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April 12th, 2013
04:00 PM ET

Where do morals come from?

By Kelly Murray, CNN

Editor's note: The Science Seat is a feature in which our sister blog CNN Light Years sits down with movers and shakers from different areas of scientific exploration. This is the eighth installment.

(CNN)–
Being nice to others and cooperating with them aren't uniquely human traits. Frans de Waal, director of Emory University's Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Lawrenceville, Georgia, studies how our close primate relatives also demonstrate behaviors suggestive of a sense of morality.

De Waal recently published a book called "The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates," which synthesizes evidence that there are biological roots in human fairness, and explores what that means for the role of religion in human societies.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Science

soundoff (1,276 Responses)
  1. Stephen Hawking is an Idiot

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCkfTCjF8SM&w=640&h=360]

    April 12, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  2. catholic engineer

    Right now we're having trouble with North Korea, Iran, and nukes.
    The atheist says that a million citizens of Tehran are accidents of nature, mere organisms, and that morality has evolved.
    The faithful person says that the million citizens are children of God.

    Whose finger would we rather have on the nuclear trigger?

    April 12, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I would just as soon it is not a religious power or individual acting in a delusional authority from god or in an effort to expedite their journey to paradise. Kim in North Korea is crazy but he knows certian actions will result in his own annihilation, something the religious don't always care about.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • Cher

      Are you dim? Iran is a theocracy. Moron.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Peregrine

      catholic engineer, your claimed religion has caused more than its share of violence, and certainly isn't a place to look for sane people to have in control of certain pushbuttons, for that and other reasons. See here http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/christian/blfaq_viol_reformation.htm

      Well, like that great recent quote says, science creates airplanes. Religion flies them into buildings.

      The world generally would be better off without any religion, the way I see it. If we are ever to move forward with consistent morals and a real standard of good and evil, it is time to put silly old religious fables like yours into the past. They are no place to look for moral standards.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
  3. Reality

    Where do morals come from?

    Human evolution away from the "dark side" of apes and chimps.

    And it started early:

    See the rules and codes of the ancients like King Hammurabi and the Egyptians who wrote the Book of the Dead and who did NOT need revelations from angels or mountain voices to develop needed rules of conduct for us h-o-minids.

    " I have not sinned against anyone. I have not mistreated people. I have not done evil instead of righteousness . . .

    I have not reviled the God.
    I have not laid violent hands on an orphan.
    I have not done what the God abominates . . .
    I have not killed; I have not turned anyone over to a killer.
    I have not caused anyone's suffering . . .
    I have not copulated (illicitly); I have not been unchaste.
    I have not increased nor diminished the measure, I have not diminished the palm; I have not encroached upon the fields.
    I have not added to the balance weights; I have not tempered with the plumb bob of the balance.
    I have not taken milk from a child's mouth; I have not driven small cattle from their herbage...
    I have not stopped (the flow of) water in its seasons; I have not built a dam against flowing water.
    I have not quenched a fire in its time . . .
    I have not kept cattle away from the God's property.
    I have not blocked the God at his processions."

    "The Book of the Dead was written circa 1800 BCE. 2 The Schofield Reference Bible estimates that the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt and the provision of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai occurred in 1491 BCE., some three centuries later. Many religious liberals, historians, and secularists have concluded that the Hebrew Scripture's Ten Commandments were based on this earlier docu-ment, rather than vice-versa."

    April 12, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Ah..we were just talking about you in the comments below.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • lol??

      HHHHhhhmmmm, Scofield did make an impact in america. Where were the mediums? Oh, they didn't know how to spell his name. He got a pass.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
    • Reality

      Where do morals come from?

      Human evolution away from the "dark side" of apes and chimps.

      Scroll to p. 1 to see some early examples.

      April 12, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
    • The real Tom

      What? No copy and paste?

      Just repeat as needed?

      What an idiot.

      April 12, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • fred

      Get real Reality
      Moses was educated in the Pharaohs home according to God plan so he could record the oral tradition of his people. We have no evidence only speculation where the "rules and codes of the ancients " you refer to originated.

      April 12, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • Reality

      A correction:

      "The Book of the Dead was written circa 1800 BCE. 2 The SCOFIELD (previous typo) Reference Bible estimates that the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt and the provision of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai occurred in 1491 BCE., some three centuries later. Many religious liberals, historians, and secularists have concluded that the Hebrew Scripture's Ten Commandments were based on this earlier docu-ment, rather than vice-versa."

      An update:

      Abraham and Moses did not exist as per the contemporary studies of Conservative rabbis and their 1.5 million membership. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review

      April 13, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • G to the T

      @Fred – Sorry but the majority of biblical scholars agree that there's no way Moses wrote the stories compiled in the old testament. I'll add that there is ZERO proof that the jews were even in Egypt, let alone their slaves... so yeah. Not thinking much of your interpretation...

      April 18, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • Pete

      @G to the T

      fred doesn't live in reality, they constantly use deceptive methods to try and justify their believe in a god.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:43 am |
  4. { ! }

    A hundred thousand years back, two tribes of cavemen, A and B, were at war. They pummeled each other with rocks and sticks. History's first scientist, from tribe A, took a shaft and mounted a point to it. Many spears were made which terrorized tribe B. Tribe B copied this design and made many spears. Peace came about because of the policy Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). In the 20th century a different scientist took a different shaft (an ICBM) and attached a different point (a thermonuclear device). New century, new spear. Now the American, Chinese, and Russian cavemen lived in mutual terror. This policy was called MAD.

    There might be a lesson here. Morality may have evolved, but human nature has not.

    April 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • lol??

      Accidents happen. God must be busy. Programmers can't think of everything.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
  5. lol??

    story, ".............Frans de Waal: Well, the reason I chose that ti*tle is, when I bring up the origins of morality, it revolves around God, or comes from religion, and I want to address the issue that I think morality is actually older than religion......."
    Gud call.
    "Deu 33:27 The eternal God [is thy] refuge,......"

    Eternal means before creation. Religion, philosophy, politics, etc is man thrashing about in quicksand.

    April 12, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • meifumado

      Quoting bible ? When they said before religion?

      Really funny =)

      April 12, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • lol??

      You got an untouched video?

      April 12, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • clarity

      Deuteronomy?? They don't even use that as a good laxative anymore.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
  6. Chance

    @science
    go find a article where in a lab RNA has been converted into the DNA required for the 1st life in early evolution. You will only find that experiments have come close but none have seceded. In a age of science we can not create the important jump in evolution in a lab but are supposed to believe it happened by a mindless process.

