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2 hours ago, gav said:

Critical Scholarship should be a little more critical of its criticisms... It is often so busy being critical that it misses the plot altogether.

Can you give me an example of where critical scholarship has done that?

In case there is any confusion "critical" here means academic, scholarly, non-sectarian, careful evaluation following historiographical rules of evidence, not "critical" in the colloquial sense of condemning something you don't like.   

Edited by Eschaton
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9 hours ago, gav said:

My take is that it is anything that destroys the wholesome perpetuation of the species i.e. destroys good family structure and societies.

So the potential candidate behaviours are myriad and cumulative.

The scriptures are full of destruction stories and the circumstances leading up to said destructions. Child sacrifice features prominently, even among the lead up of the scattering of Israel and the Judah. I always wonder if abortion somehow falls into that category and that, among many other anti-family trends, is pretty pervasive.

Abortion is so ridiculously common in history that god picking on this generation specifically where incidence is pretty low (due to contraception that usually works) seems kind of petty. God got REALLY mad about it for some reason in the 80s and has been pounding that drum ever since. 

In many cultures it was literally the midwife’s job to quietly kill “defective” newborns so the mother wouldn’t have to deal with it. They also often gave women the poisons to induce abortion. Early abortion bans in the United States were not about the morality of abortion. It was mostly doctors trying to drive off the midwife competition. Considering the doctors of the time the midwives might have been the better option.

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13 minutes ago, Eschaton said:
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The two ("academic Biblical scholarship" on the one hand and "apologetics or LDS doctrine" on the other) are not, contrary to your implication, mutually exclusive.

They are mutually exclusive areas of study and ways of approaching texts. That doesn't mean they always conflict.  

Again, no.  Many Latter-day Saints use "academic Biblical scholarship" as part of the process of "approaching texts" (including the text as part of "LDS doctrine").  Apologists often utilize biblical scholarship to advance apologetic arguments.

13 minutes ago, Eschaton said:
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I also reject the (apparently) implied notion that "academic Biblical scholarship" is ultimately definitive (or objective) when interpreting the Bible.

It's definitive of a historical approach to the text, as opposed to an apologetic or devotional approach to the text. 

Again, no.  I reject the juxtaposition.

I'm not sure what you mean by "a historical approach to the text," but I suspect it means something along the lines of "Academics are objective in their approach to the biblical text, with no biases or presuppositions involved in their efforts in any way."  I'll go with "Nope" on that.

13 minutes ago, Eschaton said:
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No presuppositions or biases are present in critical biblical scholarship, then?  Are you sure?

Did you mean to ask this of someone else? I didn't say anything resembling this. 

Well, you keep differentiating between "critical bible scholars" and "apologists."  I am inferring that you are attributing objective neutrality to the former and heavy-handed bias and subjectivity to the latter.  

Thanks,

-Smac

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31 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Again, no.  Many Latter-day Saints use "academic Biblical scholarship" as part of the process of "approaching texts"

 

I didn't say they didn't. Dan McClellan does it all the time. 

 

31 minutes ago, smac97 said:

(including the text as part of "LDS doctrine").  Apologists often utilize biblical scholarship to advance apologetic arguments.

Yes, of course they utilize it wherever they find it useful. 

 

31 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Again, no.  I reject the juxtaposition.

It seems like you don't actually understand the difference. 

31 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I'm not sure what you mean by "a historical approach to the text," but I suspect it means something along the lines of "Academics are objective in their approach to the biblical text, with no biases or presuppositions involved in their efforts in any way."  I'll go with "Nope" on that.

Using the historical method. Historical criticism and textual criticism are the two main approaches to the Bible in academic Biblical studies.  

 

31 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Well, you keep differentiating between "critical bible scholars" and "apologists."  I am inferring that you are attributing objective neutrality to the former and heavy-handed bias and subjectivity to the latter.  

Thanks,

-Smac

This is an oversimplification. If you like I can spend some time helping you understand terms? 

Edited by Eschaton
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2 hours ago, Calm said:

Why is conscious life of more value than non sentient or even non life?  Why isn’t a strong, healthy tree of more value than a human baby?  The tree provides homes and food for many species and looks pretty and smells great, requires no care from those who live in it, contributes to a healthy atmosphere, etc. A human baby makes lots of noise, requires tons of resources, and fills the landscape with stinky, disposable diapers. 

