A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
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12-05-2014, 03:33 PM
RE: A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
(12-05-2014 02:48 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  
(12-05-2014 02:20 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
2. Objective moral values and duties exist
3. Therefore, God exists.

Not the exact same wording, different order for the premises, but pretty much the same argument. Other than you identifying the higher power much more specifically than I have (unless you're going with a very general definition of God), I don't see a significant difference.

So, I'll put the question from my original post to you directly. Precisely what do you mean when you describe moral values and duties as being objective? What is it that qualifies a moral value or duty to possess the status of objectivity?

When used in the moral argument, the word objective simply entails existing independently of personal human opinion or human influence. Existing independently of human thought.

A number of ethicists such as Robert Adams, William Alston, Mark Linville, Paul Copan, John Hare, Stephen Evans, and others have defended various moral arguments for God.

Below is Dr. William Lane Craig's exposition that will be of importance.

"First, we should distinguish between moral values and duties. Values have to do with whether something is good or bad. Duties have to do with whether something is right or wrong. Now you might think at first that this is a distinction without a difference: “good” and “right” mean the same thing, and the same goes for “bad” and “wrong.” But if you think about it, you can see that this isn’t the case. Duty has to do with moral obligation, what you ought or ought not to do. But obviously you’re not morally obligated to do something just because it would be good for you to do it. For example, it would be good for you to become a doctor, but you’re not morally obligated to become a doctor. After all, it would also be good for you to become a firefighter or a homemaker or a diplomat, but you can’t do them all. So there’s a difference between good/bad and right/wrong. Good/bad has to do with something’s worth, while right/wrong has to do with something’s being obligatory.

Second, there’s the distinction between being objective or subjective. By “objective” I mean “independent of people’s opinions.” By “subjective” I mean “dependent on people’s opinions.” So to say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is good or bad independent of whatever people think about it. Similarly, to say that we have objective moral duties is to say that certain actions are right or wrong for us regardless of what people think about it. So, for example, to say that the Holocaust was objectively wrong is to say that it was wrong even though the Nazis who carried it out thought that it was right, and it would still have been wrong even if the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in exterminating or brainwashing everybody who disagreed with them so that everyone believed the Holocaust was right."



Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-new-a...z31XVD1qdn
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12-05-2014, 03:48 PM (This post was last modified: 12-05-2014 03:52 PM by Azaraith.)
RE: A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
(12-05-2014 02:20 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
2. Objective moral values and duties exist
3. Therefore, God exists.

Premise 1 is false - there are other potential explanations for objective morals, such as other gods than your Yahweh, or non-theistic religions (Buddhism), or even a scientific basis for objective morality (which has been proposed, but I don't buy it).

Premise 2 is also false - the existence of objective morals has never been proven. Some morals are integral to functional society, so all functional societies have them, but they are not objective in the sense that they are set in stone by a source outside of humanity.

Beside the facts that your premises are false, your supposedly "good" deity is guilty of violating any and all morals you claim as objective. He committed genocide several times (see: worldwide flood), he commanded genocide (of the Amalekites, among others), he condones rape, and has even committed rape (if you believe that God caused Mary to become impregnated). All according to *your* holy book.

If these morals are objective as you say, your god is also guilty of violating them. If he is not, the morals are indeed not objective even in your views (should they be consistent), as they are viewed subjectively. Objective moral crimes do not become right if committed by certain actors, that makes them subjective.
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12-05-2014, 04:00 PM
RE: A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
(12-05-2014 03:23 PM)djhall Wrote:  
(12-05-2014 02:55 PM)cjlr Wrote:  It certainly can't mean self-evident or universal, as no such thing has ever existed with regards to human motivation. Nor can it mean merely most prevalent, as that changes with time.

For some reason the theistic conception only ever seems to be a transparent repackaging of in agreement with me. How compelling.

But perfectly in keeping with such an exclusive and narcissistic worldview.

The only logical meaning of "objective" based on the way they use it is "not derived from or by humans." Anything human in nature is met with the response that you are merely stating your preference, you culture's preference, or the preference of the vast majority of the human species which are all subjective and/or relative. Describing what makes the species thrive or happy or sociobiology is met with the response that you are making the logical fallacy of assuming that what is or what has been is what ought to be. To measure humans objectively you need a non-human standard.... ergo, god.