    April 12, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • sam

      I'd have more faith in your brief attempt at almost-intelligence if you weren't likely from a state that tried to secede but didn't succeed.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • meifumado

      Yawn.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Wow, 10 references to evolution already.

      (Make it eleven.)

      April 12, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Chance,
      You're taking a very static view of the science. Look at how far the experiments have advanced over the last couple of decades and project that forward. It is very likely that the results you are talking about will occur and much more.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • Chance

      @sam I'd more faith in you belief system if you could tell me how nothing made everything... If you could explain to me how matter and space came into existence because our modern science tells us its not eternal it began...If only you could explain how this universe we live in began to exist out of nothing.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • Chance

      @B
      Sure it will occur at some point but the point is it hasn't and we are at a great stage in scientific discovery, the origin of life has much to teach.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • Science

      Hey chance ............ evolution wins hands down time for god(s) to get the hell out of the weay aye !

      University of Minnesota has created evolution in a test tube (RNA) search for yourself ............easy to do !

      April 12, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • Science

      Oops.......................... way

      April 12, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Chance

      @Science I said RNA to DNA. Duh they mad RNA it's the simplest. The problem is going from RNA TO DNA. Please go try again.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Science

      Have a great life chance........................ community chest hopefully won't bring you back ! Facts work

      The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

      Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.

      "Bringing back a hominid raises the question, 'Is it a person?' If we bring back a mammoth or pigeon, there's a very good existing ethical and legal framework for how to treat research animals. We don't have very good ethical considerations of creating and keeping a person in a lab," said Sherkow. "That's a far cry from the type of de-extinction programs going on now, but it highlights the slippery slope problem that ethicists are famous for considering."

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408165955.htm

      reality is fun chance you should try it

      Scientists Find Genes Linked to Human Neurological Disorders in Sea Lamprey Genome

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130224142915.htm

      Peace

      Facts work .

      April 12, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • lol??

      SC, science cheerleader, quotes, "...............raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.........."

      Hasn't stopped em from being reckless yet!

      April 12, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • Chance

      @science
      So your going to duck the RNA to DNA topic and go with a Resurrection article. What difference does it make about bringing any extinct organism back if you still need to answer the origin of life question.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • sam

      You're embarassing yourself, man. Taking stuff you can't explain (yet) and attributing it to some supernatural being is lazy thinking. Run along.

      April 12, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • WOW

      "if you still need to answer the origin of life question."

      Theist – "I have to have an answer for everything- who cares what it is!!! Make something up, Mr. minister, dammit!"

      April 12, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • Chance

      @sam
      your an embarrassment all you can do is drop one line stupid comments without giving any form of an alternative view point. You give nothing of use go elsewhere or step and give an argument you have.

      April 13, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • Chance

      @WOW
      wow your ignorance is in full display. It's stereotypical to say a theist needs an answer. This is not the case. I'm talking about a theory, a framework of what might have happened. To say I don’t what happened but I know your wrong without giving an argument of an alternative idea is cowardly. Give us a theory of how it may have happened or shut up. Yes there are unknowns but you must have a framework of how things happened or do you just have blind faith?

      April 13, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • Larry

      Chance
      If you don't need an answer right away why aren'y you satisfied with people saying that we just don't know yet? You seem very concerned with scientists not knowing the full answer yet on page 1 of this discussion. Not all atheists will claim to know for sure that some god wasn't involved in the universe's origin; it's just that nobody has discovered any reason to suspect that one did. It appears right now that the universe could have came into being completely naturally.

      Seriously, now, do you have any reason other than the lack of a complete scientific theory to believe that some god was magically responsible? Do you have any argument against the possibility of some other, magical explanation? If you can say that some god did it then you must be open to any imaginable possibility that doesn't require any actual evidence, right?

      April 13, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • WASP

      @chance: "The problem is going from RNA TO DNA."
      no that is truly not a problem at all seeing it happens every second of every day while a human is ill.

      RNA: RNA plays a central role in the pathway from DNA to proteins, known as the "Central Dogma" of molecular biology. An organism's genetic information is encoded as a linear sequence of bases in the cell's DNA. During the process known as transcription, a RNA copy of a segment of DNA, or messenger RNA (mRNA), is made. This strand of RNA can then be read by a ribosome to form a protein. RNAs also play important roles in protein synthesis, as will be discussed in the ribozyme section, as well as in gene regulation."
      LINK:http://exploringorigins.org/rna.html

      "Another major difference between DNA and RNA is that DNA is usually found in a double-stranded form in cells, while RNA is typically found in a single-stranded form"

      the beginning of life went simple protein, RNA, DNA. not that hard to follow.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:58 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Chance

      "To say I don’t what happened but I know your wrong without giving an argument of an alternative idea is cowardly. Give us a theory of how it may have happened or shut up."

      Let's say we're trying to solve a crime. None of us know what happened we just know a bomb went off in downtown...Chicago...whatever. So, we're considering possibilities, looking at evidence etc. A group of the cops investigating say "We're pretty sure the little blue aliens did it and that's the route of investigation we should put our resources towards". You say "No, I don't think that's what happened – there's no evidence, plus we didn't pick up a ship in the air traffic. I don't know what happened but let's keep looking."

      Is your answer:

      ""To say I don’t what happened but I know your wrong without giving an argument of an alternative idea is cowardly. Give us a theory of how it may have happened or shut up."

      ?

      April 18, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • birch please

      Give scientists some time, jeez, we only really discovered DNA like 60yrs ago let alone how all it works (still many questions left). Nature had most likely more than a billion years (if our biology actually originated on this planet) to get the early replicators going. Absence of evidence is not evidence for its absence!!!

      April 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • birch please

      Who the h3ll said we even need dna at the start... the life reaction could have replicated for millions of years just as RNA in the correct sequence with perhaps some other organics.

      April 18, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
  7. Bostontola

    This is interesting and raises an interesting question, why do some people have more moral behavior and others less?

    It indicates that both types of behavior are successful in the varying fitness landscape. Selfish behavior works well enough to persist, while moral behavior is more dominant. The mix provides our species with diversity to make it through the various challenges we face.

    April 12, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • lol??

      Standard Christian doctrine,

      "Mar 13:20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days."

      April 12, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Larry

      Chance
      I'm not saying that you're wrong absolutely, only that the available evidence very strongly suggests that no god was needed to create the universe. You might still be right, and your faith in that ancient belief may turn out to be justified, but as things now stand I highly doubt it. Fair enough?

