Doing Atheism Wrong

An atheist is a materialist. For him the only thing that exists is the material world. While we can wonder about why this or that being is the way it is, questions about what causes the material world as such are nonsensical, as are questions of its meaning and value, which imply finality.

So the atheist should be neutral on moral questions: sure, he might think one choice or another is more or less convenient for one’s provisional goals, but there is no way of knowing the long-term effects of our choices and in the end we are all just cosmic accidents waiting for entropy and extinction.

But that does not prevent individual atheists from holding incoherent positions. You might for example find one who believes strongly in animal rights or in feminism, which are absurd ideologies when considered in the grim light of the cold, uncaring gears of the universe ticking away towards the eventual destruction of our species.

Extinction of all life on planet earth: women and animals hardest hit.

This is what extinction level events think about feminism and the patriarchy.

Among those who do not seem to know how to do atheism correctly is John Zande, author of this comment:

Who’s saying an animal does not regret killing? Who’s to say they do not loathe having to do it? [… they are] free to recognize and be utterly appalled at this existence it has found itself (uninvited) in… a world where every creature is contracted by birth to prey upon the other in order to steal the proteins and fats and sugars and minerals they need just to stay alive one more day in what amounts to a daily apocalypse of obliged bloodletting.

Besides the false assertion that predators do not enjoy hunting and killing – a few days spent in the company of a terrier or tabby-cat will disprove that – the mental image of wolves and sharks feeling tortured by existential angst for their places in the food chain is laughable.

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This is not the ontological indifference one would think proper to atheism, but full ontological pessimism: nature is evil. It is a position proper to the dualistic religions of the ancient Middle East, which saw creation and matter as evils to be escaped.

The context of the comment was the question of why God created the world. The general discussion was a failure: I could not convince him that there is no contradiction between a perfect God creating a imperfect world, and he could not convince me that there was.

Then came this utterly bizarre turn towards ontological pessimism.

I have an hypothesis as to how someone can argue themselves into this position: there is in fact a popular atheist apologetic trope that runs something like this: how can a good God create a world which contains so much evil? God must logically will that evil exist, therefore he is not good. But if God is not good, he is not God. Poof! God disappears in a puff of logic.

But while the atheist apologist is making this argument he is supposed to have in the back of his mind the realization that he is only employing the terms “good” and “evil” to create a dilemma for the believer. The atheist himself does not really believe in good or evil in any absolute sense. The goal is not to convince the believer of the evil of the world – that would be silly – but to ultimately convince the believer that the entire edifice of creation, God, matter, good, evil, finality, etc, is absurd and should be abandoned.

So it might be that while trying to convince a believer of the wickedness of the material world, the atheist apologist really starts to believe it himself.

In which case he would be better off becoming a Hindu.

 

 

 

 

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113 comments

  1. So the atheist should be neutral on moral questions

    Nonsense. Here’s the question: Does an action increase or decrease suffering?

    1. Daniel D. D. · · Reply

      Why is suffering bad? Even deeper: what is suffering? Do you just mean pain?

      If suffering is the only criteria, than wouldn’t death is the most efficient way to avoid suffering (in the materialist’s eyes)?

      1. It seems suffering is bad per your bible. Or is it wrong?

      2. Suffering (physical, physiological and psychological) is the objective, from our Omnimalevolent Creator’s perspective. It is the desired end, the source of His greatest entertainment and stimulation. It is why this universe is structured the way it is, as a colossal complexity machine: an enormous, creative, internally-motivated, dangerously patient, deceptively natural, self-actualising pleasure-generating mechanism.

        Death is the first passion, a ubiquitous anxiety felt by all contingent things. It is the cardinal consequence. With ordered existence (shaped from an eternal, unknowable chaos where the Creator resides) came non-existence, obliteration. On was coupled to Off, the battle line between the two in this cosmic sheet drawn and fixed, and as sentience only recognised itself in the former, the latter, Off, was naturally dressed in all that which sentience despised. The spotlight of existence (that known) was to be cherished, darkness (that unknown) detested and feared.

      3. The point is that the atheist’s criteria for morality is just another nominalism. What basis does he have for thinking that a lack of suffering is a good? He could either appeal to emotions, and say that morality is based in emotion (a popular opinion today), but I don’t think he would accept the logical consequences of this belief.

        The only other basis is in his own arbritary assertion. He doesn’t want to appeal to, say, natural law, nor Divine Command.

  2. I’m a moral anti-realist, how am I doing?
    I am quite curious to hear your definition of meaning. What you seem to be proposing would seem to preclude participation in most sports, much less fandom, if I read you correctly. It would also not prompt me to give a second thought to the deity, anymore than the wrench considers the hand (which similarly gives it purpose).

    1. I only know the term realist being used in opposition to German idealism, so I’m not sure what you are talking about.
      Meaning: lets call it the purpose of existence in general, within which the human subject finds his own personal direction and purpose. Without finality, which atheism intentionally excludes, the question of meaning is absurd.
      You can’t say “make your own meaning”, because 1) that is just papering over the fundamental absurdity and 2) meaning presents itself as something you discover, not something you create.

      1. Yeah, I cringe a little when I hear that ‘make your own meaning’ formula. To be fair, I think most people who use it are equivocating in the standard way – flipping to the relationship between representations and meanings, which is somewhat artificial from the standpoint of the representation. But meanings are things that can bear representation, not things which are made by representation.
        I don’t think we can say we discover meaning, however. Meaning is locality, in the broad sense, so it is a given. Whether or not it is given circumstantially, or as part of an ultimate teleology is irrelevant. Nothing changes for the representation from one of those situations to the other.

  3. The author says that atheists, I’m not quite one yet… just a deconvert of christianity, only ‘believe’ in the material world and then shouldn’t hold opinions on morals. I’d like to ask two questions.
    What proof or Evidence does the author have that anything other than ‘material’ exists to shame the atheist into silence or repentance?
    Second, it would seem you are implying atheists/materialists/humanists, whatever you’d like to label them, definition ally must be either amoral or immoral. Aren’t you conflating the ‘spiritual’ with the ‘moral’ and implying that the moral necessarily comes only from the spiritual, an existence you have no direct evidence or proof of its actual existence?
    And for extra credit… aren’t you just asserting without evidence that morals are dependant on spiritual realities outside of the material and even outside of mankind himself? How would you support your assertion that atheists have no standing or ability or right to moral opinion?
    Lastly, who are you to tell atheists they are doing atheism wrong? By what right do you define for others, being not atheist yourself, what atheism is and how to “do” it?

    1. 1. None. Questions about the meaning of the universe are not answered by individual pieces of physical evidence but interpreting the whole. There are many possible answers that are internally coherent, and from among them you chose.
      2. An atheist (or materialist, same thing in modern thought) can have a provisional morality, but he can’t give an answer why he must follow it.
      3. Atheists are always telling me what I am supposed to believe. Goose, gander, etc.

  4. that’s quite a strawman atheist you’ve constructed to attack. Considering the lies you’ve told, it seems that bearing false witness isn’t such a bad thing to a Christian. Care to talk to a real atheist?

    1. Point out the specific lies.

      1. “While we can wonder about why this or that being is the way it is, questions about what causes the material world as such are nonsensical, as are questions of its meaning and value, which imply finality.”

        This is false and amusing since you benefit constantly from the questions that have been asked about what causes the material world. Current science that was for investigating the events in the universe has led to computers, communications, etc. Why do questions about the meaning and value of anything “imply finality”?

        “So the atheist should be neutral on moral questions: sure, he might think one choice or another is more or less convenient for one’s provisional goals, but there is no way of knowing the long-term effects of our choices and in the end we are all just cosmic accidents waiting for entropy and extinction.”

        Nope, not at all. This is the usual lie that all atheists should be valueless and have no meaning. It’s a sad little attempt by theists to pretend that their opinion are better everyone else’s, opinions that have no evidence to support them. Alas, for you, many, if not all, atheists do have values and are not neutral on moral questions. I can make well-informed assumptions of what long term effects our choices have. An example of this is the data that show that if humans choose to keep using fossil fuels as they have been, climate change will get worse. Even if we are just “cosmic accidents” that doesn’t mean that our lives are meaningless and we can’t use our intellects and make considered choices made on data. This is also the usual lie that many theists try to make that atheists should somehow be nihilists, again to try to pretend how great the theists are. Many, if not all, atheists have morals; we just don’t need your magical sky god to inform them. Indeed, my morals are far better than the god depicted in the bible. I don’t need to kill people who don’t agree with me. I don’t require little girls to be part of my temple’s war booty; I don’t need to torture a man to death to forgive others; I don’t need to work with ultimate evil to kill more humans in my fantasy prophecy “revelation”.

        “But that does not prevent individual atheists from holding incoherent positions.”

        You try to claim that all atheists should agree with your false definition of them and then claim that when they don’t, their positions are incoherent. So either one claim of yours or the other is a lie, a false statement intentionally told from either willful ignorance or maliciousness. Yep, atheists can be concerned for those entities that share the universe with us. There’s no one else to care but humans.

        Again, you’ve lied trying to claim that all atheists should be nihilists. Your claim that atheists don’t do atheism correctly is just hilarious and nothing more than the usual lies that some theists tell to convince themselves that their beliefs are better.

        “Besides the false assertion that predators do not enjoy hunting and killing – a few days spent in the company of a terrier or tabby-cat will disprove that – the mental image of wolves and sharks feeling tortured by existential angst for their places in the food chain is laughable.”

