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Friday, 21 December 2012

Muehlenberg Blames Connecticut Massacre on... atheism and evolution


"We still need to discover more about the details of all this", Bill Muehlenberg claims in "Another Mass Shooting", as the bodies of over a score of infants lie cold in a morgue. There's only one thing he's sure about:

Entire generations now in the West have been raised on a steady diet of various things, all of which would logically seem to lead to this very behaviour. 
We have had pounded into our heads the idea that there is no God; that there are no moral absolutes; that everything is relative and a matter of personal taste; that we are all just here as an accident of evolutionary processes... We have insisted that one can never judge another person’s behaviour or activity, and we must embrace any and all lifestyles and actions. 
We have insisted that all religious beliefs be banned from the public arena, and that anyone who dares to stand for biblical truth must be denounced as a wowser, a bigot, and an intolerant twit imposing his morals on others.

Bill's muddled rant seems not to understand, as most rabid right-wingers don't, that the US has always enjoyed a separation of church and state, and that nobody has insisted on religious beliefs being "banned from the public arena". This is merely how he chooses to interpret the defence of that separation.

In a few sentences he blames everything he hates for the massacre in Connecticut, the fact that some people are gay and most in society "tolerate" it and don't disown gay friends and family; the fact that educated humans are outgrowing religious belief; and the fact that evolution is the bedrock of the biological sciences. According to Bill, unless everyone subscribes to his fundamentalist Xtian wingnuttery, massacre is the only possible end result.

What absolute baloney.

He then goes on to suggest that the only way to tackle gun crime is...

MORE GUNS!

Do countries with strong gun control laws have lower murder rates? Only if you cherry-pick the data.

Bill, that is an outright lie. Let's look at some stats, in the polite comment I posted which picks apart his idiotic assertions:



Do you think he posted it?

Of course not, because Bill wants everyone to think his infantile "arguments" are beyond criticism.

As he boasts when tackling a dissenter he chooses to publish:

Always great to see how the secular left “argues”. Not a scrap of evidence, facts, data, reason, rational discussion, or informed debate; just heaps of mud-slinging, name-calling and ugly ad hominems. But thanks again for demonstrating to the whole world how your side has no intellectual leg to stand on, relying instead simply on nasty abuse, hate and intolerance.

Would that be because if anyone on the secular left posts a polite comment pointing out with cold facts how gravely mistaken you are that you ignore them, refuse to post them, and refuse to engage in debate, whilst brazenly lying that "the other side" present "not a scrap of evidence"?

Yes, yes it would. Bill Muehlenberg runs a million miles from honest debate because he simply will not engage with anyone who disagrees with him and presents valid arguments. Perhaps because he knows he doesn't have a leg to stand on?

Or perhaps some of his buddies would like to suggest why my comment was never published and why Bill ignored and evaded? If it's not because he's a liar and a fraud - then why?

A day after I posted my comment Bill posted saying:

I notice once again that no evidence has been presented as to why my data and facts are wrong. 

This is why I keep this blog - to expose Bill Muehlenberg as the shameless liar he is.

To date none of his buddies have offered any defence of Muehlenberg's lies and idiotic reasoning. The comment so far is as vacuous as usual.

28 comments:

  1. The existence of this website only serves to prove how effective Bill has been with his ministry. The fact that the author feels so threatened as to create a website that attempts to counter his essays is indicative of Bill's impact. Keep up the good work Bill, you've got them scared.

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  2. So you completely ignore the fact that Muehlenberg has once again been caught out LYING, say nothing about this post, and give no justification for your assertions. Tell me, are you Bill? :-)

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  3. Not sure how you figure that Bill has been caught out lying. However, I do understand that he retains the right to moderate posts on his blog that are inaccurate. I don't say anything about your post because it is vindictive, yet amusing, nonsense that doesn't really require a response. Bill's point on this subject is that it is far too nuanced to expect gun laws to solve the problem. Any nitwit that thinks introducing gun laws will suddenly rid the world of violent crime is kidding themselves. Your simplistic, binary opinions expressed in the post betray either your spiteful dislike of Bill's blog or your complete lack of understanding in this complicated issue. Like I said, keep up the good work Bill.

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  4. "Not sure how you figure that Bill has been caught out lying."

    Erm, do you want to actually read the article and many other articles on this blog where I document Muehlenberg lying repeatedly? In what way is he *not* lying?

    "I do understand that he retains the right to moderate posts on his blog that are inaccurate."

    Care to point out what is "inaccurate" about the comment I posted (shown above in the article, if you'd care you read it)?

    "I don't say anything about your post because it is vindictive, yet amusing, nonsense that doesn't really require a response."

