What’s Wrong with Genocide?

Open your mouth for the speechless
In the cause of all who are appointed to die.

My recent post https://madelynlang469.com/2016/02/13/why-do-you-champion-genocide/ seemed to have hit a nerve. In the back-and-forth of comments, my self-described atheist opposers on this issue spent several days and at least three blog forums expressing this thought over and over:

The right to abortion is good and the comparison made to Nazi death camps is atrocious.

Then followed a lengthy discussion on the equivalence between the death camps and…

eating animals

which then devolved into a discussion on whether plants feel pain. (They’re not sure that plants don’t feel pain but they’re absolutely positive that unborn babies can’t.)

I tried vainly to point out the ethical problems with equating meat eating with the extermination of ethnic people groups while approving the legal killing of millions of human beings in utero; as well the outrage at my comparison of  numbers two and three. I was stonewalled and diverted. Not one person was willing to even attempt to tell me what was the difference between the gas chamber and the abortion clinic.

My wheels do sometimes turn slowly but after three days of this, I finally realized what the problem is for them. Although they may not realize it, they don’t really know what’s wrong with the death camps either.

The irony and cognitive dissonance you demonstrate is too easy. You can’t tell the difference between yourself and a cow, so you’ve gone vegan. If you can’t differentiate those two, why don’t you feel more sympathy for the child? Can you see what’s ultimately wrong with human genocide?

So here’s a challenge for my recent atheist conversants:

Can you tell me what is intrinsically wrong with herding human beings into camps then systematically ending their lives?  What is objectively wrong about it?

Do not tell me how it makes you feel or that everyone just knows.

Do not tell me what’s illegal about it. Tell me why it’s negative. Please explain how it is wrong in an absolute way.

Understand that I want you to have an answer. I’d rather be wrong about this and have to concede that you have a stable moral base, some objective check-and-balance against nihilism.

However, possessing no objective standard for human behavior is a charge often leveled at the new atheists, and I have never seen a new atheist answer the charge well. In fact, I have never seen one who seems to think it’s particularly important to.

On this excellent post on another blog, one atheist declared this: “Atheists do not assume they as individuals are the arbiter of right and wrong.” I commented that they sure do; since an atheist has no objective source to reference for his approvals and condemnations, his only source is himself. Therefore it is the atheist who is acting as arbiter, often showing up on Christian blogs to express disgust, to mock, to personally insult and to generally be a very obnoxious crank. Going about declaring this good and that heinous.

Self-righteous? Yes.

Self-righteousness is a charge regularly leveled at Christians. “people like Madblog make me sick to my stomach with their disgusting hypocritical morality.”

Open your mouth for the speechless
In the cause of all who are appointed to die.

We who call ourselves Christians have a mandate from a higher authority. The atheist goes about condemning by no higher authority than himself.

Here is  the most relevant post to which I refer.

Advertisements

132 thoughts on “What’s Wrong with Genocide?

  1. insanitybytes22

    Interesting (horrifying?) discussions we’re having these days. There’s an old book I once read long ago about how culture will soon start to value the lives of animals more than humans, that the sanctity of animal life will come to be known, while human life will be devalued. Part of that was alleged to come about because of technology, because as people are pulled more towards an artificial world, we will start to long for human biology, for the natural, the animal part of ourselves, so we project our own longing for ourselves onto critters, as we become more like our machines. A few decades have passed since I read that book, and here we are, we’ve arrived at our science fiction. So, break an eagle egg and it’s a federal crime, a felony. Even seagulls are a protected species. Abortion, assisted suicide, the death penalty, all these things are legal however, at least in my state, but not just legal, heroic, just, encouraged and championed.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  2. Arkenaten

    If you would like to explore this to its fullest extent I am more than willing to play the Atheist Whipping Boy.

    However, in the interests of honesty and integrity may we start the ball rolling by questioning the legitimacy of the Flood Genocide and the Canaanite Genocide as reflected in Genesis and Joshua as ordered by Yahweh?

    Assuming you accept these are historical events,how does one justify these two actions that saw the obliteration of firstly almost the entire human species and second the attempted extirpation of an entire race?

    You have my word that once we square this away I will freely,openly and as honestly as I am able answer your questions regarding abortion.

    Thanks.

    Like

    Reply
    1. madblog Post author

      No, that is not the subject of the post, it is my post, and the discussion will be on my terms. You have been asked a question.

      If referencing another’s post is subjecting one to being whipping boy, I guess the shoe is on the other foot or something.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
      1. Arkenaten

        Well, as you wish to categorize abortion as ”genocide”and suggest I openly encourage the ”extermination of babies” yet have nothing to say on the heinous biblical genocides and other various horrors perpetrated by your god and his minions how on earth is one supposed to believe you will be anything but biased and openly hostile to any view contrary to your own?

        Like

        Reply
      2. Arkenaten

        Then unless you receive lots of other non believers I predict you will be once again, blogging in your echo chamber with lots of comments about how awful atheists and pro-abortion people are etc .Including all those not- genuine-Christians no doubt?

        Best of luck, Madblog

        Like

        Reply
  3. Arkenaten

    Can you tell me what is intrinsically wrong with herding human beings into camps then systematically ending their lives? What is objectively wrong about it?