        I’m curious, DM, what evidence do you have for the above statement? You declare that everyone else but you is wrong, so you have the onus of providing evidence. JZ seems to be postulating a possiblity, not saying it is true. You are declaring yourself to be the only correct one. It’s always silly to see a theist insist what is “proper” for atheism. Regret for having to kill does not say nature is evil, but only that consideration of something that does not require death and/or suffering would be better. The idea that death and suffering are great and demanded by a god is indeed the position of the contradictory monotheistic religions of the ancient Middle East, a god that demands blood sacrifice, that demands the torture death of a man, that promises as much death as possible in its revenge fantasies, and, at least for Christians, the intentional cooperation between their god and pure evil to kill more people who were ostensibly living in peace under the government of JC and the apostles for an “aeon”.

        So, there was no bizarre or otherwise, turn to ontological pessimism. You’ve made it up whole cloth, again, false claims made by you. It seems this false claim is nothing more than you being upset that you could not convince someone you were the only one who can be right. Your argument comes down to the truly bizarre claim that only you can define good and evil. You want to tell an atheist what she is supposed to do and not do so your strawman can exist.

        Let’s look at your supposed “trope” in light of what Christians like you claim (you are more than welcome to say you don’t believe in the following common Christian claims). This is what you say “how can a good God create a world which contains so much evil? God must logically will that evil exist, therefore he is not good. But if God is not good, he is not God. Poof! God disappears in a puff of logic.

        Most, if not all, Christians claim that God is good. This means an utter absence of evil. They claim that this god cannot stand the presence of evil and continually fights against it. Most, if not all, Christians claim that everything in the universe is part of their god’s “plan”. Most, if not all, Christians, claim that this god controls everything for it must since it has made prophecies. Please indicate how your god does not disappear in a puff of logic. Many Christians realize this and have invented apologetics to avoid the conclusions that many non-Christians have arrive at, using the claims of the bible and of Christians themselves.

        There is nothing to show that JZ or other atheists find nature “evil”. I think it’s safe to say that atheists simply thing that nature doesn’t care at all, one way or another. The idea of “evil nature” is a position of many theists, that one should want to leave nature behind and find some “heaven”. I think the most striking point in the discussion of the problem of evil is that theists and atheist largely agree on what is good and evil, when religion isn’t involved. We know what we would want to stop happening and the problem is the claim that there is some magical being that is all-good and all-powerful that, based on evidence, does absolutely nothing at all to ameliorate the perceived problems in this universe, the fact that this universe is largely inimical to humanity and bad things that hurt humans are perceived as “evil”. So, one more time, your implication is false and based on false claims about what atheists supposedly think.

        And there is no reason to become a hindu, or other theist, at all.

      2. DP is getting himself all confused between the TOOAIN thesis and the question asked: Why did (your) God create this material/physical universe? As he clearly can’t distinguish between the two (thinking they’re somehow connected here) he has become a loose fire hose, swirling about without any coherent direction.

        Reading your comment, Club, and I couldn’t help but think of this little gem:

      3. John, I’m terribly curious. Do you indeed have this “ontological pessimism” that DM is going about? 🙂 I’ve tried to figure out what he really means in my most recent post here.

      4. To tell you the truth, Club, I don’t even know what ontological pessimism is. Sounds suspiciously like an inherently meaningless pseudo-intellectual term, which sits rather will with DP’s orientation to reality. I suspect he is, as you have pointed out, trying to define his cartoon characterisation of atheists into existence. I further suspect in his pantomime world we are all nihilists. That probably makes some sort of bizarre sense in his evangelical bubble, but it also speaks to a person who has never traveled. This seems to be a common theme running through the modern Conservatives in the US. I just saw today that 30% of Republican voters want to bomb Agrabah, a non-existent city in the fictional country of Aladdin. Link below. Seems these people aren’t at all concerned with reality.

        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/18/republicans-are-so-bullish-on-war-that-30-percent-would-bomb-a-fictional-country

      5. that’s pretty much what thought. I tried to define it but didn’t get much, other than revealing again that theists will lie to claim that atheism equates to nihilism. The only reference I could find to “ontological pessimism” is from some book on google books and the author was complaining that those “Marxists” were daring to disbelieve it. 🙂

        Oh my, doesn’t surprise me at all, the utter ignorance of my fellow Americans. AT this point, I’m changing my idea that it is ignorance; it’s pure stupidity. “You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons.” – Blazing Saddles

      6. It’s more than stupidity, but rather a love of Anti-Knowledge. This is a great, but frightening article on how strange the modern US conservative, like DP, really is:

        https://consortiumnews.com/2015/10/29/gop-and-the-rise-of-anti-knowledge/

      7. very good article. jibes well with The Authoritarians too.

      8. Your description is correct, it is the belief that existence is basically evil.
        I don’t think I made it up, but I can’t remember for the life of me where I’ve heard it.
        I do recall reading an article years ago which described the German philosopher Leibniz as a “metaphysical optimist”. The problem with the word metaphysical is that people tend to associate it with New Ageism.
        In ancient times the belief that matter was evil was called dualism or Manicheeism, but that implies a corresponding belief that spirit is good. John does not believe in spirit, so that does not apply to him.
        So I think “ontological pessimist” sums him up nicely.

      9. And to repeat, you are confusing (perhaps purposefully, because it serves your pantomime) The Owner of All Infernal Names thesis with my actual orientation to reality. DP, are you aware of what Poe’s Law is? If not, you should look it up. Unlike ontological pessimism, it’s a real term, used in the real world. The TOOAIN thesis is actually in rationalwiki under that heading.

      10. So your histrionics about self-loathing animals are self parody?

      11. Still conflating, I see.

      12. Again, still waiting for your evidence, DM. Since you have not shown that JZ is this “ontological pessimist”, it doesn’t matter what you think or what you falsely claim apparently for the reason to try to make believe that atheists are nihilists.

      13. Just read the comment I quoted: it implies the evil of the material world because animals eat one another.
        Though to be fair now John is claiming that he didn’t really mean what he said…
        Hey, would that make him a liar?

      14. Goodness, you seriously have trouble grasping this, don’t you, DP? TOOAIN is a working example of Poe’s Law… Even so, it is far more believable (and demonstrable) than your Christian hypothesis, which fails at every turn. Animals being free to subjectively appraise their environment (the world) is another subject altogether. Is that clear?

      15. One generally invokes Poe’s law as an excuse for his own poor communications skills – I know that is how I use it – not to attack someone else’s misunderstanding.
        Whatever, they are your comments, not mine, interpret them as you please. I still think some atheists are pessimists about matter in general based on other conversations I’ve had, I didn’t coin the phrase just for you.
        As for the idea that it is more logical to think the world is evil than good: the option is a choice, since there is no definitive proof one can give either way. But since the material world is beautiful, even the wolves and sharks, and since it supports human existence I think it quite reasonable to consider it good. The other options are that it is evil, which strikes me as more a rejection of humanity’s natural limitations; or indifferent, which would mean the experience of beauty and goodness is a purely interior event with no corresponding reality in the thing, which is the opposite of what we actually experience. When one sees a beautiful sunset he says “The sunset is beautiful” – a statement about reality – not “my overdeveloped frontal lobes are stimulated.”
        But again, it is a motivated choice, not a conclusion of an argument.

      16. there is nothing evil about animals eating each other. Again, it is a what-if postulated and you have tried to insist that someone believes this.

        Let me ask you, is someone saying “what if this is true” equal to someone saying “I believe that this is true? Then we can decide who may be a liar. I do expect an answer to this.

        Again, DM, you are claiming that atheists are inconsistent, and that claim is based on your lie that atheist *must* be nihilists with no morals.

      17. I never claimed all atheists are inconsistent, just some. I never said they had “no” morals, but had provisional morals, so please stop lying about me, you lying liar.

      18. You did indeed say that some atheists are inconsistent *and* that all atheists should be amoral. Shall we see?

        “An atheist is a materialist. For him the only thing that exists is the material world. While we can wonder about why this or that being is the way it is, questions about what causes the material world as such are nonsensical, as are questions of its meaning and value, which imply finality.

        So the atheist should be neutral on moral questions: sure, he might think one choice or another is more or less convenient for one’s provisional goals, but there is no way of knowing the long-term effects of our choices and in the end we are all just cosmic accidents waiting for entropy and extinction.”

        and to wrap up “But while the atheist apologist is making this argument he is supposed to have in the back of his mind the realization that he is only employing the terms “good” and “evil” to create a dilemma for the believer. The atheist himself does not really believe in good or evil in any absolute sense. The goal is not to convince the believer of the evil of the world – that would be silly – but to ultimately convince the believer that the entire edifice of creation, God, matter, good, evil, finality, etc, is absurd and should be abandoned.”

        All in all, a lovely attempt by a theist to claim that all athests should be nihilsts and have no morals.

        You’re doing a great job in imitating a child on a playground. Really, “you lying liar”? 🙂

      19. My playground epithets are just following your lead.
        The morals proposed by atheism are necessarily provisional, which is what I said above. Nothing is inherently good or evil. You say as much when you claim all morals are subjective and situational. Subjective and situation = no such thing as absolute good and evil, just relative, subjective good and evil.
        If you want to call that nihilism, fine. Nietzsche, the father of nihilism, would define your position, that humans create morals, as nihilism.
        But I never said nihilistic or amoral, since atheists do in fact often propose morals. Those morals are however provisional, or as you would say subjective and situational.

      20. So, you call me a liar, but rather than point out where I intentionally attempted to deceive anyone, you just point out where you disagree with me. Disagreement = telling lies in your mind?