    How convenient! Yet at the same time you have left two responses already! So clearly you feel it does warrant a response. Or even two responses! Why is it vindictive? Why is it amusing? Would you care to respond to the issues rather that just evading them and kissing Bill's ass?

    "Bill's point on this subject is that it is far too nuanced to expect gun laws to solve the problem. Any nitwit that thinks introducing gun laws will suddenly rid the world of violent crime is kidding themselves. Your simplistic, binary opinions expressed in the post betray either your spiteful dislike of Bill's blog or your complete lack of understanding in this complicated issue."

    Now that's vindictive! Or is being vindictive OK so long as it's Xtians doing it? Would you care to look at the stats I have provided about fatal shootings in the US compared to the UK and explain what "nuance" accounts for Bill's solution of "more guns"?

    I'm not holding my breath...


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  5. Your lengthy and vindictive diatribe has not really proven anything other than your spitefulness. Do some research and get back to me when you understand the issue holistically. While you are there, check the definition of the word 'farce'. Keep up the good work Bill, this blokes stuff is hilarious.




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  6. Thanks again, Anonymous.

    You're really not getting this are you? I'm trying hard not to seem rude here, but do you actually understand what I mean by presenting evidence to back up your assertions?

    "Your lengthy and vindictive diatribe has not really proven anything other than your spitefulness."

    That is merely an assertion - you fail to explain *why* you think I am "vindictive" and *how you justify* the conclusion of "spitefulness".

    I notice once again you are evading all the questions I have reasonably asked you, and three responses in and you're actually no closer to addressing any of the points raised by the post.

    Thank you for your suggestions. Am I to assume that you understand American gun laws and their consequences "holistically"? What exactly are you attacking here, since I don't offer an argument for gun law reform, which would be outside the remit of the article?

    I am aware of the definition of "farce", thank you. I fail to see how it applies to the current situation. Perhaps you'd care to explain using evidence, reasoned debate and logical, valid argument? Please give such an approach a go as I'm getting a bit bored of your current approach of vitriol and assertion alone.

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  7. Bill can only be said to be lying in this post if you, in fact, you have provided some evidence to the contrary of his article while he asserts that no-one has. It is for this reason I believe Bill has NOT lied. You provided a 'statistic' comparing only two countries with no reference as to where you gained this 'statistic'. We don't know if this 'statistic' is made up or if it is conducted by a biased gun hater like yourself.

    I've not the time or energy to pick apart your entire article but I do find your obsession with Bill amusing. By the way, why do you consistently refer to Christians as Xtians. Is it because you are too bigotted and infantile to use the name Christ. Are you intimidated by someone you don't believe in so much as to refuse to use their name. Do you also refuse to use the names Allah and Zeus. I doubt it. This just serves to hightlight that you are in fact not only an atheist but a 'God-hater' and an anti-Christian.

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  8. Have you read the above article or are you just trying to waste my time? Take a look at the screenshot of the comment I posted. Look at the time Bill commented saying "I notice once again that no evidence has been presented as to why my data and facts are wrong." This was AFTER I had provided contrary evidence that he had chosen to ignore. Therefore, Bill LIED. It really is that simple, but then accepting direct evidence is not the forte of the religious. As for the statistics, if you are genuinely seeking the truth on the issue, check out http://www.bradycampaign.org/. In the UK and much of Europe we really do manage to avoid shooting one another all the time. Gun control WORKS!

    "I've not the time or energy to pick apart your entire article" - how convenient. You've yet to "pick apart" any of it!

    Why would I waste my time writing christ where putting an "x" will suffice?I don't believe in your made-up god, so don't expect me to write out its name. Your mindless and evidence-free assertion on "Allah" and "Zeus" is just laughable.

    Do a bit of research on gun control, examine the statistics, and then attempt to present an argument that doesn't rely on a vindictive ad hominem attack on me (whom you don't know). As usual, in the absence of any argument or defence for their gun-toting hateful views, the Xtians just go for name-calling.

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  9. Hahahaha. Excuse the pun, but talk about an utterly ridiculous leap of faith. You seems to think that Bill dismissing your comment as irrelevant equates to something. There are so many variables here that anything is possible. My guess is he just couldn't be bothered with your pathetic attempt at an argument. Back to the drawing board buddy. As Luke said, your infantile obsession with Bill is hilarious but similarly disturbing. For Bill's sake, I hope you don't know where he lives as people like you can be dangerous.

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  10. What pun? What leap of faith?

    What variables would have been in play had I posted a comment agreeing with Bill? There's plenty of evidence on this blog that Bill ignores comments that offer direct evidence that his arguments are bogus. Why is it a "pathetic attempt at an argument" when all I supplied were some verifiable statistics?