Of course, there isn't any reason to give a crap about the standards of a non-human when determining how humans should treat each other. So, god has to be all knowing and work in mysterious ways so we can't question the moral logic or accuracy, and all loving so we can't question the motives or claim they don't align with our own human interests, and be the giver of everything so we can't question the fairness of his punishments, and a bit vengeful and unforgiving so we don't think maybe we can just use our own judgment independently and see how it goes without risking punishment for that temerity.

Just add one human mind willing to suspend its own reason, free will, and judgment in favor of a promised reward so compelling that our human existence in our uncaring universe seems dull, empty, and even frightening by comparison, stir, and presto... instant Jeremy.

You have a typical atheistic mentality when giving your idea of what reality would be like if God existed. It is evidence by your repeated "so we can't question...."..

In your mind, if God existed, thinking goes out the window.

This is pitiful. It only belies your ignorance, willful it seems. I am sure you know that many intellectuals throughout history have been devout Christians. It seems you make the same patently absurd error that Dawkins has made when he equates believing in God with not thinking.

Its as if you equate that believing in God means setting reason and logic and rationality to the side which could not be further from the truth. I recommend you read some of Stephen J. Gould's writings.

Surely you have heard of the man?

In 1982 Harvard awarded him the title of Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology. The following year, 1983, he was awarded fellowship of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, where he later served as president (1999–2001). The AAAS news release cited his "numerous contributions to both scientific progress and the public understanding of science". He also served as president of the Paleontological Society (1985–1986) and of the Society for the Study of Evolution (1990–1991).

In 1989 Gould was elected into the body of the National Academy of Sciences. Through 1996–2002 Gould was Vincent Astor Visiting Research Professor of Biology at New York University. In 2001, the American Humanist Association named him the Humanist of the Year for his lifetime of work. In 2008, he was posthumously awarded the Darwin-Wallace Medal, along with 12 other recipients. (Until 2008 this medal had been awarded every 50 years by the Linnean Society of London.

He was "the man" when it came to evolutionary biology. He was also an atheist like Dawkins. But one thing he did not do that both you and Dawkins have done, is make the absurd and brash exclusivistic equation of scientific excellence with atheism. He acknowledges in Scientific American based on the religious views leading evolutionary biologists that:

"Either half my colleagues are enormously stupid, or else the science of Darwinism is fully compatible with conventional religious beliefs..." [ Stephen Jay Gould, "Impeaching a Self-Appointed Judge," Scientific American, July 1992, 267(1):118-121;

His point is widely accepted. Nature can be interpreted in a theistic or in an atheistic way-but it demands neither of these. Both are genuine intellectual possibilities for science.

Stephen J. Gould himself acknowledging that just because many of his brilliant colleagues were religious does not mean they were "non-thinking" idiots the way you and Dawkins seem to think they necessarily are.
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12-05-2014, 04:16 PM
RE: A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
(12-05-2014 03:33 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  
(12-05-2014 02:48 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  Not the exact same wording, different order for the premises, but pretty much the same argument. Other than you identifying the higher power much more specifically than I have (unless you're going with a very general definition of God), I don't see a significant difference.

So, I'll put the question from my original post to you directly. Precisely what do you mean when you describe moral values and duties as being objective? What is it that qualifies a moral value or duty to possess the status of objectivity?

When used in the moral argument, the word objective simply entails existing independently of personal human opinion or human influence. Existing independently of human thought.

A number of ethicists such as Robert Adams, William Alston, Mark Linville, Paul Copan, John Hare, Stephen Evans, and others have defended various moral arguments for God.

Below is Dr. William Lane Craig's exposition that will be of importance.

"First, we should distinguish between moral values and duties. Values have to do with whether something is good or bad. Duties have to do with whether something is right or wrong. Now you might think at first that this is a distinction without a difference: “good” and “right” mean the same thing, and the same goes for “bad” and “wrong.” But if you think about it, you can see that this isn’t the case. Duty has to do with moral obligation, what you ought or ought not to do. But obviously you’re not morally obligated to do something just because it would be good for you to do it. For example, it would be good for you to become a doctor, but you’re not morally obligated to become a doctor. After all, it would also be good for you to become a firefighter or a homemaker or a diplomat, but you can’t do them all. So there’s a difference between good/bad and right/wrong. Good/bad has to do with something’s worth, while right/wrong has to do with something’s being obligatory.