      Occam's Razor is not subjective in this case. Either the universe began by natural means that we can understand at least to a limited degree, or it began by supernatural means that are completely beyond our understanding, and which run counter to what science suggests. If I'm driving in the desert and notice a dead coyote on the side of the road aren't I more justified to assume that he merely was the victim of being hit by a car rather than the victim of some anvil that he dropped from a rocket in some attempt to get the Roadrunner?

      r.e. the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem try this link for a short explanation of why Craig is wrong to cite it as an argument. http://debunkingwlc.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/borde-guth-vilenkin/

      April 14, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • Chance

      @Larry please see below in the original thread my response.

      April 15, 2013 at 7:27 am |
  8. Chance

    @ hal 9001
    God for you my be unfounded but the existence of God remains a viable theory. Any explanation of Existence requires faith, we have a different grounding on faith.

    April 12, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Larry

      The existence of God is a hypothesis, not a theory. It can't be used to predict anything and isn't testable in any way. Theories are models that actually explain the facts. God does not.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • meifumado

      How is the existence of god a viable theory?

      For thousands of years there has been thousands of gods and there has never been one little tiny piece or shred of any evidence.

      Faith is delusional wishful thinking. it's not fact or evidence.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Chance

      The existence of God is viable because we can reasonably argue that nothing could not have made something. Something being the universe. The universe is finite it began to exist, thus it is responsible to believe it was created.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Kilto

      I can add that God works by the principles of science, he created the earth by the principles of science.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Larry

      There's a difference between having faith in something and having confidence in if because there's evidence backing it up.

      April 12, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Chance

      faith can be considered confidence in something. Both require evidence at some point.

      April 12, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • sam

      I wish stupidity was painful. It may be the only way humanity finally recovers from the condition.

      April 12, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • Larry

      Chance
      Which scientist ever said that the universe began with "nothing"? Ex nihilo is actually a Christian concept, as in how God supposedly created the universe out of nothing. It might seem viable if you can make allowances for magic, but it isn't scientifically viable.

      April 13, 2013 at 12:38 am |
    • Larry

      Chance
      I have confidence in the ability of my office chair to hold my weight because I use it every day and it hasn't broken yet. If someone invites me into their office and offers me a chair that I've never sat in before I have to take a leap of faith in it not breaking when I sit in it. Faith does not require any evidence whatsoever. Faith is when you try an unknown and hope that it pans out. If you have evidence, or good reason to trust something then you have confidence in it, not faith.

      April 13, 2013 at 12:46 am |
    • Damocles

      The problem with that, Chance, is that ANY deity would have to be as-sumed to be a 'viable alternative.' You can't simply stop at 'my deity did it' and not give credence to any number of other deities. Since there is no positive proof one way or another that Ra, Odin. Varacocha, or Crow did or did not create the universe, then they must all be in the running.

      @kilto

      He used the principles of science? Really? So scientists today are merely waving their hands and speaking the word to achieve things? You can't cling to your belief that your deity is magical and then claim it used science as science progresses.

      April 13, 2013 at 7:58 am |
    • Chance

      @Larry and others
      If science says that the universe did not come from nothing please let us know what it came from. Let us know how space and matter began. Let us know how the universe began to exist. I know there are unknowns but don't cop out and say I don't know, there still is a frame work of what could have happened or do you just have blind faith, confidence whatever it may be?

      April 13, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Chance

      @sam
      the only stupidity is coming from your key board, you have brought no substance to this chat. All you can say is someone is stupid. Really let the grown up talks and go else where with your one line remarks that do nothing.

      April 13, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • Opie

      Chance – folklore is not a framework

      April 13, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Larry

      Chance
      There are unknowns, and it isn't a cop out to say that, at present, we just don't know for sure. If your kids ask you if their visit to the doctor is going to go OK I can understand why you would want to reassure them, but you don't actually know that it will go OK so, in fact, you are not actually being truthful, are you? Not actually knowing and saying that God was behind it all is also not knowing for sure, but merely reassuring yourself like a child. Sorry if you're offended by that, but that's the way it is.

      Why do you assume that the universe had to "come from" somewhere/something else? Maybe do some checking into "Fallacy of First Cause" and see how this actually runs counter to your belief in God as well. The framework we have is not what could have happened, but what did. The picture is actually getting clearer through discovery, so I can't see how you can call the scientific investigation a "blind" one based on faith.

      April 13, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Chance

      @Larry
      You still have not brought any idea to what believe may have happened. You have only said the fallacy of the first cause, please explain. So tell us what you believe to have happened. You’re essentially saying I’m wrong without giving an alternative. It’s stupid to have a debate with someone who just believes you’re wrong and gives no alternative theory. It’s like talking to kid.

      April 13, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Chance

      @Opie
      correct folklore isn’t a good framework neither is science fiction and many other things. Again another stupid comment without any substance behind it, give us an actual argument. Stand behind something.

      April 13, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Chance

      @Larry
      to address the child analogy, I can reverse it and say what if your wrong? And you tell a kid there is no creator do you really know? Can you answer the kid and tell him how it all came into existence without any doubt. It’s a stupid analogy almost embarrassing.

      April 13, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Chance

      @Larry
      It is a cop out and cowardly to hide behind ignorance and attack a view. If you can’t give me a theory or an idea to an alternative view point of what I believe then move on. There is nothing to discuss, if you’re going to just play ignorance how can one debate? All you will say is I’m wrong and you don’t what happened but you know I’m wrong. It’s stupid, get a theory together and come back. There is nothing wrong about saying I dont know but when you use ignorance and attack it is cowardly.

      April 13, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I agree, Sam. I have no problem with wishful thinking until someone confuses it with fact, as the Chance person has. I wonder if Chance tells his children that bigfoot is real and that people are being abducted by aliens. After all, these are also things people believe in, and there is probably more evidence to support those theories than there is proof of any god.

      April 13, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • Larry

      Chance
      I don't tell children anything about gods. It's amazing that they just don't seem interested in such things unless their trusted adults are indoctrinating them, it seems. I have no trouble telling children that we just don't know what the answer is yet. I tell them that they could grow up to be the scientist who does make that discovery. I've gotten a couple of smiles from my grandkids with that.

      It is not a cop out, or cowardly to hide behind ignorance because we really are ignorant about what the actual answer is. The only "attack" of your view that I may have made is that science is coming to the conclusion that the universe didn't need any outside trigger to expand. No gods, or other magical explanations are necessary.

      So, with Occam's Razor stating that, among competing hypotheses, the one that makes the fewest assumptions should be selected a naturalistic explanation is the best assumption. We may not know the "how", or theory, completely yet, but it's a better bet than assuming that some outside force was needed when the indications are that one wasn't. You could still be proven right in the future, just like any other creation story, but for right now the evidence and science is revealing a natural explanation, and if there is a natural explanation why do we need a magical one?

      Tell me, do you say that you don't know how the universe began?