Interesting question, but the way you phrased it proves my point. The tree's value comes from "providing homes" to (presumably sentient) species, looks pretty to sentient species, smells great to sentient species, contributes to an atmosphere that is healthy for sentient species. 

Sentient species are the only ones that care about noise, resources, and stinky, disposable diapers.

When weighing the tradeoffs between babies and trees on a planet with limited resources, we also have to keep in mind not only the wellbeing of potential babies that we could be conceiving now, but also the wellbeing of potential babies that could be born over the next few billion years. When you realize Jesus isn't coming back to save us and this is the only home we have, the need to take a long-term view of things and to figure out how to live in equilibrium with the planet become more important.

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9 minutes ago, Eschaton said:
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Again, no.  Many Latter-day Saints use "academic Biblical scholarship" as part of the process of "approaching texts"

I didn't say they didn't.  Dan McClellan does it all the time. 

And yet you said: "Dan is talking about academic Biblical scholarship, not apologetics or LDS doctrine."

That sure looks like a juxaposition.

9 minutes ago, Eschaton said:
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Again, no.  I reject the juxtaposition.

It seems like you don't actually understand the difference. 

I'm not speaking of a "difference" as much as of a questionable "juxtaposition" (such as "Dan is talking about academic Biblical scholarship, not apologetics or LDS doctrine").

9 minutes ago, Eschaton said:
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I'm not sure what you mean by "a historical approach to the text," but I suspect it means something along the lines of "Academics are objective in their approach to the biblical text, with no biases or presuppositions involved in their efforts in any way."  I'll go with "Nope" on that.

Using the historical method. Historical criticism and textual criticism are the two main approaches to the Bible in academic Biblical studies.  

If you could define what you mean by "the historical method," that would be nice.

Again, I construed your juxtaposition as meaning something along the lines of "Academics are objective in their approach to the biblical text, with no biases or presuppositions involved in their efforts in any way."

9 minutes ago, Eschaton said:
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Well, you keep differentiating between "critical bible scholars" and "apologists."  I am inferring that you are attributing objective neutrality to the former and heavy-handed bias and subjectivity to the latter.  

This is an oversimplification. If you like I can spend some time helping you understand terms? 

I have a pretty good grasp of both terms.  

Just out with it, if you please.  Are you attributing, relative to "approaching" the Bible, objective neutrality to the former ("critical Bible scholars") and heavy-handed bias and subjectivity to the latter ("apologists")?

Thanks,

-Smac

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2 minutes ago, Analytics said:

way you phrased it proves my point.

No, it doesn’t. I was thinking primarily of insects, reptiles and amphibians since they are much more plentiful than sentient species.  If life is important, why isn’t the most bounteous life forms the most important?
 

 A cave would have more value than a human life if providing a home was an top objective value.

I could have chosen an infinite number of qualities as I was just looking for something that babies didn’t do.

Why does caring matter?  Why isn’t simple existence valuable whether sentient or not.

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3 hours ago, smac97 said:

Are you capable of accommodating something other than an "either/or" dichotomy on this point?

Of course. For example, even though Jesus was primarily a religious teacher, he taught many things that are in fact moral, humanist values.

My point is that humanism is what gives us the tools to figure out which bible versus we should embrace and which ones we should discard as historical curiosities. 

3 hours ago, smac97 said:

It does?  And you are not a devotee of it?

I don't think ethics is an easy subject, and I don't pretend to have all the answers. Just because I don't know the ultimate answer to the question of "true morality" doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

3 hours ago, smac97 said:

I'm not really surprised.  I think we likely agree far more than we disagree on most things.

Shhhh. Saying that out loud ruins the sport of it.

3 hours ago, smac97 said:

  But that's as to the "what," and not so much as the "why."

Agreed.

3 hours ago, smac97 said:

"Philosophy" would seemingly include . . . religion, yes?

Religion qua religion can't tell us what is moral and what isn't, because it is based on arbitrary revelation rather than humanism.