        Science asks itself why this or that thing is the way it is. Yes, I am very grateful for physics. Science does not ask itself about the causes of material being as such. It does not ask itself why being, and why not nothing. Those are impossible questions for physics, and nonsense for someone whose only starting and ending point is the material world.
        Meaning and value = what is it good for. I.E, what is the final cause, the teleology, the end towards which it is directed. Materialism can only ask the question of man-made artifacts, and systematically excludes it from all other consideration. For a materialist, the world has no inherent meaning, the question is nonsense for him.
        If John wants to interpret his own impassioned statement on the existential angst of animals as mere conjecture and not a statement of fact, I will allow it. They are his words, not mine. But they are still wrong even as conjecture. Watch a cat with a mouse or an otter with a fish and you will have all the proof you need.
        There is certainly no ground in a materialist world view for John’s hysterics about the evils of the animal kingdom. It is existential and ontological pessimism. It is a strange rejection and revulsion towards the world as such. That is the only way to describe it.
        The rest of your argument is repeating the trope. You assert that atheists see nature as are generally neutral towards nature, which is exactly what they should be. Thanks for your support in my diagnosis of what atheists are supposed to think. John however is not neutral but incoherently pessimistic, which is my entire point.

      21. I do like watching you lie again, trying to claim that I have not shown that you lied, when I did quote you directly and showed where you make false claims and repeated them after being shown you are wrong. A written medium is wonderful for showing that you are wrong. I am not surprised that you seem to think that saying “nuh-uh” would work against evidence. It works no better than claiming that the bible’s claims work against the evidence that shows its essential events never happened and that other events did. No, DM, disagreement does not equal telling lies in my mind. Telling lies is telling lies in my mind and I quoted you doing so. You have made false claims that you have not supported and have been shown that your claims are wrong. You have chosen to repeat those false claims anyway.

        Wow, nice to see one more false claims “Science does not ask itself about the causes of material being as such.” This is false because those scientists who investigate cosmology investigate exactly those questions. Now, I do see the words “as such” a lovely attempt to set up an excuse so you can move the goalposts, and try to wiggle out of any response given. It’s also rather hard for a concept to ask itself anything. Humans do this. Humans ask why something is and proceed to investigate it. What they’ve found so far is that there is no magical god responsible for existence. It does ask why there is something and why there is not “nothing”. That is addressed by the hypotheses of cosmogony. I don’t know if you are truly ignorant of such things or are simply trying to ignore such things

        You also make the baseless claim that such questions are “impossible” questions for physics. Theist have often made that claim, that something is impossible and have failed every time so far. We don’t know the answers about why *yet*. We may never understand it, but that doesn’t’ mean your god exists at all. It is not “nonsense” at all for someone who is mortal. You just hope it is, so your little god can keep scuttling from gap to gap.

        Meaning and value have lots of usefulness e.g. what is it good for. Those concepts do not require a final cause at all and a final cause doesn’t have to be your god or your delusions of punishment for everyone who shows you are wrong. The final cause can be the betterment of humankind. No god needed. The world doesn’t need an “inherent” meaning; humans can give it all of the meaning we need.

        You seem to be getting particularly exercised about the idea that animals can feel like you. Does this challenge your belief that you are a special snowflake and only DM knows the truth? You have yet to show that those possibilities are wrong, so your stamping your figurative foot and insisting that they are wrong “as mere conjecture” is no more interesting or true than your other baseless claims. You put your own assumptions on watching an animal, and your assumptions are meaningless. Where are the facts to support your claims, DM? Your claim about animals is just like the common Christian claim that one just has to look at the universe and see that its their god that created it, one more baseless claim. Nice to see even more strawmen you’ve invented with claims of “hysterics”. Your claims of “existential and ontological pessism” still fail, and your further unsupported claims of a “strange rejection and revulsion” are just hilarious. But thanks for reinforcing the fact that you repeat false claims even when shown that they are wrong.

        You have yet to show that many, or most, atheists aren’t generally neutral towards nature. An atheist can happily point out that nature isn’t good or evil, but just is, and it is not favorable to humans in general. I have not supported you, I have shown that you have lied about what you claim atheists supposedly feel based on your strawmen.

      22. I would be a liar if I were making statements that I knew to be false, still don’t see any. Last time I checked I’m still believing what I say.
        Now, do you often go about besmirching people’s character? On the internet it doesn’t matter much but I hope it is not a habit of yours in real life.
        Please explain to me the causes of material being. Do not posit another material cause, that would be begging the question.
        So some people decide that bettering the lot of man is their meaning and fight whether Pol Pot has the best model or Joseph Stalin has the best model, others decide “screw it, I’m here for the coke and hookers”, since the big asteroid which will one day wipe out all life on earth does not give a crap about any of it. Sounds lovely.
        Anybody who has ever owned a cat knows that cats like to hunt and kill. They display no existentialist angst about it, in fact they seem proud of it. I guess I just have more empathy for animal emotions than you people. Anyway, the mental image of wolves and sharks hating themselves as they gorge on the flesh of other animals is the stuff of comedy. See, that scene with the sharks in Finding Nemo was supposed to be funny because sharks don’t… oh never mind, it’ll kill the joke.
        Hey, why can John recognize free action in animals and I can’t recognize a complete lack of remorse in my neighbor’s cat as he tortures mice?
        Where did I deny that animals are emotional beings? (Sounds like SOMEBODY is making a strawman.) I’ve said all along they are emotional, which is why we can make pets of them. The question is whether or not they are free, responsible beings. Nobody thinks they are, not even John: notice how he never answered any of my questions about imputing moral responsibility to animals. I’ll believe his sincerity when he starts preaching moral reform to bad rhinos.
        I don’t claim that all or most atheists are ontological pessimists, I claim they should be neutral, but sometimes they are not, and that is dumb.
        This is what John said (pace John, with my clearly marked edit):
        [… they are] free to recognize and be utterly appalled at this existence it has found itself (uninvited) in… a world where every creature is contracted by birth to prey upon the other in order to steal the proteins and fats and sugars and minerals they need just to stay alive one more day in what amounts to a daily apocalypse of obliged bloodletting.
        Does this sound like neutrality to you? How is this not ontological pessimism? How is the image of a wolf tortured over his own carnivorous nature not strike you as absurd?
        It imputes moral content where for an atheist (or any sane person for that matter) there should be none: “stealing” proteins, “utterly appalled” and the injustice of being condemned “uninvited” to life and of course my favorite “daily apocalypse of obliged bloodletting”. I couldn’t parody this crap.
        Oh no, you say, this is not ontological pessimism at all.

      23. Waiting for that evidence that supports your claims about atheists. You see, DM, you may believe something is true, but until you provide evidence of it, your claims are false and when you are shown you are wrong with facts, those baseless claims become lies. You don’t get to term yourself a liar or not; that is determined by others who observe your claims and how they interact with reality.

        The problem is that you can’t have your own reality. You wish to claim your opinions true and that’s where it fails. A disagreement is where things can be questioned. When things are facts, and supported by evidence, your claims fail since you have nothing to support them. I do like Neil De Grasse Tyson’s quote: “the good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”

        I’ll return to address the rest of this.

      24. If you have to expand the definition of liar that much to make it apply to me you are doing something wrong. Kind of like how people kept expanding the term ‘fascist’ until it meant ‘someone I don’t like’.
        The main claims I made about atheists in this post are:
        1) they logically ought to see the material world as essentially meaningless and ontologicaly neutral, and you in fact agree with that.
        2) Some atheists are inconsistent about seeing the world as neutral and are instead ontological pessimists. My evidence is John and his histrionic rhetoric about animal angst.
        If I recall correctly, other claims made about atheists: their morals are provisional, and questions about the causes of being qua being are logically absurd for them. These are unremarkable statements. I don’t know any atheists who believe in natural law or who study Aristotelian metaphysics.
        I think it isn’t the claims you dislike as much as the fact that I’m the one saying them.

      25. Please do show how I’ve “expanded the definition” of the term liar, DM. How about if I show the definition right here: “ someone who lies 1 : to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive 2 : to create a false or misleading impression” – merriam-webster.com Now, I have pointed out that you have made false claims with the intent to deceive, to claim that atheists are what they are not, in order to denigrate them.

        Some people may indeed expand the term fascist, and people have certainly have tried and still try to expand the term atheist, doing their best to conflate it with nihilist, evil, etc. I am not one of them and will wait patiently for you to show how I’ve supposedly expanded the definition of the term liar.

        You have certainly made the claim that all atheists should find the world meaningless. The problem is that atheists don’t do what DM wants them to do, in order for his lies to be true. I again do not agree with you, and it’s a shame you must lie about that too. I have not said that the world is essentially meaningless. I have said that humans give meaning. I have said that the universe is considered neutral, not good or bad, by most if not all atheists. The idea of the universe being good or bad is the realm theists or other believers of the supernatural, to support their claim of magic and beings that control reality and to explain why things are. You try desperately to try to make meaningless and neutral mean the same thing and fail, as usual.

        Again, you have yet to show that any atheists are “ontological pessimists”, though there indeed may be. Now, if one considers those words together, they are meaningless. Ontology is the philosophy that concerns itself with the existence of beings and how they should be categorized. For example, the ontological argument for the Christian god is based on the idea that something that ultimately powerful and perfect must exist (it is of course based on an a priori assumption, that the Christian god is all of these things, with no evidence).