    For what it’s worth …
    Thou shall not murder (kill).

    Anything else?

    Like

    Reply
        1. madblog Post author

          Yes. The first reason which comes to mind is that you do not believe that law exists because you hold that the whole history in the OT is fiction.
          Is it an evasion? The question is an extremely simple one, and by the way, not intended to be a trap. I want you. to tell me. why YOU think. concentration camp murders. were wrong.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Arkenaten

          The OT is Historical Fiction.
          This has already been established by experts. Jewish experts included, and is the overwhelming opinion of biblical scholars. Not Fundamentalists and Literalists, and Young Earth Creationists, obviously, but these people can be summarily discounted.

          I want you. to tell me. why YOU think. concentration camp murders. were wrong.

          Because murder is wrong. Period.

          Like

        3. Arkenaten

          I am deadly serious. This is not cheating at all and is crucial.
          Exactly how would a Christian – Wally for example – respond to that question.
          As long or succinct as you like.
          Or even get Wally to answer, I’m sure he,is following.
          Let me just pop to the kitchen to get a cup of tea.Back in a tick.

          Like

        4. madblog Post author

          But the point here is for you to answer the question as an atheist. Tell me how you decide something is intrinsically wrong?
          I’m hoping you will find a reason, but honestly, I do not think you can, without borrowing reasons from value systems which you otherwise repudiate.

          Liked by 1 person

        5. Arkenaten

          The you have no right to criticize my POV.
          When you have taken the time to find out then I will be more than happy to engage you on this topic.

          Like

        6. Arkenaten

          Oh, I do know. Believe me I know.
          But you don’t. And yet still feel you have the moral high ground and vilify atheists even though you have confessed you are ignorant of their position.
          Is it not the correct thing to do to understand first before you g off n such a rant and write such hare filled posts about atheists when you haven’t had the decency to do a simply internet search on how they arrive at their position?
          I now yours position inside out and backwards.
          Perhaps you might extend me the same courtesy?

          Like

        7. Arkenaten

          I am not deflecting at all. I am an atheist, and if you don’t know my answer by now then you are ignorant beyond words, Wally.
          Now, you tell me how you know murder is wrong?
          Long or as short an answer as you like.

          Like

        8. Arkenaten

          I used the bible because it is something you would understand.
          Surely you realise this?
          As far as I am concerned the answer to your question should be self-evident and need no explanation.

          Like

        9. madblog Post author

          If you will trouble yourself to remember, it was you and other atheists who came over to my blog—-for the express purpose of criticizing my POV on the subject of genocide/abortion. At that time, you shared your views freely and voluntarily. I don’t need to guess about those views as far as they go.

          I wanted to take it a step further and get some clarification on a very simple question.

          Liked by 1 person

        10. madblog Post author

          No I do not know. That is why I am asking. And I still don’t have an answer.

          I was not being disingenuous.

          Why would I be asking if I already had an answer?

          Liked by 1 person

        11. Arkenaten

          I just told you. Not your god.
          So, whatever the opposite of the creationist nonsense derived from the Historical Fiction of the Old Testament is the answer.
          Simple.

          Like

        12. madblog Post author

          Let me get this straight.

          YOUR reason why murder is wrong is whatever is the opposite of the creationist nonsense derived from the historical fiction of the Old Testament.

          Do I have that right?

          Liked by 1 person

        13. madblog Post author

          You are saying the reason why murder is wrong is whatever is the opposite of the God of the Bible; and that this is THE reason for everyone, everywhere, at all times?

          Liked by 1 person

        14. Arkenaten

          Well done!
          Evolution it is.
          It’s probably best you go and research all about evolution first, as it is a big subject and this is just one small blog post.
          You could try Jerry Coyne. He is very clued up on this subject.
          Just Google away.

          The you can tell Wally.
          That wasn’t as difficult as you thought, right?

          Like

        15. Arkenaten

          Excellent!
          And remember: Must not murder. No god required.
          Oh, and don’t forget to pass on what you learn to poor Wally. ‘Tis a shame, but, he does get so Hard Done By.
          It has been fun. No hard feelings I hope?

          Like

        16. Arkenaten

          I merely echo their self-deprecation. Wally has a nasty habit of doing it on a regular basis,
          ”Yeah I am an idiot ( or similar) blah blah blah”
          which is why it comes across as hard done by.
          He doesn’t need to do this.

          Like

        17. Arkenaten

          BTW, for some reason, Wally keeps writing to me but my replies do not seem to be getting through?
          Is he deleting them before he posts or are you keeping some in moderation ?

          Like

        18. Arkenaten

          Nope. If you have not the decency to find out what the atheist position is before criticizing, then I am damned(sic) if I’m going to enlighten you.
          Go research and then come back with a little less hubris and we can talk, okay?
          Off you go …

          Like

        19. Wally Fry

          Atheist position? Now I’m really confused as ya’ll keep hollering atheism is content free.

          Oh well it’s back to the cave for me I suppose. Maybe in a few billion years my brain will evolve.