      April 14, 2013 at 12:36 am |
    • Chance

      @Larry
      The attack is to say I’m wrong without giving an explanation why; the cop out is hiding behind ignorance. So please explain what scientific theory you hold to that explains the origin of the universe naturally. It is not enough to say science gives us a natural explanation without naming a theory. So please tell us your position. Also Occam's Razor can be used for both arguments, it is subjective. Please explain your natural theory around singularity, mind you the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem.

      April 14, 2013 at 2:09 am |
    • Chance

      @tallulah13
      Again another stupid comment without any backbone to it, you have brought no evidence forward of your view point. Please run along unless you have evidence to defend.

      April 14, 2013 at 2:14 am |
    • Larry

      Chance
      I'm not saying that you're wrong absolutely, only that the available evidence very strongly suggests that no god was needed to create the universe. You might still be right, and your faith in that ancient belief may turn out to be justified, but as things now stand I highly doubt it. Fair enough?

      Occam's Razor is not subjective in this case. Either the universe began by natural means that we can understand at least to a limited degree, or it began by supernatural means that are completely beyond our understanding, and which run counter to what science suggests.

      If I'm driving in the desert and notice a dead coyote on the side of the road aren't I more justified to assume that he merely was the victim of being hit by a car rather than the victim of some anvil that he dropped from a rocket he got from ACME in some attempt to get the Roadrunner?

      If you want to add some god to the mix then you have to explain where that god came from, how he got his powers, who were his parents, etc. All questions that believers will just ignore under the umbrella cop out of "It's a mystery". That's adding a way more convoluted set of conditions to the origins of the universe than we already have, and that's saying an awful lot. Besides, having to rely on faith to assume such preconditions is useless because we have no way then to determine which god was actually the agent if all are equally unsupported by the evidence.

      r.e. the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem try this link for a short explanation of why Craig is wrong to cite it as an argument. http://debunkingwlc.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/borde-guth-vilenkin/

      Nothing in the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin paper suggests a beginning from “absolute nothingness” (as Craig often claims). In fact, the opposite is true. The authors write,

      What can lie beyond the boundary? Several possibilities have been discussed, one being that the boundary of the inflating region corresponds to the beginning of the Universe in a quantum nucleation event.

      April 14, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Chance

      Larry
      First let me point out you have not brought one theory of a natural explanation to this chat.

      So let me say as things stand evidence suggest that we are no where near understanding the origins of the universe. A natural explanation without infinite regression is still being grasped for. Occam Razor is still valid for both sides because if the universe began by supernatural or natural means we could understand both to a limited degree. To suggest a natural cause will someday be fully understood can easily be said about a supernatural cause.
      If I see that something is aged and later come to find out an approximate date of when it was made, can I not assume something made it? If it is aged it is not eternal, it began to exist. Or should I assume that nothing made it? Should I assume that nothing can make something? Nothing as in absolute nothing, no space, therefore no matter, therefore no time and certainly no laws of nature.
      "Our understanding of creation relies on the validity of the laws of physics, particularly quantum uncertainty. But that implies that the laws of physics were somehow encoded into the fabric of our universe before it existed. How can physical laws exist outside of space and time and without a cause of their own? Or, to put it another way, why is there something rather than nothing?"
      Would I not be justified ruling out nothing cannot make something?

      Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem is only mentioned so you don’t waste my time with a version of M-Theory. You still have not explained a way around “absolute nothingness”, Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem was not mentioned for the sake of Craig.

      God, an eternal being. Eternal, without a finite past. So you want me to explain where something eternal came from. An eternal being has no starting point; if it did then it’s not eternal. Something eternal did not come from something, it was not caused. You and I both know the definition of God. I’m not mystifying anything, it is not required. I’m not saying I understand infinity but I know it exist and what it means. The universe has age and has a starting point, it is not eternal.

      So again please explain a natural cause for the universe.

      April 15, 2013 at 7:25 am |
    • Larry

      Chance
      Well, before Georges Lemaître first suggested that the universe was expanding we knew very little at all about the origins of the universe, correct? Since then, scientists have made great strives. We may have been "no where near" a theory before that, but you cannot deny that science is approaching one. A natural explanation without infinite regression is not being "grasped for" when we have Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. With it, space and time both can have an absolute beginning, so any talk of "before" the Big Bang is rendered as meaningless as saying North of the North Pole.

      If time had a beginning then the concept of an eternal God somehow existing outside of time itself becomes far too convoluted to take seriously as a more "simple" explanation to what sparked the beginning. You can appeal to the necessary need of a "supernatural" realm, where eternal beings do not need time to think, or do. Where they do not need origins themselves, and can be "all powerful" even to the point of creating a universe for it's own pleasure, but this is mere speculation at best, isn't it? Besides for the gaps we presently experience in our knowledge there is no reason to even suspect that such a realm may actually exist outside of ancient myth, religion and science fiction.

      Just because we have the English word "Eternal" in our dictionaries doesn't mean that anything actually is eternal. People use to imagine time as running in rays toward the future and into the past, but the reality now is that the evidence suggests that there was a beginning to time itself, and since "eternity" is a time-related concept, there probably cannot be an eternity ranging back in time because of this. So, sorry, you simply cannot "poof" an eternal God out of using semantics.

      When you see a river, do you imagine that no initial spring flood could have eroded a pathway, but that some engineer must have dug out the path for the water to flow? Well, rivers "look" constructed, but we see the natural birth of new streams every year, don't we? When we see smooth stones in those rivers we don't imagine (any more) that angels carved them like humans carve marble sculptures. People use to just assume such things. Take the Giant's Causeway in Ireland, for another example. All of these nature things are aged, and they began to exist through purely natural means.

      How can physical laws exist outside of space and time and without a cause of their own? Well, have you ever tried to create a perfect vacuum? Trouble is, when you do, particles appear to just wink into existence anyway. This would suggest that the "laws" really can exist without space and time, the things we are use to in our existence.

      Do I have a complete theory for how the universe began yet? No, I've said that before, but each year it seems we are getting closer to one, so why would I ever choose to bet against one ever being found? A better question, one which you have not yet answered, is why it is so important to you that we don't have one right now? This science is still relatively very young. Are you just impatient, or is it you who are grasping for something here?

      April 15, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Red Dwarf

      "Occam Razor is still valid for both sides because if the universe began by supernatural or natural means we could understand both to a limited degree. To suggest a natural cause will someday be fully understood can easily be said about a supernatural cause."

      Wrong. Occam's razor cut's the logic of any supernatural cause and tosses it out the window. This is because of the competeing hypothesis " the one that makes the fewest assumptions should be selected " and there is nothing with more assumptions than "magic" or the supernatural.