Every example you've raised about what is good or bad can be justified as being good or bad based on humanistic, non-religious grounds. For example, you cited slavery and bacha bazi as things that are objectively bad. You didn't cite drinking tea and gathering sticks on the sabbath are things that are objectively bad. 

3 hours ago, smac97 said:

How do you account for the decades-long efforts of William Wilberforce to eradicate slavery in the British Empire?  AFAF.

I don't understand the question.

3 hours ago, smac97 said:

Meh.  Religion, sociopolitical ideologies, socioeconomic ideologies, nationalism, racism/tribalism, and various other -isms all advance and impede societal progress in various and sundry ways.

And "societal progress" is deemed to be inherently good because of humanism values, not because of religion. 

3 hours ago, smac97 said:

You're right.  I retract my statement and apologize.

+1

Edited by Analytics
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7 hours ago, Calm said:

Do you mean spiritually?  Because physically we depend on others for our lives…police and government, doctors, food and essentials suppliers, power for our utilities, picking up our garbage, etc.  Mentally we depend on others for our intellectual lives as well as basic life skills, first through parents school, maybe church and extracurricular activities and then through learning what others have explored and shared their observations and experiences…very few of us tread where no one has gone before, we take shortcuts by reading instruction manuals, cookbooks, driver’s education, etc.  Emotionally…have you spent much time on your own?  When was the last time you spent a whole day without seeing a person face to face?  Or no communication by phone or internet?  You have been trained to live with others and it can be disorienting being isolated (there was a very good reason depression went up during Covid quarantines and it wasn’t all fear of infection or pain because of the tragedies).

Even spiritually…you follow the paths of others even if you are picking and choosing which paths to follow and what to keep and what to discard.  While a few might benefit spiritually by living a hermit’s life in the desert, most imo are better informed by interacting with others and realizing spiritual lessons that way.

So in my opinion in every way salvation is a group effort. Depending solely on yourself is a great way to end up stagnated, depressed, maybe even dead.  Glorifying the individual effort leads to tunnel vision, arrogance and shortsightedness, again imo.  Humility, recognizing we have so much to learn from others and the world around us and being willing to listen…that is what opens our spiritual awareness more.

 

When it comes to situations such as this thread, institutional abuse, the community you previously depended on is gone = self-reliance to save yourself.

  Imagine if you will, someone accuses your father, your son, your brother, your bishop of the unthinkable - who do you side with?  You will protect your beloved dad.  You will protect your son.  Victim blaming is a natural reaction, in a male hierarchy, the male authority figure will be protected, and the victim accused.  Imagine a situation, true or false, where everyone in your ward, everyone in your family, everyone you have known and loved your entire life - suddenly believes you are a monster.  (Accusing the bishop of child abuse turns you (not the bishop) the accuser, into the monster.)  In my case, even after the trial, after the guilty verdict - everyone was fast to visit them in prison, fast to send letters, fast to "forgive" and throw their arms arms him.  The victims - were given the cold shoulder, then and now.

  Why do women stay in these bad situations?  Why do mothers allow their children in these situations?  Why are these situations so common?  They are common, because to get out of them, the victim often ends up entirely unsupported - not just unsupported - but reviled - by those they once depended on.  The victim must create an entirely new circle of connections, find a new community, has to support themselves (when they might have never had a job before), has to protect themselves.  Help will come -  not from anyone who in any way knows the abuser - not from anyone who in any way respects the organization of the church/school/military/company/institution the abuse is happening in.  The victim has to meticulously collect their own evidence, find law enforcement who are in no way connected to the institution the abuser came from.   If it was military, find a detective/therapist/law enforcement/jury who is in no way connected to the military etc. If it was a church, find a detective who is an atheist.  Bias is real, institutional/belief loyalty is stronger than protecting a child.  Sit through any jury selection - the selection of who would legitimately be on your team has to be carefully decided.  Tight lips around anyone with bias.  They will be polite, they will nod their heads, but they are NOT on your team.  Year and years of loyalty to this institution or that belief are not undone overnight.  