Second, there’s the distinction between being objective or subjective. By “objective” I mean “independent of people’s opinions.” By “subjective” I mean “dependent on people’s opinions.” So to say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is good or bad independent of whatever people think about it. Similarly, to say that we have objective moral duties is to say that certain actions are right or wrong for us regardless of what people think about it. So, for example, to say that the Holocaust was objectively wrong is to say that it was wrong even though the Nazis who carried it out thought that it was right, and it would still have been wrong even if the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in exterminating or brainwashing everybody who disagreed with them so that everyone believed the Holocaust was right."



Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-new-a...z31XVD1qdn

You have presented two seemingly different definitions of objective morality. For one we have:

Quote:When used in the moral argument, the word objective simply entails existing independently of personal human opinion or human influence. Existing independently of human thought.

I would question what this definition even means. What does it mean for morals to exist? We can describe them as values enacted or opinions held, certainly, but that is hardly independent of human thought and influence. They do not exist as a rock exists -- something which can be held or touched -- or as the law of gravity exists -- something which can be observed in action without our interference. So what does existence independent of humanity even mean in this context? I can think of several possible things someone MIGHT mean by these words, but I'm asking what meaning you -- specifically you -- are employing when you advance the proposition. Please clarify.

And for the other definition, we have:

Quote:So to say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is good or bad independent of whatever people think about it. Similarly, to say that we have objective moral duties is to say that certain actions are right or wrong for us regardless of what people think about it.

Well, I would certainly say that the Holocaust (your example, let the record show that it was not I who triggered Godwin) was morally contemptible. That is indeed my opinion, and the opinion of a great many other people. (I reserve comment as to whether it is more than just a commonly held opinion.) I also say that it would be heinous even if the entire world had been brainwashed into believing it were laudable. Of course, within that hypothetical, the hypothetical me would also be saying it were laudable, but from outside the hypothetical I am saying that it would not be so. Real-Me and Hypothetical-Me do not have the same opinion on the matter. By a strict dissection of this second definition's wording, the opinion of Real-Me that something would be wrong even if the entirety of humanity judged it to be right after the fact might qualify as a belief in objective morality. However, I suspect that this is just a loophole in an imprecise wording. Can you confirm this?

In any event, this makes establishing the minor premise of the moral argument quite difficult. By what standards would we say objective morality, under this definition, exists? What morality would we ever claim existed, that we could claim existed independently of what we think about it? Simply advancing the claim is dependent upon what we think about it. It seems as if we could never positively establish the minor premise without doubting the process by which we established it. This may stem from my misunderstanding what you mean by a morality existing.

I'm not into disputing the premises just yet... I'm still trying to pin down what you MEAN by them.
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12-05-2014, 04:18 PM
RE: A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
(12-05-2014 04:00 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  His point is widely accepted. Nature can be interpreted in a theistic or in an atheistic way-but it demands neither of these. Both are genuine intellectual possibilities for science.

If a theistic way of interpretation cannot be observed, verified, or tested, then it cannot be in any way scientific, by definition.
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12-05-2014, 04:22 PM
RE: A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
(12-05-2014 03:48 PM)Azaraith Wrote:  
(12-05-2014 02:20 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
2. Objective moral values and duties exist
3. Therefore, God exists.

Premise 1 is false - there are other potential explanations for objective morals, such as other gods than your Yahweh, or non-theistic religions (Buddhism), or even a scientific basis for objective morality (which has been proposed, but I don't buy it).

Premise 2 is also false - the existence of objective morals has never been proven. Some morals are integral to functional society, so all functional societies have them, but they are not objective in the sense that they are set in stone by a source outside of humanity.

Beside the facts that your premises are false, your supposedly "good" deity is guilty of violating any and all morals you claim as objective. He committed genocide several times (see: worldwide flood), he commanded genocide (of the Amalekites, among others), he condones rape, and has even committed rape (if you believe that God caused Mary to become impregnated). All according to *your* holy book.

