May 162007
 

I beat a puppy, I believe, simply from enjoying the sense of power.

Charles “Gas” Darwin

Darwin's Victim

  23 Responses to “Darwin’s Victim”

  1. That’s just inhuman! Oh yeah I forgot, Darwin is just an evolved barbaric primate.

  2. Here is the full quote:

    Once as a very little boy whilst at the day school, or before that time, I acted cruelly, for I beat a puppy, I believe, simply from enjoying the sense of power; but the beating could not have been severe, for the puppy did not howl, of which I feel sure, as the spot was near the house. This act lay heavily on my conscience, as is shown by my remembering the exact spot where the crime was committed. It probably lay all the heavier from my love of dogs being then, and for a long time afterwards, a passion. Dogs seemed to know this, for I was an adept in robbing their love from their masters.

    What Darwin did was wrong, but (1) he did it when he was “a very little boy”, (2) he regretted it afterwards. There is a bit in the Bible about casting stones, and another bit about beams in eyes. Can I assume that Sal and Tel are both without sin?

  3. Do you believe in sin, Pix? Why do you say Darwin was wrong? Who determines what is right or wrong for someone else?

    BTW, do you disagree with my statement that Darwin is just a evolved barbaric primate?

  4. Do you believe in sin, Pix?

    No, sin is a transgression of divine law. I do believe in right and wrong though.

    Why do you say Darwin was wrong?

    Personally, I think the needless inflicting of pain is wrong. Do you disagree?

    Who determines what is right or wrong for someone else?

    It is a consensus arrived at by a culture. Often it gets ascribed to an imaginary god, which is great, because then everyone can feel justified in their morality.

    BTW, do you disagree with my statement that Darwin is just a evolved barbaric primate

    No. Darwin was a primate, just like you and I, and primates have evolved, so sure he is an evolved primate.

  5. “You Ethiopians will also be slaughtered by my sword,” says the LORD. And the LORD will strike the lands of the north with his fist. He will destroy Assyria and make its great capital, Nineveh, a desolate wasteland, parched like a desert. The city that once was so proud will become a pasture for sheep and cattle. All sorts of wild animals will settle there. Owls of many kinds will live among the ruins of its palaces, hooting from the gaping windows. Rubble will block all the doorways, and the cedar paneling will lie open to the wind and weather. This is the fate of that boisterous city, once so secure. “In all the world there is no city as great as I,” it boasted. But now, look how it has become an utter ruin, a place where animals live! Everyone passing that way will laugh in derision or shake a defiant fist.

    – Zephaniah 2:12-15 NLT

    When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.

    – Exodus 21:20-21 NAB

    Accordingly, it must and dare not be considered a trifling matter but a most serious one to seek counsel against this and to save our souls from the Jews, that is, from the devil and from eternal death. My advice, as I said earlier, is:
    First, that their synagogues be burned down, and that all who are able toss sulphur and pitch; it would be good if someone could also throw in some hellfire…
    Second, that all their books– their prayer books, their Talmudic writings, also the entire Bible– be taken from them, not leaving them one leaf, and that these be preserved for those who may be converted…
    Third, that they be forbidden on pain of death to praise God, to give thanks, to pray, and to teach publicly among us and in our country…
    Fourth, that they be forbidden to utter the name of God within our hearing. For we cannot with a good conscience listen to this or tolerate it…

    – Martin Luther

  6. Darwin was originally a Christian, and even trained to go into the church as a minister. It was only later in his life that he “saw the light”, and abandoned Christianity. The dog-beating incident occurred when he was a boy before he left Christianity. Interesting.

  7. t: BTW, do you disagree with my statement that Darwin is just a evolved barbaric primate

    P: No. Darwin was a primate, just like you and I, and primates have evolved, so sure he is an evolved primate.

    I thought so. Why the jeremiad about casting stones and beams in eyes? Is that your acceptance of the Word of God about your own sins?

    Any idiot can quote from the Bible but it is another thing to understand what you are quoting. It is like putting a sharp knife in the hands of a knave.
    (1co 2:9,14)
    No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.
    But God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.
    The man without the spirit does not accept the things from the spirit of God.
    For they are foolish to him, and he does not understand because they are spiritually discerned.

    I am also disturbed by the fact that you would agree with the consensus of a culture that allows the torture and murder of your family, or the genocide of the Jews. I guess that is what happens with atheistic amorality.

  8. I thought so. Why the jeremiad about casting stones and beams in eyes? Is that your acceptance of the Word of God about your own sins?

    No, I was just curious about your Christian morality.

