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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. Forvgiveness

    Do you understand that you have the opportunity, you are allowed, to experience a relationship with God, and receive His love. Adam failed, Moses failed, David failed, Elijah failed, Paul and Peter failed, we are allowed a relationship with God

    because God is the faithful one. He is our all in all.

    April 17, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • nope

      "Adam failed, Moses failed, David failed, Elijah failed, Paul and Peter failed, we are allowed a relationship with God
      because God is the faithful one. He is our all in all."

      You wrote that wrong is should read your god failed Adam, Moses, David, Elijah, Paul and Peter so there is no way this god is your all in all.

      April 17, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Wally

      Austin, you psycho.

      Crashed your truck through any buildings lately? Any new drunk driving arrests?

      What a pillar of morality you are.

      April 17, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • sam stone

      he may be your "all in all", but he ain't mine

      April 17, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Athy

      God isn't my "all in all" (whatever the hell that is).

      April 17, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • Screen Name Wrangler

      Austin,

      Henceforth please use the name: Jackie Paper.

      April 17, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • pothead

      I failed

      April 17, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
  2. lol??

    Tooo bad the socies are so proud of debatin' that they corrupt the young in the schools with prizes for doin' it.

    "Rom 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,"

    April 17, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • oOo

      Awww – Lot feeling lonely in his cave today?? Don't worry, your daughters will be 'round soon to make you feel a whole lot better ...

      April 17, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Austin

      I cant time warp you back to the resurrection. But I can promise you that God is revealing Himself in supernatural ways.

      I can put this fact on my own personal life as a promise on the life blood in my veins, that God is alive and resurrected.

      Glorify your name Jesus.

      I can testify to what I have allready experienced. And proclaim the truth of the name and blood of Jesus as God.

      Come to the cross.

      April 17, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Austin

      Everyone had major problems. Adam, Abraham, Noah, Moses, David, Peter, Paul, ..............were lost hopeless. But they wanted to walk with God. Even though they failed, they could see that to walk with God was the greatest pleasure one will ever have, through God's mercy, we experiecne what love really really is.

      There is no other.
      thank You Jesus.

      April 17, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • nope

      "through God's mercy, we experiecne what love really really is. "

      nope, you don't need to believe in an invisible friend to know what love really, really is.

      April 17, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • sam stone

      "But I can promise you that God is revealing Himself in supernatural ways."

      Your promise means nothing

      DT's are not god

      April 17, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  3. myweightinwords

    I think in its basest form, morality is a means by which self preservation and societal need are combined, then codified into rules that are then taught, ingrained even, into us.

    It changes, grows, adjusts as the individuals and the society do. It also changes as the needs of the individual outweighs the need of the society (thus the argument of the morality of killing someone who is trying to kill you).

    I tend to believe that morality implies and requires action. That inaction has no moral value unless or until that inaction results in an outcome that violates morality.

    April 17, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Boy

      For something or someone to produce something such as us intelligent beings including all living things, what better way is there?... than to built us on a planet that recieves light; is covered with an atmosphere that is sorrounded by an infinite universe, that for me is the craftiest of all our imaginable ideas put together. Imagine living inside a hard shell or a shielded atmosphere lol...'It' must have figured we were going to reach out far and deep in time...It must have figured humans couldn't survive alone and so 'IT' created animals and plants, to make it more interesting 'it' produced not one but different species and didn't label them as 'food' maybe because maybe 'it' knew we would start producing food in factories eventually. Apparently 'it' must have thought well, if I'm going to create animals they're going to need instincts, how else would they survive...'It' must have known we were going to start questioning ouselves on morality so 'it' particularly gave us freewill. 'It' decided not to create luxury condos, cars, tv, KFC etc. for us because of the countless reasons why. Consequently 'it' created us in the wild so we were obviously not clean-shaven boys and gals at that time. Physics and biology are undeniably the drivers, the means to an end. Dinosaurs were probably a bad experiment 'it' made anyhow the mesozoic Era provided us with fossil feuls, maybe it knew we'll need it....replace all the 'its' with natural law or whatever even so we cannot morality is older than religion for it was instilled in us and without it there would be no human civilization.

      April 17, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Austin

      Amen .

      And unfortunately the absence of God and the devils deceit is seen in horrid, blood thirsty death, and the most wicked of ungodly oppression that could be imagined, just short of the final state of permanent seperation. People are killing themselves, and others for lack of something better to do. Addicted to death.

      Sin and seperation leads to death.

      April 17, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      @Boy,

      I'm not sure I fully agree with you. I don't believe that morality is inborn necessarily. Our instincts toward self preservation are inborn and I believe morality begins there.

      April 17, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • nope

      "People are killing themselves, and others for lack of something better to do. Addicted to death."

      Nope, they are addicted to religion, religious people are the killers.

      April 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      @Austin,

      And unfortunately the absence of God and the devils deceit is seen in horrid, blood thirsty death, and the most wicked of ungodly oppression that could be imagined, just short of the final state of permanent seperation. People are killing themselves, and others for lack of something better to do. Addicted to death.

      In my personal experience, religion is more likely to lead to violence and death. It isn't a lack of belief that drives immorality but a lack of empathy.

      Sin and seperation leads to death.

      Define sin. Separation from what?

      April 17, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "People are killing themselves, and others for lack of something better to do."

      Utter nonsense. Did you fall and hit your head, Austin? People don't kill themselves out of boredom. How stupid.

      April 17, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
  4. AtheistSteve

    The only problem I have with what you said is that Christians are quick to jump down our throats with claims we can't be moral if we get to choose based on our opinion what is moral. Is should be easy to differentiate between what we are justified in doing and what morality says we should do.
    In the broadest sense the rules are simple.
    It is immoral to harm others. Done. Everything else is a judgment call.

    April 17, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • No way

      If you believe that it is imoral to harm others, then why are you still classifying "others" into groups ie: Atheists, Christians ect. Don't you realize that is tribalism? Don't you realize it leads to stereotyping and bigotry?

      On an a side tangent "morals" are simply subjective opinion.

      April 18, 2013 at 6:32 am |
    • lol??

      "Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

      Evolutionists know this. That's why they recruit the educratists from all levels, even down to kindergarten teachers. The results of Aristotle's musings are evident everywhere. He surely had NO SCIENCE for what he was daydreaming about.

      April 18, 2013 at 7:00 am |
  5. Austin

    so please tell us what horrors atheist leadership has brought to Australia?

    The horrors of rejecting God you do not believe in . This is a tragedy beyond comprehension and measure.

    Lord have mercy. Help us.

    April 17, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • Giggles

      Wow – way to attempt an answer to the question, dufus.

      April 17, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Austin

      Atheism is not evil. Evil is not what goes into someones mind. It is the person that releases evil from within them.

      April 17, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • Billy

      How can evil release itself, Austin?

      April 17, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Austin

      Atheism is allowed in schools, therfore it is more dangerous than suicide bombers. Hell is worse than death.

      April 17, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • Austin

      People are evil. And demonic power is evil. Evil does not have a self. Spiritual ent.ity and person is the source of evil. People project the spiritual nature of their heart.

      April 17, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • Billy

      I don't understand, Austin, are there laws allowing atheism into schools?

      April 17, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Billy

      I don't understand, Austin – how is atheism in schools measured? If it can be measured – how is it more dangerous than suicide bombers? Do you have any data to support that?

      April 17, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Billy

      I don't understand, Austin – how is Hell is worse than death?

      Do you have any data to support that idea?

      April 17, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Billy

      I don't understand, Austin – are people evil by nature?

      April 17, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • Billy

      I don't understand, Austin about demonic power. Do you have any evidence of demonic power?

      April 17, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • Billy

      I don't understand, Austin – if evil does not have a self, then how do we know it exists? Do you have any data about evil?

      April 17, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Mary

      Austin
      Since belief is totally within people's minds I can't see how you could outlaw it anyway. I spent years going to church, but not believing in God, and I suspect may others in the surrounding pews shared my disbelief. You're probably surrounded by atheists yourself, and maybe even friends with a few. How would you ever know?

      People are not "evil", but all people can do evil against others, even you Christians. Some of your actions are specifically evil, in other people's opinion. So much bigotry and mistrust of anyone different than yourselves. Religion is so divisive. Our society would be so much better off without these divisions.

      April 17, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • Billy

      I don't understand, Austin. How can Spiritual ent.ity and person both be a single source of evil? Do you have any data to suport the idea of "Spiritual ent.ity"?

      April 17, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Billy

      I don't understand, Austin – does the heart organ have a spirit? Do we have any data to support that idea?

      April 17, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • Billy

      So, I don't understand, Austin regarding your answer to the original question –

      what horrors atheist leadership has brought to Australia?

      April 17, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Austin

      I was not talking about laws. You cant count on mans laws.

      evil. you want it not to be real? I wish it were so, that it was not. But the source of evil is the absence of God and then yes, demonic oppression takes people over the cliff. This is easy to see. Heart and soul, believe in your heart.

      Romans 10:9 ►

      If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

      April 17, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Giggles

      Which of those questions was Austin answering? Seems none of them. LOL.

      April 17, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • the AnViL™

      ok... you kids need to realize – you're attempting to engage a mentally ill person in a rational way.

      it won't work.

      austin has clearly displayed his mental illness time and time again.
      he's a very disturbed individual.

      by his own account – he stripped naked – got into a motor vehicle – and purposely crashed it into a church.
      he has expounded on his prophetic dreams time and time again.

      his delusion runs deep... and engaging him won't help.

      this is a person who needs to seek competent psychiatric care, and this forum isn't doing him any good.

      tolerance of religious idiocy – and mental illness – the kind austin clearly displays – has to end.

      enough is enough.

      April 17, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Akira

      Austin,
      The PM is atheist. Australia isn't, any more than the US is; both are secular nations.
      Please note that there is a difference between "atheist" and "secular".
      The US has no official religion, and neither does Australia.

      April 17, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • sam stone

      Austin: You cannot reject beings in which you do not believe.

      Have another drink

      April 17, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Atheism is allowed in schools, therfore it is more dangerous than suicide bombers. Hell is worse than death"

      Atheism is allowed in schools? Are you now the thought police?

      April 17, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • sam stone

      People are evil? Well, we were created in god's image, right?

      Or is it the other way around?

      April 17, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
  6. Dawkins is stupid

    CNN gives these stupid, liberal, communist, immoral atheists a voice. At the end of the day they are a small minority, who really cares what they think or feel? The day that atheists become the majority, America will become a communist state like other communist countries ruled by atheists (USSR, N Korea, etc)

    April 17, 2013 at 8:41 am |
    • Dawkins is stupid

      The country is already headed in that direction

      April 17, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • Huebert

      Such a logical, rational, well articulated argument!!! Where, good Sir did you learn to debate?

      April 17, 2013 at 8:49 am |
    • Saraswati

      Why not examine a country like Australia which has had atheist leaders for decades. As a fellow opem democracy this is a much closer example, so please tell us what horrors atheist leadership has brought to Australia?

      April 17, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • Austin

      @ Saraswat

      Hell, the only one that really matters. To live is Christ, and to die is gain.

      April 17, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • Giggles

      Austin = evasive = dufus

      April 17, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!

      Austin,

      Then why are you still alive? Why dont you off yourself and go to paradise?

      April 17, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • Actually

      "CNN gives these stupid, liberal, communist, immoral atheists a voice. At the end of the day they are a small minority, who really cares what they think or feel?"

      LMAO! Well you're not a Christian with all those lies. According to a new poll, religiosity worldwide is declining while more people say they are atheists. 59% of the world said that they think of themselves as religious person, 23% think of themselves as not religious whereas 13% think of themselves as convinced atheists.

      April 17, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • Pete

      "The day that atheists become the majority, America will become a communist state like other communist countries ruled by atheists (USSR, N Korea, etc)"

      The actual non-belief in God has been a far less important theme in communist history than anti-capitalism or state totalitarianism. More lies from the xtians!

      April 17, 2013 at 11:30 am |
  7. Morals do not exist

    Morals are in invention. Something humans made up in order to function with one another in an idea that doesn't work called a society.

    If someone didn't spit on you today, didn't punch you or steal your stuff..your lucky. Really lucky. Primemates are rude. The last time I went to the zoo a chimp stole my sunglasses and wouldn't give them back. Sometimes humans are a little better, mostly not.

    April 17, 2013 at 7:16 am |
    • Morals do not exist

      I also wanted to add to that, felids by contrast are wonderful. Social and yet never imposing, very polite and tidy. I wish they were the ones who developed an opposable thumb.

      April 17, 2013 at 7:19 am |
  8. Chad

    @Saraswati "In the spirit of Chad I have decided to redefine the word "lie" to encompass all statements uttered or written by anyone using the name "Chad". We can henceforth skip the silly time consuming evidence gathering business and more quickly and efficiently declare Chad's claims as lies by definition."

    @Chad "you're a determinist, you dont believe in free will, right? That is what you have said (see below)

    As such, you claim to believe that we are all just biological machines, the electrical signals in our brains deterministically following the laws of nature.

    On what basis then do you accuse anyone of any nefarious deed?

    Would you condemn a tulip for being yellow? Isnt your belief that it is immoral to punish or chastise someone for something when they have no ability to do anything else?

    Here's the thing, your reaction to, and condemnation of my posts indicates that you actually dont believe that free will is an illusion. If you did, you wouldnt vitriolically accuse me of having all these evil intentions. You would fatalistically accept me executing along deterministically as you are. You say that you believe in determinism, and that free will is an illusion, but your behavior betrays a much different belief. Do you get indignant when you get poison ivy? Do you rail against it? "HOW COULD YOU DO SUCH A THING???"

    Your indignant reaction doesnt make sense if you were really a believer in determinism and a lack of free will.

    @saraswati " If you look at the literature in psychology (you can google it) most psychologists don't believe in free will but a biopsychosocial model of how the brain works.
    January 15, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    @ Saraswati I don't need to define free will since Christians are the one introducing it. I don't believe in it and don't use the term except in discussions about how it is meaningless. It is a filler word used for pragmatic reasons much as "common sense". For Christians to use it they must define it as existing outside the normal flow of determinism and something more than random or probabalistic events.

    January 15, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    April 16, 2013 at 11:05 pm |

    • It would be immoral for any of your opponents to reject the label of determinist, right?

      April 16, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Chad,
      I would encourage you to explore the types of determinism. There is ordered determinism which most people consider to be determinism. Future states are predictable from current state in a straightforward way. In nonlinear deterministic systems future states can be chaotic. With the tiniest difference in current state, future states will diverge quickly and hence are unpredictable without infinite precision. There is no model, other than an exact copy of the system that can predict the future states. Life is a nonlinear dynamic system at the edge of ordered and chaotic behavior. You can't predict its behavior even if deterministic. That means individual will is possible even with determinism.

      April 16, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • Science

      Wow Chad..................intoducing a new dance are you...................... the twist?

      April 17, 2013 at 4:36 am |
    • Saraswati

      "Here's the thing, your reaction to, and condemnation of my posts indicates that you actually dont believe that free will is an illusion. If you did, you wouldnt vitriolically accuse me of having all these evil intentions. You would fatalistically accept me executing along deterministically as you are."

      Lovely Chad, now you're exposing the fact that you don't know the difference between determinism and fatalism. And once again I appear to be giving you the benefit of the doubt that it's your stunning ignorance and not just yet more deception. My guess if that it is currently ignorance but as soon as you do a little googling it will turn to deception as you scramble to once again dig yourself out of an embarassing hole. Have yourself a fun day.

      April 17, 2013 at 6:06 am |
    • Saraswati

      Basic Chad Beliefs:

      (updated list derived from history of Chad conversations.)

      1. All atheists agree with everything Hawking or Dawkins say, even if it is unrelated to atheism.
      2. Hawking and Dawkins disagree on free will. (ignore conflict with previous)
      3. All people who use the term “free will” really mean the same thing, which matches my personal use of the term “free will” (unless backed into a corner, then I just declare all other meanings irrelevant)
      4. The definition of atheist includes anything that any atheist I disagree with believes. Ignore any definitions in pesky places like dictionaries and philosophical encyclopedias.
      5. All atheists agree with one another on everything even if it has nothing to do with atheism. See number 1 for models from which you can derive all their beliefs. Ignore #2 unless convenient.
      6. It is ethical to lie by so long as it promotes Christian beliefs.
      7. All non-believers are, by definition, idiots so you can use illogical arguments and they’ll just fall for it.
      8. There is a huge mass of fence sitters who are reading CNN blog comments in order to decide whether or not to believe in God.
      9. I will personally save all those mentioned in number 8 because I, Chad, am super smart.
      10. If one atheist somewhere on the internet said something, since atheists agree with him/her and I can use that randomly selected example as an argument to address all other atheists.
      11. If one scientist says something that backs me, then all scientists agree with that statement.
      12. If atheist scientists say something, even if it is the view of the majority of people in that science, it should be ignored. See #6.
      13. Speaking of telling lies, a really good way to do this is to rephrase what your opponent says and then keep repeating the misquote in hopes that he or she will get bored and leave your lie as the last statement. You can do this either by rewording as a supposed paraphrase or pulling lines out of context and reordering them. God really loves this and gives you extra endurance to sit at the computer all day and keep repeating it.
      14.One way to use this super endurance to your advantage is to keep posting the same questions over and over again even after they’ve been answered 50 times. Just pretend they haven’t been answered and act self-righteous about it.
      15. Fatalism and determinism are the same thing. I haven’t decided yet whether I’m too lazy to look up the supposed difference…it might be a lot of work pretending I already knew it once I find out. I’ll have to pretend I was saying something else and then see how many people fall for it. Oh the dilemma.

      April 17, 2013 at 7:50 am |
    • In short

      Sara...
      Chad is hopelessly ignorant or hopelessly disingenuous. Redzoa first stated this but almost all posters agree with his clear concise description of Chad. Thank you for your detailed description, it goes to prove exactly what the majority think. Chad you are a liar.

      April 17, 2013 at 8:16 am |

    • @chad, you are indeed very patient to explain the inconsistencies of this poster. It will come back as multiple handles to constantly bombard this thread with more vitriolic comments. Great job in calling it out for what it is.

      April 17, 2013 at 8:47 am |
    • clarity

      Golly, double oops – it was late when I was looking at this last night – the link about Fischer's semicompatibilism is actually:

      http://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/philosophers/fischer/

      (The link I had first provided was just to the home page of that site.)

      April 17, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • clarity

      And that reply was in wrong place – will copy to longer Chad thread below. Requirement for coffee is noted.