    Still no attempt from any Bill supporter here to actually defend Bill's vile and ludicrous supposition that the massacre was caused by the teaching of evolution and the rise of atheism; no attempt to offer an argument against the facts that there are many more violent gun crimes and murders in the US compared to countries with gun control laws; and yet more ad hominem attacks on me in place of any reasoned thought. Why am I unsurprised?

    Of course I know where Bill lives. I've no interest in that. I maintain this blog as it gets thousands of hits from all over the world. It's a useful resource to expose as a fraudulent liar an Xtian fundamentalist who tirelessly campaigns to spread lies about LGBT people, atheists and Muslims. What do you find so frightening about someone exposing Bill's lies?

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  11. For what it's worth, i'll offer a comment, although I have no interest in defending Bill or yourself, given I know neither of you personally.

    Your statistic I would categorise as"cherry picking" to use Bill's terminology, as others could provide an equally valid statistic that shows that gun control laws have not had any impact, which I believe was the point of Bill's article; Mexico is a case in point. We can't say that more laws will prevent crimes since that is not a universal truth. There is evidence to dispute that conclusion.

    I do agree that a materialistic and atheistic worldview logically lends itself to the conclusions Bill suggests. However, that is different to suggesting that all atheisits will follow their logic to it's natural end. The same is true of Christians or any other religious believers. People often act contrary to their stated worldview, but that does not diminish the argument Bill seems to be suggesting. If every event, event thought, every action, is nothing but blind indifference; if there is no objective truth, no absolute morals, as atheism must adhere to by defintion, well then yes, it logically leads to a conclusion that is unpleasant to admit. Dispute it if you like, but there have been enough academic atheists to admit that such a worldview ends is purposeless nothingness. After all, if there are no absolute morals, why is shooting little children even wrong? It can't be! By what objective basis can atheism conclude that this tragedy was actually a tragedy?

    Did Bill lie? i don't know and I don't want to suggest he did or didn't. But your evidence as I said falls into precisely the same category Bill mentioned in the article, an isolated source, a cherry picked argument, whcih when understood in that light would make sense as to why Bill ignored it. To dispute Bill's premise you need to show why the contradicting evidence on gun control laws are there, and why banning guns has not worked across the board.

    Blessings,
    Mark Topping

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  12. Would the person posting as "anonymous" please stop wasting my time and learn how to debate. It's not up to me to tell you what I want you to comment on. I have asked you many questions. You have ignored them all. Learn how to debate and come back, or stop wasting my time.

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  13. "Did Bill lie? i don't know and I don't want to suggest he did or didn't."

    Take a look around the blog. Search for "Bill Muehlenberg liar". You'll see a whole host of times Bill has been caught out lying come up. Why do you guys think he's above lying?

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  14. "I do agree that a materialistic and atheistic worldview logically lends itself to the conclusions Bill suggests."

    Well, Mark, isn't it strange that the most atheistic countries are the ones with the best education systems and the lowest murder rates? It would seem your and Bill's assertions are false. What % of inmates in US prisons are atheists?

    Accepting the truth of our evolutionary history is not the same thing as nihilism. Not accepting Xtian morals is not the same thing as having no morals - atheists see your holy books for what they are - deeply flawed books written by men living in different times and different cultures with no relevance to 21st Century life. Trying to abide by such nonsensical and contradictory tomes is clearly untenable.

    Thankfully humans evolved as a co-operative species with a tendency towards altruism. The reason we are moral on the whole is because of evolved traits. The truth is contained in the very scientific source you fundamentalists pretend isn't true. You could try reading Steve Pinker's "Better Angels Of Our Nature" to see how, as atheism has risen, human societies have become less violent and not more. Like on so much else, Xtians are simply wrong on this.

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  15. Do you seriously think that humans have evolved with a tendency towards altruism? Altruism is an aspirational quality that no person can legitimately claim to display. A simple glance of the blurb of that book will show to anyone that it is a load of nonsense. How do you defend this theory given the fact that the 20th century is the most violent century in the history of the human race?

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  16. Obviously because the technology available to kill one another was far more advanced in the Twentieth Century than in any time previously. You really think if Roman emperors had had weapons of mass destruction or nuclear weapons they wouldn't have used them? We live in an era where we don't condone slavery, and in the West at least, we're opposed to the idea of treating women as property.

    "A simple glance of the blurb of that book" - wow, what thorough research. You could try reading it. Pinker makes a thorough case, and answers all your apparent concerns in the book. Why not try expanding your mind a bit?