For anyone out there fighting these types of battles, educate yourself with: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betrayal_trauma

In my opinion, betrayal trauma can be worse than PTSD war veterans have.  At least war veterans did not lose their entire community.  At least war veterans were not fighting family members.  At least war veterans were not dependent on salvation/"provide and protect"/blessings from their abuser.  The women don't provide, women don't protect, women are eternally dependent on a male hierarchy - any organizations that follow this model lead to extended abuse, generational repeats of abuse.  Dissociation is very real.  Change in beliefs is needed - reversed roles - beliefs about self-reliance, personal authority, and for the eternal scheme of things.... you have to embrace the idea that all those curses in Eden will be fully removed, justice = "equally yoked", that all will have equal authority.  

Your desire will be for your husband - part of the curse (if you are Christian), that is 100% removed.  Last will be first.  ... of course, after understanding what follower is, no previous follower would place that burden on another, so I do not see first as being last - equal for all should be the final heaven.  united in all things, equally yoked, as one - no hierarchy.  As a female, I strongly believe you must embrace this new view of an equal heaven to escape abuse, to end cycles, to escape oppressive cultures and systems of belief, to become self-reliant, to protect your children, to take ownership of your own life.  

faith without works is dead?  works - guess you have to save yourself, in this life, and in the next.  

I'm a universalist now, but use language from the Bible as I know that is the language that many in this situation still speak.  It takes years to de-program.  If you grew up in North Korea, if you grew up in xyz cult.  We are all programmed really, most just stay with beliefs of their parents.  Jews, Muslims, JW's, Catholics, Mormons - all come from hierarchies, all have a firm belief - spiritual witnesses - that their church is true, that they are led by god.  'The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.' - M.Twain - it is mind games, all of it.  It's not wrong to firmly believe a good goal - for everyone - is to break free of the mind games of others, and take ownership of yourself.  Self-reliance.  You are your own authority, and everyone else needs to be their own authority too.  

Well, guessing this will be my last post here as it will X me.  Best wishes to all of you this holiday season.  Watch out for those little kids in the fam.  Be the one that stops the cycle if that cycle needs to stop.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Calm said:

No, it doesn’t. I was thinking primarily of insects, reptiles and amphibians since they are much more plentiful than sentient species.  If life is important, why isn’t the most bounteous life forms the most important?
 

 A cave would have more value than a human life if providing a home was an top objective value.

I could have chosen an infinite number of qualities as I was just looking for something that babies didn’t do.

Why does caring matter?  Why isn’t simple existence valuable whether sentient or not.

Here is Sam Harris's answer to that question:

"The most common objection to my argument is some version of the following:

"But you haven’t said why the well-being of conscious beings ought to matter to us. If someone wants to torture all conscious beings to the point of madness, what is to say that he isn’t just as “moral” as you are?

"While I do not think anyone sincerely believes that this kind of moral skepticism makes sense, there is no shortage of people who will press this point with a ferocity that often passes for sincerity. Let us begin with the fact of consciousness: I think we can know, through reason alone, that consciousness is the only intelligible domain of value. What is the alternative? I invite you to try to think of a source of value that has absolutely nothing to do with the (actual or potential) experience of conscious beings. Take a moment to think about what this would entail: whatever this alternative is, it cannot affect the experience of any creature (in this life or in any other). Put this thing in a box, and what you have in that box is—it would seem, by definition—the least interesting thing in the universe.

"So how much time should we spend worrying about such a transcendent source of value? I think the time I will spend typing this sentence is already too much. All other notions of value will bear some relationship to the actual or potential experience of conscious beings. So my claim that consciousness is the basis of human values and morality is not an arbitrary starting point.

"Now that we have consciousness on the table, my further claim is that the concept of “well-being” captures all that we can intelligibly value. And “morality”—whatever people’s associations with this term happen to be—really relates to the intentions and behaviors that affect the well-being of conscious creatures.