If these morals are objective as you say, your god is also guilty of violating them. If he is not, the morals are indeed not objective even in your views (should they be consistent), as they are viewed subjectively. Objective moral crimes do not become right if committed by certain actors, that makes them subjective.

I see you are eager to prove me wrong and in turn, strengthen your faith in your own beliefs.

So what have you written?

You said there are other potential ontological explanations for moral values and duties and that therefore this renders premise one false. But does it? No.

Just because there are other potential explanations accounts for nothing. What you must do in order to deny premise one is to give an argument as to how one of these alternative ontologies actually can account for the existence of objective moral values and duties in a way that would prove it to be more plausibly true than premise one's grounds.

If we were to take your reasoning and apply it to say....the question of how homo sapiens came to be what they are, we would have to say that the theory of evolution by natural selection is necessarily false because there are other potential explanations for how homo sapiens came to be what they are!!!!

So clearly this line of reasoning is a non-sequitur.

Moving on to two you state that it has not been proven that objective moral values and duties exist. To this I will simply allow some atheists to speak for me:

Louise Antony, herself a non-theist, in a debate with Dr. William Lane Craig at U Mass, Amherst stated:

"Any argument for moral scepticism will be based upon premisses which are less obvious than the existence of objective moral values themselves. That seems to me quite right. Therefore, moral scepticism is unjustifiable."

The humanist philosopher Peter Cave gives the following example:

"Whatever sceptical arguments may be brought against our belief that killing the innocent is morally wrong, we are more certain that the killing is morally wrong than that the argument is sound. . . . Torturing an innocent child for the sheer fun of it is morally wrong. Full stop." Peter Cave, Humanism (Oxford: OneWorld, 2009), p. 146

Harris inveighs against what he calls “the overeducated atheistic moral nihilist[s]” and relativists who refuse to condemn as objectively wrong terrible atrocities like the genital mutilation of little girls.

Citing Donald Symons, he rightly declares, “If only one person in the world held down a terrified, struggling, screaming little girl, cut off her genitals with a septic blade, and sewed her back up, … the only question would be how severely that person should be punished.”2 What is not in question is that such a person has done something horribly, objectively wrong. - Sam Harris, The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values (New York: Free Press, 2010), 198.

With regards to the last bit, all the argument concludes is that God exists i.e a transcendant Moral Law Giver.

Once one accepts the conclusion, then one is no longer an atheist. Other arguments then can be used in support of the claim that God has revealed Himself in the person of His Son Jesus Christ.
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12-05-2014, 04:29 PM
RE: A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
(12-05-2014 03:33 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  When used in the moral argument, the word objective simply entails existing independently of personal human opinion or human influence. Existing independently of human thought.

The first question I have when discussing the notion of objective morality existing independently of human thought, is why we should attribute special value to that attribute, specifically?

Technologically and scientifically advanced aliens could give us an objective moral code, by that definition, or monkeys / dolphins, or an artificial intelligence, or we could go straight naturalism and try to find patterns of nature to apply as objective moral standards. You might protest that you didn't really mean merely human thought but all life inside the universe. If you believe in the Devil / Satan / Demons, they are non-human and not of our universe, so their moral laws should be just as objective or moral as god's, and arguing in favor of god's objective moral laws over Satan's objective moral laws is just human subjective preference. Indeed, there is no shortage of existing "objective" moral codes given to the Jews, Christians, Muslims, Mormons, Scientologists, Hindus, Wiccans, and more from which to select whatever one meets your subjective fancy.

However, lets set aside that problem of subjectively picking your objective morality and assume for the moment the absolute proof of the existence of one and only one supernatural deity and absolute knowledge of their precise moral code. So what? Say that deity is our creator and their moral code consists of "I made you to be the strongest you can be. Be mentally strong, lie to one another, deceive one another, trick one another, be cruel to one another, fight one another, and kill the mentally and physically weakest among you where you can. By doing so you will make each other stronger and more powerful than you ever imagined possible. For this one purpose I created you, and in order to motivate you to fight as hard and as long as possible, when you fall I will torment you in hell for eternity." Other than avoiding punishment, why should we care? By what logic is "what a diety says" good and good still means something? Why is it wrong to tell that deity to go fuck off and do what WE think is right and what we want? If god claims what we "know" is bad is actually good, why should we care? Why can't god be bad or wrong?