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  17. Hi again. This original blog was about your accusations of a Christian apologist. Given my three comments (two are yet to be allowed through), do you still believe Bill lied and that your comment on his site was adding any new evidence to the argument?

    On what basis can you claim that countries are atheistic and therefore better educated? It is well admitted by many that the western countries have flourished because of their Christian heritage and history. Can you provide a reliable source for your proposition that lower murder rates are the result of the atheistic worldview? Do you seriously believe that? What about other variables?

    You are right that nihilism is not necessarily the conclusion of atheism. In fact, it might surprise you that many Christians also affirm evolution. But that's not the point. The bigger question is about evolution devoid of a creator, or better known as materialistic evolution. That was Bill's argument. Atheists might have morals, but on what basis? You admit that morals are an evolved by- product. But think where that logically leads. They are not objective, they can't be by your reasoning. You, therefore, have no moral basis on which to object to anything Bill writes, or in fact, to object to anything. What if, for example, in 50 years time society believes that pedophilia is morally ok. Would you object? Could you? After all, it's just all evolving randomly right? Your worldview does not allow for fixed, objective morals. Naturally then, it leads to nihilism, you are just unwilling to follow the logic of your belief system. And i don't blame you, it's terrifying!

    That's not to suggest that the Bible is the alternative, simply that your worldview is chaotic, pointless and academically void. It should barely be considered an option, but unfortunately the majority of people do not think through the ramifications of the rejection of God. If we are just random, evolved individuals, why even trust what you write, or think, or believe? How can you, it's pointless and random and constantly changing. Reflect on that for a moment. You can't trust anything your body tells you.

    I trust you think through the difficulties of your beliefs and come to realise that there is a creator who made you, gave you purpose, and sent Jesus to redeem you if you so choose.

    Blessings

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  18. "Hi again. This original blog was about your accusations of a Christian apologist. Given my three comments (two are yet to be allowed through), do you still believe Bill lied and that your comment on his site was adding any new evidence to the argument?"

    The contortions you go through to try to show Bill isn't lying don't hold any water. So what if he's originally quoting someone else? It's an position he clearly agrees with. Like I keep saying, search for "Bill Muehlenberg liar" on this blog, there's plenty of evidence that he's a compulsive liar.

    "On what basis can you claim that countries are atheistic and therefore better educated?"

    It's not up to me to educate you, but you could take a look at this Gallup poll. There's a good analysis of it on a blog, but I'm sure if you do your own research you'll find exactly the same. The stats don't lie, which is why your lot have to evade and ignore them. Check out the homicide rates amongst the most and least religious countries: http://canadian-atheist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/comparing-least-religious-countries.html

    "In fact, it might surprise you that many Christians also affirm evolution" - you think Muehlenberg does? Try telling him you accept the truth of evolution and see what response you get.

    Obviously morals are not objective, which is why in biblical times characters like Jesus thought slavery was hunky-dory, and there were idiotic rules about wearing garments of more than one fabric, shaving, and eating prawns amongst myriad other nonsense.

    Our moral sense evolves over time, and we now realise, contrary to the nonsense in the bible, that slavery isn't cool, and women are also entitled to rights. I'd prefer a "chaotic" worldview where, through reasoned debate, we can come to realise that things like consenting adults of the same sex having sex isn't "immoral" or should be punishable. Your example of paedophilia is simply absurd because children aren't old enough to give informed consent. Rape, which is endorsed and encouraged in the bible, we now agree is immoral. We now agree it's immoral to mistreat animals - again, not found in any holy book. Thank goodness morals do change and evolve and aren't stuck forever in those awful books.

    The foundation of our moral basis is formed from philosophy, liberal politics and an evolved trait of altruism.

    " If we are just random, evolved individuals, why even trust what you write, or think, or believe?"

    That doesn't make any sense. We are evolved, and there's no reason to think that anything beyond the material world exists. We value our own lives and loves, and this fills our one, short life with meaning. Most of us want to leave the world a better place than how we found it. We can't do that by grovelling to a non-existent deity and mistreating everyone who doesn't subscribe to our Bronze Age morals.

    "I trust you think through the difficulties of your beliefs and come to realise that there is a creator who made you, gave you purpose, and sent Jesus to redeem you if you so choose." What absolute twaddle. You haven't proved anything of the sort.