      April 17, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Chad

      Well,
      A. You never answered the question: "On what basis then do you accuse anyone of any nefarious deed? Isnt your belief that it is immoral to punish or chastise someone for something when they have no ability to do anything else?”

      B. You seem to have seized on my statement “You would fatalistically accept me executing along deterministically as you are” to avoid it.. Lets look at that.
      Determinism states that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given those conditions, nothing else could happen.
      Fatalism emphasizes the subjugation of all events or actions to fate.
      Fate is a power or agency that predetermines and orders the course of events.

      Now, as you can see, if (as you believe) the predetermining “power or agency” is the laws that govern our physical universe, then fatalism would seem to be the appropriate response.
      Given antecedent conditions, there can be no other outcome according to your view (determinism).
      In your view, that chain of deterministic events has been proceeding since the origin of the universe. With that world view, what other possible attitude could one possibly have?

      Indeed, that is why Richard Dawkins views life without free will “intolerable”.

      C. So, getting back to ‘A’, "On what basis then do you accuse anyone of any nefarious deed? “stunning ignorance”, “telling lies”, isnt it your belief that it is immoral to punish or chastise someone for something when they have no ability to do anything else?”

      April 17, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • Chad

      1. I don’t recall ever saying that.. What I do is take their statements and ask on what basis you could disagree with them.

      2. Hawking and Dawkins DO disagree on free will, as I have pointed out..

      3. As you stated in an earlier post, the definition of the concept of “free will” being discussed is very clear, and we are in agreement on it..
      @saraswati “I don't need to define free will since Christians are the one introducing it. I don't believe in it and don't use the term except in discussions about how it is meaningless. It is a filler word used for pragmatic reasons much as "common sense". For Christians to use it they must define it as existing outside the normal flow of determinism and something more than random or probabalistic events. Note that you already stated "I would agree that without free will, punishment is immoral." so I think we can assume we are referring to the same pragmatic usage of the term. January 15, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      4,5: please provide an example where I have ever done those..

      6. Please provide an example of where I have ever lied (FYI, saying that "God is real" is not a lie)

      Rest are kind of just re-cycled…

      FYI, I don’t consider myself all that intelligent. I work with many whom I cant hold a candle to. The main advantage that I have in our discussions is that reality supports the data I present. Atheists have a far more difficult argument to make..

      April 17, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Saraswati

      Wow, Chad, a whole world of philosophy out there discussing the difference between fatalism and determinism for hundreds of years and you're going to try to backpeddle yourself out of a hole by claiming fate and determinism are the same thing. You know what, I'm not going to explain it to you. You obviously have by now at least had the sense to google something on the lines "fatalism determinism difference" and have chosen to ignore what you saw which is what we all knew you would do. You are now back in the realm of pathetic deception.

      For anyone else interested in the difference it is a short google away and explains the the reason people like myself who don't believe in free will can operate just fine in the world. Fatalism can, btw, incorporate libertarian free will. It just declares that on particular areas of focus nothing you do will make a difference. Determinism argues what you do does have impact, but that it is determined.

      I probably won't have a chance to chat again today but I will check back to see how deep Chad has buried himself.

      And yes, Chad, I did notice that you once again falsely claimed that I have a "belief that it is immoral to punish or chastise someone for something when they have no ability to do anything else?" I can't even call that one a lie since in my own world view as well as the vocabulary of most determinists it doesn't even makes sense. However, I repeated to you multiple times,, that I have no issues with punishment and you continue to say this kind of thing with the clear intent to decieve people into believing I don't support punishments. What's really funny is that your deception comes accross as ridiculous because, refusing to recognize the difference between fatalism and determinism, you present a lie that could never have come outof my mouth.

      Keep digging nitwit.

      April 17, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • clarity

      And I think what I had meant for the lower thread is related, is it not?

      http://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/philosophers/fischer/

      ( semicompatibilitism type of determinism [Hindu/Islam-bot free zone!] )

      April 17, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • .

      Chad dude seriously take a break man, go down to your local ACE hardware store a buy yourself a shovel for all the shit you got piling up on this blog. You've got a lot of digging to do.

      April 17, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      So I see you're hightailing it away from our previous thread. I understand, I mean posting something that you think confirms your position only to have it back up everything I just said has to be embarrassing.

      As for your question to saraswati. As we've pointed out AND is presented on this very article, the difference between morals and free will is different. If we're talking about physica... I mean scientific free will and why we have laws, justice, punishment etc... Lets look at the morals themselves. If you are being attacked do you defend yourself? If you were to kill your attacker in self defense both society and even your religion would give you a pass, you acted on pure instinct. We also have laws where people who are hardwired like most of the other humans in the society commit 1st degree murder (premeditated) it means that the outside stimuli wasn't immediately responsible, that this bag of bones with a large brain and higher brain function used that to kill someone. Evolutionary wise we can't have people killing each other all willy nilly, there'd be no one left. So as a society we punish that person for their misdeed. Then there are the people who aren't hardwired correctly, the insane people who kill other for the sake of killing, they are mentally insane and we have a created caveates to laws to include special instances.

      I honestly don't understand how you can't comprehend this. Seriously, is your god stopping you? Are you stopping yourself? What's the deal?

      You asked what the difference is between a person and a tree and then tried to ignore the vast complexity as if saying " well aside from not having anything in common, what's the difference?" – Everything is in short chad, but specifically to answer your va.gue question is we have a brain, we have higher brain function. Our brain allows us to intuit the future and weigh consequences. We have no free will in the present, but we can temper that in the future by placing ourselves in environments to elicit responses. This is the theological free will we are talking about, the planning of future events.

      I am free to plan without any fate. You are not, you are yoked to fate. We both only have the illusion of scientific free will. I have theological free will, you don't. Looks like you are the only person here who doesn't have free will at all. Su.cks to be you.

      April 17, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • Chad

      @Saraswati “claiming fate and determinism are the same thing.”

      @Chad “not what I really said, right?

      which was: Determinism states that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given those conditions, nothing else could happen.
      Fatalism emphasizes the subjugation of all events or actions to fate.
      Fate is a power or agency that predetermines and orders the course of events.

      Now, as you can see, if (as you believe) the predetermining “power or agency” is the laws that govern our physical universe, then fatalism would seem to be the appropriate response.
      Given antecedent conditions, there can be no other outcome according to your view (determinism).
      In your view, that chain of deterministic events has been proceeding since the origin of the universe. With that world view, what other possible att itude could one possibly have?

      Which is philosophically accurate, in determinism the past conditions determine the current, the current determine the future. If the past were different, the current would be different. However, continuing this chain of deterministic outcomes back to the origin of the universe yields an unwavering, unchangeable deterministic sequence of events, it . A “fatalist” sees that same scenario as inevitable and resigns themselves to that sequence.
      The distinctions on cause/inevitability are pretty muddied when you consider that in your view this march of deterministic events proceeding from the origin of the world could be called “fate”..

      Given our origin, our current state (in your view), could be no other.
      ===
      @saraswati “Determinism argues what you do does have impact, but that it is determined”
      @Chad "yes, and what you did was deterministically the result of conditions that existed then, and so on, and so on.
      As I’m sure you agree.

      =======
      @Saraswati “And yes, Chad, I did notice that you once again falsely claimed that I have a "belief that it is immoral to punish or chastise someone for something when they have no ability to do anything else?"

      @Chad “falsely claimed? Did you forget you wrote this?”

      @Saraswati ""Most notably to me, Christianity fails where it relies on the libertarian concept of free will in its justification for eternal punishments. You cannot justify such punishments without this notion (though Calvinists and others have tried) and it is not upheld by our current understanding of how the brain works. This is a fatal flaw (and one that I have research quite thoroughly). January 15, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      @ Saraswati “I mean that if a god created us and we live according to known physical laws our behaviors are either deterministic (which they largely would be on the macro scale) or are following a set of probabilistic rules. Either way they do not warrant praise and blame in the sense that Christianity requires, and would ultimately be either random of the creation of God. I have no desire to enter into a debate on free will here, but if one doesn't believe in it, as I do not (at least in the form I believe Christianity requires) then Christianity doesn’t hold together as a system. Please note that I do believe in punishments and prisons, but I think what most Christians and (in the US at least) many non-Christians call free will is an illusion. January 15, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      April 17, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Wow!

      "@Saraswati “And yes, Chad, I did notice that you once again falsely claimed that I have a "belief that it is immoral to punish or chastise someone for something when they have no ability to do anything else?"

      @Chad “falsely claimed? Did you forget you wrote this?”

      @Saraswati ""Most notably to me, Christianity fails where it relies on the libertarian concept of free will in its justification for eternal punishments. You cannot justify such punishments without this notion (though Calvinists and others have tried) and it is not upheld by our current understanding of how the brain works. This is a fatal flaw (and one that I have research quite thoroughly). January 15, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      @ Saraswati “I mean that if a god created us and we live according to known physical laws our behaviors are either deterministic (which they largely would be on the macro scale) or are following a set of probabilistic rules. Either way they do not warrant praise and blame in the sense that Christianity requires, and would ultimately be either random of the creation of God. I have no desire to enter into a debate on free will here, but if one doesn't believe in it, as I do not (at least in the form I believe Christianity requires) then Christianity doesn’t hold together as a system. Please note that I do believe in punishments and prisons, but I think what most Christians and (in the US at least) many non-Christians call free will is an illusion. January 15, 2013 at 6:32 pm"

      Really Chad you think that shows that they made this claim you're trying to push on them, it doesn't. It actually just proves you have really poor reading comprehension and a twisted mind. Are you dyslexic by any chance? If you haven't been checked, you really should.

      April 17, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • .

      Chad is so lazy they start another comment here because they don't want to have to scroll to reply but overall Chad's just intellectually lazy which is why he has to google everything.

      April 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Chad

      "it doesn't"

      =>well, the information is right there, explain how it doesnt.

      Just making your statement, and name calling, makes it look like you cant argue the data, you just feel like you have to say something negative and that's all you could do..

      April 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Wow!

      "I did notice that you once again falsely claimed that I have a "belief that it is immoral to punish or chastise someone for something when they have no ability to do anything else?""

      Were in what you copied did they claim this?

      April 17, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Giggles

      What data???

      April 17, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • .

      Wow don't waste your time on Chad, he's not going to get it.

      April 17, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm afraid you assertions are correct, "Giggles", "Chad" has no data.

      April 17, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • .

      "What data???"

      Exactly! LOL!

      April 17, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Chad

      @Wow! "I did notice that you once again falsely claimed that I have a "belief that it is immoral to punish or chastise someone for something when they have no ability to do anything else?"" Were in what you copied did they claim this?

      ====
      These are earlier posts by @saraswati:
      I simply can not imagine how one could make a case that my statement above is not accurate.

      @Saraswati ""Most notably to me, Christianity fails where it relies on the libertarian concept of free will in its justification for eternal punishments. You cannot justify such punishments without this notion (though Calvinists and others have tried) and it is not upheld by our current understanding of how the brain works. This is a fatal flaw (and one that I have research quite thoroughly). January 15, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      @ Saraswati “I mean that if a god created us and we live according to known physical laws our behaviors are either deterministic (which they largely would be on the macro scale) or are following a set of probabilistic rules. Either way they do not warrant praise and blame in the sense that Christianity requires, and would ultimately be either random of the creation of God. I have no desire to enter into a debate on free will here, but if one doesn't believe in it, as I do not (at least in the form I believe Christianity requires) then Christianity doesn’t hold together as a system. Please note that I do believe in punishments and prisons, but I think what most Christians and (in the US at least) many non-Christians call free will is an illusion. January 15, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      April 17, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Wow!

      "I simply can not imagine how one could make a case that my statement above is not accurate."

      Chad they are not talking about themselves idiot.

      April 17, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Giggles

      Which statement?? Who's on first?

      April 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • .

      Wow! – I don't think Chad understands the third person concept, they are trying they are right and are twisting what is written to try and justify their claim. I told you he wouldn't get it. Really stop wasting your time, this poster has rocks in their brain...but wait rocks don't have free will.....

      April 17, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • .

      "Which statement?? Who's on first?"

      I don't know.

      Who's on second?

      April 17, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Honestly, this is getting embarassing for you. Do you not even read what you quote anymore? The wiki article you cited to me backed up my points. The quotes you gave from @Saraswati are pretty clear and yet you are taking away a completely different opinion which isn't @Saraswati's problem, it's yours for not being able to understand it.

      I'm not even trying to name call here, this is just simple fact right now. You bolded a part in the second quote and completely missed the words right after that said "in the sense of christianity".

      I have to repeat the questions other people have been asking, are you dyslexic? bad reading comprehension?

      April 17, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Chad

      @Wow! "Chad they are not talking about themselves idiot."
      @Chad "so, you're claiming that @saraswati feels that God is immoral to punish or chastise someone for something when they have no ability to do anything else,
      but
      she feels it is fine for her to punish or chastise someone for something when they have no ability to do anything else?

      really? That's your claim?

      April 17, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Red Dwarf

      The crux of this entire debate on free will is this. Chad creates a straw man when he says atheists believe we are exactly the same as the animals or tree's for that matter and just act out our predetermined course. This however is totaly false as there are no atheists I know of that claim we are "exactly" the same as the animals. We do have something different, something unique that allows us to contemplate our selves and others, a self awareness that so far we have not observed in any other creature to the extent that we are able to employ it. This is what chad and other Christians want to grab a hold of and claim as God's design giving us something the rest of the animal kingdom doesn't have.

      However, there are many possibilities where this difference could have come from, one being the possibility of our ancestors eating certain mind expanding mushrooms which unlcked certain chemical responses in their brains allowing them to effectively look outside the box that was their survivalist existence and begin contemplating the why along with how of survival.

      chad claims we cannot have free will without God and I say not only is his definition of free will flawed but so is his narrow premise that the only way for humans to have achieved this level of enlightenment was some invisible external prime mover which means creating an impossibly complex being (God) to explain the marginally complex answer to why humans are self aware and thus more in control of our actions through willpower which we can use to save lives or destroy them, make them pleasant for some or horrible for others.

      April 17, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • .

      Seriously who votes that Chad is dyslexic and has poor reading comprehension. All in favor say "i"

      What is a dyslexic's favorite chocolate bar? A Lion bra!

      Did you hear about the dyslexic high schooler? The day of his SAT test he
      showed up to class without his shoes and waited for his teacher to pat him
      down.

      dyslexics are teople poo!!

      April 17, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Wow!

      "@Chad "so, you're claiming that @saraswati feels that God is immoral to punish or chastise someone for something when they have no ability to do anything else,
      but
      she feels it is fine for her to punish or chastise someone for something when they have no ability to do anything else?

      really? That's your claim?"

      Thank you for proving my point. I rest my case.

      April 17, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Chad

      @WOW "Thank you for proving my point. I rest my case."

      =>you lost me.. what point?

      April 17, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      @Saraswati has said, multiple times mind you, that your god is immoral for ETERNAL punishment for actions of a person that are completely out of their control, or even eternal punishment in general. @Saraswati has said multiple times is that she approves of a punisher of specific actions, but it should be doled out by the society the offender belongs to and agreed to the rules and knowingly broke them. That punishment should also never be eternal.

      Meanwhile what Saraswati, myself and the lovely Stephen Hawking quote you keep bringing up keep trying to illustrate to you is that our immediate present actions are not conscious decisions. We are subject purely to external stimuli.

      Think of it this way. Our brain is just a bunch of grey tissue suspended in our skulls. It does not have any eyes, or ears, or a nose or anything to make a decision without the aid of the sense on the outside of the body feeding it data. This grey matter is more powerful than the most powerful computer we have been able to create and crunches data faster than we're even remotely aware of. It makes regular decisions without consulting the consciouness part of the brain. Whether it's
      "breath" or "dislike that person". Sometimes we get a glimpse of this when we have "gut instincts" and do something without being able to articulate it. This is why we have built into our justice system certain times where normally taboo actions are accepted due to human nature (re: killing in self defense). We also evolved to want to be social creatures because we have found strength in numbers helps us maintain our spot at the top of the food chain. However, we need to be able to live together in harmony to do so and thus morality, ethics and laws were born in order to feed the brain with information about what good and bad actions are. We make a law that stealing is wrong, our giant brain computers take that information, store it and then when the brain is given information that something would be easy to steal, it also accesses the data that a) stealing is wrong, b) the consequences could be severe and c) calculates the odds of getting away with it. This all happens in less than a second, even less than a micro second and most of the time the brain makes the decision even before our consciousness can think "boy, that necklace is pretty".

      You shouldn't be marveling at god, you should marvel at how amazing the human brain really is.

      April 17, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Chad

      @Red Dwarf "Chad creates a straw man when he says atheists believe we are exactly the same as the animals or tree's for that matter and just act out our predetermined course. "
      @Chad "actually, what I said was that Hawkings, and every major atheist thinker I could find other than Richard Dawkins believes free will is an illusion.
      What I asked the atheists on this board to do was explain how Hawkings was wrong, and how free will could actually exist.

      No real response has been forthcoming other than the "ignorance is bliss" defense of the belief in free will.

      ===
      @Red Dwarf "However, there are many possibilities where this difference could have come from, one being the possibility of our ancestors eating certain mind expanding mushrooms which unlcked certain chemical responses in their brains allowing them to effectively look outside the box that was their survivalist existence and begin contemplating the why along with how of survival."

      @Chad "yeah..
      words escape me once again.

      The list of atheist defenses of free will:
      1. "ignorance is bliss"
      2. "mind expanding mushrooms"

      April 17, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Chad "so, you're claiming that @saraswati feels that God is immoral to punish or chastise someone for something when they have no ability to do anything else, but she feels it is fine for her to punish or chastise someone for something when they have no ability to do anything else?

      really? That's your claim?"

      1. Chad, anyone can scroll scroll down this page to see the previous discussion where it was pointed out to you multiple times that I was referring to eternal punishments...by either gods or humans. So lie to yourself if you want, Chad, but that's the only person you'll succeed in lying to.

      2. Not sure if you still haven't figured out the problem with your language on choice and ability to do otherwise or are just trying again to decieve, but it's pretty funny either way to see you babbling in language that would be knocked out of a freshman in any half way decent intro phil course.