          Peace and Madelyn I won’t clog things up here any more

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Allallt

    I can already see where this will go if someone decides to engage. No matter what answer one gives, the rebuttal will be based around the use of the words “inherent” and “objective”. No matter what, one will simply make any atheist’s answer to be a ‘matter of opinion’.
    So, for what it’s worth, the act of murder induces fear and misery in the survivors, and ends an actual self-sustaining human life. Genocide is worse, because there are more lives involved and the sheer arbitrariness of it deepens the fear held by the survivors: maybe the next arbitrary condition for murder will include me!

    Foetuses are not human lives. There is no medical definition of human life that includes a foetus until about week 21. Not only that, but they are not self-sustaining lives. They are biological parasites (if they are not wanted). Although abortion may induce repulsion in many people (and that’s understandable), abortion does not lead anyone to reasonably fear for their own life.

    The fact that one is the cessation of a self-sustaining human life and the other is the removal of an unwanted growth is precisely the difference.

    You may argue that foetuses have the potential to be self-sustaining human lives, and therefore we are talking about moral equivalents here. But that is a non sequitur: there is no reason one should consider “potentials” and “actuals” in the same way. For one, given current technology, tumours have the potential to be human lives. (You may find the comparison repugnant, but that is not the same as seeing the difference.)

    There may be a good argument for creating a broader group to define human life. If you define human life as that which is self-sustaining, with medical intervention (to include very early births where there have been survivors). In this case, when technology is sufficiently advanced, it really would be a human life at conception. However, in this circumstance, if that is the moral direction we wanted to take (and that’s a big if), then sufficient technology would exist to remove the foetus and support it with medical intervention — and that process would replace abortions.

    (As a side note, to fund that, you’d need universal health care. I wonder how many anti-abortioners would support that. You maintain the woman’s right to not have the child, and the state pays to provide the medical intervention to ‘bring it to term’ as it were.)

    Like

    Reply
    1. madblog Post author

      The question is a simple one and there are no tricks here. Can you, as an atheist, explain why the murder of the Jews by the Nazis was wrong, without appealing to law, consensus, or feelings? Why was it actually WRONG?

      Your first paragraph: Why is it wrong to end a self-sustaining human life? Producing fear and misery: same question. How do you determine that that is wrong?

      Your brilliance on the nature of a human fetus is interesting to say the least, but it is not the question I am asking. I would like to point out your subjective and wildly incorrect “science” but I will stick to the topic. I would suggest you show it to another female atheist and ask her opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Allallt

        I don’t think I spoke about science.
        And this–“How do you determine that that is wrong?”–is exactly the trick I said you’d use.

        Perhaps we can spend a little time giving some sort of meaningful definition to what “morality” means. I don’t like to preach, so I’d much rather you gave the first shot at a definition of morality. Any thoughts?

        Like

        Reply
        1. madblog Post author

          You certainly did, but again, I’m not following that trail.

          I did not mention “morality.” Let me cogitate on the concept of morality before I answer that.

          How is asking the question I originally asked a trick? I assure you it is not. It should be easy to answer.

          If that’s a problem, let’s make it simpler: DO you think killing six million Jews was wrong?

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Allallt

          I believe that ethics is about protecting the wellbeing of living humans.
          Killing people isn’t doing that.
          Killing people en masse by arbitrary rules really isn’t doing that.
          They’re both egregious violations of that concept at a fundamental level.

          Like

        3. madblog Post author

          Absolutely agree. But what I’m getting at is: where do the ethics come from? It’s great if society has a noble sense of ethics or morality and everyone agrees. But that is not always, or usually, the case. Murder is a virtuous act in some societies. Slavery was a given, a neutral for millennia.

          Morality is defined in various ways (won’t bore you with copy-and-pasting) and as such it suggests that’s it’s subjective but in other ways objective. I think morality is our belief about what is actually true…it is a society’s best subjective judgment about what is objectively right and wrong.

          That means it is of necessity in reference to an objective standard. There must be an objective standard for society to make subjective judgments about. When we call something immoral, we are saying it violates (our understanding of) an objective wrong. What is the objective measure?

          My question is: what does an atheist point to when calling something objectively wrong, or does he do so, or settle for a subjective reason?

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Allallt

          I apologise for this: I’ve got a big one for you. (Oo err.)