The problem is, "objective morality" is only valid or useful or worthy or moral "objective morality" if it validates our internal subjective sense of "goodness". The objective confirmation of our own values is what we really seek. We value what we do, and we seek objective confirmation to justify it. Subjective recognition of objective standards is still subjective.

Jesus is my Stalker: He has graced me with his unconditional love, but if I reject it and refuse to love him in return, he will make my life Hell.
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12-05-2014, 04:39 PM
RE: A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
(12-05-2014 04:18 PM)RobbyPants Wrote:  
(12-05-2014 04:00 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  His point is widely accepted. Nature can be interpreted in a theistic or in an atheistic way-but it demands neither of these. Both are genuine intellectual possibilities for science.

If a theistic way of interpretation cannot be observed, verified, or tested, then it cannot be in any way scientific, by definition.

Theists can interpret the findings of science regarding nature to be the effects of God and atheists can interpret the findings of science regarding nature to be the effects of natural forces acting on matter. Science does not demand that it be either. This is his point and something that people like Dawkins and djhall seem to want to reject for some reason... Facepalm
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12-05-2014, 04:41 PM
RE: A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
(12-05-2014 04:22 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  I see you are eager to prove me wrong and in turn, strengthen your faith in your own beliefs.

Ridiculous tripe, sometimes I just find arguing with idiots entertaining.

(12-05-2014 04:22 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  So what have you written?

You said there are other potential ontological explanations for moral values and duties and that therefore this renders premise one false. But does it? No.

Just because there are other potential explanations accounts for nothing. What you must do in order to deny premise one is to give an argument as to how one of these alternative ontologies actually can account for the existence of objective moral values and duties in a way that would prove it to be more plausibly true than premise one's grounds.

If we were to take your reasoning and apply it to say....the question of how homo sapiens came to be what they are, we would have to say that the theory of evolution by natural selection is necessarily false because there are other potential explanations for how homo sapiens came to be what they are!!!!

That's fucking idiotic. The premise that objective moral values depend on God is far from proven or the most logical explanation, in fact it's got absolutely no proof in favor of it. Evolution, on the other hand, has strong evidence in favor of it, while the other "explanations" do not. Premise 1 is false because it's not proven - I mention other possibilities as potentially more logical and evidence-backed explanations, though I dispute the claim that objective morals exist, so of course I'm not in favor of stating that one explanation is factually correct in explaining that they exist. Also, nice use of "ontologies" - that doesn't make you sound smarter, it makes you seem pretentious, especially when it's not even used properly...

(12-05-2014 04:22 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  So clearly this line of reasoning is a non-sequitur.

Moving on to two you state that it has not been proven that objective moral values and duties exist. To this I will simply allow some atheists to speak for me:

Louise Antony, herself a non-theist, in a debate with Dr. William Lane Craig at U Mass, Amherst stated:

"Any argument for moral scepticism will be based upon premisses which are less obvious than the existence of objective moral values themselves. That seems to me quite right. Therefore, moral scepticism is unjustifiable."

The humanist philosopher Peter Cave gives the following example:

"Whatever sceptical arguments may be brought against our belief that killing the innocent is morally wrong, we are more certain that the killing is morally wrong than that the argument is sound. . . . Torturing an innocent child for the sheer fun of it is morally wrong. Full stop." Peter Cave, Humanism (Oxford: OneWorld, 2009), p. 146

Harris inveighs against what he calls “the overeducated atheistic moral nihilist[s]” and relativists who refuse to condemn as objectively wrong terrible atrocities like the genital mutilation of little girls.

Citing Donald Symons, he rightly declares, “If only one person in the world held down a terrified, struggling, screaming little girl, cut off her genitals with a septic blade, and sewed her back up, … the only question would be how severely that person should be punished.”2 What is not in question is that such a person has done something horribly, objectively wrong. - Sam Harris, The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values (New York: Free Press, 2010), 198.

With regards to the last bit, all the argument concludes is that God exists i.e a transcendant Moral Law Giver.

Once one accepts the conclusion, then one is no longer an atheist. Other arguments then can be used in support of the claim that God has revealed Himself in the person of His Son Jesus Christ.