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  19. Your gullibility is incredible. You denigrate your christian heritage with broad, ignorant brush strokes that demonstrate your lack of rounded knowledge about the subject. Do you honestly think that Christianity promotes slavery and rape? Do you not realise that it was largely orthodox Christians such as Catherine Booth and John Newton who pioneered to abolish slavery? You are happy to use evidence to support your side of the argument but fail to acknowledge the evidence that Bill or anyone else from the other side of the debate puts forward. Any first year student in a faux science like social science or psychology can tell you that statistics can be skewed to prove anything you want.
    You fail to realise that your opinion is so entrenched that you are no longer objective and treat dissenters with hostility and disdain. Your cherry picked data is not as concrete as you wish it to be.

    As to your comment that the 20th century is not as violent as earlier times; I fail to see how the holocaust and two world wars mark any improvement. Regardless, the improvements you suggest are again largely due to Christian influence in the West not some mythical atheist revival that builds momentum through history. Honestly, how can you be so ignorant as to think we have evolved as to be altruistic? The inherent nastiness of your blog is evidence enough to suggest this is not true.

    Again, as your 'article' is so chaotic and the accusation that I infer so tenuous, can you please clarify so that one can 'learn how to debate and ... stop wasting ... time'?

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  20. You seem to be selecting certain things I write, at the neglect of others, which makes it a little difficult to reply. So let me respond in like manner…

    “It's not up to me to educate you, but you could take a look at this Gallup poll...[c]heck out the homicide rates amongst the most and least religious countries: http://canadian-atheist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/comparing-least-religious-countries.html”

    There are so many variables in a “statistic” like that, that it is hard to take seriously. For example, does less religious mean atheistic? Are all religions the same, promote the same morals, values and education? How is the homicide rate connected to religion (or lack thereof)? Is materialistic humanism itself a religious belief? What does “homicide” include? Abortion?

    How do you logically justify the following? You claim “morals are not objective” and yet try to convince me “that slavery isn't cool, and women are also entitled to rights”. You contradict yourself in the space of a sentence or two. You believe morals are not objective but then state what you believe are objective morals (e.g. slavery is not cool and women deserve rights). You seem oblivious to your lack of coherent logic. If you truly believe morals are not objective, then why lecture me that homosexual sex is ok? Why are you trying to justify it? Can’t you believe it is ok, while others not? After all, that is the logic of subjective morals and relativism. And you honestly believe this; “[t]hank goodness morals do change and evolve and aren't stuck forever in those awful books.” As I said earlier, about pedophilia, suppose in 50 years it is considered ‘moral’ to not need consent, especially given that you think morals ought to evolve over time. Will you object? On what basis can you, given your subjectivism?

    “The foundation of our moral basis is formed from philosophy, liberal politics and an evolved trait of altruism.”

    This is downright scary! First, a purely materialistic evolutionary philosophy cannot discuss morals, since we have nothing objective to base our morals upon (do you remember Dawkins admitting this fact? “There is no good, no evil, just blind pitiless indifference”). Second, some philosophers think it is ok to practice infanticide (Peter Singer). Others don’t. Who do you side with? You live in a utopia, governed by your own “likes”, not realizing you live in a worldview that is morally vacuous and empty, and if followed consistently would lead to mayhem. And perhaps a little reading on Biblical Ethics might be in order too, before you throw out too many more straw men. Your either overly reliant on rhetoric or have not actually taken the time to look into biblical ethics in detail.

    “We are evolved, and there's no reason to think that anything beyond the material world exists. We value our own lives and loves, and this fills our one, short life with meaning.”

    Again, you seem blinded to the contradiction in these sentences. Is love material? Can you lay it out below a microscope and analyse it materially and scientifically? Are value(s) material? What about your thoughts? Are they material? Or your dreams? Or your hopes? Or any other number of non-materialistic things? By your logic they don’t exist. So I guess we are back to nihilism- full circle. Why even trust anything you believe and therefore have written to me?

    “Most of us want to leave the world a better place than how we found it. We can't do that by grovelling to a non-existent deity and mistreating everyone who doesn't subscribe to our Bronze Age morals.”

    I’m sure we agree about leaving the world a better place, I’m just not convinced that your worldview promotes that. In fact, how can you know it is “better” when you don’t believe morals are objective? Your worldview empties the phrase “better” of any coherent meaning. “Better” is in the eye of the beholder, or according to you, evolution, politics and philosophy.

    Can you really not see where your worldview leads?

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  21. Well I'm sorry Mark if you don't like the fact that the less religious a country is the lower the violent crime rate. Of course your cognitive dissonance, that insists that religion is needed in order for people to be good, is working overtime here to "explain away" the statistics. The truth is very awkward for your worldview, I realise, but the countries that have outgrown the superstitions of their ancestors have better economies, stronger democracies, greater equal rights, a better standard of health, living and education. Abortion is not homicide - a cluster of cells has no developed nervous system and therefore isn't able to suffer.