        Pessimism is that reality is evil or that evil (negative things that impact you) is stronger than good, (positive things that impact you.) So, one would think that the term “ontological pessimism” means one believes that existence is evil.

        You have tried to claim that all atheists must have no position on morality. This is the tired old claim that atheist are moral-less creatures who have no idea of good or evil. You then try to claim that if an atheist has morals, then they aren’t a true atheist because, per your false claim that they can’t have morals. You have been shown that atheists do indeed have morals and thus your false claims have become lies because you repeat them. You need to claim that atheists can’t have morals because, if we do, there goes one of the last bits of argument for your god.

        It’s hilarious that you want to claim a rhetorical question is evidence that John is an ontological pessimist. A “what if” now is evidence. That’s quite a conclusion you’ve reached.

        Morals are subjective and situational; they are for atheists and they are for theists too. Theists invent their morality, assign it to a magical powerful being that they claim is eternal and then proceed to change it constantly. There is no evidence at all that Christians have some magical truth or that there is a god controlling morality, and those facts show your question about rhinos doing moral evil, the question that JZ was responding to, is ridiculous. Indeed, the thousands of sects who disagree underline that the claims of truth are entirely nonsense.

        The fact that you may not know anyone who believes in natural law or Aristotelian metaphysics doesn’t mean that there are not atheists who do so. Now, if you are referring to “natural law” as the nonsense that the Roman Catholic Church claims, that their religious laws and interpretations are “universal” and decreed by their god, when they are not at all, then there are probably no atheists who believe in such nonsense by definition, but we have indeed studied it and know it for the baseless apologetics it is. Is this the meaning of “Natural Law” that you are referring to, one based on one more fantasy, the creation myth?

        As for studying Aristotelian metaphysics, not hard to study it, but plenty hard to believe it, and one can do one without the other. No need for a prime mover nor evidence of one, God or not, but reason to understand why Aristotle postulated it and why Christians glommed on to it. One can understand why Christians want to pretend their claims are universal law and TRUTH, but they can’t even agree on them, which shows their claims to be baseless. Still waiting for anything that shows “being qua being” true. Nice idea, but so is the idea of a pleasant afterlife, me being able to cure cancer with a touch, etc.

        Wow, amazing when a Christian claims to be able to read minds. No, you are wrong again, DM. I know your claims are false and I certainly dislike them entirely. The fact that you are making such claims and repeating them shows that you are nothing special, just one more man who claims that his version is the only TrueChrisitanity, who wants to lie about those who do not obey his commands that they must believe this and such, and who is unable to support his claims. You are no more correct, memorable or coherent than the thousand before you or the thousand after you.

      26. “The world is inherently meaningless” = “humans give the world meaning”. You can’t give something a meaning if it already has a meaning. You can only give something a meaning if it has no meaning.
        “atheist morality is a matter of provisional means and goals” = “morals are subjective and situational”. Of course: if the world is inherently meaningless then so are humans, who have to create morals for themselves. Morals are simply a set of goals and the means to achieve them. There is no objective morality to discover, only morality which is created. There is no objective point of reference, and therefore (so far as I cans see) no point in arguing about it.
        So, if I am a liar, and you agree with everything I say, then does that make you a liar too? Or does liar just mean “someone I don’t like”?

      27. No, DM, the phrase “the world is inherently meaningless” does not equal “humans give the world meaning”. If the humans give the world meaning, this means that the world is not “inherently meaningless” as you would claim in your repeatedly attempts to claim that atheists must be nihilists believing “that existence is senseless and useless” when you wrote “that existence is senseless and useless”. If something is inherent e.g. “involved in the constitution or essential character of something”– merriam websiter, then that attribute can’t be removed.

        Morals are indeed subjective and situational and that in no way makes humans meaningless or the world meaningless. The fact that we must create morals for ourselves indeed means that we do find meaning and give it to things. Since morality is subjective, that is the exact reason that people do and should discuss it. Again, you cling to your false claim that atheists should be nihilsts, and base one more false claim on that when you claim that atheists shouldn’t discuss morality since we supposedly should have no morals. We can discuss on how theists try to claim that they have some objective morality and how this is not supported by the evidence. We can discuss what morals civilizations have in common and why.

        You seem to be intent on falsely claiming that I agree with you. I don’t. Do you need external validation so much that you must invent it? Again, please do show that I agree with your claims that atheists must be “ontological pessimists” or that atheists must be nihilists. I’m still waiting. Again, liar means “No, DM, the phrase “the world is inherently meaningless” does not equal “humans give the world meaning”. If the humans give the world meaning, this means that the world is not “inherently meaningless” as you would claim in your repeatedly attempts to claim that atheists must be nihilists believing “that existence is senseless and useless” when you wrote “that existence is senseless and useless”. If something is inherent e.g. “involved in the constitution or essential character of something”– merriam websiter, then that attribute can’t be removed.
        Morals are indeed subjective and situational and that in no way makes humans meaningless or the world meaningless. The fact that we must create morals for ourselves indeed means that we do find meaning and give it to things. Since morality is subjective, that is the exact reason that people do and should discuss it. Again, you cling to your false claim that atheists should be nihilsts, and base one more false claim on that when you claim that atheists shouldn’t discuss morality since we supposedly should have no morals. We can discuss on how theists try to claim that they have some objective morality and how this is not supported by the evidence. We can discuss what morals civilizations have in common and why.
        You seem to be intent on falsely claiming that I agree with you. I don’t. Do you need external validation so much that you must invent it? Again, please do show that I agree with your claims that atheists must be “ontological pessimists” or that atheists must be nihilists. I’m still waiting. Again, liar means “: “ someone who lies 1 : to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive 2 : to create a false or misleading impression” – merriam-webster.com ”

        I don’t know you much at all so I can’t say that I like you or not. I do not like your lies and trying to claim that I discount your claims because of some personal dislike fails.

      28. You find things that do not already exist, you create things that do not already exist. Do you create morals or find them?
        If morals are created they are subjective, that is, they only exist in the person that creates them. If morals are objective it means they exist regardless of person.
        There is no point in discussing subjective things, because there is no exterior point of reference.
        You are trying to have everything both ways: claiming that morals are subjective and created, yet some how objective so we can discuss it rationally. You say meaning in the world is both created and discovered. Again, you cannot have it both ways, at least not in the same respect.

      29. One creates morals, one might discover the morals of someone else, who did create them. I have no idea why you think something that is created by someone else only exists in that person. I can transfer my ideas to someone else, and then they exist there too. That’s what learning is, the transfer of ideas. They exist if I live or not.

        I can see why you would insist that no one should discuss things that disagree with you. One can discuss things without an objective point of reference by comparing our interior points of reference. But let’s apply your claim to religion. Since there is no objective evidence for your religion, and Christians can be shown not to agree, why should anyone believe what you claim? There is no exterior point of reference.

        One can discuss things that one has common reference too. It can be discussed rationally with no problem. I can easily have morals that are subjective and created, and they are not objective at all. However, humans share experience and knowledge and thus we can discuss things rationally with no problem. We are not limited to only discuss objective things using reason. If this were the case, no one could discuss philosophy or as I pointed out above, religion.

        I do note that you are using excuses again, trying to claim that there is some “same respect” which you cannot explain.

      30. “A thing cannot both be and not be in the same respect at the same time.” It is called the principle of non-contradiction and you are violating it almost every opportunity.
        Morality is about goals and the means to achieve them. If the goals and means are not somehow written into human nature, if they are purely subjective and relative, then talking about them is like discussing one’s favorite color.

      31. If the goals and means are not somehow written into human nature, if they are purely subjective and relative, then talking about them is like discussing one’s favorite color.

        Yes, exactly, and our world gets better with each new advancement… Like when we did away with your religions command for animal sacrifice. We became better moral creatures.

      32. Which means there is an objective pole to moral action, please explain that to my interlocutor.
        Regarding facts, “you” never did away with my religion’s command for animal sacrifice, as my religion never had animal sacrifice.

      33. “my religion never had animal sacrifice.”

        Huh? Animal sacrifice is throughout the bible, your god loves the smell of burning sacrificial flesh, and Jesus certainly didn’t tell anyone to stop. Same goes for slavery. It’s sanctioned and promoted in the bible. Nowhere does it condemn it. We human beings arrived at that notion by ourselves. The first formal abolition of slavery was enacted in India, by Ashoka, emperor of the Maurya Dynasty, who abolished slavery in the 3rd Century BCE.. In China, the Qin Dynasty eliminated slaves in the late 200’s BCE. When the Qin Dynasty fell, many of these laws were overturned, only to be abolished once again in 26 BCE by Wang Mang (Xin Dynasty) who abolished slavery altogether. In Europe, the first abolition of slavery occurred in Venice, 906 CE, when the Magistrate (Doge) of Venice, Pietro IV Candiano, banned it. Doge’s were men of the Law, not of religion. Venice was, of course, antagonistic to the Vatican. It was not until 1102 when we see the church in London condemn slavery during the Council of London, although it would take another 600 years before Britain formally banned the practice.

        I don’t see your religion being any sort of moral pole here, do you?