          So we do need to get to a point of defining morality. And that’s not easy to do.
          The question of where morality comes from is a multi-faceted one. Essentially, there are two questions: (1) How did moral truths come to be “true”? and (2) How can we come to know those moral truths?
          In lazy language (1) How was morality written? and (2) How do we know about it?
          Now, you can define morality, as I did (and as many moral philosophers do) in axiomatic terms: morality is X. I said, following the lead of Sam Harris, morality is protecting the wellbeing of living humans. That’s axiomatic: it came to be true by virtue of being what morality means. It’s not quite circular, but it shares some of the characteristics of circular reasoning, so I can see why is sticks in people’s craw (especially when they thought they already had a very different answer).
          What I do think is that we can agree in vaguer terms about what morality is. It somehow related to liberty, life, freedom, responsibility and limitation. It is also, somehow, related to progress and permission and prohibition.
          It is not well defined. But, I think we can agree, we do at least have low-mark answers that point us in a direction.
          And from there we can start to discover things about morality. I think we’ve been looking in the right direction for a long time, constantly over turning ideas and discovering better parts of what morality really is. That is how slavery went from being a morally neutral idea to being morally repugnant. We discover values and themes related to morality the more we agree to look in the right direction.
          And this process has seen progress. Nearly every generation has looked at what happened a few generations before them and agreed moral progress has been made. Generally, the further back you look the more progress people agree has been made. (I know that’s axiomatically true of progress, I mention it as evidence that the process we’ve seen really is progressive.)
          I think this is evidence that what we are unearthing is a real thing. And that points to an objective moral ontology that we do not fully comprehend (yet) but are closer to now than we were 90 years ago. Interestingly, we can look at some societies today and, instead of cultural relativism (or the racism of low expectations, same thing), we can honestly say ‘our society thought and behaved in that way 300 years ago — there is a real spectrum of progress’.
          So, although I can’t explain exactly where an objective moral ontology comes from, I can certainly point to certain evidence that such a concept exists.
          I also think that if you look at societies that are morally behind our own (assuming this “progress” I’ve discussed) you can also start to see hints of exactly what it is uncovers these moral truth: open and free discussion. Free speech is the epistemology of moral truth. Some of the most regressive societies are also the ones that have the harshest punishments for dissent from orthodoxy. (That is what is so dangerous about certain elements of the “left” at the moment, but I digress.)
          This affords us a reasonably defined concept of morality and a reasonable method by which to better define morality.

          And one thing it has absolutely and unambiguously uncovered is the right of a living human to live. (And, increasingly, the right to die under certain circumstances.) That is why it was morally right to let the Jews live.

          Nothing in that extends to a foetus. It is not a living human. To a woman who does not want it, it is an impositions: a parasitic entity with access to the woman as a life support system, that endangers her life.

          This is why I talked about future-proofing the concept of abortion with life as a self-sustaining system, with medical intervention.

          (Although I still challenge that I ever talked about “science”.)

          Like

        5. madblog Post author

          Alright, I’m getting punchy but I will at least try a brief reply to be followed up on later. I’m going to give you some bullet points, and I know I’m not covering everything. I’m just going to have to come back tomorrow after that. I appreciate your patience.

          All of your descriptions of morality, though good, still describe a relative, a subjective agreement among human beings. It may be a well or long established consensus, but it is not objective.
          As I said, I think morality is a human invention attempting to follow an objective standard. That standard is necessary and apart from our morality.

          As you describe it, it is a human construct. Of course. What else could it be, right?

          Some of its qualities: morality develops over time, and is progressing toward perfection.

          The Biblical view is that true objective morality exists. It is true for all people everywhere at all times. It never changes because it is absolutely true and right.
          It has always existed in the person of God.
          It was given to man, all at once, at the beginning, but we blew it in short order. Since then, the relative morality of human society has not been a progression but a roller coaster.
          Can we really say that human beings on the planet Earth are truly more moral, more good, than ever before? That would be a difficult proposition to demonstrate; the evidence does not support moral progression. By anyone’s yardstick, the 20th century was the most violent in human history.
          God’s value system is not vague or based on shifting or relative consensus. It is to be the reflection of himself, perfect love with perfect justice.

          I question whether you as atheists believe that there is a truly objective morality .

          I cannot sleep without opposing your contention that a human fetus is not a living human. That is not supported by medical science anywhere. I’m sorry but it is outrageously incorrect. That is not opinion.
          But more to come tomorrow.

          Liked by 2 people

        6. madblog Post author

          That’s disappointing. Here I thought we were having a conversation. This was no gotcha.
          The next question is: does a reason for not committing genocide, does a system of morality, need to be objective? I believe it does. Does an atheist?

          Liked by 1 person

        7. Allallt

          I’m still waiting for your follow up. But at this stage, despite the fact I defended a moral ontology, you simply asserted it is an opinion. I called that before I even wrote an answer.
          You also don’t seem to recognise the moral progress in not killing people from the next tribe over for the crime of being from the next tribe over, or civil rights, or womens rights, or animal rights or the abolition of slavery. I’m not saying it’s been a smooth progression, but the progression is clear.

          Like

        8. madblog Post author

          In no way did I call your answer an opinion. What you described is not unique to you, your personal opinion. It’s a time-honored default morality shared by, honestly, most people. It’s the best attempt we humans can construct in our noble effort to make sense of the world.

          I do not recognize the moral progress and the progression is not clear. You’ve given yourself a hard row to hoe there.

          Follow up still to come.

          Like

        9. madblog Post author

          Here is part of a response.

          SUBJECTIVE: relating to the way a person experiences things in his or her own mind; based on feelings or opinions rather than facts.
          The opposite, OBJECTIVE: based on facts rather than feelings or opinions : not influenced by feelings; existing outside of the mind , existing in the real world.

          Now I could take you through the philosophical process which supports the logical necessity of a real, objective, self-existent source of right/wrong, or good/evil. That would be lengthy. It is basically the same as one of the proofs for the existence of God.
          Or read Book 1 of Mere Christianity, which surprisingly enough does not reference religious faith.

          Absent an objective morality, we are appealing to something which is relative, which means that it is subject to change and temporal, not eternal. That is because its greatest flaw is that its source is not trustworthy. It derives from the fickle preference of the collective mass of subjective, self-seeking human beings.