      What's really sad, Chad, is that I was about as sympathetic audience as you would find here. I think there are many intelligent Christians and, though I don't myself believe, I don't think the concept of gods is inherently internally incoherent. But you just couldn't hack the idea that you might be wrong about any of your own particular beliefs and the only way you could protect your own special house of cards was through lies and manipulations. I think a true liar is rare and am very hesitant to call anyone out as such. But you, Chad, are the lowest form. Whatever your motivating forces they are not an effort to abide by Christian laws. I would recommend you examine your own motivations carefully, but I doubt you have the guts or honesty to do so.

      April 17, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      I assume you didn't add my reasoning to your list of defenses most likely because it made too much sense and hurt your case too much.

      It's cool, keep pretending like you are relevant.

      April 17, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Paul

      So in order for Chad to have free will he first has to prove he has a soul, otherwise, by his own reasoning he can't have free will. Good luck with that one Chad. How you can claim that free will is the result of having a soul with absolutely no proof that anyone at any point in all of human history had or has a soul is beyond me.

      April 17, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Wow!

      "really? That's your claim?""

      What claim did I actually make? LOL!

      Again, you continue to prove my point.

      April 17, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • .

      " I think a true liar is rare and am very hesitant to call anyone out as such. But you, Chad, are the lowest form. Whatever your motivating forces they are not an effort to abide by Christian laws."

      I don't really think Chad is a true Christian but just someone who is suffering from low self-esteem issues and uses this blog to try and boost their ego. It's why they try so hard to look smart when in fact they are deceiving themselves but thinking their ability to use Google puts them into that category. One thing for sure, and it's relevant to this thread, Chad is not moral..

      April 17, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Chad

      @saraswati "Anyone can scroll scroll down this page to see the previous discussion where it was pointed out to you multiple times that I was referring to eternal punishments...by either gods or humans."

      @Chad "I asked for that clarification before, but never got a response. So, you are saying that the only problem you have with punishment is the duration?

      April 17, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • LOL

      "The list of atheist defenses of free will:
      1. "ignorance is bliss"
      2. "mind expanding mushrooms""

      No, this is what you cherry picked out of the list of responses and skipped over the parts that proved you wrong. Nice job you deceitful twit.

      April 17, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • Chad

      @LOL "No, this is what you cherry picked out of the list of responses and skipped over the parts that proved you wrong"

      =>that just simply is not true, there havent been any defenses of free will offered on this thread, right? There have been only accusations of myself having distorted what @saraswati said.

      now, rather than just saying "that's not true", simply explain WHY it isnt true, but listing out the other defenses of free will that were offered.

      if in your response you dont list any other defenses of free will that were offered, the reasonable person can only conclude that you dont think that any actually were, you just were trying to say something negative and that's all you could come up with..

      April 17, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Is Chad still clinging to the assertion that atheists can't believe in free will just because? Pathetic.

      April 17, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • ?

      "The main advantage that I have in our discussions is that reality supports the data I present. Atheists have a far more difficult argument to make.."

      What data? None of what you have posted has supported anything except the high opinion you hold for yourself. You have not supplied and factual data.

      April 17, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • .

      "Is Chad still clinging to the assertion that atheists can't believe in free will just because? Pathetic."

      He actually thinks he's supplied data that proves all of his claims even though others have show the flaws in his logic those are the parts he skips over.

      April 17, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Paul

      Chad what do you do for a living?

      April 17, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • .

      "Chad what do you do for a living?"

      Something that doesn't require an instruction manual cause this dude has some serious reading comprehension issues.

      April 17, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      "=>that just simply is not true, there havent been any defenses of free will offered on this thread, right? There have been only accusations of myself having distorted what @saraswati said."

      - Sir you wound me! No defenses? What have I been writing for the past day or so? I accused you , rightly so, of distorting what @Saraswati said while weaving in defenses of why theologically, an atheist has free will whereas the theist does not and scientifically why no one has free will. You just refuse to acknowledge it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

      April 17, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles "please state if you are talking about biological, physical free will or theological and philosophical free will."
      @Chad "lol you should really do some reading, start here:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_will

      if you actually do read it, you'll see why your categories are nonsense.. Free will and determinism is the discussion, you have to gain that understanding.

      April 17, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Literally the first line of the article you cited, "Free will is the ability of agents to make choices unconstrained by certain factors. Factors of historical concern have included metaphysical constraints (for example, logical, nomological, or theological determinism), physical constraints (for example, chains or imprisonment), social constraints (for example, threat of punishment or censure, or structural constraints), and mental constraints (for example, compulsions or phobias, neurological disorders, or genetic predispositions). The principle of free will has religious, legal, ethical, and scientific implications.[1] For example, in the religious realm, free will implies that individual will and choices can coexist with an omnipotent divinity. In the law, it affects considerations of punishment and rehabilitation. In ethics, it may hold implications for whether individuals can be held morally accountable for their actions. In science, neuroscientific findings regarding free will may suggest different ways of predicting human behavior."

      – Sorry my categories were nonsense. I guess I didn't include two categories and I substi.tuted the word "physical" with what wiki uses as "scientific" I mean, what was I thinking?

      The real question is, do you really think that when you cite something people won't actually look at it an read it? Do you not read it yourself? This is a real question here. You accuse me of nonsense categories like theological and physical and then cite an article that lists 4 categories, two of which align with what I've been writing.

      Considering this the belief blog, when you discuss free will most people including myself thinking your talking about the theological implication of free will. To discuss determinism as being synonymous with atheism is not only wrong because obviously not all atheists believe in the same thing, but you are detracting from the theological discussion to talk about a more scientific one and try and switch between the two.

      As the wiki that you so generously cited points out, the definition of free will is elusive and changing depending on the person. There are multiple groups of people that are generalized and put into different groups.

      So lets start over again, do you understand the difference between physics... oops I mean "scientific" free will, or the ability to freely react against your own innate instincts vs. theological free will (wiki's word) that you can somehow coexist with an omniscient god who knows exactly what you are going to do before you do it and yet still have free will ..... somehow.

      I guess we could also talk about the physical constraints and social constraints of free will if you would like to, but you seem pretty hellbent on trying to merge all four groups into one definition that you made up yourself and try and pass off as the offical definition so I think we don't have to discuss the other two groups that wiki lays out huh?

      So hows about it Chad, do you understand yet? I'm trying to go as slow as possible, even for the dim witted like yourself

      April 17, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Saraswati

      For people who don't think Wikipedia is the basis of all world knowledge, there are numerous other freely available resources out there which are more reliable. Example:

      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/

      Note that several definitions do not revolve around questions of determinism. It is a core issue, and the one most relevant to Christianity, but it is not the only topic on which free will discussions take place or around which definitions revolve.

      April 17, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Chad

      @saraswati "Anyone can scroll scroll down this page to see the previous discussion where it was pointed out to you multiple times that I was referring to eternal punishments...by either gods or humans."

      @Chad "I asked for that clarification before, but never got a response. So, you are saying that the only problem you have with punishment is the duration?

      why do you hate that question?

      April 17, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Questions chad's got to hate:

      1. Do you understand?
      2. Can you please provide references from somewhere other than wikipedia?
      3. Were you loved as a child?
      4. Why do you hate god?

      April 17, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Chad,

      "why do you hate that question?"

      Ah, Chad, I don't hate that question; I just refuse to play your games. I have answered this before in previous discussions and I know from your numerous quotes of me that you are capable of finding old discussions. Either you have selectively forgotten this or, more likely given your behavior patterns, are intentionally ignoring that fact. Either way you are trying to waste my time either by having me re-answer a question I've already answered numerous times or by searching through old discussions I already know you've been through. Lies and manipulations. Sucker someone else.

      April 17, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • JMEF

      Faith is the devious art of defending fantasy. Chad is the expert at this and lying is his tool. I agree with other posters that bald face lying should be named Chading something we can relate too.

      April 17, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • .

      "bald face lying should be named Chading something we can relate too."

      I like bald face lying and deceitfulness should be named Chading something we can relate too.

      April 17, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Updated list of apparent Chad beliefs categorized by topic. I would never normally presume to post such a thing but Chad has set the both the tone, so I think it's fair to have this out there as a reference. Thanks to Chuckles on #15.

      Gospel of Chad:
      (Updated list derived from history of Chad conversations.)

      Atheism:
      1. All atheists agree with everything Stephen Hawking or Richard Dawkins say, even if it is unrelated to atheism. Hawking and Dawkins disagree on free will, however, but you should ignore this conflict or any atheist who says they disagree.
      2. All atheists agree with one another on everything even if it has nothing to do with atheism. See # 1 for models from which you can derive all their beliefs.
      3. The definition of atheist includes anything that any atheist I disagree with believes or anything I feel like tossing in there. Ignore any definitions in pesky places like dictionaries and philosophical encyclopedias.
      4. If one atheist somewhere on the internet said something, then since all atheists agree with him/her and I can use that randomly selected example as an argument to address all other atheists.
      5. The definition of atheism includes not just materialism but strict deterministic materialism. Non-believers who might be Buddhists, believe in probabilistic physics, see consciousness as prior to the physical world, believe in, say, witchcraft aren’t really atheists.

      Free will:
      6. All people who use the term “free will” really mean the same exact thing by that term, which matches my personal use of the term “free will” (unless backed into a corner, then I just declare all other meanings irrelevant)
      7. Fatalism and determinism are the same thing. It has been pointed out to me that historically these terms have been used with different meanings, but I find it more convenient to make up my own definitions, as with atheism and free will.

      Telling lies:
      8. It is ethical to lie so long as it promotes Christian beliefs.
      9. Speaking of telling lies, a really good way to do this is to rephrase what your opponent says and then keep repeating the misquote in hopes that he or she will get bored and leave your lie as the last statement. Then you win. You can do this either by rewording as a supposed paraphrase or pulling lines out of context and reordering them. God really loves this and gives you extra endurance to sit at the computer all day and keep repeating it.
      10. One way to use this super endurance to your advantage is to keep posting the same questions over and over again even after they’ve been answered 50 times. Just pretend they haven’t been answered and act self-righteous about it. It’s really cool if you can ask this same thing on multiple threads and then claim it was never answered forcing people to waste time on the same thing over and over and over.

      Science:
      11. If one scientist says something that backs me, then I can assume all scientists agree with that statement.
      12. If atheist scientists say something, even if it is the view of the majority of people in that science, it should be ignored. See #8.
      13. Atheists are ruled by confirmation bias. I am free of it – it’s just great luck that everything I read and all the “data” around me confirm my strong religious convictions. See #12 on ignoring anything else.

      General truths about the CNN belief blog:
      14. All non-believers are, by definition, idiots so you can use illogical arguments and they’ll just fall for it.
      15. If I post a quote that has a few key words in it from our discussion I can claim it backs my point even if it actually says the exact same thing. Atheists, as mentioned above, are too dumb to notice.
      16. There is a huge mass of fence sitters out there who are eagerly reading CNN blog comments in order to decide whether or not to believe in God.
      17. I will personally save all those mentioned in number 16 because I, Chad, am super smart. I know this because I get away with all the above mentioned lies and manipulations. Sometimes people think they are pointing these things out but they really aren’t. Or the stupid atheist masses aren’t reading them anyway.

      April 17, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Chad

      @saraswati "I have answered this before in previous discussions and I know from your numerous quotes of me that you are capable of finding old discussions"

      @Chad "I honestly do not ever remember you answering that question, please provide a link, or copy and paste your old answer. thanks

      April 17, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Saraswati,

      "10. One way to use this super endurance to your advantage is to keep posting the same questions over and over again even after they’ve been answered 50 times. Just pretend they haven’t been answered and act self-righteous about it. It’s really cool if you can ask this same thing on multiple threads and then claim it was never answered forcing people to waste time on the same thing over and over and over."

      Don't forget the eye-rolling sarcasm and the emoticons :D.

      April 17, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Hypothetically

      Chad dies and finds himself in front of the creator. However, it is Allah. Allah gives him a choice: repent, bow your knees and confess that I am Lord, or be tortured forever for believing in a false god.

      What would you do, Chad? Accept the true God, or burn?

      April 17, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Thanks not-GOP...added.

      April 17, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • JMEF

      Sara....
      Point 2,
      As I pointed out to Chad yesterday; Christians do not believe in taking or giving blood transfusions even if it could save a life. Chad agreed but only a small minority but using Chading I as a deist can claim that is what Christians believe, the type of generalization that Chad uses all the time in regards to atheists believe..........

      April 17, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Chad

      @saraswati "I have answered this before in previous discussions and I know from your numerous quotes of me that you are capable of finding old discussions"

      @Chad "I honestly do not ever remember you answering that question, please provide a link, or copy and paste your old answer. thanks

      I cant for the life of me figure out what it is about that question that has you so spooked. Some nuance of "eternal"?
      Is it just the fact that the duration of the punishment seems to be a very poor reason to allow/disallow punishment in the first place?

      April 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • .

      "So, you are saying that the only problem you have with punishment is the duration?"

      Wiki answer...ready......one.....two....three! The "problem of Hell" is an ethical problem related to religions in which portrayals of Hell are ostensibly cruel, and are thus inconsistent with the concepts of a just, moral and omnibenevolent God.The problem of Hell revolves around four key points: Hell exists in the first place, some people go there, there is no escape, and it is punishment for actions or inactions done on Earth.There are several major issues to the problem of hell. The first is whether the existence of hell is compatible with justice. The second is whether it is compatible with God's mercy, especially as articulated in Christianity. A third issue, particular to Christianity, is whether hell is actually populated, or if God will ultimately restore all immortal souls (universal reconciliation) in the World to Come. Criticisms of the doctrines of hell can focus on the intensity or eternity of its torments, and arguments surrounding all these issues can invoke appeals to the omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolence of God. In some aspects, the problem of Hell is similar to the problem of evil, assuming the suffering of Hell is something God could have prevented; The discussion regarding the problem of evil may thus also be of interest for the problem of Hell.

      It's called Chading!

      April 17, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • .

      oops... I forgot this part..."Don't forget the eye-rolling sarcasm and the emoticons 😀 ."

      😉 ;-P 😀

      April 17, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Science

      Is Chad SAD today ?

      April 17, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • .

      @Saraswati what's sad is Chad with his poor reading comprehension isn't going to get it and it will continue because Chad can't face their own ignorance in the mirror.

      April 17, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • Chad

      @saraswati "Anyone can scroll scroll down this page to see the previous discussion where it was pointed out to you multiple times that I was referring to eternal punishments...by either gods or humans."

      @Chad "I asked for that clarification before, but never got a response. So, you are saying that the only problem you have with punishment is the duration?

      Seems like you hate and refuse to answer the question because duration of punishment hardly seems like any basis at all of allowing/disallowing it.
      You support humans punishing humans (in spite of the lack of free will of the person having engaged in that which you are now punishing them) because by definition the punishment can not last an eternity, but you view the concept of the God of Israel immoral because His punishment lasts an eternity..

      or.. perhaps it's the reason you cite for supporting punishment in the first place, namely "deterrence"?
      Opening you up for the attack of "how in the world can you invoke deterrence as justification when you believe in determinism?

      April 17, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      "You support humans punishing humans (in spite of the lack of free will of the person having engaged in that which you are now punishing them) because by definition the punishment can not last an eternity, but you view the concept of the God of Israel immoral because His punishment lasts an eternity.."

      Talk about dishonest, presuppositional bullshit. You really can't be honest in any way can you Chad? You truly are a pathetic little tool with no backing for anything you say, so you need to try and be as dishonest as possible to prove your flawed points.

      April 17, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • Bob

      Speaking of morals, thanks to Really-O, we can observe how Chad was posting as Rachel. Chad had lied and claimed otherwise.

      So, thanks again, Really-O. The link to look at again is
      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/06/richard-dawkins-evolution-is-not-a-controversial-issue/comment-page-10/#comments

      Caught!

      April 17, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • .

      Hey look everyone Chad is showing number 10 is right on the money with "I'm not a GOPer, " definition thrown in.

      Too funny! Nice job Saraswati!

      April 17, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Death Chicken of the Armagennon

      Atheists do not believe in theological free will because they do not believe in god, not because they think humans are unable to choose. From a biological aspect, there definitely are limits on choice, but some degree of choice is possible. But that's not theological free will.

      And atheists do not believe in theological determinism as there is not deity out there doing any determining. Again there are forces in nature that to some degree determine your life, such as genetics and so forth, but that's not theological determinism.

      This is where your tendency to use fallacies such as Equivocation cause you so much trouble. You can't use the cross definitions as you have been. It makes your assertions ridiculous misrepresentations.

      April 17, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I noticed I had a typo in the one I got from Chuckles' post so updated again:

      Gospel of Chad:
      (derived from history of Chad conversations.)

      Atheism:
      1. All atheists agree with everything Stephen Hawking or Richard Dawkins say, even if it is unrelated to atheism. Hawking and Dawkins disagree on free will, however, but you should ignore this conflict or any atheist who says they disagree.
      2. All atheists agree with one another on everything even if it has nothing to do with atheism. See # 1 for models from which you can derive all their beliefs.
      3. The definition of atheist includes anything that any atheist I disagree with believes or anything I feel like tossing in there. Ignore any definitions in pesky places like dictionaries and philosophical encyclopedias.
      4. If one atheist somewhere on the internet said something, then, since all atheists agree with him/her, I can use that randomly selected example as an argument to address all other atheists.
      5. The definition of atheism includes not just materialism but strict deterministic materialism. Non-believers who might be Buddhists, believe in probabilistic physics, see consciousness as prior to the physical world, believe in, say, witchcraft aren’t really atheists.

      Free will:
      6. All people who use the term “free will” really mean the same exact thing by that term, which matches my personal use of the term “free will” (unless backed into a corner, then I just declare all other meanings irrelevant)
      7. Fatalism and determinism are the same thing. It has been pointed out to me that historically these terms have been used with different meanings, but I find it more convenient to make up my own definitions, as with atheism and free will.

      Telling lies:
      8. It is ethical to lie so long as it promotes Christian beliefs.
      9. Speaking of telling lies, a really good way to do this is to rephrase what your opponent says and then keep repeating the misquote in hopes that he or she will get bored and leave your lie as the last statement. Then you win. You can do this either by rewording as a supposed paraphrase or pulling lines out of context and reordering them. God really loves this and gives you extra endurance to sit at the computer all day and keep repeating it.
      10. One way to use this super endurance to your advantage is to keep posting the same questions over and over again even after they’ve been answered 50 times. Just pretend they haven’t been answered and act self-righteous about it. It’s really cool if you can ask this same thing on multiple threads and then claim it was never answered forcing people to waste time on the same thing over and over and over. When they refuse to play your game or you don’t like the answer add some sarcasm, but use an emoticon to soften it so they’ll know your snide remarks are all in good fun.