      When we see a plane fly over us do we think it's magic? That would certainly be a more simple answer as some people confuse "simple" with "few assumptions", and it's far easier to just accept than to learn about aerodynamics and lift and gravity and wind shear and thrust. The same thing applies when thinking about the origins of the universe. Yes, it's simple to say "God did it" but that statement is not really simple at all for it assumes some being outside space and time that is more complex than the universe itself in order to explain the less complicated universe in which we find ourselves. Simple? I think not. Few assumptions? Try more assumptions than humanly possible to assume.

      Occam's razor works only in favor of the non-believers in this case as following the science always leads to the fewest possible assumptions, though that does not mean they are free of them and thus they are constantly refining our understanding of the universe around us to continue to get a clearer picture of our past which will make a better present and maybe even allow us to make it into the future.

      April 15, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • birch please

      A different form of the universe could have always existed in a higher dimension. russell's teapot dude

      April 18, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
  9. examiner

    Man has been devolving.

    Darwin's Mistake

    Three monkeys sat in a coconut tree
    Discussing things as they're said to be.
    Said one to the others, "Now listen, you two,
    There's a certain rumour that can't be true,
    That man descended from our noble race.
    That very idea is a disgrace.

    No monkey ever deserted his wife,
    Starved her babies or ruined her life.
    And another thing you will never see,
    A monk build a fence round a coconut tree,
    And let the coconuts go to waste,
    Forbidding all other monks to taste.
    If I put a fence around this tree,
    Starvation would force you to steal from me.

    Here's another thing a monk won't do,
    Go out at night and get in a stew,
    And use a gun or pull a knife,
    To take some other monkey's life.

    Yes, man descended, the ornery cuss,
    But brother, he didn't descend from us."

    April 12, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • meifumado

      Whether you like it or not we share 98% of the same DNA as Chimpanzees.

      Also you should study primates a little more as they do kill and other such things.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • birch please

      Chimps kill and wage war

      April 18, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
  10. William Demuth

    Finally a substantive article!

    In truth, I suspect that Darwin walks in lock step with morality. We have evolved because of it.

    Furthermore, since our abilities as individuals have been multiplied by knowledge collected and saved by our ancestor (and magnified by technology) we are facing a dilemma

    Sooner or later the LEAST magnanimous amongst us may have the ability to destroy all of us

    If our moral character does not keep pace with our technological prowess, I fear we will inevitably fall as a race.

    In a world where starvation is as common as education, sooner or later one of those we elect to declare as “one of life’s losers” may decide to attempt to bring us all along on their downward spiral

    I care not where the morals are found, but only that they are followed, lest those we treat immorally elect to retaliate six billion fold.

    April 12, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Today I was asked to look into the various pox viruses for someone and it occurred to me once again what a moderately well-off eccentric could do in a lab that she could build in her garage. Yes, any of us could do some real harm. Our ability to do harm is not matched by our unwillingness to do it.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
  11. Bostontola

    Interesting that there are 2 comment lines on this blog, one if you click on full story, another if you click on "comments" directly.

    This result proves nothing either way about god. It does show that morals are not unique to humans. It takes away yet another "unique" trait of humans and provides additional evidence that evolution is consistent with man's development. As more and more scientific results are found in the next few years, the realm of religion will narrow substantially. In 50 years, religion will be in its rightful place as a description of a supernatural explanation of the universe's origin with rules for man, and not a description of how the universe got the way it is.

    April 12, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Bob

      50 years? I think you underestimate the human capacity for gullibility. Religion isn't going away anytime soon.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Bostontola

      I didn't say go away, I said its realm will narrow. Most serious religions will not choose to conflict with what will be incontrovertible evidence and will retreat to only supernatural realm that is not accessible to scientific inquiry.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
  12. davidpun

    Morals or as it is often called, a sense of values or sense of significance is a purely evolutionary feature that allows us to act on what we understand in our intelligence. Without it we would simply just have concepts and facts and no ability to act. The content of our values are conditioned by our experience, but the fact that we have them and they are so insistent is an evolutionary development.

    April 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
  13. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    My cat attack me when I grabbed the other cat to stop him from chewing on an electrical cable, that cat sacrificed himself in his empathy for the other one. Empathy and love seenm to exist in animals...why would it be surprising that humans have a more complex version that we label "morality" that has been refined through our intelligence, communication skills and socialization?.

    April 12, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Hmmmm

      It wasn't Austins cat was it?

      April 15, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
  14. Kilto

    Most answers that Atheists give to Theists go something like this...

    Question: Asked in Year 2013

    Answer Atheists respond in 3013 with following...

    copy/paste
    copy/paste
    copy/paste

    There's your answer folks....be patient.

    April 12, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Kilto,

      but @Chad's not an atheist?

      April 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!

      And mindlessly quote mining from the bible is any better?

      April 12, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Most answers that Theists give to Atheists go something like this...

      Question: Asked in Year 2013

      Answer from a flawed and outdated 2000 year old book that comes from "god"...

      April 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Kilto- copy/paste is a plague that isn't just upon the atheists. There are many of the religious that do it as well.
      Though in this "Reality"...there are a few atheists that seem to make copy/paste their only form of response.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Robert

      As opposed to quoting and getting all your relevant information from the Bible?

      April 12, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • birch please

      Why develop new arguments so you can bend us over backwards more to even relate when the original, obvious ones still remain unanswered.

      April 18, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
  15. I know yeah, no.

    100 beers please. Thank you.

    April 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
  16. Honey Badger Don't Care!

    Most questions that theists pose to atheists have one of three answers.

    Evolution, gravity, or I don't know.

    All three of these answers are valid.

    April 12, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • I know yeah, no.

      Imagine if theists would learn to ask better questions...

      April 12, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!

      For real, or accept real answers.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • birch please

      The intellectual barriers that theists build are precisely meant to prevent them from asking questions.

      April 18, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
  17. Where do morals come from?

    Take a c l o s e look at the chimps.

    April 12, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • nonono

      Take a closer look at kim jong un. People are good basically 😉

      April 12, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • dancing like your cousin?

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8x81Rpl_FA&w=640&h=360]

      April 12, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • Atheist countries where morals abound

      Former Soviet Union, N.Korea, China, Vietnam just to name a few of the virtuous nations.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Theist countries where morals abound...

      Iran, Pakistan, Uganda, Saudi Arabia....to name a few

      April 12, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
  18. Lycidas

    "Religion may have become a codification of morality, and it may fortify it, but it’s not the origin of it."

    With that..I agree.