      34. I am not a Jew. Christians do not practice animal sacrifice for reasons laid out in the letter to the Hebrews, you should know that.
        Jews do not practice animal sacrifice not for any concern for animals but because a Roman solider put a torch to the Temple. There is no animal sacrifice in European tradition because Europe is culturally Christian.
        Jesus’ attitudes towards Temple worship seems to have been ambivalent. It is pretty much impossible to separate what in the Gospels represent Jesus’ preaching from the preaching of the Apostles in the NT. It is reasonable however to attribute to him the prediction of Temple being destroyed, which explains his crucifixion; the choosing of the 12, a prophetic act that his contemporaries would have seen as a sort of refounding of Israel; and the Eucharist, which is a reworking of the ceder meal into the form of a sacrificial ritual with bread replacing the victim. This would indicate that in Jesus’ mind the Temple cult was not long for the world and it was time for a refashioned way of being Israel.
        All that having been said, I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with offering an animal sacrifice to a god, but it only makes sense in certain cultural contexts.
        Slavery in the Roman world was so ingrained in the social order it isn’t surprising that ancient church didn’t know what to do about it. Within the church there was a certain egalitarianism: a slave could be baptized, married, or ordained to ministry, and it was common for Christians to release their slaves. But then you find churchmen like Ireneus fretting about what might happen if all the all the slaves were set free without any means of supporting themselves and the social chaos that would ensue. So the church was ambivalent: it was one of those social problems like prostitution they thought you can’t do much about.
        In the middle ages the Peace of God movement had an anti-slavery aspect to it, and modern anti-slavery was mostly pushed by Christians, especially Evangelicals and Quakers. It is a recurring theme in Christian history. I’m not excusing the ambivalence, just pointing out the reasons for it.

      35. DP, you are trying to argue morals are objective, and that pole is rooted to your god/religion. Self-evidently, that is nonsense. Yhwh supports slavery, Jesus said nothing against it, and Paul encouraged it, even giving slaves advice as to how they should behave.

        “slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling” (Ephesians 6:5)

        “tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect” (Titus 2:9).

        However, as history informs us, the first formal abolition of slavery was enacted in India, by Ashoka, emperor of the Maurya Dynasty, who abolished slavery in the 3rd Century BCE.. The Chinese also abolished it long, long before your religion was even imagined.

        If morals are objective, then someone is wrong, right?

        So, considering your religions positive position on slavery, please give me your argument for why slavery is morally responsible, desirable, and good… and why the abolition of slavery was, in fact, bad and against (your) Gods moral pole.

      36. The proximate objective moral pole is human nature itself. But human nature can only be said to be normative and morally obligatory if backed by an absolute authority such as the will of God, which is the remote.
        The subjective pole is the understanding, culture and circumstances of the acting individual.
        By the objective pole some acts are always evil. By the subjective one, aspects of the act may or may not be.
        For example: it would be evil for me to marry my 13 year old cousin, but it would not be evil for someone living in a bronze age culture to do so, because of radically different circumstances like life expectancy, economics, female educational opportunities, etc.
        It would always be evil however to break a marriage vow, no matter the circumstances.
        Applied to slavery: it is evil to deprive someone of his liberty though kidnapping, but in some circumstances it might be impossible or imprudent to generally set slaves free, which was likely the case in Roman times, in which case one was not obligated to do so.
        This raises the question of to what extent Christians are called upon to change the structural realities of the world: do they simply navigate the world as they find it, or are they to fundamentally re-arrange it?
        I confess I do not know the answer. But historically anti-slavery moments in the west have been led by Christians, motivated by Christian conscience, so maybe it is the latter.

      37. The proximate objective moral pole is human nature itself. But human nature can only be said to be normative and morally obligatory if backed by an absolute authority such as the will of God, which is the remote.

        Ah. Proximate. Normative. I see.

        DP, don’t ever get sick and tired of having to dance to rescue your so-clearly flawed worldview?

      38. Moral decisions themselves are simple and often instantaneous, there does not have to be much information, just a few relevant facts. But that does not mean that there is not a great deal going on in a moral decision. The moral actor simultaneously knows himself, his goal, some of his circumstances, against a backdrop of his cultural worldview, and also some sense of moral imperatives – more or less strong – that transcend him and oblige him to act one way and not another.
        So moral acts are simple in one way and complex in another. All I’m doing is describing the complex side of it.

      39. OK, DP, let’s play it this way. Do you, yes or no, think slavery is morally reprehensible?

        Yes, or No?

      40. Yes, but I’m not for that reason going to pretend I can stand high and mighty over what people in the first century did.
        Here is a question: should St Paul have told slaves to rebel against their masters?

      41. So, Yhwh supports slavery, Jesus supports slavery, and Paul encourages slavery. That, DP, is the command given by your bible…. The source, according to you, of all human morality.

        So, the question is: As it most certainly isn’t from the pages of the bible, where did you, DP, get the idea in your head that slavery was morally reprehensible?

      42. You didn’t answer my question.

      43. Because you’re trying to deflect. But OK, how about this: instead of Paul saying “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)” how about “No one should own or sell another human being.”

        Of course, Jesus probably should have commanded this, shouldn’t he? But he didn’t.

        So, Yhwh supports slavery, Jesus supports slavery, and Paul encourages slavery. That, DP, is the command given by your bible…. The source, according to you, of all human morality.

        So, the question is: As it most certainly isn’t from the pages of the bible, where did you, DP, get the idea in your head that slavery was morally reprehensible?

      44. No, it is an important question to what degree a Christian is called to upset the social order. Had Paul been an anti-slavery agitator he would have led a slave rebellion that would have ended badly for everyone involved. Is every Christian called to be a John Brown? You have the phenomena of “pro-life” terrorism: certainly abortion is evil, but there are limits to what one can achieve peacefully, and there one’s efforts must stop.
        Now, to answer your question: I get my notions about slavery first from my culture, modern American, which is in turn a Western, liberal, Christian-Protestant culture.
        Upon reflection, I find two things repugnant about slavery, first the way one becomes a slave – kidnapping or losing a war, or being born into it. Though slavery by birth and kidnapping seem more unfair than being captured in battle. The point of reference here is human nature, where some authority is legitimate, but so is self-direction. Slavery is an exaggeration of authority.
        Finally, what do I make of slavery in the Bible? It does not particularly bother me. The Bible simply does not envisage moral action in a world different from the one its authors really inhabited.
        What I confess to having some difficulty with is the fact that Christian morality encourages a certain resignation in the face of some evils. This goes against my modern mentality, but the older I get the more I realize that you can’t change everything, some things you can only suffer.
        I do not and have never taken the bible as the last word on all moral questions, because the bible does not exist in isolation, it is the book of a people, the church, and while it is a valuable point of reference the discernment of proper moral action in a given stage of history belongs to the people. The Bible is like a three act play, with act three missing. Act three is being written right now.

      45. So you’re conceding morality (ethics) is subjective and is not influenced in any way by your god or your religion. I agree. I mean, slavery is sanctioned in your Ten Commandments, after all.

      46. Now how on earth did you arrive to that conclusion?
        Morals have a subjective pole and an objective one. Part of the subjective is the cultural and circumstantial. But their force comes from the objective pole, the grounding in human nature which carries an imperative that can only come from something beyond human nature.
        Coveting is evil, even if it is for a slave.
        Hey, lets preform a thought experiment. Say you are visiting a second century Mediterranean city: most people are speaking demotic greek, there is the Jewish quarter, the red light district full of child prostitutes, the waterfront.. you can’t help but notice that at least a third of the people you see on the street are slaves, distinguished by their clothing.
        But when you encounter the Christian community you notice that the distinction of slave and free is much less important: in ritual meetings slave and free worship together. Some of the presbyters, and maybe even the episcopos are slaves. There is an older free-man or two who sleep with their slave girls – outside the community this is just a man using his property as he sees fit, but inside the community they are considered married, and if the man were to leave the girl for another he would be excommunicated for adultery.
        We know these things happened in the early church, how does one describe such a community? It isn’t subversive – they do not want to change the world.

      47. “Now how on earth did you arrive to that conclusion?”

        Well, let’s see:

        ”Finally, what do I make of slavery in the Bible? It does not particularly bother me. The Bible simply does not envisage moral action in a world different from the one its authors really inhabited.”

        Inspired word of your God? I think not, and it appears you don’t think so, too. So, if not the from the bible, DP, where do you get your godly instructions?

        Or do you support slavery and human trafficking, as your god, Yhwh, Jesus and Paul do?If you do, please give me your reasons for supporting it, and explain why anti-slavery campaigners are morally wrong..

        Subjective pole… Objective pole.

        LOL! DP, you really are stunningly pathetic, you know. I don’t like saying that, but it is the sad, sad, sad truth.

        Demonstrate to me an objective pole, and while you’re at it, show me that this objective pole is found only in your religion.

      48. And you accuse me of being cartoonish.
        The Bible is essentially a story. More precisely it is a collection of genera arranged into a big story. It is the story of a community -two communities – which still exist to this day.
        The Bible is not essentially a rule book or “set of Godly instructions”.

      49. Well, isn’t that interesting.

        So, answer the question, DP: if not from the bible, where do you get your godly moral instructions?

      50. Culture, filtered by rational consideration of natural law, which has its remote foundations in divine law.
        Really this is nothing new. Aquinas might have said as much.

      51. Divine law, huh? OK, answer the question, DP: if not from the bible, the inspired and sole word of your god, where do you get your idea of this godly “divine law” from?

      52. I guess the above wasn’t clear enough:
        The first way anybody knows anything regarding morals is from his family and by extension his culture.
        Cultures generally attribute morals to the gods because morality feels imperative and transcendent.
        Upon rational reflection we see that the morals of any given culture is an expression, more or less adequate, of the goals of human nature. Rational reflection, done right, helps elevate cultural norms.
        The natural goals of humanity are not just natural, they are normative and obligatory because they have their ultimate source in the divine.
        Therefore, natural law is discernible in its general outlines to anyone of good will, though I believe God, in his mercy, made some things more easily known through the teachings of Jesus, which are preserved, for the most part accurately, in Christian teaching.