      Science:
      11. If one scientist says something that backs me, then I can assume all scientists agree with that statement.
      12. If atheist scientists say something, even if it is the view of the majority of people in that science, it should be ignored. See #8.
      13. Atheists are ruled by confirmation bias. I am free of it – it’s just great luck that everything I read and all the “data” around me confirm my strong religious convictions. See #12 on ignoring anything else.

      General truths about the CNN belief blog:
      14. All non-believers are, by definition, idiots so you can use illogical arguments and they’ll just fall for it.
      15. If I post a quote that has a few key words in it from our discussion I can claim it backs my point even if it actually says the exact opposite thing from what I’m claiming. Atheists, as mentioned above, are too dumb to notice.
      16. There is a huge mass of fence sitters out there who are eagerly reading CNN blog comments in order to decide whether or not to believe in God.
      17. I will personally save all those mentioned in number 16 because I, Chad, am super smart. I know this because I get away with all the above mentioned lies and manipulations. Sometimes people think they are pointing these things out but they really aren’t. Or the stupid atheist masses aren’t reading them anyway.

      April 17, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • Chad

      still?

      be interesting to find out what freaks you out so much about answering this question...

      ==================
      @saraswati "Anyone can scroll scroll down this page to see the previous discussion where it was pointed out to you multiple times that I was referring to eternal punishments...by either gods or humans."

      @Chad "I asked for that clarification before, but never got a response. So, you are saying that the only problem you have with punishment is the duration?

      Seems like you hate and refuse to answer the question because duration of punishment hardly seems like any basis at all of allowing/disallowing it.
      You support humans punishing humans (in spite of the lack of free will of the person having engaged in that which you are now punishing them) because by definition the punishment can not last an eternity, but you view the concept of the God of Israel immoral because His punishment lasts an eternity..

      or.. perhaps it's the reason you cite for supporting punishment in the first place, namely "deterrence"?
      Opening you up for the attack of "how in the world can you invoke deterrence as justification when you believe in determinism?

      April 17, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      You really are stupid aren't you. The duration is the issue because it is disproportionate, and in some cases flat out wrong for the supposed "sins" in the Christian doctrine. You can spend an entire lifetime helping all those you meet, but if you don't believe you're tortured eternally. You can be the worst person imaginable, but if your god decides to give a revelation of truth on the death bed then that person is rewarded eternally if they repent. It's an unjust system meant to keep people in line with rigid doctrine. It is not a system an all-loving being would contrive. This has been explained to you before, but your standard answer has always been "You just don't understand the bible, so you need to read it until you agree with me".
      Don't try to pawn this off as something that has never been answered. Then again, you've never had a problem lying for your god.

      April 17, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Then there's your consistent straw man of "all atheists believe in determinism", which you sometimes switch to a flat assertion of "all atheists have to believe in determinism" when you still have not justified it. You really are pathetic Chad, and continue to show it over and over. Keep going, showcase the damage religion has done to your mind. It only works against your own cause.

      April 17, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • .

      @Saraswati

      Hey look 9 and 10 are true again! Nice job Saraswati!

      😀

      April 17, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • JMEF

      Saraswati
      I think it might be better to just ignore Chading. The Chad uses the same dishonest debating techniques as his hero Craig best to just call him the lying trash that he is and leave him to his Christian apologetics websites.

      April 17, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      One more thing. Yesterday you stated:
      "Free will means having the ability to make an unconstrained choice, the ability to take more than one possible course of action under a given set of circumstances."
      If that's what free will is, then choose to grow some wings right now and fly around. Get on the news. That would justify your definition of free will.

      April 17, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • .

      "but you view the concept of the God of Israel immoral because His punishment lasts an eternity.."

      Wiki answer...ready......one.....two....three! The "problem of Hell" is an ethical problem related to religions in which portrayals of Hell are ostensibly cruel, and are thus inconsistent with the concepts of a just, moral and omnibenevolent God.The problem of Hell revolves around four key points: Hell exists in the first place, some people go there, there is no escape, and it is punishment for actions or inactions done on Earth.There are several major issues to the problem of hell. The first is whether the existence of hell is compatible with justice. The second is whether it is compatible with God's mercy, especially as articulated in Christianity. A third issue, particular to Christianity, is whether hell is actually populated, or if God will ultimately restore all immortal souls (universal reconciliation) in the World to Come. Criticisms of the doctrines of hell can focus on the intensity or eternity of its torments, and arguments surrounding all these issues can invoke appeals to the omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolence of God. In some aspects, the problem of Hell is similar to the problem of evil, assuming the suffering of Hell is something God could have prevented; The discussion regarding the problem of evil may thus also be of interest for the problem of Hell.

      It's called Chading! 😀

      April 17, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • Chad

      @Hawaii "The duration is the issue because it is disproportionate"

      =>I honestly doubt that is what @saraswati's reasoning is behind approving of one humans punishment of another human, but being considering Gods punishment of a human immoral.
      Who decides what is proper proportionality?

      She is terrified of confirming that duration is or is not the reason behind it for a reason.. It'll be interesting to find out what the rational actually is in her mind..

      Probably something to do with "deterrence", but she doesnt want to really open that can of worms either.. Who is the one being deterred? The person being punished, or an observer?
      If a person is a determinist, how in the world does deterrence even come into the picture? Determinists believe in an ever marching set of deterministic outcomes based on an existing set of antecedent conditions. Those conditions march back to the origin of the universe, no way to change the past, so no way to change the future.

      to many holes either way.. probably safest to just call me a liar and refuse to elaborate.

      April 17, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Chad wrote:

      “If a person is a determinist, how in the world does deterrence even come into the picture? Determinists believe in an ever marching set of deterministic outcomes based on an existing set of antecedent conditions. Those conditions march back to the origin of the universe, no way to change the past, so no way to change the future.”

      LOL – hysterical! He still can't, or won't, distinguish between determinism and fatalism. I've got to start saving these gems.

      April 17, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • Bob

      Chad, still no thigh gap for poor Rachel? Get back on that treadmill.

      April 17, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Chad, you are just pathetic. You claims about those who don't believe a god is necessary for morality are nothing short of more lies. Obviously, your moral center is incredibly weak.

      April 17, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • .

      "distinguish between determinism and fatalism."

      It has to do with Chad's poor reading comprehension issue.

      April 17, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • .

      "Determinists believe in an ever marching set of deterministic outcomes based on an existing set of antecedent conditions. "

      Determinism is that free will is an illusion and all actions are predetermined by previous actions/experiences (and genetic make up etc). Fatalism is similar in saying free will is an illusion, but also that the future is inevitable and stress a acceptance or submission to fate. In other words, determinist's believe in absolute causality, fatalists in a set course of events.

      I.e. for determinist's, if the past was different, the present would be different. This present is the result of various choices/chances in the past. For fatalists, the question is not applicable – no other past or present is possible, as the course of events is inevitable.

      For fatalists, it's as if there was a written or decided fate or plan (although this does not have to be a theistic belief). Determinism is more like Newton's Law – a calculable reaction to every action.

      Oops..... I am Chading again 😀

      April 17, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
    • Paul

      "Determinists believe in an ever marching set of deterministic outcomes based on an existing set of antecedent conditions."

      So Chad what's the difference then between, causal determinism, Nomological determinism, Necessitarianism, Predeterminism, Fatalism, Theological determinism, Logical determinism or Determinateness, Spatio-temporal Determinism or Eternalism?

      Or are you only sticking to your one version of determinism? 😉

      April 17, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • clarity

      oh and don't forget my semicompabilistic determinism – lol. –which although doesn't wrestle with free will as much as it seems to address the article more for atheists – that is that, with that notion, moral responsibility is possible with determinism whether or not free will is present.

      April 17, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @clarity,

      fan of Mr. Madison that you are, are you familiar with his 'detached memorandum'? It was not published until the early 20th century. In it he speaks of questions regarding the doctrine of separation such as Army and Congressional chaplins.

      Part of the 'detatched memorandum' pertaining to religion can be found here:

      http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendI_religions64.html

      April 17, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      So out of all three posts, you choose a single sentence to reply to, and then don't even address the actual issue. Congrats, you have maintained your avoidance of any issue.

      April 17, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • clarity

      Thanks, not a GOPer, I don't think I've see that all at once that way. I'll have to look that over more carefully. I can't imagine someone in those times trying to wrestle with such issues.

      April 17, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • Chad

      @saraswati: “LOL – hysterical! He still can't, or won't, distinguish between determinism and fatalism. I've got to start saving these gems.“

      @Chad “
      A. You still havent addressed your reasoning is behind approving of one humans punishment of another human, but being considering Gods punishment of a human immoral. Is it the duration that is the issue?

      Odd you keep avoiding that question, or as noted for the reasons above, perhaps not odd at all 🙂

      B. You seem very confused on some terms, this may help:

      Determinism the philosophical idea that every event or state of affairs, including every human decision and action, is the inevitable and necessary consequence of antecedent states of affairs.

      Pre-determinism implies that all the information in the universe today was implicit in the earliest moments of the universe. It is information conserving. It is consistent with the theological idea of God's foreknowledge.

      Fatalism the simple idea that everything is fated to happen, so that humans have no control over their future. Note that unlike some determinisms, Fatalism does not imply any necessary regularity according to law. Events can be quite arbitrary.

      As you can see, I am clearly referring to determinism.

      C. Here’s hoping you answer the question you have thus far avoided!

      April 17, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @clarity,

      it appears that even as early as the 1820s Mr. Madison was compelled to set the record straight regarding what the first amendment really meant.

      There were contemporaries in Congress who had interpreted it to mean only prohibiting the declaration of a national religion a notion which he took pains to disabuse when vetoing the incorporation of a Episcopal church in Alexandria – then still part of DC.

      April 17, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "Gods punishment of a human immoral."

      Do you have any evidence that any god has ever punished any human? The bible doesn't count, Chard.

      You have yet to give the details as to what, exactly, objective morality is. What are the parameters of this morality? What is absolutely "wrong" and what is absolutely "right"?

      You have also not shown any evidence that morality that ISN'T from a god is inferior to morality that is.

      April 17, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • clarity

      Interesting, not a GOPer, I know he vetoed some bills. I wonder what his cousin, the other James Madison felt about that particular issue – he was that 1st Episcopal Bishop of VA, but supposedly he was also in favor of separation of church and state.

      April 17, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Chad: "As you can see, I am clearly referring to determinism."

      Uh...no you aren't. Read what you wrote to me again and see if you can figure it out.

      Chad: "if a person is a determinist, how in the world does deterrence even come into the picture? Determinists believe in an ever marching set of deterministic outcomes based on an existing set of antecedent conditions. Those conditions march back to the origin of the universe, no way to change the past, so no way to change the future."

      Hint: humans are part of the universe and influence it...deterministically. What you are discussing above is a type of fatalism.

      You're so far off understanding the concept you aren't even using the right language nor are you understanding a word I say. You really are enormously underestimating how little you comprehend this issue. Just try reading what I've written with the radical assumption that I know what I'm talking about. Then of course come back and pretend I said something else.

      April 17, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • lol??

      WWMPS?

      what would mary poppins sing?

      April 17, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chad " "if a person is a determinist, how in the world does deterrence even come into the picture? Determinists believe in an ever marching set of deterministic outcomes based on an existing set of antecedent conditions. Those conditions march back to the origin of the universe, no way to change the past, so no way to change the future."

      @Chad: "As you can see, I am clearly referring to determinism."

      @Saraswati "Uh...no you aren't. Read what you wrote to me again and see if you can figure it out."
      Hint: humans are part of the universe and influence it...deterministically.
      What you are discussing above is a type of fatalism.
      You're so far off understanding the concept you aren't even using the right language nor are you understanding a word I say. "

      @Chad "no..
      again, you seem very confused on the definitions of the words.

      Determinism is the philosophical idea that every event or state of affairs, including every human decision and action, is the inevitable and necessary consequence of antecedent states of affairs.
      –source http://www.informationphilosopher.com/

      @Chad "Determinists believe in an ever marching set of deterministic outcomes based on an existing set of antecedent conditions. Those conditions march back to the origin of the universe, no way to change the past, so no way to change the future.""

      virtually identical..
      I dont think you are very familiar with the terms..

      April 17, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • Bob

      Speaking of morals, thanks to Really-O, we can observe how Chad was posting as Rachel. Chad had lied and claimed otherwise.

      So, thanks again, Really-O. The link to look at again is
      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/06/richard-dawkins-evolution-is-not-a-controversial-issue/comment-page-10/#comments

      Caught!

      April 17, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • Bob

      So, Chad(Rachel), still no thigh gap? Get back on that treadmill. Lose some poundage. Turn those cranks.

      April 17, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Saraswati has most likely had enough of you childish pursuit, Chad. In all seriousness, you've been looking like, well, a bit of an ass for some time now. What is it you want?

      April 17, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • Austin

      He started a new thread to your scroll key could rest up.

      April 17, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • Austin

      you have to scroll 35 times just to get back and forth here.

      April 17, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • Chad

      of note, from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/fatalism/

      specifically states that fatalism is NOT to be used as you are suggesting it be used...

      Though the word “fatalism” is commonly used to refer to an atti tude of resignation in the face of some future event or events which are thought to be inevitable, philosophers usually use the word to refer to the view that: we are powerless to do anything other than what we actually do. This view may be argued for in various ways:
      – first: by appeal to logical laws and metaphysical necessities;
      – second: by appeal to the existence and nature of God;
      – third: by appeal to causal determinism (Causal determinism is the idea that every event is necessitated by antecedent events and conditions together with the laws of nature)

      – When argued for in the first way, it is commonly called “Logical fatalism” (or, in some cases, “Metaphysical fatalism”);
      – When argued for in the second way, it is commonly called “Theological fatalism”.
      When argued for in the third way it is not now commonly referred to as “fatalism” at all, and such arguments will not be discussed here.

      April 17, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • Bob

      Speaking of morals, thanks to Really-O, we can observe how Chad was posting as Rachel. Chad had lied and claimed otherwise.

      So, thanks again, Really-O. The link to look at again is
      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/06/richard-dawkins-evolution-is-not-a-controversial-issue/comment-page-10/#comments

      Caught!

      April 17, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • Red Dwarf

      @Chad

      Sorry, been working all day and i see there are many many posts in between, but I would just like to understand why you might dismiss the "mind expanding mushroom" theory out of hand? Do you have some kind of studied knowledge of hallucinogens and ancient pharma, because only a moron would belittle something he knows nothing about.

      @Chad "yeah..
      words escape me once again.

      The list of atheist defenses of free will:
      1. "ignorance is bliss"
      2. "mind expanding mushrooms"

      "Ignorance is bliss" is the mantra of every religious person on the planet. They would rather just believe in a magic "one answer fits all" invisible unverifiable genie then do the actual work of observing, studying, researching and constantly pushing the boundaries of what we can confirm, not sitting around a room telling everyone you know everything already so there's no need to get yourself all sweaty and "book learned" when all that really matters is God, so why even try... That is called defeatism. "The universe is to big and scary so I give up, God did it..."

      Well while you ignorant saps have been sitting on your hands the rest of us inquiring minds decided that answer isn't good enough, or good at all in fact. We want to know and we will continue to uncover more and more that continues to poke holes in your God delusions.

      You Christians say you are "refining" your beliefs as new science keeps coming out proving long held biblical theory's bogus. First it was "No, Genesis says 6 days so it was 6 24 hr days, no questions asked! God can do anything can't he? Or are you not a believer?!! – pitch fork raised-

      Then it was "Well, I guess all these fossils and deep sea cores and light coming from other stars and yada yada yada prove it couldn't have been a literal 6 days, but obviously Moses meant like 6 periods of time or something, even though he uses the Hebrew word for 24 hrs, but, the Bible is always right! And that other scripture said something about a day is as a thousand years so... lets go with 6000 years until some more science comes out to prove me wrong.... what, already? okay okay, how about 6 millions years? 6 billion? What? 14.5 billion? but that doesn't fit into my six days thing at all, so i'm not so sure...."

      April 17, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Chad, I really do understand this topic and I guarantee you much better than you think.

      Let's look again at what you wrote:

      Chad: "If a person is a determinist, how in the world does deterrence even come into the picture? Determinists believe in an ever marching set of deterministic outcomes based on an existing set of antecedent conditions. Those conditions march back to the origin of the universe, no way to change the past, so no way to change the future."

      A determinist sees him or herself as a part of the flow of the universe. His actions "matter" and are important. It is only a fatalist who can see themselves as apart from it, with "no way to change the future". The acts of a determinist are significant and influential in the causal events of the universe. To say there was no point in deterrence would be no different than to say there was no point in not killing oneself. The actions have influence...deterministically. The determinist often uses the terms "make a difference" to refer to this.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:44 am |
    • Saraswati

      I do know this is a very hard concept for someone who grew up feeling he acted freely to wrap his head around. For that reason, in this particular case, I think you may be genuine in your confusion.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:50 am |
    • Saraswati

      I've seen people pick it up in short discussions, but more often it takes days or weeks of reading and discussion to “get it”. I knew two men (unr elated cases) who I ran into years later and when we started to talk I noticed that their vocabularies had changed.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:50 am |
    • Saraswati

      It had taken months to years for these two to get it, as they each told me they finally had.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:52 am |
    • Saraswati

      (one was a sof twa re engineer with a background in physics and one a physician).

      April 18, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • Saraswati

      Neither of these "hard cases" was a Christian so I don't know if that will make it more difficult for you. I certainly know many Christians who have "got it" and many non- believers or people of other faiths who've had a hard time. My bet is that if anyone is still reading this stuff, half the atheists will be struggling with these concepts, too.

      Anyway, the only way to get it is to put some hard time in thinking about it and reworking some concepts you have deeply mapped out in your neurons. Focus on the fact that you are part of the stream ("of events", if that simplification makes it easier) and not separate from it. You aren't just learning, but unlearning.

      If it makes you feel better, there are people in philosophy who don't get it. These folks are almost always relegated to pop psychology, generally cited only by people outside the field (good money there however!) They say silly things like "no one could function without at some level believing in free will" while ignoring the people around them who report that they do and do just fine. One of the saddest sights is when philosophers try to play at psychology and expose the fact they don't understand the basics of research (yes, psychologists playing philosophy can be pathetic too).