    "For example, does less religious mean atheistic?" Um, well, yes. That's generally an accepted definition of atheistic.

    Again you show complete misunderstanding by trying to equate that morals are not objective (of course the aren't, otherwise they would never change over time and between cultures, which they demonstrably do) with moral nihilism.

    Our moral sense can change when we're presented with evidence. For example we now by and large treat the mentally ill with compassion, and don't cast them out thinking they're possessed by devils (except where such superstitious nastiness is still prevalent in the more religious and therefore backward countries).

    We have a certain set of universal principles by which we abide, and which is far from unique to our species. Your view, that we need religion in order to stop us murdering one another all the time, runs into serious problems when looking at other species. Wolf families co-exist and co-operate in packs; bonobo chimpanzees mostly live in harmony together. Birds demonstrate altruism. How can you explain this if religion is the key to us behaving ourselves?

    Your misunderstanding is shown up in all its glory with the selective Dawkins quote mine. I'll assume you got that one from Muehlenberg, who doesn't mind quote-mining to deceive his audience. If you'd bothered to look up the quote, you'd see it was from Dawkins' book The Blind Watchmaker, and he is talking about the universe being indifferent to human suffering, which it clearly is (ever spent time in a hospice for children?)

    Dawkins is not saying that is how we *should* or in fact *do* govern human society. We, like many mammals, are a social species, which is how the trait of altruism has evolved so strongly in our species. You should try reading "The Selfish Gene" for a better understanding of altruism in species, or check out the academic works of biologist Bill Hamilton.

    The bible was written by humans. Xtianity was invented by Saul of Tarsus. It's ludicrous to try to apply their moral standards to 21st century West. If you don't accept that morals are objective and have changed over time, then do you think they were better in biblical times when slavery and rape were considered morally acceptable; when women had no rights at all and were treated like animals, when the mentally ill were outcast, and when the good book advised that unruly children should be stoned to death? Do you want to bring back stoning to death of people who work on the sabbath? This is logically where your worldview leads. Give me an evolving moral zeitgeist any day!

    Just as wolf cubs who play too hard are punished by their parents; our species too has developed over time a certain set of principles by which we adhere to avoid punishment - everything from paying our taxes to not murdering one another (which most of us don't want to do anyway). We have learned over time that women and animals are entitled to protection under the laws of the land, which certainly wasn't the case in biblical times. We now mostly accept the liberal view that everyone is entitled to equal standing under the law and can live how they like so long as they aren't hurting anyone else. TBC

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  22. Continued... Your example of paedophilia is *still* fallacious because morals demonstrably never reverse. Now that we accept that rape is never acceptable (it's encouraged in the bible) there will never be a time where raping a child is morally acceptable, except in the obvious example of the Catholic Church, where it's the norm.

    "If you truly believe morals are not objective, then why lecture me that homosexual sex is ok?" Am I lecturing you? Do you not think that homosexuality is a harmless and inherent trait? Or are you like Bill Muehlenber, pruriently obsessed with what consenting adults do together in the privacy of their own bedrooms? How can something in which nobody is hurt be considered immoral? TBC

    "Again, you seem blinded to the contradiction in these sentences. Is love material? Can you lay it out below a microscope and analyse it materially and scientifically? Are value(s) material? What about your thoughts? Are they material? Or your dreams? Or your hopes? Or any other number of non-materialistic things? By your logic they don’t exist. So I guess we are back to nihilism- full circle. Why even trust anything you believe and therefore have written to me? "

    Love is a chemical interaction in the brain. You could, as a matter of fact, potentially study the chemical reactions involved. Memories are specific cells within the brain that die and are replaced over time - again entirely material. Dreams and thoughts are the result of electic impulses firing certain neurones in the brain. Whenever religionists like you throw up these "objections" you always think you're being desperately clever, as if no scientist would have thought of them and might just throw out all their work as a consequence. Talk to a neuroscientist - read a book about neuroscience. Learn something!

    So this is why I'm entitled to attack Muehlenberg's views, because when he spreads lies against and whips up hatred towards LGBT people, atheists and minorities, I can see the hurt that he causes. It's dangerous for him to peddle the myth that it's possible to "pray away the gay", for example, and I'm concerned that he could torture and abuse a young LGBT person in his congregation with that kind of barbarity. This blog - which amounts to no more than a collection of words, which nevertheless terrifies the pious - is a potential resource for the vulnerable who may be bamboozled by Bill's lies.

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  23. Anonymous - you just get more spurious and more vindictive with every comment that you make. Can you not learn from Mark Topping? We disagree, but he manages not to resort to immature name-calling and ad hominems!