"On this point, religious conceptions of moral law are often put forward as counterexamples: for when asked why it is important to follow God’s law, many people will cannily say, “for its own sake.” Of course, it is possible to say this, but this seems neither an honest nor a coherent claim. What if a more powerful God would punish us for eternity for following Yahweh’s law? Would it then make sense to follow Yahweh’s law “for its own sake”? The inescapable fact is that religious people are as eager to find happiness and to avoid misery as anyone else: many of them just happen to believe that the most important changes in conscious experience occur after death (i.e., in heaven or in hell). And while Judaism is sometimes held up as an exception—because it tends not to focus on the afterlife—the Hebrew Bible makes it absolutely clear that Jews should follow Yahweh’s law out of concern for the negative consequences of not following it. People who do not believe in God or an afterlife, and yet still think it important to subscribe to a religious tradition, only believe this because living this way seems to make some positive contribution to their well-being or to the well-being of others."

Harris, Sam. The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values (pp. 32-33). 

 

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48 minutes ago, Analytics said:

Interesting question, but the way you phrased it proves my point. The tree's value comes from "providing homes" to (presumably sentient) species, looks pretty to sentient species, smells great to sentient species, contributes to an atmosphere that is healthy for sentient species. 

Sentient species are the only ones that care about noise, resources, and stinky, disposable diapers.

When weighing the tradeoffs between babies and trees on a planet with limited resources, we also have to keep in mind not only the wellbeing of potential babies that we could be conceiving now, but also the wellbeing of potential babies that could be born over the next few billion years. When you realize Jesus isn't coming back to save us and this is the only home we have, the need to take a long-term view of things and to figure out how to live in equilibrium with the planet become more important.

The idea that what is of value (and what is moral) is only a matter of how it impacts humans, or what humans think of it in this era, seems like a huge assumption based on some really obvious biases.   

Unproven assumptions and glaring biases are a shaking ladder to stand when proclaiming answers to issues of morality.

Especially considering that what humans think and what impacts them differs greatly depending on time, place, and civilization.  So not only does your argument have issues with assumptions and biases, but those assumptions and biases are or were different for every group of humans across time. 

That makes your position even less stable than we first thought.

Edited by bluebell
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8 hours ago, smac97 said:

I think Joseph made some serious errors in judgment relative to polygamy.  See, for example, these recent remarks by Todd Compton:

Not that I'm advocating marriage for 14 year old girls, but my stepmom's first marriage was to a 21 year old man when she was 14. It was legal, too, because Kansas law permitted it at that age as long as her parents gave permission. The marriage lasted 18 years until her husband died.

Yesterday my car broke down 40 miles away from home. The Automobile Association van that came to haul my broken car back home (actually, to the repair shop) was driven by a man named Daniel. In our free-ranging conversation in which we talked about our families, he told me that he had two children, and his first one was born when he and his girlfriend were both 14. And they're married now and still together. I told him that it didn't sound like the optimal situation, but that I was glad it turned out well.

 

 

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7 hours ago, Analytics said:

I'll refrain from pointing out the irony of your claim that prophets shouldn't be faulted for not being able to see in the future.

As far as I have been able to tell, the historical Old Testament prophets didn't so much as make prophecies about what was going to happen (though they did that sometimes, too), as make pronouncements of what God's people should and should not be doing. More forthtellers than foretellers.

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6 hours ago, smac97 said:

I also reject the (apparently) implied notion that "academic Biblical scholarship" is ultimately definitive (or objective) when interpreting the Bible.

Eschaton loves scholarly interpretations of scripture. Their understandings are his standard of truth.

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4 hours ago, Analytics said:

That's true. Not everybody alive today understands morality as well as Steven Pinker, Richard Dawkins, or Sam Harris.

Ah, yes, the Atheist Trinity. 

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2 hours ago, bluebell said:

The idea that what is of value (and what is moral) is only a matter of how it impacts humans, or what humans think of it in this era, seems like a huge assumption based on some really obvious biases.   

Whose idea is that? Certainly not Sam Harris's, nor mine.

2 hours ago, bluebell said:

Unproven assumptions and glaring biases are a shaking ladder to stand when proclaiming answers to issues of morality.

It sounds like you are dismissing out of hand a book you haven't read based merely upon what you imagine it to say.

Is that a shakey ladder?

2 hours ago, bluebell said:

Especially considering that what humans think and what impacts them differs greatly depending on time, place, and civilization. 

Yes, it varies. But by as much as you think? 