    Any idiot can quote from the Bible but it is another thing to understand what you are quoting. It is like putting a sharp knife in the hands of a knave.
    (1co 2:9,14)

    Sure. And the Bible has lots of those sharp knives in it. Odd for a perfect, divinely inspired book. Or at least, it seems odd me.

    Of course, I think that is because it was written by a bunch of people who were not divinely inspired, who lived by different standards to those of today, and perhaps even to each other. I think it was common (well, relatively) for one tribe to go to war with another, and the victorous would wipe out the other entirely, so that is what was recorded in the Bible. And of course, everyone kept slaves (well, anyone who mattered).

    I would be interested in how you interprete the quotes I gave.

    No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.
    But God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.
    The man without the spirit does not accept the things from the spirit of God.
    For they are foolish to him, and he does not understand because they are spiritually discerned.

    Oh, sounds like you cannot.

    I am also disturbed by the fact that you would agree with the consensus of a culture that allows the torture and murder of your family, or the genocide of the Jews. I guess that is what happens with atheistic amorality.

    Strange, I do not remember saying that. Where did you get that impression from?

    Unlike Christians, athiests make no claims that their morality is perfect or unchanging. We (our culture, not just athests) have a different morality today compared a century or so ago, when slavery was acceptable. Our culture’s morality has evolved, and I think improved, by putting a higher value on every individual. Our culture does NOT allow the torture and murder of your family, or the genocide of the Jews (which was surely more inspired by Luther’s comments like those above than anything Darwin said).

  9. Hi!

    This is a nice blog. I really like the picture of the cute puppy dog.

    Can I assume that this has now become a thread on morality, responsibility and social behaviour?
    I am especially interested in the arguments concerning “moral authority.”
    In the past, the (West-European) peoples morality have largely been imposed upon them by the Church, in the name of an Absolute Authority. It wasn’t all roses and stuff, but it made for a deliciously stable kind of society. In this new era, two questions arise:

    – Is an absolute authority concerning morality still the better way to determine for the people what is right and what is wrong?
    – Many atrocities were committed under de authority of monotheistic religions, but many more casualties have fallen in not directly religion-related circumstances. Would an atheist subscribe to the notion that an absolute authority regarding morals is not an all-bad thing? Why? Or why not?

    PS. Excuse me for my poor wording. English is not my native language.

  10. Hi Gralgrathor
    [quote]Can I assume that this has now become a thread on morality, responsibility and social behaviour?[/quote]
    I thought that was what the OP was about in the first place. It is surely saying nothing about ID or evolution, the scientific standing of neither of them can in anyway be afected by what Darwin once did to a dog as a boy, before rejecting Christianity. Hmm, unless Salvador is claiming that evolution is wrong because Darwin once hit a dog? No, surely even Salvador would not claim [i]that[/i] logical leap.
    [quote]In the past, the (West-European) peoples morality have largely been imposed upon them by the Church, in the name of an Absolute Authority. It wasn’t all roses and stuff, but it made for a deliciously stable kind of society.[/quote]
    Religion does do moral authority particularly well. An all-seeing god, ready to consign you to hell for your sins will always be more effective than a legal institution run by the state – as long as people believe.
    [quote]Is an absolute authority concerning morality still the better way to determine for the people what is right and what is wrong?[/quote]
    For other people, definitely!
    [quote]Many atrocities were committed under de authority of monotheistic religions, but many more casualties have fallen in not directly religion-related circumstances. Would an atheist subscribe to the notion that an absolute authority regarding morals is not an all-bad thing?[/quote]
    I would accept that. Religion is good at keeping laws, but not so great at devising them. Where Christianity perhaps wins is that it has changed, and modern Christians reject much of the morality of the Bible, for example slavery. Athiest morality has made the change too, but does not have the carrot and stick to keep people in line.

    Pixie

  11. teleologist: I am also disturbed by the fact that you would agree with the consensus of a culture that allows the torture and murder of your family, or the genocide of the Jews. I guess that is what happens with atheistic amorality.
    Pixie: Strange, I do not remember saying that. Where did you get that impression from?

    Don’t run away from your atheistic beliefs now you hypocrite, embrace your faith. Let me remind you what you said,

    teleologist: Who determines what is right or wrong for someone else?

    Pixie: It is a consensus arrived at by a culture.

    I would be interested in how you interprete the quotes I gave.

    As I’ve said before and you’ve authenticated that it would be useless to explain anything about the Bible to you. It would be like explaining color to a man that was born blind, or having a conversation with a dead man.