          IF it is a standard to reference, to stake our life choices and actions on, to build our legal morality upon, to look to for guidance in living a decent life, doesn’t it need to be something…dependable? Something which is true no matter how you or I feel about it, something that doesn’t change with the winds of public preferences, something which endures under pressure so that we can go against the tide? And wouldn’t it need to originate outside of us?

          How do we ever know we are absolutely right if we are only able to appeal to the agreement of our peers, even if those peers are very numerous or some generations of peers have also agreed? Nazis again: Nuremberg defendants invariably used excuses like: it was legal; I was following orders: I’m not responsible because either: everybody was doing it, or my authority told me to.
          In contrast, there were conscientious objectors who knew wrong was wrong. How did they do that?

          What I was looking for was not to claim victory because you both might have a less-than-totally-objective morality. I wanted to see if you could claim a reason that something like murder is wrong, beyond the assertion that everybody knows (that changes, and no they don’t) or by applying some negative adjective to it (subjective and emotion-based) or that it’s usually illegal or considered immoral by most people(it changes, and it isn’t always).

          A real morality does not depend on human opinion or knowledge. It is simply valid and binding, regardless of human opinion. If an atheist does not appeal to something which is outside (or above) the human community, to what does he appeal? Maybe you have an answer.

          Liked by 1 person

        10. madblog Post author

          And one thing it has absolutely and unambiguously uncovered is the right of a living human to live. (And, increasingly, the right to die under certain circumstances.) That is why it was morally right to let the Jews live.

          But you see, the right of a human to live is even now selectively applied. We are having this discussion because I assert that the fetuses do have a right to live, just as the Jews did. If you were to discover that human fetuses are living human beings, would you grant that their killing by the millions is as wrong as the Holocaust? I think you would have to.

          Like

        11. Allallt

          Firstly, I don’t accept that what I described was relative morality. I said morality is a truth we are discovering.
          Secondly, objective morality is not an advantage if the objective morality you’re offering is awful.
          Thirdly, I’d wager that if this conversation were to continue, you’d tell me some of the things you think are included in Biblical objective morality and what you offer will all be from Humanism; the fact you accept one passage of the Bible, but not another, will be based on human conversation about what is proper and good.
          Fourth, Biblical morality is subjective. Not only is how one interprets the Bible completely subjective, but whether someone cares that something comes from the Bible is also completely subjective.

          Like

        12. madblog Post author

          Fine, then explain how it is objective. If it is a truth we are discovering, that does suggest that it is a thing out there that is what it is, and we are discovering it. That jibes with my concept too. But what is it and where does it come from?
          I agree that if it’s awful that’s bad; that’s why we ought to know what it is and its source. We should evaluate it.
          The funny thing is, we have no way of making judgments on awful/not awful without the objective standard. From where do we derive a concept of the notion of good/not good?

          I don’t understand…are you saying that Humanism predates and originates the values found in the Bible?

          How one interprets the Bible is not completely subjective. It can be when someone is using it sloppily, carelessly, with great ignorance and no understanding. It needs to be studied honestly. Interpretation of the Bible can be anything but subjective, but that is not a trail I’m going to go down. I did not base either of my posts on Biblical proofs.

          Liked by 1 person

        13. Allallt

          “I agree that if it’s awful that’s bad; that’s why we ought to know what it is and its source. We should evaluate it.
          The funny thing is, we have no way of making judgments on awful/not awful without the objective standard.”
          So, how does one evaluate the standard?
          No, of course you’re not going to get into that. Because, if you do, you’ll have to give a meaningful definition of ‘objective’.
          I have a question for you, to illuminate the problem: how do you convince someone who doesn’t value evidence of simple scientific claims?

          Like

        14. madblog Post author

          I think I’ve been explaining what “objective” means for a couple days, and repeatedly. I’m sorry you don’t understand.

          We evaluate the standard by appropriating it and applying it. That question cuts you far worse than I. By what measure do you make judgments without (so far) a standard to go by?

          Like

        15. Allallt

          Here’s the definition of objective that you offered: based on facts rather than feelings or opinions : not influenced by feelings; existing outside of the mind , existing in the real world.

          Not incompatible with “wrong”.

          Like

        16. madblog Post author

          I really don’t know what you’re saying there. But no matter.

          Establishing what an objective standard is seems to be the where we’re stuck and there’s no getting past it. Thanks for a polite discussion.