      53. ”I guess the above wasn’t clear enough”

        Clear? You have danced and squirmed your way from asserting there exists only objective morality rooted in your particular god, to saying subjective morality actually rules the roost, but it’s tied through some magic line to an esoteric (but natural) realm that is, apparently, influenced by your magical being who does indeed own all morality, but we can’t directly access that in any tangible way, nor can we rely on this magical being’s instructions issued in the bible, his book of books, because, well, those instructions are wrong, but we have to believe this magic connection to what is outwardly wrong (but apparently inwards actually right) is real because, well, DP says so.

        DP, I’m sure there are circus’s in Bulgaria who’d pay you handsomely to just walk on stage and start speaking.

        ”The natural goals of humanity are not just natural, they are normative and obligatory because they have their ultimate source in the divine.”

        Errmmm, what? So far, you haven’t given squat to even vaguely back up this ludicrous assertion…. So we’ll just call it incoherent nonsense until you front up with something tangible.

        I did ask you for something tangible, didn’t I? What have you ignored this?

      54. What an ass.
        You ask a question that has occupied some of humanity’s finest thinkers for millennia and is the subject of thousands of big thick books – from where does human moral impulse come and of what does it consist – and get all pissy because the answer is complicated? Because it involves more than a word or two?
        You ask a philosophical question and then presume to reject the answer on the grounds that it is too philosophical? Because I try to take a broad view of human experience and include as much of as I can?
        What exactly did I say you found so foolish? That people first derive their moral vision from their cultural surroundings? That rational inquiry can play a role in elevating that culture? That people experience some aspects of morality as being imperative and absolute, which is why they attribute it to God or to the gods?
        And that is the subjective side which is easy to describe: the objective side, that there is a human nature and that nature makes certain acts obligatory because it does in fact derive from an absolute, is obviously harder to argue from the ground up. The alternative however, a purely subjective morality not grounded in anything absolute or obligatory, is a non-starter because we do not in fact experience moral impulses that way, and it renders moral reasoning meaningless.
        Maybe my efforts at describing this are poor, maybe not – there is a reason I don’t write or teach full time – but they should be coherent to anyone familiar with the last three thousand years of Western moral discourse.
        So if you simply reject them out of hand as incoherent nonsense, it is not just because you are an ass, but a poorly read and generally uneducated ass.

      55. LOL!!! Classic!! Thousands of “big thick books” dedicated to something you, DP, are trying to argue is the simplest of all apparent truths: morals come from my god. Period. End of story.

        Great stuff. Your worldview is tremendously, desperately, dangerously convincing, and not at all self-contradictory. Thousands of big thick books that collectively fail to establish a single line of verifiable truth can’t be wrong, huh? LOL!!!

        You’re an idiot. But do have a very Merry Christmas.

      56. Merry Christmas

      57. And let’s not forget about your religions sanction of slavery. When we, humans, rose above that we became better.

        Do you not agree?

      58. Please do show I am “violating the principle of non-contradiction”, DM. Here’s what the principle is ” It states that contradictory statements cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time, e.g. the two propositions “A is B” and “A is not B” are mutually exclusive.”-Wikipedia

        Again, how does this principle support your claim that one can’t discuss subjective things? In reality, people discuss subjective things all of the time: art, beauty, religions, ideals, what the meaning of life is, etc. People do talk about a favorite color and why people have favorite colors. It seems that you are ignoring reality in favor of your failed claim that atheists have to obey DM and do what DM says so he can have his failed strawman.

        Humans have shared experiences and have the same biology which means we often act very similarly. It’s not hard to realize that some people agree with one and that others disagree and that’s what discussions are, to find out and analyze each other’s viewpoints.

        It’s also a bit odd on how you seem to now want to define “morality”. You claim it is about goals and the means to reach them. Now most people consider morality to be how humans distinguish right and wrong, which I suppose could be stretched to be about goals and how to reach them. You have tried to claim that to do atheism “correctly” one can’t have ideas of good and evil, that atheists should be morally “neutral”.

        Thanks for avoiding answering my request for you to show how a what if question is an assertion that someone believes in the thing posited in the what if question.

        Still waiting for your evidence. Also am curious on how you know your morals come from your particular god and no other.

      59. What determines morality is goals: what is human fulfillment, perfection, and happiness consist of, and the what are the choices that one may make or not make to achieve it.
        If you deny the material universe has finality you necessarily deny the same to humanity which is a part of it. If you say morals are subjective, you mean that the goals and means are not inherent and natural to humanity, but arbitrary. If they are natural and inherent, then you believe in natural law.
        You can only have an intelligent conversation about beauty or goodness if beauty or goodness has some objective pole in the thing being discussed. Otherwise, there is nothing to talk about. There is nothing that to which two people can compare their opinions.
        I’ve pointed out your contradictions all the time: atheist morals are not provisional, all morals are subjective; atheists believe in a neutral material universe, atheists believe in good and evil, etc.

      60. Okay, DM, do show where I’ve used “playground epithets”. How are you following my “lead”? Or is this one more instance where you make an accusation and cannot support it? That seems to be the case, and you are just trying to justify your actions by making false claims about me, the ol’ “well, you did it too”. Show where I did.

        You did say that morals for atheist are provisional, you have said that atheists should not have them because there is no reason to have them because you want all atheists to believe that there is no meaning to live, that we are all going to die so no one needs morals: “So the atheist should be neutral on moral questions: sure, he might think one choice or another is more or less convenient for one’s provisional goals, but there is no way of knowing the long-term effects of our choices and in the end we are all just cosmic accidents waiting for entropy and extinction.”. Funny how we can know the long term effects of our choices, and even if we didn’t, that’s no reason to throw up ones hands and declare that there is no meaning to live and no need to consider ones actions.

        Morals are indeed subjective e.g. there is no absolute good or evil, and they are for every human. Theists wish to claim that their moral choices are objective and approved of by some omnipotent entity but they cannot show this to be true. The claims of objective morality by religion is demonstrated false by the constant change of moral claims by theists.

        The idea that morals are subjective is not nihilism, nihilism is the claim that nothing has inherent meaning as you would claim it to be by this statement “but there is no way of knowing the long-term effects of our choices and in the end we are all just cosmic accidents waiting for entropy and extinction.” I think the problem is that you want to claim that atheists are moral nihilists when moral relativists is the correct term to describe what many, if not most, of atheists are, to create your strawman. Nietzsche wrote about nihilism, and as the wikipedia article about nihilism states he uses many different ideas in that one word. How you think he is the father of nihilism I’m not quite sure. Let’s consider his claim of what a nihilist is in his view “A nihilist is a man who judges of the world as it is that it ought not to be, and of the world as it ought to be that it does not exist. According to this view, our existence (action, suffering, willing, feeling) has no meaning: the pathos of ‘in vain’ is the nihilists’ pathos — at the same time, as pathos, an inconsistency on the part of the nihilists.” So, where have I said that I believe this view that Nietszche lays out? Where is Nietzsche equating humans creating morals in this definition of what a nihilist is?

        You seem to be playing the usual game that a theist does, claiming that since he didn’t say the exact words, he never accused someone of being the definition of those words. You have claimed that atheists should be neutral on moral e.g. amoral “having or showing no concern about whether behavior is morally right or wrong”. You have claimed that atheists are “inconsistent” because they do not agree with your claim that they should be amoral and have morals “But that does not prevent individual atheists from holding incoherent positions. You might for example find one who believes strongly in animal rights or in feminism, which are absurd ideologies when considered in the grim light of the cold, uncaring gears of the universe ticking away towards the eventual destruction of our species.”

        I’m going to combine my response to your other comment here since there’ s no point in separating them. Goals do not determine morality; goals determine on how the morality is viewed, as beneficial or detrimental. I don’t deny that the universe has an end, so I don’t deny that humanity has an end. The end of the universe is supported by evidence. Everything will cease to exist as it is now. So?

        Morals are subjective and I do not mean at all that goals and means are not inherent to humanity. Humans create those “goals and means” and they are quite natural to us. We do them all of the time. It’s always amusing to watch a theist try to claim that somehow that which humans create is “artificial” to our nature, when it is completely in our nature. I do not believe in the natural law as claimed by theists, and theists cannot show that their natural law, based on the existence of a supernatural god, is true.

        Again, DM, you are wrong when you try to claim that one can only discuss beauty and goodness only if there is some objective “pole” to compare the ideas to. For example, theists claim that their god, whichever it may be, is this “pole” and they can’t agree on what is good at all. Even Christians disagree on what this god considered “sin” and what this god “really meant” when it comes to the bible. Since you don’t have a “pole” that you can point to, and constantly discuss the idea of goodness, why do think no one else can? It appears that the problem is that if humans don’t need a “pole” this shows that we also don’t need your god and there goes one more argument that your god simply must exist. Two, or more, people can compare their opinions to each other; again, we don’t need your god.

        I’ll sum up: atheists do not believe in a magical objective god that gives morals. I believe most atheists, if not all, agree that morals are subjective; some may not. Atheists can believe in good and evil, as defined e.g. given meaning, by humans, but these ideas are not objective absolutes and do not have to be, see “subjective” above. Believing that morals are subjective does not preclude believing in good and evil. You’ve tried to claim such ideas are contradictory; they only are if one accepts your atheist strawman, which isn’t true at all.