What makes you think I give a fuck what some other atheist(s) said? Unlike you, I don't follow others' beliefs and claim them as my own. What one atheist says about the topic doesn't inform you at all as to what I believe or why. The first example makes little sense out of context, the second says nothing about objective morals (only very commonly held moral feelings on particular issues), and the last bit by Sam Harris I disagree with - I think Sam's case for objective morals is weak, and also his definition doesn't match yours (or the typical Christian's view). And the last bit certainly doesn't conclude that God exists, as God =/= a transcendent moral law giver. Sam is arguing that science is a source of objective morals (and he's been criticized for that argument, rightly so), which would make science that transcendent moral law giver, not your god.
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12-05-2014, 04:47 PM
RE: A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
(12-05-2014 04:00 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  
(12-05-2014 03:23 PM)djhall Wrote:  The only logical meaning of "objective" based on the way they use it is "not derived from or by humans." Anything human in nature is met with the response that you are merely stating your preference, you culture's preference, or the preference of the vast majority of the human species which are all subjective and/or relative. Describing what makes the species thrive or happy or sociobiology is met with the response that you are making the logical fallacy of assuming that what is or what has been is what ought to be. To measure humans objectively you need a non-human standard.... ergo, god.

Of course, there isn't any reason to give a crap about the standards of a non-human when determining how humans should treat each other. So, god has to be all knowing and work in mysterious ways so we can't question the moral logic or accuracy, and all loving so we can't question the motives or claim they don't align with our own human interests, and be the giver of everything so we can't question the fairness of his punishments, and a bit vengeful and unforgiving so we don't think maybe we can just use our own judgment independently and see how it goes without risking punishment for that temerity.

Just add one human mind willing to suspend its own reason, free will, and judgment in favor of a promised reward so compelling that our human existence in our uncaring universe seems dull, empty, and even frightening by comparison, stir, and presto... instant Jeremy.

You have a typical atheistic mentality when giving your idea of what reality would be like if God existed. It is evidence by your repeated "so we can't question...."..

In your mind, if God existed, thinking goes out the window.

This is pitiful. It only belies your ignorance, willful it seems. I am sure you know that many intellectuals throughout history have been devout Christians. It seems you make the same patently absurd error that Dawkins has made when he equates believing in God with not thinking.

Its as if you equate that believing in God means setting reason and logic and rationality to the side which could not be further from the truth. I recommend you read some of Stephen J. Gould's writings.

Surely you have heard of the man?

In 1982 Harvard awarded him the title of Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology. The following year, 1983, he was awarded fellowship of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, where he later served as president (1999–2001). The AAAS news release cited his "numerous contributions to both scientific progress and the public understanding of science". He also served as president of the Paleontological Society (1985–1986) and of the Society for the Study of Evolution (1990–1991).

In 1989 Gould was elected into the body of the National Academy of Sciences. Through 1996–2002 Gould was Vincent Astor Visiting Research Professor of Biology at New York University. In 2001, the American Humanist Association named him the Humanist of the Year for his lifetime of work. In 2008, he was posthumously awarded the Darwin-Wallace Medal, along with 12 other recipients. (Until 2008 this medal had been awarded every 50 years by the Linnean Society of London.

He was "the man" when it came to evolutionary biology. He was also an atheist like Dawkins. But one thing he did not do that both you and Dawkins have done, is make the absurd and brash exclusivistic equation of scientific excellence with atheism. He acknowledges in Scientific American based on the religious views leading evolutionary biologists that:

"Either half my colleagues are enormously stupid, or else the science of Darwinism is fully compatible with conventional religious beliefs..." [ Stephen Jay Gould, "Impeaching a Self-Appointed Judge," Scientific American, July 1992, 267(1):118-121;

His point is widely accepted. Nature can be interpreted in a theistic or in an atheistic way-but it demands neither of these. Both are genuine intellectual possibilities for science.

Stephen J. Gould himself acknowledging that just because many of his brilliant colleagues were religious does not mean they were "non-thinking" idiots the way you and Dawkins seem to think they necessarily are.

That seems like an entirely non-sequitur response addressing none of the problems with the moral "argument," which is prima face ridiculous given that The Golden Rule, 10 Commandments, and a general understanding of morality far predates Christianity.

But, as with everything else, Christians are content to claim it as their own when it suits them.

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
― Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes
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