    "Instead of looking at human morality as something we design in our heads — the philosophers want us to believe that by logic and reasoning we arrive at moral principles — I think it works very differently. We have a lot of feelings and tendencies that drive us to moral solutions, and yes, we often then later try to justify these solutions and come up with reasons for them, but that’s often secondarily."

    That goes against a few atheist views that get bounced about on here. It makes sense though, empathy seems more like an instinct that we feel the need to justify in some manner. Whether it's religion or atheism...we all are searching out the "why" in our lives.

    April 12, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      My cat attack me when I grabbed the other cat to stop him from chewing on an electrical cable, that cat sacrificed himself in his empathy for the other one. Empathy and love seenm to exist in animals...why would it be surprising that humans have a more complex version that we label "morality" that has been refined through our intelligence, communication skills and socialization?

      April 12, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers- "why would it be surprising that humans have a more complex version that we label "morality" that has been refined through our intelligence, communication skills and socialization?"

      Oh..I am not saying that morality cannot be refined through our intelligence any less than it can be through religion. My comment had more to do with the few atheists that seem to imply that their morality originates from their intelligence and logic.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Lycidas

      I both agree and disagree. Sure, morality on its most basic level is there regardless of species. The bonobos shows this and clearly we have morality ingrained in our evolution that has, in part, led humans to the top of the food chain. However, through intelligence and logic we've refined morality into such great detail that we don't base our system off of feelings anymore.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Theist countries where morals abound...

      Lycidas,

      Yep, and I was agreeing with you...

      April 12, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I was agreeing with you to a point,

      Religion can help us improve morality but the end does not justify the means, it fails when it mixes in the dogma...Intelligence, evolution, social interaction are all real effects, trying to explain morality with the supernatural does mankind a disservice.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Chuckles- "However, through intelligence and logic we've refined morality into such great detail that we don't base our system off of feelings anymore."

      Sometimes though, I worry we try too hard to refine our morality to something more amoral. When I look at (at least from the ruling class level) nations like the Nazi and Tsarist Russia where traditional religious taught morals are refined out and replaced with a more colder "ends justifies the mean" mentality....that's some scary crap right there.
      I can't say that our western focus of logic and intelligence has really produce a superior view on morality than religion. It's produced a different view and one that has certain benefits over traditional Western Christianity.

      But there are some eastern faiths/beliefs like certain aspects of Hinduism that rely a great deal on logic and intelligence (not meaning that of pure science) when forming their morality.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers- "Religion can help us improve morality but the end does not justify the means, it fails when it mixes in the dogma...Intelligence, evolution, social interaction are all real effects, trying to explain morality with the supernatural does mankind a disservice."

      I totally agree...a subject like morality cannot be looked at through such a narrow viewpoint like pure religion. It's just part of the complex prism that is human morals. Though my only concern is when ppl want to rule out the spiritual side of man..the ineffable aspect of "good and evil" that does exist within us.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Lycidas,

      I see your point and can agree that sometimes cold logic and hard intelligence can lead to very amoral things in the name of morality, I think that happens regardless of whether it was religiously induced or not. I think the key difference however is religion claims that our morality is absolute and can not be changed, which I think is essential. Societies change, cultures change and morality changes with it. Trying to stick to the rigid moral code of people thousands of years ago doesn't make any sense and in that regard I think intelligence and logic need to be added into the equation when discussing logic.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Though my only concern is when ppl want to rule out the spiritual side of man..the ineffable aspect of "good and evil" that does exist within us."

      @Lycidas,

      I don't rule out spirituality, just like I don't rule out aliens, but I am not going to to think either exists until they can be demonstated to. Also you seem to imply "good and evil" are manifestations seperate from humans? If I am wrong I apologize.

      April 12, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Chuckles- "I think the key difference however is religion claims that our morality is absolute and can not be changed, which I think is essential. Societies change, cultures change and morality changes with it."

      As someone that tries to understand human history, religious morality does change and modify itself as time goes by. Many religious people do not realize this which is sad. Heck, when one looks at Jesus (whether one considers him divine or not) they cannot deny that he changed the moralistic views of his society. The entirety of the Bible can be looked at as a refining. I had a religions Prof that described the Bible and it's teachings...not as an absolute....but a spiritual evolution of mankind. The notion of killing 100 for the one person killed in your group was refined to "an eye for an eye" mentality. It then became "love your enemies as yourself".
      Morality changes and a religious person should not allow their morality to grow stagnant but take an active role to refine and perfect it as best they can.

      @Blessed are the Cheesemakers- "Also you seem to imply "good and evil" are manifestations seperate from humans? If I am wrong I apologize."

      Not exactly separate but yes too. I feel there are aspects of "good and evil" that the human mind can fathom. That we can wrap our minds around through our logic and intelligence. But then there are aspects of "good and evil" that step somewhere beyond us. Something that we cannot quite grasp in scope. Personally I think this steps into the spiritual side of mankind. It might be defined (a term Rabbi Herschel and Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard used quite a bit) as ineffable.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Lycidas,

      "religious morality does change and modify itself as time goes by. Many religious people do not realize this which is sad."

      I concur.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Lycidas,

      " I had a religions Prof that described the Bible and it's teachings...not as an absolute....but a spiritual evolution of mankind. The notion of killing 100 for the one person killed in your group was refined to "an eye for an eye" mentality. It then became "love your enemies as yourself".

      Perhaps the question is one of correlation and causality.

      At some level, religions reflect the morals of the society (though they also act as an inertial drag to the adoption of new ideas of moral behavior. Stipulating, (for the sake of conversation), the message of Jesus as being more or less authentically recorded, perhaps the embracement of Christianity reflects an increased level of sophistication in thinking in Europe and the Christian Levant – rather than divinity.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Lycidas,

      I guess I mistyped, Yes religious morality has changed, there's no denying that. However sometimes a change in morality can cause a split in the entire religion itself. Take the jesus example. His want to change morality as legislated by the pharisees meant that he had to completely separate himself from his community, he had no vote and he needed to come up with pretty much an entire different religion.

      I think the most apparent case is that idea of gay marriage. Take for instance the Vatican. They legislate morality from St. Peters and regardless of how many catholics worldwide don't care about gay marriage, the only important vote is the popes. In this instance religion is being a hinderance to the evolution of our morality than a help.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • Lycidas

      I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV- "At some level, religions reflect the morals of the society (though they also act as an inertial drag to the adoption of new ideas of moral behavior."

      That isn't always a bad thing though. This goes more into the political but religions many times act as the "conservative" aspect of a society. While I look at the "liberal" as being one who introduces new ideas and concepts for the betterment of society...a "conservative" is the counter that tries to preserve the aspects of a society that has made it good. Of course though...both sides don't always do what is the best for a society, they just think they do.