        Still waiting for you to show how a postulated “what if” is stating that one believes in the concept postulated.

      61. It is utterly childish of you to go around calling people liars for having committed the sin of disagreeing with you. I am also starting to get sick of your inability to follow a logical argument.
        Provisional = subjective. Natural means and goals = objective. Subjective = not having a standard of good and evil beyond personal opinion.
        You can’t have it every which way.

      62. You did lie! You lied by sneakily editing a comment so as to create your desired pantomime.

      63. One sentence for clarity, clearly marked, with a link to the original.
        Stop bitching.

      64. Stop lying. You omitted, quite deliberately, the very section which gave the sentence meaning and context. You did this to create your pantomime reality… which has since come crashing down because you were caught out.

      65. How many sentences did I edit out?
        One.
        Why?
        For clarity: my post was not about rhinos, but your pessimism, which I grant you now interpret as an example of Poe’s law.
        Did I mark the edit?
        Yes.
        Did I link to you original?
        Yes.
        This is the last word on the subject, any more bitching from you will be trashed.

      66. If that helps you sleep at night….

      67. Again, I am asking you for evidence for your claims. A lie is not a disagreement, a lie is presenting a false claim repeatedly after being shown that the claim is factually wrong.

        I can follow a logical argument easily. You have not presented one. You have claimed that atheists must have no morals and have not yet shown why this should be so. I know that subjective morals are not having a standard of good and evil beyond personal opinion. Congratulations, you have exactly that as morals considering how Christians can’t show that their god agrees with their particular morals, much less show that it exists.

        what are “natural means and goals”, DM? That appears to be one more attempt at baffling with bullshit, but you are welcome to define what you mean by those words to support your claim.

        How do these mysterious “natural means and goals” make things objective e.g. based on facts rather than feelings or opinions – merriam Webster ? I shall predict you will refuse to define the term “natural means and goals”. I do hope I’m wrong.

        I’m waiting for you to show that your morals aren’t subjective too. Since we know that Christians don’t agree on what consists of morality, or what their god decrees, there is no reason to believe that your morals are any different in source than mine.

        and, still waiting for you to show how a postulated what-if is a statement that someone believes the situation in the what-if statement is true. This is what your original post claimed. Where’s the evidence? Where is the evidence that ““So the atheist should be neutral on moral questions: sure, he might think one choice or another is more or less convenient for one’s provisional goals, but there is no way of knowing the long-term effects of our choices and in the end we are all just cosmic accidents waiting for entropy and extinction.”

        I am glad to see that you have again avoided showing where I have done something you have claimed. So, where are these “playground epithets” that I’ved used so you can claim that you are following my “lead”. Since you can’t seem to show evidence, this seems to be a falsehood told intentionally to excuse yourself e.g. a lie.

      68. “You have claimed that atheists must have no morals.”
        Never said that, liar. I said atheist morals are provisional. “One choice or another is more or less convenient for one’s provisional goals.” Goals and choices to achieve them = morality.
        As for the evidence that atheists should be neutral on questions of good and evil beyond his provisional goals, there is no sense arguing about subjective things because you can point to nothing objective to prove the point. You love asking for evidence like a parrot. In subjective matters there is no evidence. If morals are subjective, there is no evidence to be invoked.
        Natural means and goals: natural goals would be things like health, security, creativity, social participation, reproduction, knowledge, etc. Those things that tend towards human happiness and fulfillment. Some are more obvious than others: all men understand what it is to be healthy and want it, but since humans are intellectual we want intellectual goods too: to know truth and beauty, to posses justice and goodness, to respond adequately to these higher experiences. These are not subjective – man is rational by nature, but not all men think often about those things.
        Proper means to achieve them would be means that don’t violate one of those goals in favor of another. One might want to reproduce, but there is a time and place for it. One might want health, and therefore food, but taking food from another is not the way to achieve it, etc.
        Some acts are always evil because they betray our deeper needs for goodness and justice: murder, theft, lying, etc.
        Now, I’m sick of you. If you call me a lair again I’m just going to trash your comment. Feel free to say whatever you want otherwise.
        Merry Christmas.

      69. Aaaand trashed.

      70. Of course. Thanks for showing that you can’t support your claims, DM. You are a great example of why no one should believe someone who claims he knows some “objective” truth and then can’t show any evidence to support that claim. Thank you for being such a great example of Christianity.
        You may have trashed my post but it went out to everyone who is following the thread. I also have it as a word doc. You’ve failed again.

      71. Censorship, DP… Seriously?

        You are aware, aren’t you, that censorship is nothing but a sign of weakness, an admission that your ideas can’t stand scrutiny.

        Listen, if this is the level you’re going to stoop to, why not just turn your blog to private. Obviously you can’t handle the “public” setting, so set it to private and create just a little echo chamber in which you’ll be safe and secure and, I’m sure, happy.

  5. Interesting post. I am still chuckling over the idea of sharks “feeling tortured by existential angst.” Heck, the vast majority of humans don’t even feel tortured by such angst.

  6. What a pathetic, sniveling little waste of time this was.

    Someone wrote a perfectly sensible post and you go quote them to call them stupid. This is lower than middle school bullies.

    And you dare suggest that you know or care anything more about meaning or morals than the person you did it to!

    Shame on you.

    1. What exactly was sensible about John’s comments on animals loathing their own existence?

  7. “What exactly was sensible about John’s comments on animals loathing their own existence?”

    Tremendous embellishment there, DP. I’d suggest you forget posting publicly if it is a cartoon reality in which you want to live. What I said, as part of a larger comment, was:

    “Who’s saying an animal does not regret killing? Who’s to say they do not loathe having to do it? You?”

    From this you have created “John says animals loathe their existence.”

    Well done!

    Your ludicrous claim that animals are “not free” was soundly proven in error, graphically so in fact, and i can continue to prove it if you like, with video if you prefer moving pictures, so the question is perfectly valid. You’re just angry because it is valid, for that ruins your one-dimensional narrative.

    1. I quoted your whole comment in the post above. It is entirely loony.
      Besides, in your bizarre vision of the world, why wouldn’t a shark loathe his own existence, sustained only by the wholesale murder of seals?
      Moreover, your utter pessimism about food chains makes no sense from an atheist perspective. The asteroid that will one day wipe out life on earth does not give a crap about zebras.
      Hey, you never answered my question from your blog: had the rhino of his own free will and volition decided to not help the baby zebra, wouldn’t that make him a bad rhino? Shouldn’t someone arrest him and put him on trial for depraved indifference? Should he repent from his evil ways? If he possessed an immortal soul, would that mean he would go to rhino hell?

      1. ”I quoted your whole comment in the post above”

        Does lying come naturally to you DP, or is it something you have to work at daily?

        That comment, in full, without clever editing:

        I haven’t answered because it’s a dumb question. Who’s saying an animal does not regret killing? Who’s to say they do not loathe having to do it? You? The rhino’s action demonstrate that which you are denying: it is free. It is therefore free to recognise and be utterly appalled at this existence it has found itself (uninvited) in… a world where every creature is contracted by birth to prey upon the other in order to steal the proteins and fats and sugars and minerals they need just to stay alive one more day in what amounts to a daily apocalypse of obliged bloodletting.

        Have I made a statement here? Am I saying one thing, or am I presenting the possibility? The difference between the two is enormous, but it seems you’re not at all interested in such annoyances. You want to create a cartoon reality, a pantomime, and it seems you’re more than willing to lie to do so. Your narrative was and is flawed, as demonstrated photographically.

        If you want to try again, I’d be happy to review your future efforts if and when they are presented.

        And while we’re on it, are you going to try and offer some other (more credible) suggestion for why your god created this universe? Your first suggestion was, of course, proven to be unsupportable.

      2. You are just being silly, I’ve done nothing dishonest. I edited out the reference to the rhino, which would not have made sense in the context of my post. The edit I made is clearly marked by brackets above, and I linked to your comment section so anyone can look it up for themselves.
        As long as we are guessing at motives, how about I surmise you are just pissy because I pointed out your lunacy and are trying to accuse me of dishonest edits to deflect attention?
        Now, John, where do you get off asking me to drag up old arguments when you don’t answer the questions I’m asking now?
        If animals are really free, why don’t you treat them as such? How about it, when do you start preaching moral reform to bad rhinos?
        What evidence do you have that predators don’t like hunting and killing? Haven’t you ever owned a cat? Cats love it.
        How on earth do you justify your pessimism about animal life if you are an atheist? Why should you resent the fact that they have to eat each other? By what standard can you call it evil? It is just an evolutionary glitch on the way to entropy or the big meteor, whichever comes first.

      3. ”I’ve done nothing dishonest.”

        Let’s review this statement. You said: “I quoted your whole comment in the post above.”

        Did you?

        So, who’s lying, DP?

        The full quote (in the larger context) links the reasoning, and makes a laughing stock of your invented claim “John says animals loathe their existence.”

        ”If animals are really free, why don’t you treat them as such?”

        We are moving toward such recognition. Non-human rights cases have already been won in some countries, and heard in the US. Here is a good Wired summary of related articles. Folloowing is a NYT’s OpEd on the same subject.

        http://www.wired.com/tag/animal-personhood/

        http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/opinion/animals-are-persons-too.html?_r=0

        And here is a link to the Non-Human Rights Organisation

        http://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org/category/courtfilings/

        So, your point is, what? We should be cruel to animals? We should make their life a misery? You kill animals for entertainment, don’t you, DP?