      Anyway, I do hope you get it one day. As English speakers we share a common language and you'll find that when you do get it certain words like "choice" will mean something just slightly different to you. Without sharing these words, of similar but slightly different meaning, between the two groups there would be no point for discussion of actual practical day to day and legal issues, so it will remain that way.

      Anyway, good luck. I find you a total pain to talk to but I still hope you get the experience to getting this because for most people it's one of those exciting moments of insight you don't experience often in life. If you do get it, try to remember where you were before.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Anyone,

      Does anyone know why the word "soft ware" gets blocked by the filter (or did above for me)? Am I unaware of some naughty word related to soft ware?

      April 18, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • clarity

      I hadn't noticed that one, Saraswati – I guess I never used it, but evidently it's because of t-w-a-t.

      Anyway – if you type this: soft<b></b>ware, it should render: software. But for speed, I know many just space or insert another character as you did.

      April 18, 2013 at 9:11 am |
    • clarity

      So I guess twa immediately followed by anything is going to be a problem.

      April 18, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • clarity

      test: twar

      April 18, 2013 at 9:14 am |
    • clarity

      Well, shoot that's not it – I have no idea. I did try t-w-a-t without the dashes and the filter did stop that one.

      April 18, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • WASP

      @chad: really again? we have been over and over on this stance of yours........but fine again we go.

      1) determinism states " a doctrine" atheists don't have a doctrine, religion does.
      2) if your god has a plan, then you have no free will seeing he is more powerful than you and already knows everything you could ever even thought of doing even before you fell out of your mother.
      3) free will is by nature chaos, it's random events that you choose which one to take. having a "plan", "fate", "destiny" implies no control because you have to follow the plan; a plan is control, it's structured control in every sense of the word.

      let it go already, you are either a TROLL or a complete IDIOT.

      April 18, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • Saraswati

      Thanks, clarity. I knew "twa t" was a problem but find the other confusing. Then again I think a lot of folks could write a better filter than this in a few hours so I find the whole thing odd. (I mean, what's up with not having a lookup dictionary of exclusion words...is the site getting that many hits it couldn't handle it and would rather annoy the users?)

      I thought about using the html after someone else pointed it out but I kind of feel like it's unfair to others trying to figure out the filter. I like to leave my filtered words obvious as sort of a "This is a filtered word!" statement.

      April 18, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • clarity

      That's a good point, Saraswati about making them obvious. Maybe they just have the entire word "software" in the filter for some reason.

      April 18, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • Saraswati

      @clarity,

      I wondered if it could be some sort of anti-spam thing, but I can think of a lot of other words or terms (like "new car") that would be bigger triggers. Oh well.

      April 18, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Chad

      1. software is a blocked word due to the presence of "ftw" Dont ask me why.. 🙂
      A simple vb script can be written and plugged in to MS Word to locate any filtered word on the list quickly.
      see: http://blogs.technet.com/b/heyscriptingguy/archive/2006/03/21/how-can-i-search-for-and-highlight-words-in-a-microsoft-word-document.aspx

      Blocked words: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/22/belief-blogs-morning-speed-read-for-tuesday-may-22/comment-page-1/#comment-1332617
      search for "Helpful Hints for Visitors – updated"

      ====
      2. You STILL havent addressed your reasoning is behind approving of one humans punishment of another human, but considering Gods punishment of a human immoral. Is it the duration that is the issue?

      ===
      3.It's easier to work on the page 6 thread since scrolling around is a bit of a pain in the neck.. continuing there.

      April 18, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • .

      "let it go already, you are either a TROLL or a complete IDIOT."

      Looks like a complete idiot.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
  9. biggles

    Hoboken

    April 16, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • WASP

      BROOKLYN.

      April 18, 2013 at 9:18 am |
  10. Sam (bringing the light, in fact some call me the light bringer) Yaza

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7AWnfFRc7g&w=640&h=360]

    April 16, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • Austin

      Simon? is that you?

      April 17, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
  11. Jiao

    I would like to see what Chad's definition of "free will" is, since everyone is supposed to justify their entire existence based upon it. I don't think I've seen HIS definition of it.

    April 16, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
  12. .

    “What does a soul have to do with free will? ”

    =>without it, what is the difference between you and a turnip (other than increased biological complexity)?

    If you don't know the difference between a human and a turnip, you need to go back to school and take a basic biology course. This argument for a "soul", which you have never, *ever* proven, is one of the stupidest I have ever seen. Argue without using any reference to Hawking or Dawkins reference. I'll bet you can't. Gauntlet thrown.

    April 16, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
    • Sam (bringing the light, in fact some call me the light bringer) Yaza

      now now Period a turnip has a soul, stop being shallow minded. the only things with out a soul is Christians..

      April 16, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
    • Sam (bringing the light, in fact some call me the light bringer) Yaza

      a soul is merely a measure of ones existence; say to your self dos it exist, then yes it has a soul.

      April 16, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • .

      Lol@Sam. I'm dot. Period is the other one. I'm just curious as to Chad's mindset. He goes all over the place...and I'm FAR from shallow-minded, lol....

      April 16, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
  13. Honey Badger Don't Care!

    Chad,

    Free will does exist, for atheist and everyone else. We make our own choices. Free will is only a problem for xtians who have an all powerful and all knowing god figure that made multiple contradictory rules that no one can follow and then they have to rationalize away reality in order to make their worldview fit. Nutz!

    April 16, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
  14. Chain smoking drunk Hitchens

    According to atheists, the people that died in the Boston marathon bombing are gone forever.

    April 16, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      In a way you are correct but it isn't that easy.

      The energy and atoms that make up the person will be recycled as they always have been. The mind and personalities of those who died are gone, except for in the memory of those who knew them.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Not necessarily. One could still be an atheist (not believe in god) and still believe in, say, reincarnation.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of SEVERE mental illness

      Chain smoking drunk Hitchens

      According to atheists, the people that died in the Boston marathon bombing are gone forever.
      --

      If you do not believe so, where are they and provide your evidence.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Akira

      Chad, I don't care about Hawking; never did.

      As I have said before, the definition of free will I have given encompasses both atheist and religious views.

      How?
      Because people make choices.
      Duh.
      Don't the definitions I gave speak for themselves?
      Read them s l o w e r, then. You'll get there.

      April 16, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Akira,

      Two basic Chad principles relevant here:

      1. All atheists agree with everything Hawking or Dawkins say.
      2. Hawking and Dawkins disagree on free will.

      Don't ask it to make sense...just accept the list of principles...which further include:

      3. Whenever anyone says free will they mean the same thing (unless backed into a corner when I declare all other meaning irrelevant)
      4. The definition of atheist includes anything that any atheist I disagree with believes
      5. All atheists believe the exact same things. See number 1 for models from which you can derive all their beliefs. Ignore #2 unless convenient…pulled off a half-ass’ed blog anyway.
      6. It is ethical to lie by so long as it promotes my Christian beliefs.
      7. All non-believers are idiots so you can use illogical arguments and they’ll just fall for it
      8. There is a huge mass of fence sitters reading CNN blog comments just waiting to be pushed one way or another on God.
      9. I will personally save all those mentioned in number 8 because I, Chad, am super smart
      10. If one atheist somewhere on the internet said something, all atheists agree with him/her
      11. If one scientist says something that backs me, then all scientists agree with that statement
      12. If atheist scientists say something, even if it is the view of the majority of people in that science, it should be ignored. See #6.
      13. Speaking of telling lies, a really good way to do this is to rephrase what your opponent says and then keep repeating the misquote in hopes that he or she will get bored and leave your lie as the last statement. God really loves this and gives you extra endurance to sit at the computer all day and keep repeating it.

      April 16, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Akira

      Saraswati:
      I should know better than to think Chad will engage in honest debate.
      Similar to his dead certainty that Stephen Prothero is atheist because of course a) Chad really, really wants him to be, an b) "religiously confused" must mean "lack of belief in God."

      Stuff and nonsense.
      I'm done.
      He deserves all the respect he earns with his "honesty."

      Thanks.

      April 16, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Akira

      Saraswati, #12 made me laugh, and I am going to copy your "Chad, Decoded" list to post another day, with full credit given to you, of course.

      April 16, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Fine by me...feel free to edit and add as I'm sure I missed a lot.

      April 16, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • biggles

      Not their essence. Not the real person, the soul. That lives on and on

      April 16, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • biggles

      I find akira Dorothy very trustworthy and honest.

      April 16, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • שמיחזה

      "Not their essence. Not the real person, the soul. That lives on and on"

      dude that is the soul.

      body mind and soul are one thing like an egg. shell=body mind=white yoke=soul all=egg.

      mmm eggs

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQfiuHK_U84&w=640&h=360]

      April 16, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
    • Akira

      In what way, biggles?
      Please give me examples of my dishonesty. Just making that assertion without having any evidence to back it up is...well...lying.
      9th Commandment, and all.
      And it's Akira. No dorothy involved.

      April 16, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • Red Dwarf

      "Not the real person, the soul. That lives on and on"

      The soul live's on after death much like storks deliver all the babies being born around the world every day. We have exactly the same evidence of stork delivery as we do for an everliving soul theory. Or maybe it's just baby souls the invisible storks deliver...

      Some times it feel's like i'm talking to a bunch of people who are sleep walking and mumbling to themselves "Souls, God, Jesus, Heaven, HeII.." snore..."eternal torment, redemption, sacrafice, blood..." snore..." and I just want to walk up to them and scream in their face "WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!" before they lead the rest of us over a cliff.

      April 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
  15. Hodor

    Morals come from the same place as christmas gifts. No, not Santa, since it's possible that Santa doesn't actually exist.

    It is irrational to assume that things that possibly do not exist (e.g. Santa) are the causes of things that do actually exist (e.g. christmas gifts).

    This is especially true if other things that do actually exist (e.g. social animals) suffice as explanations for things that also actually exist (gifts, morals).

    April 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Chad

      Interesting theory.. Morals are taught..

      How does an atheist reconcile the notion of learning with the notion that humans are just biological machines executing deterministically according to the laws of the universe?

      Does a rock learn anything? Does a rose learn? At what point in "evolutionary development" did learning become an ability?
      If atheists dont believe in free will, how can learning be anything other than changing biological responses to environmental stimuli? Does a tree "learn" to drop it's leaves in the fall?

      so, I can't see how an atheist can believe that morals come from parents.. that belief is utterly incoherent with the rest of their belief.

      April 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • ChardTard Alert

      Getting some lunch so I can enjoy watching ChardTard get his bountiful suppositions bountifully blasted.

      April 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Boooo!!!

      Boooo this man! Booooooo, come up with something original! Boooo!!

      April 16, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad
      Since you know so much about what "atheists" do or do not believe, here is a list of what "Christians" believe
      Christians believe blood transfusions should not be given even if that would save a life.
      Christians believe that the "Rapture" are coming right soon or in another 2000 years or whenever.
      Christians believe they will become gods on planet Kolob.
      Christians believe that all other gods are fiction but their god guy.
      Christians believe that all people are inherently bad and need saving from eternal torture.
      Enough all ready.

      April 16, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • sam stone

      chad: how is free will consistent with an omniscient god?

      April 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • Red Dwarf

      Using religious logic, the fact that Christmas gifts exist should prove Santa, his elves and the North pole.

      Using religious logic, the fact that humans have a sense of morality proves an invisible spirit being created the entire universe and taught humans what "good" is.

      Using religious logic, the fact that my sister doesn't have a penis proves chad also must not have a penis.

      What i'm saying is that using "religious logic" you can prove anything you want to because it's like pixie dust, all you have to do is believe hard enough and you can fly!! If you fall to your death it must have been your fault for not having enough faith...

      April 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • sam stone

      lots of conjecture on your part, chard.

      jeebus is waiting. go see him

      April 16, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Sam

      Don't even try. Chad's idea of "free will" is different from everyone elses. The normal human idea of free will is to choose your own future, the idea of fate and destiny are incompatible (except in the christian apologetics mind). In chad's mind however, free will is being able to somehow have complete, 100% control of your mental faculties, even the subconcious parts, and since no humans do we technically can not have free will because we're slaves to our own brains. Chad then takes this too far (like most things) and assigns all atheists as "determinists" and believe that the idea like laws or morals are irrelevant if we as thinking mammals believe that we can't control our subconcious, ignoring the clearly apparent evidence of being able to shape behavior through evolution.

      April 16, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Using religious logic, the fact that humans have a sense of morality proves an invisible spirit being created the entire universe and taught humans what "good" is."

      Much of that "good" has to do with relating to and behavior towrd others. And, this is something "god" has never had to do

      April 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • sam stone

      "...humans are just biological machines executing deterministically according to the laws of the universe"

      who is claiming that, chard?

      nice strawman you got going.

      April 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Paul

      Using religious logic it is perfectly o.k. to kill children as long as god tells you to do it.

      April 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • sam stone

      Chuckles: Chad is as much a cowardly cvnt as Topher and Austin

      April 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • JMEF

      sam stone
      What do you think about the Passover story? I find it passing strange that gods "spirits of the lord" could tell which of the children were the first born but could not tell an Egyptian house from one of the chosen people without the blood of a lamb slathered on the house. What if you were fresh out of lamb's blood, were you sh1t out of luck?

      April 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • sam stone

      JMEF: not familiar with the story, but the way you explained it, it would seem so

      April 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @JMEF

      I find it funnier that the Angel had no problem telling apart first born vs. second born sons. That wasn't a problem, but telling apart a jew and an egyptian? Forget about it! Get the lambs blood!

      The whole story never made sense to me even when I was little. Why would god, who has no problem by the end of the story, send down angels and pillars of fire but refuse to reveal himself to pharoh earlier? why would god purposefully harden pharoh's heart to stop him from freeing the israelites so he could inflict more punishment on them? Why wouldn't the egyptians haven't revolted long before the 10th plague after seeing some seriously screwed up sh.it and still allow for pharoh to keep the israelites?

      So many questions and more, and yet every year jews get together, recite the story, get wasted and never ask these questions, instead they turn to 4 idiot children to ask questions like "why is this night different than all other nights?" because apparently that's what the "smart child" asks.

      April 16, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Science

      Read on another thread.................not to feed the troll ?

      April 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chuckles
      Do you think Chad has a belly button as he sees himself as god personified, so many questions so few answers?

      April 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Chad

      @JMEF "Christians believe blood transfusions should not be given even if that would save a life."
      @Chad "An extremely small minority of Christians"

      @JMEF "Christians believe that the "Rapture" are coming right soon or in another 2000 years or whenever."
      @Chad "correct"

      @JMEF "Christians believe they will become gods on planet Kolob."
      @Chad "lol"

      @JMEF "Christians believe that all other gods are fiction but their god guy.
      @Chad "correct"

      @JMEF "Christians believe that all people are inherently bad and need saving from eternal torture."
      @Chad "Christians believe that all people are bad and need saving from eternal torture"

      April 16, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Chad

      @sam stone "how is free will consistent with an omniscient god?"
      @Chad "the fact that God is able to know the entirety of human existence because He exists OUTSIDE our time/space and therefor is not bound by the serial progression of it as we are, doesnt obviate our free will any more than a person time traveling back into the past knowing what they know would obviate those persons free will."

      @Chad "how in the world can an atheist justify the notion of free will?"

      April 16, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      ""how in the world can an atheist justify the notion of free will?""
      Because we are not bound to what you assert is the case. You have not justified your statements, and I doubt you ever will.

      April 16, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Chad

      @Red Dwarf "Using religious logic, the fact that Christmas gifts exist should prove Santa, his elves and the North pole."
      @Chad "no, that logic would only work if elves were the ONLY entites that were capable of creating Christmas gifts"

      @Red Dwarf "Using religious logic, the fact that humans have a sense of morality proves an invisible spirit being created the entire universe and taught humans what "good" is."
      @Chad "yes, basically.."

      April 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chad ""how in the world can an atheist justify the notion of free will?""
      @hawaiiguest "Because we are not bound to what you as sert is the case"

      @Chad "regardless of what I say about the matter, how can an atheist justify free will?"

      April 16, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Because they aren't mutually exclusive concepts. It only is to you because you have defined it as such. It's pathetic.

      April 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Paul

      Well Chad I just decided, of my own free will no less, that I would respond to this post.

      April 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles,

      how can an atheist claim that they have the ability to choose your own future?
      Atheists dont believe in a creator, they dont believe in a soul.. Other than biological complexity, what is the difference between you and a tree?

      April 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Chad

      @hawaiiguest "Because they aren't mutually exclusive concepts. It only is to you because you have defined it as such. It's pathetic."
      @Chad "how are they not mutually exclusive? Where is Hawkings wrong?"

      “Do people have free will? If we have free will, where in the evolutionary tree did it develop? Do blue-green algae or bacteria have free will, or is their behavior automatic and within the realm of scientific law? Is it only multicelled organisms that have free will, or only mammals? We might think that a chimpanzee is exercising free will when it chooses to chomp on a banana, or a cat when it rips up your sofa, but what about the roundworm called Caenorhabditis elegans—a simple creature made of only 959 cells? It probably never thinks, “That was damn tasty bacteria I got to dine on back there,” yet it too has a definite preference in food and will either settle for an unattractive meal or go foraging for something better, depending on recent experience. Is that the exercise of free will?

      Though we feel that we can choose what we do, our understanding of the molecular basis of biology shows that biological processes are governed by the laws of physics and chemistry and therefore are as determined as the orbits of the planets
      . Recent experiments in neuroscience support the view that it is our physical brain, following the known laws of science, that determines our actions, and not some agency that exists outside those laws.For example, a study of patients undergoing awake brain surgery found that by electrically stimulating the appropriate regions of the brain, one could create in the patient the desire to move the hand, arm, or foot, or to move the lips and talk. It is hard to imagine how free will can operate if our behavior is determined by physical law, so it seems that we are no more than biological machines and that free will is just an illusion.”
      — Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design

      April 16, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • Paul

      Chad, it is pretty easy. Watch this. I have free will. there I did it.

      April 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • Saraswati

      In the spirit of Chad I have decided to redefine the word "lie" to encompass all statements uttered or written by anyone using the name "Chad". We can henceforth skip the silly time consuming evidence gathering business and more quickly and efficiently declare Chad's claims as lies by definition.

      April 16, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Chad

      @sam stone "...humans are just biological machines executing deterministically according to the laws of the universe" who is claiming that, chard? nice strawman you got going.