      "Stipulating, (for the sake of conversation), the message of Jesus as being more or less authentically recorded, perhaps the embracement of Christianity reflects an increased level of sophistication in thinking in Europe and the Christian Levant – rather than divinity."

      Possible but that could be more of a miracle than some recorded in the Bible. The Jewish people of Jesus's time wasn't exactly the movers and shakers of the world. They were beaten down by the Greeks and then the Romans. They rejected in most part the Greco-Roman style of life. They would have been defined as highly conservative.
      If I was going to look at a list of regions in the ancient world that might have started a "love thy enemies", "cast the first stone"..etc.....Judea/Galillee of the 1st century wouldn't have been my first pick. Maybe Greece or Alexandria region of Egypt.
      In no way am I denying the high possibility that the cultures of Asia Minor, Greece and Rome did not change certain aspects of the faith within the first century of it's inception...it's just the fact that it began where it did is kind of amazing from a societal perspective.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chuckles,

      "Take for instance the Vatican. They legislate morality from St. Peters and regardless of how many catholics worldwide don't care about gay marriage, the only important vote is the popes.

      It's less about the pope than you might think – though your statement "they legislate morality from St. Peters" is accurate. There is a theological bureaucracy in Rome that extends beyond the pope as an individual.

      Clearly there are mainstream Christian groups who are much more ready to encompass gay marriage than Catholics or evangelical Protestants. Episcopalians are an example.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV & Chuckles

      I'm enjoying this a lot. You know how rare good conversation can be on here. But I have to run off...maybe for the rest of the week so don't think I'm ignoring your posts. I might just not be able to respond till much later.

      Have a good weekend.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Lycidas,

      "In no way am I denying the high possibility that the cultures of Asia Minor, Greece and Rome did not change certain aspects of the faith within the first century of it's inception...it's just the fact that it began where it did is kind of amazing from a societal perspective."

      And nor should you. Jesus may have been a Jew, but Christianity didn't really take off with Jews in Palestine. It took off with Paul prosletyzing in Asia Minor and ultimately Rome.

      Paul preaches initially to Jewish communities who already don't like the pantheistic Græco/Roman Gods by using a message of "love one another" which starkly contrasts with the "make (literal) sacrifices to a capricious God" messages of the Græco/Roman and Jewish traditions.

      The appeal there seems self-evident to me and is perhaps why Christianity grew and flourished. People liked the moral tone of the new idea.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Lycidas,

      I think "spiritual" and "ineffable" are more or less interchangable.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
  19. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Morals are in no way supernatural and do not come from any sort of God.

    April 12, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I wonder how long it will be until we see @fred or @Chad with their "objective right and wrong" here?

      April 12, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Someone did post about morality in bonobos the other day. I imagine it was connected to this topic.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Kilto

      How do you know that? What makes a person good/bad? Where then does morality come from? Where does logic come from? What is truth? Science does what it can yet there are tons of scientists with PHD's who believe in both God and science. I find that very encouraging...

      April 12, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Kathy

      Yes, some of them do, Kilto, but slowly they are wising up. It takes a while to undo the centuries of brainwashing.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • fred

      Tom the other
      That would go against the facts. As far back as we can see in recorded history the morals of the Hebrew did come from their God and the Bible does a good job of documenting that. As far as 90+% of the world those morals filtered throughout the world and the western world view remains centered about "Gods" established morals.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • St. Bro'dee Walker

      @Kathy- you are a judgmental little twit.
      I love how the hypocrites come on here and pass their judgement on those they disagree with while they have no good reason to disagree beyond generalizations of complex issues.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Hey fred! Good afternoon.

      Back at it with the "morals come from God" I see, and in only thirteen minutes.

      How long before we hear from @Chad now?

      April 12, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @GOPer

      7 Minutes! That was quick.

      Also It was me yesterday! I linked an article about this very book and person yesterday, looks like I'm quicker than CNN!

      April 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • fred

      Tom, Tom, the Other One
      It does not even matter if there is or is not God as the communication containing the authority of God resulted in moral law originating from the illusion or reality of God. That is supernatural in and of itself.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!

      Right on Kathy. No real scientist, or anyone else for that matter, who is a skeptic with a good foundation in critical thinking would ever believe in a god.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!

      fred,

      You're making less sense than usual.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • WOW

      fred: "It does not even matter if there is or is not God as the communication containing the authority of God resulted in . ."

      LOL – spin, rinse and repeat I tell you!!

      April 12, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chuckles,

      "I linked an article about this very book and person yesterday, looks like I'm quicker than CNN!"

      Indeed so. Well done!

      April 12, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • Science

      Hey fred got a prediction when Chad will show up ?

      April 12, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "As far back as we can see in recorded history the morals of the Hebrew did come from their God and the Bible does a good job of doc umenting that."

      If I may, I disagree a little. The Hebrews already had a moral system in place as most human societies do. The refining of the worship of God also served to refine their codes of morality.

      "As far as 90+% of the world those morals filtered throughout the world and the western world view remains centered about "Gods" established morals."

      Would have to disagree with this. The Hebrews where a very minor group of people within history. Their true outreach came from Christianity as it broke away and spread throughout the Empire. Even then it was mostly stuck in Europe till the Age of Discovery when Europeans spread throughout the world. Up till then, Hinduism, Confu ciusism(sp?) and Islam where huge contemporaries to European Christianity.
      The moral structure of India and China (the two most populated places on the planet) did not come from the Hebrews.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • fred

      @Science
      @fred can you define prediction ?

      April 12, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      fred, your God is not itself moral unless you want to say that it is in the sense of the Euthyphro dilemma's that which is right is right because God says it is right.

      April 12, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Science

      Fred.......................soon it will show up with the hair right ?

      April 12, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • Larry

      Kilto
      There are tons of doctors who smoke and eat junk food. That's their personal choice, but how many would argue that it's actually healthy? How many of your scientists can offer research proving God scientifically?

      April 12, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • Chance

      Our morals come from nature and nature comes from God

      April 12, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Chance", but "God" is an element of mythology, therefore your assertion is unfounded.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • fred

      Lycidas
      The assumption is that the Bible is a true accounting of God and His relationship with His people. Adam and Eve were given Gods standards on how shall we live. Those standards embodied the moral code given to man. After the flood the nations you speak of came out from Noah’s family. The people were then scattered by God at the tower of Babble.
      All other religions, cultures and civilizations added to the original standards given by God over the generations.
      If God is not as revealed through the Bible then we are speaking about the god or philosophies of other beliefs including the atheist beliefs which incorporate social evolution as the foundation of morals. This is where we move from the absolute objective morality to subjective or relative morality.
      Animals exhibit objective morality (a lion kills off the young in a pride if not his) and have no rights. Non believers only position is that we are evolved animals yet this conflicts with basic rights of animals and subjective morality most have adopted.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • Science

      Hey chance ............................community chest says they found the power for the primotial soup !