2 hours ago, bluebell said:

So not only does your argument have issues with assumptions and biases, but those assumptions and biases are or were different for every group of humans across time. 

That makes your position even less stable than we first thought.

Straw men aren't very stable ladders.

2 hours ago, bluebell said:

He makes a point and then uses his point to prove he's right.  That's a weird form of 'science'.

And then he says something like "now that we all agree with me" and moves on as if his point is not still based on assumptions and biases that are not proven and not everyone agrees with.

His understanding of religion is shallow (at least in this part you have quoted of him).  I would say that it's much too shallow for him to use it to prove anything one way or another.  It's probably the biggest weakness in the argument he's making here.  

His example wasn't intended to prove anything one way or the other. It was merely to illustrate his point.

As another example, what is the basis of morality? I'd imagine you'd say something like God loving the world, and people loving God. Or maybe bringing to pass the work and glory of God. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

After you do that, why don't you stack it up against Harris's actual point. 

1- Does the basis for morality have to do with conscious beings? (Note that the question isn't limited to people as you imagined--it's all beings--be they dogs, chimps, people, angels, or gods, that have consciouses). Or is it completely independent of conscious beings?

2- Does it have to do with wellb-eing? In other words, does your system of ethics have to do with promoting the well-being of conscious beings?  I would suspect it does. If that's the case, the basis of his ethics lines up with yours. You may disagree on which conscious beings (e.g. the angel Moroni) exist, and you may disagree on what promotes true well being. 

I'll let you answer, though. Does morality of to do with the well-being of conscious beings? Or in your view, are those two things irrelevant to morality?

2 hours ago, bluebell said:

It's also inescapable that many religious people do not define happiness and misery in the way that he appears to be defining it...

He defines "well-being" very broadly. He says:

"Throughout this book I make reference to a hypothetical space that I call “the moral landscape”—a space of real and potential outcomes whose peaks correspond to the heights of potential well-being and whose valleys represent the deepest possible suffering. Different ways of thinking and behaving—different cultural practices, ethical codes, modes of government, etc.—will translate into movements across this landscape and, therefore, into different degrees of human flourishing. I’m not suggesting that we will necessarily discover one right answer to every moral question or a single best way for human beings to live. Some questions may admit of many answers, each more or less equivalent. However, the existence of multiple peaks on the moral landscape does not make them any less real or worthy of discovery. Nor would it make the difference between being on a peak and being stuck deep in a valley any less clear or consequential.

"To see that multiple answers to moral questions need not pose a problem for us, consider how we currently think about food: no one would argue that there must be one right food to eat. And yet there is still an objective difference between healthy food and poison..." Harris, Sam. The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values (pp. 7-8). 

2 hours ago, bluebell said:

and their eagerness to find it or escape it is not going to look how he is assuming it's going to look.  How does his argument hold up when his inescapable fact is both escapable and also not a fact?

The fact that you misunderstand the point in no way indicates he is wrong.

Edited by Analytics
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3 hours ago, The Nehor said:

In many cultures it was literally the midwife’s job to quietly kill “defective” newborns so the mother wouldn’t have to deal with it. They also often gave women the poisons to induce abortion.

There is literally no part of this that isn't completely disgusting and sinful.

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10 hours ago, Eschaton said:

The one fatal sin that will doom humanity always has to be that thing that someone else very different from me is doing, never that thing that I like to do. 

In that case the one fatal sin that will doom humanity is putting your trash into someone else's trash bin. Whichever of my neighbors is putting stuff in there is dooming the world.

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10 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

There is literally no part of this that isn't completely disgusting and sinful.

Are you under the impression I was defending it?

I am pointing out that compared to previous generations our use of abortion and literal child murder are WAY DOWN! Yet somehow abortion is what is going to cause the world to burn? If God burns us down for it one could ask God why He decided to purge us for a sin our generation was comparatively good at avoiding.

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4 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

Are you under the impression I was defending it?

I am pointing out that compared to previous generations our use of abortion and literal child murder are WAY DOWN! Yet somehow abortion is what is going to cause the world to burn? If God burns us down for it one could ask God why He decided to purge us for a sin our generation was comparatively good at avoiding.