      @Chad "Stephen Hawkings, Leonard Mlodinow, Sam Harris, etc, etc..
      In fact, the ONLY prominent atheist that I could find that actually does believe in free will is Richard Dawkins, and he is excoriated for that position as being utterly incoherent with atheist thought.
      http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/experiments-in-philosophy/200901/can-atheist-believe-in-free-will

      April 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Paul

      What does a soul have to do with free will? You can't even prove that anyone has a soul so I don't see what it has to do with anything.

      April 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Chad

      actually I am quite indebted to @saraswati for introducing me to the fact that an atheists who believes in free will is engaging in utterly incoherent thinking..

      April 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      "How can an atheist justify free will?"

      - What does that question even mean? Seriously? Are you saying how can we justify what free will is? Are you asking how can an atheist justify they have free will?

      Even more importantly, what is the defintion of "free will" are you using? Are you saying determinism is the doctrine that atheist must follow (for some reason) and so your idea of free will is the opposite of that? How is that different from a christian?

      Free will, as it's understood by regualr thinking humans (so, not you), is the ability to deviate from a destiny or fate. If christians believe that god, who is outside of time and space, can see the entire course of someones life, every single decision they make is already determined then the idea of free will is nothing but an illusion for a christian. The only way to have free will is to be able to choose something that god has not already forseen (which puts god in a tricky position of not being omniscient, but that's a conversation for another time).

      If you're idea of free will precludes the idea of destiny and you believe free will is based soley on making a decision totally uneffected by external causes then you are using an extremely narrow (and wrong) definition of free will only to try and manuver the conversation away from your obviously failed points.

      @Everyone else

      Booooo this man! Booooooooooooooo! Boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

      April 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of SEVERE mental illness

      Chad

      @Chuckles,

      how can an atheist claim that they have the ability to choose your own future?
      Atheists dont believe in a creator, they dont believe in a soul.. Other than biological complexity, what is the difference between you and a tree?
      .
      Hate to break it to you...free will was being used 1000's upon 1000's upon 1000's upon 1000's of years before the man created judiasm popped up. If anything your god came from the advanced civilations that predate 1500 to 800 B.C. when your book was created.

      April 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Chad

      "What does a soul have to do with free will? "

      =>without it, what is the difference between you and a turnip (other than increased biological complexity)?

      April 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Because, unlike you and your bible, I'm not required to think that Stephen Hawking is the end all be all of philosophical thought concerning free will. So why "must" I agree with Stephen Hawking when it comes to this Chad? This is why you're pathetic. You have nothing. You have not actually justified your statement. You never have, and never will because you're wrong.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Paul

      Why should I even care if I have free will or not? It certainly seems like I am able to make decisions on how I want to live my life, and that is good enough for me.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      The difference between a human and a tree? Really? That's the best you got?

      Well lets see, genetically we have very little in common. We do not have bark, we do not excrete sap, we do not photosynthesize, we matabolize oxygen and release carbon dioxide, we have a brain that includes higher thought processes, we have se.xes, etc....

      Honestly, what was the point of that question? Are you saying that the only difference between a human and a tree is that we think we have a soul? That's iditotic, even for you.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of SEVERE mental illness

      When a thread has run its course (meaning Chad's flawed rational is exposed) he moves onto another....stating the same bs. What he fails to realize is that he is taken as a fool. He is playing the same game over and over and he looks quite foolish. Everybody knows he misdirects when pinned down and exposed or he simply disappears. He is quite boring but hey zombie nut beleivers are limited here...so we take what punching bag we can.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Paul

      I bet I would taste better than a turnip.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles,

      how can an atheist claim that they have the ability to choose your own future?

      now, you dont have to reference anything Judeo/Christian to answer that question. Just answer the question, veering off into a "well Christians cant either", regardless of how incorrect that statement is, is tacit admission that you simply can not answer the question..

      April 16, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of SEVERE mental illness

      Chad

      "What does a soul have to do with free will? "

      =>without it, what is the difference between you and a turnip (other than increased biological complexity)?
      ---
      What is the difference between an Atheist and a turnip.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Saraswati

      "actually I am quite indebted to @saraswati for introducing me to the fact that an atheists who believes in free will is engaging in utterly incoherent thinking.."

      What I said was that a Christian who didn't believe in free will was usually inconsistent, but Chad will tell falsehood after falsehood on the topic and then scour the internet for the few people either as confused or dishonest about the definitions of atheism and free will as he is.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • Science

      Chuckles can I add the HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

      An illusion it is..........................CHAD

      Engineering 'Ghost' Objects: Breakthrough in Scattering Illusion

      Feb. 19, 2013 — A team at the NUS Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering led by Dr Qiu Cheng-Wei has come out with an optical device to "engineer" ghosts.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130219090643.htm

      April 16, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of SEVERE mental illness

      Chad

      @Chuckles,

      how can an atheist claim that they have the ability to choose your own future?

      now, you dont have to reference anything Judeo/Christian to answer that question. Just answer the question, veering off into a "well Christians cant either", regardless of how incorrect that statement is, is tacit admission that you simply can not answer the question..
      ..
      Define "change" and "future" Chad

      April 16, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Still nothing. Here's a tip you arrogant moron. Something isn't true just because you fucking say so.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      "how can an atheist claim that they have the ability to choose your own future?

      now, you dont have to reference anything Judeo/Christian to answer that question. Just answer the question, veering off into a "well Christians cant either", regardless of how incorrect that statement is, is tacit admission that you simply can not answer the question.."

      –Um... what? You're making less sense than usual, are you having a stroke?

      If not, and please check, "choosing your own future" is a euphamism, sorry if the subtlies of language escape you. The difference between free will and destiny is simply. Destiny means that the future is determined and free will is that the future is not determined. You could argue that technically since we're all going to die, everyones future IS determined, but only di.cks would do that in order to ignore the main debate of discussing events in the future before death.

      Now the bit in your post about me not being able to answer the question. Considering I was asking you to clarify I haven't begun to answer the question. Your question was poorly formed and worded, and I was asking for clarification and showing you how your question could have been interpretated by a number of different ways and now you're saying I can't answer it.... eeesh, have you called a doctor about that stroke yet?

      April 16, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles,

      "how can an atheist claim that they have the ability to choose your own future (free will)?

      April 16, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Chad

      @saraswati "I think what most Christians and (in the US at least) many non-Christians call free will is an illusion.
      January 15, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      @saraswati " If you look at the literature in psychology (you can google it) most psychologists don't believe in free will but a biopsychosocial model of how the brain works.
      January 15, 2013 at 6:57 pm

      April 16, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of SEVERE mental illness

      Chad

      @Chuckles,

      "how can an atheist claim that they have the ability to choose your own future (free will)?
      .
      Define choose and future<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

      April 16, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of SEVERE mental illness

      I prefer do what thou wilt over the phrase free will...just sayn

      April 16, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • iceload10

      And I wonder what Chad's point in quoting me on my personal beliefs on free will would be? I never claimed to believe in free will and I do not. Nor do most psychologists. The fact that I do not believe in free will as a non-god-believer has nothing whatsoever to do with what others believe on the topic. So hmmm...what exactly would Chad be trying to do other than mislead? Ah the mysteries...

      April 16, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Saraswati

      That was me Saraswati posting as iceload10.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      zzzZZZzzz
      zzzZZZzzz

      Still nothing Chad? Still can't actually back up your statements?

      April 16, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of SEVERE mental illness

      Before Chad's question can be answered he first has to clarify and not be va g ue. he needs to define "change/cho ose" and "future"

      April 16, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Akira

      “how can an atheist claim that they have the ability to choose your own future (free will)?"
      Well, an atheist doesn't make any claims as to choosing "your" future, Chad, only their own.

      And the operative word is *choose.*
      Again, the Bible didn't invent the term "free will".

      free will
      noun
      1. free and independent choice; voluntary decision: "You took on the responsibility of your own free will." 2. the doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces.

      As I have stated in the past, this term encompasses both atheist and religious definition. I simply do no see any reason that they cannot coexist peacefully...Chad.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of SEVERE mental illness

      hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      zzzZZZzzz
      zzzZZZzzz

      Still nothing Chad? Still can't actually back up your statements?
      .
      Nope he will post the question over and over acting oblivious or disappear.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Akira, don't confuse poor Chad with two definitions of free will. He made clear that he only thinks there is one (presumably handed down by god) and the idea of conflicting definitions seems to make his head explode.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Chad

      "As I have stated in the past, this term encompasses both atheist and religious definition. I simply do no see any reason that they cannot coexist peacefully."

      =>well, you have certainly said that they can co-exist, but you never said exactly how.

      where is Hawkings wrong?

      April 16, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Greg

      Chad: "how can an atheist claim that they have the ability to choose your own future?"

      Because that's how we perceive our existence over time. There are many factors involved in our every decision, even if those decisions are biological determined. Our biological state of awareness only permits us to understand so much of it at once, especially when you begin to factor in everything and everyone else outside of ourselves. Our memory is limited and it too is a large factor. Perhaps one's understanding that a choice has been made is again just a perception, an understanding over some period of time of the key factors that led to what we term as a decision (after the fact). I believe you can apply the same rationale in how we think of prediction of choices, no?

      April 16, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Chad

      @Greg "Because that's how we perceive our existence over time"

      =>perception and reality can be vastly different.. how can an atheist claim that they have the reality of the ability to choose their own future?

      April 16, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Akira,

      Note how Chad 1) refuses to acknowledge the existence of more than one definition of "free will" and 2) uses a quote for his argument on atheism that doesn't even contain the word (despite having had the distinction pointed out many times). It's really not worth discussing this kind of thing with him. I used to think he couldn't follow a conversation, but it looks like he just intentionally redefines anything one says to suit his agenda. A huge waste of time.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Greg

      Chad – your statement that I clipped did not mention reality, but does it really matter? It obviously matters for the theist, but I can simply say it's the difference is not important to the atheist – the difference doesn't interfere with how we see ourselves functioning in the world.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      So Chad is still unable to actually justify his statement. No big surprise there. What always amazes me is the amount of arrogance and dishonesty that Chad displays.
      Luther would be so proud of him.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Paul

      Why has Chad been harping on free will lately anyway? He must somehow think that because some atheists believe in free will the Jesus myth must be true.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Chad

      @Saraswati "Note how Chad 1) refuses to acknowledge the existence of more than one definition of "free will""
      @Chad "There are many definitions of free will, of course if you define "free will" as "well, I'm not coerced" then a plant has free will..
      The ability to choose a future course of action sure seems like a good simple definition.

      I think the only people that want to argue about the definition are the ones that dont feel humans have the ability to choose a future course of action, but dont want to say that they lack free will 🙂

      April 16, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Chad

      @hawaiiguest "I'm not required to think that Stephen Hawking is the end all be all of philosophical thought concerning free will. So why "must" I agree with Stephen Hawking when it comes to this "

      =>I'm merely asking you to articulate the basis you have for thinking he is wrong.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      ""how can an atheist claim that they have the ability to choose your own future (free will)?"

      - So you have defined "free will" as the ability to choose your own future, but are you asking do I have the ability to choose from a number of different predetermined futures or if I have tthe ability to decide what happens to me in general?

      You are asking a very general question and expecting a very nuanced response. Please clarify.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Chad

      @Greg "I can simply say it's the difference is not important to the atheist – the difference doesn't interfere with how we see ourselves functioning in the world."

      =>right, that's the "ignorance is bliss" defense..

      here's the thing though, doesnt reality clashing with your belief system bother you? Are you comfortable with that cognitive dissonance?

      April 16, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Paul,

      "Why has Chad been harping on free will lately anyway? He must somehow think that because some atheists believe in free will the Jesus myth must be true."

      Chad realized after we had some discussions a few months ago that neither most Christians nor most atheists have really thought through free will very hard and that most non-academic people in the US, regardless of belief in gods, still cling to some libertarian version of free will. It should be noted he never really thought about this himself before this. He seems to have taken up on his own an assumption from this than most atheists who do believe in this version of free will will cling to this so dearly that when confronted with his stupendous (read "idiotic") arguments about how an atheist cannot believe in free will, they will convert to god-belief.

      It has been pointed out to him multiple times in many places that there is nothing inherent in atheism that implies lack of this sort of free will. It has also been pointed out to him that there are multiple definitions of "free will". He's just decided to pretend these things aren't true and proceed with the propaganda campaign. He's a nutter all right but as long as he's spinning his wheels on this obsession he's probably not out causing any real trouble in the world.

      April 16, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Bob

      Speaking of morals, thanks to Really-O, we can observe how Chad was posting as Rachel. Chad had lied and claimed otherwise.

      So, thanks again, Really-O. The link to look at again is
      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/06/richard-dawkins-evolution-is-not-a-controversial-issue/comment-page-10/#comments
      Caught!

      April 16, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      "The ability to choose a future course of action sure seems like a good simple definition.

      I think the only people that want to argue about the definition are the ones that dont feel humans have the ability to choose a future course of action, but dont want to say that they lack free will "

      - This doesn't make any sense, what do you mean by future course of action here? Like "Tomorrow I'm going to get brush my teeth instead of getting in the shower instead of the other way around". I think we all know that if I were to make a decision right now to brush my teeth in the future, I have just made a choice on an action for the future. Now anything could happen between now and that point in the future. I could hurt myself, I could die, I could run out of toothpaste, I could drop my toothbrush in the toilet, I could lose my toothbrush, I could forget about my decision and do my normal routine, and so on and so forth.

      For an atheist such as myself, the future is fluid until it becomes the present and then immediately the past. The free will occurs when tomorrow morning when it will be Chuckle Primes' present will make the choice to brush first or better yet, Chuckles Prime will remember what I wrote here today and in that moment decide to floss, then brush, then shower.

      For a christian this situation becomes trickier. If you believe in god and believe that he has seen all of these events conspire already because being outside of space and time has allowed him to see your life like on a movie reel and so he sees Chad in cel A make a decision to brush his teeth and shower and then looks at Chad in cel B where he does that action, or decides to do a different action. Regardless of how Chad went from cel A to cel B, to god, those events must happen. You have no choice in the matter, even if you think you do, to go from cel A to cel B in the way god sees it. Free will would be to somehow prove that god sees cel A and cel B and you somehow skip cel B completely, or change cel B from how god originally saw it.

      So the problem here is that the christian is faced with a conundrum. You show you have free will, you have the ability to fool god with a choice you make then congratulations, you have free will that is theologically sound however you have also invalidated the idea that god is omniscient and fallible. If however you believe you have a destiny, that god is infallible and omniscient and it's impossible to ever deviate from gods plan then you have given up true free will in favor of illusion to feel more in control while conversely loosening the reins and letting god drive.

      Do you see the problem chad?

      No? Of course you don't.

      April 16, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • LMAO!

      You know when Chad grows an actual brain and comes back a few years from now and reads these comments, then possibly they'll understand why we are all laughing so hard. LOL! I was laughing so hard it almost brought me to tears. LOL!

      Chad, dude...do yourself a favor and take a break from this blog for a while and then come back and read your nonsense again maybe then you'll get it.

      April 16, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Chad

      @Saraswati "Chad realized after we had some discussions a few months ago that neither most Christians nor most atheists have really thought through free will very hard and that most non-academic people in the US, regardless of belief in gods, still cling to some libertarian version of free will"
      @Chad "sorta, but no..

      What you introduced me to was this notion that you felt free will (the ability to choose a future – Libertarian free will) doesnt exist. When I started doing some reading, it became clear that atheist scientists didnt believe in free will either.
      It was obvious to me that must atheists thought that they had free will, they just never had investigated it to see how utterly incoherent the notion was with their belief system. It then became quite obviously a major logical paradox of athiestic thought.

      Hawkings quote was really great, summed up the no free will viewpoint quite nicely. I have yet to see any atheist defend the notion of free will existing (other than the ignorance is bliss defense that is...).

      You and Moby simply dont understand biblical predestination/election so you mangle that notion...
      Free will is in the very fabric of Judeo/Christian thought and permeates the entire bible.

      April 16, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      People love Chad

      April 16, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Dave

      Chad just because you are good at googling information on the internet, copying and pasting it, doesn't mean you actually are smart or that you actually understand what you are posting. It's time to go to the library and read some real books. Oh, that's right if it's on the internet it must be true.....

      April 16, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • LMAO!

      Dave, Chad is addicted to this site so there is no way they are going to stop and actually think.

      April 16, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      And why would I even care what he says? How is it in any way authorative? You keep asking "why do you think he's wrong why why why why why why?". How about we ask you why you think he's right? Because it supports your assertions?

      April 16, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • Greg

      Chad: "here's the thing though, doesnt reality clashing with your belief system bother you? Are you comfortable with that cognitive dissonance?"

      Not at all, Chad. You call it "free will", and I prefer to think of it as the same because those are the kinds of terms most of us grew up using to reference our state of "awareness". You call it "cognitive dissonance" and I call it "being at home with one's natural state – and understanding the limitations of our biologically mental state".

      April 16, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • clarity

      Oh no, now it's back to this again? Back on page 3, I still don't see Chad proving anything about the existence of objective morality or proving that specific objective truths are of any use to discuss unless there is some consensus.

      April 16, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Paul

      Chad said: Free will is in the very fabric of Judeo/Christian thought and permeates the entire bible

      This is one of the many reasons the bible is ridiculous. It claims that god knew you before you were born, and has a plan for everyone. It also claims that god is perfect, and therefore can't be wrong. It then turns around and claims that humans have free will. This only makes sense to people who are capable of turning off their brains.

      April 16, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Chad

      @hawaiiguest "And why would I even care what he says? How is it in any way authorative?"
      @ Chad "you have yet to articulate a single reason why you think he is wrong..."

      @hawaiiguest "You keep asking "why do you think he's wrong why why why why why why?". How about we ask you why you think he's right? Because it supports your assertions?"
      @Chad "I dont think he is right, I believe in a soul, he doesnt. The soul is what gives free will.
      You on the other hand, dont believe in a soul.. so what data do you have that says he is wrong?

      April 16, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • So the story goes..

      Someone asked why Chad does not have a bellybutton? Chad was a conjoined twin and only his twin was connected by an umbilical cord, making Chad dependant on his twin for life. Not being attached in the normal way Chad did not require a bellybutton. Un fortunately, Chad and his twin were conjoined at the anus and when born Chad was full of sh1t, but having the stronger sphincter muscle managed to survive while his twin sister, Rachel, perished. Even today Chad mourns the loss of his twin and from time to time takes on her identi-ty and of course Chad has been full of sh1t since his birth. His parents have rejected him, so please try and treat Chad like the ass-hole he is but try and understand.

