment, whether or not that is fair or true). If, while criticizing Ray Comfort's position on evolution, I say that he is misinformed about bananas, that's not an ad hominem. If I criticize his taste in clothes, or his New Zealand accent, that's an ad hominem.

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  20. Thanks Zilch, your clarification of ad hominems was much better and to the point than mine.

    Mike,

    From what I can tell, saying Darwin was a racist is a lie.

    Thanks so much. I had also read those. I did not mention them because I did not have the citations close by, and because I was more concerned about Kirks exercise of ad hominem, rather on whether he was also lying. Of course Darwin was amazing at many levels. And this is even more to be admired given the times when he was living (his historical context). But of course, Kirk had to take him out of every possible context (as they usually do with their quote mining practices), so that he could commit his ad hominem.

    Guys, thanks again!

    G.E.

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  21. get_education,

    I am not sure of your point but I will "walk down the path" with you as long as we are both honest. Kirk may have used an ad hominem but are you saying that you never have? Have you ever used fallacies ever? What's the point of the exercise? To prove that man is fallible?

    In contemplation though is that fallacy so bad? Shouldn't we discern a man's credibility by using his background? So if a mental patient says he saw a flying spaghetti monster is it so wrong to consider him not a credible due to his housing situation?

    I will also concede that if it's absolutely intentional then it is deceptive and no help to the cause but we can't judge motives. You don't know what or how people think.

    We are not to be elitist but humble and caring. My Mom said that if you point the figure at someone you are pointing three more at yourself.

    With all due respect, I suggest you seriously consider the mote of self righteous judgment in your eye before you say another word about anyone else's sin.

    Stan,

    Rather, it stands to reason that the uneducated will find hope in faith.

    First isn't that the exact thing you are all complaining that Kirk did? Isn't that what you all just concluded was the definition of an ad hominem?

    In addition to that thought, apparently, according to the Bible, the rich will have a hard time also.

    For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

    So God, please save my poor dumb self. I don't care how smart or rich you are you have broken God's Law and deserve the punishment for your crimes. We all do. Some of us though wish to be saved and recognize our own faults and want change. There is a great number of professing "innocent" criminals in the jails, agree?

    Zilch,

    I, too, have been wondering why you put up that link to the Atheists and Apostates blog, since it doesn't have much encouragement for believers, unless you believe that education is a bad thing.

    First-In the category of "atheist" or "Christian" (you can click either one) the latest news is put up automatically.

    Second-We seek truth even if we are wrong.

    Third-Yes I believe there is error in too much education.

    I watched an interview of Ben Stein and what really cracked me up is on 16:44 of the interview Stein said that people go into academic life because they are frightened people.

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  22. get_education,

    I am not sure of your point but I will "walk down the path" with you as long as we are both honest. Kirk may have used an ad hominem but are you saying that you never have? Have you ever used fallacies ever? What's the point of the exercise? To prove that man is fallible?

    In contemplation though is that fallacy so bad? Shouldn't we discern a man's credibility by using his background? So if a mental patient says he saw a flying spaghetti monster is it so wrong to consider him not credible due to his housing situation?

    I will also concede that if it's absolutely intentional then it is deceptive and no help to the cause but we can't judge motives. You don't know what or how people think. He could have been misinformed by someone that isn't quite so honest, so no one knows for sure to judge.

    We are not to be elitist but humble and caring. My Mom said that if you point the figure at someone you are pointing three more at yourself.

    With all due respect, I suggest you seriously consider the mote of self righteous judgment in your eye before you say another word about anyone else's sin.

    Stan,

    Rather, it stands to reason that the uneducated will find hope in faith.

    First isn't that the exact thing you are all complaining that Kirk did? Isn't that what you all just concluded was the definition of an ad hominem?

    In addition to that thought, apparently, according to the Bible, the rich will have a hard time also.

    For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

    So God, please save my poor dumb self. I don't care how smart or rich you are you have broken God's Law and deserve the punishment for your crimes. We all do. Some of us though wish to be saved and recognize our own faults and want change. There is a great number of professing "innocent" criminals in the jails, agree?

    Zilch,

    I, too, have been wondering why you put up that link to the Atheists and Apostates blog, since it doesn't have much encouragement for believers, unless you believe that education is a bad thing.

    First-In the category of "atheist" or "Christian" (you can click either one) the latest news is put up automatically.

    Second-We seek truth even if we are wrong.

    Third-Yes I believe there is error in too much education.

    I watched an interview of Ben Stein and what really cracked me up is on 16:44 of the interview Stein said that people go into academic life because they are frightened people.

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  23. Rather, it stands to reason that the uneducated will find hope in faith.