    Given your immature style of posting, you don't deserve a response, but I'm posting it up so everyone can see the Xtian love and charity in action.

    If you think the Xtian heritage is so great, look at the Dark Ages, look what we lost from the Ancient Greek and Roman cultures - all the things that had to be relearned, like the shape of the earth.

    Who do you think Booth et al were campaigining against? Atheists? No - against fellow Xtians who used their bibles to argue that slavery was all part of god's plan! The bible *does* condone slavery and rape. Awkward for you, I realise. Try looking up what Jesus had to say about slavery. The best story about rape and the value of women is the morally repugnant lesson of Lot and his daughters.

    "You fail to realise that your opinion is so entrenched that you are no longer objective and treat dissenters with hostility and disdain."

    Worth quoting for the glorious hypocrisy!

    "Your cherry picked data is not as concrete as you wish it to be."

    Don't tell me that: demonstrate how it is false.

    "Honestly, how can you be so ignorant as to think we have evolved as to be altruistic?"

    I'd be interested to know what books you have read about the evolution of altruistic traits? How much study have you put in to reciprocal altruism? Oh, but wait, *I'm* the ignorant one. LOL.

    I have already responded to your objection about the 20th Century and suggested some reading you can do. Roman Catholics like Hitler and Mussolini made for very dark times.

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  24. “Of course your cognitive dissonance, that insists that religion is needed in order for people to be good, is working overtime here to "explain away" the statistics.”

    You seem to have a cocky over-confidence in your statistic and the conclusions you draw from it. It may surprise you that I actually don’t believe we need religion to be good. You seem so eager to tarnish everyone with the same rhetorically brush, that you hastily jump to wrong conclusions. What I do believe, however, is that your worldview has no basis to discuss morality. There is a difference.

    Now that you have admitted you don’t believe objective morals exist, we really have little more to discuss. You think some things are wrong which I believe right, and vice versa of course. We can’t get past that now. You better stop trying to convince me otherwise, lest you be thought to base your morals on something objective and unchanging.

    “Again you show complete misunderstanding by trying to equate that morals are not objective (of course the aren't, otherwise they would never change over time and between cultures, which they demonstrably do) with moral nihilism.”

    I’m surprised you would right this. How can you possibly, therefore, suggest that you want to leave this world a “better” place, when in 100 years from now your so called “good morals” could possibly be considered evil and outdated? You live a purposeless life. What un-ending and un-motivating hope. You continue to deny nihilism, but all your comments just keep leading there.

    “For example we now by and large treat the mentally ill with compassion, and don't cast them out thinking they're possessed by devils (except where such superstitious nastiness is still prevalent in the more religious and therefore backward countries).”

    Ouch, there’s that humility I love to see from those more ‘enlightened’ and ‘educated’ class of people. After all, these morally superior, better educated, atheistic countries (and people) would never resort to illogical and invalid ad hominem’s would they?

    “Your view, that we need religion in order to stop us murdering one another all the time”

    Wrong again. I’ll make this as clear as I can. I don’t doubt that you, as an atheist, can be good. What I do doubt, is why you would bother being good (what ver that means in your relativism) given your worldview. No, let’s take it further, does ‘good’ even exist, after all, I’m not sure it’s a material quality.
    “Dawkins is not saying that is how we *should* or in fact *do* govern human society.”

    Never said he did. But he does admit that his worldview inevitably leads to nihilism, hence why he has worked overtime to give some philosophical credentials to “morals without religion”, from which you are clearly a fan. Atheists have had to work overtime to give some academic and philosophical foundation to their worldview, one void of God for morals. I’m not sure I’ve seen a satisfactory answer yet, although most I’ve talked to are not as happy to completely abandon objective morality in a way you seem happy to do. Most realize what is at stake by a basis for objective morals.

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  25. In another nasty diatribe, Mr or Mrs Anonymous writes:

    "I don’t read books about altruistic evolution because I have no interest in pseudo intellectual nonsense peddled by axe grinding atheists in trendy inner city cafes in order to make money and manipulate gullible people with fancy sounding hypotheses."

    And thus reveals the arrogance of the religious person. They have nothing to learn that contradicts their precious dogma, and are quite happy to wallow in ignorance and superstition.

    He/she has no intention of learning anything, they already know it all, and schools of neuroscience and biological sciences had best close their doors - the Xtians know they're wrong to begin with!

    As Mr or Mrs Anonymous, who I suspect is a young person, hence the immaturity of their posts, can't find it in themselves to be polite or even consider the thought out responses given, I'm not wasting any more time on them.