    12 “If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
    13 “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.
    14 “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;
    15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
    16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
    John 3:12-16
    Until you can understand and accept this there is no point in explaining the Bible to you. The atheists think they are really smart by quoting the Bible with their naive criticisms. Why should a Christian even bother with a blind man who can’t read and rejects everything that proceeds from his mouth? 1 Corinthians 1:18

  12. Welcome to Teleological Blog Gralgrathor.

    You asked some good questions. I’ve spoken on this before, you can see it here and here.

    The main focus is not on what theists or atheists do, but on the worldviews they subscribe. One can argue that Atheism and atheists have led to far more suffering the world has ever known — from Alexander, Hitler, Stalin and Mao just to name a few. The key is not what some man or woman will do in the name of their worldviews but the tenets of that worldview. Atheism — absent of an Absolute — is amoral and cannot possibly make any judgments. Yet the atheist will never cease to impose his idea of morality and criticisms on others.

  13. Don’t run away from your atheistic beliefs now you hypocrite, embrace your faith. Let me remind you what you said,

    Er, yes, but I am living in this culture, which does not allow the torture and murder of your family, or the genocide of the Jews. That said, if I was an Israelite living 2600 years ago at the time of Zephaniah, I would perhaps have no problem with the genocide of the Ethiopians or slavery. I believe that morality “evolves” with culture. I suspect a major part of that evolution involves the growth of a culture to encompass more and more diverse people. In Zephaniah’s time, his clture was his tribe, and you did not give a fig about people outside that. It was fine to keep slaves because they were from other cultures (actually that may not be quite true, but I think Hebrew slaves had special laws regarding them). It was fine to commit genocide, because it was only a bunch of nobodies dying. Nowadays we have a global culture; we respect the rights of every individual. In such a culture, genocide and slavery are clearly wrong.

    Now, before you ask me why I think my culture is right, and Zephaniah’s or whatever is wrong, please answer the question yourself. If should be easy for you, right? You have that absolurte Christian morality to apply, a perfect moral guide in the Bible.

    As I’ve said before and you’ve authenticated that it would be useless to explain anything about the Bible to you. It would be like explaining color to a man that was born blind, or having a conversation with a dead man.

    Do you think other people ever read this blog? I know full well I will not convince you of anything, but I post for people who just happen across this page, and may be undecided. If I had left no comment on this page, these people might think athiesm promotes the beating of cute puppies, and that modern evolutionary theory was wrong because Darwin farted a lot. Of course neither is true (and of course, Sal knows that; ah, that Christian morality).

    But hey, if you do not want to contest my claims, that suits me fine. All those people will be wondering if maybe the Bible does promote slavery (and it certainly does) and genocide, whether Martin Luther really was a vehement racist (and he certainly was), whether Darwin really did beat cute puppies before giving up training to be a minister of the Christian church.

    16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:12-16

    So it is a book full of contradictions. I am not too clear how this supports your position.

    The main focus is not on what theists or atheists do, but on the worldviews they subscribe. One can argue that Atheism and atheists have led to far more suffering the world has ever known — from Alexander, Hitler, Stalin and Mao just to name a few.

    I would be surprised if Alexander was an athiest; surely he worshipped Zeus et al. And there is good evidence that Hitler’s (and indeed Germany’s) anti-semitism can be traced back to Martin Luther and his book “The Jews and their Lies”, and perhaps all the way to St Paul who was trying to promote Christiaity to the Roman’s so played down their role in the cruxifiction at the expense of the Jews (I am not suggesting St Paul was anti-semitic, but that his actions were significant in promoting anti-semitism).

    The key is not what some man or woman will do in the name of their worldviews but the tenets of that worldview. Atheism — absent of an Absolute — is amoral and cannot possibly make any judgments.

    The reality is that there are lots of theists and lots of atheists who are good people, and plenty on both sides who are not.

    Yet the atheist will never cease to impose his idea of morality and criticisms on others.

    Well then let us use the Christian idea of morality, and judge with that. The quotes above; from a Christian perspoective, are they good or sinful?

  14. I realise there may be some confusion here. My claim is that people learn morality from their culture, in particular from their parents. I believe atheists and thiests alike learn the basics from their Mum and Dad. Now that is no guarantee that that morality is good. I believe the morality of Zephaniah’s culture was not as good as the morality we have today, because Zephaniah’s culture allowed slavery and genocide. People can also make their own morality, and eventually the morality of a culture will change as more and more people decide that the old morality is wrong, and this is what happened with slavery. Sure, some of the biggest anti-slavery proponents were Christians, but I would guess that they were against slavery because they recognised the plight of the slave, and not because of the specific teachings of the Bible (and I saw specifically deliberately; there is stuff in their about generally respecting other people, but nothing specifically against slavery).

    I am not claiming that something is right because my (or another) culture allows it. I am making the observation that what is considered right and wrong by a culture is a consensus arrived at by that culture.