    No, this is not ad hominem. I will admit that I should've been more clear as to what I meant (for the uneducated?),

    (Sorry -- cheap shot there)

    ...but for the sake of clarity I will do so now.

    All I was saying was that I intuitively agreed with what the data showed -- that the likelihood that a person will be deeply religious is inversely proportional to their educational ceiling.

    My statement was independent of any sort of argument, so it could not have been ad hominem, but certainly it could have been taken as insulting. That is unfortunate if it is the case, but it was not my intent. Uneducated persons are unlikely to have much hope for a better life, without the aid of [the false hopes provided by] religion. I don't think it any big secret that religion -- especially Christianity and its variants -- is a big deal amongst the poor. Why? Well, for one, one of the most brilliant tactics of Christianity (from a megalomaniacal perspective) is the blatant repression of the have-nots.

    The pseudo-profundity which is attributed to Jesus ("Blessed are the meek...") encourages people to be happy in their station in life -- no matter how awful that station might be. The epistles attributed to both Peter and Paul suggest that slaves should be satisfied as they wallow in slavery -- of course the rich and powerful would promote such doctrine, and given the most notorious translation error in the bible ("...easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle..."), coupled with the promise of eternal happiness, it is no wonder that the uneducated embrace it.

    What? You didn't know about the translation error? Didn't you ever wonder from exactly where Jesus pulled that apparent idiom?

    Various possible meanings of the statement

    More of the same (warning: possible pop-ups)

    Further consideration on the subject


    Although I was aware that this saying was a mistranslation of sorts, I was not aware, though in retrospect I should've been, that the reason the apostles were so taken aback by this statement was because wealth was seen as a sign of righteousness. If a righteous man (therefore a wealthy man) would have such difficulty entering the kingdom of heaven, then who could possibly measure up?

    It's funny how Christian pundits throughout history have used this phrase to mean something quite different from what it was intended to mean.

    At any rate, Dan, one is forced to question your integrity when you claim on the comment submission page (just above this textarea as I type this):

    Debunk the person logically, but personal attacks is no way to do it. Keep the ad hominems out of the conversation. Personal attacks is unnecessary and wastes our time. I will delete personal attacks.

    Ahem... Rather than deleting the ad hominem, it seems you've posted it. I suppose you can be excused, though, since you are clearly unsure of exactly when this fallacy is being used. For future reference -- when Kirk Cameron tangentially referred to Darwin as a bigot, while ostensibly debunking his theory, he committed an ad hominem fallacy.

    When I suggested that the apparent correlation between education and religious devotion was intuitive, I was not using ad hominem. In fact, there are many very intelligent, highly educated Christians, as well as educated and intelligent persons of various other religions. My statement was not addressing the affect of education on religious devotion, but the affect of the lack of education on the same.

    The data pretty clearly showed that the under-educated were more likely religious, and I think we can all recognize some likely reasons for that correlation.

    Anyway, I wonder what is the point of your feigned offense? The measure of the veracity of religion should not be how many of the uneducated embrace it, but how many educated persons maintain their belief. The data provided in the link under discussion clearly shows that there is significant drop-off as a person continues to study.

    I guess that's just another reason Ray and Kirk appeal to the emotions, and explicitly avoid intellectual discussions -- the more thought one puts toward religion, the less one is likely to support it.

    --
    Stan

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  24. Dan,

    The purpose of the exercise was to expose Ray and Kirk. Plain and simple. You like quoting them a lot (I had not followed your blog for a good while, so I was not really aware of this, my promise was made at ray's blog about two weeks ago, remember?). So, at least I expect now that you would be careful before using their materials.

    Why is it so hard for you to admit that they are willful liars?

    I am not saying that I have never used fallacies. I did, but I was unaware of it. I had not thought that attacking the person for something UNRELATED was not necessarily a good argument. I sure not use fallacies since way too long ago. Since I was a teenager.

    So, how would Darwin being racist or misogynist (because of his context, mind you, do not forget that) would be related to the quality of the theory of evolution? So, yes, we need background to establish credibility, but the proper background.

    Also, had someone showed that Darwin was a crazy man, low intelligence, you know, mentally challenged, and all. Wow, I would not doubt evolution, I would doubt that he wrote the origin of species and would wonder who the true genius was, or whether some mental problems give you blurs of extreme clarity and insight. Have you read the book?