      April 16, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles,

      you keep describing your free will, but you have thus far not provided any way by which free will (choice) is actually possible.

      how is Hawkings wrong in describing that no free will is possible?

      April 16, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Thats excee.dingly simple, to the point where I'm sort of at a loss that you aren't able to connect the dots yourself. The free will I have described is the debate between destiny and fate vs. a flui.d future. What I described is that the future is entirely unknown and thus we are not governed by any sort of fate or destiny.

      What Stephen Hawking is describing is a horse of a different color. He's describing that all humans, regardless of faith, ra.ce, cre.ed, se.x, etc... are subject to their biological body. There is no third agency (read: soul) that drives us and makes decisions, we are reactive creatures. We can plan ahead but when it comes to an actual moment in time, my subconcious makes the decision for me long before my conciousness can catch up.

      What Stephen Hawking describes has nothing to do with fate or destiny. The quote you provided shows that Stephen Hawking like myself (but NOT ALL ATHEISTS) doesn't believe in a soul and thus our actions in the present, in the here and now, are governed by something my conciousness can't control.

      Do you understand the difference? For instance I don't like mu.shrooms. I didn't actively make the decision to not like mu.shrooms as much as I didn't have a choice as my brain decided I didn't like mushrooms and the rest of my body agreed. I could pretend to like mu.shrooms, I could eat it in everything but I know I don't like them and no matter how much I would like to change that, I am subject to my own body's desi.res, in es.sene.nce I have no free will when it comes to choose how I react to outside st.im.uli.

      However, the free will I discuss, and most other people here discuss is the phili.sophical type of free will. As an atheist, phil.isophically I believe that god most likely does not exist. From there I believe that if god or any gods do not exist than the ideas of fate and destiny also do not exist. Since destiny and fate do not exist I believe that the future is fluid and any action I take is not preord.ained. If I decide to go to work at 6:55 instead of 7:00, there was no god or gods that knew I would have a time change before that happened. Thus, theologically and philisophically an atheist (or even buddhists or chinese who follow chinese customary religion) is une.nc.umbered by fate whereas a theist (namely christians, jews, muslims, and hindus) have only the illusion of free will as they are unable to deviate from the plan their god sets for them before they even exist.

      April 16, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles

      you got everything wrong.. the easiest way to explain how is to ask a simple question: "Does a tree have free will?"

      just yes/no..

      April 16, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • Robert

      Chad, Wow! looks like chuckles the atheist has a hard time understanding a simple concept such as free will.
      What illusion are you talking about chuckles? are you getting confused with the eastern mythologies definition of free will?

      April 16, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      You're pathetic. You have absolutely nothing. Continue to reassert, it only serves to showcase your dishonesty.

      April 16, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chuckles

      What I find hilarious is that Chad will consistently ask "How is Hawking wrong", yet when it comes to you, he merely asserts you're wrong. It's a very easy way to see exactly how much of a dishonest little tool he really is.

      April 16, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Wow... just wow.

      So after accusing atheists for who knows how long about making comments without support, you then make a negative statement and then think a simplistic question proves your point?

      To your question. Does a tree have free will. No. The tree does not have a brain so a) like humans is completely subject to its biological body. It has no free will to grow in the opposite direction of the sun, or product carbon dioxide rather than oxygen. If it's pine tree it can not choose to become an elm tree. b) It also, philisophically has no free will because it's a tree and like I said has no higher brain function. It can't make a decision, it can't reason, it can't logic, it's a tree.

      This is the key difference though. For A) Humans and Trees are in agreement. we're both subject to our biology, we can not choose to become a different race, or se.x. We're completely subject to our own biology and we have no choice in the matter. If you don't believe that, tell me when you decide to start growing a va.gina, or change your skin color by strength of will alone.

      On B) However it's a more philisophical conundrum. Trees, like I said, do not have brains, they cannot think or plan in advance. Their "free will" is likely at 0 because of this. Humans on the other hand (without a god) can choose to uproot themselves and move to a different state. We can reason. If there is no god, there is no path we need to follow and thus we are free to do whatever our higher brain function would like .... within reason of course.

      If you want to discuss the physical aspect of free will then my answer is that technically no, no one regardless of faith has free will. If you disagree then show me how you can change a piece of your biology without external enhancement. If you want to discuss philisophical free will (a.k.a. destiny vs. not destiny) then I believe, philisophically we do have free will because god most likely does not exist and with that neither does fate or destiny.

      April 16, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • Mary

      Does a tree have a mind, or even the ability to act? How could free will develop in things that do not have decision-making ability as far as we can tell?

      April 16, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Hawaiiguest

      Well maybe he just holds me to the same level as Stephen Hawking... I guess I should be flattered?

      @Robert

      I have laid out pretty clearly what I believe free will is. If you are having a hard time reading the big words or understanding the complex subject I would recommend getting a dictionary or auditing philosophy 101.

      Now run along, the adults are talking.

      April 16, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Chad, where does Hawking definitively say that free will is not possible?

      April 16, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • Robert

      Chuckles, you simply do not grasp the basic concept of free will, you simply keep prattling on and on without a basic understanding of what free will is.Read eastern mythology and understand that free will is an illusion only in eastern philosophies.

      April 16, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chuckles

      I think Robert might not have even read your whole post.

      April 16, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • .

      Mary = Robert = Chad

      April 16, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • Greg

      I like Hawking's notion of illusion. I think there he is speaking to the same notion that Chuckles is calling the physical, biological notion of free will. It's a humble acceptance that, as I said before, our biological brain capability has its limits in real-time understanding all of the factors that contribute to each of our decisions, perceptions, and memory functions. This illusion need not be thought of negatively at all. If one jumps to think of the physical being as robotic, then they are probably doing so in ignorance of all the factors that keep our lives exciting and unpredictable in light of such bodily physical constraints. It may only sound negative for the theist, but then again there are plenty of concepts that the theist has a difficult time giving up. Free will might not be on the top of the list if you've ever encountered the crazy who pays little mind to consequences in this lifetime only waiting for that greener pasture awaiting.

      April 16, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      And as always, when the going gets tough, Chad goes. What a gutless pseudo intellect, perfectly consistent with being a mentally ill delusional believer.

      April 16, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
    • Ravi is brilliant!

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU5qgQPPRUM&w=640&h=360]

      April 16, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Robert

      And pray tell, what's the basic concept of free will then? So far it looks like Hawaiiguest had an easy understanding of it. Greg also was able to understand it fairly easily. In fact, it looks like you're the only one who seems to think that what I wrote means I don't understand free will.

      Like I said kiddo, go outside and play, the adults are talking.

      April 16, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • Chad

      plants perceive and can react to include chemicals, gravity, light, moisture, infections, temperature, oxygen and carbon dioxide concentrations, parasite infestation, physical disruption, and touch. Plants have a variety of means to detect such stimuli and a variety of reaction responses or behaviors

      what is the difference between that ability and a brain?

      there are some animals that dont have a brain, sponges, jellyfish, adult sea squirts, starfish for example, do they have free will?

      An individual in a coma, does that person have free will?
      A newborn infant, does he/she have free will? He/She certainly doesnt plan ahead or reason.. At what point in human development does free will develop?

      other than the complexity of the response, what is the actual real difference between a human and a plant?

      April 16, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
    • Chad

      @Greg,

      that is the "ignorance is bliss" defense, the belief that humans dont have free will, but it doesnt matter because it seems like we do.

      April 16, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
    • Robert

      Chuckles, free will is NOT an illusion. Although eastern philosophies and you as an atheist might think it is. You make free will choices every single day, some that are life changing while others not as much. Do not confuse the eastern mythological and the atheist definition of free will as an illusion with the Judeo Christian doctrine that free will exists.

      April 16, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • Chad

      Most importantly you need to understand what free will means, you clearly do not..

      Free will means having the ability to make an unconstrained choice, the ability to take more than one possible course of action under a given set of circumstances.

      you perceive that humans have that ability, do you understand why Hawkings does not believe humans have that ability?

      April 16, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Chad, where does Hawking say what you say he said? And is there any chance that you do not understand what he is saying and the complexity of the biology and the physics he is talking about?

      April 16, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • Chad

      “Do people have free will? If we have free will, where in the evolutionary tree did it develop? Do blue-green algae or bacteria have free will, or is their behavior automatic and within the realm of scientific law? Is it only multicelled organisms that have free will, or only mammals? We might think that a chimpanzee is exercising free will when it chooses to chomp on a banana, or a cat when it rips up your sofa, but what about the roundworm called Caenorhabditis elegans—a simple creature made of only 959 cells? It probably never thinks, “That was damn tasty bacteria I got to dine on back there,” yet it too has a definite preference in food and will either settle for an unattractive meal or go foraging for something better, depending on recent experience. Is that the exercise of free will?

      Though we feel that we can choose what we do, our understanding of the molecular basis of biology shows that biological processes are governed by the laws of physics and chemistry and therefore are as determined as the orbits of the planets
      . Recent experiments in neuroscience support the view that it is our physical brain, following the known laws of science, that determines our actions, and not some agency that exists outside those laws.For example, a study of patients undergoing awake brain surgery found that by electrically stimulating the appropriate regions of the brain, one could create in the patient the desire to move the hand, arm, or foot, or to move the lips and talk. It is hard to imagine how free will can operate if our behavior is determined by physical law, so it seems that we are no more than biological machines and that free will is just an illusion.”

      Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design (it's a book)

      April 16, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Then choose to grow some wings and fly around. Choose to change your sex.

      April 16, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Well at least you seem to be reading what I'm writing so appreciate the thoughtful questions, or at least some of the thoughtful questions.

      What is the difference between a human and another species. In short, a boatload. Saying, "other than the complexity of the response, what is the actual real difference between a human and a plant?" doesn't erase the vast differences between a plant, or a tree, or a bird, or a banana and a human. Like a responded before, on a physical level, what is the difference between me and a plant in terms of free will. The simple answer is nothing. The plant follows it's chemical and biological body according to outside stimuli, so does man. I can pretend that I had some control of impulses and bodily responses to outside stimuli, but any decision made in the present is already made subconsciously before my cerebellum (aka the "me" in this statement) is aware of it.

      Theologically what's the difference? Well according to theists, specifically christians in this instance, there is still no difference. The plant was put on this earth with the express purpose of producing oxygen and maybe being a prop in a specific persons life for some reason or another (god's design and all that). Meanwhile you are also put on this earth for a specific purpose and to follow gods plan. He is omniscient and knows exactly what you are going to do.

      On the other hand, say there is no god then a plant is just a plant. It grows in a spot because the seed fell or was blown or was planted in a specific place and since it has no brain or higher thought process, it is subject strictly to its biology. Man on the other hand has a brain, is spatially aware and is free from destiny or fate.

      Your other questions though are good and thought provoking. Does a man in a coma have free will? I think it depends on how he planned for this event in the future. Did he write a will asking people to either unplug him or not? If a will states that were he ever to go into a coma, then unplug him then in essence he was able to decide his own future in advance and philosophically I would say that consti.tutes as free will. However, lets for fun say he didn't leave a will. Well then technically without his higher brain function I would say he's lost his free will, he's lost his ability to choose and is beholden only to his biology.

      As for the child question, well I hope by now you've seen a theme here. Higher brain function, self awareness and conscious decision making are key to the theological argument of free will. Does a baby have free will? It depends on when that babies brain has developed to the point where it begins to have those attributes.

      The crux here is that you keep trying to enmesh these two different types of free will that we are debating about. You say that a soul is built into our very biology (without actually having found proof for that) and then you hold that having a soul somehow allows you to have free will theologically as well. This soul somehow allows you to choose evil over good or vice versa and that although god is omniscient he also somehow is unaware of what choices we will make in the future.

      I believe if we are strictly talking about free will in terms of physical biology then no, not a single person, animal, tree, star or galaxy is able to go against its nature. If you want to talk philosophically then whoever believes that fate and destiny does not exist can claim free will but the moment you concede that your life is planned by a third party agent, you lose free will.

      I understand it's tough for you, what with your cognitive dissonance and all, to separate the two in your head. From this point forward I ask if you are going to discuss free will please state if you are talking about biological, physical free will or theological and philosophical free will. You must separate the two because I along with (I'm sure) a lot of atheists believe these two to be completely separate which is why every time you post anything about free will you find that responses are usually yes and no.

      Do you understand this? If you do not then we cannot move forward. Do not answer anything in the above post unless you fully understand this last paragraph.

      April 16, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • Greg

      Chad: "that is the "ignorance is bliss" defense, the belief that humans dont have free will, but it doesnt matter because it seems like we do."

      That's right, Chad – we only know that it seems like we do. Outside of religious belief, that is all we know.

      April 16, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Chad, you seem to be ignoring or do not understand the meaning of the phrase "so it seems," but I will help you. Hawking is not making the absolute definitive statement you think he is.

      And it is clear that you do not understand the complexity of the human body and its ability to react to, or not, to internal and external stimulus and feedback.

      April 16, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Please see the above post for my answer to your question. You are moving the goal posts again by redefining free will and then saying I'm wrong. Your question this time around is specifically about physical and biological free choice and in that I agree with Hawking that no, I do not believe I, or you, or Hawaiiguest or anyone in the world as free will. LIke Hawaiiguest pointed out, if we did, then change into a woman by sheer force of will.

      @Robert
      You're like the annoying little brother I never wanted. Shoo fly. don't bother me.

      April 16, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      So it seems that Chad has run and hid yet again. . .

      April 16, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • knuckles

      @chuck

      freewill is a philosophical term buddy. read up on free will. it will do you some good to get educated. it sure does exist . although you may disagree. you have the free will to respond to knuckles. let's see what you do bro!

      April 16, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles "what is the difference between me and a plant in terms of free will. The simple answer is nothing."
      @Chad "ok then, like saraswati you dont believe in free will.

      @Chuckles "please state if you are talking about biological, physical free will or theological and philosophical free will."
      @Chad "lol you should really do some reading, start here:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_will

      if you actually do read it, you'll see why your categories are nonsense.. Free will and determinism is the discussion, you have to gain that understanding.

      April 16, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • clarity

      I found this interesting. It's a vice.com article called "John Martin Fischer Is Going to Solve the Afterlife" from ?last October?. Anyway, Fischer was evidently then awarded a 3 year, 5-mil $ grant to oversee a philosophical, theological, and scientific study on the question of immortality–evidently something that he doesn't believe in. LOL.

      But evidently he is known for coming up with this semi-compatibilistic type of determinism. One description of this is "the idea that moral responsibility is compatible with determinism, whether free will is or is not compatible." (http://www.informationphilosopher.com/introduction/)

      Evidently Fischer is to become President of the American Philosophical Association this year.

      April 17, 2013 at 12:07 am |
    • Chuckles

      @knuckles/robert

      Attention! Attention!! ok, now that you got your attention feel free to go get attention from other people. Or don't, I don't really care.

      @Chad

      Literally the first line of the article you cited, "Free will is the ability of agents to make choices unconstrained by certain factors. Factors of historical concern have included metaphysical constraints (for example, logical, nomological, or theological determinism), physical constraints (for example, chains or imprisonment), social constraints (for example, threat of punishment or censure, or structural constraints), and mental constraints (for example, compulsions or phobias, neurological disorders, or genetic predispositions). The principle of free will has religious, legal, ethical, and scientific implications.[1] For example, in the religious realm, free will implies that individual will and choices can coexist with an omnipotent divinity. In the law, it affects considerations of punishment and rehabilitation. In ethics, it may hold implications for whether individuals can be held morally accountable for their actions. In science, neuroscientific findings regarding free will may suggest different ways of predicting human behavior."

      - Sorry my categories were nonsense. I guess I didn't include two categories and I substi.tuted the word "physical" with what wiki uses as "scientific" I mean, what was I thinking?

      The real question is, do you really think that when you cite something people won't actually look at it an read it? Do you not read it yourself? This is a real question here. You accuse me of nonsense categories like theological and physical and then cite an article that lists 4 categories, two of which align with what I've been writing.

      Considering this the belief blog, when you discuss free will most people including myself thinking your talking about the theological implication of free will. To discuss determinism as being synonymous with atheism is not only wrong because obviously not all atheists believe in the same thing, but you are detracting from the theological discussion to talk about a more scientific one and try and switch between the two.

      As the wiki that you so generously cited points out, the definition of free will is elusive and changing depending on the person. There are multiple groups of people that are generalized and put into different groups.

      So lets start over again, do you understand the difference between physics... oops I mean "scientific" free will, or the ability to freely react against your own innate instincts vs. theological free will (wiki's word) that you can somehow coexist with an omniscient god who knows exactly what you are going to do before you do it and yet still have free will ..... somehow.

      I guess we could also talk about the physical constraints and social constraints of free will if you would like to, but you seem pretty hellbent on trying to merge all four groups into one definition that you made up yourself and try and pass off as the offical definition so I think we don't have to discuss the other two groups that wiki lays out huh?

      So hows about it Chad, do you understand yet? I'm trying to go as slow as possible, even for the dim witted like yourself (obviously there's no hope for the mentally retar.ded like Knuckles/Robert)

      April 17, 2013 at 1:12 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Most likely, as it seems and is usual, Chad and his ilk are too busy running to read, comprehend and reply to recent posts.

      April 17, 2013 at 1:39 am |
    • clarity

      Oops, finished a movie and realized I forgot to include the first link to that Fischer article on vice.com.

      http://www.vice.com/read/john-martin-fischer-is-going-to-solve-the-afterlife

      Not as pertinent to the discussion as the second link, but still I had mentioned the article so there it is.

      April 17, 2013 at 3:09 am |
    • clarity

      Golly, double oops – it was late when I was looking at this last night – the link about Fischer's semicompatibilism is actually:

      http://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/philosophers/fischer/

      (The link I had first provided was just to the home page of that site.)

      April 17, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • Christianity is a form of SEVERE mental illness

      Chuckles,

      When thinking of Chad...think in simple terms. When cornered he will move the ball or just disappear.

      April 17, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
  16. WASP

    Of the 380 extremists indicted for acts of political violence

    81 were able to obtain explosives or the components necessary to build a bomb,

    Of those, 51 were right-wing extremists, 23 were militants inspired by al Qaeda's ideology, five have been described as anarchists and one was an environmentalist terrorist.

    an analysis of the 81 extremists based in the United States who have assembled bomb-making materials or tried to carry out a bombing for political purposes since 9/11 shows they have overwhelmingly been motivated either by al Qaeda-like ideas or right-wing extremist ideology.

    PROOF RIGHT IS CRAZIER THAN THE LEFT. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    April 16, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • lol??