          Like

        17. Allallt

          A few thoughts on the discussion we had:
          (1) You claimed that we need to know the source of ethics to evaluate them. I don’t accept that is true. If there were two bikes in my back garden, and one was a high-spec, lightweight, 21-speed, low cadence bike with low friction tires, I would readily and ably evaluate that it is a good bike, completely oblivious as to where it came from. If the second bike was a heavy, rusted bike where the moving parts stuck and the tires were flat, I’d be able to evaluate that it is not a good bike.
          No amount of ‘but that bike came from the Marin warehouse’ would convince me it is therefore a good bike. The bike fails on it’s own merit (and, if I believe you that it came from the Marin warehouse, we now have a serious quality control question, too.)
          (2) I find it concerning that you cannot see moral progress through human history. Do you not see merit in the abolition of slaves and empowerment of women and the goal of equal rights for everyone? The discussion about how we should treat animals has been one of giving rights, not taking them away. I didn’t say the progress was smooth, and I’m not arguing that single person is the best they can be; I’m saying the moral understanding we have now is better than it was 500 years ago.
          (3) The definition of objective you offered simply said that it was based on facts and not dependent on individual preference. Well, something can fit that definition and be wrong. Geocentrism is a good example. That is why we need to be able to evaluate things. Including the standard.
          (4) I didn’t claim to fully understand morality. I claimed that progress is evidence that there is some moral truth we are reacting to. It could be a low point we are escaping, or an actual ideal we are aiming towards. I don’t know. And I don’t have to for my argument to work. You are holding my argument to a standard you won’t defend: being able to explain where it comes from. Do we really want to get into that sort of conversation? You know where it leads.

          Like

        1. Wally Fry

          So the moral standards developed as a result of evolution must be the only part of the process that does not evolve right? Even a moron can see that once they evolve they cease to be objective

          Like

        2. Wally Fry

          Ark

          Did you read that entire comment and the only word you saw was moron. Sigh.

          You desperation to avoid the very direct question you have been asked is almost comical. Somewhat a mixture of sad and comical actually.

          Honestly, I figured if I just called myself a moron, you would not have to and could then actually address the question.

          So, any plans to do that?

          Like

        3. Arkenaten

          Comical?
          You believe in a genocidal maniac of a god, are a firm believer in Divine Command Theory and Young Earth Creationism, take the bible at face value, wholly reject the mountains of scientific and archaeological data and you suggest my ”avoidance” is comical?
          Phew! Now that truly is so very sad.
          Seriously, from the bottom of my heart – and you won’t often hear me say this to you – go read up on evolution and then look up religious indoctrination, Wally.
          It’s really time you did some serious study to balance out what your faith has done to you.

          And once more for the record: The question has been asked and answered.
          And the answer is : Evolution.

          Like

        4. Wally Fry

          Well, not it’s not really an answer. Unless your answer is that there is no objective, unchanging moral standard. Because evolution can’t create such a standard, because…drum roll…it EVOLVES!!

          The most you can say is that Genocide is not moral today. Tomorrow it might be, because it evolves.

          So, to recap, I understand your answer is:

          “I don’t like Genocide much myself, but as things, people, and culture evolved, it might be okay tomorrow. I hope not, but it could.”

          Thanks, that’s all i wanted, was an answer.

          Like

        5. Arkenaten

          Oh, no. Morality is all part of the evolution package Wally. I don’t profess to understand it all, not do I need to.
          As the only alternative is your made up Canaanite deiry , Yahweh.
          Just think on that for a moment.
          For you this is it. For me, I don’t really care other than the fact that it did not derive from Yahweh.
          Do you realise how this removes any and all concern?
          Well, do you?
          You, on the other hand are in the rather precarious position of having to believe it all and thus one slip and your entire worldview is shot to – and forgive me for this – Hell.(sic)

          As for your last paragraph:
          I tried not to laugh at your projection.
          🙂

          Like

  5. xPraetorius

    This is priceless! MB, the comments section to your excellent post had me rolling on the floor. To watch Ark simply not answer the question — at great length — was priceless!

    Ark: “Murder is wrong! Just wrong! Don’t you know that?”
    MB: “Okay. Why?”
    Ark (essentially): “Because I say so.”

    What had me on the floor laughing was that I had just spent a few days arguing with Ark’s philosophical confrères and answering their questions, and being told that I was not answering their questions, and then being told that I considered myself the only source, when I regularly appealed to God as the source, and to well-established Christian doctrine.

    So, in answer to your question: I believe I have an idea as to why an atheist thinks that something like genocide is wrong. Here it is: Because a lot of Experts Who Say Convincing-Sounding Things Say So.

    As soon, though, as there is a critical mass of “experts” saying that, say, the Holocaust was a good thing, atheists will fall right in line. For an atheist, there is no Authority higher than Man’s Word. Since in his mind, he doesn’t believe there even is God’s Word, he’ll go with whatever floats his emotional/intellectual boat, and comes from some “expert,” at the moment.

    Without God’s Word, an atheist is, pretty much by definition, a herd animal. See how the “cool intellectual” winds are blowing, and that’s where you should look for the atheists to be following close behind, mooing contentedly and self-satisfied-ly, thinking they’re ever so avant-garde and open-minded.

    Right now the “cool intellectual” winds are behind things like abortion, euthanasia, socialism — general leftism. However, if those winds were to change direction and blow in, say, a pro-life direction, soon enough the self-same atheists who were all about killing babies and old people would be in high indignant dudgeon at the thought.

    But they still wouldn’t be able to tell you why.

    Best,

    — x

    Liked by 4 people

    Reply
  6. xPraetorius

    Ark said:

    Read the thread. Asked and answered.
    Evolution.

    Evolution answers nothing about the rightness or wrongness of murder. There ‘s nothing in the theory, nor is there anything convincing in the entire history of the world, that persuades that a disapproval of murder is a trait conducive to the long-term survival of the species.