    Yes, Kirk could have been misinformed, but he talks with too much confidence. Then, Ray has been corrected time and again, then repeats the same lies. There is a point where it has to have become a true lie, even if they used it first because someone else lied to them. They are willful liars Dan. I have no doubt about it. Their intentions might be good (I doubt it), but liars, willful ones, they sure are. So, hopefully you got it. I agree, when the background influences the arguments, it is not ad hominem, when the background has nothing to do with the argument's quality, and is taken out of context, then it is ad hominem in a fallacious way.

    G.E.

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  25. I watched an interview of Ben Stein and what really cracked me up is on 16:44 of the interview Stein said that people go into academic life because they are frightened people.

    Right, so having a passion for knowledge does not have anything to do with it. I guess I have lived my life with my eyes closed. Of course, someone like Ben Stein knows better than myself why I chose an academic life. Thanks for the new insight into myself Dan.

    G.E.

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  26. Dan wrote:
    "I watched an interview of Ben Stein and what really cracked me up is on 16:44 of the interview Stein said that people go into academic life because they are frightened people."
    Get_Education wrote:
    "Right, so having a passion for knowledge does not have anything to do with it. I guess I have lived my life with my eyes closed. Of course, someone like Ben Stein knows better than myself why I chose an academic life. Thanks for the new insight into myself Dan."

    I'm not certain, but I think Dan was merely pointing out that he found if funny: I don't think he actually agree's with Stein.

    Correct me if I'm wrong Dan: it was a little hard to work out how to interpret the statement.

    Dan wrote:
    "In contemplation though is that fallacy so bad? Shouldn't we discern a man's credibility by using his background? So if a mental patient says he saw a flying spaghetti monster is it so wrong to consider him not a credible due to his housing situation?"

    If the patient could provide significant evidence, and demonstrate that the FSM theory is scientifically impeccable, then yes: it would be wrong to ignore the evidence because of the source.

    Besides which: the mental patients condition directly affects his ability to percieve the reality he is making a claim about: Darwins racism (or, more accurately, lack thereof) in no way affects his ability to percieve reality or make reasoned arguments.

    Evolution stands on the evidence: Kirk and Ray would do well to remember this, and leave poor ol' Darwin alone.

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  27. Stan,

    For future reference -- when an atheist tangentially refers to Christians as likely to be "uneducated", while ostensibly debunking their theory, he committed an ad hominem fallacy.

    OK I got it.

    I should've been, that the reason the apostles were so taken aback by this statement was because wealth was seen as a sign of righteousness. If a righteous man (therefore a wealthy man) would have such difficulty entering the kingdom...

    I have a tremendous amount of problem with that claim. I think you are far off base because you would have to disregard quite a bit of the teachings of the Bible A few are: 1 Timothy 6:10, Luke 18:22,Acts 8:20,John 2:15 and whatever obvious ones I cannot think of right now.

    In reflection though, there is the story of the rich man in Luke 16:19-28 that may be related to Luke 18:25 I will study that more. Cool, a new epiphany moment!

    "the more thought one puts toward religion, the less one is likely to support it."

    Now come on! First that is just completely false unless you clarify it as "in the small sample taken the more thought one puts..."

    How can you possibly prove that point you just made with 5-10% people who are not religious. Doesn't that just stink of an elitist thinking?

    Second- Is this now an ad hominem that Christians can't even think for themselves? Or that they don't have thoughts towards religion?

    You sir have been debunked.

    Ace Ventura

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  28. I'd like to point out that if Ray and Kurt had made the same unfounded statements about a living person, it wouldn't be a simple fallacy. It would be libel.

    The video in question was not an impromptu discussion. It was scripted and they both knew what they were saying.

    I believe it speaks volumes about the character of a person that willfully spreads the most vile lies about a person that is deceased and unable to defend themselves.

    Shame on Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. And shame on all those who support such men and their actions.

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  29. Mike,

    good point, well said, and ouch.

    ReplyDelete
  30. For future reference -- when an atheist tangentially refers to Christians as likely to be "uneducated", while ostensibly debunking their theory, he committed an ad hominem fallacy.

    You're daft, aren't you?

    I didn't do anything tangentially -- switching around the words in my own statement don't work for you.

    In fact, I didn't refer to "Christians as likely to be 'educated'" -- I said that the educated are unlikely to be Christians.

    The graph clearly shows, and I made a point to say in my clarification (in which I evidently waxed too polysyllabic), that there is no apparent difference -- using the data provided -- in the distribution of religious v. non-religious until an undergraduate degree or beyond.

    Since we're discussing logical fallacies such as ad hominem, I suppose it is only appropriate that you illustrate the use of a straw man.

    If you dispute the data, that's fine -- I can even accept that, being one who hates statistical samples on the basis of true mathematics. If you're going to twist my words in order to pull a Tu quoque fallacy, then you're as guilty as Ray & Co.