        Now, as I don’t even really know what your point here even is, how about we address the original post: Why did (your) God create this physical universe?

        Your first attempt at an answer lacked credibility in the Middle Ages, and it is still lacks credibility today. Can’t you think of something original, something new, rather than regurgitating failed arguments?

      4. 1. I edited out one sentence for the sake of clarity, marked my edit, and linked to it. The substance of the comment was intact.
        2. Any efforts to confer rights on animals do not recognize them as free beings. No animal rights activist preaches moral reform to bad rhinos.
        3. Ah yes, the original intention of the post, so glad you got around to this: it is that some atheists hold positions that they should consider absurd. You, for example, believe the material universe is evil when you ought to consider it purely neutral.

      5. DP, you’re confusing the TOOAIN thesis with my post which asks: Why did (your) God create the physical/material universe? They’re not connect, so do please stop making a fool of yourself. If you want to talk about TOOAIN (and I’d love it if you do), then read the book, and after knowing what the thesis actually is (as opposed to what you think the thesis is) then drop on by one of my TOOAIN posts.

        “Any efforts to confer rights on animals do not recognize them as free beings.”

        Sweet Veles you just love making ridiculous blanket statements, don’t you?

        Listen, this is just a suggestion, but before you shoot your mouth off (and make factually erroneous statements), perhaps you should research a little about you’re so very quick to claim you know everything about…. But don’t.

        You can start this journey with the links provided. Let me know if you have any questions, OK.

      6. And DP

        ”I edited out one sentence for the sake of clarity, marked my edit, and linked to it. The substance of the comment was intact.”

        No, the substance was not intact. By carefully editing out the rhino being free (which was the central point, mind you) you sneakily isolated the follow-through questions… the goal of which, as we have seen, was to create this pantomime of yours that “John says animals loathe their existence.” You then tried to claim “I quoted your whole comment in the post above,” which is simply a lie.

        DP, if you want to play “cartoon reality” then by all means, knock yourself out… play it with like-minded people who really aren’t interested in facts and think nothing of being dishonest. Just know, though, I’m not one of those people.

      7. OK, so instead of the rhino being free I had you saying animals are free in general so as to not confuse the reader, and THAT makes me a liar?
        And I’M the one living in a cartoon reality?
        Suit yourself you old loon.

      8. Ermmm, no…. The whole “being free” part in context was craftily edited out. That’s the point.

        That whole section again: The rhino’s action demonstrate that which you are denying: it is free. It is therefore free to recognise and be utterly appalled at this existence it has found itself (uninvited) in…

        You see, DP, that part is pretty much required for the rest to make sense. But, of course, you weren’t interested in that, were you? No, you wanted to create a pantomime reality with this staggeringly absurd gem: “John says animals loathe their existence.”

        Listen, you’re grumpy, I get that, but just try and be more careful in the future. Ludicrous blanket statements (based on dishonesty, no less) will never end well for the wicked.

        Now, did you review the Gallup survey that says the majority of Americans believe animals should have the same rights as humans? Did you follow those other links, and see the fatal error in your position?

      9. It makes no sense in a post that is not about rhinos but about ontological pessimism, hence the edit.
        I get that you would rather split hairs about my editorial decisions and make statements about my character then defend your ludicrous statement about animals (possibly) loathing the need to kill, tortured by conscience and existentialist angst. A statement the logical conclusion of which is that an animal like a shark, wolf, or eagle must loathe his own carnivorous nature and hence his existence.
        No, I didn’t bother checking the links. Atheists are squirrely enough, animal rights activists absolute loons, as evidenced by the fact that you refuse to stop and consider whether cats enjoy killing or if there is such a thing as a bad rhino.
        Doubtless all those Americans wanting the same rights for animals also want cannibalism legalized, since they probably went to McDonald’s right after filling out the survey.
        Tell you what: I will read one article on animal rights for every wolf you attempt to convert to veganism. There are dog-foods made of pure grain, no animal protein: the wolves can eat those. After all, the wolf is free to choose, isn’t he? Imagine how much soul-searching and distress you could spare him.

      10. You’re wandering, DP.

        ludicrous statement about animals (possibly) loathing the need to kill

        Not ludicrous at all, as demonstrated by the photograph below. (If you like, I can post videos of other animals behaving in an empathetic manner. Do remember, DP, your entire argument was based on your blanket statement that animals are empathy-less automatons. Study the photo and repeat that claim, OK. Study the photo and repeat your claim that they are not free.

        Atheists are squirrely enough, animal rights activists absolute loons

        Ah yes, I guess that’s why atheists make up such a large portion of the jail population. That is, probably, what you believe, right?

        I think we’re done here. Your post is a cartoon, and it seems so is your reasoning.

      11. Wandering? I’m half-heartedly trying to lead the conversation back to the subject of the post, your absurd metaphysical pessimism.
        Animals are capable of emotion and respond to the emotions of others, that is why they form groups and we keep them as pets. They are not free to determine their own response to emotions, which you prove by the fact that you do not attempt to preach morality to bad rhinos.
        Speaking of wandering, hows about you answer some of my questions? Oh, right, you don’t do that.

      12. They are not free to determine their own response to emotions

        LOL! Right… Perhaps you should actually look at the picture, DP.

        Goodbye.

      13. I’ll believe you when you start preaching moral reform to wolves. Take care.

      14. And here’s an interesting poll for you, DP. A Gallup poll: “In U.S., More Say Animals Should Have Same Rights as People”

        http://www.gallup.com/poll/183275/say-animals-rights-people.aspx

  8. […] The existential angst of sharks is a concept shamelessly stolen from this blog post called, “doing atheism wrong.” […]

  9. Wow. At the end of all that, I’m still not convinced that I should give a shit about the asteroid’s concerns (or lack thereof), or God’s for that matter, if he is the apocalypse-bringer instead. At least we would get all the answers to the test questions if it were God, so there’s a reason for optimism on theist accounts
    On second thought, I suppose that answers wouldn’t be relevant either, were I taken into the bosom of the Lord. Nothing ultimately is, in a timeless eternity.
    If you think you would ‘feel’ blessed, or tortured, or purposeful, sad or happy in such a condition, you are simply whistling past the infinite gulf.
    You would simply be, according to God’s purpose, which as temporal beings, we would be entirely unequipped to apprehend. Siddhartha would be vindicated at last, but that wouldn’t matter either.
    Maybe a little more ontological pessimism is in order on the believer’s account?

    1. The bigger question is whether or not existence has meaning – a final cause – or not. If not, and existence has no inherent meaning, then there is no cause for optimism or pessimism. If it does have inherent meaning, then that meaning determines how we should create our lives.
      The question of the immortality of the soul is one of faith. But I think one can say that if the soul is immortal, then it never experiences “timelessness”. Time is a measure of change, and change of some kind or another is part of the nature of any limited being. So a human “soul in heaven” wouldn’t experience time the way we do, but pure timelessness wouldn’t be possible for it either.
      If a human soul were to encounter the ultimate unadulterated good, the origin and end of all being, then it would experience bliss.
      A human can only chose something because it sees the thing as good, in some form or another. Presented with absolute goodness, the human will would experience a kind of dilation and ultimate “yes” in response. That would be, in abstract terms, heaven.

      1. Bliss vs its previous experience of not-bliss? Bliss is an experience which occurs in time. I’m not sure how it even serves as an analogy.
        If the soul is eternal, immutable, or simply something ‘other’, then I see no cause for concern, on the soul’s part, with temporal goings-on – and vice versa. Temporal meanings are thereby disjoined from the soul by its nature.
        So why worry?

      2. Like I said above, I don’t think a human experiences true timelessness, even in hypothetical discussions of what heaven is like.
        The soul is the self, it is the specific human intelligence. I really don’t know how it can exist apart from the body, but if it did it would not cease to be human.
        But here is a related thought: time has a psychological aspect. Boredom or pain makes us experience time slowly, fun or joy makes time speed up. The experience of time in heaven might be determined on a psychological level. Just an idea.

  10. Why do you think atheists tend to accept such an incoherent position?

    1. I don’t think they generally incoherent on this issue, but some are. I outlined above how it just might be a case of believing their own bullshit. Maybe it is something deeper, I don’t know.

  11. “But while the atheist apologist is making this argument he is supposed to have in the back of his mind the realization that he is only employing the terms “good” and “evil” to create a dilemma for the believer. The atheist himself does not really believe in good or evil in any absolute sense. The goal is not to convince the believer of the evil of the world – that would be silly – but to ultimately convince the believer that the entire edifice of creation, God, matter, good, evil, finality, etc, is absurd and should be abandoned.

    So it might be that while trying to convince a believer of the wickedness of the material world, the atheist apologist really starts to believe it himself.”

    Oh, so well said! Although, I’d say that the atheist apologist actually believed in good/evil in his heart, all along, and only reveals this very fact unintentionally through his paradoxical attempt at disproving God… 😉

  12. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools…”

    Sorry, I’m just one of those willfully stupid, anti intellectual American farmers here, you know, like the ones who gave birth to one of the most prosperous and powerful countries the world has ever seen.

    Zande and his ilk like to perceive themselves as very sophisticated, intellectual, cosmopolitan, anti American even, so it is with some irony that I remember he too is a product of the USA. The same country that gave him the freedom to non believe. Just saying.

    1. The US settled Australia? LOL!

      Inanity, i’m not anti-American. I’ve been to the US many, many times. I even lived and worked in Washington DC and Western Virginia for a while. Yours is quite a nice country. Have you ever traveled outside the US, Insanity?

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