    In fact, a proper understanding of the theory of evolution indicates that if murder were generally accepted, then the people still alive in the world truly would be the best, smartest, strongest, most adaptable, fastest — those who truly exhibit the characteristics that everyone recognizes are important contributors to the survival of an individual or a species.

    This aspect of evolution bears out, or so say the “scientists,” in every other species in the world, where the best, fastest, strongest, smartest, most adaptable — nearly always survive to pass those precious genes on to their young. Except, says Ark, for humans, whom evolution has saddled with a truly suicidal urge to be nice.

    Wow, Ark! Are humans special? Or did evolution goof? Are we slated to go the way of the dinosaur, in favor of that true king of the world, the cockroach?

    One thing is sure, though: evolution has no answer to the question: Why is genocide a bad thing?

    Best,

    — x

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. madblog Post author

      I also do not understand how “evolution” in any way could answer this question. But I have said that I would do some research on it and I will. Then I’ll be prepared to discuss again.

      Like

      Reply
      1. militantchristianblog

        MB, From the responses offered by the “Arkenaten” personage (an interesting choice of monikers chosen by the militant atheist considering the monotheistic allegiance of the Pharaoh inspired by Moses) it would appear in his/her atheistic beliefs and faith he/she worships the theory of evolution as the answer to moral questions.

        Even more interesting is how the theory of evolution speaks of extinction as the rule, not the exception proudly boasting 99% of all creatures once living are now dead (could that be his Freudian slip and hint at intelligent design?)

        On morality, atheists, hardened or simply intellectually indifferent, seem to have tremendous trouble explaining morality in any universal terms without deflecting to disbelief as their belief.

        Your responses have been patient and reflect your faith in God and love for Him and others, even the most darkened and lost as witnessed in the blind commentary of Arkenaten. On the Light Side of life, the Arkenatens of the world offer disturbing but clear reminders of why we believe in a faithful, loving God and what the world and life appears without that faith.

        Blessings to you and strength through His Spirit, in His Name, Ben

        Liked by 3 people

        Reply
      1. xPraetorius

        Lol! You may never accuse anyone of dodging a question again. Not ever!

        Shame, really… it was a golden opportunity for you to say, simply, what there is in your belief system, or in your non-belief system, if you prefer, that allows someone to condemn genocide and have a logical moral/philosophical leg to stand on.

        Right now, you have nothing. In fact, you as much as admit that for some atheists genocide is just fine.

        You’re left at best with a kind of a, “Who am I to judge, but I don’t like it.” sort of thing as your strongest reason.

        And that leaves your interlocutor to conclude only, “Yeah, you don’t like it today, but you sure might like genocide tomorrow.”

        Heck, that’s probably how most, if not all, homicidal/genocidal maniacs started out.

        Christians can point to obvious instructions from God dating back to the Garden, in which it’s quite plain that people are not supposed to initiate violence of any kind against other people.

        Best,

        — x

        Liked by 3 people

        Reply
      2. xPraetorius

        One more quick thing. In order to understand better, you need to stop equating God with humans. God’s acts are God’s acts, and we are not qualified to stand in judgment of them. Human acts are human acts, and God is qualified to stand in judgment of them.

        However, your tunnel-vision view of the universe forces you to try to shoe-horn God into some kind of bigger-than-all-the-rest person. He’s not. He’s God and He stands above and apart from, in some respects, us humans. It should be noted that He stands with, and in and all around us as well.

        You, Ark, simply can’t handle the “above and apart from” part of who God is, which probably explains a lot of your inability to grasp some pretty simple concepts.

        Best,

        — x

        Liked by 3 people

        Reply
        1. Arkenaten

          Which god? Are you continuing to refer to the Canaanite deity, Yahweh?
          It is so much simpler just to write his name. Removes all ambiguity, you know?

          Like

  7. xPraetorius

    Lol! I neglected to close off my “blockquote” tag, MB. My apologies. If you edit my last post, you’ll see a <blockquote> right after, “Ark Said:”

    There needs to be a </blockquote> right after “Asked and answered.
    Evolution.”

    My fault, and my apologies.

    Best,

    — x

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  8. xPraetorius

    Here’s my post as it should read:

    Ark said:

    Read the thread. Asked and answered.
    Evolution.

    My response: Evolution answers nothing about the rightness or wrongness of murder. There ‘s nothing in the theory, nor is there anything convincing in the entire history of the world, that persuades that a disapproval of murder is a trait conducive to the long-term survival of the species.

    In fact, a proper understanding of the theory of evolution indicates that if murder were generally accepted, then the people still alive in the world truly would be the best, smartest, strongest, most adaptable, fastest — those who truly exhibit the characteristics that everyone recognizes are important contributors to the survival of an individual or a species.

    This aspect of evolution bears out, or so say the “scientists,” in every other species in the world, where the best, fastest, strongest, smartest, most adaptable — nearly always survive to pass those precious genes on to their young. Except, says Ark, for humans, whom evolution has saddled with a truly suicidal urge to be nice.

    Wow, Ark! Are humans special? Or did evolution goof? Are we slated to go the way of the dinosaur, in favor of that true king of the world, the cockroach?