      The left gets armed with their gubmint agency jobs after they take the Obama Oath.

      April 17, 2013 at 12:10 am |
    • Science

      Mourning WASP

      Check out christiasns be nice deal ..............................someone is in denial !LOL

      Peace

      By the way you nailed it !

      April 17, 2013 at 5:18 am |
  17. Greg LA

    Once you leave the silly myth of religion behind, news from scientific research such as this can be a bit surprising, but not "mind-boggling".

    April 16, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • Saraswati

      This stuff isn't even news to most of the educated world.

      April 16, 2013 at 11:20 am |
  18. Dawkins is an idiot

    Atheists live like animals. They are the most stubborn, selfish, immoral people ever. Atheist women are easy, loose s|u+s.

    April 16, 2013 at 8:25 am |

    • This is an example of a common troll.

      April 16, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • Ken

      I think he's more of a Yellow-Tailed Troll, but I don't have my binoculars. 🙂

      April 16, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • Chain smoking drunk Hitchens

      I know you believe in the fairy tale that a frog can turn into a prince. Now u believe in trolls?!?!?! Lol

      April 16, 2013 at 8:35 am |
    • Field Guider

      I do believe you are quite correct. This is a fine example of:

      Class: Mammalia
      Order: Rodentia
      Family: Cricetidae
      Subfamily: Arvicolinae
      Tribe: Lemmini Saleropsis

      April 16, 2013 at 8:39 am |
    • Field Guider

      The creature I identified, of course, was the root poster.

      April 16, 2013 at 10:09 am |
  19. jamesfoley

    The Bible is a written record of past experiences tainted with the concept of a living god/devil. Scripted as seen and dictated through the eyes and mouths of pontificators. These are mere constructs. Concepts personifying noble and base conscience associated with each separate author of the book. Morality follows the same track. This is why there are so many similarities AND differences. We all experience life, it's good and it's evil in different ways. No one's experience is exactly the same, therefor no one's reality and morality are exactly the same.

    April 15, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
    • faith

      lol

      April 16, 2013 at 2:20 am |
  20. Rodrigo El Obviouso Del Los Santos Y Sanitarios

    The definition of morality differs from culture to culture. "Right" and "wrong" are learned processes. If you think I am incorrect in my statement, compare the ideas of "right" vs. "wrong" with someone born in a North Korean prison camp to one of the incompetent writers over at Gawker media.

    April 15, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      No that's incorrect. Opinions on morality may differ from culture to culture. Cannibalism is wrong. If you learned differently that basic truth doesn't change You are simply following false pretenses and your actions are not moral despite what you believe..

      April 15, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • WASP

      @steve: morality is up to ones own opinion.
      i view it morally ok, to take the life of someone that threatened my family; meaning physically not only vocally threatened. that is based on the fact nothing will stop them from coming back and trying again or waiting until my family or myself are in a weakened position. thus to ensure no harm comes to my family................that person will stop breathing.

      no the law however doesn't see it that way, if i take that person's life they will attempt to figureout if i could have escaped or avoided it in some way.............however what the law fails at is words aren't walls, they can't protect you from an immediate threat.

      i see no quawms with punching an aggrevaiting christian in the face that won't take a hint and leave me and my family alone; however again the law deems those actions violent when i deem them sinply getting my point across.

      morals are simply what a person thinks they are. i imagine hitler thought himself moral......well until the end of WWII.

      April 16, 2013 at 7:44 am |
    • WASP

      @steve: "Cannibalism is wrong."
      so those people that cannibalized their fellow passangers in that plane crash were wrong?
      so they should have took the "moral" thing and just starved to death?

      what is moral/immoral tends to blur at times depending on the situation; especially if survival is involved.

      April 16, 2013 at 7:48 am |
    • Ancient Mariner

      "and he upped with his heels and smothered his squeals..."

      April 16, 2013 at 7:54 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @AtheistSteve
      Our culture has a very strong cannibalism taboo, but it cannot be "human nature" to feel repulsed by it as virtually every branch of the human species has praticed it at some point in their development.
      The Aztecs believed in transubstantiation. They consumed their human sacrifices in the belief that the dead literally became a part of the God to whom they were given.
      Binerwurs in India ate the sick amongst them to please Kali.
      The Karankawa, an indigenous Texan tribe, ritualistically consumed their enemies to gain their strength.
      Easter Islanders considered the eating of one's neighbour to be insulting to the family of the consumed, but not griveously sinful.
      The Wari, The Kuru, Fore, Caribs, Fijians, Popayans, Serengipeans, are all fairly modern examples (within the last 500 years).
      Indeed, Christians from the 1st Crusade consumed the fallen Arabs at Maarat.
      Just be thankful that the modern form is limited to wafers and wine!

      April 16, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      @wasp

      I just listed cannibalism as a basic example as it related to a culture that regularly practiced it.. Morality is always situational. The plane crash is an example of a moral dilemma. Choosing the lesser of two evils.
      As for your other comment about taking a life if threatened. Killing is morally wrong. It doesn't matter what your opinion is on the matter. Killing in self defense is acceptable under the law but a better moral solution is to disable or maim your attacker. Killing in vengeance or revenge is less moral still. You may feel justified by motivations but acting in a similar manner as your opponent is still wrong. Pre-emptively killing when simply threatened is the least moral choice of all. If laws reflected your view we would all be living in a lawless wild west scenario where anyone you looked at sideways might decide to shoot you. You might feel your action are correctly suited to the situation, and in some cases I would agree with you, but they are not moral.

      While certainly not complete this list from IronChariotsWiki describes how to arrive at a morally positive outcome.

      A few possible axioms in morality are:
      1. Every person has their own feelings and desires, and they are more or less similar since they are based on the same brain chemistry.
      2. When I look inward to my own desires, I fundamentally desire to pursue happiness and avoid pain and suffering.
      3. Other people have these same basic desires, and these desires are valuable to them.
      4. With all else being equal, it is better for people to be happy than not be happy.
      5. Conflicts arise mainly because people's desire to be happy and avoid suffering conflict with each other. The goal of secular morality is to resolve those conflicts in the best possible way for all concerned. (not just what's best for you)

      A few natural consequences of these axioms:
      1. All else being equal, it is wrong to needlessly inflict suffering on people.
      2. Except for the case of self-preservation, with all else being equal, it is best to avoid killing other people (on the assumption that they don't want to be killed).
      3. Actions such as slavery and rape are wrong because they excessively limit people's happiness and freedom of action.

      April 16, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Doc

      Yes many cultures did practice cannibalism. But not for pragmatic reasons. Eating other humans wasn't simply viewed as an additional source of food. Tied to religious beliefs or notions of acquiring the power of enemies. Most would avoid or consider taboo eating their own tribe members. Additionally eating human flesh is far more dangerous than consuming other animal flesh. Human pathogens evolved to circumvent our immune system much easier than animal ones. Cannibalistic cultures were likely plagued with high incidence of sickness and disease.

      April 16, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • WASP

      @steve: remember " that killing is morally wrong" when one of your family members is in danger and you have to stand there an watch them die because you "can't kill because it's morally wrong."

      that isn't an opinion, it's fact. morality is situational, now how willing a person is to break what is thought a taboo is strictly up to them.
      as you can see i would have no quoms extinguishing your life if it meant saving my own family..........given i was also trained by the military to heartlessly kill in defense of this country.

      basically all laws were designed to constrain the more animal sides of our personlaities to benefit the whole of humans, but as we can see nothing is solidly "moral or immoral" "right or wrong" "good or bad".

      those that can't or refuse to act in violence to defend themselves require those as myself to do "their dirty work for them" because they can't stomache the thought of hurting others; most humans in a defence field are willing to be that sword/shield for the rest of humanity.
      we were the ones in the beginning before "laws and rules" that kept the weaker less aggressive members alive by being that stronger more aggessive animal; however as times changed and the less aggressive thrived the use for our brand of "ug smash" faded to the point now we are labeled immoral, wrong, evil.

      that is something that truly sets me off..........(other than this fracking nannybot) is you will preach killing is immoral until you need our services to protect your sorry scared ass.

      April 16, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • Saraswati

      @WASP,

      I agree Steve's absolute sounding position is a bit wishy-washy, but he appears to be trying to leave himself some wriggle room with:

      "Killing in self defense is acceptable under the law but a better moral solution is to disable or maim your attacker."

      I would want him to explain whether he accepts that there are some situations where maiming or disabling are not possible and to restate clearly whether under those situations killing is wrong.

      April 16, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • WASP

      @sara: steve can try and leave himself "wiggle room" however when you take the stance that killing is immoral regardless of what laws humans set up it implies that all killing is wrong.
      i don't agree with letting the person that attacks you live on the grounds they will retaliate at a later date when you aren't on your guard. to me if a person proves to be a danger to me or mine it's best that i not give that person that chance later on or i may regret it.

      before it was moral to have slaves, beat your wife and children etc etc etc however over time those things became unacceptible to humans as we progressed; however even today there are groups that find no problem with the above listed things.

      April 16, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @WASP,

      I'll put aside discussion on Steve's intent until he clarifies. I agree, as stated, that I don't think his position looks good but I prefer not to assume someone means to take a totally absurd stand until that is clarified beyond a doubt.

      "i don't agree with letting the person that attacks you live on the grounds they will retaliate at a later date when you aren't on your guard. to me if a person proves to be a danger to me or mine it's best that i not give that person that chance later on or i may regret it."

      As a roughly rule utilitarian I support the existence of laws and adherence to those laws so far as doing so doesn't damage the larger utilitarian goals. I firmly support killing in self-defense. However, there are laws in place limiting this right which in most cases (depending on the way written) I agree with. These limit killing except in an immediate threat situation. The problem is that the right to kill for self-defense can be easily abused and in many circ umstances the situation of events isn't clear. Killing for the well-being of one's own family has a high probability of shaking a system which, in general, works. I wouldn't argue, however, against some very specific cases you might come up with in which the risk genuinely is exceptionally high. In certain cases, such as one when a mass murderer fleeing the scene was run down by an observer's car, local governments have even refused to press charges.

      We're really only talking practicalities probably at this point. And perhaps the level of preference for one’s own friends and family that we see as proper in a maximally ethical (in my view, greatest well-being) society. And I don't think that the laws in a particular area will always be correct, just that in most circu mstances (by no means all, as some countries have had truly absurd laws) it is going to be better for society as a whole for most people to stick to the legally allowed situations for defense.

      April 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      @wasp

      I don't understand why you keep twisting what I say about morals into what you consider justified action. They are not the same thing.
      Example. You said that at one time slavery was considered moral. That's just flat wrong. Ask any slave if they felt that way too. If it doesn't apply to everyone it's just opinion, not morality.
      I guess the point I'm trying to make is this. If we all lived in a society where only the morally correct thing was done then that would be considered Utopia. We don't live in a Utopia. Someone who is threatening you is already on the wrong side of morality. If dealing with them also includes doing something immoral for reasons of self preservation or protecting those close to you then I agree with your right to do so. You are still dealing with a moral dilemma nonetheless. It's the oldest motto in the book. Two wrongs don't make a right.

      April 17, 2013 at 7:41 am |
    • Saraswati

      @AtheistSteve,

      Are you limiting your definition of moral acts to only those acts that take place in a world where everyone acts morally? There are certainly ways to work with a definition of this sort, but it will have very limited application and leave most of the larger and more interesting cases outside of any framework for analysis.

      April 17, 2013 at 7:53 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      No what I'm saying is that while I do agree with wasp when he says morality is situational sometimes the situation doesn't allow for a morally optimal outcome. It usually boils down to a choice of the lesser of two bad choices. Wasp doesn't want to be killed or have family members killed and the opponent doesn't want to die either. If the situation can't be resolved without somebody dying then then an optimal moral outcome hasn't been reached. I have never said wasp isn't justified in killing to resolve the situation. I have only argued that ideal moral precepts haven't been or can't be met.
      Killing is wrong and is best avoided if possible but even that isn't always practical or possible. I can prove the truth of that statement just by pointing to the animals we eat. We have enough empathy even towards them to be as humane as possible when killing them. Almost universally we detest the idea of making living things suffer.
      If you look back to the sample of axioms I listed above the goal of defining humanistic secular morality is improbably idealistic. Based on empathy, compassion, fairness, well being and reasoning. We will always have to settle for something less than ideal in practical applications.because human society is messy. Sam Harris describes a "moral landscape" in which, all things being equal, for any given situation the best solution or set of solutions can be derived using the appropriate axioms. As individuals, with selfish motivations we will often fall short of such ideals.

      April 17, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Steve,

      "No what I'm saying is that while I do agree with wasp when he says morality is situational sometimes the situation doesn't allow for a morally optimal outcome. It usually boils down to a choice of the lesser of two bad choices."

      I think we're really just disagreeing on semantics here as I agree as far as I can tell with the actions you might accept as better in a given situation. I do still think the semantics matter. The wording you have used so far would leave us calling the acts of someone who shot a person about to murder 50 children as something like "not moral but the best immoral act in the situation". Maybe you are comfortable with this terminology and think it doesn't matter, but I would disagree. In this situation you cost one life while saving 50. These are the same kinds of decisions we make each day when we choose to donate to charity x instead of charity y. If we use your tight definition of a moral act even the most moral seeming acts we commit are immoral in large degree. Essentially we would lose any real meaning to these terms. I would argue that any act which is done with the intent of brining about the greater good should be seen as fully of moral intent (shooting the intended child killer) and those that are done with the opposite intent (shooting the children) are best described as fully immoral in intent.

      April 17, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Respectfully I still disagree. Attaching statistics to a moral dilemma doesn't change the core value. The shooter may be a horrid piece of shit but his life still counts. You can't reduce his life to a non factor. How will his death affect his family or his wife or kids. You present an easy equation to resolve based on saving more lives but the outcome still isn't morally optimal. Don't get me wrong...I'd kill the fucker too. That's why I stated that optimal morality is likely unreachable. But one example might be shooting the gun out of his hands if you're a crack shot.
      I'll go back to what wasp said and probably have him gunning for my head in the process. Wasp was talking about a threat that he would eliminate before the attacker had a chance to catch him unawares. Well If he truly wanted to avoid a confrontation then he could just move to another State. Yes, yes how horribly cowardly. The point is a solution just might exist where nobody dies.
      Humans can be selfish, cruel, aggressive, angry, violent, hateful and a host of other negative emotions that conflict with our other more noble aspects. The moral high ground may be impossibly lofty but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
      We seem to be arguing about rights which are deterministic and morals which by definition must be idealistic or they cannot be considered absolute.

      April 17, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Steve, I think our disagreement may stem from a more fundamental difference in the way we view human actions. The way I look at actions everything we do has an impact. Most people don't like looking at the world this way, but the reality is that almost every decision we make (at least most in developed countries) on a daily basis is killing someone. Every dollar and every minute you aren't saving someone you are killing them. I don't mean this to sound harsh and judgmental; it's just a statement of the realities. Is every minute you aren't out saving the world immoral?

      Further, any act you make to save one person kills another. It's all like the life jacket scenario where you have two in the water and can only throw one jacket. You save one and, essential, by you chosen action, kill one. Is that an only partially moral act? If we applied you definitions to my understanding of actions and end goals for society we would have virtually no moral acts.

      Anyway, it's just semantics but The meanings of these terms are chosen by us as a society and I do think they have an impact. I think to define our terms such that the person who shot the child killer acted wholly morally but with less than ideal results is more likely to result in preferable behaviors and atti tudes.

      April 17, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Oops...posted without hitting reply.

      The only problem I have with what you said is that Christians are quick to jump down our throats with claims we can't be moral if we get to choose based on our opinion what is moral. Is should be easy to differentiate between what we are justified in doing and what morality says we should do.
      In the broadest sense the rules are simple.
      It is immoral to harm others. Done. Everything else is a judgment call.

      April 17, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • Heather

      "It is immoral to harm others. "

      I wish more people would say and animals too. It's cruel what we are doing to other species on this planet.

      April 17, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • WASP

      @steve: "Killing is wrong."
      this is where we disagree. your stance is killing is wrong, then you can't kill if you wish to be moral which means others near you will die while you're dealing with this "moral problem".

      @heather: i agree we have no problem slaughtering "lesser animals" just have moral problems when it comes to our own species and that is only if they look, believe, act, and toast their bread on the same side as we do.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:09 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      @wasp and saraswati.

      I would really like to hear your definition for morality. I'll give you mine so you might understand the meaning for what I'm saying. If we don't agree to at least a definition then we're just talking past each other.
      First morality can only be applied to social interaction with others. If you're alone on a deserted island you are incapable of performing an immoral act.
      Some basic criteria are;
      Pleasure is preferable to pain, Health is preferable to sickness, joy is preferable to sadness, life is preferable to death, cooperation is preferable to conflict....etc. We weigh and balance these and other factors in our interactions with others. We are very adept at looking out for our own self interest but the goal of moral values is to reach fair and equitable resolution when our self interest conflicts with another's self interest . The old saying goes "do onto others what you would have done to you" although a better version would be "do onto others are they would have done to themselves."
      So for example it is immoral to cause physical pain to someone. But a needle given by your doctor will help you with regard to your health. The minor unpleasantness of getting the injection is overshadowed by the benefits of receiving medicine. In and of itself the action of being stuck by a needle is on the negative side of morality. Receiving improved health on the positive side. In this case the pros far outweigh the cons. So the doctor feels no guilt in giving you the shot. In fact it may not only be correct to administer the shot, it could well be necessary But it still remains immoral to cause pain. If you remove the reasons behind it the act of some person stabbing a needle in your arm hurts, causes pain. There's no avoiding this fact.
      Ok so back to the killing thing. Perhaps I was a bit sloppy but I'll try to clarify.
      If the scenario like the ones mentioned have degenerated to where the only solution to resolving the issue requires killing or being killed then we're already hopelessly mired in the depths of moral negativity.
      It is immoral to kill. I never said it wasn't ever correct or possibly even necessary. Divorced of any other consideration of causes or reasons taking a life is immoral. Life is preferable to death. But just as saraswati pointed out shooting a person before they murder 50 kids is a pro vs. con balance of two different moral outcomes with a choice that is a no brainer. Killing one person bad....saving 50 kids really really good. I wouldn't wrestle with this moral dilemma anymore than the doctor with the needle does.
      Wasp you would be correct and justified in your choice of action. But to claim killing isn't immoral is redefining what morals are.

      April 19, 2013 at 11:58 am |
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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.