    By the way, Sal posted his quote at ARN, and I responded with the above three quites there. People may be interested to see how that discussion is going:
    http://www.arn.org/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=0&Board=12&Number=30333094&page=0&fpart=all

  15. To recap: Atheism, confirmed by Pixie, is amoral. Pixie accepts the torture and murder of his family as moral if it is acceptable to the culture. The ” better” morality is only what is acceptable at the time. Ain’t Atheism great?

  16. To recap: Atheism, confirmed by Pixie, is amoral.

    You might give a better image of Christian morality if you could only bring yourself to represent my position honestly. Oh well.

    Pixie accepts the torture and murder of his family as moral if it is acceptable to the culture.

    If the torture and murder of a family is acceptable to a culture, then people in that culture will be brought up to believe that the torture and murder of a family is morally right. That was what I said. I did not say that it therefore actually was morally right.

    Only a century or so ago, Christians thought slavery was morally right. Do you think they were right? Of course not. But the people of that time – in particular people from the”Bible Belt” – would have argued for slavery, and justified it using the Bible. If you want we can discuss the Crusades, and the burning of catholics and protestants. Horrendous acts that were perpetrated by Christians in the name of God. Ain’t Christianity great?

    The reality is that human culture is evolving, oand its morality is evolving with it. Religion certainly has an input into that morality, but the morality has an input into religion too, so nowadays Christians are against slavery and the burning of catholics and protestants.

  17. Just a little offtopic contribution, I hope you don’t mind:

    @ teleologist — May 22, 2007

    I would partly agree to the statement that atheism is amoral. Atheism *is* amoral, in that it imposes no particular morals upon those who do not believe in God.

    But saying that atheism is amoral does not mean that atheism is *immoral* or that atheists are either amoral or immoral.

    It is my belief that whatever beliefs you hold or whatever ideology you subscribe to, in the end it is always a *person* who violates any given moral value, not his belief or ideology. And that, whatever the source of your personal morals, in the end the creed ‘what comes around goes around’ should always be your main inspiration.

  18. Gralgrathor,

    Yes, we are in partial agreement. It is true that Atheism is neither immoral nor moral.

    I would also agree with you that it is the individual’s (theist/atheist) actions may be different from his Worldview. The “key” point that I am addressing here is that how consistent does a person live according to their belief. In order to answer that question we must know 2 things. What is their system of beliefs and what are their actions? Christians have an unchangeable universal Absolute moral code that we received from God. As believers we struggle to adhere to this Absolute, in that sense we are consistent.

    An atheist on the other hand believes in a system that is amoral. Thus it has no basis to determine what is right or wrong not even for oneself. The contradiction is that atheists do not live as though they are amoral. Atheists have just as strong a sense of what they perceive as right or wrong and in many cases seek to impose that on to others. This means that Atheism is internally inconsistent and irrational.

  19. RECAP:

    teleologist: Who determines what is right or wrong for someone else?

    Pixie: It is a consensus arrived at by a culture.

    Pixie accepts the torture and murder of his family as moral if it is acceptable to the culture.

    Yup, those are Pixie’s own words. Out of the mouth of an atheist, read them and weep.

  20. Teleologist, what you are doing is dishonest, which is ironic on a thread discussing morality! I have explained my position, and you willfully ignore that, prefering to misrepresent me. Well, okay, that is your moral choice.

    So now perhaps you can answer the question: Who determines what is right or wrong for someone else?

  21. ALERT: Pixie the Insincere Debater

    RECAP:

    teleologist: Who determines what is right or wrong for someone else?

    Pixie: It is a consensus arrived at by a culture.

    Pixie is insincere but fortunately people can read. Pixie believes that morality is by consensus ergo if consensus said it is right to torture and murder his family, Pixie would agree that is moral. Simple logic but because Pixie is insincere he has a habit of twisting even his own words.

  22. Teleologist, I hope they will read what we have both posted here.

    It is sad that your argument comes down to seizing upon one thing I said, and ignoring my attempts to explain that position.

    It is sad that you feel the need to made your usual ad hom attack.

    It is sad that you could not answer your own question: Who determines what is right or wrong for someone else?

    Sad, but not surprising.

  23. I think Teleologist has given up on reasoned debate. Anyone with a serious interest in this subject might like to visit these web sites (all written from an atheist’s perspective of course).

    Athiest morality:
    http://www.mwillett.org/atheism/moralsource.htm
    http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/cherry_18_1.01.html

    Biblical morality:
    http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/charles_watts/bible_morality.html

    Biblical vs Athiest morality on the question of rape:
    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/michael_martin/rape.html

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