    One thing is sure, though: evolution has no answer to the question: Why is genocide a bad thing?

    Best,

    — x

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  9. madblog Post author

    I’ll be away from my device now for a few hours, so don’t feel neglected if your comments go unmoderated til I get back.. I’ll tackle anything new tomorrow morning. Thank you all.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  10. lang3063

    Ah, yes, Ark’s god Evolution. Able to meet the need of the moment without having to answer pesky questions like why or how. Like magic! Or like the hand-crafted, purpose-built straw man Yahweh Ark likes to peddle. Funny how closely his god mimics his ridiculous caricature of the real thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Arkenaten

      Caricature?
      Your god is found in the historical fiction known as the Pentateuch.
      If you can explain why you believe this former Bronze Age deity is ”the real deal” then maybe you will then be taken a tad seriously. Until then, what on earth is any normal rational person supposed to make of a grown man – you – who believes in make-believe from a book of fictitious nonsense?

      Like

      Reply
  11. Pingback: The moral dilemma regarding the Christian, Bronze Age Canaanite deity, Yahweh. | A Tale Unfolds

  12. madblog Post author

    I wave my hand toward the Pingback above this comment as evidence of the fruit of this conversation. One of my visitors could not even attempt to answer the challenge of my post. Though he did seem to try for a time, the frustration was too much for him and he boomeranged back to his default.

    The verdict appears to be: No, we can’t. ( Can you give a reason why genocide is intrinsically wrong?)

    The answer to “What’s wrong with genocide?” is: “We don’t know.”

    Like

    Reply
  13. Sirius Bizinus

    A few points (the really short versions, but apologies for the long comment):

    1 – Okay, the justification for why genocide is a bad thing will vary from person to person; this is just as true for Christians as it is for atheists. Some Christians support Divine Command Theory, others support giving the New Testament greater weight when it comes to showing compassion and opposing hate, etc. Some atheists would go for morality as what would come from natural selection (that is, why we’re social animals rather than isolated animals); other atheists might argue something else along the lines of necessity (because really, nobody can build a society if some of its members can be killed on a whim).

    2 – With regards to comparing abortion to genocide, there are several salient differences. Mostly, abortion is not systematic; women are not getting pregnant solely to receive an abortion. Additionally, abortions are not used to kill the entire class of people (unborn children).

    Another big difference is that genocide carries with it the mandate that other countries are allowed to conduct military intervention to stop it. So, if abortion is genocide, it means that all countries who are against it have full moral justification to wage war on us and other countries until we make it illegal. Personal opposition to the law is no excuse. We’re all lawful targets, and our lawmakers are guilty of crimes against humanity.

    Like

    Reply
    1. madblog Post author

      No apology necessary. Your comment is welcome.
      You are correct, apparently, that reasons why genocide is wrong can be subjective and various. But my point was that if so, there is no real reason. My challenge to my atheist commenters was to find a reason it is intrinsically bad, bad in itself, a reason why it’s wrong no matter what you or I think, wrong independent of human opinion/consensus….and they could not.
      Is it actually wrong then?

      I believe it is, because there is objective right and wrong which we did not invent, and further, that of necessity there has to be in order for us to even be capable of being aware that anything is “wrong.”

      BTW, Christians whose reasons are various and subjective are just as incorrect as anyone else. But believers in a just God who does not change, whose nature and person embody ultimate love and ultimate justice can understand how a thing is absolutely “wrong.”

      Also BTW, I have never heard of Divine Command Theory except from Ark. I have no idea what it is. Nor do I espouse most of the theories or beliefs he tars me with, and I have given him no evidence to suppose that I do. He is simply painting me with the broadest brush he can imagine and including me in a caricature of “Christian” which is truly imaginary. One wishes he were a more creative thinker.

      Not systematic? Please explain how it is not systematic when there is a giant multi-billion dollar corporation which operates almost solely for the purpose of aborting human fetuses. It is a huge industry and each one is a mill. Like any big business, Planned Parenthood promotes its product, invests much into PR to make its product appealing, and makes outrageous amounts of money from its product. The fact that babies aren’t conceived in order to be aborted does not signify anything.
      This corporation is funded by our government and our gov’t and legal bodies have granted their endorsement. In what way is it not systematic?

      Here too, if it’s wrong, it’s wrong, regardless of legality or public opinion. I submit that we are killing a class of people who qualify for being killed because of some characteristic, in this case their age and defenselessness, and because we erase their status as human beings and empower their protectors with the right to kill them, no questions asked. It is a crime against humanity, and against God, just as was the sometimes systematic murder of the Jews.

      The qualifier that genocide must be subject to military action from other nations? In other words, it’s not genocide because people would have a moral obligation to prevent it, but I am arguing that people do have a moral obligation to prevent it…and I shouldn’t.
      Another matter of what’s legal, not what’s right.

      Like

      Reply
  14. Pingback: At Least I Have a Napkin to Go With those Plastic Spoons | Messages from the Mythical

  15. Pingback: Disorganized Comments on Recent Posts | Messages from the Mythical

  16. Pingback: Can abortion ever be banned, while maintaining female rights? | Allallt in discussion

  17. Pingback: One Hundred Years of Death | Messages from the Mythical

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s