No, I didn't think you were defending it.  There was however the appearance of downplaying or normalizing it.  

As to your second point those previous generations you refer to - were they cultures that had the gospel?  Followers of Christ?  Were they even during times when the gospel was on the earth?

The act of abortion runs counter to every gospel principle.  Its commonplace among those without the gospel is not a good indication that God doesn't purge us because of it.  Those with more light are held to higher standards.  Cultures and societies that allow such practices rapidly find themselves separated from God and devoid of his light.

The "purge" begins when insufficient light and closeness to God remains.

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4 hours ago, Analytics said:

: I think we can know, through reason alone, that consciousness is the only intelligible domain of value. What is the alternative?

Life itself for one.

Existence for another.

Harris and you are simply choosing a value that is important to you, which is the ultimate of subjectiveness.

It is absolutely bizarre that he thinks whether or not something interests him is an objective standard.

Sentience is also hardly the primary value in everyone’s view or we would be euthanizing more people in vegetative states, etc.

Edited by Calm
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7 hours ago, Analytics said:
9 hours ago, gav said:

Richard is great on some things but when it comes to his understanding of the Bible, it's shallow and slanted. I doubt he is considered a great unbiased source on Biblical matters. You can add Hitch to that category as well.

It sounds like you need a lesson on the Bible.

It reminds me of something that is very important to the Church right now: religious freedom.

What does the Bible say about freedom of religion? When some Israelites were worshiping God the wrong way (or if you are the kind of person that insists that, say, Mormons and Evangelicals worship two different Jesuses, then when some Israelites were worshiping the wrong God), God commanded Moses to murder 3,000 people (see Exodus 32:27). Religious Freedom baby!

Hitch notes that only 3,000 people being murdered for following their sincere religious convictions is:

"A small number when compared to the Egyptian infants already massacred by god in order for things to have proceeded even this far, but it helps to make the case for “antitheism.” By this I mean the view that we ought to be glad that none of the religious myths has any truth to it, or in it. The Bible may, indeed does, contain a warrant for trafficking in humans, for ethnic cleansing, for slavery, for bride-price, and for indiscriminate massacre, but we are not bound by any of it because it was put together by crude, uncultured human mammals.

"It goes without saying that none of the gruesome, disordered events described in Exodus ever took place. Israeli archaeologists are among the most professional in the world, even if their scholarship has sometimes been inflected with a wish to prove that the “covenant” between god and Moses was founded on some basis in fact. No group of diggers and scholars has ever worked harder, or with greater expectations, than the Israelis who sifted through the sands of Sinai and Canaan....

"Their conclusion is final, and the more creditable for asserting evidence over self-interest. There was no flight from Egypt, no wandering in the desert (let alone for the incredible four-decade length of time mentioned in the Pentateuch), and no dramatic conquest of the Promised Land. It was all, quite simply and very ineptly, made up at a much later date...

"There is great pleasure to be had from the study of archaeology and of ancient texts, and great instruction, too. And it brings us ever nearer to some approximation of the truth. On the other hand, it also raises the question of antitheism once more. In The Future of an Illusion, Freud made the obvious point that religion suffered from one incurable deficiency: it was too clearly derived from our own desire to escape from or survive death. This critique of wish-thinking is strong and unanswerable, but it does not really deal with the horrors and cruelties and madnesses of the Old Testament. Who—except for an ancient priest seeking to exert power by the tried and tested means of fear—could possibly wish that this hopelessly knotted skein of fable had any veracity?"

Hitchens, Christopher. God Is Not Great (pp. 174-177)

My case on unbiased shallow and slanted commentary rests.

Quote

What does the Bible say about freedom of religion? When some Israelites were worshiping God the wrong way (or if you are the kind of person that insists that, say, Mormons and Evangelicals worship two different Jesuses, then when some Israelites were worshiping the wrong God), God commanded Moses to murder 3,000 people (see Exodus 32:27). Religious Freedom baby!

Or perhaps a more nuanced reading shows that this has little to absolutely nothing to do with religious freedom but is about very serious dissension in very dangerous circumstances that would have proved fatal to the extended enterprise and the much wider group.

Context matters!

Edited by gav
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