    They'll die ignorant. No reason the rest of us shouldn't enlighten ourselves with knowledge.

    Does or does Lot not allow his daughter to be raped?

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  26. “If you don't accept that morals are objective and have changed over time, then do you think they were better in biblical times when slavery and rape were considered morally acceptable; when women had no rights at all and were treated like animals, when the mentally ill were outcast, and when the good book advised that unruly children should be stoned to death? Do you want to bring back stoning to death of people who work on the sabbath? This is logically where your worldview leads.”

    As I stated earlier, you could do with having a good read on Biblical Ethics. You statement here either stems from ignorance of the data, or deliberate rhetorical flourish. I hope it’s the former, since again, someone like yourself wouldn’t resort to straw men arguments, would you? As a primer, here is a hermeneutical key that is foundational to all biblical exegesis, and therefore ethics- “description does not equal prescription.” Furthermore, you seem totally unaware of the Bible’s own teaching on the old and new covenants, and how God’s people should therefore live in light of that. But hey, sometimes it’s easier to fight against an imaginary opponent (but be careful, they are immaterial).

    “We now mostly accept the liberal view that everyone is entitled to equal standing under the law and can live how they like so long as they aren't hurting anyone else.”

    Wow, and you actually think that train of thought was only developed by atheists in the last century?

    “Now that we accept that rape is never acceptable (it's encouraged in the bible) there will never be a time where raping a child is morally acceptable, except in the obvious example of the Catholic Church, where it's the norm.“

    There’s that well reasoned, logical argument again. I’m beginning to take you less and less seriously purely because you want to boost your own position with constant attacks. You have many great points, but unfortunately you overshadow them with this type of language.

    “Love is a chemical interaction in the brain. You could, as a matter of fact, potentially study the chemical reactions involved. Memories are specific cells within the brain that die and are replaced over time - again entirely material. Dreams and thoughts are the result of electic impulses firing certain neurones in the brain. Whenever religionists like you throw up these "objections" you always think you're being desperately clever, as if no scientist would have thought of them and might just throw out all their work as a consequence.”

    That’s romantic. I hope you tell your wife/boyfriend/girlfriend that in the bedroom. I doubt you do. “Actually honey, I don’t really love you in any non-material sense, there are just random processes happening in my brain that tell me to love you at this moment, in this time. In fact, I’m not sure I could ever love you, because my brain is constantly evolving, and what it tells me now may not be trustworthy; it could still develop to make me greater and more developed. In fact, what is love anyway. Nothing really, just a random evolutionary coincidence, sorry hunny” (excuse the sarcasm)

    Your false dilemma here doesn’t convince me. I never disputed that such “material” reactions may occur, but that doesn’t reduce the fact that when I feel immense love toward my wife and children, when I think lofty thoughts, when I sift through your words here, that “immaterial” processes are happening. Again, I can’t buy into your nihilism that you so unwilling want to admit, but constantly describe. Anyway, if all your thoughts here are just material firings within your brain (which you admit has and is evolving), how are you to trust anything your brain thinks? You can’t. Your brain is in a constant state of change, meaning nothing is absolute, nothing trustworthy and nothing reliable. Frankly, this is plain absurdity. You have no basis for anything, let alone an ability to discuss morality. Your thought faculties aren’t even reliable.

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  27. Thanks again Mark. I'm posting your comments because you've obviously gone to a lot of trouble to write them.

    However I do feel that we're going round in circles here, since I've explained at length why I don't subscribe to your worldview, and you repeat the same arguments phrased slightly differently without tackling the problems with your worldview (lack of evidence for it, primarily).

    You still haven't explained how other animal species live in harmonious and co-operative societies. Of course I don't describe my feelings in terms of chemical reactions - but that doesn't stop them being precisely that! An orchestra playing Beethoven's Fifth Symphony create sublime and moving noise - but it doesn't mean that they aren't simply causing the air to vibrate through plucking strings, blowing through reeds, hitting a taut animal skin, etc. It's unromantic to describe an orchestral sound in such terms, but there's simply no excuse to shoehorn in a supernatural explanation.

    As for the Catholic Church, the current pope thought it more important that they covered up their crimes against children and retained their grip on power. Catholics in their millions have learned so painfully that the last thing they need to be moral is organised religion, and that they are better off trusting their own instinctual moral compass that they possess as the result of their evolutionary history, whether they choose to believe that fact or not.

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  28. Anonymous - you can come here and post as many offensive remarks as you like, then claim some sort of "victory" when I delete them rather than publish them. Knock yourself out. You still haven't demonstrated how I am factually wrong in my positions here. I'm sorry to break it to you but shouting at people does not a reasoned argument make.

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