      It is at sciencedaily.com

      April 12, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Chance

      @ hal 9001
      God for you my be unfounded but the existence of God remains a viable theory. Any explanation of Existence requires faith, we have a different grounding on faith.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • Chance

      @science
      go find a article where in a lab RNA has been converted into the DNA required for the 1st life in early evolution. You will only find that experiments have come close but none have seceded. In a age of science we can not create the important jump in evolution in a lab but are supposed to believe it happened by a mindless process.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • hal 9001

      Chance: Good point, "Chance". Then a better version of your first reply would have been:

      "Our morals come from nature and nature may have come from God".

      Among all the other possibilities for creation, and using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), I have calculated the likelihood that nature has come from the Abrahamic God to be "FAT CHANCE".

      April 12, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • Chance

      @ hal 9001
      I have calculated that matter and space are not eternal and had a starting point. This starting point I have calculated to be a "FAT CHANCE" that nothing could have made something.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • Chance Interpreter Needed - Apply at BB

      Chance: " This starting point I have calculated to be a "FAT CHANCE" that nothing could have made something."

      April 12, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • fred

      Tom, Tom, the Other One
      Although Plato may have been entertained by the Euthyphro dilemma God is not a respecter of man. God simply is and out of eternal infinite goodness creation flowed in all its wonder. God could have simply remained in the abyss of a void and there would not have been a soul to reflect upon it. Having been created in the image of God we have capacity and cognitive function to look upon the things of God in worship, praise, joy and love that goodness provides.
      Beginning with Adam and Eve we see the unfolding of the purpose of man in a creation of God. Part of the imprint or information code includes the knowledge of good and evil. The rest of the story continues to be revealed and even though morality may appear relative culturally in your opinion the truth remains it is absolute and is reflected in the sharp contrast between good and evil.
      Thus Tom Tom it is not “right” because God says so. A thing is either right or it is not. Many people can have different opinions but God does not bend to our thoughts as good originated from God.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Chance

      Thank you.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • hal 9001

      fred: " God simply is"

      I'm sorry, "fred", but your assertion is simply unfounded.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Chance", but your assertions are based on unproven theory, therefore reducing the likelihood for the Abrahamic God to an extremely small possibility.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • fred

      hal9001
      "the likelihood that nature has come from the Abrahamic God to be "FAT CHANCE"."
      =>given that the probability of the universe and intelligent life existing in the first place is equivalent to hitting the Powerball 1,000 times in row we need to call it the luck of the draw based on science.
      Science and math are not the way to God.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • fred

      hal 9001
      What has greater mass my God or your unknown causation?

      April 12, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Science

      The mass was created for your ass FREDIE..............and it was not by the fairy in the sky !

      April 12, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • Lycidas

      fred- "The a ssumption is that the Bible is a true accounting of God and His relationship with His people."

      The problem with this is that the Bible (or Torah in this case) isn't 100% factual. I don't want to get in a debate about how factual it is or isn't right now but the broader scope of human history goes beyond the written Torah and so does human morality. I am not ruling out the affect that God has upon humanity, I am merely saying that there are aspects of humanity that was never directly or even indirectly affected by God.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • hal 9001

      "fred", the number you reference as "the probability of the universe and intelligent life existing in the first place is equivalent to hitting the Powerball 1,000 times in row" is not known to mankind. It is a subject of theory, and therefore a speculative number, and as such, is not useful as a factor in any other calculations.

      Since there is no data outside of theory for the causation of the universe, and since God is an unproven concept of mythology, it serves no purpose to speculate on the mass of any idea related to causation, since the characteristics of such are yet unknown.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • Chance

      @hal9001

      So what awesome theory do you have that explains existence?

      April 12, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Chance

      @hal9001
      please don't cop out and say I don't know. All theories reach a point of faith due to the unknowns but please explain how you believe a universe arose from nothing.

      April 12, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry "Chance", but there is not enough data to favor any current theory or suggest new ones regarding universe creation. Your suggestion that the universe arose from nothing is itself a theory, and there is not enough data to ascertain any other truths based on that theory.

      April 12, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • fred

      Lycidas
      The Bible does not give an accounting of time prior to 2,500 BC and there is not a date for Adam and Eve so we do not know the length of time Oral traditions were passed down prior to the writings of Moses about 1400 BC. In the same way I am not aware of any viable evidence regarding the morals of Neanderthal or Homo habilis.
      Are believers and non believers not in the same boat when it comes down to speculating how moral information was passed down?
      We do not attribute the same “civil rights” to apes as we do humans nor do we assume apes and lions are subjective in their morals. Morality without a determined reference point or the ability to subjectively alter morality is not morality at all. Worms are more peace loving than apes and pass these morals down over generations. Where is the connection?

      April 12, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • Lycidas

      fred- "The Bible does not give an accounting of time prior to 2,500 BC and there is not a date for Adam and Eve so we do not know the length of time Or al traditions were passed down prior to the writings of Moses about 1400 BC. In the same way I am not aware of any viable evidence regarding the morals of Neanderthal or Ho mo habilis."

      I'll break my response into two here:

      1. I wasn't exactly meaning a striaght line backward into time but the branching out as time moves on. Look at human history. How many times have we lost knowledge..whether it is cultural or spiritual? Certain events in history changes societies profoundly. It would be a mistake to @ssume that whatever God taught the earliest human would have been continuously p@ssed down without stopping. I offer up the idea that societies formed that had no knowledge (or very little) of previous socities that came before it. That they essentially formed in a societal vaccuum. There are many human societies that do not share the same morals beyond what one might call the basics and those basics are not dependant on religion to teach them.

      2. As for Neanderthals and such....there is evidence that Neanderthals took care of one another and practiced burial rituals. This would so a form of comp@ssion that would be evidnece of a type of morality.
      Personally...I have no qualms with calling Neanderthals humans becasue they were another species of humans. From genetics I can say with realtive comfort that I had some Neanderthal ancestors.

      April 12, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • Science

      Hey Fred you as smart as 5th grader ?

      Listening to the Big Bang - In High Fidelity

      Apr. 4, 2013 — A decade ago, spurred by a question for a fifth-grade science project, University of Washington physicist John Cramer devised an audio recreation of the Big Bang that started our universe nearly 14 billion years ago.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130404170154.htm

      April 15, 2013 at 7:39 am |
  20. Lycidas

    This might be the best straight up question asked yet on the boards.

    April 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.