    More applicable Ace Ventura

    --
    Stan

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  31. I think the fact that the graph we were speaking of quite clearly shows an inverse relationship between education and belief makes Stans comment not an ad hominem. He was merely pointing out what the statistics seem to indicate.

    It's worth noting that education doesn't necessarily make you smart, therefore lack of eduction doesn't make you stupid. Some of the smartest people I know have no education beyond high school (and after Mikes comment about libel, I'm not going to comment on the other sort).

    I do firmly believe (and here I'm going to my own opinions) that there is a direct relation between the logic-emotion ratio and the atheism-theism slider. Emotional people turn to God: logical people congregate around science.

    I still think the bestest graph is the 'vocabulary' one. Insert Pretension.

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  32. Well, for one, one of the most brilliant tactics of Christianity (from a megalomaniacal perspective) is the blatant repression of the have-nots.

    The pseudo-profundity which is attributed to Jesus ("Blessed are the meek...") encourages people to be happy in their station in life -- no matter how awful that station might be.


    I think you're being unduly cynical here, Stan. While Christians (and atheists, and everyone else) have often been guilty of blatant repression of have-nots (that's what keeps the wheels of commerce rolling, after all), a good part of Jesus' (or whoever wrote in his name's) teachings are genuinely egalitarian, and very progressive for the time.

    While some aspects of Christianity, like those of any worldview, have evolved, or been co-opted or cherry-picked (the work of the Nicaean Council comes to mind here), in the pursuit of power by an elite, that's not the whole story. Given the historical context, I think (without being able to prove it) that Jesus' statement "blessed are the meek" is of a piece with his recommendation (Mat. 19:21) to give all you have to the poor.

    The epistles attributed to both Peter and Paul suggest that slaves should be satisfied as they wallow in slavery -- of course the rich and powerful would promote such doctrine[...]

    While the fact that the Bible condones slavery is now undeniably reprehensible, I doubt that it was intended back then deliberately as a tool to keep them singing on the plantations, because it wasn't necessary: no one questioned the institution of slavery at that time. One might reasonably fault the authors of the Bible, and God, for not having come up with such a reasonable humanitarian idea as "slavery is evil", but to say that the Biblical view was deliberately promoted by the rich and powerful is, I believe, not justified: it wasn't necessary, because it was simply the normal state of affairs.

    This is not, of course, a defense of Biblical morals: we have come a long way since then, in our attitudes about slavery, the treatment of women and gays, and so forth. I'm just saying that the Bible is not just an endeavor by the rich elite to sustain their power: it is also, as are all religions, a heartfelt attempt at making sense of the world, and of defining rules that build societies.

    Dan- you say, to Mike:

    good point, well said, and ouch.

    That's why I keep coming back here: I disagree with you about many things, but anyone willing to admit they're wrong is a Mensch (an honorable person) in my book.

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  33. Quasar,

    "I'm not certain, but I think Dan was merely pointing out that he found if funny: I don't think he actually agree's with Stein."

    I appreciate you coming to my defense but unfortunately I do believe what Ben said about people in academia especially a 'Dean' is just frightened about real life. I see no value in today's academia. Most CEO's of companies agree, even Bill Gates dropped out to start Microsoft. I will probably give my children a company to run instead of pushing academia. That last thing I want my child to be is an elitist that does not believe in God.

    I will explain it further in my newest posts but basically the academia of today is skewed and biased and evil. The reason the more educated turn from God is what academics force the kids to admit, that this universe was created by natural selection without any proof just a faith. Now please don't everyone attack my position quite yet. You all will have your say soon.

    There was a true epiphany moment last night and I will have to do more research and figure out how I will present it but I have the end all of proof that exposes evolution once and for all. I will be taking a very different approach for my case. Be patient though.

    Call all your friends, do posts about the upcoming event, get the buzz going, it will be the debunking that all of you have been looking for.

    Do I have your curiosity? Good Stay tuned for more. I will do a new post to announce/advertise it.

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  34. Seems to me that it is our free will choice in favor of accepting God's grace in the Messiah Jesus which means that we have chosen to forever choose eternity in heaven.
    aDios,
    Mariano

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  35. “God knew we would sin, He knew we would rebel, He knew we would introduce evil, He knew it.”
    So what is the purpose of evil? We introduced evil? God created us knowing that we would introduce evil, so god created evil to glorify himself? I am shocked!
    I like my version better http://madcowone.blogspot.com/2009/08/golden-rule.html
    If you would also like to read my take on god knowing everything in advance: http://madcowone.blogspot.com/2009/07/imagine.html

    ReplyDelete

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